Ashlee and Aaron
How We Met
Aaron came into my at the most unexpected time. In short, we met at church. I was done high school and about to move away for college in a month. I was not seeking a relationship and really wanted nothing to do with men. That’s when God graciously brought Aaron into my life when I wasn’t looking and least expected it. After many failed high school relationships and struggling a lot with my self-worth, family and friendships, I found myself at a very low point in my late teens. I was tired emotionally and damaged psychologically. I was ready for a change of scenery, to leave everything in Grand Rapids behind and find a new life.
My co-worker at the time, Lauren, had been asking me for months to join her at her local church, just 10 minutes from my house. I brushed her off many times, knowing that my relationship with God was fragile, broken and I was not interested in revisiting my faith. Finally, I agreed to go with her on a Wednesday night at a young adults worship gathering. When we arrived, I noticed Aaron immediately from across the room in a crowd of people. Tall, dark and handsome. But my low confidence made me very shy. He sat in the row in front of me at church with Lauren’s mutual friend Jenny. Aaron was brought that same night to the church by Jenny, just as Lauren had invited me. I guess it was fate you could say. The place I so desperately did not want to be created my most cherished relationship.
We spent the remainder of the night in a living room surrounded by people we didn’t know and just chatted about life, our dreams, family and friends. It was refreshing really, to have a genuine conversation with someone who didn’t know anything about you. Who didn’t judge you for your past, but accepted you for the now. Aaron met me at my worst when I thought so low of myself and never believed anyone could love me again. For the few weeks to follow before I packed up my life to move 2 hours from home, we spent many long days and nights together. Ever find someone who you can talk to for hours and never get bored? Aaron was that person. We said our goodbyes the night before I left for school, thinking I’d never see him again and it was only a temporary fling. However, that day began our 4-year journey of long-distance, and finally moving back home this summer after graduation to live in the same city we met in. God is good, timing is everything, and Aaron is the biggest blessing and the greatest man I will ever know and love!
How He Asked
Marriage was always a topic of conversation in our relationship, Aaron was very intentional and we didn’t see the point in dating if we didn’t see a future together. After I moved home from college, I knew engagement was in our future. But I really thought he’d propose in the winter time, so I wasn’t expecting it. Poor Aaron had the ring for 6 months before he proposed. He’s very patient, to say the least! On Friday, August 3rd Aaron had the whole day planned out.
For me, it started when my two best friends, Elly & Catherine, the women who got me through college and who are my maids of honor, showed up at my work around 4 pm, cue the first set of tears. Now to some people, this might not be a surprise, but Elly and Catherine live out of state (Iowa & Ohio) and I rarely get to see them.
They said it was a celebratory graduation present and we had dinner reservations. After dinner, we decided to meet up with Aaron and a bunch of friends at a house nearby. Once we arrived and I got out of the car, I saw that the sidewalk was lined with flower petals and candles. I saw our friend and talented videographer/photographer, Gabby Hulst, peek around the corner with her camera. Cue the second set of tears. Aaron had the cutest little set up that overlooked Reeds Lake where we had so many long conversations and adventures when we first met back in 2014. He brought the picture frame I gave him as a gift for our first photo — he still hasn’t filled that yet.
I cried tears of joy as Aaron told me how much he wanted to marry me, that he was going to be the best husband and father to our future children, that he would provide and fight for us every day and I think he mentioned something about getting me a puppy after the wedding!!!! Watching him get on one knee was incredible — “Yes, Yes, Yes!”
But my favorite part of the day was that Aaron wrote me a very special engagement note in “Our Journal”. Over our 4 years of long distance, Aaron and I wrote many letters, encouraging notes, thoughtful words, bible verses and ideas about our future together. I finally got to read words from my FIANCÉ and future HUSBAND in the same journal that has been with us through every step in our relationship.
After the proposal, Aaron planned an engagement party with our closest friends and family on a downtown rooftop to celebrate! He is quite the secret keeper and I am so excited to marry my best friend! #2HeartsLincolnTogether