Addison and Justin

How We Met

Justin was all the talk of the town when I was a wee little freshman in high school. I remember hearing about him all the freakin’ time but never actually having any clue who he was. One night after band camp (tbh not even sure at this point how his name came up at band camp of all places but here we are) I looked him up on Facebook on my sick iPod touch and I was smitten. Through that fateful Facebook search, I found out that we were actually on the same mission team from our hometown – Christian Adventurers. A-ha – THIS is where I’d remembered hearing so much about him! He was the cutest darned thing, he had the voice of an angel, and he loved Jesus! Triply smitten at this point. One problem – he was almost five years older than me. Flash forward to a mission trip to Southport, NC in August 2013. JY wasn’t on this trip but I remember his name coming up on the ride home and for some weird reason feeling lil butterflies in my tummy. I didn’t even know this guy and knew he was out of my league about a million times over but I remember blurting out to a leader on the trip “ooh that boy is really handsome.”

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I could tell you the exact place on the interstate I said this, too. His name stuck around in my head for a couple months after that. I was about to start my senior year of high school and didn’t really feel like having a boyfriend when I started college. I messaged him on twitter after he’d been favoriting all my tweets and told him we should hang out sometime, thinking nothing would ever come of it, and that if anything ever did, we would definitely just be friends. A couple weeks later, he messaged me to ask for my number and I lowkey fell out onto my floor and told all my girl friends. A couple months later, the world’s handsomest man walked into a movie theater for a midnight showing of Catching Fire. I remember thinking “crap, why did I just invite this guy to a movie with a bunch of high schoolers” and knowing for sure he’d never want to speak to me again after that. But alas, I handed him his ticket with visibly shaky hands and we went into the movie.

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JY continued to pursue me so well, met my parents, and all of my band geek friends (who at the time very embarrassingly called him “SoundCloud Justin”), and I slowly but surely fell in love with him. I have never for one second doubted his love for me or for The Lord. JY was so patient to walk with me through so many periods of transition – high school graduation, starting UNC, him graduating UNCG, getting his first job, and now onto him buying a house and starting yet another new job! Here we are almost four years later and it’s been the most fun to walk beside each other during it all. The Lord has been so gracious to us and gifted us with so much. My whole life has looked different (in the sweetest way) since JY walked into it and I have overwhelmingly seen The Lord’s hand in our lives. JY pushes me to walk boldly into others’ hurt and brokenness and share with them the treasure we’ve found in Christ and demonstrates to me daily the love Christ has for us all. Justin is God’s sweetest gift to me (dad jokes and all).

How He Asked

I knew pretty soon into dating Justin that he was the guy I’d marry. Figuring out when that’d be was a little trickier. There was a period of about two months around my birthday that no matter what we did or where we went, I thought that JY would probably propose to me that night. Those two months came and went and I quickly got over myself. One night my best friend Kait texted me and wanted us to go on a double date with her and her new beau (hey alex). I was pumped for that and so was JY, so we made plans to meet Sunday night in downtown Durham at Justin’s apartment. JY and I went to church early that morning, came back to my apartment and made lunch, and then JY went home to “study for the CPA exam.” (lil sneaky sneak) I took a nap and got ready for our double date, and left a solid 20 min later than I was planning to (sry Justin). My drive over to his apartment was so sweet – I remember how beautiful the sunset looked and how so many love songs and my favorite worship songs kept shuffling on Spotify.

My heart felt so content. I parked outside J’s apartment and noticed that the gate had been propped open so I didn’t need to call him to let me in. I started to feel like something might happen but shook it off because Kait was SO convincing that we were about to go get burgers. I walked up to Justin’s apartment and knocked on the door. He just yelled “come in” instead of coming to the door and I thought “well dang, that’s kinda rude” (once again, sry Justin) As soon as I opened the door, a song that’s really special to Justin and me started playing and there were Christmas lights hung everywhere. My heart leapt and candles on the ground led me to three notes JY had written to me, that sequentially told the story of our relationship through his eyes.

When I got to the end of the letters, JY was standing in a tea-candle-heart with his hands behind his back. My vision went blurry here and I can’t remember a ton of what he said, but he got down on one knee and asked me to be his freakin’ WIFE. My two sisters and his best friend Justin popped out and we laughed and cried and hugged a lot. He told me we were gonna go celebrate with fried pickles at Tyler’s Taproom, so off we went. There was another surprise waiting for me there – at least 15 of our friends waiting there to celebrate us! It was hands down the sweetest day of my life.

Special Thanks

Elise Holsonback
Photographer