Friday, February 1, 2013

Real-Life Romance Stories: Brad & Charissa Kerley

I'm kicking off Fridays with real-life romance stories that are meant to encourage and inspire you whether you're single, engaged, or married! 

Each Friday during February, you'll hear from one woman about her real-life romance! Today, I'm honored to have my dear friend (And my midnight Twilight Saga movie premiere partner) Charissa Kerley with us to share her unique story. 

I was so blessed to know Charissa during her teenage years and watch God do amazing things in her life. She's always been a wonderful role model for my daughter and I couldn't love her more! Welcome, Charissa! 




For as long as I can remember I have been a romantic even back to elementary and middle school. I was always daydreaming about my future husband, how we would meet, how handsome he would be and how we’d live happily ever after.

 So naturally I was so excited when I got to high school and would be around a ton of older boys whom I could potentially date. However, in the 9th grade I strongly felt that the Lord was asking me to give up dating much to my disappointment. Unless He revealed the man I was going to marry with a ray of light and a hallelujah chorus, I would not be dating anyone until I graduated. This wasn’t to say that I didn’t have plenty of crushes and even a couple of offers throughout high school, but I knew that God had asked me to sacrifice those things for Him.

These are not B & C's hands. :) 
All throughout this time, I learned so much about being secure in my relationship with Christ. I stood on the verse that said: “For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name.” Isaiah 54:5. Knowing that Jesus was the best husband I could ever ask for taught me so much about who He is and who I am through Him. I look back on that time in my life so fondly even though it wasn’t always easy when I was living it.

One of my closest friends in high school was named Kayla. We had an accelerated English class together and became fast friends, having similar views and taste in movies and music. Towards the middle of our sophomore year she began dating a guy who was a junior named Luke. Luke had a twin brother named Brad and I’d seen both of them around school before (they both had a notorious style, wearing huge baggy pants and their hair color changing practically every month.) I got to know Luke through Kayla, but I didn’t speak to Brad much.

Fast forward to my senior year. Kayla had moved to Iowa and Luke and Brad had both moved away after they had graduated high school the year before. I kept up with Kayla through Myspace (you can see how dated this story is now) and I had also become “friends” with Brad on there at some point as well.

Towards the middle of my senior year I began talking with Brad a little bit on our Myspace pages. He had recently been through a bad breakup while he had been away in St. Louis and I would get on his page to tell him jokes and say silly things to cheer him up. We began to talk more and more, eventually upgrading to text messages.

As my senior year came to a close, my choir held a banquet to celebrate all of the year’s accomplishments. Even though Brad and I had never hung out one on one before and had only just recently began getting to know each other, I asked him to go with me. He immediately responded that he would be happy to go because he was coming home for the summer.

The first day that Brad and I spent any time alone together was (get this!) my very last day of high school. He picked me up from the school and we spent the rest of the day together.

Me and Charissa at her
wedding! I was a bridesmaid!
That summer Brad and I were practically inseparable. He became my best friend. Every morning that I woke up I couldn’t wait until I could see him that day and any time we were apart we spent texting each other constantly. He finally mustered up the courage to ask me out at the end of the summer and of course I said yes. My family loved him and Luke and Kayla (who were now married) and the rest of his family were so happy that the two of us had gotten together.

We had a whirlwind romance, getting engaged after only four months of dating and then getting married six months after that (at ages 19 and 20!). We’ve now been married over four years and it has been an amazing ride. It’s not always easy, but we constantly strive to grow closer to the Lord and each other on a regular basis.

            Brad and Charissa Kerley live in northern MS. Brad is currently in grad school at the University of Memphis to be an entrepreneur and they both work heavily in their church’s missions department. They have a huge heart for the country of Haiti and hope to minister there permanently or periodically after Brad receives his Master’s Degree.


I love that story! And I love you, Charissa and Brad! 

*Next Friday, you'll hear from a very special lady to me...my Pastor's wife! You won't want to miss this incredible journey of love!

Were you best friends with your spouse before you dated? 

17 comments:

  1. Love this story:) Yeah, Doug and I were BFF's forever--our favorite tag line "we're JUST friends" b/c people so often asked if we were dating!

    Charissa, I love the blue of your bridesmaids dresses. And Jess, you look blonde in that picture!

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  2. Because I was a blondie! I've been every single color in the book. Even purple and pink. :)

    Ah, the friend zone. Love it!

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  3. I LOVE real-life romance!! Charissa and Brad's story totally made my day. I'm impressed with her integrity during high school. It's such a hard time!

    I can't help but be amazed, too, that these best friends married twins. Love it!!

    No, my hubby and I weren't best friends before we dated. We were friends and had been Chemistry partners, but love just kind of happened. :)

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    1. I love reading them too! Hey obviously Chemistry class revealed some chemistry. Ah yes, that was cheesy! But true as it turns out! :)

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  4. What a fun story! I love reading real-life romances, so I can't wait to read more. :)

    Yes, my husband and I were good friends for 2 years before dating. I highly recommend going that way! I didn't feel like I had to impress him because he knew who I was already. Definitely one advantage of being friends first. :)

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    1. That's definitely an advantage, Linds! I always enjoy reading about your real-life romance! :)

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  5. waiting for God's will for her life, now she has the soulmate He created especially for her.

    No, my husband and I weren't best friends before marriage, but I guess you could say we are now (after 28 years of wedded bliss! ;) )We met through mutual friends on a blind date when I was new in town at the time.

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    1. A blind date! I love it! I wasn't really "friends" with my husband either. I tried to be. He had other ideas. But I'm sharing that Feb. 15th!

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  6. Not sure why the first paragraph got cut off, but what I tried to say was, "Loved reading Charissa's love story! By waiting for God's will for her life, now she has the soulmate He created especially for her."

    P.S. Soooo, Jess, you were a blond?! :)

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    1. I love her story too! I think it's beautiful. And yep, I was a blond. Like I told Susan, I've been every color and sometimes multiple colors! :)

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  7. Charissa!! What an awesome story and amazing testimony you have a listening and following God at time in your life where peer pressure probably reigned high. Wow, thank you for sharing your story. I think you need to write that into a book to share with other young teen girls. :)

    Jessica, awesome idea! I love the true stories of romance :)

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  8. Lovely story, Charissa and Rob. God works in our lives in so many different ways!

    I barely knew my husband - we had a shot-gun wedding. But we'll be celebrating 25 years in June because God lets NOTHING go to waste if we'll give it back to Him, and He often likes to show off His love for us when the stakes are high....

    Great series, Jessica.

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  9. Love this! Charissa, I never knew this story - SO cool! And yes, Jason and I were best friends before we started dating. We were in a group of friends and somehow kept gravitating towards each other when we'd go on outings. Looking back now I can see how God orchestrated our lives to put us together - 15 years this summer!

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  10. Beautiful love story.

    Eric and I were best friends before we got serious.

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  11. Great way to start off this new Friday feature -- and I'm looking forward to reading more real-life romances.
    My husband and I weren't BFFs when we got married. We had a long-distance relationship (thank you, Uncle Sam!), and spent less than a month face-to-face before we said "I do."
    But Rob is my best friend now -- and I am so thankful for that!

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  12. What a GREAT story! I met my hubby on a blind date but I can say we are good friends to each other even though married. :)

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  13. Wow..... This story shocks me every time I hear it.... I Love these two and they are the reason after the mess of MY own life I ended up with Derrick..... She and and he are an inspiration to so many and I am so.honored to know them... Charissa is a true example of a ”lady in waiting” and I am blessed to show my daughter that through simple obedience the reward is great... That you do not have to walk through some heart aches... The lord has a plan, no matter how odd his instruction may be sometimes.... So glad you shared this Jessica... It truely made me count my blessings and thank the lord he put Charissa in my store.. I know I would have walked away from my husband if not for the moments Charissa spoke truth and didnt care if it hurt... What God had promised he would fufill and to seek God for understanding... A lady younger than myself would gain the respect of my mother due to the intimacy she knew with the father.... I trust and admire this couple and wish them many blessings.... :)

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