“Knowing that I get to spend the rest of my life with you makes the last twenty four years of frustration, confusion and loneliness all worth it,” John declared, as he toasted his beautiful new bride. January 21st, 2012 marked the beginning of Kelly and John’s journey as husband and wife, but their story started long before this sparkling, winter day.
The two met online via a date site. Something drew John to Kelly from their first emails. His first message to her was “Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches” – a title that captures John’s wit and borderline nerdy sense of humor. “I don’t think I have ever enjoyed writing more than I did on those first emails. We would go back and forth with novel-length emails covering everything from our baseball allegiances to family life. Everything seemed to click and we were having the greatest time getting to know each other.”
John and Kelly’s first date was to the zoo on a sweltering summer day in 2010. John’s affection for Kelly deepened while Kelly envisioned strictly friendship. “We put a stop on dating because I was feeling more of a friend vibe, so we spent a lot of time together as friends. As we got to know each other, I was dating other people,” Kelly explained.
Upon first hearing Kelly’s decision to remain strictly friends, John was devastated. “When she called and told me her feelings hadn’t developed to be more than friends, I was instantly destroyed. I was ready to give up on the positive changes I was making in my life to revert back to my old habits – [ready to go back to] the easy way, calling girls I had used as a distraction even though I knew they were wrong for me.
One night, I was really convicted by the Lord. I heard Him ask me, ‘One thing doesn’t go as you planned and you’re ready to give up and go back to the way you were previously living your life? You’d revert back to those old things that left you so lonely?’ I felt horrible because I basically was telling God that when things got hard or were different than I imagined then I would just walk away and concede my defeat.
From that day forward I recommitted to giving my relationships completely to God. This is something I struggled with for the next six months. [During this time], my friendship with Kelly grew but never progressed to a point where there was hope of being together. I had a hard time trusting God and knowing what I was supposed to do with her. One day my mom asked why I was so hung up on her. She asked if when I closed my eyes I could see [Kelly] in my future. I did. She was still there. My mom told me to be diligent and deliberate in my actions and to give the situations to God. She felt there was a reason I met her and that there was a purpose. I knew Kelly was in my life for a reason, and I began to accept whatever capacity God wanted that to be.” Click to continue…
By Katy Gunderson
picture by Atilla1000