Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our story: episode one

I was laying on my parents' couch, iPhone in hand, adding names to a list titled "People I would go on a date with" when the Lord dropped my future husband's name into my mind. 

Taylor Kiker.

I had just graduated from college, ended a relationship I knew wasn't altar bound, and—after a season—figured it was time to start dating again. Hence the list. Tim Tebow took the (highly coveted, I'm sure) first spot, and a collection of Major League Baseball players who were purportedly Christian (as in, they used Switchfoot or Jeremy Camp for their walk up songs) followed. Rounding out my Fantasy Dating League were a few guys from church and randomly selected crushes-du-jour.

Taylor Kiker.

You know that "came out of nowhere" phrase? Hearing his name during the summer of 2011 was exactly that—a whisper borne from nothingness, but spoken clearly and with assurance. What in the world?

I mean sure, we grew up together . . . kind of. Our families were friends, and we all attended First Baptist Carrollton back when Taylor and I looked like this:

He's had my attention from way back when.

But in the third grade Taylor's family moved away, and spent the next few years traveling (and living) around the world for his father's job. The next time I really remember seeing him, I was 14 years old. The buzz around the church gym was that "Taylor Kiker was in town, he was really hot, and he brought a friend with him." 

Taylor, top left. Me, bottom left. Oh, my.

Needless to say, Taylor's presence did not go unnoticed by me or any other 15-ish-year-old female lucky enough to be in youth group that morning. That height! Those surfer-esque locks! AND he brought a friend?! My exact words on an Xanga entry were, "Um, North Carolina trip, anyone?"

But after that, nothing. Until the list. Until I heard his name.

Taylor Kiker.

Unlike the other names on my list, his seemed real somehow. It sparked. Naturally, I went into my dad's home office to do something about it.

"Give me a reason to contact Taylor Kiker," I said.

My dad should have said something like, "Excuse me, what? Random!" Instead, he thought for a minute and responded, "We've been thinking about taking a vacation in North Carolina. Why don't you ask him what's cool to see up there? Oh, and tell his dad I say 'hi'."

Then, this Facebook message happened:

"Hi Taylor! I just got back from vacation and saw that you added me, I know it may have seemed random but my family has been talking about finally visiting North Carolina since I'm home from school and it reminded all of us of your family! I'm not even sure if you're home for the summer, but if you have any suggestions about what we should plan on seeing, that would be great. Also, my dad said to tell your dad hello - I think he's planning on getting in touch with him soon if we actually do make it out there. Hope all is well!"

Taylor should have said something like, "This is clearly a clever, but thinly-disguised excuse to contact me. Please stop creeping on my Facebook. Are you a stalker? Additionally, you use too many exclamation points."

Instead, get this: The next day he messaged me back, told me that his dad had been working in Dallas for the last year, and encouraged my dad to get in touch with him.

My dad called his dad. Turns out, Taylor was coming to visit two weeks later. My dad invited the guys to join my family for a Rangers baseball game. We all went.

Oh hey, future hubs, future father-in-law, and forever-dad all in one photo!

On the ride to the game and back, Taylor and I had amazing, spirit-sparking conversations. And when I say spirit-sparking, I mean I could literally feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as Taylor shared his testimony, and I caught glimpses of his heart for adventure and openness to the things of God. He was hungry, passionate. There was so much I wanted to say to this person who so clearly understood life the same way I did, but I was more than aware that there wasn't nearly enough time. 

In a month, I was moving to Southern France to work as an au pair. In just a few days, Taylor was going back to school in North Carolina. 

As if that combo wasn't enough of a story-ender, I later found out that my dad also dropped THIS bomb when I wasn't in the room:

"Kar's dating a French guy right now. It's like a fairytale!"

At this point, you're probably already starting to see why I consider our marriage to be a miracle. But there's still so much left to tell. Like, was I really dating a French guy? Did Taylor and I continue talking while I was living overseas? How did our families end up reconnecting? And how did a hand-made turkey card turn out to be the ultimate "game changer" in our relationship, anyway?

To find out, you'll have to stay tuned for episode two. And three. And . . . well, we'll see.

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