Welcome to my first Throwback Thursday. I thought it would be entertaining to share some blasts from the past with you kind readers. I'm starting with the most common question Mark and I receive, "So how did you two meet anyway?" This question always strikes fear in my heart because it's super embarrassing. I have now known Mark longer than I haven't and so I feel like I have crossed a threshold in age and can safely share this story without you thinking I am still like that. I still wonder why Mark gave me the time of day.
Here we go. Don't judge me. It all started with a drive on the highway. I was in a car full of my girlfriends just after graduating from high school. We were headed to neighboring Boulder from Denver. They were dropping me off at my then-boyfriend's house because we were inevitably due for a breakup talk. After the talk we girls would head out for a night on the town. While speeding north on I-25--and this is where the story gets really mortifying and my heart starts to beat irregularly--we approached a car full of cute boys. We were all ridiculously boy crazy and ever-ready to meet someone new. I can't believe I'm telling you this. The boy car noticed our girl car and a lot of mutual winking, waving, and gyrating ensued. While undoubtedly breaking the speed limit and taking multiple lives into our hands we all agreed to pull off at the next exit. Ugh. I'm so mortified to be typing this. We overly-hormonal teenagers all stepped out of our cars and introduced ourselves to one another. Where, oh where, was our self-respect and any sense of safety!? I will kill my daughters if they ever do anything like this. We exchanged PAGER numbers and hung out again that week. Thankfully, I did not pair off with any of these particular boys, as Mark was not one of them.
A short-time later, my boy-crazed friends and I headed out on a Tuesday night to a local dance club called Rock Island. Can I get a "what, what?" from all the Denverites? I actually had to borrow a fake ID to enter this club, as I was still 17 and the club was 18 and over. Who uses a fake ID to be 18?? While we ladies bobbed our heads to the music and made our way around the perimeter of the dance floor we stumbled upon the group of boys from the highway-car-meetup. They had a few extra guys with them. One was especially tall, dark, and handsome. We chatted a bit, acted nonchalant, and were careful not to commit. Never know who else you might meet at Rock Island.
In super cool fashion, I started having trouble with my asthma and needed a break near the wall. Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome was nearby. He approached and said, "Nice cross," indicating the gold cross necklace that I was wearing. Yes, believe it or not, I was a Christian at this time--obviously not exactly sold out for Jesus, but a Christian nonetheless. After the cross compliment I kind of gave up hope of actually connecting with this guy--I mean who uses a cross necklace to pick up a chick? But a conversation started between us and we really hit it off. We took our chat closer to the door and further away from the music and spent about 45 minutes getting to know one another. Turns out he had just turned 21. Woops. I was 17. Well, no need to divulge that minor detail right now, I thought (read next week's Throwback Thursday to see how that came back to bite me).
During that chat Mark told me he wanted to be a pastor. He was a student at Colorado State University and wanted to attend Denver Seminary and go into ministry. Somehow my super immature and carnal heart fell hard for this guy. Not only was he taller than me (a first, trust me), he was also hot and wanted to be a pastor. What?? Hello, perfect man. I may have been a stupid teenager but I'm thinking the Holy Spirit in me planted love at first sight then and there. I gave him my phone number (I wasn't cool enough for a pager) and told my mom the minute I got home, "I met the man I'm gonna marry." Creepy, right? I know. Who thinks that when she's 17, clearly on the wrong path when it comes to boys, and headed off to college in another state in three weeks? But I did--I seriously knew that night that Mark was meant to be my husband.
Mark played it cool and didn't call me for a couple days. Jerk. When he did I was ecstatic. He took me on our first date to a delicious Italian restaurant, miniature golfing, and then for ice cream. It was perfect. He was the first guy I had ever been out with who was respectful, treated me kindly, and was clearly not out for his own interests (only, at least). He was a perfect gentleman--unlike any guy ever before him (duh, Jen, you were in a habit of throwing yourself at boys at highway exits--how'd you think those winners would treat you??). We had three weeks to hang out and then I was headed to DePauw University in Indiana. We made the most of our time and then began our long-term and fairly rocky, thanks to me, relationship.
The big take away from the story of how Mark and I met is that God is sovereign! He is truly in charge of all things! When people ask me this dreaded question I hesitate because I'm not quite sure how to answer. They always fill the silence with, "At church, right? Oh, wait, did you meet on the mission field? Or maybe in a college bible study?" They always see my blank face and eventually wait for my answer...usually I just say, "Mutual friends." It's true! The mutual friends were the boys in the car on the highway.
And now I will remove my palm from my face, press publish, and hope you all have a great laugh. You know me better after this read.