What I'm listening too //  Michael Ketterer & Laura Hackett The Rock

This time 4 years ago I was 2 weeks out from marrying Daniel. Pinterest wasn't really a thing, and I was toting around a huge notebook (thank you Carly) with 'pinned' ideas for the big day. I had my 15 bridesmaids on speed dial, and had created some sort of wedding craft army. 

In those days, and even the months leading up to our wedding, my thoughts were consumed with the immediacy of the wedding. I had no real perspective for the coming marriage, and how it would change the course of my life. I knew that I was preparing to make a covenant with Daniel, but I had no real knowledge on what my new life would be like, or what it would mean. 

My parents were both in the military, and so I grew up all over the place. I've always made friends easily, and am a natural social bug. Even though I've been blessed to find a new hood rat group of friends wherever I may call home, I've always had this overwhelming desire for a best friend - one that would be thicker than blood. I've had some GREAT friends in my life. I've experienced deep community, and have been so blessed by the various circles of friends I've experienced. And though I count myself very blessed with friends and family, there's always been this - gap. 

Being an army kid means you're late to the train of friendship. Try as a might, some friendships really do mature and become precious with time. Time often wins. Despite my efforts to be lovable, cool, funny - the friend who sticks around the longest is the one who gets the BFF title, and to put it simply I'm normally the 'newcomer' in a crowd. Even now, at 26, I'm moving to Charlotte where I'm in intimate friendship with a total sum of 0 people. I'll be the new kid again. 

This time of year marks 4 years of marriage with Daniel. 5 Years together and a near 6 years of friendship. Without me really realizing it, he's becoming my longest and deepest known friend. 

I'm so thankful for Daniel's friendship. It's filled up a gap in my heart that I've longed for my entire life. As much as Jesus is perfect, beautiful, and deeply fullfilling, he did ALSO create us for community. He did give the second commandment. He does want us to know and experience love with God - and with each other. I have experienced love that I've never known from being Daniel's friend. I've decided that Daniel is my best friend forever, and I can exhale, resting in the peace of knowing this friendship is for life, separated only by death. 

So how has my life changed, now that I've experienced having a BFF?

Being married to Daniel has given me confidence. 

I'm not a people pleaser, and tend to tell it how it is. I've never really struggled with confidence, but it's incredible how Daniel's friendship has released total new levels of confidence in me. As Daniel loves me, supports me, encourages me, and just sticks with me - I learn more and more about God's astounding faithfulness. Daniel has literally seen me at my worst. When I'm my ugliest, meanest, craziest, most irrational - and he is faithful. This type of - I love you and I'll never leave you - dedication of Daniel has given me a lot of new found confidence. I gained 50 pounds. He didn't go anywhere. I wrestled with depression that kept me in bed. He didn't go anywhere. I got into really big stupid fights with my sisters. He didn't go anywhere. I tried to color my hair mint green - it turned out a mildew gold. He didn't go anywhere. That type of faithfulness will give you wings. Before I preach, before I lead, before I stand up for something I believe in - I glance over at Daniel. Fear subsides, and I see the Love of God manifest in his confident and assuring gaze. His love give me confidence. 

Being married to Daniel has given me boldness. 

I am bold. But I do second guess. Daniel is there at night, to dream big dreams with. To bounce off ideas. To build websites with and a constant travel buddy. With Daniel I've traveled coast to shining coast. Gone to what feels like the ends of the earth for the sake of the gospel. If you know Daniel, you know he's a peaceful man. He's calming presence has given me assurance that it's okay to be bold, it's okay to dream big, it's okay to be loud - I won't scare him away. He is a dream breather, and I feel the most bold when I see him in the audience, cheering me on. He reminds me of Jesus because he is relentless in his encouragement, faith in me, and dreams of the future.

Being married to Daniel has given me joy. 

I'm an extrovert, so naturally I really do think that everything is better with 2. We share a car and have always worked in the same place, so Daniel is a constant witness to everything in my life. And that makes life fun. Yesterday I was picking up medicine from the pharmacy and I was explaining to the pharmacist that my whole family got sick while on a vacation to Puerto Rico. A old man next to me said, "Puerto Rico! My wife just got back from Panama and she's go the SAME THING". I politely smiled and tried to bite my lip. As we walked away Daniel said with a wicked grin, "Germany! My wife just got back from Sweden and she's Got the SAME THING!" We broke into a silly fit of laughter, then mortified laughter as we realized the poor old man may have heard our mischievous joke. I'm sorry old man! We weren't trying to make fun of you. 

That's what life with Daniel is like. I can be serious, hard headed, and stubborn to an absolute default. Just when I'm determined to be mad at Daniel over something really silly - he makes the goofiest face at me or carries Avery (our boxer) over to me as a peace keeper. Having Daniel's friendship has just brought me so much joy. 

It's Simple.

Marriage is good. Marriage has been medicine for my heart. It gets better every year. We were made for friendships like this - covenant friendships. 

Let marriage be held in honor among all... - Hebrews 13:4