Austin and Meghan- two years ago, neither one of us could have dared to imagine it.
Our childhoods were only separated by a few miles, but from what we know we never laid eyes on each other and our worlds were so very far apart. Fast forward to 2016, a half year before we met, I was struggling through the reality that I was going to have to stop working because of my health and the probability of a colectomy and liver transplant ahead of me. I had been given confusion from doctors and was beginning to say goodbye in so many ways. Getting married or even just letting someone in was not an option for me... or that's what I would have said. Austin was busy doing school, working towards a coaching career and living the Mississippi College boy life. Us meeting and being where we are today… just didn’t fit into our plans. And then Jesus stepped in… He brought wholeness and sweet healing to me in earth shattering graces, and he turned upside down the future that Austin had planned on his whole life and sent him pursuing accounting positions in Birmingham.
Austin should not have come to Birmingham, I shouldn’t be where I am today. This could be the end of our story.
After several offers from accounting firms, Austin decided to take the position at Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith (emphasis on Murphy). During his interview my Dad tried to convince him to help coach my brother’s high school football team. Austin said no, feeling like he needed to focus on the CPA exam. Even still, my Dad kept asking (if you know my dad, this makes sense) and Austin finally felt pressured into saying yes (I'd say it worked out for him in the end.).
Austin heard my voice before he met me. I sang the national anthem at one of the first football games… and the speakers were horribly loud. So let me tell you, he heard me. After the game we went through the whole- “Hi, I’m Meghan." "I’m Austin." "Nice to meet you.” thing, shook hands, and shared a few words. That was that. Apparently he made some comment about me to his friend that night, with a joke about dating the boss’s daughter. I moved on.
I realized not too long after our first meeting that Austin liked me, via my brothers and because I felt like he was always staring at me (he disagrees with this statement). In hardly any time my whole family had fallen in love with him, and weeks began to never exist without the guy joining our family for dinner at least once… partly to say thank you for his coaching help, partly because they wanted him to stick around. Austin was patient. I was brutal and didn’t give him a whole lot of encouragement… but I kept watching and listening and praying and by the end of the football season I had gained so much respect for him that I was even a little irritated that he hadn’t asked me out yet.
After having several lengthier conversations (before that I had never had much to say to him), he took me on a dinner/coffee date and then spent the next twelve months loving me patiently and selflessly and holding me loosely before Jesus. We spent countless hours praying and reading and asking advice and seeking the Lord’s will for our lives. In the midst of this, we found out that we're dissimilar in a million or more ways and that our weaknesses are needing of each other's strengths. There were times when we felt like us working out wasn’t possible, that we had too many differences, but as we waited on Jesus He answered us in ways that our faith had trouble believing. We learned through it that we never want to go anywhere if Jesus isn't with us and for us. We know His presence in our lives is everything, and we found through our struggling that He was working His way in-between our hearts and that He must always stay between us for us to be at all.
Austin proposed on our pier with a sky full of stars on Nov 25 after an Auburn win, and dinner at Galley and Garden.
Our happily ever after isn’t found in marriage, goodness knows this life is hard and we have mountains to climb and battles to face… but we do have a happily ever after and it’s in Jesus. It’s Him bringing sense and purpose and beauty to our broken lives. It’s him binding together and giving hope and life and newness. Belonging for us is not found here. Our marriage is not of forever. We are passing through and are so very humbled that the Lord has given us a hand to hold as we run towards our Savior.
As we look back we could not be more humbled by the grace we have known and the places God has brought us... and we know for sure that He has never failed us, and wherever He leads there will only and always be good ahead. This story is about so much more than Austin and Meghan.
We’re glad Jesus redirects and changes our plans. We’re glad His ways are higher. And we’re so very glad that we get to celebrate love and grace and The Gospel with all of you on May 18th!!!