Peter and I had been friends through church for years, but in December 2008 I began to see him as extremely marry-able, and I really wanted him to be my husband. He was the most Godly young man I knew, with intense dedication to scripture memorisation and a major gift for evangelism. It helped that he was really handsome and had a quirky, alluring personality. He was mysterious, and at times he'd be repulsive on purpose to girls that would flirt with him. He was risk-taking and bold...just the type of hero I would feel forever privileged to be able to call "mine."
But there was a problem: he didn't see me in that way and I knew it. He even told a friend, "I'd like to marry someone like Hope, but DEFINITELY not her."
This was heartbreaking. For two years I begged that God would take away these painfully strong feelings for him. Peter graduated high school and went to college at Trinity College of Florida during this time, and though I didn't see him for almost a year, any time I heard someone talking about him I could hardly breathe. He was a role model to me...even before I wanted him to be my husband I had established him as the standard. Anybody I seriously considered for marriage would have to be at least as awesome as Peter. But I never found anyone who met that standard, much less exceeded it.
After Peter's first year of college (about June 2009) he came home because of debt. He was working at a 100%-based-on-commission job selling cable TV, something of which he is extremely not fond. At the same time, my business owner dad was having trouble with his estimator (who was on drugs and stealing from him) and he was very stressed out. My heart was heavy for both of them. One day when I was praying for them, I had the idea that Peter could work for my dad. They tried it and Peter was a perfect fit for the job. My dad knew I was obsessed with Peter so he invited him to family functions, and Peter and I got to know each other very well. We would go to the mall on Thursday nights and hang out with deaf people. I would build relationships and sometimes even try to interpret for Peter, who had the boldness and skill to the share the Gospel. It was teamwork. It was beautiful.
Eventually I went to Trinity for my first year also. I LOVED it. God taught me a lot about Him and about being responsible, and it was very healthy. I read Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot and that changed my life. I was becoming content with singleness. But that nagging Peter Henchey would not go away...his reputation lingered at school. Classmates who had been friends with Peter from the year prior even said I reminded them of him. A handful of people called me "Lil' Henchey" or "Hope Henchey"---they didn't even know I knew him, much less adored him.
I came back home during Christmas break (2010) and decided to stay home and commute to college the next semester to save money. As of December 23rd, I was done with Peter. Our friendship had become very close and I did not have the self-control to love him as anything less than a future husband. I asked my dad to stop inviting him to things. Besides, while I was at college Peter traded in his car and bought a motorcycle. That is not a sign of someone who wants to start a family.
That night, Peter got into a motorcycle accident. By God's grace, it was the one time he hadn't been speeding too much, and he should have died but only ended up with some bumps and bruises...and a ruined bike. When he called me that night to tell me what happened, he said "I guess this is God's way of transitioning me into buying a car."
The next day (December 24th) Peter took my dad out to breakfast. I didn't think anything of it because I thought it was for business, but when my dad came home and called a "Family Meeting" I knew something was up. "When Peter called yesterday to schedule a meeting, he had said he wanted to discuss his romantic intentions about you," he told me. I couldn't believe it. But my dad continued to tell me that at breakfast Peter had shown my dad I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl, both books by Joshua Harris that Peter had studied and underlined in the past three days as he was preparing to ask my dad for permission to pursue me. My dad granted it, and Peter was to come over later that day to have the same discussion with me.
Peter spoke with me for a long time and showed me quotes from the books that had helped shape how he viewed courtship, engagement, and marriage. Peter did not say "I like you" but told me "I feel called to one day lay down my life for you." When he was finished, I admitted that I had liked him very strongly for almost exactly 2 years. He was very surprised; he hadn't been certain if I had any feelings for him at all!
We began with a deeper friendship that day, and for the next month we---without any mushiness---got to know each other. It was a beautiful time of praying and seeking God together and separately. We then entered courtship for three weeks, and on Valentine's Day 2011 Peter proposed. On May 22nd we were married. Peter washed my feet on our wedding night. He has been showing me the servant-leadership and love of Christ ever since.
In late June we evaluated our life plans. If I was going to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool, that would mean I couldn't even have kids until 3 years later when I graduated from college. And when I graduated from college, wouldn't I want to have a career or something for awhile? It just didn't make sense to us to go through all that work when I'd just quit my job a couple years after starting so I could have children. (This is one of my soapboxes lol.) So we decided I would not continue in college and we would start having children as soon as God allowed it. He immediately opened my womb and I got pregnant in July.
We gave birth to Stephen Shane Henchey at home (another one of my soapboxes) on April 10, 2012, when I was 19 and Peter was 21. The past two years have been extremely full but extremely good. God's grace has been abundant.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a rad guy, and raising three little people ages 1,3, and 5...and I'm now expecting my fourth. I like chartreuse, calligraphy, Coke Icees, childbirth, crocs, Studio C, and...alliteration.
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today