On this day fourteen years ago, I met my husband in Tijuana, Mexico.
When people ask how we met, we say, “We met in Tijuana,” and we let that sit for a moment.
You probably know that TJ has a reputation for being a place for party goers, dancing, drinking, and meandering along Avenida Revolución looking for delicious street tacos or someone to go home with. So when two Christian people say they met there, my guess is that most people immediately think, “Hmmm….that must’ve been B.C.” (As in, “Before Christ.” We’ve all visited regrettable places before we met the Lord, amiright?)
When we explain further, people realize that our story is not scandalous at all.
We met at a daylong missions trip building houses for families in need. (We can always see the relieved expression on the person’s face when we clarify. It’s really fun.)
I was sitting in the mission with my eyes closed, singing during the time of worship when he walked into the room.
I opened my eyes and saw him.
My heart fluttered, I held my breath and shut my eyes tight.
I had been on this trip many times and each time I came, I made a commitment in my heart that it wouldn’t be about meeting some cute guy. The sole purpose is to serve God and people. This proved to be a major test of my resolve because this was guy was special. I knew it from the start. It wasn’t just because he was tall and handsome. There was a kind demeanor and a presence about him. But I pushed him out of my mind quickly, and when we were split into three groups to build three separate houses, we were not placed in the same group, and that was that.
Or so I thought.
God was totally and completely involved in our story in every way.
I’m not trying to over-spiritualize this; I just need to give credit where credit’s due. My future husband was attracted to me that day in TJ even though I wasn’t wearing makeup and was covered in dust. He liked me even after I tried ignoring him, and then, when I finally spoke to him it was to tease him about his use of the Spanish word “helado.” (I quickly apologized. To this day he swears he said “al lado.” Okay, honey.) We saw each other again in the car line exiting Mexico because the car I had been riding in stalled. He was interested in me even after the only thing I could think to say to him in that car line was, “I like your sunglasses.” (C’mon 21-year-old me! Get your game tight!)
We didn’t exchange numbers but we both prayed, unbeknownst to the other person, that we’d see each other the next night at church. It seemed like a long shot because it was a very big church with four or five different services, but we actually bumped into each other as we were walking out of the church building the very next night. Moments later, I also ran into my very chatty former math teacher from my high school days and didn’t know how to get out of the conversation so I could talk to cute guy instead. Thankfully, cute guy waited patiently, even when he thought I might be engaging in a long conversation with former math teacher in order to get rid of him. (Man, he was a keeper from the start!)
Why am I telling you all of this?
I’m telling you because sometimes in the middle of life — even 14 years after meeting and 13 years of marriage — a grumpy frumpy mommy like me can forget certain things. Eleven moves, three children, joys and losses, petty arguments, and countless loads of dishes and laundry can make a person forget the specialness of how God had aligned so many things to bring two people together.
Lucky for my hubby and me, our kids love to hear the story of how we met. They ask us to tell it to them often, usually around the dinner table.
“Daddy, tell us about when you met Mommy and she made fun of your Spanish!”
This just started about six months ago, and you’d think they’d be tired of it by now. But there is something powerful — maybe even sacred — about talking about an event of the past…recalling…remembering.
In Deuteronomy 11:18-19, God instructed the Jews about His commands in this way:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
We have to keep our commitments to God and to each other — as well as the sacred moments in time — at the forefront of our minds regularly. In the New International Version of the Bible, the word “remember” occurs 231 times. Maybe because God knew how forgetful His children could be? Psalm 77:11 says:
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
Fourteen years ago, the Lord performed a gracious deed when He caused my future husband and best friend to walk through the doors of that old mission. He brought so many things together that could have fallen apart. And for reasons I will never understand but am so very thankful for, He caused that man’s heart to love me. Out of all the women in the world — many of whom would have been a more suitable height for him, more athletic, more easygoing, less passionate about everything.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3
Ladies, it’s good to think often about the day you met your husband.
Think about how you felt. What attracted you to him. What kinds of things you said to each other. How you flirted. Even if you didn’t like your husband when you first met (it happens!), think about the day you fell in love with him. I’m assuming you eventually fell in love, otherwise you wouldn’t be married, right? Remember that person. Better yet, remember how you prayed to God that He would bring the right person into your life. And He did.
Remember. Remember. Remember. It’s powerful — and it brings gifts of gratitude and joy along with it.