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


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


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.

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 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.

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 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.)


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)


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.)


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

All the Feelings

I am the girl who has been planning her wedding since she was a little girl. My wedding Pinterest board is decorated with color schemes and themes, a variety of dresses and rings, all of the things. I don’t get very excited about many things, but I was ridiculously excited about my wedding.

Two days ago, Desmond and I decided to postpone our wedding. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. I texted my friend today and told her I no longer feel the urge to cry at the thought of things not working out the way I envisioned and the sickening feeling in my stomach has disappeared. A part of me wants to describe my response as dramatic and convince myself it was just a day and it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage, and we’ll celebrate later with all of our family and friends. While all those things may be true, it was also true that I was devastated. That’s the word I used after sharing the news. Even if it’s the right decision, the wise choice, the best option, God’s will, it was still devastating.

Part of being human is getting to experience the range of emotions God has blessed us with. After my dad died, I was scared to feel emotions, terrified that I’d be overtaken by them. My therapists helped me learn there was nothing to be afraid of. I could trust my feelings would stay as long as they needed to, and I could still show up in the world. I also learned that I was capable of creating space for multiple emotions. I can feel joy and sadness. I can feel disappointment and excitement. So when I felt the feelings of devastation of postponing my wedding setting in, I plunged in deeply while embracing the excitement of still being able to marry the love of my life.

Too often we forget that two things can be true at the same time. We try to force ourselves to choose and are left feeling unsettled and not true to ourselves. We are complex, dynamic beings. Our feelings are constantly shifting and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing (although if you’re experiencing really high highs and extremely low lows over short periods of time, you should go talk to a health professional). You can love being a mom and also be really tired of all that comes with being a mom. As much as you enjoy serving at your church, sometimes you do just want to show up on Sunday and sit on the pew. There is room for those feelings.

There are a lot of lessons I’m learning through this experience and I’m grateful I’ve shown myself how comfortable I’ve become feeling emotions, and multiple emotions at that! Yes, I was devastated, but the thought of spending my life with Desmond still filled me with butterflies. He is the light at the end of every dark tunnel and joy in the morning and warmth through the coldest seasons. Other feelings may come and go but those things will always be true. My godfather reminded me to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:8). No matter what today looks like and what tomorrow brings, regardless of the tears I cry, laughter I enjoy, pain I feel, smiles I carry, thank you God.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

October 2021(at a wedding celebration)

Life is Good

On May 13, I wrote a note in my phone, “Life with you is good. So, so good.” It was a regular Thursday; I was at work, you were at work. The night before, I cooked us dinner (and it was amazing!) and we talked and laughed. I don’t remember anything specific from that night but that Thursday I remember sitting and being so grateful I was sharing my life with you. It was in these simple moments that the fabrics of my love for you were being stitched together.

You do grand gestures well, leaving me speechless with my cheeks hurting from smiling. Those moments are the icing on a delicious cake. They leave me floating in the clouds questioning if this is my life. But I am aware this love is rooted in those small moments I previously mentioned. I can float freely in the clouds because I know when I come back down to earth, the air is just as lovely down here.

One would say a proposal is one of the grandest gestures one could make, and somehow you managed to make such a huge moment, the most intimate I’ve shared with you to date. Under a gazebo in front of a couple of friends and strangers going about their day, we decided to pursue forever together. If I thought I was floating in the clouds before, I certainly had reached another part of our solar system that day.

I did not make it back down to earth until a couple of days later while sitting at work, feeling similar to how I did that Thursday. I made the mistake of watching the proposal video for the third or fourth time and after it ended, I thanked God for everything it took to get to that moment. As the tears flowed, I knew how undeserving I was of such an extraordinary love. There was nothing I did to earn it, but God’s faithfulness towards me led me there. His grace and mercy covered me. I could have not chosen this path for myself but an intentional God saw fit to bless me in His perfect timing. And I’ll spend the rest of my life thanking Him for it.

I look forward to forever with you because life with you is so, so good.

Mark 10:6-9 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

May 2021

To Raynard

One of the greatest feelings I’ve been able to experience is the joy that comes from watching my friends dreams come true. Raynard, we are learning together that they do indeed come true. Those dreams we’ve dreamt together that seemed so far away, almost out of reach, now have a face and a name with the promise of forever.

We have walked this single journey together and I am thrilled to see it coming to an end for you. I have watched an intentional, surprising, confident love blossom. This love has shown us what it means to live out Hebrews 11:1 (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”). This love causes us to reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:13 (“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – NLT). This love brings to our remembrance Ephesians 3:20 (“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”).

I use the terms “us” and “we” and “our” and “together” because Raynard and I are a package deal. It’s not something many people understand and we’re okay with that but I’m grateful his future bride has welcomed me with open arms. I’m grateful he has someone in his corner who will always be on his team, who he can share his hopes, dreams, and fears with, who will love him through his high highs and low lows. She is someone who will elevate his already successful ministry, and again, for that I’m grateful.

There’s so much more I want to say but I’ll save it for the wedding! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord


Before the Resurrection

“You got up so I could get up again.”
He is risen and I’m glad about it! Resurrection Sunday could not have come at a better time. The past month or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been running in place, not really getting anywhere. Work has been annoying, my allergies have been trying to take me out, and I’ve been having hard conversations with myself. Although there have been multiple bright spots, as a whole it still felt like blah.

Today reminded me that after Jesus was crucified, Saturday (or whatever day came before He rose) came and went. The day before Jesus rose, people were still sad and scared; they thought that’s where the story ended. Even though Jesus had already said what He said, Jesus’ disciples and followers, had no idea Resurrection Sunday was going to happen. They thought they’d just have to adapt to their new normal. But the waiting was all a part of the plan.

So perhaps this running in place does feel like Resurrection Eve, the longest Saturday ever, but I’ll trust God because the same power that got Jesus up from the grave, is the same power that lives in me. I’ll be like Noah and keeping building with no rain in the forecast. I’ll be like Mary and carry what God gave me. I’ll be like the woman with the issue of blood, pushing through the crowd to touch the helm of His garment. I’ll rise with victory. Happy Resurrection Day!

Luke 24:6‭-‬8 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this. (NLT)

Bright spot (March 2021)