Lauren + william
From start to finish, our story is truly something neither of us can take credit for. It is without a shadow of a doubt a testament to God’s faithfulness and a representation of His perfect and sovereign will over both of our lives. It all started in high school when I had an open slot in my class schedule and decided to take intro to dance with a few friends from football as a joke. Now looking back, I would’ve never dreamed that that goon in high school would make the greatest decision I would ever make in my life without even realizing it. From the very first day of class Lauren had caught my eye. I was introduced to her through my childhood best friend’s girlfriend, now wife, and though I don’t believe in love at first sight, I knew that Lauren was different from any girl I had ever met. She was beautiful, confident, radiant, spunky, goofy, and man let me tell you… she could dance. I could NOT take my eyes off of her. Even though she was two years younger, she had captured my attention and I only hoped I could capture hers.
Due to a fortunate set of circumstances (someone in the class made it known to our instructor that I was interested in Lauren, and unbeknownst to me at the time, she was interested in me too) we were made partners for a couples dance. That day, though, was the day we were practicing lifts. Needless to say, my anxiety was at an all-time high. When it was finally our turn, I looked into her eyes, she looked into mine, she ran forward towards me, I swept her up off her feet, swung her legs to my side, and then smack! I drop her and her butt hits the floor... hard. I’ve never been more embarrassed or felt worse for someone in my life. I was absolutely mortified and knew that this poor girl that had the misfortune of dancing with me would probably never talk to me again. But then something amazing happened. She laughed! She didn’t cry or get mad or blame me. She just laughed and said “I’m okay! It’s fine! Seriously, it’s fine! I’m fine!” and then wanted to try again… WITH ME. I couldn’t believe that that didn’t phase her. I knew from then on she was someone I had to get to know better.
A few months after that memorable dance together we were officially dating. We dated all throughout high school. She was on the dance team and I was on the football team. She would come and cheer me on at my games and I would go and watch her at her competitions. I would walk her to every class, every day, because I just never got tired of spending time with her. We both wanted to be together every second. We went to multiple proms together, participated in many of the same clubs, and both attended and were actively involved in the same youth group at church. We also both ran in the same friend group. Lauren also began working as my mom’s photography assistant so she would be over at my house constantly editing photos or helping my mom set up equipment for shoots. Anyone who knew Lauren or me knew we were together. She and I just worked. And we were in love. We had our complications and quirks but even then I was pretty sure that I wanted to marry Lauren. Then it came time for me to graduate and everything became complicated.
Once I went off to college, we tried to make it work. We had never experienced distance like that before. The physical distance that was between us started to form an emotional distance that we couldn’t overcome no matter how much she or I tried to pretend it wasn’t there. After my freshman year of college and her junior year of high school, we put an end to the two and a half years of being together. I will never forget that day at the park, both of us trying to hold back tears as we said goodbye. Even though I knew it was the right decision, I knew deep down, and I believe she did too, that it wasn’t what either of us wanted. I knew that I still loved her, but I knew the best thing for us was to let us both live our lives and not be held down by the weight of the distance between us. The first few months were hard. She continued to work for my mom while I tried to be as distant as possible. The break became more bearable once I went back to school and then pretty soon she and I both started dating other people. She went off to Samford once she graduated high school and I went back to Knoxville. Because we were in the same friend group and her and my mom was still fairly close, we remained connected and we never really lost our friendship.
Because of our close friend group, Lauren was always around. She would show up to Knoxville for engagement parties, football games, and somehow she’d manage to find me in a crowd and strike up a conversation about how our lives were going. It was impossible for me to avoid her. I would get so nervous when she’d come in town because I knew I’d have to face the woman I had never gotten over. The crazy thing is, she was not so over me as I thought. As much as she loved Samford and her life in Birmingham, she still felt like there was something missing and it came to light whenever she’d come to Knoxville. I had no idea about this at the time, but every time Lauren would come to Knoxville to visit, she would end up in tears once she was alone with her girlfriends because of the feelings that welled up inside her whenever she was around me. Like me, she would get anxious every time there was the potential of her seeing me. Neither of us knew that we both were still trying to get over each other. But all of our friends knew. Thanks, guys. No, but in all seriousness, as I said in the beginning,
During the fall of 2017, in one of the most difficult seasons of my life, I received a thoughtful text from Lauren encouraging me and letting me know she was thinking about me and praying for me, which just reminded me of the kind of person she was and still is today. Then soon after I received that text, my mom let me know that she had just recently broken up with her boyfriend she had dated throughout college, which had kept me away from her because I thought she had found someone she loved as much as me or more. It was clear that I had to meet with her again to see what was still there. Over that Christmas break she and I met at a local coffee shop in our hometown to catch up, and though we both can agree that that first date was overwhelming, we both could still see that there was a spark. We were both incredibly nervous about what to expect so there weren’t more than 5 seconds of silence the entire time we were together. That next date, however, it felt like 4 years had just melted away. I felt like I was sitting there with the high school girl I once fell in love with and nothing had changed. Though we had changed a lot over the years, had new friends, matured in many different areas of our lives, at the root, we never stopped loving each other, and that was clear, even at a freezing cold $5 Titans game. I knew then I loved her, but more importantly, I realized I had never fallen out of love with her.
When it came time to get down on one knee, there was no doubt in my mind about the person I was getting in Lauren Mouchette. She always remained someone I deeply cared for and respected throughout the course of my life and I so admire the woman she has become. She is the most God-fearing, loving, caring person I know and I am so blessed to have been given her for a wife. I have always loved her, and no matter what has happened and will happen in our lives, I will always love her. I cannot wait until the day finally comes where she and I enter into this new phase of life as husband and wife and all of you will celebrate with us in this incredible gift we have been given through the love and grace and generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ. We hope you can join us!