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Bedroom Wall "Date We Met" Numbers

Updated: Jan 31



Living in our “forever home” makes my decorating decisions more intentional, which means they come slower. Because of this, our master bedroom is still pretty bare. But there was one design element I undoubtedly wanted forever on our wall - the numbers 06 22 08.


The craft was pretty easy...

  1. Bought large wooden numbers at Hobby Lobby

  2. Used some extra paint from another project to paint them

  3. Measured distances on the wall

  4. Hung with screws


June 22, 2008. I met a guy at church that day, and it forever changed my life.


Now, if you want the reader’s digest version, you can stop here.


However, I’m going to keep writing because that short little sentence - the one we typically tell when people ask how we met - drastically fails to tell the truly sacred story of how I met my husband.

 

To begin our story, we need to go back to the best decade to be a kid. I’m talking of course about the 1990s. In 1992, my uncle founded and pastored a church on the north side of Indianapolis, which was 1.5 hours away from where I grew up. A few times each year, my family would travel bright and early to attend “Uncle Kerry’s church.” This church was simply the coolest. Not only did they sing cool songs like “Shine Jesus Shine,” but they had an awesome kids’ ministry. As my sisters and I would awkwardly participate with all the other kids we did not know, I always felt that this place would be deeply special to me.


In the early 2000s, “Uncle Kerry’s church” built a new building in a northern suburb of Indy. This brought the church into a whole new realm of awesome to me. The church was designed to host concerts and other large events, which we occasionally attended. Vividly, I remember walking by other teenagers my age in the church foyer on those occasional Sunday visits, thinking that I really wanted to be a part of them. Again, it felt like there was something special here for me, something I was meant to be a part of.


During my teen years, I became very committed to my relationship with God. That relationship had a big impact on how I approached romantic relationships during that stage of life. I believed God had a future husband in store for me and that, most likely, my teen years were a preparation stage before meeting that man. I prayed for him often - imagining he was also living his teen years and all that may bring him. I dated… a lot… but I was almost allergic to commitment. I knew the type of man I wanted and simply did not settle for anything outside of that. Although, I will admit, this way of navigating my teen and early college years brought a great deal of loneliness. Deeply, I wanted to find my person.


Fast forward to spring 2008, as I was about to finish my junior year of college. The season of life around that time brought a slew of painful situations. It was and remains the darkest of my days on this earth. My friend Vanessa and I escaped campus one weekend and went to a Dave Barnes and Andy Davis concert in Indy.

For some reason, it took forever for the concert to begin. In the standing-room-only venue, that was problematic for our aching feet. But then we saw something brilliant - a group of people had just sat down on the floor. So, we did the same.


Eventually, the concert began. Dave Barnes was relatively new to my iTunes library, but he had this song that had gotten stuck in my soul called “Until You.” As he performed “Until You” that night, I had this overwhelming and, at that time, foreign feeling - hope. For the first time in a very long time, I felt hopeful for what was ahead of me, like God had something in store; light after all the darkness. And there was something specifically about this song that felt intertwined with that hope. I had no idea what that could be, but I allowed it to flood my soul.


My final summer break before “the real world” was approaching, and I had some great opportunities available for my choosing. But ultimately, there was one place my heart still deeply desired to connect with - “Uncle Kerry’s church.”


On Memorial Day, I moved into my aunt and uncle’s home for the duration of the summer. The deal was that I would intern at the church in the communications and youth ministry worlds. Although I didn’t know for sure what career path I desired, the combination of communications and ministry was the direction I felt pulled, and this church did awesome things within both realms. But truthfully, I really only had one goal for the summer - to heal. Sometimes the rejuvenation of our souls comes best through new surroundings and experiences.


The first few weeks of the internship went well. Gradually I met people, but overall it was a bit lonely. After all, I was a college student used to being surrounded by friends all the time. Working among adults all day and living in a house with four kids ages 5 to 15 was just… different. (Disclaimer: I became super close to my cousins during this season, and they remain beyond precious to my heart!)


As I met people in the church community, I kept hearing about this one family that was very involved in the church. They had a super funny last name and something like a hundred children who were all musical, many of whom were male and around my age range. People spoke of this family like church royalty. I had tried to pronounce this last name a few times and could not get the hang of it.


About three weeks into the internship, I served as a leader for the youth group’s mission trip to Washington D.C. The trip began with a Sunday evening Send Off Service. My assignment was to check in the students as they arrived with their parents. Family after family came through my station, and then a lady with three teenagers checked in with that very funny last name - Langebartels.


Now let’s stop for a moment and clarify how this name is actually pronounced. Lang - ee - bar - tols. You have to say E in the middle; that’s the tricky part.


The interaction with Mrs. Langebartels was brief as I checked in her children Garrett, Clay, and Kristin, the youngest children of the family, which evidently only had eight children, not 100.


One of their older brothers, Bryce, was also serving as a leader for the trip, and at some point, I met another brother, Justin, who lived next to my aunt and uncle. Gradually I was putting together the pieces of this large and apparently famous family.


Our week in Washington D.C. was genuinely fantastic. I connected with many of the teenagers and got to know the other adult leaders better. I was beginning to feel powerfully connected to this community while God was beginning to do some true healing of my heart.


We returned on Saturday. My cousin Ryan had also been on the trip, and that evening he and I sat with his parents telling them all about the trip. My Aunt Melissa let us finish all our stories and then, with a slightly devious smile, said she had something to tell me about the start of the trip.


During the Send Off Service, Mrs. Wendy Langebartels asked my Aunt Melissa if the girl checking in everyone was her niece. Of course, she said it was, to which Wendy asked if I was single. My aunt replied that she thought I was.


“You know, my son Grant is single.”


“Oh, really???”


From there, the two of them apparently plotted my marriage to this guy named Grant. I knew nothing about Grant at this moment, so I did what any wise person would do… I Facebook stalked him. Facebook worked a bit differently back then, and you could only see photos that had been posted by your Facebook friends. These were, therefore, the photos I could see of Grant Langebartels.


Let’s just say the photos failed to inspire attraction. I also figured out that Grant was a year younger than me. But the truth of that moment was simply that I was not looking for a summer romance. I hated disappointing my aunt and Mrs. Langebartels’ plan, but I would not be marrying her son.


The following day, the missions trip team would be recognized at church, so I tried to look a bit nicer. At some point during the service, I glanced at my bulletin and noted the date, Sunday, June 22, 2008.


After services, it was common for people to hang out and talk. While I had made some friends, I was still a newbie, so I headed towards the door while others lingered. On my way out, I ran into Liz Langford, whom I had met once or twice before. As we talked about the mission trip, I noticed someone over her shoulder moving intentionally toward us. I did not know who it was, and I was trying to focus on my conversation, but as he got closer, I got that nervous “oh my goodness, this person is super attractive” feeling inside. Once he arrived, I noted that he was not only abundantly good-looking but also very tall and tan. He had that whole “tall, dark, and handsome” thing down to the definition.


Liz then greeted him, “Grant! How are you?”


Grant. Grant. Wait, this is Grant!?!?!?!?!?!?!


“Laura, have you met Grant Langebartels yet?”


Okay, Laura, be cool.


“Hi, I’m Laura. I’ve already met a lot of your family and heard a lot about you.”


The following words would come to be iconic for us…


“Yeah, I’m kind of a big deal.”


Now, if you are like me, you have no idea what these words are in reference to. You might also think that he is a cocky jerk for saying them.


However, if you are more into Will Ferrell movies than I was at that time of life, you might have instantly recognized that is a quote from the movie “Anchorman”.


Whatever words followed, I do not remember. In a matter of 10 seconds, I had gone from having no interest in this guy to having an abundant interest in this guy to thinking this guy was a massive jerk. What a weird 10 seconds.


And that, everyone, is the story of how I met my husband.

 

Alright, we left a few loose ends in there, so let’s keep going.


I’m sure my mind spun a bit, but overall my heart did not linger on my encounter with Grant Langebartels too much. Three days later, I returned from my workday, changed into some comfy clothes, and got on Facebook. Wouldn’t you know… I had a friend request from Grant Langebartels. Okay, let’s be truthful - it was a swirl of thoughts and emotions. An attractive guy wanted to connect with me; that’s always a good thing, right? But also, how conceited is this guy that he would assume I want to be his Facebook friend? My instinct was to deny him… but then I realized I could have some fun with it.

A simple thought crossed my mind, He’s actually sort of funny. Maybe he’s not that bad after all.


This tiny bit of witty banter set in motion a quick series of events over the next two weeks - an invitation to a group canoeing trip, a hangout night at his parents’ house with others, a walk around the neighborhood just the two of us, more hangout nights, 2 AM brownie making, a 4th of July with his extended family and friends, and a bet that led to an actual date night.


It started as just needing a friend my age, but the more time I spent with him, the more I realized he was essentially the male version of myself. I truly had never felt so comfortable with another human. What was that?


We were both fairly fresh out of other relationships, and our heads told us romance shouldn’t be on the table. We tried to set that aside, but then church camp happened. There’s just something about a week at camp, right? We stopped for a night at my parents’ home on the way back from camp. That night as we lay under the stars, we simply chose not to stop the inevitable - we wanted to be together.



It’s 15 years later, and we’ve never stopped wanting to be together.


As we learned more about each other and our pasts, we realized how intertwined our lives had been for years.


Those visits to “Uncle Kerry’s Church” during elementary… Grant was one of the kids I likely awkwardly interacted with.


Those times of walking past other teenagers in the church foyer and wanting to be a part of them… Grant was probably one of them.


All the concerts I went to at that church... he was there at all of them.


That feeling there was something special for me at this church… there sure was.


But here’s a really crazy one. Remember that Dave Barnes concert, where I had a distinct feeling of hope for my future? Grant was there. Better yet… Grant was in that group of people we saw sitting on the ground.

I still can’t get over that one. At a point in life where my heart was shattered, feeling no hope of ever finding the person I could spend my life with, I literally saw him, and soon after, an overwhelming feeling of hope filled my soul.


The song playing at that moment, “Until You,” would become our song. It would be the song his brother sang moments before I walked down the aisle at our wedding.


Sometimes we have wished that those early brush-ups with each other would have moved our relationship timeline earlier. But looking back, I am thankful for those lonely years for they had great purpose in both our lives. They provided the groundwork for developing our strong sense of self and a clear understanding of who we wanted and needed in a partner. My aversion to commitment instantly vanished with Grant Langebartels; no questioning or doubt for either of us, only a continued increase of assurance we wanted to do life together.


For me, there is life before June 22, 2008, and then there is life after June 22, 2008. Both have been beautiful, but I’m forever grateful for that day and the gravitational shift it created in my life.


My Aunt Melissa and Grant's Mother Wendy with us on our wedding day. Their plan worked!



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9 Comments


BEAUTIFUL…I just LOVVVVE how God works!


🤣 “Only eight children not 100” The Langebartels family were the entire congregation.

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Guest
Jun 24, 2023

This is just the best story and God is so amazing in answering prayers, and knowing exactly what we need and when we need it!!❤️❤️

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Guest
Jun 23, 2023

We met when you came to Honduras on a mission trip. I shared my testimony and love story and encouraged the girls to look for men who put God first and encouraged the guys to be men who put first.

You wrote me a letter after you returned to college the next semester and told me you shared my story with your friends and you were looking for your “Travis Hawk”. Do you remember this?

It was great to go to your wedding. My oldest loved how you ran out in tennis shoes and knew she needed to wear them to her own some day (she was in about 5th grade then). She was married last summer wo…


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Guest
Jun 23, 2023

Laura and Grant- awesome to hear your full story! All I knew was the VB part when the nets went up and the church chairs were put away.

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Guest
Jun 23, 2023

So great to read this with a few parts I hadn’t heard. Correct me if I’m wrong, Melissa Bowman, but as I remember that conversation, you said maybe Laura and Bryce would get together on the mission trip, and I responded, “I think Bryce has found his match, but Grant is available!” 🤣

Laura, so grateful you are part of our clan.

love, Wendy

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Replying to

That is true, but momma knew who was available 🤣 Melissa B

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