Our Story

The story of how Jonathan and I met and started dating…

Our story actually started way before we actually realised or for that matter, remember. Okay so I know that doesn’t make sense but please just bear with me, it was a meeting that we both don’t remember the other being a part of. It wasn’t the idyllic story book, love at first sight occasion, not at all, and only years later we were able to look back and see God’s hand in it all, years later when we managed to piece it all together.

We had both attended a church youth camp when we were sixteen years old, and not only that but we were placed in the same small group (as small as 10 people or so), this in itself was actually a little odd to begin with, since the groups were arranged by age and we are actually a year apart in age and a year difference in our school grade as well. How we ended up in the same group, it turns out, that the camp happened to fall exactly in between our birthdays, which is one month and three days apart. It meant that I had just turned sixteen two weeks earlier and Jonathan was only turning seventeen two weeks after the camp. Since my birthday is on November sixteenth and Jonathan’s is on December nineteenth, so for just that month and three days every year we are the same age. How’s that for coincidence?! Or maybe God’s sense of humour.

We both remember being in that same group, what the group’s name was, as well as both of us remembering one or two people whom we had befriended within the group, we both remembered who the youth leader was and even other little random details that matched up, but we honestly don’t remember one another – weird right?…  About three years later when we were dating, we found old photographs from that very same camp and that’s when we started making the connection. Even more strangely, we came across a picture of the both of us and another friend in it, just the three of us looking straight at the camera, it had been taken with my my camera since I had the pictures developed after the camp, and even still didn’t remember him from pictures, in my possession. Unfortunately, we don’t know where that picture is now, most likely in a box in the garage somewhere.

It was only a few years later that God opened our eyes and we suddenly noticed one another, even though for about three years we had been right under one another’s noses the whole time, while we attend a rather large church group, our families attended the same congregation within the group, we had mutual friends, and at different times were in the same small youth group, our friendship circles just kept missing one another, our paths never quite crossing until the timing was right.

I won’t claim to know the mind of God, but I can guess that it just wasn’t in His plan for us to hit it off too soon, maybe just because we were destined to be together. Us not noticing each other then and missing each other all the time must have been God’s way of protecting us, because I’m sure just based on how crazy in love we were when we did start dating, if we had gone through that at sixteen even though just three years earlier, we might’ve messed it all up. It could only have been God, and that He knew that both of us weren’t ready for that intensity so young.

Three years later, after high school and a year in youth ministry, and before I was due to start at university, is when our story together had begun.

My younger brother, Grant, was part of the sound and media team at our church (he was about 13 years old at the time) and every Sunday morning at the crack of dawn he’d be picked up by “Jonny” from the sound team for early morning sound setup at the school where the church service was held. I kind of knew this Jonny guy but didn’t pay much attention to him, until one boxing day…

On Christmas day of 2005, my brother would not shut up about me going with him and the sound team to a race at Killarny race track in Cape Town, the very next day. Why on earth he wanted me to go with in the first place was mind boggling to me, let me just be frank and say that although my dad and brother are crazy about cars, I knew nothing about them and honestly didn’t care. But he kept nagging me, only for me to discover that our mom had said he could only go if I did – why she suggested something like that, till today I don’t know because when I asked later she didn’t even remember saying that to my brother and couldn’t think of a reason why she would either. But I had eventually given in to Grant anyway and said I’d go, all just to please my kid brother.

On the day, and to my dismay, quite a few of the people that were meant to have been joining us, had cancelled, so instead of it being a big group of people from our youth group who were in the sound and media or music teams, it was just a handful of us, none of whom I really knew. Those who turned up ended up being just Grant and Me, Jonny the sound guy, his sister, and the sister’s boyfriend. I was not impressed as I realised I really didn’t know any of these people and wondered just what my brother had gotten me into. Grant had also arranged to meet quite a few other people there so he was all over the place, meeting this one and that, that I realised he wasn’t interested in hanging out with me because he had arranged with his friends from school to meet him there, being the older sister and my brother only thirteen I just made sure to add a condition that he needed to check in with me at regular intervals throughout our time there. It also turned out that Jonny’s sister (Renée) and her boyfriend went off and hung out on their own most of the time, and also just met up with us intermittently throughout the day. So ultimately that left Jonny (aka Jonathan) and myself alone most of the day, looking back though that must have been God’s doing, we spent the entire day talking and getting to know one another and hit it off immediately. Suddenly we had “noticed” one another and by the time we had to leave the races, we didn’t want the day to end, we were both smitten. So I guess that was our love at first sight moment right there, almost exactly three years after our initial meeting.

Side note and for the record, I also found out that day that he went by Jonathan not “Jonny” and why the sound team called him that is a mystery, someone must’ve tried it and it just stuck, he’s generally and still is a soft-spoken person as so he just never bothered to correct people when they called him by the nick name, I had noticed that none of his close friends or family used the name and so I took it upon myself and started rectifying everyone (mostly in the church music and sound teams) gently when they used that name and they all eventually changed it and called him by his given name.

After that day Jonathan and I spoke every day, not one went by that we didn’t call, text or both. Both our families had vacations and road trips planned up the coast and as far as a province over, so that took us away from home for a bit, but we stayed in contact daily still. In fact I later learned that I became fondly known as “Miss Knysna” because our family trip at one point intersected and we were both in Knysna on the same day and had planned to meet up. Unfortunately the other family that my family and I were travelling with had changed some things around and so Jonathan and I ended up missing one another and did not get to meet up in Knysna after all, and would have to wait a couple weeks for us both to be back in Cape Town to meet up. On the very day that I returned back home from our vacation, I literally dropped my bags, jumped in the shower and got ready for our first date, we had arranged it a couple days earlier when Jonathan had arrived back home.

The new year started with a bang! That first date happened towards the end of the first week of the new year, and two weeks later we officially started our relationship, a couple weeks later I started my first year at UCT (University of Cape Town) and Jonathan began his third year at CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology). The universities are relatively close to one another, I had mostly morning classes and he had only afternoon ones, our schedules worked out so well that we saw each other every day, in-between our classes, and on weekends too.

We were inseparable from then on!

Fast forward about a year and a half later, we found out that we were expecting a baby. Jonathan had just started his in-service training job and I was midway through my second year of my degree, so it threw us quite a bit. We were serious about our relationship and had previously been talking on and off about getting married not too long on but wanted to graduate first, which would have been about two years later. However after finding out that we were expecting a baby together and discussing what we would do and how it would change our plans, we decided we wanted to get married before our baby arrived. I was due in March the following year, so would finish that year at university and having done our research and speaking to my academic advisor, we found out that I could take the following year off by applying for an academic leave of absence. The reason I would have to take off the entire year was that returning in the second semester (or half-way through the year) would have thrown my degree all out of whack since my majors had first semester courses as requirements for the second semester ones and so on. I would then return the year after and continue with my third year by re-applying to UCT, but that this was just a formality since I would retain my credits from my incomplete degree.

So we had our plan, we then had to break the news to our parents, who we knew would be disappointed that we had gotten ourselves into the situation so young and while studying. Just like we thought, they struggled with the news and also we had so much else going on with our families that the whole situation was stressful instead of joyful. They also were not in agreement with us getting married so young and thought that we were just saying we wanted to get married because of the pregnancy. We had to explain a few times over that it was something we had been talking about for a while (although babies were not part of the plan) we knew we wanted to be married to one another and not just because we were expecting a baby. After a while they all came around and the plans got going, our parents and family were incredibly supportive and rallied around us to make it happed. We got married on 26th January 2008, I was 32 weeks pregnant.

We welcomed our firstborn a son, Caleb, just seven weeks later on 16th of March 2008, one of the most memorable days of my life. – I’ll be writing about my birth stories next so keep a look out for those. –

For those wondering if I went back to university as planned, I did.

I did take the academic year off the year Caleb was born.  Jonathan went from doing his in-service training to being offered a permanent position with the same company that year too. He was fully supportive of us doing whatever it took for me to go back to complete my degree.  I had to re-apply to UCT for the 2009 academic year as planned, and got accepted again without any hassles, my student loan application was also successful. I then found out I could apply for a summer term course in the November to December of 2008 to fill up my course requirements for my major and to make sure that my degree stayed on track, this before going back for the 2009 academic year, but because my re-acceptance was already granted and my student number remained the same, there were no issues.  Also, in 2009 I started interning during my vacation time at the company I still work for today.  I was meant to graduate at the end of 2010, but unfortunately failed one of my second semester courses required for one of my majors, which was heartbreaking for me, and I had found out during the 2010 FIFA World Cup while out at the V&A Waterfront on a game night, and ended up going to cry in a corridor outside the restaurant we were at at the time, my sister-in-law Renèe had seen me and told Jonathan who then came out to console me. I was distraught that I had to wait another year to graduate, and that I had to wait until the following year to redo the course, but through it all, God had it all under control and it turned out being a blessing in the end, I finished up the second semester and had started working full time the beginning of the following year (2011), failing that course the year before meant it gave me another little academic break while working, being a wife and a mom to a two year old.

I had then found out that I would have to redo the entire course and go to all classes and turn in assignments and everything, all over again. But, after a little asking around and research I applied to the University and the Head of the Department for that course, to do just an exam re-write, called an Exam Without Attendance, since they did not offer substitute exams in the said department and my initial result was only 2% short of a pass, this however was not a usual request, but I had heard from a friend who had under extenuating circumstances had it granted and so I decided to try everything to get it approved for me too. After all, I only needed that one single course to graduate. The university eventually after many appeals granted my request. I re-wrote the exam as planned and graduated at the end of 2011 with my Degree.

Thanks to my amazing husband and family for all the support during those two years I was able to go back to university even after getting married and having a baby, and complete my degree, also the first in my family to do so.

Twelve years after we started dating, ten years of marriage and parenthood, permanent jobs and promotions, degrees, almost four children (about one month before we welcome our fourth), one of our kids being diagnosed with a cancerous tumour and having major surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. We’ve been through a lot but I’ve never looked back and regretted any of it. Many times, it was hard, it definitely wasn’t always easy and even though we did some things the wrong way around, God always had us in his hands! We are so truly blessed to be where we are today, to be happy and still in love as ever and about to welcome our fourth child into our family. I couldn’t have asked for a better life partner than Jonathan. I feel incredibly blessed by all we have together, and pray we will always feel that way, and that most of all we remain centred on God, and always place our marriage and our family firmly in his hands always.

4 replies
  1. christopher
    christopher says:

    Reading this amazing story just takes me back to so many things. Its amazing what you guys have accomplished in such a time. I remember when you started dating lol, clear as daylight. Inseparable from the start. You guys are so blessed. I payed a visit at church on Sunday and came across your blog there. Was really hoping to see you guys.

    Reply

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