Sunday, June 16, 2013

Freshman Year: A Twist I wasn't Expecting

I think 6 months is the longest I've gone between blog posts. Most of you (if anyone still reads my blog) probably thought college had eaten me, but I did actually survive freshman year. However, college took quite a different turn than I expected. Two weeks before finals, I got engaged.
It's a long story, but here goes. 
I had arrived in Moscow, gotten settled in, met my room mates, and said a tearful goodbye to my family and went down to a local coffee shop called Bucers with one of my roomies. We sat at a long table in the front and I met a lady named Mrs. Lloyd and her daughter. We talked for a while about who knows what, probably school, why I picked NSA, my family, etc. A few days later was Orientation, my first Sunday at Christ Church, and then a church wide picnic. I saw Mrs. Lloyd and her husband and stopped to say hi. Then their son Tellan walked over and introduced himself. He was an NSA Sophomore. Cool. Nice family. I moved on and prepared to start school. What I didn't know was that Mr. Lloyd and Jordyn (Tellan's sister) had picked me out and told Tellan before he even met me.
As the first term (8 weeks) began, Tellan made an effort to talk to me a lot at church, at school, at Bucers, and if we happened to be studying on our porch when he walked by since he lived just around the block. By fall break my siblings and I could tell that he was becoming quite interested in me. Leaving coffee in my mailbox was just one of the many hints. Meanwhile Tellan had talked to his parents about "ya know that girl you mentioned?" At the end of the term I left to go home for fall break and Tellan contacted my dad. He was interested in getting to know me and possibly pursue a relationship later on. I talked to my parents for a while and my dad gave us permission to spend some time getting to know one another. 
So the second term we spent time "studying" and talking at Starbucks, enjoying Sabbath meals with friends at his house, mine, or other places, and talking at school, etc. He also walked me home from school on days when our classes finished at the same time. Again, I headed home for Thanksgiving break and Tellan called my dad again. He was ready to take it to the next step. Again we talked about it  and then Dad began getting to know Tellan on his own and asking him questions. 
The end of the term began to draw to a close and we studied for finals, had a pancake party at his house, and things were great. Or so he thought. Two days before I left, with school off my mind, I had time to actually start thinking about where things were headed with this relationship. Stress and exhaustion got the better of me and I freaked out. Things like "he's kinda quirky," "I need to focus on school," "I can't handle school and a relationship," and "I don't know if I even really like him," were the thoughts my mom was bombarded with as we video chatted. My roommates were out enjoying their freedom and soaking up every minute of Christmas break, while I sat at home, lights dim, tired eyes red from tears. And I received a text: "hey, we should hang out before you leave." The moment I was dreading. I bundled up, he walked by, and knocked on the door while I prayed for God to give me the words, prayed he wouldn't be too hurt, and that I wouldn't cry. We walked down to One World (another local coffee shop). 
We ordered coffee, went up to the loft, and talked. He tried to carry the conversation, asking questions, making comments, but I was quiet and not my normal self and it was obvious. All the time I sat trying to figure out how to broach the subject, how to tell him I wasn't interested. He finally asked, "is everything ok? You're really quiet." I stared at my ceramic mug fingers tracing the rim. "Yeah, there's something I need to tell you." Then it was out. Silence. How hard did it hit? Is he terribly hurt? Now what? We talked some more and he said it was fine, and he understood. He wanted to know when we could talk about it again. Ummm when I'm 25? 40? Never? "Probably nothing till summer" I said. He nodded. Well, with that wet blanket thrown out there, we pulled our coats on and walked out. He stopped at the house his dad was staying at while he was in town and picked up the gift he had gotten me, walked me to my house, and gave me the gift. Why? After I just shot you in the arm you go and give me a gift? It was a Lee Brice CD and a bag of gummy worms. Man... he already knows me well. 
I cried myself to sleep, confused, exhausted, drained, and annoyed that I didn't understand my own feelings. 
I left early the next morning to drive home with Caity and a friend of ours from NM. The ride was 21 hours and I slept through most of it. Four weeks of Christmas break, four weeks of anguish, frustration, confusion, sleep, prayer, and talking to my mom. By the time I went back to school I was convinced I had done the right thing, I needed and wanted to finish freshman year, and I wasn't ready for a relationship. Though Tellan had seemed calm and fine after coffee that night, I had no idea that all Christmas break he was just as miserable and upset as I was. Even though he had a feeling things weren't really over, that didn't keep him from feeling the pain. 
When we got back to school, I was holding firm to my resolve and we avoided each other and didn't talk for the first two weeks. As providence would have it, that was "courtship" term in Lordship class where we talked about the roles of men and women, courtship, and marriage. Pretty soon I began realizing that we had gotten to know each other pretty well, and I missed my friend. I also realized as we read about what a godly man and husband should be like, that I knew a man with so many of those wonderful qualities and he was interested in me. 
One day I was out shoveling snow (or rather chipping ice) on our side walk when Tellan walks up. He had been praying that God would give him an opportunity just to talk to me. Boom. Prayer answered. He stopped and we talked for a few minutes, he walked home to get a better shovel, came back and finished chipping the ice. As I stood there watching him, he apologized to me! What did he have to apologize for? I was the one that was so unsure of herself, the one that caused the pain. Wow! At least we could be friends again. I talked to a professor one afternoon about Tellan and relationships and life. I began talking to my parents about Tellan again and informed them that I was interested in pursing a relationship with him if he was still interested. My dad emailed to ask if he wanted to pick up where they left off. He was answered with an enthusiastic yes. At the end of third term, my family went down to Arizona for spring break. That happens to be where Tellan's family lives and so we met up with them several times. Mid week my dad gave Tellan and I permission to start courting. 
We began spending even more time together studying, talking, eating, sitting together at Church, etc. We also began reading a courtship book together. My dad had given him permission to try and win my heart and he did exactly that. We got engaged on the front porch of my house where we had spent lots of time talking, studying, and reading. We are so excited to get married this summer and begin next school year as a married couple.  
Thank you to all of you who prayed for us and were a huge encouragement to us both throughout our relationship. 

~Striving for Christ,


  1. Marissa, this is one of the twisted and sweet romance of courtship I have ever seen.
    I like that your relationship is so real and wasn't all rose glasses like a lot seem to be.
    I am so happy that Tellan never gave up and saw such a special person in you.
    I am more than happy for you both.
    The last name will suit you well. :)
    God bless you both.

    Shelby Z.

  2. Very exciting to see how the Lord works. Thank-you for sharing the story Marissa, and congratulations! :)


  3. Oh, Marissa, what a beautiful picture of how the Lord Jesus Christ courts His bride and how we respond to His patient love. We are dancing little jigs and celebrating your engagement. And we'll pray for you both as you prepare for the wedding (one beautiful day) and for the rest of your lives. love, Mrs. Neal

  4. Wow! I so enjoyed getting to hear the whole story behind this. It was so encouraging. :) I am always in awe of how God orchestrates things to His will!! It is simply amazing! Thank you for sharing all of this. :)
    I am just SO excited for you, my friend!!! Tellan sounds like such a wonderful man of God and I can't wait to see where the Almighty leads you in this next phase of your life. =D Love you, friend!!!!

  5. Awesome and PRAISE THE LORD! I am so happy for you- thank you for sharing your story. I love you!

  6. Marissa, I still can't get past the little girl playing with dolls and horses, and then I read a woman sharing her heart and the beautiful story of her romance with the man she loves. I am just rejoicing so much for you both. I'm so proud of you for remaining true to your heart in keeping yourself pure and wanting only what GOD wanted for you. You will reap so much blessing from those seemingly little choices you've made through the years that have brought you to this new season of life. Lots and lots of prayers for you both!!! (And your momma as I know she's going to need them, too!!!)

  7. Marissa, I am so happy for you. May the Lord bless you both.

  8. Hi Marissa:
    My name is Arielle and I work for an LA-based production company. I came across your blog and I'm very interested in connecting with you! Please email me at so I can explain the project we are working on further. Apologies for reaching out with a message directly--I cannot get the direct email to work on here. Have a great evening!