Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV
Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts. In a dog-eat-dog world, it is a blessing to have people who genuinely love you. I believe, however, that friendship has many levels. My friendship with Jeida is on a special level though: Jeida is my Person.
This title comes from one of her favorite shows, “Grey’s Anatomy.” Dr. Christina Yang & Dr. Meredith Gray’s friendship was beyond simply friends; they were each other’s Person. Your Person is the one who can tell you when you are wrong, they can tell you what they think about things, you can tell them anything and never be worried about what they will think. You can share secrets and not just small ones, but the dark ones that if exposed could ruin you. They are the one who prays about the thing that hurts you most and will stand with you even when others walk away. This is what Jeida has been for me.
This weekend, I saw my Person unite in Holy Matrimony with the man that God designed specifically for her. There are not enough words to describe the joy that I have been overcome with, so where my words stop, my tears begin. I have shed many even as I write this.
Jeida and I became friends in early 2011. I had just transferred to Georgia State University after previously having gone to another school and taking a year off to work. My life was in a rough place as my family had been experiencing a lot of issues over the last two years. I wanted to go to Georgia State because I needed to be away from my family to truly focus on my studies and now I realize to find myself as well. Before getting to GSU’s campus in January, I was looking for ways to meet people I could relate to. I just happened to be on Twitter when my now friend Brittany mentioned an event for the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. I love my heritage and I was excited to see how the organization worked.
I remember seeing Jeida at the first program and thinking, “she must be the President. She’s really on it!” She was taking control and making things happen. Well, she wasn’t the President but she was on it and she would become President the following school year. After eventually joining NCNW, I started to get to know Jeida through the organization and she eventually decided that she needed me on her Executive Board the following year. After interviewing, I became the Artist-in-Residence so that I could provide encouragemeNt and iNspiration to everyone in our organization. Life does not come without its trials, however. Before our year of NCNW began, my family went through some major issues that tore my family apart. Jeida was there to pray for me and offer support. And while in NCNW. something that immediately struck me about her was her desire to do all things with excellence. Our programs would be excellent, our flyers would be excellent, our publicity would be excellent, and even our public image on campus would be excellent. Jeida was notorious for sending long e-mails and sometimes several in a day, but the year that she ran NCNW is by far one of the most memorable years the GSU section has ever seen.
And toward the end of our year, I went through an incredibly painful breakup. I was left shattered. I was hurt. I was confused. But I was blessed by God because I didn’t go through it alone: my Person was there to have Bible study with me, to pick me up for a La Parilla date, make me watch all 11 hours of Gone With the Wind, to take me with her for worship at Passion City (she had a car and I didn’t), just listen to me and inspire me to write a blog. 🙂 That summer following my breakup would be the most incredible time for our relationships with Christ. For an entire summer, we solely sought Jesus. We listened to every Casey Doss, Tim Keller, Louie Giglio, Damon Thompson and any other awesome preacher we could get our hands on. We prayed for hours. We dug into the Word with a new intensity. We worshipped God. And, we began cultivating faithfulness. This became our life’s work. We confronted every dark area of our lives and anything that would be unhealthy ground for the seeds we wanted God to plant in our life. I was able to see God start to turn my ashes into beauty.
To this day, I recognize that time of my life as the period that set the tone for the rest of my life. Becoming intentional about things, loving God above all else, striving to live in a way that pleases Him while removing anything that got in the way of that: these are the things that happened in that season and my best friend was there doing it with me every step of the way.
I could name 10,000 reasons that I am happy for my best friend. The biggest reason is because I have been able to witness her be faithful to God and Him be faithful to her. He’s Old Faithful. I have known her struggles. I have known her fears. I have known her pain. I have known what she prayed for because I have prayed with her. I have seen her not date even when she may have desired a relationship. I have seen her remain abstinent while others were having sex. I have seen her fight every demon that could jeopardize her future marriage. The scent of her singleness was pleasing to God and I could not be happier that she is now a wife. She is with the man who sees her. This day that we have dreamed of finally came true!
Yesterday’s wedding was the most pure display of love I have ever witnessed between two people. From the way that Tariq looked at Jeida, to the way he spoke about her in his vows to the way they looked in each other’s eyes during their first dance, it was obvious that this day was destined to take place. The destinies of two people created and loved by God collided into a glorious display of God’s immense love for His bride. We saw it in the way Tariq joyfully laid down his life for her, which happens to be the same way that Christ happily laid his down for us. And I was able to personally witness it in the way that He preserved her integrity until she was his wife. I have no doubt that everyone who attended yesterday’s ceremony felt closer to God upon leaving. God’s presence was sensed and felt in every way just as the couple has aimed to glorify Him in every way!
I do not believe that Jeida was blessed with a husband because she is perfect or because she earned it by living right. Husbands are not rewards for living for God. I do believe though, that God was able to plant the seed of marriage in her life because she prepared her life for it. I wholly believe that it is by God’s grace and incredible love for her that He would bring her such a wonderful gift.
Jeida, for the past four years you have been my Person. You have been there through every situation imaginable. I am a better because of you. You have inspired me and encouraged me to be excellent and to stick with God. Thank you for holding my hand and walking with me through life’s toughest times. I am thankful to have been able to stand beside and cover you with prayer on your wedding day the same way that you have done for me. Tariq was made for you and you for him. I have not lost my best friend, but I have gained a brother for life. Tariq, please take the best care of her. Jeida, congratulations to you and Tariq and may God richly bless your marriage. I love you both more than words can say.
“if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” -2 Timothy 2:13 ESV