How I Met Your Father: When the One Breaks Through


This post is part 2 of 5 in the series How I Met Your Father.

How I Met Your Father: When the One Breaks Through

I met him when I was least looking to “meet” a guy. And he didn’t come in the package I expected—whatever that was.

It was just before the start of my sophomore year of college. I was on campus early for Cheerleading, as were a lot of other athletes as well as the student Orientation Staff members.

A guy friend of mine was on the O-Staff that year. Each one of them had been assigned a group of freshmen for the weekend, and on one particular evening, groups were pairing up for the night’s festivities. His female partner would be unable to attend, so he asked me to fill in for her, teaming up with him in leading this group for the evening.

We all gathered in the gym. I watched as “my” freshmen started trickling in. That was the first time I saw him.

The night proceeded as we made our way around campus on a scavenger hunt. Like a good upperclassman, I made the rounds, making sure to spend time talking to each of the new freshmen at some point during the evening.

He was the last one I got around to. I remember looking at him and thinking, half disgustedly, His face is perfect. I wasn’t necessarily attracted to him, but I couldn’t find anything to not be attracted to.

But he apparently wasn’t attracted to me, either. Hmph! Arrogant, I thought. And completely disinterested. Not that I should care. It’s not like I was looking for a boyfriend anyway. But, I mean, come on. The nicest looking guy in the bunch could at least act like I was pretty.

Whatever. I soon forgot about it. Until the next evening when I saw him again, chatting with the prettiest girl on my wing. And smiling at her. Hmph!

I walked on to my room feeling offended and wondering, Why is this bothering me?…

How I Met Your Father: When the One Breaks Through
Slowly developing a friendship, but only in group settings

It was several weeks before I ran into him again. I had gone to chapel service alone, and a guy whom I’d met at the coffee shop the weekend before spotted me and invited me to sit with him—them. Turns out that arrogant freshman and me had a mutual friend.

The service was just about to start when he leaned forward from the other side of our friend and asked me about the paper that was due for some class. “Umm, I’m not in that class. I think you have the wrong person.”

Wow. Obviously I’d really left an impression on this guy….

A few weeks later I got a call on my dorm room phone. It was about a paper again, but this time he had the right girl. I was a tutor for his Intro to Biblical Studies professor, and since he’d recognized my name on the short list of tutors, he’d called me up.

He brought his paper over to my room that night. I read through it, gave my feedback, and then he just kinda stayed. We talked for a long time. I don’t remember what about, just that at some point it came up that I was in a weekly prayer group with some friends and that he was welcome to join us sometime.

When he finally left, my roommate could hardly wait to say it: “Oooh, Angela! He’s nice! I think he likes you!”

“What?! No he doesn’t! What makes you think that?…”

Well, he did start joining our weekly prayer meetings. And one night he decided to walk me back to my dorm. Boy, did that make me uncomfortable. Especially when he replied to my totally innocent comment that “no one ever calls me unless it’s about homework” with an awkward, “I’ll call you sometime not about homework.”

Oh, no!!! What have I done?! I set him up! I thought. I just want a friend, and now I think he likes me!

Your grandma likes to remind me how when they visited for Parents’ Weekend shortly thereafter, I pointed him out during halftime of the football game and said, again half disgustedly, “See that guy? I think he likes me….”

Despite my fear of doing anything that would make your dad “like” me, I really did enjoy hanging out with him and found myself coming up with ways we could be together in group settings. I just didn’t want to be alone with him. My heart was too guarded for that.

See, about a year and half prior, I had gone through a terrible breakup. I mean, I had given my heart to this guy and assumed he’d hold it forever. But when he politely handed it back to me after several months of dating, it broke. I broke. And for the first time in my life, I understood that hearts aren’t something to play with. That love isn’t a game.

How I Met Your Father: When the One Breaks Through
At my sister’s wedding and wishing to be engaged

I vowed to myself that I’d never date another guy unless he was the one I was going to marry. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would know that. I guess I just trusted that I would.

So the first time your dad and I went somewhere alone together, it was a big step for me. We walked to Subway, where the first person we saw asked us if we were dating (go figure. We weren’t, so that was extremely awkward.), and from there we walked to the one coffee shop in our small college town.

The coffee shop had this back corner with two leather couches facing each other. Usually they were occupied, but somehow our timing was perfect that night and we got the couches. He sat on one, I sat on the other. Guarded.

We’d been talking for a long time, and finally I got up to use the bathroom. I’ll never forget what happened next. As I finished in the bathroom and extended my hand to the doorknob, a feeling of peace suddenly came over me, and it was almost like a voice spoke in my head, “It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.”

Understanding the nudge to let my guard down a little, I slowly walked back to the corner where your dad was waiting. But I didn’t return to my seat opposite him. I sat down beside him. Internally, if not audibly, I let out a sigh of release, and after a moment of nervous silence, almost in resignation, I said, “What are your parents’ names?”

When your dad responded with Grandma and Grandpa’s names, the strangest feeling came over me, and I knew. I’m going to know these people for the rest of my life.

We walked back to campus and then to my dorm. The doors were locked, and just as we approached them, I dropped my key. Your dad grabbed it before I knew what had happened, and he held it for a moment while he said these words:

I just want you to know that God has given me an interest in you. I don’t know what that means exactly or what that looks like, but I want to continue to pray about it and to do things the right way.

I think I probably half whispered my response. “Me too.”

How I Met Your Father: When the One Breaks Through

I’ve learned a few things since that night that make our little love story seem larger. Like that your dad had made a similar vow at a similar time to not “date around” anymore. And that if I hadn’t sat down beside him on that couch when I did, he wouldn’t have had the courage to share his heart that night—and that if I hadn’t dropped that key, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.

Girls, Son, what I want you to know is this: the right one is worth waiting for. Your father was the only one for me, and how I met him was in God’s perfect plan.

He has a plan for you, too, you know. He created you, He cares for you, He knows what you need. And when your love story unfolds one day, you’ll see true beauty in the One who wrote it.

How I Met Your Father: When the One Breaks Through

Read more from our How I Met Your Father series:

How I Met Your Father


  1. That is an awesome story you shared. As I read this I found myself being reminded about how Amanda and I were brought together by God. What an exhilarating experience to have when one lets God lead in the relationship.

    • Amen, Bill! It’s so good to look back now with an enlarged view and remember how it all started. To do so as I wrote this post left me feeling humbled and blessed. That God could care for me this much and meet my needs in so perfect a way just blows my mind.

      Thanks so much for the comment, Bill. Happy Valentine’s to you and Amanda. What a beautiful couple you are!

    • It’s so true, Marti–there’s so much more going on when two people meet than what we can possibly realize. To think back on the first time I saw Travis and then at the family he’s entrusted to us… there are no words for how “small” that makes me feel in the grand scheme of things. I sure am glad “The One” broke through my fearful, guarded heart and gave me the man He had for me.

      Thanks for commenting, Marti. Wishing you and yours the sweetest of love this Valentine’s week and always!


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