Randy and I will have been married eight years on May 24 of this year. It is hard to believe. We met in September of 1999 in a church parking lot where we had both been invited to sing. I was seventeen years old. When I pulled up, I was immediately greeted by Randy, who said he heard I was singing and needed a girl to sing back-up for a song he had just written. So within minutes, we were around the corner of the building, rehearsing one of his songs. We sang together, said goodbye, and that was that.
The next weekend, I went with some friends of mine to Fall Quest, a music festival in Villa Rica, Georgia. We went up to the stage while the first band was getting ready to play. I looked up, and Randy was the bass player for the first band (Filet of Soul). He saw me, said hey, and told me to come talk to him after the show. I thought he was famous. And he remembered me. It was really exciting. So after the show, he came and found me with my friends. He had a great big coke that he spilled all over our table. We talked about music, he said he liked my voice, he said he was making a cd and that he needed a girl to sing backup. I thought this was my big break.
We started rehearsing, spending a lot of time together. I learned his songs and knew from the moment I met him he was a genuinely wonderful person. He was funny and fun to be around. We had great musical chemistry, and I always felt that it would be impossible that one day he would not be discovered as a brilliantly talented musician and songwriter. I felt really proud to be a part of his music. I sang back-up with him at his concerts, and we led worship together.
I never dreamed I would date him or marry him. He let me know early on that he cared for me, and because of our age difference (I was nearly 18, and he was 32), I decided it would be best if we didn’t sing together or hang out anymore. I felt I was doing this for his benefit, because I simply considered it an impossible relationship. He took a temporary job in South Carolina. I didn’t hear from him for a couple of months.
I got a call from Randy on New Year’s Eve, Y2K. I don’t care what he tells you. Deep down I really think he thought that if the world was going to end he might as well give it one more shot… He called and said he had made a little demo of his songs, and he wanted to give me one. At this time I had been going through a lot of growth and change in my life, and it seemed to right to be back in touch with him. I told him we were having a New Year’s Eve party at my church and that he could come and sing if he wanted to. He drove over. That New Years was one of the best days of my life. I felt so happy. It was a kind of happiness that I had never experienced before. I didn’t realize at the time that what I was feeling was because of love.
We started spending time together, singing together, rehearsing, getting ready for his album to be recorded. I had an independent study at my high school for music, where I would write songs in my choir director’s office for an hour and a half every day. He okayed Randy to come in once a week and give me guitar lessons. Randy was the coolest person I knew. He made me laugh really hard. He was funny and quirky and interested in so many things. He had seen so much of the world. He loved God with all of his heart. He was sweet and kind. He cared for me.
Around March or April of 2000, I was driving in my car, and I suddenly realized that I was thinking about Randy. It shocked me. I suddenly realized that I really cared for him. And it scared me. I felt like I was losing my mind. It was not the relationship I had waited for my whole life. I could feel my parents’ concern whenever I mentioned Randy’s name. I suspected that my friends thought I was crazy. I prayed. I didn’t know what to do.
In September of that same year, I went to Costa Rica for a month-long intensive language course. While I was there, Randy and I decided we would really pray about what needed to happen in our friendship/relationship. I met a man and his wife who were going to be missionaries in Honduras. When I met them, I was instantly drawn to them and could see that they had a very genuine and sincere love for one another. They had been married two years. He ended up being put in my class, and after introductions, I learned that he and his wife were 14 years apart in age. When he said this, I nearly burst into tears. I felt that God put them in my life to show me a beautiful example of how it could work. So a month later, when my parents picked me up at the airport, I told them that Randy and I were going to date–that I didn’t know what would come out of it, but we were going to see.
So that was the start of it all. Dating was wonderful and miserable. We loved each other, we made each other so happy. Randy was thoughtful and sweet. I loved him more than I ever imagined loving someone. It started wonderfully, but we went though several periods of looking out for our own interests above the interest of the other. Which you have to do when you’re dating. Every argument becomes the thought of a lifetime of similar arguments. Every disagreement is weighed against the peace of your future. I always felt like I had to decide if it would be like this forever–not knowing if we really loved each other or were “meant for each other.” I didn’t know. We broke up for about a month. I thought it was completely over. My heart broke in two.
When we got back together, things were different. God dealt with me about forgiveness–something I had never been able to do well in my life. He dealt with Randy as well, and we started back with our future in mind.
We were married in May of 2003. I remember praying, even then, that I was doing the right thing. Some people just know from the minute they meet someone that it is meant to be. For us, it wasn’t like that. I loved Randy, and I thought he loved me. But I never knew how easy it would be to be his wife. From the moment we took our vows, our love has grown. There has been so much freedom in knowing we are staying together no matter what happens. Conflicts simply have to be resolved. There is no more weighing every little problem against the future. He is my future. I am his.
I am so thankful to be married to someone who knows me and loves me. I am thankful that God led me to him, and back to him, and back again.