My freshman year of college, I met this great girl. She was in my orientation class and I knew right away that she was probably the only one in it that I really wanted to be friends with. The other students were nice, but they either already had friends (sports) or were just really not my kind of friend.
And then there was Christa. She was smart, she was fun, and she had a type-A personality. Basically, she was amazing, but I was convinced she was too amazing for me.
Fast forward a few months and Christa and I start to become friends. She teaches me how to come out of my shell via funny music mashup performances and Target trips to buy light-up earrings. She also teaches me how to be real and start digging into life.
Much to my joy, Christa asked me and one of her other friends, Becca, to live with her the next year. And like that, (well, not that quickly,) we were roommates. Becca and I didn't really know each other that well, but after getting to know each other a little too intimately for the past two years, I am proud to say she (and Christa) are near the top of my favorite friends list.
Not long after we moved in together, Christa started dating a guy in our building. Not long after that, that guy, Parker, became a regular in my life, something that gives me great pride to share. In fact, Parker probably got to know Becca and me a little more than he bargained for. (Sorry Parker.)
Christa, Becca, Parker, our friend Aubrey, and I became one big family. We had Christmas gatherings, dinner, weekend hangouts, and all sorts of other bonding things together. It was great. It was fabulous.
Fast forward (again, this time a lot.) Just this past weekend, Christa and Parker got married. I'm not kidding, like actually married. This is both exciting (yay! They're married!) Sad (aw, things are a little different.) Crazy (wow, we are like adults who can do stuff like this?!) And so much more.
I was privileged to sing two songs at the wedding, one as one of my best friends made her way down the aisle on her father's arm.
Christa taught me how to be myself. Parker taught me that things (and people) aren't always what they seem. Together they teach me about love (which is weird and confusing and something I don't know if I want? Because wow so many emotions and excitements and lots of other stuff. I'll get back to you on that.)
Things are now different. I'm not living with Christa or Becca. Parker and Christa are living together. They're still Parker and Christa, but also now ParkerAndChrista if you know what I mean.
I didn't know how I felt about it, but I think I do now.
I love it.
I love their desire to honor God and show that love in their lives.
I love how happy and giggly Christa gets when she talks about Parker.
I love how Parker is great with kids and goofy and fun to be around.
And together, all of those things are amplified by 1000.
Life is different. Not drastically, but different.
I love Christa and Parker because of the love they share with every moment of their lives. I've been around them enough separately and together to tell you that they aren't perfect, but thank God they are not perfect.
I wish I could say more. It is hard to put all of my messy human feelings about this whole thing into words sometimes.
But this is a good start.
Life changes. A lot. And it is different and that is hard.
I'm not kidding when I say it's okay, though.
Not the kind of okay that makes you feel totally at peace and happy and not worried and all of the things that people sometimes mean when they say okay.
But the real okay. The okay that says, "Shoot. This is hard. I don't really like it. But I am safe. I am secure. Who I am is not determined by this situation."
Your value isn't in your relationships, your lack of relationships, the season of life you're in, or what you can or can't contribute.
Your value is buried inside of you, not hidden, but fastened tightly to you.
Your value is the light of the Creator. It's shining, even when it is dusty.
Change is hard. Change stinks (like, a lot,) but even when it stinks, you are still safe. You are still good. You do not change with the changes around you.
You. Are. Secure.
Mr. and Mrs. Titus: Basically, I know nothing of value about marriage, and maybe you don't either yet, but I know that you will use your courage to work through it all. I offer no advice (sorry about the "advice" Becca and I left for you at your rehearsal dinner...we may have used pseudonyms,) but I offer my open arms.
Always and forever.
And to everyone else: I do know something about life, and so do you. Don't forget who you are. Let go of what you aren't. Find people who love you, but remember to also love you. Always and forever.