Tom and I have lately been working on our Family Mission Statement (two great resources we’ve been using are on The Art of Manliness and Simple Mom blogs) to clarify which values and priorities we deem central to our lives together as a couple and the culture we hope to build for our family in the future. One podcast we listened to talked about the importance of family stories. According to this, kids who know their family’s stories are happier and more confident that they can face life’s ups and downs just as their family members have.
So, I started to wonder, what are our stories? As a couple, our foundational stories are how we met, what dating was like for us, our wedding, our first apartment, our lives together now. Thus, without further ado…
Before we met, Tom had had some very important life experiences. As a sophomore, he had a conversion experience on a Christian service trip, and had later engaged with his Catholic faith on a retreat with our college’s campus ministry. So when I met him on my first retreat there in my sophomore (his junior) fall, he was already on the path of Christ.
He gave a faith talk on that retreat, the story of his conversion and why he had decided to dedicate his life to God after some years of lukewarmness toward his faith. I was facing so many of the same struggles he spoke of in his talk, and I found myself thinking, “If this intelligent and well-spoken young person was able to turn things around and find joy with God, maybe I can too.” His story was beautiful. God was majestic. Tom was forgiven and loved. I needed that, and it inspired me.
We were in the same reflection group on that retreat and as I shared my own past and struggles with the group, Tom stood out as someone who really cared and knew how to listen. He was supportive and excited for me as I explored what life with Christ could be like.
The weekend was mostly about me and Jesus. Really, that’s when I fell in love with Him. But it’s also when I met Tom, the man my Good Shepherd would lead me to in time. The man who continues to lead me back to Jesus whenever things get hard or whenever it’s just too easy to be impatient or despairing or whiny or sharp-tongued.
And perhaps its even more poetic to think of how I met both my loves that weekend and even in the right order: Jesus, and then Tom. (Talk about a life-changing weekend!) It’s a good thing too, because in the coming months, I would definitely need to lean on the love of Jesus to get through the bumpy start of mine and Tom’s journey together.
More on that in the next installment!