How We Met
It all started with a letter. I knew from the moment our first date ended that I was ready to spend the rest of my life with Rylei. I just didn’t think it would be so clearly affirmed leading up to that first date. You see, it all started when we both received anonymous letters of encouragement from a person on our college campus. Neither one of us were connected to this person (that we know of), and Ry and I weren’t friends at the time. This person sent us both of these letters randomly by chance. When Rylei received her letter, she felt like she had seen something like this before. That’s because she had. I had posted an Instagram of the letter I received because I honestly received it at the perfect time. I was struggling, discouraged, and was in need of the encouragement I was given. So, I posted an Instagram simply thanking that person for their obedience to write to me. But, Rylei couldn’t remember where she had seen the letter before, so she stuck it in her backpack and decided to look at it later. When she pulled it out later that night, she found the letter stuck in the book of Micah. Specifically, on the page of Micah 6:8. The crazy thing about this verse was that I had a poster of this verse hanging in my dorm room.
This verse was dear to my heart and soon would become a major part of our story. The next day, a mutual friend of ours approached me and told me, “Rylei Walsh wants to meet up with you tonight.” My heart started to pound. “Why would Rylei want to meet up with me?” I thought. Later that night, Rylei approached me in our campus coffee shop with the biggest smile on her face. With her eyes wide and face beaming, she proceeded to tell me that she was praying for me. I was taken back. “Why would you be praying for me? You barely know me,” I told her. Well, as it turns out when she pulled the letter out of her Bible, everything clicked. The letter, verse, the Instagram, my name. And her first instinct was to pray for me. My heart was on fire. The next week, our chapel spent Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of that week on a series breaking down the verse Micah 6:8. The verse was everywhere. It was printed on t-shirts, there were signs everywhere, postcards, everything. The campus was flooded with this verse. On Friday, the chapel speaker got up to speak and introduced himself as Micah.
Rylei and I immediately locked eyes across the chapel and were in between wanting to laugh out loud and bewildered at all of the coincidences that were occurring. Over the next couple of weeks, I finally worked up the nerve to ask Rylei on a date. That night was one of the best nights of my life. We drove to a small restaurant and found our own little corner of the restaurant where we began to open up and share our stories with one another. We found out that we had similar pasts, similar interests, and similar goals. I found myself getting lost in who this girl was and who I thought she could become. There was grit, determination, ferocity, drive, and greatness locked inside of her heart that I wanted to be a part of getting out. We started to discuss our mutual vision for expanding the local church and creating an atmosphere where people could experience the wonderful grace and love of Jesus Christ like no one had before. That was the moment. After the date, I went home and immediately called my parents and told them I had found my future wife. As it turns out, Rylei had gone back to her room and proclaimed to her roommates that she thought she had found her future husband.
how they asked
Over the next year and a half, we began a journey of learning about and falling in love with one another. We experienced great pain and amazing triumphs. Through the greatest of times and the hardest of times, we stuck together. As our relationship progressed, it became apparent that we were going to spend the rest of our lives with one another. So, I hatched a plan. The plan was that I would speak at my parent’s church on a Sunday in late May. After telling Rylei and her family about this, they determined that they had to be there for such an event. I told Rylei that I would need her the day before to come shoot a video for my message the next day (hence how we got the videographers there).
When we arrived on the scene, Rylei and I weren’t on the best of terms. She was annoyed that we were spending time apart from our parents, we were late because in my nervousness had taken a wrong turn to pick her up from her parent’s hotel, and she felt this “video shoot” was unnecessary. A perfect storm, right? That is until I opened the doors to the barn where I proposed.
She immediately knew what was happening and the whole moment became a blur. I promised my loyalty and my life to the woman of my dreams, got down on one knee, and began forever with the beat of my heart. The best part was after I popped the question, I knocked three times on the doors behind us which immediately swung open to friends and family I had invited from all across the country to celebrate with us that night.
The rest of the night was a huge celebration of the life and love Rylei and I are cultivating together. As we get closer to the wedding, we hope that our life and love is a less-perfect, messy reflection of the love our Savior showed for His Church. Soon, our vows will be said, and forever will really begin. Until then, we press on knowing the best is yet to come!