I was going to write out a new version just for this post, but then I decided it would be much more fun to share the following version with you. When Jeff and I got married two years ago, we gave each other gifts the night before our wedding. He gave me this beautiful box in which to keep love letters he writes to me (because he knows that "Words of Affirmation" are my "Love Language").
I gave him a children's book that I wrote and made about our story. I did this because Jeff always says I need to write a children's book (mostly because I am a huge kid at heart. :-)) Now, that we are having our first child, I can read it to her someday (and also test if she's completely bored by it-haha). So, here it is-complete with photos. But, seriously, please don't judge my children's book writing skills on this one! I was trying to fit in details not needed for a children's book-and also fit the text into a Shutterfly book.
Also, if you just want the meat of our love story, skip down to the city view and read everything after that.
If this makes you want to puke and you'd rather read a sober-minded perspective on singleness and marriage, I wrote one of those too.
Not Too Full
A True Love Story
by April Knapp
(Photo by Kevin Carden)
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jeff. He liked to play sports, watch TV, and play outside with his little brother. One day, he decided it was a good idea to back his mom's car out of the driveway. He crashed it into a ditch.
He was very happy, but something was missing...
Many miles away, there lived a little girl named April. She also liked playing outside, but really liked playing make-believe with her sister and writing plays and performing them for her family. They usually starred the family puppy, Heidi, much to the cute little puppy's dismay.
April was also very happy, but something was missing...
When April was 14, she discovered the greatest Truth that ever existed in the whole universe. She realized the Almighty God of the universe is loving, patient and good-not a big, mean king who was ready to zap her at any moment when she did something bad. She discovered that she did not have to earn God's favor by being good, but that God loved her even when she was naughty.
She learned that because God's Son, Jesus, died for her on the cross and then rose from the dead, God would forgive her when she was naughty and she could have a lasting friendship with God. And so she believed and her heart was finally full...but not too full...
The little boy named Jeff grew and grew into a young man. He left home and joined the Wolfpack, so he could learn how to be an engineer, make lots of money, and have a big house.
Then one day a friend told him something that would change his life and dreams forever. It was the same great Truth April learned-that God loved him and would forgive him if he believed in God's powerful Son, Jesus. Jeff knew he needed Jesus and wanted to have a lasting friendship with God, so he believed.
And his heart was finally full...but not too full...
As Jeff talked and spent time with his friend, Jesus, his dreams began to change. Making lots of money and having a big house were not so important anymore. God gave him new and bigger dreams. Jeff found that he cared about people who didn't know Jesus, like he once didn't know Jesus. God made Jeff care more about His glory than about having a big house. So, when God asked Jeff to spend his life making little money telling people about Jesus, Jeff agreed.
And his heart was full...but not too full...
The little girl named April grew and grew into a young woman. She joined the Mountaineers so she could learn how to write stories about people so that other people could read them and be inspired. It was a good goal, but as she talked with her friend, Jesus, her dreams began to change. God burdened her heart for people who didn't know Him, like she once didn't know Him. God made her care more about His glory than being admired for her talents. So, when God asked her to spend her life telling people about Jesus, she agreed-even when He asked her to go to the ends of the earth (though it took some convincing!)
And her heart was full...but not too full...
Jeff was never alone. God always kept His promise to be with Jeff always. He also have Jeff many good friends and family to keep him company.
Jeff was not alone, but he wanted something-something he could not receive from his friends and family. He wasn't quite sure what that was. His heart was full...but not too full...
April was also never alone. God is faithful and kept His promise to be with her always. He often comforted her and gave her good friends and family to encourage her.
April was not alone, but she longed for something else. She wanted someone in her life whom would serve God with her, maker her chicken soup when she was sick, and kiss her goodnight every night until she went to live with Jesus. Her friends and family, though they were great, could not do that for her.
Her heart was full...but not too full..
Then one day, April's life began spinning round and round like an uncontrollable storm. She suddenly had to move to a new city and a new house, though she didn't want to go. She knew God was in control, but what was He doing?
Jeff also moved to the same new city. He was very sad to leave his friends and didn't really want to move. He knew God was in control, but what was He doing?
In the new city, April and Jeff worked together telling people about Jesus. April did not understand Jeff at all. She thought he was annoyed with her most of the time. But, she still thought he was funny and kind of cute.
Jeff did not understand April either. He couldn't understand why one day she was having the best day ever, and the next day she would burst into tears.
But, he also liked that she laughed with him and he thought she was kind of cute.
And their hearts were full...but not too full...
Despite their differences, Jeff and April became good friends. They had lots of fun together and joked around a lot.
They had so much fun together that others would ask them if they liked each other as more than friends. They both laughed at this idea. THAT was not possible...right? Their hearts were already full...
...but not too full...
April began to see Jeff's deep love for God, quiet passion for the Gospel, and his integrity and leadership. She admired him and a strange, new feeling began creeping into her heart. It made her stomach feel funny and her heart beat faster. She found herself wanting to be around Jeff all the time-even when they misunderstood each other (probably because she as a little obsessed with "Pride and Prejudice")
This new feeling scared her. What was it? Did she want it to grow stronger or go away? Wasn't her heart already full?
Jeff began to see April's deep love for God, sensitivity to His Spirit, and compassion for others. She was lots of fun to be around. He admired her and a strange, new feeling began to creep into his heart. "Eh, no big deal-it will go away," he thought. But it didn't.
As the days passed, the feeling in April's heart grew stronger and stronger. Then, one day, while sitting on a train across from Jeff, half-way around the world, she talked to God. She suddenly realized the feeling inside her was love. She loved Jeff! Maybe he was her someone, but she was afraid he did not love her back. What if her heart was doomed? And wasn't her heart already full? Yes. But not too full...
(Side note-Yes, this is the very train ride I wrote about. In fact, this could be the very moment I was pouring my heart out to God in my journal about Jeff-I am still highly amused that someone took a photo at this moment.)
Jeff came to his senses and realized his feeling would not go away. He talked to God about it and made a huge discovery. This was more than a feeling-he loved April! Maybe she was that something else he wanted. But was her heart too full? He decided to take a chance...
So he pursued her.
And she was giddy.
The days passed and Jeff grew to love April more deeply and April grew to love Jeff more deeply (and they began to understand each other!) God told them they should get married because they would serve Him better together than alone.
Jeff thought his heart was already full, but God made it bigger so April could fit. God gave April to Jeff to fill his longing and need.
April also thought her heart was full, but God made it bigger so Jeff could fit. God gave Jeff to April to fill her longing and need.
And their hearts were full...
But not too full...
TO BE CONTINUED!