“So, where did you meet?”
I have to be honest, I love telling “our” story. Even though most of the time I’ll default to letting Brennan tell it because it makes me feel so shy. But it’s just so fun to get to share, “Oh, we met in El Salvador.” Like, no big deal. Haha, sometimes I can play it pretty cool but most of the time I still nerd out about it. It really is a big deal, because I still think it’s just so cool that God brought me all the way out of the country to meet the man who would be my husband. God writes the best love stories.
I decided to post about it now because Brennan reminded me that it was around this time of year eleven years ago when God really put it on his heart that he needed to ask for permission to marry me. It was the sweetest thing, it was at a Good Friday service at church. Brennan was praying and God impressed on his heart that he hadn’t asked my dad for permission to marry me yet.
My dad at the time wasn’t very involved in my life, so Brennan didn’t get it, and was asking God, “How? Her dad doesn’t seem to even care?” But God replied to him, “No, you need to ask ME.”
This part of our story is so sweet and important for me because God was taking care of me. I love to be able to share it because I know that there are a lot of girls out there that may not have parents or dad’s looking out for them. I want you to know God will look out for you. He is the best Father you could imagine.
But, I have to backtrack a little to when we first met. At that time, I was just starting to really walk with the Lord. I had been going to church for a little while, but still very much walking “one foot in the church, one foot in the world” as churchy people say. For a while I had no idea what Brennan was even talking about most of the time because I didn’t speak the lingo yet. He’d use an expression like, “God’s got his eye on the sparrow,” to encourage me not to worry, and I was like, what the heck is he talking about. Haha, but anyway back to the story. You know what I mean, I was going to church but I hadn’t truly surrendered my life to Jesus yet. So, one night, when my one foot was in the church, I heard about a mission trip to El Salvador and I knew right away that I was supposed to go.
I started saving money and making plans but so many obstacles started popping up. God is so amazing and He blew the obstacles out of the water for me to get there. It was crazy, like on the way to the airport, I got a flat tire. At the airport, my name was spelled wrong on the ticket, and then when the customer service agent re-booked it under my real name–I got bumped off the flight because someone else booked at that same exact second. God even worked that out and I got there.
On that trip God did so much in my heart and it was just an over the top blessing that it was where I met Brennan too. While I was there, God called me out of my “one foot in the church, one foot in the world” lifestyle of hypocrisy I had been living in. He called me into full surrender with Him. There were a lot of implications in that, because my lifestyle hadn’t been sincere, so much had to change. The changes or things I “gave up” though all pale in comparison to all Jesus has done for me and the abundance of blessing in knowing Him. It was on that trip too that I realized my burden for missions.
Brennan and I got to meet because he was our host missionary on the trip. He had been there for 6 months, and was leading us on our outreaches. I noticed him right away for sure, his love for God and for the people there stuck out to me so much. But I never considered that someone like him would be interested in me. Like, I need a really tall ladder to get to his level type thing. I wasn’t single at the time either, but that was something God was calling me out of, because the other person wasn’t interested in knowing God, which was becoming the most important thing to me.
There was only one other lady on the mission trip, so we got to spend all of our time together. God used her so much in my life, she was so bold, to be honest, she called me out on my sin. And it was so uncomfortable. But I thank God for her. There was a lot to call out, but most notably, she would call me out about my relationship, and show me the scripture about not being unequally yoked. I’d never heard those scriptures before but the Holy Spirit had been ministering to me for months that our relationship was not something pleasing to God. I now saw the truth in God’s word. She would ask me what I was going to do about it. Even crazier, most of the other thirteen people on the trip sat down with me at some point on the week long trip and shared with me about their marriages and how they couldn’t do what they did without the support of their wives, and what a blessing it was to be in a marriage where you both loved the Lord. They shared that with me without even knowing the situation I was in.
Can you believe how amazing God is? He brought me all the way to El Salvador, made it perfectly clear that I was in sin, but showed me that there was a way out. He also began to put a passion for missions on my heart, taught me about what a marriage could be like, and even introduced me to my husband, all on the same trip. Like BAM, get both feet in. So, it was a really good trip.
When I got back home from El Salvador, our patient God even gave me an illustration in case I hadn’t heard yet. At church, the first sermon I heard when I got home, our pastor talked about this monkey trap.
He explained that in this trap there was a piece of wood with a hole in it, and behind the hole there was a big piece of fruit. The monkey could get his hand in and out of the hole as long as he wasn’t trying to hold on to the fruit too. Once he grabbed the fruit, he couldn’t get his hand back out. The monkey gets trapped though because he won’t let it go. When we are holding on to sin but trying to serve the Lord too, we won’t ever really be able be free. I knew God was speaking to me, and I was done living how I had been. He helped me to get out of the situation I was in and I began pursuing God with all my heart, not holding on to other things anymore.
Soon after, Brennan came home to the US to renew his visa, and during that time we found ourselves at all of the same church events, and before he went back to El Salvador again we knew that God was calling us to get married.
Normally when we are together and sharing our story, Brennan shares all the sappy details, I get too shy about it. His favorite part to share is that one day we were doing a Bible study together in the book of Ruth and I told him I would follow him anywhere. My favorite part though, the most important thing to me, was that I was afraid of someone coming in between my relationship with the Lord again. But God made it really clear that this time, this man loved Him more than he loved me, and it wouldnt be like that.
Anyway, this it seems so long ago now, and it was just the start. I can’t believe it’s really been around eleven years now since we first started dating, and to some that’s a little bit of time and to some it seems a lot. So much has happened in those few years. From moving as an engaged couple to Montana, to getting married and moving three months later to Mexico–pregnant! Almost eight years in Mexico, almost two in New Hampshire, and back to the West Coast and 4 kids later. Life with Jesus is such a blessing and adventure. I know technically this is our marriage love story, but it’s really God’s story. One of the many many many stories He’s writing. I had no idea when I surrendered everything to Jesus the good plans He had ahead, but to have the relationship with Him was all that was really important, all the other other stuff, even our story is just a blessing on top. I think it’s so important right now to remember the good things God’s done, He is so faithful and will continue to be. And there’s so much more good ahead to look forward to in our relationships with Him and seeing the stories He’s writing.