Monday, April 22, 2013

Veritas: Alex and Emily

{real life love}

I was lucky enough to meet Emily when she got in touch with me through email last month, and feel even luckier to share her love story with you today!  Read on for tales of summer romance, autumn rainstorms, and why the best love is worth the wait, and be sure you visit Emily at her blog, Raising Barnes!


The first time I met Alex, he was covered in gold, sparkly paint.  My long-time best friend dragged me on a weekend church retreat.  Alex was a part of the drama team, playing the part of C3PO from Star Wars.  Let’s just say he had a little trouble getting his “costume” off that weekend…I remembered thinking he was cute, but not much else.  

Abbey Grim Photography

After that weekend, I began going to youth group with my friend more often.  I wasn’t Catholic, but I felt like I had made some great friend connections; I was enjoying the feeling of belonging there, so I stayed around.  Spring turned into summer and I was looking forward to the adventures the fall would bring: college and the exciting things that come along with it.  


As summer progressed, I began to notice that cute boy more and more, and a small crush began to develop.  Of course, my friend noticed.  And finally, she took it upon herself to do something about it.  Thanks to her not-so-subtle urgings, Alex asked me out on a date.  As any giddy 18-year-old girl would do, I said yes. 

A dream come true!  I was finally having that “summer fling” before college!  My life was as cool as I had always wanted it to be! (Did I mention that I was a silly 18-year-old girl?)  The rest of the summer seemed to be a splendid blur.


But, as all good things tend to do, the summer came to an end.  My last night at home, Alex took me out to a nice dinner, helped me pack the last of my things, and said goodbye.  To my surprise, I felt a little sad as he drove away.  But, I quickly dismissed the feeling.  College was coming; life was about to get a whole lot bigger and more exciting than a silly summer fling from home.


College was new and exciting.  I settled into my dorm, got used to my schedule of classes and made new friends.  But there was still this boy back home that I just couldn’t get off my mind.  I talked to him every day without fail.  And, I actually missed him!  What was up with that? 


The rest of my freshman year passed and it was time to come home from the summer.  I moved home, watched Alex receive his high school diploma, spent another summer with him, and helped him move into his own dorm - at a different college!  Then, I returned to my own college to begin my sophomore year. 

The years that followed were some of the hardest.  Of course, people tell you that long distance relationships are hard.  In fact, many have no problem telling you that they are impossible and that you are crazy.  Juggling competing class schedules, activities, and a relationship is not exactly easy.  And we certainly did not do it perfectly.  But, those years were also some of the best.  We were “side by side” as I entered the Catholic Church, as we each received nominations or awards, and as we began to discern where this relationship was actually going.  


I graduated from Valparaiso University in May 2011.  Of course, Alex was there cheering me on yet again.  I began my full time ministry position with the diocese a week after graduation and Alex began an IT internship.  That July, on our annual trip to the zoo, he asked me to be his wife.  How could I say anything but yes?!  As we began spreading the exciting news to family and friends, I couldn’t help but think that God must have been laughing at me that day; that “summer fling” was the vocation he had been planning for me (for us!) all along.  


We set a wedding date for Fall of 2012.  And, in the blink of an eye, the summer was over and Alex was returning for his senior year of college.  In some ways, that last year was the hardest.  Now that I knew what directions our lives would be going in, I wanted to start our marriage!  Of course, God was teaching me patience.  I spent most of that school year working, wedding planning, and praying that I could become the wife that I knew Alex deserved.    


At long last, although time truly did fly, the day came.  October 13, 2012, Alex and I exchanged our vows in front of our family and friends.  After such a long journey to get to this point, it was so wonderful to finally be able to share our first communion as husband and wife, with the help of many of our dear priest friends.  We were married in the same Catholic Church where we first met and where I first began my journey to become Catholic.  I could not have been a happier girl that day.  


Even as the storm clouds rolled in as the Mass ended, the smile did not disappear from my face; we went outside anyway.  Our photographer and our wedding party could not have been better, and those moments playing in the rain made the day even more special.  From there, we danced the night away.  Now, it’s all a beautiful blur, but still brings a smile to my face.  As always, God was right - waiting for that day was totally worth it.  


I love being Alex’s wife every day.  Some days, I know I’m not the best wife - I can get angry, frustrated or just plain grumpy.  But, he loves me anyway.  His patience is teaching me patience.  He makes me want to be a better person.  God knew that was the kind of husband I would need, and he truly gave me the cream of the crop.  


We have adopted St. Michael as the patron of our family.  Every day, we pray the prayer to him.  I know he is watching over us, protecting us and keeping us safe.  He is a reminder to me that Alex and I are a team in this life, but that we still cannot do it alone.  Without our faith, the help of God or the intercession of so many dear saints, we would fail, especially as we embark on the next step of this journey--parenthood!  Baby Barnes is due to make his or her appearance in October!

Here's to patience, loving across the distance, and sweet new life!  Want to share your love story on Captive the Heart?  Email me at stephanie.captivetheheart@gmail.com!



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