although me dating and breaking up with someone else had initiated a bit of a wake up call in zach, things didn’t necessarily just fall right into place from there. zach still felt like he had a lot of growing up to do before he seriously considered pursuing a wife. so nothing really changed right away in our friendship. we just stayed good friends!
during the spring of 2008, we had several opportunities to continue building our friendship. in addition to online chats and random texting, we hung out for a little bit when my family was in california for a basketball tournament (march).
in april, 3 friends and i did a weekend road trip to california to spend a day at Six Flags Magic Mountain! zach, his sister courtney, and his friend joel joined us. we had a blast riding roller coasters and hanging out all day. apparently zach and i provided the “in line” entertainment with our teasing and bantering.
zach’s never been a fan of having his picture taken. he was protesting in this shot:
random candid – i guess i wasn’t paying attention:
i remember going home from that trip and reflecting on how much growth i had seen in zach! it was the first time i’d been able to spend some extended time with him in several months and the transformation was obvious. the way he carried himself, initiated conversation, took charge of situations, led in decision making… i felt like i he had gone from a boy to a man before my very eyes, and i was so encouraged and excited for him! he was clearly a different guy than the one i had known before.
however, as far as my “radar screen” was concerned, i had moved on and zach was simply one of my very good friends. we loved hanging out together and got along famously (literally – our friends all commented on it!). while greatly enjoying the friendship that we had, my heart and my mind were open to other guys that God may bring into my life as a potential suitor.
on zach’s side of things, we was paying a bit more attention to who i was and what i was about, but not ready to make a move and not even sure yet that God had anything more for our friendship. so things continued to trot along happily between us.
in may, the new attitude conference (which later became the “Next” conference and is now called Transfer) was coming at the end of the month and i remember feeling weary of being single. i had been specifically praying for the Lord to bring the right man along for the past 7ish months and i was wondering how/when it might happen. i had personally always thought that the idea of meeting “him” at new attitude was a bit ludicrous, even though we all joked about it being the whole reason to go. i remember praying and thinking about it while driving on the freeway and saying, out loud in my car, “you know what, Lord? if that’s what you have for me, i’m open. if you want to bring my husband to me through this conference, who am i to question your methods? i’d just like to be married!”
the weekend of the conference arrived and, like the previous years, zach and i are texting off and on, planning to meet up and hang out. however, i felt a growing concern about spending very much time with him this year specifically because i was rooming with three 18-year-old girls who were attending the conference for the very first time. i really wanted them to get the most out of the conference and i knew it could be difficult and distracting for them – not just if he was around all the time, but also to understand the nature of our friendship and how it was almost a “tradition” for us to hang out at this conference. so i texted him, “hey, i don’t think we should hang out much this weekend….”
unbeknownst to me, zach and his dad had enjoyed a father-son lunch earlier that day in which zach’s dad had basically told him “you’ve grown a lot, you’re about to graduate from college and begin your career, it’s time to get a wife.” and went on to encourage zach to look for a women who he felt would push him to grow. i believe the term he used was, “shoot for the stars.” and zach told me later that “at that point, he was basically talking about you, and we both knew it. and in that moment, i knew you were the only girl i could ever see myself pursuing. i realized that for the last couple years i had compared every other potential girl to you. you were right there the whole time.” so zach resolved right then to spend as much time as possible with me over the next 3 days.
so here we are: i’m thinking “i don’t think it would be a good idea to hang out much this weekend…” and he’s thinking, “i want to spend as much time as possible together this weekend…” well, let’s just say that i lost. what can i say? he practically followed me around, sitting with our group during sessions, popping up wherever i was and hanging out with me almost every waking moment! and i mean, c’mon, he’s one of my best friends – how could i push him away?? i was also totally clueless through all of this. i mean, i found it a teensy bit ironic that zach ended up hanging out with me and my friends ALL the time when i had originally wanted the opposite to happen, but i really didn’t think much more about it.
zach came home from the conference 100% confident that he wanted to begin pursuing me in an intentional relationship as soon as possible. he basically arrived home from the conference (after some crazy flight delays), crashed for a few hours, got up and went to work, then went to lunch with his parents where he told them he wanted to make the call (they were all smiles and thumbs up). so he called my dad. zach was in a band at the time and the band was already scheduled to come play a concert at my church in 2 weeks. so he asked if he could ask me into a courtship when he came out for the concert. my dad’s response? “what the heck took you so long?!”
and me? i came home from the conference feeling so blessed and thankful for the awesome friendship that i had with zach and how wonderful it was to truly be “just friends” and not have to worry about weird emotions or liking him as something more…