Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When Andy met Cari

In 3 days I will officially be married for 5 years. In some ways it seems like only yesterday that the Captain and I started dating, in others it seems like every bit of the five years. A lot has happened in our relatively short marriage.

We bought our first house, got a dog, became pregnant, had a baby girl, lost a baby girl, got pregnant, got a brain tumor, had brain surgery, had a baby I said, a lot in 5 years. Although most of that has happened in the last 9 months, there was a lot God was doing before hand to prepare us for it...He knew who we were, who we were meant to be, separately and together. So in honor of the big 5, I thought I would treat y'all to the story of how Andy and I met.

Although our families attended the same church, Andy and I had never met. You see, I am about 5 years his Jr. Therefore, we never attended the same Sunday school class...let alone the same school. By the time I entered high school he had done graduated already. So I left high school with a very serious boyfriend and went off to college. My freshman year was great. I got involved with a group called the Navigators. It helped to shape my spiritual life from the start of my Independence. Although my very serious boyfriend and I went to different schools....we still guess it, very serious. I had known this boy since I was 13. We started dating my Jr year in high school and were both very happy. Everyone we knew said we were perfect for each other. There was no doubt in my mind I would end up marrying this guy.

As I was getting my young self acclimated to college life, Andy had just recently turned his life around in a very good way. He had strayed into some not so nice and innocent past times, and through a series of, what seemed at the time to be, unfortunate events he came to Christ. He started to drive the hour and a half up to the college I was attending, because his best childhood friend was also there. This is where I met the Captain for the first time....although I knew of him ( I knew his sisters from school...was even in show choir with one of times) I had never talked to him before. The very first time we met, after the Nav rally (Friday evening meetings) a group of us went for ice cream. In the ice cream store he didn't think I was as crazy and daring as I said I was, so in an attempt to prove him wrong I poured my very large glass of very cold water in his lap...he believes me when I say I will do something now! So through mutual friends and the navigators at a college he didn't even attend we started to hang out on the weekends. My boyfriend and Andy became good friends and there was no animosity. It was all 2 great years of good times.

Then the summer after my sophomore year in college, a large group of college age kids from my church went on a mission trip to Bulgaria. Andy and one of my close friends were already over there...they had been for about 3 months. So the rest of us were going to join them. It was on this trip I knew Andy had something that I was drawn to, like a moth to the flame. He showed leadership skills and a desire for Christ that was contagious. He had a way with people and a heart to minister to them. It was on this trip I knew what I had to do. I was going to go home a and break up with a guy who was already like family. Who was a great guy, just not the guy for me.

It was the hardest thing I had ever had to do up to that point in my life. This guy was already grafted into my family, he was friends with everyone of my friends. We went to the same church. We did everything together...and I knew if I broke it off, I would have to sever all ties, or I couldn't really do it. It tore some of my friendships apart...not for good, but it put them under great amounts of stress. My family didn't understand, but how could they...I left 3 weeks earlier happy and content just to come home and turn my life upside down, all because I saw something in another man that I knew my heart longed for. I did not break up with my boyfriend for Andy, this is important to know, I broke up with him because seeing characteristics in Andy my heart cried out for, I realized I was not with the man I should be with.

In the next few months, as I was hurting and finding solace in Christ and His word. Andy and I became even closer. Then in September of 2002 he started avoiding me. I couldn't figure it out. I was hurt and confused. Finally I cornered him at church one Sunday. He asked if we could talk out in my car...OK. He said we couldn't hang out anymore because he was starting to fall in love with me, and he knew if he pursued a relationship at that point in his life, his relationship with Christ would suffer. He just needed time, and therefore space. Only group activities....great(sarcastic undertone noted). I felt all kinds of things. Elation at being admired to the point of love...loss because of his withdrawing, confusion at the maturity in his faith that at the time I did not fully understand.

About a month later, I got in my car at my home to find a letter under the windshield wiper. It was from Andy. I still have that was the start of us. He was ready...was I?

Oh, Boy, Yeah!

We started dating. It was great. It still is, five years later, after the water incident and all else that followed, we still love each other more everyday. All the crazy, sad, hard and traumatic events that have happened in the past few months have had the ability to pull us apart in a way the world would totally understand. But through the grace and mercy of our Father, we have grown closer together and more in love than we were.

At least I have!


The Bug said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

How fun to re-live your story!!! And I will tell ya, when you got off the airplane from Bulgaria, I looked at both of you and I knew.... there was nothing obvious to the world.....mamas just know! , and I'm proud to be one of your mamas!! See you tomorrow, I'll call when I'm on my way. b

Anonymous said...

What a great story! Loved it!

Elizabeth said...

Where was I when all this happened? :)

kristi said...

A love story like no other. Blessings to you both and thanks to God for his timing in bringing you both together in Him.

Just Me - The Champion said...

Wow. What an awesome journey you've had together. God has indeed prepared you for where you are together today. Kudos to Andy to setting accountability boundaries in your young friendship. When I pray for my kids, I pray God is preparing them someone like that. Someone who puts Jesus first in their life. Someone who wants to honor God in their relationship. Peace to you! Thanks for sharing! - jen

Heidi @ Indy Photography said...

LOL to the ice water! But really, he should have known! :)

Great story, Cari. Thanks for sharing!


Rebekah said...

I love the love story!! Its awsome that your relationship is so Christ centered!!

On a side note I lived briefly with my family in Kyustendil, Bulgaria :) were you in Sophia?

denise said...

Andy sounds like a wonderful man. I love that he was striving to grow in his relationship with Christ first and foremost. I imagine that it was hard for you at the time, but it has been a blessing to you and your marriage in the long run.

What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it.

Jill said...

That's a beautiful story. You two are truly meant of eachother!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a revisit to how you two came to be.... Brought a tear as I got to be an observer of those times up through these times and I can only say, "GOD is good and greatly to be praised!"

Shel said...

I love you guys!!! It was an honor to be an observer to some of the events unfolding - how did I miss the water in the lap??! God bless your marriage, and I thank him for the witness that your marriage has been to me all of the last five years.

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

I love this story. I am always so interested in how people got together. I just assumed you two had always known each other, but now I know different.

Krista said...

WOW! What a great story! We have similar stories it seems! Isn't God awesome how He works? I love it! =)
Happy Anniversary, Cari!

Psalm112 said...

Amen to the Lord making even greater what worldly stuff can tear apart.

Michy said...

I'm a 25 year old single woman and you sure have given this little brain some things to ponder simply by sharing your story of love, so thanks :o)