I began attending church at The Assembly at Broken Arrow, where Jason was on staff as the Campus Pastor. The night I became a member of the church, Jason came over and introduced himself for the first time to my mom, and sister and I. I had attended the church for several months by this time, but had never even seen him before. After he walked away, I received multiple bruises to my sides from the incessant poking of my mom and sister while they whispered with giddy schoolgirl voices, "Oooooh! He's cute!" I calmly maintained that Jason was "just doing his job and being friendly," all the while unable to force the grin from my face. That evening a reception was held for the new members of the church. When we sat down to eat, I secretly hoped Jason would join us at our table... He did. We all had a great time talking and laughing- and the next thing I knew, the reception was being torn down around us. We were the last ones there, and I hadn't even noticed. I was completely wrapped up in the joy of "connection." Jason piped up and suggested some of us go get something to eat (despite the fact that we had JUST eaten!), and off we went to Cheddars. Again Jason and I sat and talked- about everything from our jobs to pets to trapper keepers- and again we shut down the place. Being forced out into the parking lot, we stood again, talking. This time, with no one else around, we managed to stumble upon more serious matters- things of the heart- the type of conversation we both so deeply value. That night, I drove away, both of us about to go on vacation, with no other person on my mind. It was the beginning of a friendship that would change my life forever, the beginning of life with my very best friend.
I had been serving as an Associate Pastor at The Assembly at Broken Arrow for 1 ½ years when we were preparing for the reception service of new members to the church. Before this reception the pastoral staff received a booklet with photos of new members. A friend of mine on staff, David Lermy, pointed out a woman named Betsy Whitsitt. Immediately I thought she was captivating. In fact, David and I both pointed that out in conversation with each other. So, that Sunday evening, before the service began, as was customary, I was greeting new members welcoming them into membership. I was stage right when I scanned the other side of the sanctuary for new members, and that’s when I saw Betsy. I went back to the picture that I had seen, and without realizing it, as if it were fate, I was already on my way over to greet her. I had never before even seen her at church, which is crazy. So, I approached, and as our eyes met, she smiled at me. If I remember rightly, I said, “Hello, Betsy!” I think I surprised her and caught her off guard. She was sitting next to her mother, Nancy, and her sister, Allison. I spent five minutes or so in casual and extremely enjoyable conversation. I walked back to my seat and when service ended, we had a reception for the new members. A few of our ministry’s leaders sat with Betsy, along with her mother and sister. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed being in the presence of someone more than simply sitting next to Betsy. It was unlike anything I had ever encountered. She was remarkable. She went with a group of us to Cheddar’s afterwards, as if we hadn’t eaten enough already, and got to know each other in a more laid back setting. When everyone had dispersed, we found ourselves in the parking lot, just the two of us, and I can remember not wanting to go home. I, from the first day of meeting her, could identify that there was something about her that I didn’t want to go without. It turns out that I was right; I don’t ever want to be without her.