Ok, so, where did we leave off…Oh yeah, so I was saying things between us took a bit of a change. But first, we need to rewind a little…..
Back in 2006 when I was out in Uganda, my life was completely transformed in so, so many ways. Before then I was consumed by material things. I dreamt of owning a large family home, with lovely cars and extensive gardens, beautifully decorated to the highest standard. I loved spending money on eating out, and getting my nails done and buying lovely designer clothes. I spent money, as and how and when I pleased, not really giving a second thought to what I was doing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy eating out and getting my nails done and I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with having a gorgeous house or driving a BMW. BUT what I am saying, is that those things got shifted in their priority. They were no longer my motivation. Uganda taught me, that money definitely does not buy happiness. It taught me that there is more to this life, so much more, than just being successful. There are literally thousands of people dying every day because they don’t have enough to eat, thousands of children dreaming of going to school, thousands longing for a drink of clean water…..suddenly my dreams of only ever eating and drinking from Emma Bridgewater crockery and splashing out on the new seasons Burberry handbag wasn’t so important.
And with that also came a change in what I found attractive in someone.
2006, saw me finally ‘get over’ my ex. We had broke up in 2004 and I had been devastated. In Uganda there was another girl on the team, Emma. Great girl. One night as the girl were having a wee chat in the room (as only us girls can do!!) she talked me into writing up a wee list of my ideal man! (I know it sounds all a bit cheesy and stuff, but roll with it, ok?!) 😉 I LOVE a good list, so was all over it like a rash! Ha!
So, yeah I did. I wrote in my journal the things that my ideal, perfect man would have. And for 2 years prayed that God would bring someone that matched that description into my life.
So. Back to March 2008 then. Hope you’re sticking me on this! Like I said, Ben and I had become good friends during and immediately after the Christmas team. Within a few months, we had gone from dreading leading a team together to being best friends who did everything together. I had had a dream to go to Uganda on my own for 2 months (I was a primary school teacher, great hols!) in the summer of 2008. I really felt that confirmed during the Christmas team and could hardly wait to get back out again as soon as I had come home.
As I discussed things with Abaana and shared my ideas with friends and family, it seemed people would have been happier if I went with someone, rather than going on my own. The obvious choice was Ben. During the 2 months I was going to be involved in training some primary school teachers who worked for Abaana in their schools in Uganda and I would also be looking into ways of improving those schools. Ben was a primary school teacher too, so like I said, the obvious choice.
He was happy to come along as he was also really keen to get back to Uganda. So the trip was planned. We would fly to Uganda at the very end of June, spend 2 weeks on our own working with the local primary schools, then people from my church would join us for 4 weeks and we would build a primary school, then Ben and I would remain for a further 2 weeks.
As the months progressed and plans were made, God began a work in our hearts. There were so many different things that happened that brought us to a point of finally admitting that we had feelings for each other. Neither of us wanted to admit it. I think we both kinda fought against it. But on Easter Sunday we shared how we were feeling about each other. I knew my prayer had been answered. God had given me my ‘ideal man’. Right down to the very last detail. Every single thing on that list, Ben could tick. Now, this had come as the result of lots of sleepless nights, both of us wakening at 2am every single night for weeks and not really knowing why, and a lot of prayer!!
The problem now was – what was going to happen with our Uganda trip. You see, there was a ‘no dating rule’ for teams…as in….there were to be no boyfriend / girlfriend relationships on team, married couples yes, but dating couples no.
We chatted it through with Scotty, the guy in charge, and also a good friend to us both, and he said that he really would prefer that we didn’t start dating until after the trip. The end of the trip was 4 months away!!! So we didn’t. We remained as friends until we came home from Uganda at the end of August. I can tell you that was a tough 4 months. But looking back on it now, it was such a good thing for our relationship. We became solid as a rock. Best friends.
We had such an amazing trip. Working with the kids, the teachers, the people of Uganda. We fell even more in love with the country and admittedly each other. We are both Christians so spent a lot of time praying, studying the bible and worshipping together. There were lots of late night chats around the campfire listening to the crickets and staring up at the beautiful, African starlit sky. We had hired a car, so enjoyed going to work each day and also going to market to shop, or sight seeing at the weekends and evenings. It really was an amazing time.
On our return we had our first date the very next day.
And then 3 weeks later Ben proposed. He had asked my daddy for permission and amazingly he too said yes!! I had always wanted a Christmas wedding….so we decided that God willing we would get married that December….which left us 14 weeks…….and it happened 23rd December 2008….we became Mr. and Mrs. Ben B. Maybe next time, I’ll tell y’all how we planned a wedding in 14 weeks 😉