Friendship in marriage is a great gift. I’ve found it. Twice. Once when I was 15 and again when I was 28.
At the age of 15, I met a boy named Andrew who quickly became my best friend. This was before the days of email and Facebook, so “quickly” is a relative term. We spent years sending letters through the USPS since we lived 2 hours apart. The first year I knew him I saw him only once. I think I might’ve seen him twice that second year. I wanted to marry him though. That I was sure about…most of the time. It took us 5 ½ years to get to the point of dating each other. We dated other people, but he was always the standard that I held every guy to and vice versa. The day after we began dating, in January of ‘99, my sister asked me when we would get married. I told her June 10, 2000. I was right. It was the best and happiest day I could have imagined. I was marrying the only man I had ever loved. The man who had inspired me to become a nurse. The man who made me laugh like no one on earth could. The man that caused me to seek God with all my heart. For nearly a year and a half every day was an adventure.
The worst day of my life came in October of 2001. The same year the towers fell on 9/11, my husband, my best friend, died unexpectedly from complications in surgery. I remember those days like they were yesterday. One minute he was talking to me and an hour and a half later he was gone. We had been ONE and now I was HALF. Losing a spouse is like losing an arm: you don’t grow another one you simply learn to live differently, without it. I decided early in my grieving that I knew too much of God’s love to walk away in anger. I had no choice, but
to serve Him REGARDLESS of the circumstances He allowed into my life. I was set on a path of grieving and I was going to do it WELL. I missed Andrew every minute of every day. I dreamed about him, asked God to send him back and pleaded with God to take me as well. In His great mercy He chose a different path for me. He chose one of grace and joy.
Five years after Andrew’s death, I was blessed with another best friend.
James and I had grown up at the same camp and had known of each other since we were children, but we ran in different circles of friends. Those circles intersected while we were in college and a mutual friend officially introduced us. We had some romantic interest, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time. (This was during those 5 ½ years of building my friendship with Andrew.) The summer after Andy died I saw James and struck up a conversation with him, but I knew that he wasn’t living for the Lord and had never given him a second thought. During the years I was grieving, God was working on James and drawing him away from his selfish lifestyle and into a close relationship with Jesus Christ. In July of 2005, I saw him again….for the first time. Our relationship developed quickly with the help of cell phones and airplanes. (I was living in Indianapolis and he was near DC.) We were engaged in October and married the following February. I couldn’t ask for a better friend than James. He is the most selfless, loving man that God could’ve given me and I’m proud to call him my best friend. He has allowed me to cry on his shoulder while remembering Andrew and he has gotten to know some of Andrew’s closest friends and family. He has been loving and supportive, unselfish and giving. He has been the greatest blessing in my life. I have often wondered at God’s choice in giving me two amazing men who have each loved me well. I feel very undeserving of both of them.
Not only has God blessed me with another husband, but He has given me 4 beautiful children as well. Ten years ago, my perfect life was crumbling around me. Today, I am so thankful for a God who takes our crumbled lives and weaves them together with another’s crumbled life to make a beautiful picture of His grace and mercy.
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