Josh and I are teaching our final series in Zoe (our college & young adults group that we’ve led for the last 9 years). We say good-bye reminiscing about the young people who have walked into our lives over the last 9 years - amazed at God’s goodness and the fruit springing forth from their lives...wow God, if we had even a sliver to do with that - thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to do life with them in those “wet cement” years...as they were making beliefs and opinions their own.
Over the last 9 years we’ve discovered that one of our most popular sermon series is one in which we focus on relationships. What 20-something doesn’t like to talk about relationships - if for no other reason because it allows them the opportunity to ask all those what ifs that they typically keep private in their thoughts. So, we are going out with a 20-something bang so to speak by talking about relationships one final time...spouting our opinions and trying our best to encourage them that there is such a thing as healthy relationships out there.
All of this to say, I’ve been reminiscing about my own relationship with Josh as we’ve prepared this series and thought I’d do my best to slowly tell our story on this blog (if for no other reason than one day our girls can read with embarrassed faces about how their parents fell in love)...and maybe just maybe my story can encourage someone out there - that although in my opinion there is no formula to getting a man or establishing a Godly relationship...it IS possible to have a healthy relationship where you are cherished and valued and encouraged to be all that God intended when He created you!
“No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11
So here is our story (Paige’s version)
It was a crisp November night (November 17th to be exact in 1997), and I had just gone to work-out at the aerobics center with my new best bud Wendy Jo (she prefers just Wendy but she will always be Wendy Jo to me). We had gotten into the routine of working out late at night (that is when all the cute boys were there and we were learning that college life really got started after the sun set).
We had done our normal work-out of a half-hearted attempt at the elliptical and lifting a few weights. We had checked out the cute boys (two blonde freshmen girls raising eyebrows and communicating without words every time certain boys would cruise by us on the indoor track).
I put on my Baylor sweatshirt as we finished our work-out and boy watching and we meandered towards the dorms deep in conversation about something like world peace or the difficulties of staying awake in Humanities class.
Like I said, we were in deep conversation oblivious to the world and were almost to the door of the dormitory when out of no where I heard a deep voice yell out “BAYLOR!” The noise alone made me stop in my tracks and then my brain did a double take as I realized just what had been launched into the atmosphere - “Baylor”...and as I looked down I realized that I was in fact wearing a Baylor sweatshirt - so I turned my head to the left and right trying my best to decipher where the interruption had come from.
And then I saw him. A dark-haired guy, about my height with a huge smile looking directly at me. I was confused to say the least, but I think I answered with a lovely, “Yeah?” As in “Yeah, are you talking to me?”
And then he launched into his speech. He talked fast and was obviously nervous but in an endearing sort of way. He asked if I was from Texas (explaining that he almost went to Baylor so that is why my shirt had caught his attention). We talked for sometime about Texas - covering all the basics - where we were from, what dorm I lived in, the fact that I was a freshman and he was a junior. All the while sweet Wendy Jo just stood there swiveling her head as if watching a ping pong match. Josh would occasionally ask her a question but it was obvious that this was a Texas only conversation and my dear friend from Ohio was left on the outskirts.
We were about to part ways when this dark-haired bold young man who I had learned was named Josh said, “You are from Lubbock? I know one person from Lubbock but I’m sure you wouldn’t know him.” I gave him a look as if saying “Try Me.” After all, it is Lubbock and as he would find out later on I am related to practically 25% of this small city.
So he continued, “My pastor, Dr. Morris Sheats, back home in Dallas is from Lubbock originally and started a church in Lubbock. Any chance you know him?”
My ears perked up at that name, and I quickly told him that Dr. Sheats was actually very close to my father - he had given my father his first job in the ministry as his youth pastor more than 20 years earlier, and I had travelled to Israel with Dr. Sheats.
My response put a sparkle in Josh’s eyes as he replied that he had literally just returned from Israel (with Dr. Sheats) the previous month - what a small world!
And that was it. We bid farewell, and although it was a simple connection, as an 18-year old hundreds of miles away from home there was something reassuring about meeting someone with a simple one degree of separation.
Wendy and I giggled all the way back to our dorm room - an actual boy - a cute junior no less had just had a conversation with us! We burst into our room to find our other friends Jennie & Angel sitting on our bed/couch and Wendy Jo immediately began to tell them about the boy who had flirted shamelessly with me.
I honestly was shocked...what? That was flirting - I was a bit naive and dense. “What did you think about him?” asked Wendy Jo. “I thought he was cute and he definitely liked you.”
If I’m honest I didn’t think much about this first introduction - it was nice to connect with someone who had similar connections, but other than that I just didn’t give it much thought.
I mean, what were the chances that I would even run into Josh again on campus?
...And then the stalking (he prefers the word pursuing) began.
PS - The Baylor sweatshirt still lives in my closet.
I tried to get a picture of Selah wearing it proudly...but this is all I could get...she was not understanding the significance of my sweatshirt.
But I later found her sitting on it as she watched Bubble Guppies...ha!