|My beautiful best friend on her wedding day!
What my best friend getting married taught me about love:
Since the fifth grade, my best friend and I have been inseparable at the hip and that was now thirteen years ago. Meeting at a kid’s camp that our school made us attend, I wouldn’t call it a coincidence that out of a hundred kids, her and I were randomly chosen to stay in the private cabin with a few other girls because the main lodge didn’t have enough room to host all of us. Simply sleeping on the bunkbed above her, I didn’t know at that moment that two small girls, bright-eyed and bushy tailed in their excitement, would grow to become like sisters over the years, but God knew what we needed and blessed us with each other.
From that moment on, it is crazy for me to try and reflect on our most prized memories because so many exist. But of the most remarkable, I remember that our friendship was not always easy.
Though it started with Quiz Bowl matches, peewee basketball every Saturday morning, volunteering and serving together, dancing at a studio, going on crazy family vacations, and having sleepovers almost every other weekend, when we got to eighth grade things began to change. There was a period of time that I was really hurting, and we were growing apart. She was popular and played sports and I did not. She was the fun one everyone wanted to be friends with and I was just the left behind sidekick. But in that moment of pain, I went home and wrote a letter about how I was feeling. I needed my best friend and as my heart ached, I poured out a letter to her on pen and paper, prayed, and went to bed. The next morning, I left the letter on the table with tear stains in its margins like that of my eyes and went to school with a heavy heart thinking this would be the last day. The last day we’d speak, the last day we’d be friends, the last day I’d know what it felt like to be cared and loved for by a best friend I could call my own that wasn’t family, but to my surprise, none of that happened. Like a flip of the switch, it was as if something had happened within her and she knew I needed her. And at that exact moment our friendship was healed, stronger and better for the hardship we endured. Racing home from school that day to tell my parents the good news, I threw the letter in the trash and cried with tears of joy for God had answered my prayers.
As the years progressed into high school, our friendship would be strengthened through common interests, but also differences. We both took FFA, were FCA officers, loved the Lord deeply, and danced together, but the things we differed in soon became the activities that we would both grow to love the most together. Teaching me to fall in love with playing the piano (combined with my previous love for singing) as well as hiking, running, working out, cooking and living life on the edge I couldn’t be more thankful for the spontaneity of life she revealed to me. I went to her senior night soccer game and she supported me at every play, dance, and singing event I was ever in and that’s how our friendship stood strong because we both cared enough about each other to go the extra mile and that’s what the true love of God is all about.
Graduating high school in 2014 and hundreds of activities later, it wasn’t until that moment that I would tell my best friend of the period of time where our friendship struggled, for she never knew about the letter and for the first moment in my life I made her cry. And she told me she cried because she knew that moment very well, but never knew how much I was hurting and how thankful to God she was that He was looking over us. And honestly, I too was beyond words.
Going off to college in different directions, I cried at the thought that I wouldn’t get to see her every day at school but this is where she encouraged me to make new friends, live life freely, smile more, not be afraid, and grow abundantly in the freedom of Jesus Christ who would not only protect each of us but our friendship that He would eternally allow to grow forever.
Now four more years later, I can honestly say that we are two completely different people, both better and more mature in our individualized ways but we couldn’t be closer friends. Over this period of time, she taught me to let go of my OCD perfectionistic mentality and cling to the loving freedom of Jesus. To truly live each day as if it were my last and laugh a whole lot more. To never compromise my virtues for what I believe in. To stay steadfast and loyal, trusting all of God’s plans for me (even beyond my comfort zone). And above all, she taught me how to love and value my self-worth as Christ calls each of His sons and daughters to be.
Yesterday was her wedding day and of course, she’s still teaching me. As one of the bridesmaids, tears welled up in my eyes as we prayed for her and then witnessed the wedding. I didn’t think I would cry, and for the most part I held back, but after I sang an original song for her and looked at the man sitting next to her, now Mr. and Mrs., a new bride, I couldn’t help but smile at the way they were looking at each other. I thought about the way they would soon represent Christ to the world in this new covenant and how she waited for her now husband to pursue her. I thought about how she never questioned her worth, married or single and how she lived a fulfilled life every single day regardless of status or emotions. I thought about how her life spent so far was filled with so much laughter, joy, and adventure, and as a small tear began to roll down my face, I looked at the gaze in each of their eyes during the first dance and saw the true meaning of marriage that most of society exchanges for lust: a love of God so pure and so dedicated to His Kingdom, He knew that they would now be better together and I pray for that same love.
That in my moments of heartache and despair, I will learn to press into God and not my troubles. That in my longing to be in a relationship, I will not allow my desires and emotions to create an idol of love that only God can fully satisfy. That as I give my best friend away I will not see this as a friendship ending, but as a time for her to grow in different ways from me and that my time will come when He says it is time. And if I have learned anything from her at all, it is to trust in that timing, for He saved our friendship once and surely, He who teaches us to number our days is eternally faithful.
To my beautiful best friend the day after her wedding, I wish you the happiest life with your husband and thank you for all you’ve done for me. From letting me cry on your shoulder to blowing up your phone so much that we had to use Facebook messenger to communicate, biking 50 miles, going on road trips and crazy vacations and so much more, it is my prayer that in this new season of life may you never forget the love you have shown to me and now reflect in that of your own marriage. Thank you for teaching me what it really means to love and showing me that from the beginning even when I failed to recognize it. You’ve taught me a lot about love best friend and I know you’ll continue to do the same.
Vulnerability is scary, perhaps that’s what makes love so wretched, but in a sense, also what makes it so beautiful.