This post is part 4 of 5 in the series How I Met Your Father.
I never would have met your father if he hadn’t made one decision that altered his future.
After studying for two years at his local community college, your daddy made the decision to transfer to Drake University in Des Moines. It was Junior year for both of us, and we were both starting to hang out in the same social circle as we got involved with the Intervarsity ministry group on campus.
We met for the first time when we carpooled with a large group of friends for a dinner outing. Out of the corner of my eye I checked him out, but both of us were too shy to say anything beyond “hi” to each other that evening.
A few months later, I met your father for the second time, on Valentine’s Day. I worked at a restaurant at that time, and I had just gotten off work for the evening. I smelled like refried beans and tortilla chips as I visited a friend’s dorm room for some late night game playing. When I play games, my competitive side comes out, and I love to give the other players a hard time. I discovered your daddy has a competitive streak as well, and we were quickly exchanging banter and dishing it out.
I liked it. And I kind of liked him.
Pretty soon, we were hanging out together regularly with our small group of close friends. We would spend several nights a week playing cards and darts, one-upping each other with our snarky, witty banter and competitive streaks.
I liked his wit and humor, but I didn’t know if he liked me. When it came to casual conversation he didn’t have much to say, but when it came to game playing and hanging out he was a lot of fun to be around. Was it because he didn’t like me, or was he just slow to get to know?
It was getting close to the end of the school year, and I was so ready for summer. I had signed up for two different ministry opportunities: the first was a week-long experience in Oklahoma with Intervarsity, and the second was a six-week inner city missions trip to St. Louis.
In the group of people going to Oklahoma were some of my close friends and your daddy. That week was filled with challenging and uplifting ministry that was good for my soul. It allowed for introspection, growth in my faith, and deeper relationships and friendships. It even gave me more opportunities to talk to and get to know your daddy. But, I still didn’t know how he felt about me.
I told one of my good friends, and she suggested I pray that he would make a move. Feeling bold, I prayed that he would make a move by the end of our trip. I knew it was asking a lot, and I honestly didn’t think he would say anything. But, the last night came, and after the final session, he came up to me. “Do you want to go for a walk?” he asked.
My heart leapt into my throat as I zipped up my favorite gray hoodie. “Sure,” I barely choked out, hopeful at what the conversation would be about. I mean, he was the guy who helped me move out of my dorm room, and we had a lot of fun together, but was I reading too much into things?
There was a path around a lake that we walked towards, and I looked up in awe at the stars illuminating the night sky. You don’t get to see the vast beauty of the brilliant stars in Des Moines, although we do have a lot of great things to see in our city.
We took what felt like 10 laps around the lake before either of us said anything beyond casual small talk about the week, what we were experiencing and learning, and what our plans were for the summer.
I felt like my heart was pulsing in my ears. “If there’s something you want to tell me, I may or may not feel the same way,” I blurted out.
There was a long, awkward pause.
“What?” he finally said.
“If you’re trying to tell me something, I may or may not agree with you,” I said.
What is he thinking? What am I doing? Am I stupid? I felt like the distance of the lake was all of a sudden between us.
“I like you and am going to miss you this summer…. I hope we can keep in touch….” His words lingered in the air, and I felt the gap slowly close.
I don’t remember much of what was said after that, as I was on cloud nine. He liked me!
We vowed to keep in touch over the summer, but it was hard. He was home and I was on a missions trip. Along the way, I grew confused and uncertain, and I ended up breaking things off before they even started. I “dropped the bomb” as your daddy called it. The bomb that crushed him.
After school started that fall, when I saw your daddy I knew I had made a mistake. He looked really good. And I missed him. But I had hurt him once, and he didn’t want to go through that again.
We had to start over, and I had to regain his trust. I tried the witty banter. Being playful. But it wasn’t the same.
After a few months of a lot of awkward conversations, prayers, and walks around campus together, I owned up to my mistake. My lack of faith and being confused that summer. I put my heart out there and told him I was still interested. I don’t remember his response, but I remember not being certain exactly how he felt—and hopeful that it was the same way.
A couple days later, I was working my college desk job when I looked up and saw him walking in the front door. What is he doing here? I wondered.
“Do you want to go out this Thursday?” he asked.
Prayers, finally answered.
Our first date was about a year after the first time we met.
You could say I met your father in a car. Or you could say I met him on Valentine’s Day.
I met your father in college. I met him when I was young. I made mistakes and continue to make mistakes. I am thankful he met me where I was at, building that friendship and trust. And your father continues to meet me where I’m at throughout this journey called marriage and parenthood. I’m thankful for every part of the adventures we’ve shared together and how God has strengthened us through it all.
Read more from our How I Met Your Father series:
- Recruited into the Family
- When the One Breaks Through
- Third Time Is the Charm
- The Handsome Hipster from Nebraska