Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

Sometimes Forever Don’t Last

Family

The day was warmer than expected for it to be late November in Atlanta. Well it wasn’t really Atlanta; it was north of Atlanta but it felt like the middle of nowhere, the kind of place you go to take a break from civilization. It all kind of seems like a blur now. My younger sister was getting married to a man she had introduced me to a few months ago. They hadn’t been dating long and the engagement was quite short but if I saw nothing else in my sister’s eyes that morning, I saw certainty. She was sure about the decision she was making.


There were less than fifteen of us there. My brother made a surprise visit and walked my sister down the aisle. The officiant did a wonderful job. In such an intimate setting, you could feel the love my family had for my sister. She may have been sure, and although happy for her, we weren’t as certain. That’s the thing about love and marriage though. The only people who have to be sure and confident in their choice, are the two people making the commitment.


The commitment my sister made that day was made with forever in mind. She committed to a future full of understanding and joy, laced with experiences and forgiveness, fueled by the promise of love. Knowing ups and downs would come, she could have never anticipated the end would be divorce but it was. And it was absolutely devastating. That future she envisioned on that beautiful November day was no longer and she had to figure out a way to re-envision a new future for herself, by herself.


How did you feel when you realized you were definitely getting a divorce?
Even though I knew I was going to get divorced it didn’t seem real at first. It’s like feeling you’re in a fake reality but it really ends up being your life. Initially, I felt like I was just a person helping someone with their divorce. It didn’t become real to me until I saw my name on legal documents. Then it felt like my world was crashing and I have no choice but to let it crash. But I also kept in the back of my head that, if it all crashes then I can rebuild it however I want.


What was the hardest part about going through a divorce?
The hardest part about going through a divorce is grieving the life you thought you were going to have; doing life without this person even though you know they’re not good for you. When I have new experiences, I’m excited about them but there is also a part of me that is sad because I’d pictured doing these new things with him. Those moments are constant reminders that I’m not where I thought I’d be but they’re also reminders of how far I’ve come and I’m proud of that.


What did you learn about yourself as you went through the divorce process?
1. God really does not take you out of a bad situation and put you in another bad situation.
2. I learned that my support system really loves and supports me. It’s okay to lean on them when things are too heavy for me to carry alone.
3. Throughout the divorce, I was able to forgive myself for some of the decisions I made. This led to me rebuilding trust in myself and being okay making mistakes and just doing the work to correct them along the journey.


What would be your advice to someone going through a divorce?
Stay true to yourself. You know the ins and outs of what you’ve been through so you’ll know what to do.


What are you looking forward to regarding your future?
I look forward to enjoying whatever God has in store for me, like really appreciating and enjoying life; living and not just existing.


Around the time my sister was going through her divorce, a close friend was also going through a divorce. I knew people who had been divorced but I never had such an up-close view of the experience. Watching my sister and my friend question their judgement, make decisions they never thought they would have to make, doubt their abilities, and combat the feeling of failure was heart-breaking. I am so proud to call my sister, my sister (and my friend, my friend) and to watch her overcome her own fears. That certainty about life I saw in her eyes on her wedding day had faded away and been replaced by shadows of doubt. I’m happy to see that certainty returning back and those doubts fading. If I’m being honest, supporting someone going through a divorce isn’t easy. You want the best for them and sometimes you think you know what’s best for them (most of the time you don’t) and it’s just hard to watch them struggle through such a major life change. Just as my sister had to trust the process, I did too. I had to trust that God would see her through and He did.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

They Stole My Purse

Imagine, worshipping the Lord aside thousands of others with your arms raised, belting out your favorite Maverick City Music songs when all of a sudden you look down and you notice your purse is gone. It was between my feet and then it wasn’t. It wasn’t under my chair or the chair next to mine. It wasn’t on the floor behind me. It was gone.


A panic immediately grasped my soul but before I allowed myself to freak out, I took a breath. My friend suggested I go check lost and found and after walking to one side of the amphitheater, only told me told I needed to go to the other side, searching high and low along the way, there was no purse. Thankfully I had my phone in my hand during my praise so I called my husband and told him he may have to come pick me and my friend up. Just as I was getting ready to walk away from lost and found, a woman who worked at the amphitheater walked up with MY purse. The relief that flooded my body once I got my hands on my keys can’t be explained. My wallet was missing and as much of an inconvenience as it is to replace debit cards and IDs, replacing my keys would have been far more of a headache.


As I searched for my purse, I was thinking rationally enough to lock my credit/debit cards so no purchases could be made. Stealing is never a good choice but I did think to myself that perhaps they needed to buy something they just didn’t have the money for. Except, they didn’t. They were trying to buy something off of Shein! Like, tried multiple times with multiple cards. The nerve!!! They also tried to get gas and $200 worth of stuff from Walmart… But Shein, though?! I’ve had my home broken into a couple of times and the feeling of violation that comes with knowing someone rifled through my things and took what was mine was similar to how I felt about this situation but what made it worse was they had to get super close to me to do it. That is a scary feeling. And all of that, for a couple of outfits. May God have mercy on their souls (and they come up with the money to get they little outfits).


I couldn’t help but think how much worse it could have been. My phone could have been in my purse. They could have taken my keys. They could have thrown my purse in the trash. I could have been so distraught that I didn’t think to lock my cards. Even in a terrible situation, I still have so much to thank God for. The concert was amazing and I left settled about all the things God told me. Me getting my purse stolen didn’t change any of that. He’s still a man of His Words and though the storms may come and the winds may blow, I’ll remain steadfast. They may have stolen my purse, but they couldn’t steal my joy.


1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

June 2022


Vacation Me

Growing up, vacations only existed in the context of basketball tournaments, church conventions, and family reunions. The idea of going to another place, just because, was a foreign concept to me. That was something rich people did and I definitely wasn’t that. The idea of traveling always sounded good but seemed far out of my reach until my friend Susan invited me to go camping.

I’m actually not sure whose idea it was but Susan and I decided we would rent a cabin during Spring Break of our freshmen year of college and go “camping.” To our surprise, we learned that you had to be at least 21 years old to rent a cabin at this particular place so instead we got a hotel and had a fantastic weekend exploring Jupiter, FL. It was a small city but there was something freeing about being in a place away from home with no events scheduled, staying in accommodations we chose, with the freedom to do the activities we like to do. Our purpose was simply to exist; no demands or expectations. During that trip it felt like I’d been granted access to a whole new world and ever since then, I’ve always aimed to see and enjoy more of it.

Compared to a lot of people I know, I haven’t been a lot of places. I’ve been to 22 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Bahamas. Some trips were planned well in advance, others were spur of the moment, some better than others, some for the weekend, others just for the day, some far more expensive than others, all of them worth it. I’ve come back from several trips with a list of complaints about what could have made the experience better but I can’t say I’ve ever regretted going on any of them. I’m grateful that most of my travel has been for pleasure and I’ve been able to visit some of my favorite places multiple times. I’m grateful I was able to create memories with wonderful people and memories by myself. I learned my limit when it comes to traveling with others. I learned what kind of hotels best suit me. I learned what kind of activities I liked the best. I learned to stick to a budget (well I’m still learning this one). I learned about other cultures. I learned to enjoy the silence. I learned to slow down and take a moment to breathe. I learned to be more grateful for life.

The pandemic put a halt to achieving some of my traveling goals and honestly, even when I did go places after some restrictions were lifted, there was a lot of anxiety surrounding my travels (ask my younger sister about the plane ride to Pennsylvania). Eventually things will look and feel even more normal than they already do and I can get back to crossing places off my bucket list. If you don’t have a bucket list of places you want to go, I encourage you to create one. It doesn’t have to be far, you don’t have to stay away long, but just think of a few places you want to visit. You don’t have to go this year if you’re not comfortable doing so. Maybe you want to splurge on the hotel or the food so perhaps you need to save up. Whatever it takes, work towards existing somewhere else for a little while; no demands, no expectations.

I don’t usually need a reason to travel but I must say, the month of May has been long so go ahead and vacation me.  

Ecclesiastes 3:13  And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

My Most Recent Vacation (Hilton Head Island, SC, January 2022)

*BONUS CONTENT*

My Travel List (some of these places have a permanent spot on the list no matter how many times I visit):

  • Tulum, Mexico
  • London, England
  • South Africa
  • Nigeria
  • Bora Bora
  • Canada (again)
  • Jamaica
  • Boston, MA
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Seattle, WA (again)
  • New Orleans, LA (again; one of my favorite cities)
  • Anywhere in Hawaii (again; probably my favorite place)
  • San Diego, CA (again)
  • Puerto Rico (again)
  • Panama City Beach, FL (again)
  • Savannah, GA (again)
  • Washington, D.C. (again)

To read other posts about my travels click here and here.

This is Us

For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a good TV show, with the emphasis being on good. If I’m watching a drama, it’s usually a medical drama or something related to law enforcement. One of my biggest rules for TV shows, specifically dramas, are the main characters can’t get killed off every season (sorry Grey’s Anatomy). Another rule is there cannot be too much drama and if there is a lot of it, the writers have to do a good job of making it make sense (sorry Queen Sugar). The show This is Us was a true wild card for me. No one works in law enforcement or the medical field. There is only one Black main character (and his Black family). And as a show, they managed to get everything right.


I’m honestly not sure what drew me to This is Us but I decided I would give it a try when it first premiered and from the first episode, I was hooked. Perhaps I was biased because I could identify with losing a parent and how that experience defines the rest of your life. All of it felt so real, like I could be one of the characters or they could be my friend. I saw so much of my mother in Rebecca. Beth is everything I aim to be as a Black woman supporting a Black man and raising a Black family. They covered almost every topic you could think of from mental health to abortion to alcoholism to adoption and foster care to divorce to creating a work/life balance to teen pregnancy to finding your passion to parent-child and sibling relationships to the LGBT community to race and discrimination to body image to getting older to career changes (the only thing me and my co-worker decided they didn’t touch on was religion). They touched on all of this in a way that humanized every character. No one was the hero; everyone had their own faults and shortcomings they were continually addressing and strengths and accomplishments I came to admire.


Most shows struggle to have a firm grasp on a basic storyline but This is Us was able to connect the past to the present to the future, flawlessly. The acting was amazing. The writing was/is the best I’ve ever seen. And the storyline, even with all of its twists and turns, was perfection. I would love to sit with the producers and writers to discuss how they developed such a perfect script every episode, every season. Lots of shows get it right a season or two then lose steam and things just fall out of place, but This is Us got better and better season after season. Even though this is the last season, they still have not allowed the ball to drop. All of the loose ends are coming together beautifully. Often times when a series ends, I don’t feel like I have closure or whatever closure they’re trying to provide just doesn’t make sense. With only two episodes left, I feel like I already have the closure I need but I’m still looking forward to what’s to come.


The messiness that being a family can sometimes bring has been so wonderfully portrayed. In the best of TV shows, what you want to happen may not happen but when the writers get it right, you see how it was better. Sometimes I wanted Jack to be more perfect than he really was but it added so much context to Kevin’s path. I wanted Kate to figure out what she wanted and to just do it, instead of constantly second guessing her worth and her talent, but she had to do it in her own time. I wanted Randall to chill out and just go with the flow but how he entered the world and the Pearson family made that almost impossible. Rebecca gave up a lot of herself to raise her family and if asked, I think she would do it all over again if it meant they were better because of it.


This is Us is such a perfect body of work and will always hold a special place in my heart. It truly helped me give grace to the role I play in my family and the roles my family members play and to extend that grace as roles evolve with life changes. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly makes us, us and I am and will always be grateful for us.

Romans 12:9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (NLT)

March 2022



The GOAT: My Mother

Jen, mommy, maaaa!, lady. I call my mother a lot of names and most of the time she answers to them. The running joke in my family is although I’m not an only child, when it comes to my mother, I have only child tendencies. I want all of her time and attention even though she insist on having a life outside of me and loving my siblings as much as she loves me. We talk every day on my way to work. She knows most of y’all business and loves y’all anyway. She has overcome so much and made it look easy. I have always known how blessed I was/am to have her as a mother and how blessed the people who get to encounter her are.

The older I get, the more I see her in myself. As confident as I believe myself to be, I haven’t always seen myself as courageous and capable of having difficult conversations and securely and consistently standing in my own truth. These were qualities that I had resolved my mother possessed but I didn’t.  Despite her best efforts to convince me of otherwise, it wasn’t until I was put in certain situations that I accepted that what my mother said about me hadn’t fallen on deaf ears. For me, this is the beauty of having an amazing mother. No matter how much I question my ability to be great, she continues to tell me I am. And no matter how much greater than her she wants me to be, I’ll always see her as the greatest.

Proverbs 31: 10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

January 2022

Adjusting to the Dark

Certain parts of my house are darker than others at night. With shades drawn, no light illuminating from the television, lamps resting in the off position, there is a spot right outside my bathroom door that envelops darkness. I used to be startled by this darkness, stumbling along a familiar path into objects that have not moved. I eventually realized that if I stood still, my eyes would adjust to the dark; it would capture light from somewhere. If I took just a couple of seconds to stop and look, even when I couldn’t see anything, I would gain access to everything I already knew to be there and to be true. There may be darkness, but if you stop while you’re in the midst of it, you will adjust and find the light in the darkest of situations.

Darkness can come in different forms. For me it was my dad passing away but it’s also having a whole attitude when my friends change plans at the last minute. Very different things but my initial reaction to any kind of change (disappointment, unforeseen circumstances, unfulfilled expectations, deferred timelines, etc.) can be very strong, maybe even dramatic (so my family says). My response isn’t always steeped in reality and the things I know to be true; I just stumble in the darkness of whatever feeling I’m feeling and rant on about it. These moments usually don’t last very long and thankfully the people in my life love me enough to let me do my song and dance then come back to reality, but I’m aware that it doesn’t take all of that. If I choose to pause and give myself time to adjust to the change (my perceived darkness), I can move about with ease knowing everything God said about me or the situation is still true. Even with the death of my father, it wasn’t until going to therapy and allowing myself to stop roaming around in the darkness that I realized I could be processing my feelings in a healthier manner. I didn’t automatically stop being sad about my dad being gone but the dark didn’t seem as scary anymore; I started to see the shadows of the truth of God’s love for me. No matter what form the darkness may take, if I choose to pause, I can make my next move wisely without all the stumbling around, allowing the faintest of light to lead me.

Your darkness could be a rejection letter or a poor health prognosis or unemployment or a divorce or a bad grade or a miscarriage or a cancelled trip. You get to decide what your darkness is, no matter how big or small it may seem to others. As much as we would love for a light switch to be flipped and the darkness to be eradicated immediately, sometimes we have to stand in it and let our eyes adjust to what is there, having faith that the light, no matter how little, will show up. Morning will come with the bright light of the sun, but even in the darkest of night, you can adjust.

Psalm 18:28 You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. (NLT)

April 2022

Identity

To put it lightly, I’m obsessed with my name. I always have been and I probably always will be. Even though I remember crying as a young child because in my household I had the most letters in my first name and I often get nervous when I have to introduce myself to new people because I know I’ll have to say my name more than once and at certain times in my life I’ve considered it too ethnic (read Black); I love my name, all of it. Over the course of my life I have perfected my signature. Some of my most cherished gifts are the ones that display my name. Whether it’s my first name or just my last name or only my initials, my name is very much a reflection of who I am. I am my name. So imagine how I felt as I considered changing it…

Before I met my husband I always knew I would change my last name when I got married. I looked forward to being introduced as Mrs. (insert name), signifying the merging of my life with the love of my life. But I wasn’t prepared for the emotional response I would have. As excited as I was to change my name, I was also kind of sad to “lose” my name. It felt like I was ending a really good chapter of an amazing book. My previous name has taken me places; we saw things and we got degrees and awards. We counseled people and taught students and recited poems and created a blog. I accomplished so much with my previous name but I look forward to all that I’ll accomplish with my new name.

There are several times in the bible where God changed someone’s name (Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul). Often times through these name changes, He delivered on His promises. He received glory and praise. One’s faith was increased through a name change. It did not matter how successful they had been or even how unsuccessful they had been, when God changed their names, things got better. Sarai was barren but Sarah gave birth to a son. Jacob wrestled with the angel but Israel was the father of the people of God. Saul was a sinner but Paul was a soldier in God’s army.

My children will know me by my new name. Any awards I receive in the future will be with my new name. The book I write will be written under my new name. I’m as wonderful of a human being as I was before I changed my name, if not better. Changing my name doesn’t mean I have changed; it simply means my amazing story continues. I have to remind myself of this truth. As good of a life as I was living with my previous name, life with my new name is the good life too (cue *I’m living my best life*).

So much of who I am is wrapped up in what I do. I am a teacher who teaches students. I am a Christian who serves God. I am a writer who writes. So much of who I am is tied to who I am connected to. I am a daughter to my mother. I am a sister to my siblings. I am a godmother to my goddaughter. Through all of these roles and labels my name was still my name. And now I’m a wife to my husband which comes with a new last name and my name is still my name. I am still my name.

Genesis 17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Every time someone asks me how I’m enjoying the married life, my response is, “it’s amazing!” There are so many things I enjoy about being married but here are a few of my favorites:

Sleeping together
I was never one of those people who dreaded having to share a bed with someone. I wasn’t interested in having separate bedrooms so it was just something I accepted as part of marriage. After a couple weeks of being married though, I realized how much joy it brings me. There is something special about sharing space with my husband in general, but there is a comfort and safety I experience when I wake up in the middle of the night and he’s laying next to me. All seems right with the world.

Meals
I know this will be a shocker for some seeing as how I’ve never been a huge fan of cooking but I have actually enjoyed preparing dinner for my husband or telling him I’m picking something up. Whether it’s a new recipe or something I’ve cooked for him before or Chick-Fil-A, I’m happy that I’m able to give him one less thing to add to his to-do list. I’m also happy that I married someone who doesn’t always expect me to cook and sometimes he’ll take care of the meals.

Laughing
Laughing is one of my favorite things to do and I’ve gotten to do so much more of it since I’ve been married. I found Desmond highly entertaining before we got married but since we’ve been living together, I can’t think of many nights that have gone by that I haven’t laughed. Most of the time he’s not trying to make me laugh and questioning what was so funny which makes it all the funnier to me.

Planning
This one surprised me because I’m highly independent and enjoy making decisions by myself, but as with most things, Desmond is the exception to my rules. When you’re dating someone, often times you dream about the future and what could possibly happen if the relationship goes the distance, but once you’re married, you actually get to plan for it. I absolutely love discussing how we’ll raise our kids and what vacations will look like and what color scheme the dining room will be. It literally makes me giddy inside (and I don’t get giddy, well unless Desmond is around)

Forever, ever
I often ask Desmond, “so we get to do this forever?” All of it still seems so unreal at times but I’m grateful that my forever will always include him and I have the opportunity to love him with my whole heart for my whole life.

Ecclesiastes 3:12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. (NLT)

1.21.22 (Cherise Richards Photography)

Healing Love

After my father died I became more obsessed with my wedding than I had already been. I spent that Christmas after he passed, filling up my wedding Pinterest board. I was still super single but I knew what color my bridesmaids were wearing and what kind of centerpieces I wanted. Maybe the present was too painful so I chose to focus on the future. Maybe it gave me hope in the midst of my pain. Maybe it helped me remember life was not over even though it felt like it. Whatever my motivation was, from that moment forward, getting married and my wedding day was closely tied to the loss of my father. Any time I found myself browsing through wedding dresses or thinking about the kind of ceremony I wanted to have, I was always reminded that my father wouldn’t be there.


Fast forward eight years and I’ve met the man of my dreams and we’re planning our wedding. As exciting of a season as I anticipated this to be, I also expected it to be riddled with sorrow. With every item crossed off our checklist bringing us closer to our wedding day, I thought the sadness would take me over. There would be no father/daughter dance, no fussing over what he was going to wear, and no seeing his wide smile matching the joy in his brown eyes. I had moments of tears and sadness throughout the wedding but those moments were never crippling. On the day of my wedding, I woke up happy and lived in the joy I know my father would have felt on that day. I may have not been able to look into his eyes but as I stood before God and my family and friends, I looked into the eyes of a man who loves me deeply.


Since I’ve met Desmond, I’ve spent my father’s birthday and the anniversary of my father’s death with him (well that first birthday was the day after but you get the point) and as emotionally taxing as those days had become, with Desmond, those days aren’t so bad. Yesterday, my father would have been 75 years old, and Desmond and I spent the morning sharing our love story with others. Throughout these two years, and truly on the day of my wedding, I learned of the healing power of love. God is love so it should come as no surprise, but to experience what love can do is to live out 1 Corinthians 13. There is a peace and a calm Desmond brings to my sea of my pain that I know is inspired by God. I move with a lightness in the world because Desmond is willing to help carry the burden of grief with his mere presence. Reflecting back on the impact Desmond’s love has had on me, I almost feel silly for worrying that my wedding day was going to be anything but amazing. I didn’t cry but even if I had, there was no need to fear that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the day. After all, there is no fear in love and I am definitely in love.


After my father died I knew I would never be the same and after being loved by Desmond, I’m convinced I’ll never be able to experience the loss of my father the same. Throughout the Bible God used people to perform miracles and He’s still doing the same thing today. God heals. Love heals. And Desmond has been proof of that for me.


1 Corinthians 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

January 21, 2022 (Cherise Richards Photography)

Planning A Wedding

I’ve officially been married over two weeks! I’m no expert at wedding planning, but here are four takeaways from my wedding planning experience:

IT’S YOUR DAY

It really is your day. It truly is. People won’t always agree with your vision for your wedding. They’ll say your ideas are too extra or they’ll say you’re not doing enough. They’ll focus on what’s traditional or insist you be more modern. But your vision for your day is right. All of my invitations were sent digitally even though I am a huge fan of all things paper. I love a well-designed paper invitation and even had a few saved on my Pinterest board, but it just wasn’t in the budget so I made the choice to go digital. Were all my family members pleased about this? No. Was I uncomfortable knowing they weren’t pleased? Yes. Did I do it anyway? Yes, and I’m glad I did. If what you’re doing isn’t costing anyone but you and your partner, everyone else will get over it. Even if someone offers to pay for what they want you to have, it’s okay to decline or ask that the money be used in a different area. You want what you want and that’s okay. With all that being said, it’s okay to hear people out, especially those close to you. Most of the time you’ll probably still stick by your decision, but sometimes other people have really good ideas. (I can’t think of any ideas I used from other people because I’m stubborn, but I did listen though lol. Be better than me.)

GET PREMARITAL COUNSELING

Premarital counseling was a non-negotiable for me. Perhaps it’s my therapy background or my church background or the multiple articles I’ve read about relationships, but I knew it was going to take more than prayer to have the kind of marriage I wanted, and I thought that’s what counseling with an officiant would be like. We counseled with a licensed counselor and our officiant because I’m extra, but to my surprise, I feel like I got more out of counseling with our officiant than I did the trained professional we went with. Both were great though. Premarital counseling should make you ask questions about yourself and your relationship. It should lead to further conversations and discoveries between you and your partner. All those conversations and discoveries weren’t pleasant, but they were necessary. During one of our sessions with our licensed counselor, she helped me connect how my lack of speaking up for myself was connected to my inflexibility when it comes to change. This led to Desmond and I having a conversation after the session about how this shows up in our relationship and the impact it has had and will have in the future; a very uncomfortable and challenging conversation but also thought provoking and insightful. No matter how long you’ve been dating or how solid of a relationship you think you have, I highly recommend counseling. (And, as a sidenote, professional counseling can be very expensive, like over $100 per session expensive and insurance typically won’t cover it. We were able to find someone more reasonably priced, but if you can’t afford it, definitely take advantage of counseling from your officiant)

CHOOSE YOUR BRIDAL PARTY WISELY

I’ve had my bridal party planned for years. It’s always consisted of people I was close to and thankfully those people were also reliable and dependable. You can do everything for your wedding by yourself, but there’s a high chance you’ll be miserable. A great bridal party will make planning easier. Whether that’s picking things up for you, talking through logistics, venting about things not going how you planned, researching venues, or just being supportive, make sure people in your bridal party have your back (and their coins together). My younger sister was my maid of honor and she picked up things for me, had tough conversations with family members, and she let me have my day without being too judgmental of my choices (a good sister has opinions). You know your friends/family so don’t place expectations on people when you know they’re not going to meet them; it’s just not in their character. If you know your friend is always crying broke, don’t be mad when she says she can’t make the bachelorette party. People will have the best intentions and still not be able to show up for you the way they want to or how you want them to, and your wedding day and life will go on. I’ve heard from several other brides that you will lose a friendship while planning your wedding. I feel blessed and serve as proof that doesn’t have to happen, but part of that was knowing who I chose to be in my bridal party. (And if someone asks you to be in their wedding and your bank account is not in agreement or you know they’ll be asking more of you than you’re willing to do, be a grown-up and choose to come as a guest. You’ll save a friendship and a headache.)

THINGS HAPPEN

Again, things happen. As much as we plan and feel like we have it all under control, things happen. The only thing I had left concerning my big wedding celebration was the walk-thru with the day of coordinator and the planner. I was so proud of myself for having the funds needed to pay for everything, timelines figured out, all the details taken care of. Then… Omicron (read about my devastation here). I sulked for a few days, then Desmond and I started planning again. New venue, new dress, new catering option, new guestlist, new playlist, new ideas for the reception, new invitations, renegotiate with photographer and make-up artist. We did a lot in a little bit of time, but the day was perfect. I was still getting my happily ever after, even if it looked different. Our marriage counselor told us that no matter what happened, keep in mind, this moment we’re planning for is only going to last a few hours and don’t spend days and weeks and months stressing about something that will only take up a few hours of your life when you have the rest of your life to enjoy what this moment represents. I had to remind myself of this advice often. When something goes wrong, it may feel like life as you know it is falling apart but take a deep breath, let that feeling of disappointment wash over you, then move on to plan B (and if you don’t have a plan B, create one or just don’t include it). The day will still be perfect.

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (NLT)

January 2022