Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marriage, Love and Fun: Katie-Lee

 Today I'm excited to share another Marriage, Love and Fun feature and this time the post is by Katie-Lee. This is seriously one of the most amazing, romantic love stories I've ever heard. Her story brought to mind that very first line in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that starts off saying "Love is patient". If anyone lives out those three words Katie-Lee certainly did.

   It's so worth the read and she also has great marriage advice as well. Enjoy!


1) Tell us about how you and Josh met.
When I met Josh, I was 15 and he was 22.  It was love at first sight for me.  I was at Eagles Nest Ranch, a large summer camp he worked at as the Program Director, and I had come for my first year as a camper. 

I remember exactly what he was wearing as I saw him on stage, playing his guitar and leading worship.  I remember sitting in my cabin and all the girls talking about him... I took one look at him and fell in love.  Obviously he had no idea who I was...I was a 15 year old camper who had a crush on him like every other camper AND I had braces, was a little chubby and did I mention – I was 15?

I came back the next year as a staff member and I worked in the kitchen.  Little did he know that I had developed a real crush on him.  I used to be so nervous around him, wanting him to notice me, then realizing how stupid I was to think that he would ever want me.  He would come through the meal line and I would make sure to give him more food than the other guys got, and I would sneak him cookie dough from the kitchen. He ended up hearing that I could sing and he asked me to do worship with him.  I was SO excited and we ended up doing worship for the whole summer together - I was thrilled that this guy wanted me on stage with him.

I started journalling my feelings and my little crush turned into more than that...I would help him with events during the year and I came back for another summer at Eagles Nest Ranch.  This time I was on his Program Team and I got to spend every day with him.  At this point he still didn't know that I liked him.  I was 17  and I had really developed strong feelings for him.  I remember my friends at camp telling me how they liked him, and I would just be silent and not say anything about how I felt.  I wanted to guard my feelings because I knew that it was just not a crush anymore. 

That fall I started working for him as his assistant and we began working on events together.  We would have meetings and plan theme nights for camp, go shopping for all of our supplies for the summer.  We would lead worship together for different events, and by this time my feelings were full blown and I can seriously say that I started to love him then.  I wanted to see him happy, even if that meant he wasn't with me.  I watched him date a few girls and it broke my heart... By this time, I had told my parents how I was feeling, and to my shock and surprise, they had seen it coming and had felt like there might be something there between us one day.  All of a sudden all of my friends and family and even people I didn't know would come up to me and say "Why aren't you and Josh together? You're perfect for each other"... to be honest that was so awesome to hear but so hard to take at the same time.  I knew we were perfect.  But he didn't want to be with me, or at least he didn't even notice me.  I was little sister quality to him. 

My braces came off, I lost my baby weight and was tired of waiting for him and feeling like I made my decisions around what I thought he might think or might want me to do, so I left and travelled for 7 months.  Keep in mind - he still had no idea that I liked him to the extent that I did so it wasn't his fault that I was so upset about our 'situation'.

I had an amazing time, I completely surrounded my feelings for him to the Lord and I gave him up.  For good. 

When it was time for me to come home a week before I was about to jump on a plane for Canada, I found out he had a girlfriend.  I was devastated.  I remember coming home and just crying on my dads lap.  I had given him up, but my heart got excited thinking that maybe this was it - maybe I would come home and he would realize what he was missing and he would want to be with me.  Fortunately, this girl ended their relationship quite fast - and all of a sudden, Josh and I were planning our next summer at Eagles Nest - I remember praying to God and saying that I couldn't handle working with him another summer with my feelings being so strong.  I felt like God said for me to honour my commitments and to stick it out for one last summer.  I did just that, sucked up my feelings and picked my heart up off of the floor.  I cried more tears and got my butt in gear and started working with him.  About a week before we were going to move out to camp, we had a man from Africa come pray over the staff who would be working at the camp that summer, and he came over to me and looked me in the eye and said "whatever you are holding in your heart, you need to let go of"...I'm not normally a 'crier' when I pray, but I just started weeping.  Josh was behind me and I walked out of the room... We had chinese food for lunch that day, and I opened up a fortune cookie that said "The greatest desire of your heart will come true within a year"...I put it in my pocket and didn't think twice about it.  That SAME night, a lady I had never met came up to me and said "there is a relationship in your life that you are stressing over and you need to give it to God - it will all work out".  I was obviously so confused, but over the next few weeks, I noticed Josh's behaviour toward me started to change.  He all of a sudden started paying more attention to me - but I didn't pay too much attention to it, scared that I was just imagining it.  One night he dropped me off at home after shopping for some supplies, and he looked at me and said "I don't know what has happened to me, but I see you different, it's like a veil has come off of you and I see you for who you are"... overnight, he revealed that he had feelings for me - that God had finally opened up his eyes.  He didn't want to date until after the summer and told me he couldn't promise a relationship with me.  We were so guarded and I knew that the next girl he wanted to date would be his wife. 

Well, my fairy tale came true when on September 27, he asked me to be his girlfriend.  Six months later, on March 11, he asked me to be his wife, and on August 29, 2009, we became husband and wife. 

I journaled our whole journey and am so glad that I did.  I wouldn't have changed a thing, and am so thankful that he didn't 'see' me right away.  obviously, I was far too young and had some growing up to do, but we have such a beautiful love story and I know that God's timing was perfect.  I have loved him since I was 15 - he was my greatest desire and literally the man of my dreams. 

2) How did you know he was the one? 
I have a bit of a different story, because I knew there was no one else for me but Josh.  Hewas my first love, my first boyfriend, my first kiss...I waited for him and I would wait for him all over again. 

Because I had hoped he was the one for so long - I don't really have a defining moment of KNOWING he was going to be my husband.  I had prayed for him and wanted him so bad, that when it all happened there wasn't even a doubt in my mind that we would get married.

Obviously, he had SO many of the things that I was looking for in a husband.  My parents had encouraged me to begin praying for my husband when I was around 12 years old, and I knew that I didn't just want to date anybody.  When I first met Josh and I saw how he loved God, how he was honouring to the people around him, he had a great family and a good relationship with them, he had good work ethic, I knew he was someone I could spend my life with.  I think one of the biggest things was that my family approved 100% without any hesitation. No red flags.

3) What's been one or some of the unexpected challenges you were faced at the beginning of your

Last year in August 2010, we had prayed long and hard and had decided to resign from Eagles Nest Ranch, and we felt God calling us to move to Leduc, Alberta.  Josh got offered a position at a church there as the Worship and Young Adults Pastor.  We swiftly put our condo for sale - expecting it to be sold by that November.  It had almost 4 months to sell, and nothing happened.  I remember feeling so discouraged, like God had forgotten to put the pieces together for us, especially since I was leaving my family and all that I had known in Medicine Hat.  We both started our jobs mid November and still hadn't sold our place.  So we packed up our stuff, moved up to Leduc and put ALL of our belongings in a storage unit. 

Josh's parents lived about 40 minutes away from Leduc, and they graciously allowed us to move into their basement.  I thought we would be there for maybe 1 or 2 months – and we ended up being there for a year.  Not what I was expecting and it was so discouraging.  Everything we owned was in storage so there was no way for me to really ‘settle down’.

It was a very hard year for me especially, I know that I wasn’t an easy person for Josh to communicate to - I was so moody and grumpy with our situation, missing my family, adjusting to big city life in Edmonton, a new church, and none of the things that make our home and bring me comfort.  I know that I was the one to make our last year more difficult than it needed to be.  I made it hard on my husband too, but through all of it he was so patient and loving and would never make me feel stupid for crying or getting upset about our situation.  He wouldn't let me mope but would call me to rise up in faith and trust that God knows what he is doing.  I'm so thankful that he never got angry with me or upset that for most of this year I have not been content. I know it was hard on him because he couldn't do anything about it or change the situation for me.

I've grown so much and have given God our situation and I finally learned to let go and trust him.  So that has definitely been an unexpected challenge - living with my in laws in a basement without my stuff, away from my family. 

God is so faithful because in September our condo finally sold and we just moved into our first house in Leduc and we unpacked our storage unit!!!  My house is more beautiful than I could have ever dreamt of – God truly knows best!

4) Now the good stuff, how have you kept the romance alive in your marriage? Any stories, pratical
adivce or ideas you have?

I think that romance starts by serving one another.  Sometimes I fail at this, and wonder why things are challenging or why we can't seem to get on the same page.  If I am not willing to serve Josh (whether that means making supper or a lunch, letting him watch a football game after a stressful day, giving him a shoulder rub) it will be more challenging for him to serve me.  And vice versa.  When I come home and Josh has cleaned the house up for me, it is SO easy for me to want to do something special for him.  I think it's how God designed marriage to work.  My love tank is full and Josh's is full too.  We both go to bed content when we are selfless towards one another.  Haha, but this doesn’t happen all the time, we are always growing and trying to be better spouse’s to one another…

For us, date nights are important – I have found some neat websites that give great ideas on how to have fun dates on a budget (wherever you are at in marriage – newlyweds, with kids, ect). P Putting our phones down, being disconnected and focusing on one another is especially important for me – I love knowing that I have his full attention.  I plan lots of dates nights where we just stick around the house but we have so much fun…

And laughter is key.  There is nothing better than being together and laughing so hard you cry. 

5) Any advice you want to give to newly couples?
Have fun, don’t be anxious and let the little stresses and worries of life come and steal your joy.  Be open and communicate clearly and don’t let things build up to be bigger than they are.  Do spontaneous things together.  Start healthy habits.  Begin creating the home life you want now by start traditions and healthy habits. Be willing to be the first one to say sorry or to step out and serve your spouse even when you don’t feel like it.  Enjoy being in love and all the firsts that come with married life.  Laugh all the time!



Kari Jeanne said...

I think this is my favourite one yet! I love what Katie-Lee said: 'I think that romance starts by serving one another' something so simple that can go a long way. Really enjoyed reading their story :)

Shaina Longstreet said...

I have so enjoyed reading this... what a great feature to have. :) thank you both for sharing.