Jesse and I met in college and were privileged to work on the same staff together after college. We had mutual friends and got to hang out and get to know each other quite a bit before we ever started dating.
In God’s goodness, He healed me from a broken heart from a previous relationship, and in God’s omniscience, He knew I would not only take some time for healing but that I would also need someone who would simply be my friend and be there for me whether I asked for it or not. Jesse unquestionably was that friend.
After some chasing and some flirting and some more chasing, Jesse and I started dating in the summer of 2013. Our first date was Fourth of July, and it was a BLAST! I hadn’t laughed that hard in…who knows how long!
My guard was up, to say the least. I loved spending time with Jesse, and I knew he had zero intentions of hurting me. Ever. But my guard was up nonetheless. I wasn’t going down that road again. One day after we left hanging out with friends, Jesse decided it was time for me to know something: he wasn’t going away. I was behind a locked gate (according to the picture he drew for me), and he was standing outside the door, patiently waiting. There was no rush to open the door. No rush to do anything I didn’t want to do. But he was there, waiting. And he would be there when I was ready to open the door. He wasn’t going away. (Was that a dare? I’m sick, I know…)
When I was about to go home for Christmas, Jesse gave me something I’d always wanted: a free-standing mirror… and then he told me he loved me! I did some serious praying in Texas while Jesse and I were apart. I knew I couldn’t be wrong again. My heart couldn’t handle it. But God – as He always does – gave me direction and peace. He gave me a verse that basically said “trust and obey.” And so when I returned to California, I happily said, “I love you back.”
One particular Memorial Day, we both had the day off, and Jesse said that we could go hiking (that’s my JAM!) and that I could invite a friend or two if I wanted. I picked the place and packed some snacks, and we were off. Oh, and I brought some clothes to change in to for dinner because I know Jesse likes to eat at nice places (that’s his jam!). So after getting to the famous bridge (of The Bridge to Nowhere) and enjoying some waterfalls and some rest, we were starting the 5 mile hike back when Jesse stopped me on the bridge to tell me how much he loved me. And to be honest, it took a little while for me to realize he was actually proposing, considering the whole day was “my” idea (which is what he wanted me to think!). Needless to say, he totally caught me off guard, and that’s all I wanted.
Photography that is not my own (first and last picture) is by Autum Vaught Photography.