Written By: Sarah Travis
In 2008 Jason read a book on a bus from New York to D.C. called “When God Writes your Love Story,” by Eric and Leslie Ludy and by the time he stepped off the bus was praying for God to write his love story. At that time I was a teacher in Scotland doing short-term missions in my summer breaks!
Love at first sight…? Maybe second or third!
My first glance at Jason left me thinking he was rude…his first glance at me left him thinking I was a crazy woman driver blocking a driveway on a ranch in Tennessee!
His first words to me a few moments later, in the company of others, were jovial and enquiring…my first response was full of sass!
Despite thinking he was rude (he really wasn’t!) something stirred in my heart following the cowboy youth ministry volunteer meeting we were both attending and I knew I couldn’t let him leave without saying goodbye. Our first conversation lasted 2 hours and ended with us exchanging phone numbers. Upon arriving home, he told his mother he had met the woman he was going to marry and I had a similar conversation with my host family.
The next evening we spoke on the phone, mostly about our love for Hillsong worship music. The following evening we went on our first date…and the rest, as they say, is history!
But it’s a love story…His-story.
Jason and I were both 31 when we met and, although we had both been in relationships and made our fair share of mistakes along the way, had never been married or had children. Neither of us had a wishlist for a spouse but we certainly knew what we were not looking for!
I had been in the United States for a little over 8 months when we met and was due to return to my home country Scotland in just six short weeks. The weekend prior to that early August evening when we met, we had both been away from our normal surroundings and had both had our own encounters with the Lord in which we had once and for all surrendered marriage to Him.
From the beginning of our relationship, it was different. Christ was at the centre and most times we spent together were at one or other of our churches, home groups, or the ministry at which we had met. We worshipped together. We served together. Two weeks that first meeting we sat in my host family’s home with our Bibles open, discussing marriage Scripture, and praying over the Lord’s leading for us to pursue His answer to one question…was this the one?
With my departure drawing ever closer, we continued to spend time together whenever possible, and by the time I boarded the plane to Scotland in September, Jason had flights booked to visit and meet my parents…actually stay in their home for a week — no pressure!!!
October brought him to visit me in Scotland and my parents to fall in love with him! He immediately felt at ease as we all spent time together as if we had known each other for years. Each day we ventured out to explore another part of my homeland. On his last day, as we strolled along a street in St. Andrews hand-in-hand, I said to him…”Can you just leave your hand here with me?!” He replied: “No, but I am leaving part of my heart.”
I was able to visit the U.S. in November for a few weeks so in those early months we were not apart for long. Although we had agreed not to say “I love you” until we knew if it was real love leading to marriage on that first evening when we sat with our Bibles open, love was growing deep in our hearts. Each goodbye grew more painful and each time apart longer. Apart for 2 months over Christmas and New Year, I was then able to visit him again in February which is when true love led us to profess our feelings and become engaged.
We would have married the next day if we could!! However, there was the slight problem of me being Scottish. We gathered together the requirements for the first stage of the immigration process over the next 2 days, then it was time for me to kiss my fiance and board a plane, unsure of when I would next see him.
Our engagement lasted as long as it took for my Fiance VISA to be approved, which was 9 months, and during that time we saw each other for 10 days. Where our love story differs is that he wasn’t able to pick me up to whisk me away for romantic meals. There were no walks, movie dates, or Sunday lunches with family. The way our love grew deeper and deeper was through our communication. We spent hours each week on the phone (thank you Magic Jack and Skype!), we wrote daily emails, and mailed cute cards. We sang together on the phone, and discussed Scripture and the sermons we had each heard.
Our entire relationship during our engagement was based on two things — trust and communication.
Not being together was a test. Temptations that never existed before presented themselves. We were being tested from all angles but trusted each other’s faithfulness. Not being together also removed the idle chit-chat, small talk aspect of being on a date. We couldn’t discuss where we were, who we saw, what we were doing…we actually had to find topics of conversation daily for 9 months!!
Trust and Communication — the foundations upon which our relationship and our marriage is based. Although I much prefer the years we have now been married and together almost every day, I give thanks for that time apart. Those months laid a foundation so deep that when tried and tested, it has not faltered. Our foundations have held us up as we have faced uncertainty, moves, and hardship in our short 3.5 years of marriage. Our basis of trust allows me to submit to his leadership knowing it comes from a heart seeking the Lord’s will. Our basis of communication allows us to have an open book and difficult conversations, speaking the truth with love and a sincere heart.
Let Love Lead
Trust and Communication — two of the foundational aspects of our relationship with the Lord. We are called to trust in Him with everything. We are called to let Him lead the way and guide our hearts.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We are called to communicate with Him at all times–in all things–always.
“pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I believe a marriage is it’s strongest when we let love lead. “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8. When true love, God, is leading the way, we can trust in Him and so in His leading, as we submit our thoughts and feelings to Him, for it is He who determines the best path for us: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9.
Let ‘God is Love’ Lead!
Sarah Travis is from Scotland, but immigrated to the U.S. in 2013 to marry her husband, Jason. She is an author, speaker, and inspirational Bible teacher passionate about helping women believe their acceptance and belonging in Christ, not in the world.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 ESV