Our love story

This is Leon's and my love story. A story of love, sacrifice, battles, victory, forgiveness, about falling off track and the love of God giving us the love and forgiveness to start all over.

 Leon and I met for the first time back in 2006. He was a goth kid back then and I was a naive home schooler. I was instantly attracted to him and he kinda liked me too. But we parted ways with no digits or contacts. I didn't expect to see him again. I mean how could I?

In September of 2009 I was volunteering at a Church Bread Pantry with my Mom and as I went outside with my niece Hailey I noticed a young man who looked awfully familiar. Could it be? I thought. And then as someone called his name "Leon" I knew it! How I remembered this young man or even his name, I just don't know. But I highly doubted he remembered me. But I must be honest when I say that crush kinda started to come back. He looked much different. He was taller, more muscular, his dark thick hair was out of his beautiful green eyes. And spiritually I just knew he was a man after God's on heart. I didn't know this at the time but I believe at that moment God was telling me that he would one day be my husband.

Months went by of Him working at the church and me volunteering. My mother told me countless of times to to talk to him. But me? A lady and also a shy, skittish homeschooler? I would have never done such a thing! So, I let Fridays go by and eventually I stopped seeing him there. I kinda started to regret the not saying "hi" thing. But I figured if God wanted him apart of my life He will bring him back. And He did!

That January of 2010. I started to attend a youth group. My lovely friend Ginny invited and though I was a little to old to be joining a youth group I thought I would socialize and just get to know people until the adult's group started up. Plus one of my best friends Josh went there so I didn't mind. The first night I got there I saw him! The one person I didn't really expect to see. Well because, it was for teenagers. What I didn't know was he was a Student leader there for the middle schoolers. But still, I wasn't gonna walk up and talk to him. So God used a very special person to help. He involved Leon's older sister Ashley. Who knew that I would be sitting next to her at the service. Who knew we would get into this great conversation and who knew that she was his older sister until she called him over and finally we were introduced! I went home thanking God for the opportunity to meet this young  man.
 We still didn't talk much after that. Just a "Hi! How are you?" kinda conversation. But I still watched him closely. I didn't want to pursue anyone unless God had a plan in the matter. So I observed him closely. Many would have said I stalked him..... But I wouldn't go that far ;).   During worship The whole time I was distracted, glancing over at Leon to see if he was really in love with Jesus and to see how he worshiped.  Was he truly worshiping, or totally distracted?…like I was…oops!  After a few peeks it was obvious to me that the guy was genuine and was DEEPLY in love with Christ and my attraction instantly increased.

In April 2010 I was helping my friend Ms Ginny with a Flea market for Haiti. So, a few weeks before the opening night we spent long days at the church going through stuff. Leon would often come up and offer his service to us being the gentlemen he is. We both had a hard time not smiling at each other.And Ms Ginny caught on quick of my interest in this young man.

On the night of the Flea Market Leon did something absolutely surprising to me. He actually came up and started to talk to be. I could tell he wasn't sure whether or not he was interested. I mean I wasn't really his type at the time considering I was a bit naive and I was very insecure with myself which was why I would wear baggy clothing. But I think he was trying to get to know the inner me and not focus to much on my physical appearance. We talked about our desires and where God was leading us. He told me he wanted to be a youth pastor. Honestly I was kinda hooked because I always knew I would marry one. And that was one thing God has laid on my heart was that I would marry a pastor and he would be older.

We finally exchanged our digits. I was kinda sneaky about this. I wanted him to have my number and I kinda wanted his. But no way was I gonna ask him for his number. So, when I finally got my new phone and new number I went to him and said "Hey! I just got my new number do you want it?" And of course he said yes!

So, finally we all decided to hang  outside of church for a day! Ashley, Leon and I went to Ocean City on a hot June day. (And let me tell you, when I say "Hot June day" I'm not talking about the weather!  It was honestly one of the best days of my life! He was such a gentlemen and didn't really let me pay for anything. When we went to the beach Ashley decided she wanted to stay on the sand and read a book. So, Leon and I went in the water together. We had such a deep conversation. Especially considering we were barely friends. We talked about our passions, where we saw ourselves in ten years, where God was calling us, and what we were looking for in a future spouse. I guess you can say we pretty much talked about everything one would talk about on a first date. I have to say though, I think I was in love at that moment. The way he worded things and spoke of his love for God moved me. And he was pretty impressed with the fact I had a desire to be a virtuous woman. That night I was certain he was my Mr.
 That was the start of many midnight texts. We would stay up till about 2:00 am just talking about Jesus and our day. It was great. One night he invited me to a Bible study held at The Lloyd's house. (Who is now our Pastor.) Pastor Joe would lead a Bible study on Faith and the love of God. It was a very prophetic study and things were always happening. And we went there expecting. I've never been to a Bible study so powerful. But I did know I wanted more! 

Leon and I had our first date in late July. He took me to a lovely Italian place called "Carrabbas". It was delicious  and is now one of my favorite restaurants. This was the first date I have ever been on so I was a bit nervous. I knew he could tell. I'm so glad he took it easy on me. I also tried fried squid for the first time and actually loved it! 

After everything that has happened and everything God has shown me I was still concerned. I knew I didn't want to waste my time on anyone if it wasn't in God's story for me. Leon felt the same way too! So one early August night we were prayed over by Pastor Joe (who had a crazy Jesus laughing spell that night) Mrs Tammie and Krista (Mine and Leon's spiritual family.) As they laid their hands on us praying in the spirit God gave Krista a interpretation that we would be Married. It felt like a dream to me. It was so unreal! But wonderful at the same time. That night Leon asked if he could hold my hand. He told me that he loved me. And that was the first time I not only held hands with a boy but was also told "I love you" by a boy. And of course I responded with "I love you" in return.

Leon and I officially became a couple September 1st. It was Labor day  and we both decided to be in a committed Courtship.
We got engaged November of 2010. The very same day I got my job at Panera bread. He proposed to me in the woods of my Parents house. It was a very personal spot on a log. Because that was the place where I would go to spend time with Jesus. He handed me his bible and said why don't you look up Jeremiah 29:11 (Which is mine and Leon's foundational verse) And when I did there was a ring!! He quickly got on his knee and asked me to marry him. Of course "YES!" was my answer.

December came around which was a season of serious battling. It was the start when Leon and I became a little bit too physical. much more than we wanted to be. A little kiss led to long hugs and long hugs led to well, I'd rather not say. But let me just say this to all of my single friends and friends who are dating "IT'S NOT WORTH IT! A few minutes of pleasure will bring months of late night regrets. For that time Leon and I gave into lust was probably the most confusing, regretful time of my life. It was hard. But God was and is forever forgiving and Merciful. Those many nights of praying he gave me the verse Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Despite of what Leon and I allowed to come into our relationship God gave us the forgiveness and strength to get us out of it. It was a long hard year of struggling. And He took a horrible situation and worked it out for the good. I now have a deeper understanding of the difference between "Love" & "Lust" And my hatred for "lust" is stronger than it has ever been. Because I know now the strongholds it comes with if you allow it. 
I wish a lustful relationship on no one and a loving relationship on everyone! Leon and I fought  this battle hard together  and with God's help we won and lived a pure relationship once again. We are living examples that God can take a horrible situation to glorify Him and that no matter what you have done in life or how far away you have gotten from The Lord. He always wants you back and wants to hold you in His arms. There is nothing you can do that will separate you from the love of Christ.

Leon and I were married December 23rd 2011. And I must say I couldn't be happier with any other. Amazing things happen when you let go and let God! Xoxo -Heather



Life As We Know It said...

So I think I figured out how to post comments now LOL. Well this is an amazing story...do you have the pics from your first date that I took? Let me know if you need them! WOW those many of those wedding photos are amazing (I wonder who took them) Teehehehehe

Heather Leigh Riley said...

Haha I'm glad you figured it out! =D I actually thought I did but I don't =( I definitely could use them though! And yes I give you permission to give yourself a pat on the back for great wedding photo's hehe!

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't too personal, but I was wondering how old you both were when you got married? My boyfriend and I know that we will one day get married but I just want to know an appropriate age to do so haha. Your wedding looks so beautiful and your story is just incredible!

Heather Leigh said...

Hey girl!! Not too personal at all :) We were both 20 when we got Married. It was definitely a God thing! :)

Bonnie Way said...

Aw, you are a cute couple! And that's a lovely story. :)

Kjelse said...

You have such a sweet story!! My husband and I were 20 when we got married, too! And we got married in December, and my wedding's colors were red and white! (seriously, stop copying me! haha j/k)

I was also a naive homeschooler, although I wasn't very shy by the time I met my husband the summer before my senior year of high school. He was the first person (and only person) I have ever dated. We were pretty sure right away that we were the ones for each other, and knowing that he was who God intended me to marry was what kept our long-distance dating relationship going even through a time where we thought we may break up. But I don't mean to write our whole story here in a comment..haha...I just love though that we have so many things in common.

I'm excited to follow your blog and read up on you (in a non-creepy-ish way). :)

Heather Leigh said...

Thanks so much Bonnie!! :):)

Heather Leigh said...

Bahahaha! Seriously?! That's so funny!! A girl can only try to be as cool as you! haha ;)

Aww I love hearing about other people's love stories!! I'm such a romantic teenager sometimes haha! It's inspiring to me still because I think it's awesome when God writes loves stories :)

I'm excited to follow you as well!! I think I see a pretty close bloggy friendship in the very near future! :)

Val Young said...

The Lord surely does provide the best. May you have many beautiful years together. You can read our story here: http://proverbsfamily.blogspot.com/2013/06/how-i-became-wifeagain.html

Paula @ Beauty Through Imperfection said...

beautiful story and gorgeous pictures!!! :)

thanks for sharing it on my link up this week!

Laura said...

We share the same anniversary date. ;o)

How fun!