Sundays With Rae

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

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)

Doing Single Well

Since becoming engaged, a friend of mine asked me for advice about navigating the world of dating/romance from a faith-based lens. I’ve told my fiancé more than once that since being in a relationship, I feel like I know even less about relationships than I did before getting into one. That sounds terrible but in this short time I have learned that every relationship is unique and it should be. But being single? I know that well. Of course, everyone’s single journey is different but as someone who boldly considered themselves chronically single, I’m not going to lie, I feel a bit like an expert.

I can’t tell you how to get a man. I got mine, so just be happy for me but I can share how to live happily single. I did it for quite some time and some moments were better than others but when I was out here living my best single life, I kept the following in mind:

My relationship status won’t determine the quality of my life.

Single, dating, divorced, engaged, married, whatever your relationship status is, good things are happening in your life and they are still going to happen. My mom always says, “one monkey don’t stop no show!” As a single woman, I still had goals to crush. I still had places to see. I still had friends to love and celebrate with and be celebrated by. I had songs to sing loudly and badly to in the car and in the shower. I had shows to watch. I had family to laugh with. I had a goddaughter who thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. I had a job that didn’t make me crazy (most days). I had a God to glorify. These are the things that made/make me happy and give quality to my life.

“My name is ____________ and I’m so very, fly oh my, it’s a little bit scary.”

That song was my anthem for a while (Pretty Girl Rock – Keri Hilson). Long ago one of my friends asked me if I thought I looked better than Beyonce. I hesitated to respond because I figured “no” was the “right answer,” but I knew it wasn’t my truth. I can’t remember what I said but understand, I certainly don’t think I look worse (interpret that as you will). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I hope whatever you behold in the mirror, you see as beautiful. After all, if you don’t, why should anyone else? You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and they won’t be yours (people tend to forget that part), and that’s okay. Some days you’ll feel yourself a bit more than others but deep down, you have to believe you are more than pretty enough. And not only that, you have a wonderful personality to go with what people see (hopefully). Looks may not be everything but you are a looker! You wear confidence well. Walk in that truth.

I am who I am.

And I’m wonderful. I’m a Christian. I’m independent. I laugh a lot. I like country music. I’m a giver. I’m an introvert. I’m constantly becoming the best version of myself. I am who I am and I embrace that person. I know for a fact there was more than one guy who passed me by because who I was didn’t align with what they were looking for. If I had been a little less independent, been more outgoing, didn’t love Jesus as much, we probably could of have something (at least for a few more weeks). But if it cost me myself, it was far too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to force certain situations and got my feelings hurt along the way, but when I finally tallied up the expense of it all, it was never worth it. I had/have so many flaws, but I was/am unwilling to negate all the amazing qualities I bring to any relationship I find myself in. In my singleness, I perfected being me; I truly learned to love her.

Sometimes we shame people for wanting to be in a relationship and wanting to be married and wanting to have kids. We tell them to just enjoy where they are because the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I’ve never wanted to be that person because I remember the countless prayers I prayed to God and moments when it felt like He didn’t hear me. I remember friends having to remind me I’m the prize. I remember joking with my friends that “this would be my year,” while hoping deep down inside it really would be. Two things can be true at the same time; you can be happily single and still desire to be in a relationship. You can catch flights and swipe right. You can look up first date questions and look up the home buying process. You can write a list of qualities you’re looking for in a spouse and write a list of ingredients you’ll need for a recipe you’re excited to make for yourself. Being single was beautiful and being engaged is beautiful. It’s not about the grass being greener but tending to whatever grass I find myself in.

While I believe God will give us the desires of our hearts, I also believe He intends for us to enjoy where we are.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

May 2021

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

Know That I Know

August 2020

If you know me well, you know I love weddings! Not even COVID-19 could stop love from being celebrated, and taking all the necessary precautions, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two wonderful people recently. It was easily one of the best weddings I’ve been to! Aside from the bride and groom being the stars of the show, the officiant, who is also a friend of mine, made the whole experience a memorable one. The bride and groom are both family therapists (they met in graduate school, how cute is that!), so most would consider them experts in relationships. The officiant (a pastor, as well as a family therapist, shout out to Valdosta State!), acknowledged this fact and used the analogy of Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan is arguably the best basketball player there is, but even in all his greatness, he still had a coach. The officiant reminded the couple even though they may be great family therapists and know a whole lot about relationships, they still need a coach and that coach is God. They could have passed around a collection plate at that point. I literally had to stop myself from shouting, “alright!”

I started to think about the areas in my life that I consider myself to be the best of the best, a know-it-all, if you will. With such high regard for myself in certain areas of my life, sometimes I don’t think I need a coach, meaning God. We don’t always do this consciously, but we do it. Maybe you feel you know your spouse like the back of your hand, so you don’t ask God about how you should talk to them. You’ve done all your research about the company trying to hire you and you know they’re going to pay you top dollar and they have great benefits, no need to inquire of God on His thoughts about the matter. Your child literally has half of your DNA and you’ve raised a few before this one, you don’t need to consult God on how to handle certain situations. You’ve been at your job sixteen years, you can do your boss’ job better than he can, no need to worry about what other plans God has for you. You got it. That is until you don’t.

This was often my mindset when it came to teaching. I knew my content. I knew strategies. I knew my students and their families. I knew who was going to cry. I knew who was going to turn in their homework. I knew who I was going to have to send out. I knew which parents were going to answer the phone. I knew who was showing up for conferences. And I knew I was miserable, considered it part of the job description I read over. Even with all the craziness that went on last school year with the world shutting down and realizing I want to work with a different population, it was the first year I wasn’t miserable. It was also the first year I truly sought God on how to be a teacher and be sane. I did good work the previous years, but last year I did better work because I had a coach who I actually utilized.

I’m learning life is so much easier when we invite God to play an active role, when we allow Him to be the coach. He’s given us the talent, but we have to let Him develop it. So even when I know that I know, a celebration of love reminded me that God knows even more and it’s going to take Him to get me to the next level.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Extraordinary Love

One of my favorite things to talk about are relationships. Perhaps it’s the marriage and family therapist in me but I could literally talk abut relationships all day (and now I’m realizing that at one point in my life, while in school, I did). I’m grateful I’m surrounded by couples willing to discuss the ups and downs of being in a committed relationship. I’m grateful for the men in my life who don’t sugar coat anything and for my other single ladies who are out here with me, trying to navigate this territory. Call me a hopeless romantic and maybe even crazy but I believe we’re all capable of extraordinary love. God loves us with a perfect love, so much so, He gave His only begotten Son. Every day, come what may, He chooses us. Every day, if we allow Him to, He’s perfecting us so we’re able to share this love. And from this thought, the questions I’ve been asking in my recent conversations about relationships are: are you experiencing the love you’ve always dreamed of or at least working towards it? Are you experiencing extraordinary love?

Extraordinary love will look different for everyone. It will feel different for everyone. For some people it’s being showered with kisses every day. For others it’s being able to pour out your heart and soul without fear of judgement. While others it’s being able to worship together whether at home or at church. And for some others, it’s tagging each other in every funny meme they see. Maybe for you it’s all of this or none of this, but whatever it is, I pray you’re experiencing it in your relationship. I pray you experience butterflies sometimes and you have more good days than bad. I pray you laugh from your soul every once in a while. I pray you’ve grown more spiritual than you were before you met your partner. I pray you go places and see things together. I pray spending time together isn’t a burden but a memory worth creating. I pray that even when you’re mad, you always remember you’re on the same team. I pray that apologizing becomes easier to do and forgiveness flows like a river. I pray you don’t just talk a lot but you communicate effectively. I pray you’re playing an active role in creating your own happy, your own extraordinary love.

Too often we fall into relationships because it’s convenient and we find ourselves waking up every day hoping extraordinary love will just appear. We hope our partners will sense what we need without us communicating those needs. We hope our partners will fill a need they weren’t created to fill. And sometimes we’re too afraid to let go of a love that isn’t extraordinary. We think this is the best we deserve when in fact, God has so much more. Extraordinary love is a choice and we have to actively choose it. A couple who had been married over 20 years told me that after you say I do on your wedding day, you have to commit to saying I do to that person every day for the rest of your life, which is to say, I choose you. So before you take that next step, be sure the extraordinary love is already in full effect.

I’m not just waiting to be married, I’m waiting for extraordinary love. If you’re single and desire to be married, hopefully that’s what you’re waiting for. And if you’re married or in a committed relationship, hopefully it’s what you’re experiencing. If not, I hope you get the courage to believe that not only do you deserve extraordinary love, but you can have it, if you’re willing to do your own work and let God help you create it.

Matthews 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

My cousin continuing her extraordinary love (July 2019)

Why Am I Single?

I know it’s the question that’s been burning on the hearts and minds of everyone lol. But in all actuality, I get a variation of this question more often than one would think. It’s usually masked as “we have to find you someone” or “so, there’s no one? Like, nobody?” Usually when friends ask I respond by saying, “because you’re not praying hard enough.” I’m (mostly) kidding, but in these moments my friends seem more distraught about my single status than I am. And honestly, I’m not bothered by people questioning my singleness. It’s not a curse or a shame I carry around with me, hoping no one notices. It’s the season I’m in and just like people ask basketball players how their season is going, people may ask how the single life is going. There are some people who ask excessively or try to diagnosis you with a mental health disorder because you’re single, but thankfully my friends and family aren’t those people.

So why am I single?

  1. Because I’m not ready. We often think because someone has a certain level of education, a career, certain material things, they have it together and are equipped to be in a relationship. Y’all, I’m a mess. And I know there may be people who are “more” of a mess and they manage to be in a relationship, but maybe they should follow my lead, and be alone too. And I know when I meet that special someone, I’ll get ready. But no one has came along to inspire me to be ready, so no, I’m not ready.
  2. Because I can’t settle. I tried, God wouldn’t let me. He allowed the man to disappear, like literally vanish out of my life. And now I’ve grown to the point where I won’t let me settle. I don’t have time to lower my standards to fit someone into a role they were never meant to play. This is not the community league where everyone gets playing time. Only the best get in the game.
  3. Because God said so. I got tired of talking back to God. “But God, he’s nice.” “But God, he’s cute.” “But God, he has a good job.” “But God, he goes to church sometimes.” God’s “because I said so,” became good enough for me. The more comfortable I became with “because I said so,” the less singleness felt like a plague. Marriage is a goal but it’s not THE goal. So until God says otherwise, single is what I will be.

I know I’ll eventually meet someone great but I’m in no rush. Perhaps if I’m 35 and still single, I may be singing a different tune but today I’m 27 and I’m okay. I get it though. As young children you are taught, you grow up, you get married, and have kids. A 5 year old told me I was weird because I didn’t have a husband or children and it was so funny to me because I kind of agreed. The older I get, and less single friends I have, the more I realize it may be a little weird. I can do weird though. I can’t do lonely, less than, ugly, desperate, unapproachable, or unlovable because I’m none of those. My single status is not the result of an inherent flaw within myself, it’s my season. And one of the things I love about seasons, they do change.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Seasons change.