Saturday, February 13, 2010

our story

i think that for the most part only my friends & fam read my little blog creation so this may be just OLD news for you all. i just thought, should anyone be curious {& have a lot of free time}, here it is: our ben & jen tale. i must also admit that i thought it would be good for me to document our love story somehow - what's better then in blog form? {quick disclaimer: this is long, like a book}

..our lovely love story..

{chapter 1: in the beginning...}

ben is originally from chicago, later he moved to indianapolis then to union, kentucky when he was a sophomore in high school. i was born in lexington, ky moved to louisville, ky and then to union my freshman year. he's 1 year older than me so it worked out so that we both moved there at exactly the same time. too sweet already? i was 15 & he was 16. benny & i met through a mutual friend at ryle high school {that neither of us talk to now}. we met at my locker {i think it was a pretty brief encounter}. for the rest of the semester i thought that ben & another sophomore, joe pacheco, were the same person. i said hello to both for months thinking that both fellas were ben. sweeter still right? that was until my sophomore year & ben's junior year when we had our first class together. me & ben & joe. that's when i figured it out - they are two separate people. how embarrassing. but give me some credit they really did look very similar. someone vouch for me!

{chapter 2: two desks}

this class, geometry, is where ben & i really got to know each other. we became "school friends." my bestie {then & now} rachel used to say: "one of our friends should date ben." she was right one of our friends SHOULD date ben. around this time ben told his momma that he "met the girl he was going to marry." {me}. i'm sure he didn't even actually think that but i love that that actually happened. i'm smiling writing that, are you gagging yet?

i was dating another fellow {who was nothing like ben} and ben started dating ladies too. i think it is safe to say that ben & i both found a lot of security & significance in relationships at that time. also happening {the semester before & at this time} ben & both attended young life club. it was a pretty large club {150 - 200 people} so it was no surprise that we never really interacted there. i just don't think we ever saw each other. for both of us club was a completely social event {& club is meant to be social, so this was good} but it was also meant to be pointing us to christ which neither of us took advantage of. 

half way through that school year {2001-2002} ben & i both started following christ {separately} through (1) the work of the holy spirit (2) through the loving investment of our YL leaders in our lives.  we both passionately wanted to be laying down our lives to follow the lord but neither of us had it figured out. at all.


{chapter 3: secrets don't make friends}
we both started to get more involved in club, campaigners & discipleship we found ourselves running into each other a little more. although our friend groups overlapped up until this point we never really hung out outside of school. i know...strange. i eventually broke up with my long-term bf & ben with his then gf. ben saw his time to strike & approached my two best friends about dating me {this is spring of my junior year}. cory said, "heck no. you do not need to date jen." she knew that after the previous bf i needed some down time, not to mention that neither of us were spiritually ready to dive into a relationship. it was h.s. for crying out loud, there was no chance that we were mature enough for that. rachel responded, "ben, you'll have to break up with cindy first." i guess he hadn't really broken up with the gf yet. eek. ben followed rachel's advice, but not cory's. i also feel the need to mention that NEITHER of my besties told me about these conversations until after we were already dating, chanks friends. 
{this was our first EVER picture together...i wish i didn't put on so many chins for it}

not too long after i got a call from ben's {then} bestie who said "jen, ben is going to call you tomorrow about going on a date, just let him down gently." i love that he said that. so funny. ben did call me the next evening while i was staying with rach and professed his love to me as any crazy high schooler would. i'll spare you the gushy details. i didn't let him down easy. i told him that i would be interested but under some stipulations. at this point i had all these ideas of what a relationship should look like, and i wanted a godly relationship most of all.

{chapter 4: prom}

in march of 2003 ben had been grounded for wearing muddy shoes in the house so his car got taken away {thank you mrs. brzinski}. i offered to give him a ride home a few different days that week. we bonded. he asked me to go to prom with him in my car - romantic? not really BUT people at our school didn't do the elaborate 'laguna beach' invites back then. of course i said YES to his request! i was very excited! at prom ben asked "officially" if i would be his girlfriend. {that's what you do in high school}. again, i obliged! could we be more cliche high school sweethearts? i don't think so.

{we look kind of orange above...i promise we weren't umpa-lumpas, see below for proof}

{chapter 5: a dating we will go}

like i said before we were definitely flawed so my perfect plan didn't really play out that way. we barely knew how to center our own lives around christ, much less a relationship. perhaps needless to say we were kind of a mess. ok, we were a definite mess. outside of the pit of sin we were living in we did really fall into 'like' with each other. we had a good chunk on time together {a honeymoon period if you will} where there was pure bliss and then after a few months we started to break up every other week. i think we would evaluate our relationship, see that we weren't pointing each other toward christ {but rather toward each other}, break up, realize that we still really wanted to date even though it wasn't best for us & then start the cycle over again. for about a year. in between we had lots of fun, lots of memories, lots of laughs, lots of talks, lots of tears, lots of dates etc. i really awesome time to grow!

{chapter 6: college / high school sweethearts}

ben graduated and started going to NKU. i was still at ryle for the next year. we did the perpetual date & break up a billion times. i think during one of our longer "off" sessions cory, rachel & i all went to an o.a.r. concert & then left immediately with a group of friends to go to chicago to hear brother andrew speak @ willow creek. {side note: he's awesome} ben was there at the "meet up spot" & i was not prepared to see him. rach & cory thought that i knew he was coming & that i would be happy to see him. this was not true. ben & i were never good at being "just friends" once we started dating for the first time. cory & rach jumped in one car with two of our other guy friends leaving me behind to ride with ben {and friends}. side note #2 this is where cory & dusty {her husband} bonded for the first time...i think. awww. so back to the story, 6 hour drive with my frenemy, ben. by the end of the weekend we were back together...surprise surprise.
{chapter 7: breaking up is hard to do}

in the fall of 2004 i came to lexington & became a freshman at UK. after about a month of living in different places we decided to end it. the specific reasons - i have no idea.

about a year and a half went by of us un-dating. we would start "talking" about everything 2 or 3 months or so during this time, something would happen & we would cut ties again. in between those times we would avoid each other. or maybe i just avoided him.  i was an avoider.  when we would be at the same place i would strategically go to a different room so i didn't have to be around him. it wasn't that i didn't like him, i think i loved him all along i just knew that i was a bit too weak to hang out as friends & through all the on & off-ness my heart had really been hurt & damaged.

this year & a half time period of not dating was one of the very best things that could have happened for us. i feel confident that the Lord had planned this for us. it was the first time since the 6th grade that i didn't put myself in a relationship {no matter how shallow} and the first time that i knew i didn't need one. i learned to find my significance & security in the lord alone. what valuable truth to finally understand!

i'm 100% positive that this song was fully fitting for us during the time:

{chapter 8: tire swing}

fall of 2006 things happened. ben called out of the blue. i was ecstatic, of course because i always loved him, but i was super hesitant since my heart was a little battered & i knew i was terrible at guarding my heart with ben. i had actually told my dear friend jenna after our last bout of "talking" to "not let me talk to ben again...ever." ben was dating a girl when he called, he hadn't learned the valuable "you can live on your own" lesson i had at this time. we resolved that we couldn't talk/be friends while he had a gf, that would just be disrespectful so the silent treatment began again but it didn't last for long!

a few weeks later that relationship had run its course & ended. he wanted to come & visit me in lexington, he still lived in northern ky. it was a fall evening, all my roomies were gone & i had no plans. again, apprehensively & overjoyed i agreed that he could come down. we went on one of the most fun dates of all time. the one i mentioned from our anniversary picnic. 10 pm we went to the tire swing, i brought a picnic blanket & thermoses of hot chocolate. the weather was cool & breezy. i wore mittens. we sat on the blanket & ben apologized for all the craziness that had gone on between us over the years & asked that i forgive him. he also asked if we could try & start over. i said YES {and again had dating stipulations}.  after hot cocoa & making up we went & jumped into giant piles of leaves {taller than me} that lined both sides of these precious streets.  best friends, covered in leaves, love day, best date ever. 

not to say that things were perfect from then on out but things were very different. over those last few years we had both grown up a lot. we had learned a lot about loving each other well, serving each other, what we wanted our lives to be about & look like. we dated long-distance for about a year after that. we got to know each other again. we started over. our struggles remained struggles but we had learned a bit about fighting against & about spurring one another on.
{chapter 9: 1 uhaul later}

about 6 months in ben asked {over the phone} what i thought about us praying about one of us moving to where the other lived - ben to lexington or me to nky. i was a silent. ben said "does that make you nervous?" the answer was a big "YES," but i'm not sure what i actually told him. we did start praying. my once adamant "NO!" to moving to nky changed to greater & greater peace about the situation. during a date to pompilio's {where they filmed part of rainman} ben said that he felt led to move to lexington to be with me. we hadn't lived in the same city since i was in high school so this was going to be a whole new chapter. dating long-distance you don't really get to experience the day-to-day life together. you just drop everything & have fun times when they're in town for 24 hours. i was pumped & nervous to dive into this new period where we would live right across the street from each other {literally}. in the august of 2007 benny moved to town. TREAT!

{chapter 10: virginia is for lovers}

that december {2007} ben & i got engaged. that's a whole other story in itself. i had told ben that i wanted to go on an adventure with him. so we picked a weekend. i asked if he'd like me to plan it or if he wanted to. he said that he wanted to so i gave him the reigns. however, i kept pestering him, asking if he had figured anything out for us to do. he continually said, "oh i'll take care of it. i'll work it out." i told a bestie {shannon} that i was worried that he wasn't going to plan anything and maybe i should just take care of it myself." her response was "yeah jen, just keep asking him about it." which is hysterical because she knew there was a plan.

early friday morning we hopped in the car while it was still dark & left for our adventure. i didn't have the slightest clue where we were going and i didn't really want to guess. when we entered virginia i thought we maybe going to rockbridge, a gorgeous YL property. when we passed it i thought we may be going to visit ryder & libby but i didn't want to speak of it until i was sure {in case that wasn't where we were headed, i didn't want to make ben think i was disappointed with his plan}. 10 hours later we arrived in chesapeake, va at the home of our two dear friends, justin & libby ryder. i thought OH MY GOSH! what a great surprise! i was completely content, overjoyed even, to see our long-distance friends. i wasn't expecting anything beyond this wonderful visit.
friday night we went out to dinner all together & just caught up. saturday morning, after breakfast in a precious diner, ryder said he had a YL support team meeting & libby had to meet with one of her foster families {she was a social worker}. lib thought i would see right through this, but when ben & i had gone on adventures in the past we always stayed with friends in the evening/night & did our own thing in the city during the day. i didn't give it a second thought. after french toast ben & i drove into virginia beach. it was december so it was chilly {not bikini weather but definitely warmer than ky}. we walked around to different shops, sat on blankets on the beach, strolled down docks etc. eventually we made our way down to a particular spot where our friends had set up a blanket in the sand, complete with candles & roses. we sat down and ben talked to me about how he'd like us to become one, read to me out of god's word & asked me to be his wife. i said "yes", we prayed, i got a gorgeous rock & it was AWESOME!
afterwards, we then left to go meet ryder & libby for dinner which was the plan from earlier that morning. when we got to the restuarant the ryder's ran down to greet us. so fun! when we walked into this precious restaurant {seated on a marina} 10 of our closest friends were there to congratulate us. i was shocked. we were 10 hours away from home and our dearest friends had come all that way to celebrate with us! the weekend continued in fun & jubuli but i'll leave it at that {for now}. the whole weekend was one giant surprise, it was special & romantic, it was memorable & it was sweet. what a great fiance!

{chapter 11: preparation}

we were moving toward marriage quickly! i'm a little frightened of change & of big steps & i think marriage is the definition of both. but i knew that this was what the Lord had prepared us & called us into. i knew that the Lord had/has big plans for us individually, as a couple & as a family. i knew that ben & i were called to be a mini-model of christ & the church. that we were to love each other with an unselfish love that lays it all down.

we were engaged for 9 months. during that time the Lord prepared us to be husband & wife. there were definitely some trials but the Lord's plans are perfect and through the trials i feel like we grew more than ever, closer to the lord & closer to each other.

{chapter 12: you may now kiss the bride}

we were wed on september 6th, 2008.

if you have read this far - the main thing to take away from "our story" is that ben & i are fallen people who have a soverign god that can redeem anything. we have a Lord that cares deeply for us & calls us to bring him glory with our lives & that is our number one mission as a couple. our Father has given us abundant life now & eternity with him later; we are SO blessed by that. we have a creator that longs to have us run to Him & what is all the more awesome is that we get to run to Him together! so running we will go.

.happily ever aftering.

please let me know if you've got any questions about me, benny, our relationship, our life or our faith.


  1. i smiled and giggled through the whole story! i'm so thankful that i've gotten to be a part of your and ben's life and relationship. love you both!

  2. Oh that is such a fantastic story!

  3. YAY!!! I love this! Remember when I wrote "I hate you, Ben!" on the dry erase board in permanent marker? hahahahaha....

    aww..i like you all. and this story :)

  4. Aww, really cute story. That's so cool that you guys knew each other all the way back in high school!

  5. Um, LOVED this. So stinkin cute. So what if I cried a little...

  6. i love you guys bunches! i'm so grateful that i got to share your wedding day with you all and that you both have been a part of my life! miss you daily.

  7. YAYAYAY!!! I was glad I wasn't the only friendy that read the story even if I knew most of it already. :) I liked all of your details!!!


  8. I LOVE that you shared your story, Jen! It's truly encouraging and inspiring!! You and I have way too much in common, but that's a story for another day. :) Thanks so much for sharing!

    P.s. I think this week is a great week to start Heart Sessions. I'll keep you posted!

  9. What a sweet story :) It's so great that you ended up together after all of that!

  10. I just read this for the first time, and I love it. The story of Ben and Jen is encouraging and the Lord continues to work through you guys.

    Like others have mentioned above, I am blessed and thankful to be a part of your lives.

    Love you guys! -Taylor


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