The Story of Us, part 1

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our 2-year wedding anniversary is this Thursday, December 22.  I have been wanting to share our story for some time, but always find reasons not to.  I figured our anniversary week was as good a time as any!  Without further ado...the story of us, part 1:

I met Max in 2007, when I got a job at a local coffee shop.  We worked together and he is actually the one who trained me into my job.  I vividly remember meeting him, noticing his long fingernails and white-blond hair.  I came to learn that he went to a small Bible college in the area and was dating someone.  We were simply coworkers and the relationship was very, very platonic, although I sure did look forward to the nights that I worked with Max - probably because we had real, in-depth discussions about interesting topics, and because we had fun.  I knew very little about him other than the basics, and besides, I was involved (and I use the term involved in the very loosest of ways) with someone.

Now, let's backtrack a few years to give you a little background into how I had ended up working at the coffee shop.  For most of my childhood, I had held hard and strong onto the dream of becoming a Veterinarian, and pursued that goal with many of my hobbies and activities through junior high and high school.  I graduated high school and began an Animal Science degree at North Dakota State University, with all intent on going to Vet school after that.  The summer of 2006, after my sophomore year at NDSU, I took a job with YouthWorks! in Birmingham, Alabama.  That summer, my job was to coordinate community service projects for the groups of students that came each week on their mission trip.  I was exposed to many issues (poverty, addiction, homelessness, homicide, lack of education, racism) that I had never before encountered growing up in a white, upper-middle class, suburban environment, and my heart was changed.  I left that summer and headed back to NDSU with the idea that I no longer wanted to be a Veterinarian, although I was not certain of what exactly it was I wanted to do.  I spent a semester trying out a few different fields, and at the end of that semester, set myself up to travel in Up with People for the following semester.

Up with People is a global education program through which I had the opportunity to travel throughout the southern United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Thailand for 6 months.  I traveled with a cast of students from 19 countries, and along the way we stayed with host families, did community service, put on a musical show, and discussed many different topics together.  It was an amazing experience that had a big impact on my life and the way I view the world.

I came home from Up with People the summer of 2007, unsure of a lot of things.  I had just experienced a lot of cultures, peoples, places, and ideas.  I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life.  I was unsure of who I was.  I was unsure of who I wanted to be.  I was unsure of what exactly I believed.  And so began my year of questioning, of wandering.  Sometimes I refer to this year as my "rebellious year", the year of testing the waters, so to speak.  I was questioning a lot of things in my life.  

I decided to transfer to the University of Minnesota and began pursuing a Global Studies degree, with a focus on Africa and on environmental sustainability.  I moved in with my Grandma, got a job working as a barista at the local coffee shop, and met Max.  And we were coworkers, and it was fun.  That spring, I ended, with much finality, the relationship I was in.  And around the same time, unknown to either of us, Max broke-up with his girlfriend.  He went out and pierced his lip, and I began allowing myself to question and work through a lot of the things I had been wandering away from.

It was around this time that we started more of a friendship, rather than simply a working relationship.  Texts began being exchanged, and one night, at the beginning of summer 2008, Max showed up to Grandma's house after work, and we sat at the picnic table and talked for hours.  That talking and hanging out continued every day after work, in spite of Max living and working a second job almost an hour away.  We would drive around, play frisbee at the park, get coffee, and talk.  Max allowed me to talk about my faith and ask questions that I had been afraid to ask and work through.  He gave me the space for that questioning to be ok and pushed me to seek answers for myself.

It became quite apparent to those around us that there was something more going on, although Max and I denied it for weeks, trying to convince ourselves that we were simply 'just friends'.  By July, we were dating, and I was smitten.  I knew by then that the relationship was serious, and that I could see myself marrying him.  We were together all the time, going on dates, hanging out, doing life together.  I started my fifth year of college and second year at the U of M, happily plugging away at my degree.  And Max dropped out of college, due to low grades that followed some poor academic choices.  He was searching for what to do with his life.  He started talking about the military as a next step, and in January, met with Marine Corps recruiters and enlisted in the delayed-entry program.  He was set to ship out to USMC boot camp April of 2009.  I was excited for him, and encouraged him in his pursuit, assuring him that if we were meant to last, that we would, that God would guide us.

And I believed that to be true.  You see, our relationship was built on a foundation more solid than just he and I - we had started dating with Jesus at the center, as the foundation.  I vividly remember the discussion we had when we started dating, and how we agreed that we wanted Jesus to be glorified, that our prayer was that Jesus would be more glorified by our being together, than by us being apart.  But as the months moved into fall, and then winter, a lot of the praying together stopped, and the physical aspect of our relationship began to replace it.  We started making choices that neither one of us had ever planned to make before we were married.  Choices that, deep down, we knew we were not meant to be making.

A month after Max signed those military papers, I took a pregnancy test and saw two pink lines.

And that moment, one that was supposed to be one of the happiest in my life, was honestly one of the hardest instead.

{stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!}

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  1. Great story! Can't wait to read more!

    BTW, that program "Up with People" sounds so cool. What a great opportunity.

  2. Oh goodness, yall are too cute! I love your love story saga so far.

  3. Really... you stopped there?! Looking forward to tomorrow's edition of "Max & Kaylee" =)

  4. I couldn't wait for you to write this! Loving it, and heading to read part 2 now!



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