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Moving to a country half way around the world. First year living with my husband. Death of my father. Birth of my first child – all of these happened to me within the course of one year. A year ago today, I arrived in the US to begin a new life with my husband, Jody. One of the major changes I had to deal with was the weather. A lot of people here said that last winter was one of the worst – and yes it was kind of bad especially in terms of animal care, but I guess the fact that it was all new and somewhat exciting to me, and that I had no prior experience to compare it to, did not make it feel like the worst thing in the world. I will say the fall season was more challenging because my body was still getting used to the cold weather and my first trimester of pregnancy had just wreaked havoc to my hormones. Because of that, I wept many times for various reasons and sometimes, for no reason at all.
The spring finally brought hope at last to everyone including me – yet, on its onset, when the last ice had finally melted and our tulips were finally starting to pop out of the ground, my father died. I had often contemplated on how I would feel once that day came and now, I know how it feels. Yet for now, let me encapsulate in fewer words what I could in a novel – I cried my hardest the night I knew I was going to lose him. It’s a cliché to say he was a good father and it may be silly but sometimes, I wish he wasn’t, so there are no good or special memories to remember him by– yet that is not the case. My husband held me close during my sleepless nights – nights I was confronted with doubts, fear and confusion. There were times though, when it was hard to trust in God and easier to wallow in sadness and anger, thinking he was cruel enough to put so much on my plate. My family and friends had been telling me not to cry too much because of the baby – yet honestly this baby has heard all my wails and sobs.
Everyone says “the first year of marriage is always the hardest” and Jody and I agree to that. We’ve been through a lot, I will say. Again, I will capture in fewer words what could be said in a novel: marriage is inherently difficult (Gary Thomas) but I believe that there are certain characters and experiences that only a marriage could possibly develop and give – and that’s what makes it worth fighting for. I will speak for myself but mine has brought out the best and the worst in me. A few weeks ago, Jody and I had to change our routines and began playing one of the hardest roles in life: parenthood. Honestly, it’s like learning to ride a bicycle. We know a few theories but we simply have to do it, to be able to do it.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve had great times too, but I have only one thing to say, now that I have survived one cycle of shifting seasons, have stayed sane when Jody broke the news of my father’s death, that we could still laugh after a long, tiring day at work and could forgive and let go of each other’s faults and are now trying our best to help each other raise a good family: God is good. No, it has not been easy and I will not say I have everything figured out and have always been strong. God was and always will be. If there was someone who has heard and seen the most wretched side of me, it was God. I am glad He did not kill me during those times I expressed blame, anger and doubts at Him. He just won’t give up on me, that’s why I find myself just surrendering to Him at the end of the day. In my surrender, I find peace and pure joy. I also find God in my relationships, in circumstances that encourage me to take heart. I guess that is just life – it is a mix of joys and sorrows, that there is a time and season for everything and yes, it could all happen within the course of one year but one person once said, “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” His plans are always good. Always good. All glory and honor to Him.