Gretchen's Side Of Our Story, Part 3
Before you begin reading this, be prepared to watch the hand’s of God work in a million ways to bring me and Greg together!
December 2010: I graduate from the University of Georgia with a degree in Fashion Merchandising (unsure of what the Lord was calling me to do next). I pursued many different jobs, missions opportunities & internships, but the Lord kept me in Athens, GA working at Sonia Says.
February 2011: I get a random call from John Steen, the Middle School Pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN, asking me to come intern. My pastor and his wife, Carlos and Carla, at my church in Athens had told him about me. At first I was caught off guard, but the Lord pressed on my heart to go help at Long Hollow’s quest weekend. Circumstances were perfectly aligned for me to go help as a counselor that weekend, and as I was there, I realized I was supposed to come intern there!
May 2011: I left the boutique I was working at, packed my bags, and headed to Hendersonville, TN!
June 2011: I meet Greg Saffles! Now this is where the interesting part of our love story begins! I’ll never forget going home one night to the Hill’s house where I was living (exhausted from a long day of interning), and meeting Greg for the first time. There was something about him that stood out to me, something different, something new, but I wouldn’t understand this feeling until much later on!
I went to church camp as a middle school counselor in late June. Camp was busy and amazing, and I had planned on coming back after the first camp. However, the Lord knew exactly what He wanted to happen. Through one of the other counselors getting sick, I stayed in her place for high school camp! It was during this camp that I got to talk more to Greg. Everytime I’d walk into the lunch room, I’d see him sitting, and when he looked at me with his blue eyes, it would make my heart burn. (yes, I had this feeling *a lot* When we got back from camp, everyone was asking me if I was interested in him, and my heart began to get scared. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that I wouldn’t date him since everyone was pressuring me.
This began the most beautiful adventure of all time!
August 2011: The internship ended and I was offered a job at Long Hollow. I left to go home before officially moving to Tennessee. When I came back, Greg asked me if I wanted to go to a concert (Caitie goes to Haiti!:) with him. I went with him, had a great time, but the pressure began again after that! It’s amazing to see how God began to work our circumstances perfectly so I could see Greg’s heart, servanthood, and love for the Lord.
September 2011: I get reeeeeally sick! (twice, actually) I was home with the stomach bug and Greg texted me to see if I’d like dinner. It was a total God-thing because I had nothing. He brought me tomato soup from Panera, orange juice, zebra cakes, and tissues (the kind that are super soft and feel good on your nose- he said:). It was amazing, and the heart burn began again for me!
October 2011: We go to a concert together, and I get sick, yet again! This time he stood with me in the back the entire time at the concert and made sure I was taken care of . This was the same night I’d told him I just wanted to make sure we were “just friends.” I look back at this and see the incredible ways God was working to show me that Greg was the man I was going to marry! This was the same month that I told Greg that my headphones hurt my ears, and I showed up to work to find new headphones on my desk. (seriously, the most thoughtful guy in the world!)
That day, the Lord told me something new, something life-altering. He said: “Expect nothing, but expect GREAT things.” I read Micah 7:7, and finally began to set all my hopes in the Lord! I had been planning out how God should work in my life. I had been praying God would work my love story one way, when He had a perfect way all along! He showed me that I should give Him the blank canvas to work, and know that He was going to do incredibly great things- because that’s the God we serve!
November 2011: I move into the same apartment complex as Greg. This is a total God-thing and is a huge part of our story! If this hadn’t happened, we don’t know how our story would have worked. That’s completely how God works-in ways that we could never imagine or plan! Greg helped me move, and even helped me unpack some and make my bed. I kept thinking- there’s no one like this guy! He’s such a pure servant!
January 2012: One chilly morning I walk out to my car and realize that my car windows were scraped off! Blessed and surprised, I leave for work thinking my roommate cleaned my windows for me. I found out she hadn’t done it, and this began two weeks of my windows being cleaned each day, and me having no clue who was doing it. The feeling was incredible! Someone was taking care of me in the sweetest, most humble way. I had to know who it was! By a process of elimination (which was super easy), I realized it had to be Greg. The moment I found out it was him, the first words to come out of my mouth were: that’s what a husband would do! It was this moment that I knew I’d marry Greg. He was the “great thing” God had told me to wait for and expect!
February 2012: We offically began dating! And our love story has been one of beautiful pursual! Greg has shown me the love of Christ in ways I never knew before him. I’ve learned the incredible gift of loving someone so much that you ache (in the best way possible). I’ve learned that God truly is good to those who wait for Him. It’s a faithful promise that He’s always true to!
Here’s our dating story summarized:
- First date: We go to Carrabba’s (my favorite restaurant), then to Beech Elementary to swing and play on the playground, then to Starbucks to talk and drink coffee. It was amazing! The funniest part was they sat us in a corner back booth. It gave us plenty of opportunity to talk. And I *loved* hearing Greg talk! (and pray:)
- Windows: Greg continues to scrape my windows for me every morning before he’d leave for class. He would write notes on my windows every day and leave me notes. One morning he left a notecard with Zephaniah 3:17 (my favorite verse). It was incredible how God would lay those things on his heart, all to show me that Greg sought the Lord, listened to Him and was obedient.
- First Valentine’s Day: Greg was my very first Valentine ever! And he made my first Valentine’s day amazing! That morning he left flowers and a note on my desk, took me out to lunch, then that night took me to Opryland to walk around! It couldn’t have been more perfect.
- The rest of our dating has consisted of incredible adventures: going to the World’s largest treehouse, painting pottery, going on long bike rides, exploring the art museum, scouting out old book stores, finding treasures at yard sales and selvage yards, and so much more! The Lord is so good to bless me with a man who seeks Him above all else.
There’s so much more I could tell about our story, but to sum it all up, know that God wrote it all. We’ve been amazed at all He’s done, and how He made it so clear to us that we were to be married. He is good! Believe it with all your heart! We are so excited to see what is next!
Here’s just a few reasons (out of a million) why I love Greg:
- He’s a servant- If you looked up the definition of servant, you would definitely see Greg’s name! His heart is pure, he trusts fully in the Lord, and he serves everyone (all in the name of Jesus). You will never meet anyone more genuine than Greg. I am so proud to call him my future husband!
- He’s a hard-worker- I love this about him! He works to the best of his ability at all times for all things!
- He truly listens to the Lord- The whole reason Greg purused me and knew how to pursue me was because he listened to the Lord and he prayed. This gave me so much peace, and still does. It is so good because my heart truly rests in him and trusts him.
- He’s my best friend! This is the best part! I remember realizing he was my best friend in March. We *loved* being with each other, had the same dreams, and couldn’t stand to be a part from each other.
- He waited for me- I always prayed that I’d marry the only man I ever dated, and the Lord honored that! But the beautiful part is, Greg waited for me, too! We can truly say that we’ve only said “I love you” to each other! It is incredible and makes this love story even more a gift of the Lord!
Above photo taken by Nancy Ray Photography.