JeriLynn and Stephen
How We Met
Stephen and I met in the fall of 2010 during my freshman year, and his sophomore year of college at Austin Peay State University. We were never really formally introduced, but had mutual friends with which we both spent a lot of time.
Stephen expressed his attraction pretty early on, but being a freshman I wasn’t so sure about these “college boys” so I kind of kept him at arms length. Late in the semester, Stephen and his family experienced the loss of his grandmother. To be closer to them, Stephen decided to transfer to a school in Memphis (where he’s from) and be at home for a semester. Even though we were 3 hours a part during this time, we still remained really close- texting or calling on a daily basis. After the end of that semester, Stephen decided to return to APSU, all while I have decided to transfer schools indefinitely and would be an hour and a half away. STILL through this move, we remained such good friends and kept each other filled in on our lives.
Fast forward to spring semester of 2012, Stephen and I had lost touch a little bit. We didn’t talk near as much. (And I think I was mad about something, but who knows?!) During this semester, I had really began to work on my faith and grow closer to God. A friend of mine had started inviting me to go to a worship service with him and some other friends. We began going together every week, and even though the service didn’t provide an actual “sermon”, the presence of God in that room was always so amazing and captivating. At some point or another during this time, a girl I knew had told me that she had been praying for her future husband. I had never in my life heard of doing such a thing, but began to give it a try. I had included this prayer into my daily routine, and after a few months of doing so, I get a text from Stephen around 1 AM one April morning. It was kind of perfect timing, because I was so restless that night and had exhausted every app on my phone and was at a loss of how else I could occupy myself. His text message was such a sweet string of words apologizing for (whatever I was mad about and) not keeping in touch as well as we had in the past. I remember him saying that he was beginning to realize that life was too short to spend it away from the people who mean the most. Of course I had to reply immediately!
This is really where the story of us truly begins. We went back to talking all day everyday, but something was so different about it this time. I knew I had God on my side keeping the Mr. Wrongs away, so something had to be special about this one.
By the beginning of summer 2012, Stephen had asked me out on at least half a dozen dates, but for some reason I kept declining and making things more difficult (of course). One night I finally agreed to have dinner after work. He told me he’d cook for me and also had a surprise planned. Unbeknownst to me, Stephen had cooked my favorite meal and had planned for us to watch the sunset. Evidently I had other plans, because I showed up almost an hour late and totally missed the sunset. Being such a sweetheart, Stephen didn’t even bat an eye. He heated up our food and ate dinner while he agreed to watch my favorite childhood movie, Matilda.
Three and a half years later, and two of those years spent over 200 miles apart, we are so blessed to be where we are today. We are so excited that God has selected us to embark on this journey together.
How He Asked
It happened on a Friday and I had been wondering if it was coming for a little while. He had made dinner plans for this Friday evening- but strange dinner plans. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but obviously was secretly hoping it would happen. I had been talking my colleagues ears off about it all week!
I was teaching in my classroom towards the end of the school day (and was really excited I actually had a chance to teach social studies!). My principal comes into my room and asks if I can have the teacher next door watch my class because he needs to talk with me about something in the office. At first I was freaking out, because being sent to the principal’s office never becomes less scary, but he just wanted to discuss my grade levels wish list that I had just emailed to him the night before. So, we are sitting in his office with the school accountant and they are asking me very strange questions. “So, y’all have construction paper on this list. What do you plan on using that for?”, they asked. A few moments later, the school secretary pops her head in and says I am needed in my room. This is when I began to really freak out. I’m practically racing down the hallway thinking, “okay, who died? What could’ve possibly happened in the past five minutes that I NEED to be there?!” As I approach my classroom door, I see that it’s shut- which was odd to me since I rarely teach with the door shut. I was scared of what I was going to find in there so I gently push it open and see my nana and three of my sweet colleagues holding up phones video recording and see the cutest third graders lined up holding letters that spelled out “Future Mrs. Reed”. It was such an unbelievable perfect moment.