I met Tyler one Monday night in spring of 2010 at Jake and Josh Pierce's apartment for their weekly "Manic Movie Monday" (aka MMM) night. I met a lot of people that night. I specifically remember Tyler wearing Converse shoes and me complimenting him on them, since I, too, wear and love those. When I realized that he and I had much in common, I thought I had found a great new guy friend! [insert Tyler's scowl] He spent the day with me and my family on Mother's Day, because I knew his family lived in Florida... in retrospect, I think that gave him the impression that I was interested in him... Meanwhile, I was in the process of allowing God to transform my life in order to walk closely with Him again after a LONG hike in "the wilderness" where I was living selfishly and destructively. It was quite a process and, though I knew God's will would be for me to be single during this time, I wasn't. (That didn't leave much room for Tyler) I got texts and phone calls every now and then from Ty and we would catch up on life, and I always thought "wow, some girl is going to be so lucky to have him as her husband someday...". Tyler always represented a man after God's heart and I definitely admired him for that. Come Christmas-time, I had become single (kind-of) and had more free time on my hands. Tyler invited me to a basketball game at the school where he teaches and we went to dinner afterwards. That night, he encouraged and inspired me to get serious about my acting and start auditioning for things... a man who understood and ENCOURAGED my love for my art?! This can't be real... and starting 3 weeks later and on, I booked my first 3 films! Still wrestling with completely letting go of ALL aspects of my life to give over to God, a couple months went by. I realized I missed that inspirational, fun-loving, passionate, Godly guy "friend" in my life, so Tyler and I planned another hang-out. I met him for dinner one Saturday night and that was a major turning point. I was blown away by the deep, thought-provoking, spiritual questions that he asked me, and that he actually listened and CARED about my responses. Through Tyler's Biblically-driven words, God revealed to me a man that not only was passionate for Him, but truly interested in me and what I had to say! However, my humanly nature caused me to continue to think things such as "no way...Tyler is such an amazing guy...I'm not good enough for him." STILL being a stubborn child towards the Lord, a couple weeks later I told Tyler I was not ready to "let go and let God". His response is what officially and finally kicked me out of my stupid, self-loathing, "poor me, I'm a sinner" attitude... (This is an actual copy of the email): "Alyssa- not my will Lord but yours. I have to remind myself of this during this situation. I need to trust in the Lord as well during this. I tend to leave myself out when I'm giving out advice haha. To be honest it doesn't change my attitude towards hanging out with you or how I feel. I do feel like there is more to our relationship than just friendship so I'm going to keep pursuing in the way I have been, guess I'll just have to fight for you, you're worth it ;)" - Somehow through those words, God said to me, "Wake up, Alyssa!!! You ARE worth it. You are My child just like anyone else and if you are obedient to Me, I will give you abundant life!" Wow. I was sold!! Sign me up! Tyler saw me through the eyes of Christ...not as a sinner with a messy past, but a new and beautiful creation. --- After having a LONG discussion on my face before the Lord and some tough cutting-of-ties, I told Tyler I was ready to allow him to court me. We have literally been inseparable ever since.
Every day I love that man more and more as we continue to see and allow the Lord to work in our lives. We have almost everything in common (love for music, art, Converse, and constantly surprising each other with who can quote more movies) and I am having so much fun getting to know new things about him all the time. He is a wonderful spiritual leader and I can not ever thank God enough for blessing my life with my precious Tyler Butcher. :)
So there I was sitting on the red couch in the Pierce's apartment about to start Movie night and in walks Alyssa...... my jaw dropped! Suddenly in a world of black and white I saw an angel in color. She was wearing jeans, a green top with orange on it, and green converses. After picking my jaw off the floor I turned to Josh and simply said two things 1) Who is that? and 2) Dibs!!
Alyssa and I hit things off right off the bat. We nearly had everything in common. It seemed I met my dream girl and, in fact, I did... even though she merely thought she had found a new friend in me.
In the following week or two we saw each other here and there and each time I found myself in disbelief as I liked her more and more. My parents came into town from Florida and a group of us went to dinner. Upon Alyssa meeting my dad (Jimbo as Alyssa calls him), he turned to me and simply said "you need to get on it" and gave me a wink to which I replied "I'm working on it dad." Following that night, I saw Alyssa a couple of days later at church on Saturday night. When she saw me and my folks, she decided to change seats to sit next to me. After we sang some worship songs, my dad simply nudged me and smiled. In my mind I was thinking "sweet she might be into me" but tried not to read too much into it.
After their departure she invited me to spend the day with her family on mothers day the following sunday. I spent the entire day with her family telling stories and joking with them. We ended the night meeting up with some friends and bowling together. By the end of the night I was convinced Alyssa was into me and was contemplating trying to kiss her when I dropped her off at home. I decided against it thank the Lord, because apparently I was merely her new "friend".
*Sidenote: to all the ladies out there... guys HATE HATE HATE!!! when you call us "friend", or any deviation of it for that matter- buddy, pal, etc.. it's like daggers to us when you're into a lady and she nonchalantly throws one of these terrible terms out there in your direction.*
Anyway we continued texting and chatting here and there until one day Alyssa decided to take it upon herself to let me know she wasn't interested in dating anyone right now and wanted to "just let me know". Looking back, I know God was directing everything in his perfect timing, sharpening Alyssa as well as my own walk, and breaking down our respective walls so that we would finally relinquish all control over to Him for Him to do as He saw fit.
But at the time I was BUMMED to say the least but was determined not to be lumped into the dreaded friend zone that so many of us are all too well aquainted with. Guys you know what I'm talking about. So I would check in on Alyssa from time to time to see what she was up to and more importantly to see where she was spiritually. What can I say, I was a man on a mission haha. When she was dating someone I made myself scarce but still checked in every month or so to see where she was and to keep myself on her radar. I tried to keep my options open, but anytime I met someone that seemed cool Alyssa would come back into my life and would remind me how awesome she was and how she blew every other girl out of the water in comparison.
So on one of my check ins I had invited Alyssa to a basketball game at PCA. -A quick sidenote I had invited Alyssa to a number of events and hangouts which she rarely came to but this time she had committed to coming so I was stoked.- We met in the parking lot and walked into the game. Oh I'm a high school teacher to those of you who don't know, so we were greeted by a myriad of students' eyes and attention as I strolled into the game with a supermodel by my side. This was the first time I saw Alyssa nervous and a little unsure of herself as a plethora of heads kept turning to look and smile at me raising their eyebrows and nudging their head in Alyssa's direction.
We went to dinner afterwards and talked about a great number of things: music, art, hers and mine, and God. I was sold after that night but knew God needed to take hold of that last part Alyssa was holding onto so I prayed that the Lord would do whatever He willed with our relationship. I decided that night to call her again in a couple of weeks to touch base with her and see where she was with God.
So in the following weeks I asked her to dinner for a date, unbeknownst to me she thought she was grabbing dinner with her buddy Tyler. So upon meeting at the restaurant we fell right into terrific conversation per usual for us. We have never had a lull in conversation. I also find out during the night that she was dating someone (which I wasnt too pleased with). I informed her that I considered tonight's dinner a date and she was a little taken aback by my honesty it seemed. I also found out that a dramatic transformation had happened with her spiritual life and had found her way out of her "wilderness" it seemed... my eyes brightened with joy! By the end of the night I had decided I was going to pursue this girl regardless of whether she was currently dating someone or not.
As as they say the rest is history.