The Car Ride
My husband and I’s “dating” history could only be described as a dramatic comedy. We first met when our youth group went to Braum’s one evening. I was unfamiliar with most in the youth group but decided to go. In the parking lot, a car caught my eye and I just had to drive it. You might be imaging a brilliant red or yellow sports car, but no, it was a brand new, fully loaded Honda Accord.
I realized, after walking in, that our group was monopolizing the place so the person driving that vehicle had to be in the group. After some conversation, I finally located the owner and convinced him to let me drive it. Of course, the whole time I’m driving his car, I’m putting him at ease with my brilliant driving record trying to convince him that the one time I smashed my car into the wall was a fluke and probably wouldn’t happen again. He must have been charmed by me, because he asked me out. Well, all it took was one date and we both realized we would NEVER work together. A few months later, he left the state and we never planned on seeing each other again. Or so we thought…
8 years later everything changed.
Within weeks of graduating from college, this car guy from my past randomly reappeared back in my life and I couldn’t shake him off. And believe me I tried. I had plans, big plans that did not involve a relationship. I was planning to leave the country 3 months after graduating without any idea of when I would return, so I was squelching anything in my life that tried to pop up as a dating relationship.
I would hang out with my friends that just happened to be guys but never wanted anything more than friendships. Apparently, this car guy from my past took my innocent invitations to hang out as dates and so the confusion of our “relationship”/”non-relationship” began. If you had asked him, he would have said we were dating. If you had asked me, I would have laughed and shrugged it off with an emphatic “No!” However, this did not deter him.
As the months passed, he was called to military training in San Francisco, so I agreed to watch his Cocker Spaniel, Sandy. At the time, I was living with my parents. My father had broken both of his arms right before I graduated, so I moved back to help take care of him and to save money before I left the country. Within those two weeks, my father and Sandy had formed such a bond that she helped bring him out of the depression he had fallen into after he broke his arms. When car guy returned, he saw the amazing change in my father and decided that there was no way he could take that dog away from him, so car guy gifted the dog to my father.
When car guy did that, I took notice for the first time and started to think that there might be something in this guy worth looking into. However, I did not want to be in a relationship and so my stubbornness won out and I continued to rebuke the poor guy. Literally, if our lives had been a movie that time would be a compilation of scenes where you felt embarrassed for the poor guy because he was being rejected so badly.
I could never figure out why he kept coming back because I definitely drew a line in the sand and said in my best okie voice multiple times “It ain’t gonna happen!” A few years ago, he finally told me, that if it hadn’t of been for God, he would have walked away from me, but he felt with all his heart that God had brought us together and he was believing God’s answer no matter what I said. He figured God would eventually turn my heart to him and he was right, but it took a little longer and a lot more heartache than he anticipated.
The Flourishing Friendship
I would love to say that when the time came to leave the country, I decided to throw my plans to the wind and stay to figure things out, but that’s not what I did. Instead, I added another wall and insisted that we not communicate for at least 2 weeks, while I prayed about everything.
My new life started in Madrid, Spain. Within two weeks, I started working in the marketing department of a software development company learning about a specific service and doing translation work. Let me just say, here is where the car guy became very handy. You see, I am somewhat technically unaware, but car guy was technologically savvy. He had owned a computer business for a while and knew exactly what I needed to know. I was trying to translate all this information that I had no clue about and so our after work, late night talks began…mostly about work. “What does this mean? What in the world is this or that?” He patiently explained it all to me and in the process of those long hours talking over the phone, our friendship began to flourish.
I began to heal from past relationships and honestly enjoyed forming a friendship with him before ever thinking about dating him. (Side thought: Sometimes, it just feels like we do this whole dating thing backwards. Why not be friends first and then from that decide if a relationship should ensue instead of jumping into a relationship to become friends with someone?) This was a very nice change for me, one that God knew I needed. My heart couldn’t take any more long relationships only to end up with pieces of me gone. It was around this time that I stopped to referring to him as car guy and started thinking about him as Jeremy. Maybe there was place for him?
A Laugh & A Loss
Time went by and our friendship deepened. Then it happend….I missed his laugh. Previously, his loud laugh annoyed me. Why? Because no one should have a louder laugh than I do. I believed my laugh was like a trademark. People would wait for me outside of the movie theater because they heard me laughing during the movie. Now, there was someone challenging me for loudest laugh….but I missed it. The tides were changing in his favor.
Then something else happened. The stock market took a dive and he lost most of his money. I had been struggling for awhile, once I realized I kinda liked this Jeremy guy. I knew he had money and I did not want that to be a factor in my liking him, so when he lost his money, I became excited. Why? Because I still liked him! I could finally know that my feelings for him had absolutely nothing to do with anything that he might have to offer other than himself. For me, this was great news. (Of course, when I told my husband this a few years ago, he had wished I had prayed for something else to be the determining factor, but I reminded him that I’m more of a prize than his bank account so we are good! My humbleness truly astounds me sometimes! ha!!)
It wasn’t long after those realizations that Jeremy flew over to Spain, proposed to me on top of one of my favorite castles and eventually convinced me to move back to Oklahoma. However, he did promise we would live in Italy one day and babe, I am still holding you to that promise.
So here we are, Jeremy & Kristi, 11 years later with 4 amazing kids, 2 crazy dogs, and one heck of a story of how God brought us together! I always wanted someone who would go the extra mile for me and Jeremy definitely did and still does. Love you, Jeremy! To my amazing children, you come by your stubbornness naturally from both sides and know that good things come to those who persistently wait.