I’ve seen God’s hands throughout my entire life, but I especially saw His hands in my life when I met Justin and it all started in January of 2015.
“Justin Taylor is home!” were the words I heard from everyone at church one Sunday. Who is Justin Taylor?! Why do I keep hearing his name?! Why should I care about this so-called Justin being home?! These were the questions I thought to myself. To be honest, I kind of got sick of it. If it was the same Justin that went to my high school–popular, played basketball, and was that guy that I distinctly remember seeing at Prom one year and thinking to myself “I would never date that guy”–then I’m definitely NOT interested.
The following Sunday I was sitting on a bench at church with some girlfriends of mine and a friend of my older sister’s went up to us girls and asked if any of us would be interested in going on a date with Justin Taylor. Mind you, I still have not seen this guy yet and still don’t care to. As all of my friends, one by one, say they have a boyfriend and me being the only single one, everyone looks at me waiting to say yes. I don’t remember exactly what I said but I just remember feeling the pressure and saying, “sure?”.
A few days passed and I was upset over some boy that I had a hard time connecting with so of course I went to treat myself to some ice cream over at Rite-Aid. As I was picking out some ice cream I got a call from a random number. I answered and what do you know? It was THE Justin Taylor. He had asked me to go on a double date bowling and to go get a pizookie at BJ’s. I could not say no because first of all, who calls to ask to go on a date (even though I loved it), and how can one say NO after they ask?! He asked to go on a date that following Friday and of course… I was free.
Friday came along and I was getting ready to go on the date that I wasn’t feeling for. I wasn’t all that excited or giddy like I was on other dates. I honestly almost wanted to call him up and cancel but then I convinced myself to push through and give it a shot. When I heard the front door knock, I walked downstairs to answer it with some crazy butterflies in my stomach. It was strange since I was not looking forward to the date but I chalked it up to first date nerves. Once I opened the door I realized it was not only raining but Justin and I were basically matching. We both had black plain shirts on with brown pants. Before even saying anything we both laughed! He then asked if I wanted to go grab an umbrella and I told him no (idk why? Probably because I was nervous? haha) so he walked me to his car with his hands trying to cover my hair and face. Cute right? I thought so. As we approached the street I was searching for his car before I heard a beep of the minivan right in front of me. I laughed because I’ve never been picked up to go on a date in a MOM MINIVAN before! HA! He laughed too and thankfully, that eased the nervous tension I had.
As we were on our way to the bowling alley, I remembered Justin trying to impress me with his confidence and “suave abilities”. I wasn’t that impressed. We were listening to a whole lot of Ed Sheeran. He was good at keeping the conversation alive…barely. I was quieter at this time because I was figuring out if I liked him or not so I was hiding that by just being polite. Once we got to the bowling alley I knew right away it was going to be a joke for me because I had zero talent at bowling. ZERO. So I pulled out my go-to “girl in a damsel distress card” (if that even is a thing, idk) and asked for help. He was teaching me his tricks and tips and getting all close and whatnot. Let’s just say it worked and he loved it. Bowling finally ended (thankfully, let’s just say I was in last place & I hate losing) and we headed over to BJ’s Restaurant. There was no seating available except for a table close to the bar. I was a bit nervous to sit over there because I was only 18 but it worked out and we got a table. We ordered pizookies and man were they good! (If you don’t know what pizookies are, it is a huge cookie baked in a skillet and topped with ice cream. DEE-LISH.) At this point, Justin and I were definitely more comfortable flirting with one another and he had his hand on my knee under the table most of the time. It was pretty darn cute.
Pizookies ended and Justin and I headed back to my house to take me home. As we were on our way we started talking about all sorts of music. He has asked me if I liked Rap and of course, I said yes and he all of a sudden freaked out. He freaked out because I was the first Christian girl he went on a date with and he thought all Christian girls did not like that kind of music. Well surprise surprise, I do. He was thrilled haha. He started talking about all sorts of rappers and was very passionate about it. He then asked what other kinds of music I enjoyed listening to and I then told him I enjoyed listening to Reggae. He FLIPPED OUT. His hands were holding on to the steering wheel tightly and the rest of the body was jumping back and forth. That is when we started to really connect.
The whole night was great but this is where I started to feel a bigger spark between us. From that moment on, it just was confirmed to me that the connection we had created was real and it felt right. That feeling also kind of scared me because I’ve never had that feeling before. We proceeded to go on a quick short walk down the street and back. And that was the moment that we both felt like we were a couple that had been together for a very long time. It was comforting yet scary. We then ran into some mutual friends that were my neighbors and we all started chatting. I had this special moment where I looked at him for a split second with him folding his arms and talking oh so politely to my neighbor and I had the impression and thought come to my mind that told me “He is exactly what you are looking for. He has all the qualities you are looking for in the man of your future children.” Weird right? But also so, so, so, so touching. It pierced right through me. I still remember that snapshot in my head of him and the feeling I had.
We then proceeded to walk home and by this point, I really, really wanted to kiss him to see if he was a good kisser. I kept flirting as much as I could on the way back. We got to the front door and BAM. He kissed me on the cheek. THE CHEEK. I was so shocked I didn’t even know it happened. It was cute? But I wanted to test the waters! This would be the deciding factor people! So yea, I was disappointed he didn’t kiss me on the lips. I’m pretty impatient if you couldn’t tell. We said then our goodbyes.
I felt SO happy. I felt like this guy was the guy I was supposed to marry. But at the same time, I was scared. I knew I was 18, I knew I was young, I knew I needed a lot of time to grow up. So with all of that in my head, I freaked out and went to my girlfriend’s house. I told her all about it: the good and bad, and panicked. I panicked so much I texted him telling him I am not interested in dating him any further but would love to be friends. But obviously you guys, it doesn’t end there. This story is the start of a romantic, but complicated, and very long love story.