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Our Love Story: Part Four

Monday, September 4, 2017

It's been a long time since I've done a blog post in this series and I'm hoping to not neglect it as much moving forward. If you're new or need a refresher:
 We had graduated high school. I had written all of my close friends letters to tell them how much they meant to me and when I wrote to Ben I told him that being friends with him showed me the standard I would have for the kind of man I wanted to marry one day. Typing that now it seems so over the top but it just made so much sense to communicate that because he was such an incredible guy, I would never waste my time with any one without as solid character as him moving forward.



Sitting together in the back of the van on the way to camp, making sad faces because we were in traffic and were so miserable in the car, haha. 


For those of you not familiar with the "Super Summer" camp model.. each grade is a color. Graduating seniors not called into ministry were khaki. Your grade is called your "school" so we were "khaki school". And you had small groups within that. Our youth pastor, Josh (who eventually performed our wedding ceremony) was the "dean" of khaki school, and basically taught all the lessons and was in charge of everything. He had ended up having an emergency at church (I don't remember what it was) that kept him from being at the trainings the few days before camp started, including the time when small groups were selected. When we arrived, Ben and I were in the same small group. I was mutually excited and frustrated. I would love that time with Ben but I also loved being vulnerable and growing in my small group, and I felt like I would be too distracted from what the Lord had for me to learn that week. A few days into camp Josh explained that if he had been there early with the rest of the crew, he would have moved us apart even though the group placements had been prayed over. He said the clearly this was the plan. 

Somehow we ended up weaving matching headbands. Of course! :)




Here's our small group photo! Notice us on the far left. It was an incredible week. I remember having so much fun with old friends and new ones. I shared my heart during group times and even with our close friends and didn't hold back because of my embarrassment over my crush. Which, if we're honest, was WAY more than a crush. 

After we returned Ben had a graduation party. Our close friends stayed late and helped him open and write down all of his cards and presents. I remember helping him write down all of his presents and having so much fun. He opened a gift card to The Container Store and commented that he didn't know what he would get there. Even at age 18 I found this crazy and told him that it was one of my favorite places to go. A few weeks later I was at my friend Kassidy's house spending the night (she was in our wedding and continues to be a close friend) and looked at my cell phone to see Ben calling me. We had spoken on the phone times before but only at expected times for random things. Never out of the blue. I answered and he asked if I would go to The Container Store with him, and made plans to pick me up and take me a few days later. I remember telling our friend Aaron this and him saying out loud how stupid he thought it was that we were doing this to ourselves because clearly nothing was happening with the relationship. I didn't know if it was a big deal at that point, but it felt like one. 

We went to The Container Store, and then to Cabelas to spend another gift card. On our first alone hangout we shopped and I spent Ben's money selecting things I thought he needed. Foreshadowing for the future? Haha. He tried to buy me a ball cap at Cabelas with his extra gift card money but I was shy about it and wouldn't let him. Nothing else was really said about this time together, but now looking back we'd probably both say it was our first date. 

Summer went on the way it started. Ben and I spent a ton of time together, along with all of our close friends. The days all blended together and we had the sweetest times. I remember being fully aware that I was living some of the sweetest days of my life that summer. At the end of summer, we had another church trip, this time just down the road to South Dallas to serve a church and help put on their VBS. The church was in a low income area. Our whole youth group stayed in a big house owned by the church. Girls upstairs, boys downstairs. Our youth pastor slept literally on the stairs. Haha! We had a great week growing and serving and just plain loving the people that we encountered. Ben and his brothers were set to leave early in the week, because their cousins were getting married. True life, both sides of the wedding couple were and are still their/our cousins. This is what happens in a small town, people! Two family lines married three times actually. The first, my mother in law's great aunt married my father in law's great uncle (and they built and lived in our first home until they died) and then ben's parents got married, and then my father in law's niece married my mother in law's nephew. Are you confused yet? It's not relevant, just a fun tidbit. Anyways, Ben was going to be leaving the trip early to go back for the wedding. The night before he would leave the next morning, I felt really strongly that God was telling me that I needed to share some parts of my upbringing and life with Ben. Even though nothing more had changed in our relationship over the summer, I knew that I was supposed to share with him these things that he would need to know before we could ever date. Looking back my faith was so incredibly blind here. It's easy for me to think how foolish it was to share all of this to create structure for a dating relationship that Ben had honestly never outright said that he wanted. 

I told him basically what I told you just now, but a lot more information. He then said that he wanted for us to date each other but felt like it was silly because we were about to go to two different colleges. He was going to Texas A&M, and I was going to Baylor. We ended up talking through this and agreeing that we clearly thought we had a future together. We left on the same page and said we'd talk more after the wedding. 


That wedding of my future family members (who ended up having their first daughter exactly four months before Beau was born!) was a major highlight. Ben was a groomsman and we hadn't seen each other since our conversation. We caught each other's eye during the ceremony and he smiled at me and I remember feeling like I was in a total fairy tale. My friends knew the conversation that had just happened and caught the exchange and we were all just giddy. The only problem was that we only had a few more weeks at home before leaving for college.



More coming soon.. :)

6 comments:

  1. I did not know that you were originally supposed to go to Baylor! And, I loved Super Summer! Our church went to ETBU for it and it was so much fun!

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  2. Seriously, Victoria? You're going to leave us hanging with this fairy tale? I love seeing God's hand ALL OVER your time with Ben even before you officially dated. His plan is so perfect, and you were so obedient and respectful of Him and of each other. I love this!

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  3. Hi! Here from Erica's blog. How fun to "meet" you through your love story!! I'm always so intrigued and amazed - I can't fathom knowing someone for that long simply because I've moved around so much! Can't wait to read more!

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  4. Your final summer before college sounds so much like mine! It's a blessing to realize the beauty of a particular season while you're still in it! :)

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  5. This is so sweet!!! Loved reading!!

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