Two years ago today marks the anniversary of when Zach and I met.
HOW INSANE IS THAT?!
It's only been two years, but some days it feels like 10! Not because I am tired of my husband (I honestly never grow tired of him), but because our life has changed so severely and been so upside down for much of the past 730 days. God has moved us (literally 2 times) and moved in our life so much that we barely recognize it. We just hang on for dear life and trust that God knows what he is doing (and so far he does! :))
I don't think I've ever told the story of how we met here on the blog so I figured today would be a perfect day to do so. :)
Gosh two years. I can't believe it.
In August of 2009 I was living in Atlanta and had recently moved from my 3rd floor Buckhead apartment to a small two-story duplex in Decatur.
I had been living in the middle of luxurious malls and WholeFood grocery stores and multi-million dollar neighborhoods for over 3 years and needed a change. Although I looooved the location of Buckhead, I did not love living 3 stories up. I did not love living in a place with windows on only one side. And I most certainly did not love the rent. But most importantly, I wanted to feel like my life was moving on, that I was growing up. Since work, friends, church, and my "ro-tic" existence (that's uh...romantic without the "man") seemed pretty stable, I decided to move out on my own and get my own place. That's how I landed in Decatur...with my very own free-standing mailbox. :)
Because of my new locale across town I decided to look for a new local church. I had been an active member and volunteer at a huge church in Buckhead, but I really wanted something smaller, more community focused. So I began visiting church after church, never really finding what I was looking for. I ended up calling an old friend to ask her about a church she had previously attended, and she referred me to a new church plant literally 5 minutes from my house. After doing some internet research I realized this church met in Navo's sanctuary, another church plant in my new 'hood.
The morning I was planning to attend the church recommended by my friend I over slept. I debated what to do and then decided to visit Navo instead since they met for services at noon. I got in my car, followed my trusty iphone map to a small parking lot in Oakhurst (the adjacent neighborhood), and almost as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I pulled out.
I was TERRIFIED. There were only 5 or so cars in the parking lot and I refused to go into a church THAT small. I mean I had developed a pretty good routine of visiting churches over the past few weeks, coming in right before they began, sitting in the back, avoiding eye contact and just... observing. I liked it this way, me being in control of who I came in contact with, I did not like the idea of being noticed and that was inevitable in a room of only 5 people.
Now I know this sounds completely ridiculous coming from someone who has maybe missed church 5 times in her entire life, but it's how I felt! For 5 or 10 minutes I drove aimlessly through the nearby neighborhood arguing with myself and God, trying to rationalize going back to this dreadful church of 5 people. "They aren't going to lock the doors behind you Shelly," "You shouldn't be afraid of christians Shelly," all these things ran through my mind. Finally, I gave up the struggle. It was noon, I had nowhere else to go to church and so I went. "Fine God! I hope you're happy and I hope you recognize my faithfulness here..." was pretty much my last thought before walking through those glass double doors.
I got there just moments before worship started and quickly slunk down into a seat with about 15 other people in the room. (15 feels like 2 in an empty room by the way.) Anyways, the band started playing and the worship leader opened the service on keys with the song "If God Were One Of Us." It was STUPID good. And since I love "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (this song is used in that movie) it was even more enjoyable for me. I remember being completely captivated by this worship leader and being completely appalled at myself for my interest in this worship leader. I mean, I was NOT one of THOSE girls.
Zach leading at Navo
The song finished, worship began, and it was equally as fantastic. I was literally in shock that such quality worship was happening for 15 people in a dark room in quirky Oakhurst. I looked around flabbergasted, but grateful I could be there. The pastor spoke and I honestly don't remember a word. I just remember being completely hung up on this worship leader and again, appalled by my interest. My pride would not have it.
After the service, I gathered my things and made a pretty clear bee line for the door. As previously stated I was not "one of those girls" and refused to hang around in hopes of flirting with the guy that caught my attention. I was too good for that. When I reached the lobby, this worship leader guy yelled across the room, "Nice boots!" and I couldn't ignore it. (I had worn a dress and cowboy boots that day...the same boots I would wear in our wedding 239 days later.)
We ended up standing in the lobby for over an hour talking, laughing, and sharing stories. It was as if I had known this person my entire life. I remember walking to my car afterwards thinking, "Whaaat the heck was that?!!!"
Later that night I went to dinner/movie with my old roommate Brenae and told her, " The strangest thing happened to me this morning..." and told her about my encounter with Zach.
About a month later Zach and I went out for the first time and we've pretty much been together everyday since. I cannot begin to tell you all the CRAZY things that happened when we first starting dating, how God told me to give this guy a chance (and proved it to me daily), a guy with a story and a past I did not expect. Our life has truly been a whirlwind since day one, but I don't think we'd have it any other way. God has so rapidly moved us, changed us, refined us, and strengthened us that I can't imagine what he has in store for our future.
First two pictures of us EVER, courtesy of Susan Joiner (my aunt) in early September 2009
At Disney (late October 2009)
At Whit & Stephen's engagement party (early November 2009)
Our engagement (November 24, 2009)
Z, I don't know if I have ever said it, but thank you for noticing my boots that day! Thank you for serving God, for sacrificing so much and ending up at Navo so we could meet. Thank you for being the man you are, the man I completely ADORE with every fiber of my being. As previously stated in my last love letter to you, getting to be married to you is better than getting 100,000 silver ponies who wear red plaid jackets and top hats and leg warmers and a teeny tiny velvet pony tail holder on their (you guessed it) pony tail... and that's hard to beat. :)
You are truly my other half, the cheese to my macaroni, the sunshine to my sky, my knight in shining armor, my one and only lobster and I hope and pray we have at least another 60 years together.