(1st and 2nd pic c/o Arleth Gutierrez, 3rd pic c/o of Dede Neufeld)
Favored and Blessed
Lj Salceda Schroeder
(Reflections on my last night as a single woman. I used part of this in my wedding vows and acknowledgments for the reception. )
My Ma never fails to remind me that I am a favored and blessed woman. I wish I could say that I've always believed her pronouncements but I'd be lying. Don't get me wrong, those are beautiful, heart-warming declarations that I would love to hear all the time, but those are also difficult words to digest and hold onto during tough days.
Not this time though. Today more than ever those words are alive. I've never felt or seen them as clear and as true than this moment.
I am a favored and blessed woman!
I am marrying the answer to my Ma's prayers. The man I've learned and still is learning to love, to know and to stand by with. I am in a country where some people could only dream of living. I am warmly welcomed in homes and by people I'm not even related to.
My loved ones and friends may not be here to witness and celebrate with us on our wedding day, but what a comfort and a joy to be surrounded by the most loving, supportive new family. I am overwhelmed by their generosity and all the names that I now have to remember. :) They are all wonderful and I can't wait to spend some time and get to know them more. I thank the Lord for their lives.
Being favored and blessed doesn't exempt one from hardships and pain.
For the two years that John and I have been together, we've faced many challenging, scary and seemingly insurmountable circumstances. The struggles of a long-distance relationship, the paperwork, the expenses, unemployment, settling in the US, wedding preparations... And the adventures did not stop since I came here. On my second week in California, John's car was burglarized, his wallet was taken, my identity was stolen, his second wallet got lost that we had to call a friend to pay for our meal, my Ma's visa application was denied- twice and I'm sure there will be plenty more to come....
It hasn't been an easy journey, but we made it this far. Being favored and blessed doesn't mean the absence of problems or the abundance in material things. It's not the presence of people you love or the comfort of a place you once called home. IT IS knowing we have God and He's got our back and everything else covered. He who made possible for John and I to meet and to be together will also be the One who will carry us through.