I believe a truly happy and fulfilled life develops by taking  courageous but calculated risks based on prayer and the faith that God has a divine purpose for my existence. On April 13, 2008, I took a courageous risk – I kissed my best friend. Thankfully, he kissed me back.

Thirteen months later on May 30, 2009, in the presence of family, friends, and our loving God, together we took another courageous risk and got married.

At the time, whenever I needed to make an important life decision- whether it be quitting my job and moving across the country, taking out thousands of dollars in student loans to go back to school, or kissing my best friend and potentially ruining our friendship forever- I always had the courage to listen to what I believed God wanted me to do. But taking a risk based on a calculated or rational, thought-out plan? Not so much.

So while several of my spontaneous, crazy decisions may not have been my best judgments at the time, the choice to first kiss, then marry my best friend was the best decision of my life.

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God brought Nate into my life through mutual college friends in 2002. Over the course of the next five years, our friendship steadily strengthened until Nate became the person to whom I most admired, respected, and turned to when I needed encouragement and advice. With his warm and caring demeanor, Nate became my rock and earthly guidepost when many other layers of my life were crumbling apart.  Even though we were just friends, I felt such a strong connection to him and the power of God’s love between us. Nate allowed me to be open and honest, to reveal my faults and weaknesses without the fear of being judged or criticized. He showed patience, kindness, and love to help me through a difficult time in my life.

To escape some of these realities and start fresh, I went back to school in January 2008 to work on a second degree in animal science and prepare for a career in veterinary medicine.   As the first week of the semester concluded, I sat in my off campus apartment that Friday night feeling along and confused. I thought, “What did I get myself into for the next six years?” and prayed for God’s guidance and understanding for the purpose of my decision.

I hadn’t talked to Nate in several weeks and during this moment of prayer, my phone rang. Like me, Nate was also beginning a new phase in his career and working on a four month rotational assignment on the Gulf Coast- hundreds of miles away from his home in Washington D.C. Alone and in need of a friend, Nate just wanted to talk. So we talked – and this time it was different than many of our previous conversations.   I didn’t let him know I was feeling depressed and anxious about my decision, or let him offer the usual shoulder for me to cry on. Instead we joked and laughed about our current situations.

“Yes, I’m spending A LOT of money to sit in biology 101 lecture classes with 600 freshman.”  (Little did Nate know this would be our money we’d be paying back to the Department of Education, but that’s a blog post for another time).

“Wait, you’re renting a dingy studio apartment and living out of a suitcase for the next four months in Mississippi?”

Our conversation went like this for the next three hours and when I hung up the phone, something felt different. For the first time in long time, I felt truly happy. Yes, I still had uncertainties about my education and career decisions, but from that one conversation, I felt like my earlier prayer was answered- that a life with Nate was God’s purpose for my life. And so for the next four months, Nate and I had daily phone and text conversations much like that initial call. Even though we were 1000 miles apart, our friendship was able to blossom and strengthen as we talked and learned more about each other.

On April 13th, when Nate flew home for his birthday weekend and met me for you know, a casual dinner and movie between friends (Or as we now refer to it, The “date that wasn’t really a date, even though we were both hoping each other thought it was a date” date), my courageous and intuitive side could not let Nate walk out of my apartment and fly back to Mississippi without knowing if God was answering my prayers. And the rest is history in the making…

With that first kiss, we began our life and journey together with God.  Our relationship has truly been about trying to save each other, to learn from each other, and bring out the best in each other. While the past five years have brought us amazing blessings – like the birth of our beautiful and gifted son- we have also dealt with hardships and challenges that have tested us as a couple.   Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Five years ago today, we vowed that no matter what life throws at us, our commitment and union as husband and wife will not be broken. On May 30, 2009, we became one with each other and one with our loving Father- no earthly struggles or successes can ever break this bond.