17 years?!?! Yes, it has been 17 years since we started our journey.
I was a young 21 year old college student who had REALLY just started living her life for Jesus. I was broken...I had just ended a relationship that wasn't at all centered around Jesus. I had sworn off boys...I was finally getting serious about my relationship with Jesus and realized that He was all I really needed. I started going to the United Methodist Student Center (UMSC) with an old high school friend. I was making new friends and growing in my faith. There was this one guy who had captured my eye...one who led worship each week...one who was the president of the ministry...one who loved Jesus and wasn't afraid to show it. But I pressed on toward Jesus...vowing not to be distracted by this one guy.
After a few weeks of hanging out with this new group of friends (and this one guy), I got a phone call. It was him! He was calling to see if I wanted to go out...just the two of us. The re was this excitement in me, but at the same time a nervousness...I had NEVER dated a Christian guy. I agreed to go out with him for dinner. I told him that I would meet him at his apartment (I lived out in the county, so it was easier for me to head his way then for him to backtrack to my house). We got off the phone, and I started to get ready. I was trying to find something to wear...I was nervous...there were butterflies in my stomach. This was different...I hadn't felt this way before. I finally pulled myself together and headed to this one guy's apartment to pick him up. Then we headed to Pizza Hut.
We talked and talked throughout dinner...getting to know each other better...having those conversations that are kind of hard to do in a group setting. We talked about so many different things, but the one part of our conversation that I remember to this day is when you asked me where I saw myself 5-10 years down the road. My answer was that I could see myself being married supporting my future husband in whatever ministry the Lord called him to whether it was a doctor, trash collector or a pastor. And if the Lord happened to bless us with children, I could picture myself being at home with them teaching them about Jesus. This answer surprised me because prior to getting serious about my faith, I was going to school to be a neonatalogist and had plans to live a single life enjoying the money that I would make.
Sidenote: And just to be clear, I wasn't saying this to just get the guy...the Lord had been working in me and changed my heart. Because prior to meeting this one guy for the first time in my life, I decided to ask God what He wanted me to do with my life...what He wanted me to study in school. I had changed my major from Premed to Early Childhood Education. I was shocked by what He was calling me to do...but out of obedience I was going to trust Him.
We continued talking and hanging out at Pizza Hut. I think we may have even gone back to your apartment and watched a movie. We stayed up way later than we should have, but you were going to be leaving for your grandparents' house in Tennessee for a few days. I was sad to see the date end, but at the same time it was good that you were leaving for a few days. It gave us time to pray and see where the Lord was taking this relationship.
As I sit on our couch 17 years later in our home, I never would have imagined my life to be what it is. In the last 17 years we have gone from a first date to an engagement to graduating college to getting married. We moved into our first home as newlyweds to our second home where the Lord brought much healing to me and made our marriage stronger. We moved into a townhouse in NC so I could teach while you went to seminary. You graduated from seminary while we waited the arrival of our first child. We moved in with family while we waited for your first call at a church and welcomed our first son into the world. Then we received our first call at a church outside of DC, so moved into an apartment outside of DC and began this new journey of you having a full-time position at a church while I stayed home with our kiddo. Then we found out we were expecting our second child and the Lord provided a bigger place to live...a townhouse that was closer to the church. While in this home, we welcomed our second, third and fourth child. We did life together. We loved people together. We were together. Then our life took a twist. My faith was tested in a way that it had never been tested. Once again, I found myself broken...the only difference was that I had you there walking with me...holding me...praying for me...loving me unconditionally. We packed up our things and moved in with family while the Lord brought healing to my life. He gave us a vision. He gave us a renewed passion for discipleship. He gave us the faith to step out and do what He was calling us to do. A ministry was born...a faith was strengthened. We moved back to Georgia to place we said we would never move back to when we left. We lived with family again. We trusted for God to provide for our every need. He provided...He allowed us to have our own home again after 14 months of living with family. He grew the ministry He called us to start. Then just like God, He put an unbelievable opportunity before us. He called us to move again...back to Virginia. He was calling us back to serve in a church while growing His ministry. He provided a home on our first day of house hunting. A place to do ministry and to raise the precious gifts we have been given.
So, 17 years later I stand in awe of where we are and who we have become...as individuals and as a couple. I am thankful that He brought us together and has allowed us to do life together. I am thankful that God knew I needed this one guy in my life...to show me what it means to live and love like Jesus...to encourage me to be the follower of Jesus that He desires me to be.
ILUVM, Christopher Potter Greenwood, and I look forward to many more years of celebrating the day He started our journey together!