All photos by the best wedding/engagement photographer on planet earth, Liam Good.

Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, and Part 2, “Dating,” here.
The premise of long distance dating in our culture today is frightening.

Multiple times throughout the years Johnny I dated thousands of miles apart I had people say to me, “Long distance? That never lasts.”

My instinct wasn’t to prove people wrong or anything. It was just that I knew Johnny’s character. I had had time to discern that His heart was for the glorification of Jesus in our relationship. And we knew that we were deeply in love with each other.

To be candid, I had a strong conviction before Johnny had yet asked me to be his girlfriend that he was my husband, even telling my sister after our second date that “that’s the boy I’m gonna marry. I can’t explain it: I just know.”

And now, after dating long distance these past three years, Johnny and I can both say that if the opportunity arises within your dating relationship, we would encourage you to seek the Lord’s will for it, and submit to it if it’s His will.

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. GENESIS 29:20

While we obviously adore being with each other and much prefer dating in the same vicinity as opposed to otherwise, long distance has placed such necessary dependance on the Lord that we could have otherwise much more easily tried to take control of. The distance forced us to seek God individually and together; to focus heavily on our communication; and to seek out very meaningful and intentional ways to show each other love.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. PHILIPPIANS 4:6

And our first reunion was SO SWEET. There is absolutely nothing in this world like seeing the person you love after being apart for so long.

Each time we got to reunite was a reminder of how much SWEETER it will be one day to be face to face with my One True Love, Jesus Christ. That was another challenge in the distance: it CERTAINLY makes the heart grow fonder, which challenged the position Johnny held in my life. We must be in constant pursuit of Jesus as our ultimate love, priority, and joy; and leading the other in the same direction.

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. ROMANS 5:2

Distance dating sure brought its challenges and joys, teaching us so much along the way. Johnny had all new friends and surroundings in a place I had never been able to experience; I had brand new things in my life that I could only talk about and not share with him. But man oh man… if there is something that lights a fire in my heart, and that I so passionately pray someone reading this learns from our journey, it is the BEAUTY in allowing God to work through these challenges. To cast out potential jealousy or worry or envy or pride or temptations and teach us to abide in love, hope, joy, peace, and truth.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4

God also USED the distance to bring about radical, miraculous healing in both my life and Johnny’s.

We are both certainly unfinished, by the testimony of His work in our relationship certainly involved what came next in our time apart from each other.

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