|Photo by Elissa Ewald|
I remember being so worried about whether Rory and I would have anything to talk about. I had told a few of my friends and my family about him, so there were a handful of people who knew that we would be meeting that evening. My phone buzzed with well wishes when I was on the way, and I then I put it on Do Not Disturb so that I would not be distracted throughout the evening. Rory and I did not lack for conversation topics, in fact, we talked for almost two and a half hours. I made our goodbye a little awkward when I went in for a full hug, but he was gracious about it and didn't hold it against me.
After our first date, I was pretty smitten. I wanted so badly to talk to him and see him again. I was so interested in his life and his story. He was so kind and gentle, and there was a quiet and strong confidence about him that was so attractive and endearing to me. We started texting a little bit throughout that week, and then that weekend I ran the Athens half marathon and had a bajillion other social engagements. Rory promised he would check in and see when we could meet up again, and I knew he would be true to his word.
Rory and I were able to hang out a few more times before I took a trip to Colorado to see some of my dearest friends from Mexico. I remember being so excited to see them and to talk with Lisa, my friend and mentor about him, but also so sad to leave him because I was so enjoying getting to know him. While I was away, I missed him terribly. I read my friend Gretchen's book A God-Sized Love Story on the plane on the way there and cried and prayed for this exciting new possibility.
On October 27, I wrote these words in my journal:
Lord, I simply cannot believe how quickly my life seems to be changing. I am just so undone. It seems crazy because it hasn't even been a full two weeks with Rory, but already everything just feels so different in a good way. In the best way. And I love that. I love that we are so very different in some ways and yet the same in the most important ways. Thank you for that, Lord. I kind of feel like I am going crazy or like I am going to bust out of my skin when I am not with him. I've never been able to talk to a guy so easily without flirting or putting on airs. And I am so so grateful for that. It sounds crazy, and I am not telling another soul, but I want to marry this man. I do. I love his quiet confidence. I love his heart for other people. I love his sincerity. And I love the way he leads and pursues me. I'm not left guessing. And that is so very refreshing. Lord, thank you so much for this gift. Help me to just enjoy it and continue to have a heart of gratitude.
When I returned from my trip to Colorado, Rory was sick. But when he got better, we pretty much became inseparable. In November, I was able to meet his sister and her husband, and we "defined the relationship." I remember thinking (with joy) how weird it was that I could say I had a boyfriend. :) Right before Thanksgiving, Rory was able to meet my students, and then I met his parents. I went home to Marietta for the week of Thanksgiving and we just about died from separation anxiety. He then met my parents, which went well. And then, before we said goodbye and he headed back home to be with his family, he told me he loved me. I had been thinking the same for a few weeks, so of course I said it back.
|Our first picture together the day before Thanksgiving at my parents' house.|
The rest of 2014 was so fun and full of sweet memories as we continued to get to know one another. He was able to slowly meet many of my close friends, and I met his college friends during Christmas break. At the start of 2015, we decided that we could get married within the year. (You can read about our proposal story here. ) I had been praying and thought that the Lord had given me the month of July as our time. Logistically, I'm a teacher and have the summer off; I didn't want to get married at Thanksgiving or Christmas. But the reality is that I just did not want to wait that long. You know what they say-once you know you know. And lo and behold, our wedding day is now one week away.
I am truly overwhelmed by the Lord's faithfulness and goodness to us. His timing is perfect and His love is steadfast. He is the giver of good gifts and the ultimate lover of our souls. We are so blessed and honored that He has given us the gift of marriage and cannot wait to begin our lives together as Mr. and Mrs. Rory Mathisen.