Lilly and Josh
How We Met
To start, we’ve gotta go way back. January 2014–I’m literally arguing with God on my drive to church. Pissed off and slightly broken hearted over my lack of love life I gripped the steering wheel tightly as I finally surrendered the one thing I just couldn’t seem to let go of, my heart. I trusted God and His faithfulness, but I was getting impatient. So cruising down the 101, I threw my hands up and gave up the idea of ever meeting my future husband in California….but with one catch “God, if I ever meet a guy, could I PLEASE at least meet him at church?!?”
Well, sometimes God works fast. And fifteen minutes later, there sat this handsome guy in cowboy boots in front of me…at church.
The next year and a half was a whirlwind of Texas two-step, dating adventures in southern California, road trips (LOTS of road trips) moving to Montana, falling in love, moving to North Dakota, moving back to California, moving to Washington, dating long distance, too many hours spent in airports to count, thousands of miles driven between North Dakota, California & Washington, countless hours spent on Skype, even more hours on the phone doing bible studies, hundreds of miles of hiking trails explored, five (or more) broken cell phones and a lot of adventures and mishaps in between. So as you can see, things get a little complicated when people ask how and where we met.
How He Asked
And this brings us to October 15, 2015. On my way to pick up a dear friend at the airport, I had no idea what the day would hold. Brooke had asked me what felt like months prior if she could stay with me during an photo shoot in Seattle. A missed ferry and a few wrong turns later and we were on Whidbey Island, rushing to the beach for the last little bit of the sunset.
The Olympic Mountains were glowing pink with the cotton candy sky that reflected off the water, my favorite kind of sunset. The islands in the distance soaked in the last few minutes of sunlight as Brooke and I made our way down to the sand. Looking out, I saw a trail of yellow and orange rose petals and candles that led up to a beautifully constructed driftwood cross. “Look Brooke–someone is getting married here tonight!” I exclaimed with excitement. Not wanting to ruin someone else’s moment, I suggested we go somewhere else. Clearly I wasn’t really getting it…yet.
Cue Randy Houser’s “Like a Cowboy” and a confused look spread across my face, in the distance I see someone walking towards me and all of the sudden–it clicked. There was no couple Brooke was meeting for an engagement shoot and this set-up of roses and love notes in the sand, it was for me. I turned around and Brooke was snapping pictures as Josh and I walk towards each other.
You know how you dream of a moment for years and all the sudden it’s happening? Well it’s a lot more overwhelming than everyone makes it out to be. Josh and I rush towards each other and I can’t even cry, I’m happy, excited and confused all at the same time. How did he get here? What is going on? Is this what I think it is?
Josh leads me to the cross and shares with me a letter he wrote. Well honestly–it was more like a rap….that’s a long story. When Josh and I first started dating, we would send each other Man Crush Monday and Woman Crush Wednesday rhymes that essentially turned into long raps constructed during the early morning hours when we should have been working. He shares his heart, his love, his hopes for the future as the love songs I’ve been listening to for months play in the background. He sits me down and sings to me “Never Stop” (go look it up & you’ll definitely understand why I cried the whole time.)
After many tears, laughs and butterflies Josh tells me how he hopped on a plane a week earlier to go back to all of the special places we went together when we first started dating in southern California. He then pulls out a water bottle of dirt. Ok, ok stick with me–this is some meaningful dirt. The first time Josh and I ever hung out was a spontaneous day spent driving to San Diego with the windows down, country music blasting, breakfast at the beach, a traffic-filled drive home, a long, windy drive into the mountains, capped off by a sunset hike at the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. So Josh knew he wanted to propose on that very mountain, but with me being the hardest person to surprise, he knew he’d have to bring Sandstone Peak to me.
Teary eyed, he poured out this nearly sacred dirt at my feet as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I could barely breathe, see, feel my face as I somehow managed to say yes. The ring box could have been empty or crawling with spiders and I never would have noticed. After a long hug of tears and joy, he slipped the ring on my finger. Cue more tears.
We prayed and worshipped at the foot of the cross that Josh had so thoughtfully constructed. God’s faithfulness has never been more clear and evident than it was in that moment. The sun was long gone, but the sky was still glowing with every shade of pinks and purples. Josh handed me a book that I’d mentioned to him a few times when we started dating. “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” My parents had given me the world version years ago but I had always wanted the US & Canada version. Josh had marked a page–Whidbey Island, the very spot we sat. Cue even more tears.
Josh then tells me we’ll be hopping on a plane in the morning to celebrate with my family and friends in California. And just when you thought more tears weren’t possible, here we go again. After a delicious dinner at a Seattle restaurant that stayed open late for us, I’m pretty sure I just lived out a fairy tale a thousand times better than I could have ever dreamed of. My face hurts from smiling so much, I’ve run out of happy tears and I can’t even sleep. God was so good to me when He gave me this man. Joshua Kyle Cristy–I can’t wait to marry you!!!