The Story of Us....

In twelve days' time, it'll be ten years since I was married. We've had a rough time the past few years with family stuff, but it's made us work harder at being a team and relying on each other for support. I've now come to a point, after many ups and downs where I'm starting to work out who Julie Lawson really is. That's a story for another day. But tonight, I would just like to share about how God brought Ben and I together, despite the wrong choices and sloppy mistakes along the way.

If you'd asked me during the years from 1998-2000 while I was at uni what I wanted to achieve during my life, I would have said, "I'm going to be a teacher and travel!" I mean, I wanted to get married, but much later. It was on the back burner! And I knew I'd have children.....eventually. I knew I wanted four, but...y'know, whatever. Life was going to come first.


Then I met an exciting, talented and gentle young man called Ben. We were both 19 when we met in May 1999. One of Ben's room mates was my good friend who was studying teaching with me (Melissa). The other room mate had to move out and so Ben and Melissa asked me if I wanted to move in with them. Given that the house I was living in at the time was not a great environment, I said 'Yes!' and before I knew it, in August of 1999, I was living in the townhouse that I'd visited only a few months before.

Ben seemed really aloof to me at first. Really quiet and always busy! But one night we were sitting at the dining table and he said that when he first met me he had a bit of a crush on me when we met. It was pretty cute!

Anyway, we had to move from the townhouse and we moved into another house close to the uni to start the year 2000.....we had some great times there, just typical uni stuff, parties, TV, pizza, trips to the movies, church, church camps....seeing an ad on TV for a KFC burger and deciding at 9pm that we all wanted one so heading down the Lismore KFC drive-thru to get one......y'know. Oh yeah, and study. That too.

We all went to the same church and we all were great friends. I liked Ben, he was like everyone's best friend. He made us laugh all the time with his quick, dry wit. And he was an excellent musician. And studying a double degree in accountancy and Information Technology.....something intelligent and cool-sounding! And he had these amazing deep brown eyes and captivating smile...uh, sorry, where was I?

Friends to all of us (Dave and Tara) were married in May 2000 and Ben did the reading at their ceremony. While I was sitting there watching Ben read, God whispered very softly in the depths of my heart, "One day you'll be standing up there with Ben." 'Huh?.......yeah, right. OK, God....whatever!' I thought.

One day, I had to leave to go to my Mum's place in Murwillumbah and Ben walked me out to the car. When he waved bye, we touched fingers as I backed out of the driveway......and I had a funny, fluttery feeling in my stomach.

The next part of our story I'm really not proud of. Despite being christians, we made some stupid choices. After a lot of talking it out and faithful friends who supported us, we came through it as a couple. Some people got hurt in the process, but we did our best to move through the mess without causing any more hurt. I learned so much in those few short months! At our annual stint as leaders at ICHTHUS in the first week of July 2000, people noticed the body language and the 'sparks' between us.

From then on, we spent heaps of time together - driving all over the place, hanging out with church friends, movies....having a ball!

In November, I was about to finish my degree and I was aiming to join the army as an Education Officer.... (don't laugh, I was pretty serious about it!) but then when I was discussing it with Ben, he came up with a better idea: why don't we get married? Y'know, at some point along the line. Maybe?

Suddenly the army didn't really seem like my thing. Getting married, however, did!

Things got pretty crazy from there. We were 20 years old and had been offically 'together' for 5 1/2 months. But, I knew that Ben would be an excellent husband and a great dad as well. Our parents were horrified, our church family were shocked but we were so happy and excited! Ben officially proposed at midnight on Nov 25th. We were at my mum's place and we went for a little walk down the end of the street so he could do his thing with the knee, the speech and the ring.

So, it was all on. We decided to get married at the end of the uni year. We wanted to get married on November 10 2001, so the date would be 10.11.01.....but it was in the middle of exam block. So November 17th, the first day after exam block would finish, was to be our wedding day!

It was a long year but a great time. We had a joint bank account we called 'The Dream Fund' and put all our spare change into it to pay for some of the stuff for our wedding. My mum is a single mum, so we didn't have a big budget. The total cost for everything, including the reception would have been under $5000. But that year we had a blast planning everything and as the big day got closer I was more and more sure that I was making the right choice (for once!).

Then, in a very, very simple ceremony - we did it! We got married! It was one of the best days of my life. Ben had done his last exam the day before and moved his stuff to our new house, so he was a teeny bit tired. He managed to fit in a proper hair cut before the ceremony. Since I'd known him he'd always just had a crew cut, so it was pretty special to see him looking so schmick when I walked up the aisle.....

We got married at 7pm daylight savings time - so we arrived at church in the dusk. During the ceremony, we lit candles (typical anglicans!) and then took a candle lit from our bridal candle out to the congregation, who also had little candles - a symbol of spreading the love, basically! We had the church lights off except for around the high altar. It was a pretty cool atmosphere, even if I do say so myself!

When we walked out of the church as husband and wife, we had a quick pic outside the church then went up to greet our family and friends. The night was clear and cool and beautiful.

We honeymooned at Mooloolaba for three days, then drove in my little white Laser all the way up to Mission Beach for two weeks. On the way back, we had no money left, so we drove for 22 hours straight to get back to Brisbane and slept on the couch at Ben's brother's place before returning home to Lismore to unpack our stuff in our new home.

Thus began another big journey which maybe I'll write down one day. I've certainly learned enough to fill a book :).

So, that's the story of us - nothing particularly astonishing or different, just a story of two young people with a big love and a big God.

So what's your story? I'd LOVE to hear how you met your husband! It's really great to go back over your story to remind you of all the romance and excitement of new love. It reminds you of what you had and can still have if you take the time to remember.

You can comment here or if it won't let you, drop me an email or message on Facebook so I can post it here.

Let's spread the love! :)

Comments

  1. Wow! I always wondered how it all began...its a great story!
    Well Luke and I thought we met at 16..."our hands met over the cold meat"as my husband would say. We both worked in the deli at Woolworths in high school. We went to different schools in the same town though. Our first kiss was quite funny as I was out that back at work stuffing chickens! I had one hand up a chickens butt at the time...How romantic! hehe oh and we knocked teeth....the story just got better after that.

    Then after we had been married about 8 tears we went to my husbands 10 year school reunion and a joint friend of ours brought us a photo, apparently we went to preschool together and didn't even know it!!! There are only two people between us in the photo...we always laugh and say we probably played mums and dads together. I cant believe God knew way back then that he was the my guy. I feel so privileged to be married to an incredible man of God. Loved reading your journey with Ben, Julie. Can't wait to hear even more..Your blog always gets me thinking LOVE IT!!!!!

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  2. Yeah, I agree with Cocoa Jo, your blog always gets me thinking too. Thanks Julie.

    Well, I met Matt when I turned up on the wrong night for an end-of-year hockey celebration. It's a long story, but God is gracious. He doesn't define us by our bad decisions.

    And right now the kids have started crying and fighting, so I can't think straight... but thanks for sharing your story with us!

    grace

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  3. Loving reading through your blogs Julie! & great to hear your love story =)

    John & I met at a netball court in my hometown - John was filling in & playing on the court with all the middle aged ladies!!! quite funny really! A mutual friend of ours had been trying to set us up for months, I was 17 & John 20 & we finally met with me watching him playing netball. & I must say we became great friends very quickly & it wasn't long till we started dating. 3 years later (with a few drama's in between!) I married my best friend & now almost 10 years & 4 kids later I couldn't imagine life any other way! So glad our friend - and obviously our great God - thought we'd be a great match!!! <3

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