You are invited to join in the celebration of Lauren and Samuel's Wedding!
Registry (link below)
May 24th, 2015 - Ceremony begins at 5:30pm
The wedding ceremony and reception will be at Fairlane Station located at 108 GRAHAM STREET, SPRINGDALE, AR 72764 Parking: Downtown parking around the building. We don't believe you will have to pay for most spots.
Sunday Dress or Semi-Formal (there will be dancing)
Dinner & Refreshments available (Taco Bar)
There will be no sleeping at the wedding, but if you are visiting then don't forget to book a room in advance!
The Story of Us
The story of “Us” is much bigger than “Us.” As we both step back and look at our relationship and how we met we are continually reminded that God is the one in control and he is the one that brought us together. There was so much that led up to this next step of marriage. We have both made mistakes and we have both gone through seasons of heart break and pain. But God has used those experiences to mold us into the people we are now and it is a beautiful thing to be able to look back at those past heart breaks as protection and to rejoice in what we have now. God knew what was best for us and nothing is wasted.
Samuel is an artist and I see myself as a make shift poet. I see life in pictures and express life through metaphors. Samuel is able to capture pictures and give them to the world. He is able to share God’s heart through his work and I love that. What I first noticed about Samuel was his heart for people and the humble way he went about loving. Loving people is a very simple and natural thing for Samuel. As I got to know him I realized that our hearts were very similar as well as our dreams and desires for life. More similar than I could have ever hoped.
So to get back to our story – we met each other at the end of last April. My friend Emily Starr had been dating a man named Jeremy (who is good friends with Samuel) and when she met Samuel she thought about me because of similar passions we shared. She began to talk to me about him and at the same time was talking to him about me. We both did not think that much about it at first – both of our hearts were a little relationship wary at the time.
Thankfully Emily was persistent and determined to get us to meet. So at the end of April last year Emily was preparing to leave for India for six months and so I went to visit her – I was living in Kansas City at the time. I did not fully realize that part of her intention for me visiting was to introduce me to Samuel. So after her and Jeremy schemed up a plan - Samuel and Jeremy ended up coming over to Emily’s for dinner and that is when I first met him.
I can still picture him walking through the door, and saying, “Hi, I am Sam.” I had no idea all that would come from that first hand shake. I found it very easy to be around him as we started to get to know each other. He was interesting and made me laugh and I felt like I could be myself. We connected over traveling and art and Jesus and I found myself curious about him. After he left Jeremy texted Emily and told her that Sam “liked” me and she asked me what she should say back. I was not sure how to respond so I just said that the ball was in his court.
So at this point Samuel likes to say that when he heard that the ball was in his court he decided to “dunk it”. So he got my number and asked to stay in touch. We texted a little bit and he was about to leave on a trip to Uganda. I was hoping that he would call me before he left and he did – the day before. So we talked on the phone and he asked me if he could take me on a date when he got back from his trip. I said yes.
We had met at the end of April and it was not until June that we went on our first date. I was visiting Arkansas for a friend’s wedding and so the day of the wedding was our first date. It started off at 8:00 am! We went to breakfast at a place called the Iron Skillet – which is a very Arkansas place with really good breakfast. We were the only young people there and I was the only girl wearing a red dress. After that we went to the Farmers Market and walked around. After that he took me to a car place because he needed to get something fixed on his car. Apparently this was also a test to see if I still wanted to hang out with him. (I did.) After that we went to his house and he showed me his art and explained the meaning behind it. Then we were hungry so we went for some Thai food. So after all of that our date ended at four in the afternoon. Again I found it easy to be with Samuel – I enjoyed talking to him and getting to know him.
We were able to hang out a little bit before I headed back to Kansas City. Samuel told me that he had enjoyed spending time with me and wanted to continue to get to know me. He dropped me off at my friend’s apartment and just said, “I will see you soon.” So I headed back to Kansas City – not really sure what was going to happen or when we would see each other but I was filled with peace that I could not explain or understand myself.
During this time I had been in Kansas City for a couple of months working for a coffee company and applying to grad school for counseling. Samuel and I kept talking and in July he came to visit me. I gave him a grand tour of Kansas City and tried to pack in all that I could. We had a fun weekend of adventure and strangers telling us that we were meant for each other – we watched a Shakespeare play in the park where Samuel fell asleep, he met my parents and my friends and saw a lot of Kansas City. The day that he left we went to Thai with my parents and Samuel ordered Thai hot – which turned out to be legitimately Thai hot and tortured Samuel through every bite until his mouth was numb and his stomach was destroyed. But he smiled quietly through it as he was just getting to know my parents and didn’t want to make a scene. But that was the day he asked me to be his girlfriend – I said yes and Samuel drove back to Fayetteville with a migraine and not happy stomach.
Later that month Samuel came back to Kansas City – but this time he brought some of his community group and they all stayed at my house. (Three other couples) And they told me that they were going to convince me to move to Fayetteville. At that time Samuel and I were talking about one of us moving so that we could live in the same city and get to know each other in normal life. This was an important weekend for me because I loved getting to know his community group and it made me realize that if I moved to Fayetteville – I would have a good community.
So we both began praying about living in the same city and which city. In that time doors started to close for me in Kansas City and doors (opportunities) started to open for Samuel in Fayetteville with his art. I got accepted to grad school but things got complicated and I felt like God was closing that door. I visited Fayetteville and I talked with the owner of Mama Carmen’s who I had met before through my job in Kansas City and I felt like there was a potential for a job there in the future. I ended up giving my notice at work in KC to find out the next week that the company was liquidated and so my job ended abruptly. It was that same weekend that a friend called me from Fayetteville and told me that she had an extra room and I could live with her if I wanted. So everything fell in to place and I decided that I would move to Fayetteville in September. I still did not have a concrete job but someone called from my home church in Fayetteville and told me that I could have a part time job at church if I wanted. So God clearly opened doors and shut doors and directed me back to Fayetteville. And I was amazed at His protection of me and guiding me each step of the way.
So I moved to Fayetteville – into the apartment that Samuel picked me up from for our first date. And I began life in Fayetteville once again. A place of community and sweet friends. Fayetteville had been a place of healing for me and so it was sweet to settle back here and begin a new chapter of dating Samuel in the same place and to step into a really amazing community group that was encouraging and supportive of Samuel and I – as well as passionate about similar things such as impacting the community and reaching out to the poor.
It was about six months of dating that Samuel told me that he loved me…on accident. We had talked about waiting until engagement to say it but after a night of live painting and excitement and Samuel’s filter being gone it slipped out. He looked so shocked and almost horrified when he said it – we stood laughing and shaking in the parking lot of Village Inn. We had both known that we loved each other for a while at that point. It was a perfect moment since it just kind of came out naturally and unexpectedly.
By this time it was December and we had just celebrated six months of dating. I wondered if he was going to propose soon (we had talked about marriage for a while) but I was trying my hardest to not guess every time he asked me on a date. This was getting hard. We went on a Friday date and I had a small feeling that he was going to propose that night because he was very adamant about me not cooking and wanting to go out. So he picked me up for coffee and then he said we had dinner reservations. As we left the coffee place he said that we had some time to kill so we could just drive around a little bit. I was not suspicious at this point – but as we were driving we ended up at a lookout point at Mt. Sequoia. He pulled up to a pavilion and I saw candles and a canvas that was set up. My brain was trying to wrap around all that was happening and I got really quiet. He asked me to get out of the car and walked me toward the candles.
There was a chair with an umbrella and he had me sit down. He told me that he loved me and that he wanted to spend his life with me – and he wanted to tell me some of the reasons he loved me. So he began to tell me different reasons and then he would turn and write it on the canvas. Obviously I sat there crying. Then he had me stand up and he reached behind the canvas and pulled out a ribbon that had the ring on it. He knelt down and asked me to marry him. And I said yes.
After that two figures came out of the bushes – two friends who were there to document the moment. I stood there in shock and Samuel and I smiled for the camera. Then Samuel told me that we had a party to go to and that our families and friends were there. I had no idea. On the way to the party he told me that he had driven to Kansas City that week to have lunch with my parents and ask their permission to marry me – that meant a lot to my parents and to me. So we got to the house that was filled with friends and our families and we celebrated all that was to come.
We will be getting married on a Sunday, May 24th. We are looking forward to this day as it is a celebration of all that God has done and all that he will do. We are planning and preparing and working and dreaming and counting down the days. We are excited and yet challenged as we know we can’t fully understand exactly what we are stepping into. We know it will be hard and good and so many things we can’t anticipate and hopefully we will learn to love better and become more like Jesus in the process.
So even though this story has turned out to be long – sorry about that - it is just the beginning. I am amazed looking back at everything and seeing how God brought us together at the perfect timing. He even prevented us from meeting in the past – (I was at a party at Samuel’s house but he was not there.) I have learned so much already about trusting God and taking little steps at a time. I have learned about not being afraid to be known by someone and to trust someone with my heart but ultimately to trust Jesus and follow his promptings. I have seen ways God has made us for each other - to spur each other on and to challenge each other. He had been really good to us – giving us great community, families that love us well, opportunities to pursue our passions and so much more. But we also stand in the reality that hard times will come and there will be trials. But we also have a fresh start to walk into marriage and build something beautiful that is first built on Jesus and overflows from that. We have so many hopes, desires and dreams and yet we are wanting to live a life of surrender to God’s plan – which we can testify to being much better than anything we could have planned ourselves. So thank you all for being a part of our story and our lives! And we hope to see you on May 24th!