I love love. I like love. Being in love is such a wonderful, beautiful thing. Today I feel that we need to hear more about love and the perseverance of love. Being in love is wonderful, choosing love is necessary and determination in love is vital. Sometimes we forget that love is a CHOICE as much as it is a feeling.
I absolutely love telling this story. I have probably told it countless times to friends and it’s not even my story!! My dear friends, Brian & Jenn Johnson, have been friends of mine for about 13 years. Some may know them; some may not. They are the leaders of a music movement in the USA, their music is heard around the world and they are some of the best people I know. I am so excited to see where life takes them and all they will accomplish!
I just spent the weekend in Seattle with Jenn and we attended a friend’s wedding; of course the topic of weddings and marriage pretty much engulfed the weekend. So I wanted to share their story and Jenn was all about that and encouraged me to share it!
(I will be posting Jenn’s own story in the next month, so please stay tuned!)
Jenn, a beautiful California girl, met Brian at Summer Youth Camp when she was 12 years old. Brian was the guy that every girl liked. He was the Pastor’s son and he was the real deal. Jenn had a crush on him but totally thought she was out of his league. She would see him at different youth events throughout the years and through those years she became friends with Brian’s sister.
When Jenn was 17 years old, her family ended up moving to Redding, California to attend Bethel School of Ministry at Bethel Church, where Brian’s family pastored. Brian was the worship leader at the church and of course as we all know growing up in the church, that every girl falls for the worship leader!!! Guilty! I have. Jenn would see Brian at church, when she would hang out with his sister and sometimes they would all hang out together in groups. Jenn didn’t have much one on one interaction with him except when all their friends would hang out together. Jenn was falling for him hard, she really liked him and it was overtaking her thoughts. It was starting to frustrate her.
While Jenn was still 17 years old she went to the prayer chapel at the church and prayed. She told God, “You know I like Brian, but I can’t concentrate at church or school. If Brian is for me then let me know, but if it is just a fleeting crush then let me know and help my heart to move on.” She prayed a simple prayer. As she was walking out of the prayer chapel towards the church, Brian was walking out of the offices. He walked up to her and said, “Can you come to my office?” She started walking with him, wondering why he would need to talk to her in his office! As they got into the office, Brain said something to Jenn like, “I feel a connection to you. You have everything I want in a wife. What do you feel about this?” Did he say, “wife?” Wait, wasn’t he missing a step? What about, “Would you like to go on a date?” or “Would you want to be in a relationship with me?” Nope! He went straight to the other point. How would you respond? How did Jenn respond? She said to Brian with complete shock and of course overwhelming excitement, “Let me pray about it. I need to hear God’s ‘yes’, but I was just in the prayer chapel asking God about all this!”
Jenn went home, probably walking on Cloud 9! She went to her room and lay on her bed. She prayed. She talked to God. “What do you think about this God? Should I marry him?” As simply as she asked Him, He simply answered, “Ya!” She was filled with peace in her heart and knew the Lord had spoken to her. She went back to Brian the next day and told him God had spoken to her, and they started dating!
Instantly they felt like they had known each other for years and it became clear to them quickly that they wanted to get married. 10 days later, Brian proposed and Jenn answered “Yes”, a resounding “YES”!
They were engaged for 7 months and got married when Jenn was 18 and Brian 22. They have been married for over 15 years and have 3 beautiful children: Haley, Téa, and Braden.
They are the most real couple. They don’t hide their strengths and weaknesses, they are raw with those that they do life with and they are vulnerable with the trials and triumphs that marriage, parenting & leadership bring. The thing I love about them is that you can see right away that their marriage is first, it’s something that they protect and value. They will adjust life, if need be, to make sure their marriage and children are the top priority. They are fighters and they choose every day to honor and love each other. A lesson we all need to learn and live.
Brian saw Jenn the whole time; he was watching her. He was taking in who she was, how she interacted with people, how she loved God. He listened to her speech and her passions. The whole time he was watching, patiently waiting, the girl that he would soon decide was someone that he wanted to do life with. It doesn’t always work out this way for others; more often than not, it’s the journey of liking someone, going on dates, entering a relationship, falling in love and then making the choice to marry that person. Both are beautiful stories.
I love their story. I love the time in making the choice. I love that the choice is made each day. I love that no trumpets or angel choir confirming that they were to marry showed up. It was a pure choice that was prayed through. At the end of the day when times are tough and you question where you are at, you will always have the choice that you made to love that person. The discipline to always choose the person you love is there; you made the choice to love them in the beginning.
Their story is wonderful and it worked for them! It’s a crazy love story that I love to share because everyone needs to hear more good things in this world! Love and marriage, a beautiful thing to celebrate!
Professional photos by the amazing Heather Armstrong (Jenn’s best friend!) Heather is one of my favourite photographers!