Story - Audrey M. - as submitted.
I must have told this story to just about everyone I know by now, but I believe there is some worth in writing it down, not just for sentiment, but hopefully for someone else’s benefit.
Every girl dreams of the man she is going to marry one day, but I don’t think she always realizes all the inbetweens that were never bargained for. If for some reason you struggle with trusting God to find you the perfect person, my hope is that this story assures you that He is the perfect orchestrator and He knows best even when we don’t see it for ourselves right away.
Let me paint a picture for a moment. Originally, I’m from Wisconsin, born and raised, a Yankee to the core. My whole life I was the wallflower type. I had plenty of a friends, but I shied away from any boy who had an interest in me. It scared me to death to think of actually being in a relationship - too much vulnerability, too much risk. I liked the idea of a boyfriend, but actually having one? Too scary. I went through high school without being in a relationship and there was very little drama in my life. After all, how much drama can you have when you’ve been home schooled up until high school? Even in high school, I didn’t have the normal dance experiences or football player crushes, because I took online classes after middle school.
God knew that I needed more adventure in my life and someone who would be the perfect compliment to my introverted self. He definitely knew exactly how it would happen, too. That’s the beauty of it all: God knows exactly what you need, even if it isn’t what you expect. In the fall of 2009, my one and only sister got married. What a beautiful day that was to see my sister marry the love of her life, and unbeknownst to me, I would meet my future husband the very same day.
Ryan happened to be a guest at the wedding, along with two other friends of the groom that came with him from Louisiana. I had plenty to take care of and attend to as a bridesmaid. I had my mind on the joy of the wedding, and also to see my friends and family that day. It was an emotional and beautiful wedding ceremony, which quickly transitioned into an energetic and fun reception. There were so many faces I hadn’t seen in quite some time, along with new faces I had yet to meet. My friend, Sarah, had known Ryan and his friends from Louisiana and introduced all three of the them to me. It was a quick greeting and handshake, and then I was swept off to take pictures and greet other guests. Sparks didn’t fly, it wasn’t love at first sight, but it was the beginning of something wonderful.
Let me just say, if you have ever heard someone say ‘Once you aren’t looking, that’s when the right one comes around.’ -- more often than not it’s true, at least in this case it was. My friend who introduced me to Ryan happened to give him my number that night without me knowing it, and a few prank texts later, I figured out it was him. Before he left the wedding, the only other conversation I had with him was a little small talk outside. He offered to scrape the frost off my car, which was nothing coming from a midwest girl who is used to 8ft snow drifts in the winter. But nonetheless, I let him be a gentlemen, and thanked him for the gesture.
I left that night not having overwhelming feelings, but I was curious as to why this crazy southern man would want to talk to me. Days later, we texted back and forth. Days turned into a couple of months, texts turned to calls, which eventually turned into Skyping each other. I had a new fondness for him, and the craziest part was that I wasn’t scared. That was the first time I had experienced a peace while being emotionally vulnerable with someone that had interest in me.
We were separated by a thousand miles, and yet it didn’t stop us from getting to know each other. After about 8 months of skyping, texting, and calling, things came to a point, which is where the story really takes a turn that I wasn’t expecting.
Ryan has felt a call to do missions in Japan since the Lord told him during prayer at a ministry internship in 2008. In May of 2010, he found himself on a short term trip there. We had Skyped a few times while he was there, but this time was different. Ryan became very quiet, and I became very concerned. I asked him what was up, and his reply was ‘This is way easier when the person isn’t actually in front of you.’ I had to laugh later, because I was only Skyping him, and we weren’t even in the same room, but the conversation continued. He asked me ‘Do you realize what’s happening?” I said ‘Yeesssss.” He asked ‘And you’re okay with that?’ He was not only referring to our relationship growing into something, but he was also alluding to the fact that one day he could be in Japan, and if we were together, that would include me. I replied ‘Yeesssss.’ With shock and awe, Ryan was overjoyed by my answer. It was the ‘Do you like me?’ conversation in a very roundabout way. Realizing our mutual interest at that point, the conversation became energetic and full of excitement. It was then we were an ‘item’. After I said goodbye and closed my computer screen, I began to question things. ‘What just happened?!’ I thought, ‘Was that for real?!’
I quickly went from an emotional high to a very contemplative state. Immediately inquiring with those around me, and praying for the whole next day, I wondered, ‘Lord, is this the right time? Is this what I should be doing right now?’ It took guts to ask that question, but God’s answer was a heavy pill to swallow. With His assurance, I knew what I had to do.
The next time I opened my computer, the screen popped up with a notification saying ‘Ryan Mercier is now online.’ Here goes nothing. I typed quickly to him, ‘We need to talk.’