Friday, December 31

Relentless Love.

I pray that Conrad's love story is not as twisty and dark-like ours was. No wait, I take that back.

I just want it to be beautiful. Whether it's dark or hard or not picture perfect, I want it to be wonderful. I want Jesus to be at the core of it. I always wonder what advice I'll want to give him when he starts dating. Of course, I'd prefer that he not go whoring around town, not give away whats sacred to a woman who isn't his wife. BUT, when you're a teenager, you see the world in tunnel vision. You don't see life outside of what's going on in your tiny universe, so every experience is so much more intense and the sting of a first love lost can be so much more painful. I will attest to that. I would hope that in raising our son to know Jesus and to understand the gospel lived out in front of him, he might decide to keep his tools in his tool box so-to-speak. I hope by explaining to him how significant it was that when I married Dustin, he had no past experiences or regrets to explain, he might count purity as a high priority.

I love our love story so much because had I been walking right with Jesus, I would have never given Dustin a second look. I would never have wanted to date someone who didn't share the same beliefs. God is so sovereign though. Back then, I deserved a real scum bag, and yet God gave me someone beyond what I could have imagined. I love that Dustin got to walk beside me during the hardest times of my life. I was this heathen christian girl who was so messed up and here he was, such a sweet boy, knew nothing about Jesus and this scandalous christian girl shows him who God was. Anyway. I just find it kind of funny that it worked out that way. I wrote this a few months ago thinking it would never see the light of day, but I thought It might be fun to share one of our first dates and hear something about how your love story is special to you.
(Us, the first year we were married:)

"Turn around! Close-your-eyes...."

I remember one of our first dates. You took me to the drive in. We watched some seriously stupid Tom Cruse movie. I suggested we pick up a "beverage" to make things interesting. You stopped at the liquor store and put your fake ID to use.

Half way through the movie I was toast. THE LAST SAMURAI! That was the name of that stupid movie. How could I forget! Tom Cruse. What a piece of work! Anyway. We were on our second date at the drive in. I was throwing back shots of jack Daniels like a jack ass trying to be cool and chasing it with swigs of coke right out of the bottle. I'm a true lady. You were sort of impressed. We were laughing and making fun of Tom Cruse and then I had to pee, so I asked if you'd walk me to the ladies room. (I'm surprised I didn't just squat on the side of the car in the dirt. I was really classy back then.) You opened your door and walked around the car to mine. You grabbed my hand to help me out of the car. What a gentlemen. I was in big trouble. As we made our way to the restroom, I was stumbling in my cutesie heels and was falling all over the place. My feet were sinking into the rocks and sand making it impossible to walk, the Jack didn't help either. I SHOULD have been completely mortified, but was too drunk to care. You laughed and said, "You're OK, I've got you. You're OK....." I wasn't "OK". In any sense of the word. I was broken. Completely broken and hurting. Every part of my life was completely in shambles but you said I was OK. So there we were.

On the way back to my house I opened the car door (YOUR BRAND NEW CAR DOOR btw.) Twice at stop lights to throw up. I managed to only get "some" barf on your brand new car interior and nice new car carpet, the rest I puked out onto the asphalt and in my hair. Train wreck. I know. You hardly knew me. What an impression I was making. You warned me to shut the door because a cop was behind us. I then shouted, "Screw that damn cop! He can wait til' I'm done!"....or something along those lines.

We get to my house. It's late. You help me to my door. Your heart is thumping loudly. How dare you return me home like this! We're at my doorstep and I'm digging through my purse for my keys. The motion sensor light blinks on blinding us both. I keep searching but can't find them. I reach for the door bell and ring it. You're sweating balls right now asking yourself this, "Why didn't she throw a brick through the window after i drove away to let herself in?" Dumb girl.

My Dad comes to the door. His eyes are half way open. He's in his nut huggers. You both mumble something to one another and he lets us both in. He has just had brain surgery. He's not himself, nor am i. We make our way to my room. You kiss me goodnight and are making your exit when I beg you to stay and lay with me until I fall asleep. You agree. But first I need to change into my jammies. I ask you not to look and I turn my back away from your eyes. AT LEAST I STILL HAVE SOME MORALS RIGHT? You are a gentlemen so you respect my drunk ass and don't peek. (How embarrassing.) I change and fall into your arms as and we lay for a while on my small twin size bed. You scratch my back and wait for me to fall asleep and then you leave without me noticing.....

We are quickly falling in love.
That year, you would become the only constant in my life....

That year, there was NOTHING on earth that could get the smell of barf out of your car....
For the millionth time, I'm very sorry about that.
One of my most favorite memories is when I asked you to come over because I didn't want to be alone after my sister passed. You yourself were just starting to read the bible and you knew that it would comfort me, so you layed on the floor of my room beside my bed and read to me as I cried myself to sleep. You slept on my bedroom floor that night. I love that memory. I love how you loved me. You walked through such horrible days with me as I mourned my sisters death and my mothers addiction and the changes in my father since his brain surgery. I was a mess, but you were so utterly relentless in your pursuit of me. The roots of our love grew deep as the months flew by-almost without us even realizing it.
(I totally look like I'm farting in this picture.
Rest assured, I'm not farting. I'm just smiling weird.)
When I think of our relationship, I'm also reminded of my relationship with God. How he is so relentless in his pursuit of us. Back then you should have kicked my butt to the curb, but you didn't. You were so steadfast and faithful in your friendship to me. I beat you up many times and used you as my punching bag, but you loved me anyway.

The start of our love story started seven years ago. I'm glad my life doesn't look as dark and twisty as it once did. I'm thankful for what we have and I'm not ashamed of where we've come. It's encouraging to look back at how the Lord has changed our hearts and fixed our eyes on Him so we could love eachother more.
One of the most comforting things to know about God's love is that it's not based on my performance. He doesn't LOVE ME MORE when I follow the ten commandments and don't swear, or when I tell my mother in law her lasagna is good when I didn't care for it. I always imagine him wagging his finger when I do wrong and giving me gold stars when I do good. I believe his grace goes deeper than my gold star chart. His love doesn't waver. I've lived much of my christian life believing that I could work my way to his approval. That I could be loved MORE by being "good." Sure he'd rather me not rob banks, but It's not about being a "good person" or a "bad person." We find so many times in the gospel, situations where Jesus is infuriated by religious people who've got it all together on the outside but the inside doesn't represent the outside at all. I pray that our marriage continues to represent healing and change. **I pray that the sin in our lives is continually being braught to light so that we can experience grace and know Jesus more. And of course, I hope for laughter to always fill our home and silly faces to be a constant.
{Tell me about your love story.}


  1. I love the way you tell your story. It's such a blessing to look back at the old days and say that by God's grace we aren't who we used to be. Ben says all the time, "I don't even recognize that person that I was back then". And neither do I and I am so thankful that we have grown so much. What an incredible blessing to have an amazing man in your life who loves the Lord and stuck by your side! (I'm so thankful for that in my life as well). I don't know if you've told me before, but how did you and Dustin meet?

  2. And yes, I'm sitting here on new year's eve reading blogs :)

  3. Ha. Thanks jessi.

    We met at a friends party. We had mutual friends but had never met. My friends were trying to set me up with his friend steve but then I saw Dustin and thought he was very cute and mysterious. He wasn't loud and obnoxious like me....I liked his taste in music and we clicked right away. I remember telling my friend Kendra that night, that I wanted to have his babies! He has made fun of me for it ever since. (Who says that the first night they meet a guy?) The next day he took me on a real date. We ate at Blue Berry hill, went on a long drive and listened to music. That's how we met.

  4. "I pray that the sin in our lives is continually being brought to light so that we can experience grace and know Jesus more. And of course, I hope for laughter to always fill our home and silly faces to be a constant"

    I love this so much. God is amazing. He takes the least of these and transforms us in order for the world to know that our mere lives are a testimony of his love and power!
    that's our love story :)

  5. p.s. if you happen to read it, start from the bottom and make your way to the top :)

  6. LOVE your story. You got yourself a good one. Isn't it cool how God does stuff like that? You guys were made for each other:)

  7. There are so many things I can connect with on your blog. I've recently starting to work thru my whole relationship with God and realizing that my perception is not necessarily truth. Amen to the "He doesn't love me more when..." Thanks for this.

  8. Had goosebumps while readin it.
    Though ive never met you in person, I feel sorry for you and at the same time very happy for you.
    Sorry, that you had such a tough time and happy that you found someone that guided you through.

    Kind regards

  9. Thanks girls. You're all so encouraging. Heather, I'm learning so much right now about how God uses each of our experiences with him to lift up others. Our stories have to be told because they edify the body and glorify Him. The "past" can at times seem like such a shameful thing to remember, but knowing that His blood covers all of the dirt and makes me new, that gives me confidence to share the things that aren't pretty. Catdeeley, thanks for reading. I don't feel sorry for me, but I know what you mean. I love the line in that jars of clay song where they say "I will sing of your mercys that lead me through valleys of sorrow and rivers of joy." Even in the midst of hard times, he's always given me joy. I may not be happy, but I'm joyful.

    thanks again for your kind comments. It's uplifting to me.

  10. tears in my eyes, love in my heart, encouragement and challenge pushing me forward. you are such a DEAR woman and wow. wow dustin is such a man of God and he was before he even knew what that meant. i am in awe of God's mystery and how He works things and orchestrates things and wow. WOW. wow wow wow. i love knowing you. i love that i got to read this from you. aaah.

    happy new year, beautiful woman.

  11. This is incredibly beautiful. I love how God loves us and pursues after us so hard. Such a beautiful picture for us when our husbands do it too.

    You have such a beautiful story. Love it.

  12. I loved this post. It is brave of you to share your personal story and I benefitted from reading your love story, so thank you.

  13. Cara, I am SO grateful for the man of god dustin is. I've been a christian longer than he has but sometimes i'm baffled by his wisdom. I love his story of how he came to know Jesus. It's such a beautiful one. I should have him share it sometime. Thanks for the love. I love you back! <3

  14. Yep, I cried silently at my work desk while reading this :) Being pregnant and emotional doesn't help but what a beautiful story. You are truely blessed.

  15. Thanks Tori. Isn't it crazy how easily you cry when you're pregnant?! It's terrible! I can't believe how hard your 1st trimester was. I thought throwing up for the first 6 moths with conrad was bad, but I never lost 11lbs. That's rough. It's smooth sailin' from here on out though! The 2nd trimester is the best. You're so sweet <3 I appreciate it!

  16. Oh my gosh Chelsea! This seriously made me tear up. I love your "love story" so so much. Of course its not perfect but nobody's is! It's so unique and despite the hardships there is so much love! You guys are amazing & such a great example for the rest of us. Love you!

  17. So beautiful Chelsea. I just found your blog through another and didn't expect to be quite so encouraged, challenged, and lifted. So beautiful.

    My Hubby's love constantly reminds me that I'm not only his bride, but also the bride of Christ. I love His kind of love.

  18. I just love you. Thanks.