I moved to the DC area in January 2011 after finishing grad school back home in Indiana. Matt had graduated from the University of Tennessee in May 2009, had moved to DC for a job at Deloitte, and was on the core team of Portico Church Arlington that launched in April 2010. By the grace of God, we met on March 20, 2011 after I had been going to Portico for nearly 3 months. We connected instantly, and for the next week, I schemed up a plan to get us in the same room…to see if there was actually a connection or not. My friend, Stephanie, and I organized a church-wide get together that Saturday night. Matt was the first to respond – that he couldn’t come because he was going to a wedding. I decided to put it out of my mind, but Matt had other plans.
The next day at church, Matt approached me and asked about our gathering the night before. We had about 10 minutes to talk before service started, and I’m pretty sure I was smiling the whole time. As worship started, he asked if he could sit by me. Of course I said yes! Afterward, he asked if I had plans and invited me to grab coffee during the second service before we would break the setup down. We spent the entire hour and a half, mostly talking about our families. My family is so important to me, and I was immediately drawn to him and the way he described each of his siblings, talked about their strengths, all while smiling and looking straight at me the whole time.
Matt will tell you we went on three dates that day. (1) coffee, (2) lunch – which was with a huge group of people after church, and (3) the cherry blossom festival, where we walked around with his old roommate (also Matt) and his now-wife Rebekah. These two are now dear friends of mine also. Rebekah did our wedding photography [check out Rebekah Hoyt Photography if you need a photographer in Northern VA], and Matt was responsible for the awesome night of dancing (i.e. he was the DJ)!
After this entire day of hanging out, Matt checked his email while I was on the phone wishing my mom a happy birthday. When I came inside, he explained that he had gotten an email and had been asked to interview for a job he had applied to a few months earlier…in Seattle.
Matt was completely honest with me and said he had a great time, would love to get to know me more, and told me that if he was offered the job he would move to Seattle. Seeing that I was obviously shaken up and confused from all that had happened that day, he recited Philippians 4:4-7 and prayed for me before saying goodnight. Anxiety is something I have wrestled with throughout life, and he recognized that sin, exhorted me, and prayed for me. I was so thankful. The next week flew by. We spent a couple of days to pray and seek counsel from those close to us. I was skeptical of long-distance, but God was really laying on my heart to trust Him and take the risk.
We met for coffee a couple days later. Matt and I came to that date with different perspectives. He told me that he didn’t think we should continue to hang out. I was disappointed but kept quiet until he proceeded to ask me what I was thinking. I’m not really sure what exactly I said, but I described the past few years of my life, being honest about plans I had made, past relationships, how God had changed me, and the characteristics I saw in him that reflect Christ. The Holy Spirit was at work in that conversation, and somehow we left there hand-in-hand, excited but unsure of what was to come.
I met Matt’s family two days later. We spent nearly every day of that next month together, and the weekend before Matt moved to Seattle, we flew to Indiana for him to meet my family (I later found out that Matt had bought a ring two days before that). Long distance was hard. We were still trying to get to know each other, and there was a 3 hour time difference so I would be headed to bed while Matt was still out at dinner. It was difficult to not know the plan, but that drew me closer to God and grew my prayer life.
Matt proposed on May 21, and our wedding day was almost exactly 3 months later, on August 20, 2011. Our wedding was nothing like I had ever thought my wedding would be, but it was absolutely perfect. I packed my bags, took them on our honeymoon in Maui, and we flew to Seattle straight from there…but life in Seattle is a story for another time.
I am still just in utter awe of how God orchestrated the whole thing. He chose to put two pretty different people together. The joy, redemption, and grace we have received so far has been amazing. I’m well aware that some people think we’re crazy to meet, date, marry, and begin our family in just under a year of knowing each other. The Lord has blessed us in incredible ways though, and we could not be more excited for what is to come!