Today I am delighted to announce that Jen Hill is back to talk about how she met her husband Greg and give some sound wisdom for married couples walking through difficult circumstances (which is all of us at some point). Thanks for sharing Jen!
Just a week or so before I met my husband, I requested prayer at the end of a church service. I was at my home church, preparing for a big move to Texas because I was transferring to a university in Texas sight unseen. I knew no one. I had not visited the school. I had never even been to Texas.
Perhaps the reality of my impending jump into the unknown was beginning to become more obvious? Regardless, I was about to move thousands of miles away…and I needed prayer!
I still, to this day, struggle to see myself in any other light beside an obnoxiously Type A, OCD midwest girl. Yet I look back on my life journey and I see these pretty bold moves that I made, and it’s clear that I cannot count on myself to always see things accurately. I don’t know what drove me to pick a school in Texas. But I did, and the trajectory of my life shifted in a major way.
Someone prayed for me that day at church. I barely knew her, but as she prayed she suddenly began to weep. I won’t deny that it was a little awkward. She prayed for the upcoming move and transition to a new school and city, and she wept. Then she began to pray for my future husband. I remembering thinking, “Hey, wait! That wasn’t part of my request.” It’s funny now when I look back to that moment. I really had no idea what God had in store for me!
After her prayer concluded, as she was wiping her unexpected tears away, she began to plead with me concerning my future husband. She said in no uncertain terms that I needed to keep an open mind. She made me promise to remember that it would be someone unexpected and to give him a chance.
I’m simply just reporting what happened! True story. These are just a few of the minor details to the crazy way we connected!
Greg and I met just days after that church service. I walked into a classroom, and there he was. We were both communication majors and met in an elective course, something like Photography 101. I have fond memories of a few darkroom sessions where we were developing pictures we took of each other.
I was mysteriously drawn to this guy, but yet he was SO different from what I had envisioned for my future husband. I couldn’t shake the words from the emotional prayer warrior on my behalf, but, boy, did I try! Greg and I both tried to walk away from each other. We had one of those rocky dating relationships up until the point we got engaged. It makes no logical sense. We would break up but would just keep coming back to each other.
During the fall semester of our senior year, we were sitting in an upper level debate class. Up until that point in the semester we had always sat next to one another. Most everyone knew we were a couple. But on this particular day, we were sitting across the room from one another, and there was a vast ocean of frustration and complexity between us. We had broken up the night before. I’m fairly positive most people in that classroom picked up on the tension.
Our professor was announcing debate partners. We would be working closely with our assigned partner for the remainder of the semester. Any guesses on who got paired up that day? The Hill-Stevens debate team began! What a wild ride. We did get an A in that class, and we still lovingly debate as to who got us that A! (Me. Definitely me!)
Neither of us would have ever picked the other. It’s a mutually declared truth! So we had a lot of learning to do right off the bat. Initially, we struggled with even just basic communication. Considering we met because we were both majoring in COMMUNICATION the irony of that is not lost on me. We have completely different personalities and backgrounds…and we had quite the journey ahead of us. We knew we loved each other, but it was a crazy, hard to explain kind of love.
It’s easy to look back on those early years and downplay the trials that we experienced. Was it really that bad? I’ve learned, though, that it isn’t really helpful to compare trials and hardships. We were stretched in those early years. We had to struggle through it. We grew because of it. I’d like to think that all that hard stuff, all the moving, all the financial questions, all the extended family difficulties, having to learn how to communicate, learning to serve one another…all of it has given us muscle to bear the burdens we’ve faced in the last few years especially with having our son become a double amputee.
Looking back I can acknowledge that those early years of our relationship and starting a family WERE hard. It was good! But it was hard.
We have six children now. The oldest just turned 11! We will celebrate 13 years of marriage this year. One of the key ingredients for us has been our imperfect, but enduring, commitment to humility. Oh, we can debate, y’all! We’ve had to learn how to clothe ourselves in humility, listen, give, repent, change, grow…Jesus has been faithful to teach us.
The last several months have actually surprised us. It’s been a season where there seems to be a relentless barrage of unexpected hits. We come up for air, thinking surely this is it, only to be blindsided by the next, new challenge. We’re tired and weary, and this has made it a season ripe with potential for conflict. This is where the rubber meets the road! We’ve had to grow more, and put into practice the various elements that God has been faithfully fostering in our hearts throughout the years.
I can sense this being a season that refines, stretches, and ultimately strengthens us. We’re just so glad that Jesus is holding onto us. I’m grateful Greg has weathered the storms of life with me. We see our differences now, and it’s clear that we make a great team not despite the differences, but because of the differences. We complement each other! We called ourselves “Team Hill” from the get-go, and we’re holding on tight to each other, and to Jesus. What an unexpected, beautiful ride it has been so far!