Aside from my birth month, November is my second favorite. It is a busy and memorable month for my family. Filled with joys, celebrations and grief. We have my husband's birthday, our wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving.
My husband doesn't believe in New Years resolutions on New Years, instead he sees his birthday as the opportunity for introspection, adjustments, and planning. Being born in Tobago and having never celebrated Thanksgiving and a U.S. Christmas prior to 1995, Thanksgiving quickly became my favorite holiday. It symbolizes and reminds me of how we celebrated Christmas in Tobago. A time for family, thankfulness, and good food.
In my book, enjoying family company, and visiting different homes to share in the love and togetherness is unmatched.
Twelve years ago, Colin and I tied the knot. The radiance of fall colors reds, greens, oranges added to that special day.
Instead of flowers, my "flower girls" sprinkled fall leaves I collected from the season. In many aspects, Colin and I's union was a leaving of our families and joining together in a means to find our independence. I literally spun a globe, my finger landed on a city and state and we relocated as husband and wife. That move was one our families weren't prepared for. For years that decision caused a rift in family relationships. As pastor's kids there were so many expectations: stay in New York and eventually take over the family ministry, be a possible first lady, grow in our calling as a ministry family. After our departure there were many questions around whether we should have stayed in New York. One thing I do know, God knew the steps we would have taken before we took them. All the paths we've crossed and lessons we have learned, and are still learning, will be to the glory of God. I have grown to understand that ministry development isn't just in the four walls of a church. It is how you minister to the needs of people. It is how you interact with people. Colin is the people person, where I am more reserved. I am more of the organizational, plan things out type, where he is the "all will be well with the world" type. Ministry is how you execute the giftings God has place within you to serve others.
Unfortunately, two years ago, two days prior to our tenth anniversary and our hosting of Thanksgiving, Colin's dad passed away unexpectedly. Two years later and the pain, thoughts of what if, and all the should have, could have, would have, still linger. Loosing a loved one is DIFFICULT. PERIODT. It is especially trying when that loss is sudden and amidst unresolved and unexpressed feelings. You run through the gamut of grief stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. For some it takes years, and one would hope not a lifetime, to get to acceptance. It's definitely a delicate road to walk. Navigating loss and grief takes relying on people you trust and those who can pray you through. Sometimes the process is ugly; proving emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually taxing on your relationships. I hope anyone going through loss and grief has a superstar corner and village that has their back.
As Colin and I perform our reflection of the last year of marriage we are reminded:
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
We have taken steps to further invest in our marriage. Therapy being one of them. It has been said before, but in case you need a reminder or it's new to you: you do not need to wait for your marriage to be in trouble to seek counsel. However, should you find yourselves in trouble, don't keep digging a hole. If it's worth fighting for, do the work! The strategies afforded to you through a professional and trusted perspective can be invaluable. Being intentional to carve out and hold fast to time spent with each other is also important. And of course, I hope you are praying for and with your spouse. Those of you waiting, hoping, and planning to one day be married, take note!
As 2020 winds down and the the plight of COVID-19 still rears it's ugly head, our family is quarantined to our home after testing positive. We have been living in our bubble and although we have to forfeit another big and glorious November, we are instead appreciative of the things we have: each other, our three beautiful babies and the support of our village consisting of both family and friends. We are eternally grateful!
Cheers to the beginning of year 13!
Until next time...