Today Matthew and I celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary. I’m tempted to think that’s a long time. Then I realize nine years is such a short amount of time. Still, at times it can be easy to forget how much I like and love this man if I don’t sit back and remember. All the diapers, tantrums, messy floors, and stained clothes can get in the way of those mushy feelings that I used to be able to contemplate. Thus, I will share a little bit of our story. Perhaps I will add to it later.
Matthew and I met at the Agricultural Leadership Forum in the spring of 2004. The College of Ag and Life Sciences Student Council hosted the forum, and my best college friend, Kari, happened to be on the committee in charge of the seating chart for the lunch. I remember her coming over and telling me that Matthew Luensmann was going to be at my table. I was pretty excited. I don’t know how, but I had heard Matthew was smart, and I thought he would provide someone really great to talk to during the lunch. And, I have to admit that as a college girl I always wondered if we might happen to like each other. Sadly, I was very disappointed at the lunch. I tried so many topics and just could NOT get him to talk much. I was so frustrated. I mentally wrote him off and thought we would probably never talk (or have a monologue) much again. As it turns out, Matthew didn’t talked to girls much, especially not ones he thought were kind of cute!
A few weeks later, classes were wrapping up for the semester and COALS Council held their end-of-the-year Cattlemen’s Ball. (Do not envision a true ball here. Think much more rustic.) Kari and I went together in Kari’s green truck. I ended up taking tickets at the door. Matthew showed up VERY late to the event* and stopped at the entrance to talk with me. He wouldn’t leave my side. Not only would he not leave my side, but also he wouldn’t stop talking! Was this the same guy? He talked and talked and danced and danced. Hmm…and, I was actually having a great time talking to him. I later found out that Matthew was instructed by a friend to talk with me, but I think a lot of the additional talking was on his own volition. (Thanks, Julie, for that nudge!)
It was time to go. Like, the security guard was kicking us out of the parking lot. But, I was at Kari’s truck and Matthew was STILL talking. Poor Kari. I then invited Matthew back to my house to continue chatting but made Kari come along with us. Once we arrived, I offered to make cookies from my “emergency” cookie dough stash and we settled in to talk more. Matthew says the 2 a.m. cookie offer was one of the first things that made him think, “This girl is different.” Oddly enough, I think I already had cookies made, but I didn’t think they were fresh enough for him.
That evening was really the starting point for us. I have so many fluttery feelings thinking about it. I really don’t remember everything we talked about. It was so riveting that it put Kari to sleep. But, I did ask him what he believed. The question took him by surprise, and I can definitely see why it did. It’s probably not the typical middle-of-the-night question. I didn’t want to bait him into an answer by asking, “Do you believe in Jesus?” or “Are you a Christian?” We live in the Bible belt, so a lot of people would answer those questions with a “yes” even if they haven’t come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. He stumbled around with his answer some. I’m not the One who can tell you exactly where he stood, but I was pretty sure from his answer that he didn’t quite understand what it meant to be saved by grace through faith. (See Ephesians 2:8-9) Yet, I really felt like there was something there, if only an openness to the Gospel. But, I’m getting ahead of the story, and perhaps I’m even projecting later feelings into that conversation.
Matthew finally left my place. I really have no idea how I stayed up as late as I did. I hated staying up late even then. Of course, he inadvertently left his cell phone at my house, so we had to connect again soon thereafter to make that exchange. I’m holding to my story that he just wanted to make sure he saw me again soon.
*I had no idea that Matthew is a HUGE Spurs fan. There was a Spurs game that night, and he had no intention of coming to the ball on time and missing the game. There were so many Spurs games in my future after that evening.