Webster’s II New Riverside Dictionary, Revised Edition (1996) defines the word brave as having or displaying courage : valiant. I harken to assert my own additions not succumbing to fear : laughing in the face of danger. Bravery can look like a great many things. To some, it’s taking a stand for something greater than yourself

for others it’s daring to do something that’s never been done before

yet, for some, it’s about doing the everyday task in an extraordinary and memorable fashion.

8 weeks ago I did something very brave.

I married my best friend! Having a very small ceremony, keeping it under wraps, and doing it our way was relatively easy. I’m now learning the hard, or brave part, comes in putting my husband’s needs above my own, and choosing to exhibit love by being patient, kind and not keeping a record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13). Quite honestly, the idea of 50 years married to my optometrist seems so daunting, but it also doesn’t seem like it will be enough time to know him fully, love him completely, and experience all life has to offer. While I’m thankful for God’s mercies being new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), I’m also reminded that I am only given today (James 4:14) and I must choose to love and live to the full (John 10:10) with each breath I am given.

A lovely thing about marriage is experiencing the beauty of being known and accepted for who I am and given grace for who I am not. The reality of this awareness gives me confidence in so many new areas of my life. It’s not that I can magically do new things now that I’m married…I was a pretty independent girl before tying the knot! Yet, my husband’s love propels me to try new things, knowing I will not only feel proud of myself, but that he will share in my joy and sense of accomplishment as well.

Case in point: three weeks after saying “I do,” I traveled to Colorado with our church youth choir and climbed a 14,264 foot mountain (Mount Evans)

I put away my fears of “what if I pass out and fall off the mountain?!” (irrational) and fought for “I might only have one chance to do this, so do it, and make the most of it!” The bonus of getting to see mountain goats above the tree line and be an encouragement to our teen girls who also wanted to make the climb was triply worth it.

And after 2 months of marriage, it’s my beloved’s birthday! He’s smart, talented, respected, selfless creative, fun, strong, and an immense source of balance and comfort. Happy birthday CNW! I love and adore you with all my heart!

My birthday dedication to you:

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave.
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave.
~ Nichole Nordeman Brave