A LOVE STORY: by kaitlynn peterson
Hi! My name is Kaitlynn, and I am so excited to share my love story with you...
I gave my heart to the Lord seven years ago at the age of 19. God saved me out of a life entrenched in sin and darkness and brought me into HIS marvelous light. I was living in Hawaii at the time when the Lord wanted me to move back to Beaverton, a place that I definitely did not want to return to considering this is where I grew up and had moved away from on purpose. I had left my old life behind and was coming to the same place to start fresh.
When I moved back here I started going to Solid Rock. I was instantly home, I felt so loved, welcomed and embraced, like I belonged. I thrived, grew and started to heal. I was like a hungry newborn needing to eat every hour. I was going to church on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and soaking up all the Lord was pouring on to me. I was new.
I started to make the best of friends and loved being a part of The Way, which was the college age ministry at the time. I never considered dating or even liking anyone because I knew Gods heart for me at the time was to find and learn who I was in Him first, there was also lots of healing to be done. He was showing me how to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
As time passed and I had begun to grow firm roots in Jesus, I was ready and started to date this guy, who is wonderful, and godly. Our relationship was pure and fruitful, but he just wasn't right for me. By Gods's grace it didn't work out. It was so healthy for me to have had that experience and I share this with you because I know a lot of people when they experience a relationship that doesn't end in marriage they see this as a failure. I didn't. That relationship set a standard for me that I knew I couldn't go below. For that I am GRATEFUL.
In the summer of 2007, I was focusing on school and an upcoming missions trip to India. There were amazing people from the church on the trip and a few of them had just begun dating. Those relationships looked different. Something about them was so natural, easy, just perfect, like you were watching God write their love stories in front of your eyes…I wanted that. Not in an impatient way, but a 'lay it down at the feet of the Lord' kind of way. I specifically prayed for that: to have it be quick, perfect, certain and so from God there was no mistaking it.
I came back from India with a freshness and excitement. I was content. I didn't want anything except deeper intimacy with Jesus and dating was honestly the last thing on my mind.
One night at The Way as I was listening to the teaching and taking notes, he caught my eye. This handsome, unfamiliar face that I couldn't stop glancing at… I was so distracted.
At church, I became aware of where he was in a room, and I would suddenly "find myself" in the same area as him or talking with the people around him. I was so surprised by how he affected me. Every little exchange we had would would knock the wind out of me. I was so embarrassed every time I got to talk to him because I was sure he could tell how nervous I was.
One Friday night, there was late worship after The Way. I was really tired and probably should have gone straight home afterwards; instead I went over and started talking to a group of people, which he happened to be in. I was going out on a friends boat the next day and I thought I should invite him. So I turned to face him, while someone else was talking, and singling him out I blurted, "Do you want to come out on my friends boat tomorrow?"
He asks, "Um, sure. Well who should I call?"
"Oh you can call me…"
I wanted the words back in my mouth, SO BAD.
This may not seem like that big of a deal, but let me clarify by saying I am shy, and would never have: A) invited a guy I barely know to go anywhere, and B) given out my phone number to a guy I have a crush on with out him asking.
While this awkward dialogue is happening externally there is an internal dialogue where I am yelling at myself to STOP. I quickly redacted with, "Wait, let me give you my friends number instead…"
More silence… Then someone else started talking, and he never asked for the number. So I slipped out of there as fast as I could, trying not to think about what had just happened.
The next morning before boating I went to breakfast with a friend, telling her all about the "incident". We were laughing hysterically and then my phone rings with some random number…
"Hi Miss, this is Ryan Wesley Peterson..."
I was shocked: he got my number somehow and ended up coming out on the boat. The whole time we were staring at one another, just awestruck by the other. My friend teases me still about that day on the boat because of how gaga we were.
So we started to talk and spend time together. He was perfect to me.
Ryan was playing in a touring band at the time and was frequently out of town so in the beginning, before we "officially" started dating, we spent a lot of time on the phone. We would talk for hours about everything. I have never been able to talk to anyone like that. He came into town and asked me out on a date. On October 2nd 2007, we had our first date. He picked me up and we walked all over Portland, talking, laughing, going on little adventures. It was cold but I didn't notice. We went to the Ace hotel and snuck up onto the fourth story fire escape and talked forever. Our date lasted something like 10 hours.
Everything was so… EASY. On october 4th, Ryan asked me to be his girlfriend and the next day he left for a two month long tour.
For those two months we learned about each other over phone, email, and iChat. I saw that he was a man that pursued and loved God with all his heart. His life reflected that. He was the first person I met that truly had a servants heart. I was so impressed by his character the more I got to know him. He was someone I looked up to, respected and wanted to follow. I was falling in love. Sometime during mid-november he became a little distant, the emails started to become sparse and phone chats weren't as long. My 22nd birthday was the 14th and he didn't really mention it so I convinced myself that I was about to be broken up with.
Two days later I got a HUGE box in the mail, and as I opened it I cried… It was filled with 22 different gifts specifically picked out to show that He knew me. He had studied me. Each item came with a page long hand written letter explaining the item and what it meant. The packaging he used to keep everything safe was a hundred pages with "Im crazy about you" written over and over. He KNEW me.
Right then and there, with tears on my cheeks, I knew Ryan was my husband. I wrote in my journal that night, " I want a love story written by Love Himself. I love him, I am crazy about him. I would marry him if You led and he asked. Thank you Father for your sweet grace and your love for me through Ryan."
He came home for thanksgiving and told me he loved me. I loved him back.
On April 1st he asked me to marry him on that same fourth story fire escape at the Ace hotel.
On July 26th 2008, The day I became his wife, I wrote these scriptures in my journal:
"The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:11-12.
"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate" Matthew 19:6
"You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen." Deuteronomy 10:20-21
In November of 2010, God gave us the sweetest gift: our son, Truman.
And now we have another little one on the way!
Ryan is the answer to my prayers. He covers me the way that Jesus does. He sees me as new and God has used him as a part of my redemption, and continues to use Him. He is my best friend, my lover and the most special surprise of my life. A covering of grace. As with the others, God wrote our love story (I know that there is no possible way I could have). I am so thankful for Ryan and for our life together. We are continuing to learn about one another and grow together. We have been married for almost four years and I fall more in love with him, I deeply respect who he is. I discover more each day that he is what I need. Our marriage is filled with times of bliss and joy and fun and times of sharpening, failing, repenting and learning. We are by no means perfect but I know that we are growing more in God's likeness.
Waiting for the person you marry looks different for everyone. Some people get married young, some when they are older. Some people date and marry one person. Some date a few before they get married. Some people don't get married. Everyone comes from unique walks of life. So of course, all the stories of waiting, falling in love and getting married and living life look different. When it is right, the common thread is that God is Author. And in the waiting for the desires of your heart, it is vital to allow Him to prepare you, learning to find satisfaction in Jesus alone.
"Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." Psalm 27:14