In May of 2001, I began preparing for my upcoming freshman year at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. I was very blessed to already have a few friends who went to school in Denton at the University of North Texas and I had been attending Denton Bible Church with them for several months. One evening, these friends of mine invited me to go country dancing with them and their other friends from UNT. I had never gone before and it didn’t sound very appealing to me, but I decided it might help me get to know people in Denton, so I went along. It was on that night that I met Josh Lehman, but unfortunately my first impressions of him were not great! I recall that my friend went over to Josh and I heard her say, “You should dance with Erica. She’s never done this.” Well, I never did get an invitation to dance from Josh. In my mind, it could only mean one thing: he didn’t like me and was purposely avoiding me! As my friends and I drove home that night, one of them was talking about what a nice guy Josh was and all I could think of was, “He didn’t seem that great to me, in fact, he was sort of rude.” It wasn’t until many months later that I finally learned that he either didn’t hear what my friend told him or he misunderstood, because he didn’t know she recommended dancing with me. He had just assumed that I wouldn’t want to dance with him.
School started in August 2001 and it didn’t take long for me to discover that I was wrong about Josh and that he actually was a very nice guy. I was around him rather frequently when groups of us would go out to dinner after Sunday evening church service. It became obvious that he was kind, smart, and very funny. I enjoyed being around him, but that was pretty much the extent of it. By October, word had spread that Josh was dating someone. Though I hadn’t really considered him a possibility for myself, I do remember the thought crossed my mind that it was sort of a bummer that another one of the “good guys” got snatched up and was no longer available. A few weeks later, Josh and the girl had decided to stop dating. I remember thinking that this news about him being single once again was “interesting” but I didn’t really give it much more thought.
Throughout the fall of 2001 and into the spring of 2002, Josh and I continued to have many interactions with one another, mostly when big groups of us would go out to eat together. I continued to be intrigued by him. I was delighted when a mutual friend of ours gave him my instant-messenger username and he began sending messages to me every now and then while he was at his desk job and I was at the computer in my dorm room. Eventually, I found myself racing back from my classes to get on my computer to see if Josh was online and available to chat. We had many wonderful conversations and it seemed like we were turning into great friends. I started attended a Bible study that he and his roommates held at their duplex and I got to see his passion for teaching God’s word. I was extremely impressed! My friends and I also started going to watch Josh and his buddies play intermural flag football. When other guys on the team would be in a bad mood after a loss, Josh always had a smile and displayed a great attitude. He’d even find a way to inject humor into the situation.
When I wasn’t hanging around Josh or talking to him online, I was doing a lot of thinking about what a special person he was. I have a very vivid memory of a thought that occurred to me one day as I was walking to class. I thought to myself that whoever ends up marrying him would be the luckiest girl in the world! I hadn’t considered the possibility that it might end up being me. I was under the impression that Josh thought of me only as a good friend.
In April of 2002, the school year was wrapping up and Josh was given the duty of organizing the music for the Campus Crusade for Christ dance. In one of our conversations, he asked me if I had any requests for songs that he should add to the list. I gave him a few ideas and mentioned one in particular that I thought was a very sweet song. He told me he really liked that song too and he’d make sure it would get played. On the evening of the dance, when the song started playing, our eyes met, he smiled and he walked over to me and asked if I’d like to dance with him. Nearly one year after that first night when I thought he had refused to dance with me, here he was asking me to dance and the moment felt so special! A few days later, our group of friends was eating out together and one of my girl friends came over to me and whispered, “I think Josh Lehman likes you!” I asked her why she’d think a silly thing like that (I was still in denial) and she told me that he had asked her where I was going to sit and when she told him, he sat down in the next seat.
On May 7th, 2002, after classes were over for the day, I rushed back to my dorm room to see if Josh was online. I was thrilled to see that he was and to my surprise, he asked me if I’d like to go get some ice cream with him. We had never done anything just the two of us before, so it definitely seemed out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, I assured my roommate that he was probably just bored and that it was definitely just a “friend type of thing”. She laughed and said, “This is a DATE.” As Josh pulled up next to the curb outside of my dorm, he leaned across the passenger seat and pushed the door open for me, a sweet gesture I will always remember. The drive to the ice cream parlor was pretty quiet, probably because we were both nervous. The conversation picked up as we sat down to eat ice cream together. We talked casually for about twenty minutes and I remember thinking that my roommate was wrong because this was clearly just a get-together between friends. Finally, after a pause in the conversation, Josh told me that he’d invited me to get ice cream with him because, as he put it, “I’d like to get to know you better…if you know what I mean.” I definitely knew what he meant and I couldn’t have been happier. Before I could say anything else, he asked me if I would pray about it for a while and then get back to him when I was ready. Little did he know, I had been praying about him for quite a while already, but I told him I would do that and give him my answer in about a week or so. At the end of that week, he helped me move out of my dorm room for summer break. It was so hard not to tell him, “I’m interested!”
The following week, I told him I was ready to talk and he suggested we go out to dinner. We went out on our first real date on May 16th. He seemed very nervous as we sat down to dinner so I decided to get right to the point. I told him that I had liked him for quite a while and was also very interested in “getting to know him better”. His smile was huge and we both felt so relieved to finally have it all out in the open. He made me laugh so much that night!
He took me on dates regularly that summer and after about two months, we both knew that we never wanted to be without the other. He was more than I could have ever hoped for. He was the perfect gentleman, asking my permission before proceeding with any new expression of affection such as holding my hand, a kiss on the cheek, and later on, that first kiss on the lips. Once school started back up in August and we were both living in Denton again, we were inseparable. One of the very special things we did was get up early every Tuesday morning for a breakfast date to study the Bible together. It meant so much to me that he wanted to build such a strong foundation for us. At one point we kept track of how many days in a row we had seen each other and our record was sixty-six days straight, which would have been even longer if it wasn’t for the fact that he went back home to Houston for Christmas break. We spent ten days apart and missed each other terribly. Josh was (and still is) so romantic. He was always writing me notes and poetry, pouring his heart out to me and telling me how much he loved me. When I shared my insecurities with him, he would reassure me of his unconditional love for me and gently point me to the truth about my worth found in Bible. I truly felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world! We would always call ourselves “the most in-love couple”.
Josh began planning a proposal and had gone to my parents to ask for their blessing, which they gladly gave. On May 7th, 2003, we went back to the same ice cream parlor we’d visited together one year before. In an effort to keep me from suspecting anything, he told me that although he knew I was hoping we would get engaged soon, we might have to wait a while longer. I was disappointed and even shed a few tears. I was so ready to be married to him! After that, he suggested that we go out to Lake Ray Roberts because surely that would make me feel better. It was a beautiful day to be outside. We took a walk through a path in the trees and then Josh stopped and turned to me and began telling me how much he loved me. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes!” Then he said, “Oh no, I forgot to get down on my knee!” He knelt down and asked me again. I said, “Yes!” again.
On January 3rd, 2004, we got married at Denton Bible Church. Josh’s Dad officiated our wedding, which was very special. Our first dance was to a song by Ben Folds called, “The Luckiest”. In the years since that day, we’ve enjoyed many wonderful memories and blessings together. Our son, Elliot, was born on August 24th, 2005. Our daughter, Caroline, was born May 7th, 2008 (on the 6th anniversary of our first ice cream date and the 5th anniversary of our engagement). We’ve continued to grow closer and we still consider ourselves “the most in-love couple” as we celebrate twelve wonderful years of marriage.