Thursday, April 22, 2010

Show Us Your Life- How I Met My Husband

This week on Show Us Your Life, the topic is how you met your husband....


I am aware that this is REALLY long, but it's such a huge part of my personal testimony that I really couldn't shorten it. I promise you, it's a really good story! Also, I have shared bits and pieces of our story that probably make up this entire post on a variety of occasions (in fact, I C&P'd some of this from other posts-- LAZY!). So, if you are a long time reader, this is probably all old news. Feel free to skip it. Anyway, here is the story of me and Peyton.

Peyton and I met when I was fifteen years old- it will be ten years ago this summer. He was eighteen. I don't even remember that much about him from that first summer. I had my first job (outside of babysitting and working at summer camp) working at Briarwood Swimming Pool, here in Jackson. I was a substitute concession stand worker (the "lowest" job there) and I probably worked less than ten times that summer. Peyton was a lifeguard and honestly, I don't have any clear memories of him. I know I met him and interacted with him on a couple of occasions, but I don't have any specific memories. At that point, I had a boyfriend, but he was gone all summer. Plus, I was going into ninth grade and at Prep that is still considered junior high and Peyton was getting ready for his freshman year of college. He was REALLY not a prospect at that point.

Fast forward to the next summer. I was sixteen, had been cheated on and dumped by my boyfriend (whom I still consider my "first love"), and had a new boyfriend. The new boyfriend was also away for the summer and I was now a full time concession stand worker.
I developed a huge crush on one of the lifeguards at the pool (NOT Peyton) and was trying to decide if I should break up with my boyfriend, who I had never had a real connection with anyway. [He was really fun and we had a blast spending time together, but he was more of a best friend than anything else.] The lifeguard I liked kind of went back and forth over weather or not he liked me, and by the end of summer nothing had come of it. During this time, Peyton was at the pool, too, in the background. He was your "good time guy" and was always making jokes and splashing around being goofy. As that summer drew to a close, my boyfriend got back home and we broke up for a variety of reasons. I spent the next year of high school becoming more and more infatuated with the lifeguard I had developed a crush on, who happened to be a senior at Prep.

The next summer, the summer following my tenth grade year, I finally started dating the boy that I had liked for over a year. It was a fun summer, but even early on that relationship required a great deal of work. It was the first "grown up" relationship I'd ever had (Peyton is the only other one) and it was difficult to say the least. He and I were both carrying around big bags of crazy--he had anxiety equal to mine and thus, we really didn't compliment each other. One or both of us were basically always creating drama. If there wasn't anything to worry about, we'd analyze our relationship to the point that we made something up. It was just not healthy.

Peyton was friends with this fellow, so we became casual friends, as well. He was such a sweet, friendly person and was always so fun and good-natured. Of all the head guards, he was the laid back boss. He did a wonderful impression of Tony the Tiger from the Frosted Flakes commercials and I loved to hear him go "grrrrrreat!" and see his arm shoot up like Tony's. My mom had seen at the pool and told me that he had the biggest smile and was so playful and easy going (so different from the way my old boyfriend and I made each other--I know I was partially responsible for that), she told me how cute he was. I totally disagreed "he's not my type", "I'm totally not attracted to him", "he's so OLD and sort of dorky". Besides, being in a relationship with someone like that would be too easy.

I dated the other boy throughout my junior year of high school. I knew the relationship wasn't the best thing for me, but I adored him. I seriously thought this guy had hung the moon. I thought he was perfect. I hung on his every word. It was really an unhealthy infatuation. He didn't treat me bad, but I let myself be in a place that was not good for me at all. We broke up twice and when we broke up for good I was distraught. I remember telling my mom I wished I was dead. I know....really intense. But teenage angst always is, right? I had watched enough Dawson's Creek to know that my feelings were perfectly normal. Um, yeah.

The summer after we broke up (the summer before my senior year of high school), was SO hard. I was now a full time lifeguard at Briarwood and trying to work with my ex boyfriend who I was still so in love with was really hard. It didn't help that we both kept analyzing things and going back and forth about if it had been the right thing to do to break up. At one point I just came in from the lifeguard stand, starting crying hysterically, and had to call a sub and go home (I know, redic, right?).

Well, one night, some of my girlfriends decided I needed a little cheering up and so they took me to a Better Than Ezra concert at Hal and Mal's. Guess who was there? Briarwood's other head lifeguard......

Peyton Herrington
[This picture was taken that night, the VERY first time Peyton and I (coincidentally) hung out outside of work--over 5 years ago! I'm so glad I have this; I treasure it so much.]

We talked and he hugged on me and we swayed back and forth to the music all night long.

After that night, Peyton and I grew closer and closer and began doing things outside of work. I would call Peyton at all hours of the night just to cry about this guy who broke my heart. And he was such a good listener. I was still mourning my previous relationship and he was SO hung up on another girl. Even though we laid under the stars in my parents backyard (sometimes getting a little closer than most "friends" would) and told each other our deepest hurts and most cherished dreams, we told everyone (and each other) that there was "nothing there". We were always very affectionate; I distinctly remember Peyton holding me in his arms as I sobbed about this other boy. At the time I didn't think "This is the type of man you need. Someone so solid. Someone who will be your rock.", but that was so true. And in time, I realized it.Because over the course of my senior year in high school (Peyton's senior year at Ole Miss) we became so much more than best friends and confidants. We started to fall in love. He was everything I could have hoped for. Everything I ever needed. But....

there was so much to iron out. When we kissed for the first time, I cried for several reasons. The first thing I said was "Now, I've really messed up my chances with (old boyfriend)" and I sobbed because I also felt like I jeopardized one of the most important friendships I had ever had. Most importantly, Peyton wasn't a Christian. He was searching so hard, but that wasn't enough for me to feel okay about what had happened. I had been praying for him (earlier in the year, I had actually prayed really hard that something would "work out" when he took out a girl who was the chaplain of her sorority), but I started praying even harder.

I remember reading Romans 8:28 the night we kissed ("For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him") and claiming it that night. I was so unsure how God was going to work now that I had just destroyed my chances at reuniting with my ex, ruined a very valuable friendship, and probably really hurt my witness. I kind of get teary thinking about what a great God we serve......if anybody had told me, amidst my sobs that night, that THIS MAN would be my husband, that he would be to the most amazing father to our daughter, that he would find Christ and his faith would grow to become an inspiration to me.....I would have laughed out loud, just like another Sarah did when God promised her her son.

Not long after we started dating, I said a horrible thing to Peyton. I told him I didn't know if I would ever be able to love him the way I loved my old boyfriend. And, there in the pool house, he wrapped his arms around me and just let me cry. I'm so thankful he didn't just run away at that point.

Of course, I grew to love him so much MORE than I've ever loved anyone. But those early days were hard days. I'm so thankful he stood by me. And I do not ever regret that other relationship. It taught me so much. I'm so so thankful, though, that God had a better plan for me than I had for myself.


Sara Ashley said...

that's such a sweet story, Denley. =) but it makes me curious about the previous high school boyfriends? any i knew? =)

Rachel said...

Y'alls story is so sweet! It should be a Nicholas Sparks novel or something! Yall seem so perfect for each other.

Mallory Pickering said...

Sweet! That made me get tears in my eyes.

Amy said...

I have been reading your blog for a while, but have not commented often. But, I have to comment on this post, because I am a sucker for a good love story :)
This was so sweet! I loved reading about how y'all met and I especially love the last line, "I'm so so thankful, though, that God had a better plan for me than I had for myself" - so, so true! Thanks for sharing! ;0)

The Niemeyer Nest said...

So sweet! I love it! Carl is older than me too - 6 years - but it all works out! Glad you and Peyton found each other. I still cannot find that dang bib. Not sure why I am so obsessed with it.

Tiffany said...

What a sweet story. So glad you found love!

Catherine Sledge said...

Um, first of all, that last pic of yall is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Second of all-in the third pic you posted-who is the kid in the red shirt?? Bc I am almost 100% positive its Taylor!! So funny! Our future husbands hangin out together at the pool! Ha!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a sweet story....Had a few hours to blog hop glad that I stopped here....Be sure and stop by and read about a miracle in our family....