There’s an old saying that “lightning never strikes the same place twice,” but this is a myth. Lightning can strike any location more than once. In fact, given enough time, it is actually inevitable.
Such is true in the story of Christian Braswell and Rebecca McWhirter. Growing up, they were polar opposites who ran in different social circles – she was a prim and proper cheerleader and he was an edgy skater boy – but fate just wouldn’t let them be. From a small spark on the bus in middle school to a short bolt of electricity in college, and an undeniable energy that brought them back together years later, it’s clear that if God intends, lightning can strike the same place again and again.
Their path was windy, but it ultimately led toward a happily ever after rooted in faith. Christian and Rebecca look forward to meeting each other down the aisle as husband and wife on Oct. 6, 2019. This is their story.
How they met
Christian and Rebecca have known each other so long they don’t even remember when they first met. The Mint Hill couple grew up attending Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte and their families were close. Christian had his eye on Rebecca when they were kids, but it wasn’t until summer camp in middle school when they actually connected.
“I remember the youth pastor came on the bus and said, ‘This girl doesn’t have anyone to ride home with. Can anyone volunteer to sit with her?’ And I immediately jumped up,” Christian said.
On the two-hour bus ride home, Christian told Rebecca she was pretty. Rebecca was flattered, but their young love ended almost as quickly as it had begun.
“We had a little spark on the bus and that was it until college,” she said.
They grew apart and gravitated toward different social scenes at their respective schools – Rebecca at Hickory Grove Christian School and Christian at Butler High School.
“I thought he was a punk and immature in high school,” Rebecca said. “I guess I did judge him wrongly.”
“I still thought she was gorgeous,” Christian said.
A few years later, Rebecca ran into Christian’s mom at church. She had just transferred to UNC Charlotte from Gardner-Webb University and was struggling to make new friends at school. Christian’s mom encouraged her to reach out to Autumn, Christian’s brother Taylor’s girlfriend (now wife), who was also a student at UNCC.
The two became close friends and started hanging out with Taylor and Christian, and just like that, they were back in each other’s lives again.
“What did it was how funny he was and I didn’t realize it because I never got to know him, but his ability to make me laugh anytime, anywhere, was what made me like him,” Rebecca said.
Christian and Rebecca had their first date at the Cabarrus County Fair in 2015. They rode the Ferris wheel and held hands, sparking a romance that would again end before it even really started. Two months later, Rebecca told Christian she was considering joining a sorority at UNCC to feel more connected at school. Christian was taken aback by the idea and nothing was the same after that. Christian said he was afraid they we’re just too different, so he broke things off.
Rebecca ultimately decided Greek life wasn’t for her, but it was already too late. She was heartbroken and angry with Christian for giving up so quickly, and so the two didn’t speak.
But fate has a funny way of making things happen.
Two years later, Rebecca saw on social media that Christian was at a Zac Brown Band concert.
“Why was he there?” she thought.
He hates country music and that’s her favorite band. The idea infuriated
her, so she decided to tease him for being a hypocrite, not knowing she was reopening the lines of communication with her future fiancé.
“I was surprised she reached out and that kind of gave me the green light that maybe she wasn’t mad at me anymore,” Christian said.
Naturally, Rebecca played a little hard-to-get in the beginning, but eventually gave in and the two began dating again in December 2017. Christian proposed a year later in a gazebo in Rebecca’s neighborhood that he decorated with Christmas lights.
“We look at each other and say, ‘How did we not figure this out when we were younger?’” Christian said. “It’s so crazy when you find the one, but the one has been there your whole life.”
“At the same time, everything ended up the way it was supposed to be, so there’s this peace,” Rebecca added.
Rooted in faith
Rebecca loves Christian’s sense of humor and trusts him with her whole heart. He thinks she’s the most caring person he’s ever met and feels secure in their relationship.
“I’ve never had to question how much she loves me,” he said. “She’s really good at saying how she feels. She shows her emotions on her sleeve.”
They like to go on long walks and talk, watch movies and TV shows, and go to Disney World. Rebecca first told Christian she loved him during a Disney World fireworks show in the rain.
“It was like ‘The Notebook’ times one million,” he said.
Christian and Rebecca’s bond has been rooted in faith ever since they were kids at Hickory Grove Baptist Church. As a married couple, they plan to continue to put God at the center of their relationship.
They said they owe God and their church for bringing them together, as well as the counsel of people who steered them toward each other throughout their lives. No matter how many times they tried to fight it, they were truly meant to be.
“I think we have a purpose as a married couple for the Kingdom of God and we will figure that out as we go forward,” Rebecca said. “Things don’t just happen by accident. Fate does play a role.” θ