Young love. They met their freshman year of collage - he thought she was loud and obnoxious, she thought he was one of those trouble makers. Their love story is a must read! The lovely Jordan Brittley photographed their engagement session. Thanks Jordan for sharing these images with me!
Nick and I met pretty early on in our freshman year at Southwest Baptist University. Our first impression of one another was not exactly love at first sight. Nick thought I was loud and obnoxious and I thought he was a trouble maker. We both wrongfully judged one another (of course I was loud I was a cheerleader), but we had some of the same friends so we became friends. We were completely "just friends" that whole year and learned how to respect one another and love one another as fellow children of God. I often sent encouraging messages to Nick and he kind of took up a protective role with me. For instance I decided to live in Bolivar (the town we both attend college) for the summer even though I would be gone a lot for weddings and working at Kids Across America and Nick took the responsibility upon himself to check on the safety of my apartment while I was gone and he even drove by sometimes when I was there to make sure I was safe. The summer after our freshman year we spent less time judging one another and more time getting to know the beautiful person God had made us and was continuing to do work with. Instead of me thinking I had to encourage Nick so he would be someone different, Nick became my encouragement. His heart to seek and serve the Lord was something I admired and cherished about him (he wasn’t what I had judged him to be). That summer Nick did a lot of acts of kindness toward me like inviting me to spend time with his family over Father's Day and throwing me a surprise birthday party. Nick became a very dear friend to me. When school began in the fall our friendship from the summer remained the same, but I was starting to get the hint that our friendship was shifting into something a little deeper. One significant moment was when Nick invited me to a tractor pull event with his family and their friends...I was standing inside the box seating with Nick's dad, Craig, and in the middle of conversation Craig realized his wife, Mary, was standing outside and was rubbing her arms because she was cold. Craig immediately went outside and wrapped his arms around Mary. I glanced at Nick and saw that he saw what had happened and then he came over to me and hugged me as well (talk about butterflies). There were a lot of other times in our friendship that we weren't as cute...One time Nick and I were walking around our school's campus and decided to sit down on a cement bench. I was rocking from side to side on the bench and all of a sudden it fell! I managed to escape, but Nick had a bloody scratch down his leg. We laughed a lot, fixed the bench, and then sprinted off to safety. I'll skip now to when Nick asked me to be his girlfriend (the second time). The first time Nick asked was directly after the cement bench incident I thought he was kidding due to the fact that I felt completely horrible about the whole ordeal, but he then explained how much he had already sought the Lord and counsel from his parents and I still said no. I guess I just was not expecting him to have been so prepared that I forgot to do so myself. I started praying for guidance and discernment and God made it very obvious that I constantly try to control situations and this specific situations was actually His to control. I was excited to learn this and to let God lead Nick and I into a relationship, so I just had to wait for Nick to ask me again (he wishes I would have said yes the first time, but what fun would that have been). Nick gave me flowers and wrote me a poem a little over a week later and asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. If you want to know what the poem said, it said, "Roses are red. Violets are blue. I think we'd make a swell pair. Will you be my girlfriend please?" After we began our relationship we constantly looked for ways to bring God glory. We set relationship boundaries, did a video series with his parents, prayed together and served together at Whitehouse Student Ministries. God was and is at the center of our relationship and we strive to glorify him in our actions and intentions. After several months of fun, exciting, silliness Nick proposed!! There are plenty of other little goofy stories and a lot of important learning opportunities we had in our dating relationship, but I think overall the most important love involved was and is Christ’s love. We know love because He first loved us.
Catherine and I serve at White House Student Ministries in Bolivar, MO. I wanted to propose to her there because it was the place we both most enjoy serving and first saw one another’s true passions and heart for God and His purpose. After I figured out where to do it I had to recruit a little more help. I contacted Jordan Henson, one of Cat’s friends that is a photographer and asked her if she could be there Wednesday to take pictures of the big moment. I found out Jordan actually had already planned on being at Whitehouse that night to observe and capture God’s ministry and beauty at Whitehouse through Cat, the other leaders, and our students. After I had a photographer I needed to come up with a speech! I had a plan in my mind of exactly what I wanted to say and do, of course. So I rehearsed as you can imagine, for quite some time to get it perfect. On February 29th, Whitehouse went on with things like they would have gone on any other Wednesday. We had a Bible lesson and prayer and worship time then went to split girls and guys up into smaller talking groups. So the girls went upstairs and the guys stayed downstairs. During that time, I explained to the guys what was about to happen and to sit where they could see me in the main room. Then sent one of the other leaders to go and tell the girls to head back downstairs. Cat didn’t know I was going to do this, but as soon as she walked in the room and saw me standing in the middle of the students she knew what was about to happen. Cat came and stood by me and I explained to the students of my love for Cat and that I was called to love her like Christ loves the church. I sat Cat down and continued to explain of my love for her and Christ’s love for his people I washed her feet and asked her to marry me. She said yes! My speech didn’t turn out quite as I planned it and my voice cracked a few more times than I had hoped, but I would not change anything about that moment. I was able to share my love for Cat, for our students, and for God.
What he loves about her:
She makes me feel like the most special person on earth. She loves the Lord more than she does me. She is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. She has a servant’s heart and is selfless.
What she loves about him:
He is a servant leader. He has great character and integrity and compassion. He always makes me laugh.