Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our love story....She says

Today we celebrate nine years of marriage. This is an abridged version of our love story in "she says, he says" form. I love how our story continues to be written....

 We first met in the spring of 2001. I was a junior in college trying to figure out where I was going in life. We met at a Tuesday Night Bible Study retreat where I had short spiky red hair which was one thing that Mark later said caught his eye.
From the very start there was something that attracted me to him. He had a passion for the Lord that provoked something inside of me every time I was around him. But I would not let my heart go there. If my roommates mentioned his name I would shrug it off, "What's the big deal about Mark Buckwalter, maybe I would be interested in someone like him but he probably wants some high maintenance blonde or something."
So I shut off my heart to anything to do with Mark Buckwalter.
In the meantime I was in my senior year of college and seeing Mark every week at Tuesday night bible study. My roommates and I also traveled on youth retreats with him to minister to the girls. During this time I began to get approached by several different guys about dating. I had not dated since high school but felt like a relationship might be coming. I really struggled to believe the Lord knew my heart's desire in terms of a man. I believed that I might have to settle for someone who I was not really attracted to or someone who I would have to lead spiritually.
 I will never forget the night he first told me he was interested in me. It was nine months after I had first met him. We were on our way home from a youth group retreat where we had been ministering and I was wearing my glasses, old grubby jeans and a worn sweatshirt. During the retreat the Lord had been speaking to me more about how He saw me and the ministry team had even spent time praying for my husband. As we were packing up to go Mark asked if he could talk to me. He told me for nine months he had been praying and asking the Lord if I was the one. He explained the whole journey and shared his heart. I just sat there dumbfounded. Something inside of me clicked yet I couldn't believe he was actually interested in me...
 We decided to take the next week and pray about our relationship. I drove home that night crying as I realized for the first time in a long time that the Lord really did have good things for me and maybe even my heart's desire. That night I fell asleep and woke up at 2:30 in the morning and felt the Lord saying to lay my hand on my hip and pray. Earlier in the weekend my hip had been hurting as we prayed for husband at the retreat. Now I laid my hand on  my hip and the story of Jacob wrestling with God came to my mind. I had been wrestling with who I was and what God had for me. And I felt these words spoken to my heart, "You have wrestled with God and with man and have overcome. I will change your name. You shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel with means struggled with God and overcome." One of the guys I had been wrestling with whether or not to be in a relationship with was named Jacob. The Lord was saying that Jacob was not  who I was called to but he was literally going to give me a new name...a new last name.
 Mark and I got together on a Friday afternoon and shared and prayed together. He too had a crazy God experience the exact night at the exact time I did. We were amazed at the hand of the Lord bringing us together.We had both prayed for a God love story but were blown away as we watched Him write it on our lives.
We prayed and took communion together on our first date and looked at each other and said, "You're going to be my husband, You're going to be my wife". Three weeks later we were officially engaged.
All this happened with out knowing really anything about each other. We had spent time ministering together at youth retreats but as far as practical details I didn't even know how old he was let alone if we liked the same kinds of things. We got engaged, fell in love and then become best friends. Maybe a bit backwards but it worked for us. I laugh now because the Lord so much knew what I needed in a husband. I just had to trust Him and lay down my ideal list which included someone 6ft tall, with curly hair who played guitar! I also had to trust that the Lord knew the desires of my heart. As we got to know each other I marveled at little details that lined up. I also got stretched in ways that I never imagined...
It has been a journey with twists and turns but I fall more in love with my passionate bald motorcycle riding
husband every year. He has become my best friend and the man I want to grow old with....

(Stay tuned for Mark's side of the story coming soon and thanks again to Regina at Radiant Images for the awesome pictures)

1 comment:

The lady of the house... said...

SERIOUSLY PRECIOUS PICTURES!!!!!! love, love, love that one of you both in the hammock. so romantic and would look great enlarged. and the motorcycle in the fields. oh, just so sweet!!! love you both and miss you! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!! xoxo.