Today’s post is written by our Brave Artist Mariah Neilson
When I was younger, I thought I would met my Prince Charming one day, the next day I would be in love, the day after that we’d plan a wedding and the rest would be history. I expected a BIG BANG moment. Fireworks and explosions all to signal very clearly that I had found the one. But that isn’t how God works. He didn’t make a magic arrow pop up saying, “he’s the one.”
We had met years before we started dating. We met because mutual friends invited us to hang out. It was the fall semester of my freshmen year of college. After that night, we saw each other a few times around campus. He was always friendly and said hello. We never got close, just friendly strangers.
(Aaron is on the far right in a black jacket, Mariah is wearing the grey jacket second on the left.)
Fast-forward a bit to July 2013, the summer before my junior year of college. It was a summer evening, I got a Facebook message from him. During the conversation there were moments when I thought, “Wow, he is really amazing.” But I kept those to my self. We started “talking” (For those who don’t know the definition of talking, it varies by couple. I consider talking as specifically getting to know someone with the intent of dating). However, before school started, I made the decision that our lives where going in separate directions and that I did not want to risk getting my feelings hurt if things did not work out. So we stopped talking.
Fast-forward again to my fall semester of my junior year of college. We both happened to be at a conference in Palm Desert, that neither of us were supposed to be at. Driving down to Palm Desert, I got a snap chat from Aaron – completely out of the blue. It was a picture of the Marriott logo. Dana (my supervisor/friend/ I don’t really know what title to give her) and I got to the conference we walked in to find that the room was filled. So we stood in the back and waited for an usher to find a seat for us. I looked to my left and there he was, waiting for a seat as well. The ushers sat us next to each other. (Dana later told me I was beaming with excitement all evening.) After the Sunday evening events, Aaron asked me if I wanted to hang out with him and a few friends.
With a little persuasion from my supervisor, I went and hung out with him and a few other people. As the night went on, people started to leave and it was just Aaron and I. We found a fire pit out side the restaurant in the hotel and sat down to talk. I thought this would be the perfect time to make a move, however he kept his distance and we just talked. No hand holding. No kissing. Just talking. At first, I thought it was because he wasn’t interested in me. Later, he told me it was because he wanted to keep me interested in him. But looking back, I am thankful for that time to talk and get to know him more than I already did.
Later after hanging out a few more times, he asked me to be his girlfriend. With eagerness I said yes. Everything just started to click. We would laugh like old friends. He gained my trust and showed me that he trusted me as well. We became best friends. There was no big deciding moment were I suddenly was like I have to marry this man. It was slow and gradual. I did not realize I was in love until a friend pointed it out to me.
In one of John Green’s books, The Fault in Our Stars there is a quote, “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” It takes time and patience to truly love someone. It takes bravery to open up and allow someone to know your fears and your dreams. I knew I wanted to marry Aaron when I realized that he made me feel brave, beautiful and valued. He reminded me of what he saw in me, but more importantly, he reminds me of what God sees in me.
After my last relationship, I didn’t want to open up and trust someone again. I did not want to risk being vulnerable with someone. I am so thankful that finding Aaron wasn’t a Big Bang moment, if it had been, my trust would have been a light switch one minute it isn’t there the next it is there fully. Aaron and I took a lot of time getting to know each other and build a friendship together. It took baby steps of bravery. It took God, we both say that God brought us together. He brought us to the middle of the desert, and led us slowly from there.
How did you and your love meet? Where was God in that moment? Where is He now?
If you aren’t in a relationship or married, how is God leading you in your life now? It took a lot of healing and work on God’s part to mend my heart.
Here is a recent picture of my sweetheart and me, on our typical Tuesday date, Disneyland. And now I challenge you, take a picture with your sweetheart doing something they love to do and post it!. I can’t wait to see!
Mariah Neilson is 20 years old. She is a newly claimed artist, a Live Brave Artist, with a passion for photography, long walks and everything pink. She is in her third year of college, working on her bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Global Cultural studies. She works in her school library and loves to read. Her goal in life is to live a life that is full of grace and compassion. In free time she likes to write and explore this beautiful world around me. Mariah also writes on newfoundponderings.wordpress.com and shares her photography on treasuredhope.wordpress.com