Once upon a time, there was a beautiful, grace-filled, southern belle named Laura Beth. She grew up in a small, fanciful town in North Carolina with a family that highly valued cultivating her relationship with Christ. Throughout college LB sought to deepen and enhance her relationship with Christ. She became involved with a college ministry at Peace College called Cru. In the summer of 2011, the Lord led her to go on a stateside mission trip, also known as summer project, to Santa Cruz, California. It was that summer that her heart began to break for people all across the world who were hungry to know and experience God’s love. Senegal specifically was laid upon her heart.
Now meet Tyler. Tyler is a very lovable man of God. He grew up in North Carolina with parents who loved the Lord as well. After his sophomore year of college, Tyler really began pursuing a relationship with Christ and began growing in his faith. Tyler was involved in the Cru movement at North Carolina State University (go Wolfpack!). He actually led a bible study with our team leader, Ryan. He was involved with Cru’s intermural outreach that emphasized building bridges with students that were less likely to attend a Cru meeting without a personal invite. If I could briefly describe Tyler’s character it would be that he is someone who cares deeply about being intentional with everyone and loves people well.
How They Met
Well, let’s just be honest. This is the part that we all want to know about. Was it love at first sight? Did you say anything stupid? After you met, did you walk around with stars in your eyes for days?
This is LB’s version:
” The Friday night of Cru’s Fall Retreat, I was sitting with my small group and I heard this voice in the group beside me say “I’ll close us in prayer.” Taken away by his heart for the Lord and how cute he was, I began talking to my friend, Kaitlin, about who he was. It wasn’t until Saturday night, as I was filling up cups of ice with a staff member, that this young man came through the line, grabbed a cup and said, ‘thank you.’ With butterflies in my stomach I responded with an awkward, ‘You’re welcome.’ Little did I know that a few moments later I would lock eyes with the man that would later become my husband.
As I was finishing up my job, I noticed he was looking at me from across the room. When I was finished, I started talking to Aaron Adams about playing the game Signs. Tyler decided to join in on the conversation and smoothly looked at me and said, “Hi, I’m Tyler.” We spent the evening laughing, giggling, and playing Signs. At the end of the night I pulled a Cinderella and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow at the meeting,” when really I was leaving the retreat before then! You gotta keep the mystery, you know.
After spending a whole week of his life without me, he decided that was too long! (Totally a joke!) I received a Facebook message asking for my phone number. And then he asked me out for dinner and dancing on our first date on November 18, 2011! Throughout our relationship, I still had a burden for the people of Senegal and I knew the Lord was calling me to invest a year of my life here, proclaiming his name in a nation that is over 95% Muslim. Even though I’d fallen head over heels in love with Tyler, the Lord is worth following and He is trustworthy in regards to all aspects of my life.
Over my senior year, I continued to pray for the Lord’s will in our relationship. I knew that if this was the Lord’s will for us to head in the direction of marriage, as was me coming to Senegal, this would only strengthen our relationship and provide clarity. It was not easy, as our relationship with the Lord can be, but He calls us to love and trust Him. So, in October, I fully surrendered to the Lord’s plans and let go of mine. I got on an airplane headed to Senegal, without Tyler.
Much to my surprise, Tyler actually eventually did end up in Senegal with me (even if it was only for a week and three months late). Here’s a video that highlights the most recent progression in our relationship. Please enjoy these wonderful photos that Mary took for our Save The Dates. “