I remember meeting this man. I’d like to say I immediately found him handsome and I thought all sorts of ooey, gooey thoughts. But there’s a whole commandment about lying. So I won’t. I did find him handsome. Period.
We laugh about our first time meeting.
He spied me and immediately was intrigued, he said he remembers thinking: “I want to learn to know her!”
I spied him and assumed he was a goody two shoes Mennonite boy. I didn’t mean it in a judgemental way, nor did I have anything against him.
I carried with me a tremendous amount of baggage. I knew that it was going to take a special man for me. And I wasn’t looking.
I said hello, introduced myself, and was friendly.
We became friendly. We both volunteered weekly for the same youth center and he started coming “my” nights, and we often chatted and just developed a friendship.
By Valentine’s Day, I realized I was starting to feel safe and comfortable with him. I took the Bible command of “guard your heart” to a level God doesn’t intend. I had walls on walls on walls, reinforced with all the anger available to me, and it was a lot. I was trying so hard so protect myself, failing to let God do it.
But Lamar was breaking through those walls. He wasn’t like all the other guys who had piece by piece, robbery after advantage helped to create the walls I held so high.
At the end of February, the youth center was closed for a weekend and we went to a youth leaders retreat. And there, at the encouragement of a friend, I let myself be even more vulnerable with him. And after a weekend of competitive volleyball games, we were playing a more relaxed game of ping pong.
I shared my story. I was up front, clear, and held nothing back. Someday maybe I can share my full story here, but I’ll say this: there is not much more terrifying that sharing with a guy you like your story of abuse, rape, alcohol abuse, and general distrust of men and wondering what his reaction will be.
He shared his story. His mistakes, his hurts. And his story is not mine to share, so I’ll let it at that.
That Sunday evening as we drove home, he offered his shoulder for me to sleep on. Halfway home, I told him: “You know, I kinda like you. But if you’re not interested, let me know now so I don’t get hurt.”
He smiled and said he liked me but wasn’t ready to start a relationship yet.
That night we went out to eat. Just as friends. And met all of his friends. Completely by accident. They were at the same Applebee’s as us! He introduced me as his friend, Rachelle.
By that Wednesday evening, when we met again, he asked me out. Our first official date was to a mall, then the next day he met my family at my nephew’s birthday party.
We were married a year later. My heart knew he was safe.
My brain took longer. Ours isn’t a picture perfect story. We hurt each other many times during our soon to be 8 years.
He’s quiet. I’m not.
But his love and patience. Oh there is never a doubt in my mind that he was made for me because of how amazing he’s been. When the nightmares strike and the flashbacks terrify me, he is my safe place.
He loves me in a way that makes me feel safe. And that is huge for me.
I didn’t marry my best friend. He was a man who was safe and I loved him, but I didn’t fully let down my walls. I hate admitting that. It was that pride, that independence, that “I got this” attitude that caused so many hurts in our marriage.
But I grew to a point in the last 6 months where I can say: he’s my best friend with a smile on my face.
I love weekends again. I love our time together, and look forward to making many more memories with him and our boys this year.
We made a bucket list for 2018. We are going to be intentional with our time.
Another blessing from our pregnancy with Liam. The way we grew the way we needed to lean on each other and push through the pain to parent our boys and make decisions. I needed to be honest with him about my emotional and physical health.
I didn’t marry my best friend. But I wish I had. I wish I had let him in years ago. I am so grateful for how we’ve grown.
I am so thankful for him ❤