I’ve always been a sucker for a good love story. If you want to tell someone how you met your S.O, something sweet he/she did for you, the first time you kissed, the first time you exchanged “I love you’s”, how you got engaged, or anything lovey-dovey, I’m your girl. I pore over pictures of couples on Facebook and Tumblr. I re-tweet Tweets and “like” loving Facebook statuses. I’m the girl that will look at your entire album of vacation pictures, random Saturday together pictures, engagement pictures and wedding pictures and even HS prom photos. I love to see two people in love.
When I was younger, after asking married couples how they met, got engaged, etc…I always asked “How did you know he/she was the one you were supposed to marry?” The answer was always the same “You just know.”
This perplexed me. I didn’t want to leave such a big decision up to just knowing. I wanted a clear manifestation of Jesus Christ holding up a sign with an arrow pointing to the man I was supposed to marry. I wasn’t going to rely on a “feeling”. My feelings had gotten me into emotional trainwrecks in the past so no way was I trusting them with the most important relationship of my natural life.
Still, I had nothing to hang onto in my relationships (real and psuedo) except “just knowing” for whatever reason that I was NOT going to marry this person I was dating. That didn’t stop me from becoming emotionally invested of course — blame my runaway feelings. But I knew at the end of my infatuation reality would set in before I ever even considered marriage.
I wasn’t sure who, what, when, where or how, but I knew I would meet a man who loved me and Jesus would make sure I knew he was it.
Now, here I am engaged.
I remember the first time I thought to myself I was going to marry Genuine. It was long before he proposed to me — which is typical for most girls but not for me. When I became of age, I stopped entertaining the thought of marriage with a guy I was dating unless I was thinking to myself (THIS is why I could never marry this person). I stopped because I thought it put undue pressure on a dating relationship. I realized that if I’ve already decided that I want to marry this guy I’m dating, then when we inevitably breakup, I’m DEVASTATED. Not because I lost my boyfriend, but because I lost my future husband that I had planned to devote my life to! It was all too intense and I preferred to keep things relatively light. I’m like that anyway though. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 15-and-a-half and had my Temporary Permit. Not because I am some stickler for the rules, but I knew I wasn’t allowed to legally drive until I was 16, so why torture myself by learning to drive when I’m 12 and then have to wait for what feels like forever to be able to drive my own car? Patience is a struggle for me so I try not to put myself in too many situations that require it.
So, it was almost against my will how early I realized that I was, in fact, going to marry Genuine.
Months before we started dating, I came to Genuine’s house for a get-together with some other people from our church. At one point, two of my female friends and I were standing in the hallway talking to him and I noticed the door was open to his bedroom. I sneaked a peek past him and saw a Bible and notebook laying open on his made-up bed. This impressed me, but I didn’t think much of it.
Sometime in our dating relationship, I was at his house and realized that, though I had been there several times before we started dating and more often after we became official, I had never seen much of his house. “I want to see your house.” I announced randomly. He looked surprised but shrugged and said, “Sure I’ll give you a tour.” He walked me around, pointing out things I may have missed in the living room and kitchen which I’d already seen and then he showed me the finished basement, the spare bedrooms then his own bedroom. (I am obsessed with closets, and his walk-in closet is huge!) We had been in the kitchen cooking before the impromptu tour so he went back to the kitchen to take the food off of the stove. I was right behind him walking out of his room when something caught my eye. It was his Bible and notebook laying on his made-up bed and immediately I flashed back to the get-together at his house. I saw a folded up sheet of computer paper laying on top of the Bible and I picked it up as he was walking back into the room. “Hey what’s this? Can I read it?” I asked being my characteristically nosy self. He hesitated then said “Sure.”
I unfolded the paper and the first words on top of the sheet were “Abba, Alissa belongs to You.” (There is an entire long story that our Pastor tells about praying “Abba I belong to You” over your life every day, but I won’t go into it except to say that Abba means “Father” and it refers to God.) Bewildered, I quickly skimmed the page. I suddenly realized I was holding in my hand a sheet of paper, single-spaced, typed, top-to-bottom that was a prayer Genuine had typed out and prayed over my life (unbeknownst to me) every single day.
I. Lost. It.
I’m not a crier and (outside of church or being absolutely furious) I cry in front of no one. But that day, as I sat in a chair in his room (I had to sit to keep from collapsing), I read this prayer he had been praying over my life and I cried.
I cried because I realized for the first time just how much Genuine cared about me. I cried because he unselfishly prayed for me — Not a “and God, bless Alissa” at the end of his normal prayers, but a concerted, thoughtful, genuine conversation with God on my behalf. I cried because his love for me surpassed anything I had ever felt. I cried for every time I had asked God when would it be my turn to have someone love me. I cried for everything I had lost in search of less than the man sitting in front of me at that moment. I cried because God honored my waning faith that an even better man than the kind of man I wanted existed outside of my head. I cried because it was as though Jesus had manifested holding a sign over Genuine’s head with an arrow pointing to him.
I cried because my guard had been irrevocably shattered and I knew at that moment this was it. He was IT.
I just knew.