Two Septembers ago, I got in line for a drink at Mozart's coffee shop and said a little prayer that most likely changed my entire life. "God, please make this day not suck."
You see, that day was not a very good one at all. It was the perfectly horrible day to end a perfectly horrible year of medical, family, and relationship drama, and well... I hadn't really prayed in a while. Needing a pick-me-up, I got back in line for my second hot chocolate and whispered my prayer.
In front of me was this group of people who looked like it was their first time at Mozarts. I struck up a conversation and found out that they were from Colorado and had moved here to Austin to plant a church. "You love Jesus? I LOVE JESUS TOO!" I exclaimed.
They invited me to sit with them, and by the end of the conversation one of the girls said something about needing a place to stay for the week. I offered, she accepted.
From there, our friendship progressed. There was about 15 people ages 16-30 that hung out on a pretty consistent basis, and they began inviting me to join them. I was hesitant about the whole church and Jesus thing for a long time (I had some recent happenings with a church relationship that really hurt me and I was a bit wary to enter into similar relationships again). They kept gently pushing, but I was usually working or was too nervous to go. But they were relentless, always making sure I felt loved and knew that I was welcome in their circle.
One day after work, I finally took them up on their invitation to hang out. Two of the guys, Daniel and Gabe, were preparing for the Harry Potter Premier at their house. They were super excited, and Daniel had called me and told me that he made his very own wooden wand and that I just HAD to come over to see it. So later that day, I did.
Little did I know that my friends had two new guys living at their house, Jordan and Marten. At the time there were like, seven guys living in this tiny three bedroom apartment, all of them in town from out of state to plant this church. They actually nicknamed the place "The Shire" because all of the guys were under 5'5. Well, everyone but Nick, which was okay because that meant he could be Gandolf. The church was in it's beginning stages, so the interns, Jordan and Marten, were staying with whoever they could, and it just so happens that at that time, it was the Shire.
When I arrived at their apartment, this tall, non-hobbit sized blonde guy opened the door and let me in. My immediate thought was that he was a Ken Doll. You know, the kind of guy who's so attractive they probably know it and would most likely be flirty or full of himself or something. I thought he was a surfer. hahahahaha. Now it's all just really funny to me. When I tell Marten that he's like, "Really, Mary? a surfer?" But whatever, that was my initial reaction. And then, to support my theory even more, that night he bought a motorcycle, which I (at the time) thought only pretty-boys/wanna be chick magnets bought.
Marten had been super annoyed all night at the whole Harry Potter excitement. While he is creative, he's more of a jock than a nerd/artistic minded person for sure. All night he kept thinking to himself, if I hear one more word about Harry Potter, I am going to lose it.
And then I walk in.
"OH MY GOD DANIEL THAT IS THE COOLEST THING EVER. BLA BLA BLA, HARRY POTTER, BLA BLA BLA, YAYYYY HARRY POTTER."
His initial reaction to me (in his head) was apparently, "Woah. I could marry a girl like that." But after hearing my reaction to potter he thought "NEVERMIND!!" But God had other plans, I suppose.
I saw Marten maybe once or twice after that, he probably remembers the exact number of times we interacted at at the exact dates and everything, unfortunately I don't. But what I do remember is that within the first three times of meeting me, he was VERY sure that he wanted to date me.
We were all at the shire, all ten or fifteen of us, talking about relationships and marriage. Bob and Simone were getting married, so I decided to ask them, and the rest of the group, for some relationship advice. My last relationship ended for a number of reasons, but the main one for me was because I dated this guy for about four years but he still didn't see me as his best friend. That really messed with my heart. I wanted to see what these people who seemed to know so much about God and had so much wisdom, thought about that question: should you marry your best friend?
Everyone had their opinion. But I can remember this, clear as day. Marten sat directly across from me, grinning his beautiful grin. Sitting down with his head propped up on his hands, he waited for the room to become quiet. He asked, "What do you think?"
"I think you should. If you're not best friends by the time you get married, how can you know you will be after you get married?"
I kid you not, y'all. This is what he said. In front of all these people.
"I'LL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND!"
It was so awkward. haha On one hand, I was super alarmed by what he said. On the other, I wasn't phased at all. Again, I thought Marten was a "pretty boy" which could mean that maaaaayybee he's not the brightest bulb in the box. I assumed he didn't get what I was saying, or that he didn't hear the part where I said I would MARRY my best friend. Well, he did.
"You know I was serious, right?" He said as I was leaving the room.
"And you do realize I said I would marry my best friend. Meaning, if you were him, I'd marry you."
Marten grinned his glorious grin and nodded. Taking my hand, he wrote his last name in permanent marker near my thumb.
I knew that I wanted to move out of state within the year to go to school, and I knew Marten was an intern at the church, meaning he couldn't date until the next summer. Sooo... I didn't take him seriously. At all. I was also still super hurt from my last relationship and was in absolutely no hurry at all to even begin considering a "Mr. Right." But over the course of his internship, Marten really did become my best friend. I learned that he wasn't full of himself, nor was he even aware that he could be considered a "pretty boy." He wasn't ditzy, he was wise. Very, very wise. He helped me get through a lot of my problems and told me when I was being a big baby about something. In a way I guess he helped me grow up.
For six or so months we could only hang out in groups, at church, or at Summer Moon, a coffee shop where a lot of people from our church spent their time. I watched who knows how many sports games just to be in the same room as him. Got dressed up all the time. Marten worked really hard to respectfully follow the rules of the internship and not act like a boyfriend or really show affection towards me in that way. One time I was bawling my eyes out at the Houffice over something that was very heavy in my life at that time, and I remember Marten just sitting next to me, his hands in his lap. I could tell it was really hard for him not to comfort me in some way- even just a hug, but he did it. He upheld his integrity even in tough situations.
Serving at One Chapel was easily one of the largest blessings I've had in my life thus far. I loved every minute of it. Tag, JV tag, bigs, Sunday morning set up, hanging out at the houffice, the shire, endless lunches at Chipotle and Chik fill A, all of my friends basically living at the same apartment complex and constantly being at Summer Moon together... EASILY the best time of my life. The fact that I got to meet Marten while there.... it seems unreal. He was my friend first, then kind of like a brother, then my best friend, and now my boyfriend! Then add the fact that the guy waited six months to date me, got to date me for two, and then supported me in going off to New York for school for a year.... WHAT?
I found a winner, y'all.
Marten supports me in everything I do. He is so patient, kind, loving, and really, just everything good. I never have to doubt that he loves me or question who I am to him. He encourages me in my identity in Christ and pushes me to know more of Jesus. He always looks after my best interest. When I get all emotional and want to bicker, he puts up with it, takes care of the issue in a mature way, and then prays with me. I get mad at him, and he says I'm sorry, and prays for me. HE'S JUST SO COOL YALL. He's so playful and fun to be with, while also being such a good leader in our relationship. To me, he embodies how Christ loves the church. I would be honored to be his bride one day.
I'm super blessed by a lot of things, but Marten just about takes the cake. Actually, he totally does. I'm so blessed. I want to share these pictures with you no matter how old they are or how technically perfect the photograph looks. When I see him next I'm going to get him to model for me. Until then, I introduce to you, Mr. Marten Boyden. Or as I call him, Babycakes.*
1. I'm fairly certain this was one of the first times I had a real, long conversation with him. At Summer Moon, of course. If I'm not mistaken it was over Christmas holidays when all of our friends had gone home to see family except he and I, so we decided to meet up and read together. AKA, Mary-tells-you-her-whole-life-story time.
2. YAY! Oh my goodness, y'all. Our friends Bob and Simone got married in Colorado, so all of us One chapel folk made a road trip out of it. Marten got to ride in my car and I was SO EXCITED. We talked the entire way up,and entire way down. In fact, the first time I ever got made at him was on that trip. It was something really dumb, but it ended up being really cute because I got to see how he handled my heart when I felt hurt. He did well, of course.
3&4. Oh, Lord. This was the day that I attempted to make Marten a promo video for his ministry, Salvation Celebration. Our intentions were good, but I don't think it ever fully came to fruition.
5. Once we were officially dating last summer, Marten took me home with him to Oregon to meet his parents! I love his family so much, I've been begging Marten to take me back with him again. I hope it happens soon :)
I wrote a ton and yet I still didn't get to share so many amazing stories and cute little details (like the fact that I'm Marten's first girlfriend ever!). One day I'll write more. I enjoy talking about him, if you can't tell :)
We have had our fair share of disagreements and rough times, and we have things to work on, but overall, we're blissfully happy. He was worth waiting for, and he'd say the same about me. Jesus is really good. Without all that he does for Marten and I on a daily-heck, hourly-basis, we would not be where we are. We pray together and challenge each other in Christ. We desire to do ministry together. We have a TON of fun with Jesus together.
I am so blessed.
*I would just like to point out how hilarious I find this nickname to be. He's this big 6 foot, broad shouldered tough guy who lets this girl of his call him Babycakes. i love it! hehe