A lot of people ask how Matt and I met and why we’ve lived in so many different places together. Guess what? You’re about to get the inside scoop!
I met Matt two weeks after I graduated High School (June 16, 2012 to be exact), in the little town of Mahomet, Illinois at a VBS Barbecue. Friends, this church was tiny; an everyone-knows-everyone sized church. So you can only imagine my (sweet) suprise when I saw a new, college-aged, blonde headed stud walking around during the VBS Barbecue I was attending with my family. As my family and I were heading out, I saw Matt running up to us! Guys, it was totally bay-watch style. He had long hair at the time, was wearing a cutoff and swim trunks – I mean c’mon. Swoon.
Come to find out, he had met my Mom that week at VBS and was wanting my sisters to come to the youth group, since he had just started interning as the Youth Pastor. As we continued talking, he asked if I would considering helping out as a leader for the youth program there at the church. I told him I would think about it and then we left to head home.
Over the next several weeks, we would talk a bit on Sunday mornings at church (definitely flirting). On one week in particular, he asked my Mom for her phone number. Guys, I was SO MAD at her – I was convinced he had a crush on her instead of me. I tease Matt about it to this day. He claims it was for the purposes of getting in my Mommas good graces! Smart guy, if you ask me.
Pretty soon, a Facebook friend request came about from my end – he accepted it, and we began messaging a ton. We definitely played the game of waiting a day or two in between responses! I told him that I would be interested in becoming a leader, as he had mentioned to me before. My first event with the youth group was an overnight lock-in at our church. Yup, he threw me in head first. Throughout the night, I remember just catching him staring at me and him catching me staring right back. Flirt game was STRONG, haha!
A few weeks later, we put together a hangout with the youth group leaders to go see the midnight premiere of Batman. We both were unknowingly trying to ensure that we would be sitting next to one another during the movie. Before the movie, I went into a whole, long explanation of every injury I had ever had. Guys, it’s a long list. Clearly I was nervous! The movie started, and about halfway through I remember our elbows touching since we were sharing the same arm rest – and that’s how it stayed the rest of the movie.
On July 31st, I got off my Lifeguard shift to find a voicemail from Matt, asking if I would come over to his home from dinner because there was something he wanted to talk with me about! Since Matt wasn’t from the area, there was a family from our church that he lived with during his internship – the Ekberg family. Super awesome family.
I went over to their house, where Matt had lasagna and salad waiting for us all to eat for dinner. At the time, he didn’t know that not only am I lactose-intolerant, but my least favorite food is to be lasagna. But like a champ, I ate every bite since I knew that Matt had made it for me. After eating, we went into the family room where he told me that he wasn’t sure how I felt, but that he really liked me. I of course told him I felt the same.
We both knew that if we were going to date, we wanted it to be with the intentions of marriage. Now remember, we had only known each other for about a month and a half at this point. Matt said that he would love it if we would each journal for 40 days, to really take the time to get to know one another in that time span, pray about where we felt God wanted us to be in our relationship and journal our thoughts about it all. So, that’s what we did. We didn’t tell anyone aside from our families that we liked each other. We took the 40 days to pray, journal and get to know one another as best we could, without having the pressure of the church congregation or our friends knowing about our feelings. It was the best decision we have ever made.
At the end of the 40 days, we really both felt strongly that God was in our relationship, that we truly did like one another and that dating one another meant it was with the intention of getting married further down the road. So, we became ‘official’ on September 1st 2012 and then became engaged June 21, 2013. We were engaged for a couple of months before Matt graduated college and got a job as the Youth Pastor at Greencastle Christian Church in Indiana. He moved three months before our wedding day – those months were long, but it made seeing each other for our wedding that much sweeter. We got married on January 18, 2014 in a snowstorm – literally. I had sandals and a strapless dress on while we were outside taking our wedding pictures in a blizzard. Guys, I have never been more cold in my life. But, trust me when I say that I wouldn’t change those beautiful, snowy images for the world. After we got married, I join Matt in Greencastle, Indiana where we lived and did Middle School and High School ministry for 3 years. October 2016, he accepted a job at Harvester Christian Church in St. Louis, Missouri as a Middle School pastor. Now? We are about to live back in my home town of Phoenix, Arizona where Matt will be doing Real Estate! Friends, that’s a lot of moves to have made in the past few years together. A lot of change. But you know what? As much as moving to new states and starting over stinks, it’s grown us. Grown us so much individually and as a couple. I’m so thankful for him and his love for me, even when I can’t be serious, am terrible at complimenting and am always searching for the next place we can go hiking. He loves me, those qualities and all. Love isn’t about always being perfect, it’s about being real with one another, accepting change, and some give and take. I’m super thankful for him. He’s a cool dude and I thank God every day for him running up to my 17 year old self in a bay-watch style way.
Photos taken by Amanda Noel Moments