The Story of Us.

menadbenjiwithhiseyesclosed

May 1, 2004. I went on my first date with Benji. I still get goose bumps when I think of how God brought everything together. I don’t think I’ve ever shared about it here, so I’m going to today. Get ready for some cheese 🙂

Fall of 2003. I’d recently gotten out of a two year relationship and was struggling with feeling alone. I spent the months following the break up feeling like I *needed* a boyfriend. I was young and dumb, and convinced that if I didn’t have a boyfriend at 18, I’d end up alone for the rest of my life. From September through March, finding someone was all I could focus my thoughts and energy on. It didn’t help that all of my friends had boyfriends. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that every time I went somewhere, I would look at the boys there and wonder if any would be interested in me. Y’all…I was SO desperate.

Sping of 2004. The Passion of the Christ was the thing to go see. Everyone was talking about it. EVERYONE. My youth group took a trip to see it, and I went with them. Honestly…it was half out of boredom, and half out of curiosity. At the time, I was pretty cynical and didn’t care for “popular” things, so I sneered a little on the inside at the thought of this movie. I was a jerk. I sat down in the theater that day knowing that it was going to be super cheesy, that it would not live up to the hype, and that I would leave unchanged. Buuuuuuuut as usual, the Big G had different plans. I ended up crying like a baby for the entire film.

After seeing it, and getting an honest picture of what Christ had done for me, I was so torn up over what I had been giving my life over to for the past few years. It hurt me to think that after Jesus did all of that, he had to see me be more interested in boys than I was in him. I did a lot of praying that day. Truly knowing for first time what God had done for me, I told him thank you over and over again. I also told him I did not care if I ended up alone for the rest of my life, because he was enough for me. It was pretty freeing to say that and actually mean it. I truly did not care if I grew to be 102 and never married. I wasn’t afraid of being alone anymore, and it was the coolest feeling!

I was on cloud 9, and I blogged about it that night. Livejournal. Do y’all remember good ole’ LJ? Well…it was the Facebook of 2004. And it’s also how Benji and I met. Yes…we met online. Surprised? He denies it to this day, but it’s true! We did!

Anyways, I blogged about the movie and how God had used it to change my heart and my focus, and guess what! That’s the first thing of mine that Benji ever read. Neither of us know how, but somehow we ended up being friends on LJ. We had mutual friends, so it wasn’t creepy or anything like that. We were just…online friends lol. So he read my Passion of the Christ post, and over the next couple of months, we continued to keep up with one another, commenting back and forth on each other’s posts.

I even left him this comment on a post he wrote about feeling lonely (note…I am SUPER embarrassed to share this because of how corny I was, but it’s cool, so I’m sharing in spite of my embarrassment):

“Hey Benji,
Just a few words of encouragement. I know how it feels with the whole being lonely stuff and it’s not a lot of fun. I don’t know what your situation deals with or why you are sad, but I do know that God is there. He’s got you in His hand and He is never going to let you go. One day He is going to bring someone into your life that is going to bless the mess(a little rhyme for ya) out of you! Just wait and be patient…it’s all in God’s timing…and believe me when He does bring that someone….you will know!! I am praying for ya my friend and if it helps for you to know…I’m in the same boat haha =) I hope you have a blessed day!
*Ashley*”

This comment makes me laugh so hard because #1) “bless the mess”…what a cheese ball and #2) Because I had NO idea whatsoever that I would one day marry this boy. I was essentially telling him to be patient…FOR ME. Isn’t that mind blowing? Maybe not to y’all, but it is to me. I found this comment sometime after we got married, and my jaw dropped.

God. Is. Hilarious.

We met in person, by accident, in April 2004. I went to try out for a voice scholarship at the college he was attending. My friend (Anna) and I went to the library to check our LiveJournals while we waited for my audition. Benji and a friend just happened to sit right across from us. We overheard them talking about Livejournal and I thought we were about to get in trouble for using the computers, so we got up and left. When we got downstairs…there they were AGAIN….except this time they approached us. We talked and realized we all knew each other from LJ – crazy, right?!

A couple weeks later, a big group of us went skating in Tuscaloosa. My mom had just gotten me a new car, and buddy…I knew she was not about to say yes to letting me drive it 45 minutes away. By some miracle though, she let me go. I had so much fun that night, and I thought Benji was great, but I didn’t even think about dating him. He was probably the first boy that I had met in months that I didn’t size up, because I was finally in a place where I recognized Jesus was the only thing that would ever complete me, and that everything else in my life would just fall into place.

After our skate night, Benji and I started emailing on a regular basis. I did eventually fall for him, obviously. He was just so darn cute, and hilarious, not to mention into Jesus. He eventually asked me out and we went on our first date on May 1, 2004. Ten years ago today. Wow.

We got married two years later. He grew a beard, and I grew babies. We haven’t really looked back since. I’m so glad that God orchestrated it the way he did. He is hilarious, and all about the details. HE CARES. Oh, how he loves us! ❤

 

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