Tonight, I am sitting in my living room by myself, sipping on some coffee, looking at my boxed up tree (that will be put up and decorated at some point this week), and thinking about the past 2 years and 11 months of marriage. In such a short amount of time, I have grown so much. WE have grown so much. And I feel prompted to share a little bit about it.
January 16, 2015 was such a gorgeous, perfect day. The sun was shining, the air was cool and crisp, and all of the special ladies in my life were singing, dressing, playing, talking, reminiscing and laughing with me. We were preparing and getting ready for a very special, awaited, prayed for and significant moment in my life.
There was a knock on the door to the little cottage that we were dressing in. A delivery to me from my soon-to-be husband. It was a beautiful string of pearls with earrings and a bracelet to match. Traditional. Just like I always wanted.
Now, my memory brings me to the church. A Catholic Cathedral. My daddy watching me as I'm holding my bouquet walking towards him and the two huge, wooden, exterior doors. Such a bittersweet moment. Such an innocent moment. We hugged, smiled, whispered and then, walked towards my future. Entering a new.
The ceremony was perfect! It was holy, anointed and full of love! Because of pictures, Terry and I were the last to leave the church. Everyone else had gone before us, including my parents. I remember riding in the limo, just the two of us, completely alone and feeling as though I was in a dream.
We had just crossed over the Sunshine Bridge, a bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River, and we noticed a three car accident to the right of us. I told Terry, I hope its not anybody that we know. As we approached the wreck, I saw one of my uncles, and then I saw my daddy.
It was my parents...
The wreck was right before an intersection. Terry and I both screamed at the limo driver to pull over!! It all happened so fast. One minute I am on the way to my reception with my new husband, and the next, I'm alone in a limo, in my bridal gown unable to get out, awaiting the news if my mom and dad are okay. After what seemed like hours, Terry ran back to me, and confirmed that my parents were involved in the 3 vehicle wreck, and that their car was the one in the middle. He also told me that my mom was having to go to the hospital. I immediately called her. As we were talking, I could tell she was giving me her "brave face". I didn't want to leave her, but she insisted that we go to our reception even though she didn't know if they would be able to make it or not.
In this moment, our marriage was already being put to the test.
Why?! Why were we so suddenly dealing with such a battle?!
Once we arrived to our reception, our bridal party greeted us with such excitement, happiness and much needed encouragement. My pawpaw had already informed everyone about what had happened, so everyone was prepared to embrace and love on us.
We did our first dance. We cut the cake. We took pictures. We greeted and spoke with everyone. We waited.
Throughout the night we kept getting mixed word on whether or not my parents were being released from the hospital and able to join us. I wanted so badly to enjoy our wedding, but it felt too selfish to and I was fighting and in complete "survival" mode. I didn't even get to have my dance with my daddy.
A couple of hours had passed. I remember hearing shouts of joy. I heard that my parents had arrived!! I stopped whatever I was doing and ran towards the entrance. Me and my mom embraced!! I clung to my daddy!! My whole family was around me, and there was not one dry eye in the room! My mom took my hand and rose it in the air as we walked onto the dance floor!! Victory!
Terry and I did our "First Dance" a second time. Then, I finally got to dance with my daddy to our song, "Cinderella." It was the first time that I ever seen him cry! After our dance, Daddy grabbed me, my siblings and my mom, and we all sobbed , prayed and rejoiced together. Now when we speak of this symbolic moment, we call it "The Huddle."
Fortunately, the night ended in two celebrations. Terry and I left for our honeymoon the following day. And my parents took time to recover and heal.
Fast forward to present, I am still healing from this surreal experience. Through the power of our Almighty Father, I have already overcome so much.
I share a lot about "Joy" and "Choosing Joy" and "The Joy of the Lord." Its because joy was stolen from me on the most holy and significant day of my life. It impacted me emotionally more than I ever could imagine that it would. Moreover, being that I stopped having periods four months later, added more struggle and took away additional joy.
So why did such a thing like this happen? I consciously try to put things such as this into a spiritual perspective. Was it Intercession? Healing? Purpose? A Testament? Did it bring forth a need for someone who witnessed it?
What I do know is that it has fulfilled a bond I have longed for. It has called me to grow in faith and in unity with my husband. It was a beginning to many new seasons in my life.
Thankfully, God has given back what the devil tried to steal. He is continually depositing more joy, faith, surrender and hope into my spirit.
A few weeks ago, Terry and I fulfilled a desire that God put on my heart to do. We did what I like to call a "Second Look." These pictures capture the moments that were stolen on that very special night. Moments we are now dwelling in today. A new love, a new joy and a "letting go" of the past.
I will continue to overcome. I will continue to share my heart. And I will continue to choose joy!