From January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022…
Adjunct instructor to content creator.
Honey & Hazel to Honey & Maple (and Natasha).
Mississippi to Tennessee.
Girlfriend to wife.
My life is so vastly different at the start of this year than it was at the start of the last that I wanted to record the main events and remember God’s faithfulness through all the changes.
I hope you enjoy reading about His kindness to me in 2021!
#1: The Month I Got a New Dog
I should’ve known this year would be special when on its very first day I found a new puppy (more accurately, she found ME).
We called her “Ginger” for a couple of days and then decided “Hazel” suited her better because of her eyes and coloring. Come to find out, it means “God sees,” which came in incredibly handy later on.
PS: In December of 2019, Mohammed gave me my first dog, Honey. On January 2, 2020, we broke up. Getting to train a new puppy together at the start of 2021 was a huge way I saw God’s kindness.
#2: The Month of Mohammed’s Golden Birthday
In February 2018, I made Mohammed a birthday cake because he was my neighbor, and in 2021, I made it because he was my boyfriend.
This was another thing that was so kind of God — since we didn’t get the chance to celebrate his birthday together the year before!
#3: The Month We Had Lots of Campus Dates
Every Wednesday, Mohammed cooked me restaurant-grade food. And we usually took a stroll around campus to walk the meal off…well, mostly to see the beautiful flowers.
Hanging out on campus was another thing we’d looked forward to but hadn’t gotten the chance to do — another example of God’s kindness!
#4: The Month We Celebrated Our First Easter
April is a hard month for me because it’s the month my grandmother passed away, and a lot of times, that’s when Easter, a time of rejoicing, falls. This April, I practiced holding joy and sorrow at the same time: joy because of Jesus’s resurrection & His promise to return, along with remembering my grandmother’s place in eternity, and celebrating a holiday with Mohammed (who at this point was still my boyfriend!), and sorrow because, frankly, I miss my grandmother a lot.
#5: The Month Mohammed “Graduated”
May is another hard month because that’s when my grandmother’s birthday is. Again, I got to celebrate Mohammed’s graduation — plot twist: his rock samples he was writing his thesis on were supposed to arrive in May-June were delayed in the lab until October so um hence the quotes around graduation — while wishing my grandmother were here.
During the graduation ceremony, I saw so many of the international students I’d taught walk across the stage, and gosh was I proud. Soooo many engineers and business majors. I was reminded again of the immense privilege it was to teach people with different skillsets than me. Being at their graduation was a gift because of that and because it helped bring closure to the end of the job I’d had for six years. Again, God’s kindness 🙂
#6: The Month The Man of My Dreams Asked Me to Marry Him
Ok I know that heading is sappy but I just had to say it! There was a time that I loved Mohammed but wasn’t sure if we’d end up together; that made this event all the more meaningful and made me all the more grateful. God’s kindness 🙂
We also got to see Annie Downs the day after we got engaged!
Mohammed is starting to blink, I think, because poppers and sparklers went off in the back, but our wedding photographer would probably tell you it’s because of who he is as a person. HA!
#7: The Month We Took Round One of Engagement Pics
The camera loved Mr. Youtube, while I had to be reminded to “stop cringing” because it was ruining our pictures! As you can see, our photographer worked wonders.
When we posted our engagement on social media, people came out of the woodworks to congratulate me; strangers we ran into who overheard us saying we’d recently gotten engaged wished us well — these words of encouragement sometimes made me cry; they meant more than the people who offered them knew. More than that, they reminded me of God’s kindness.
#8: The Month We Planned the Wedding
My mom, sisters, and wedding coordinator/good friend were all hands on deck for the planning, but here’s mom using her FEET to see how far it was from the boathouse to the gazebo. I would say she always knew what to do or say to make me laugh, but she usually did it without trying!
Laughter being good medicine = God’s kindness.
#9: The Month with a Mild Concussion
That’s right. Two weeks before our wedding, I had a freak accident and was mildly concussed. Looking at screens and thinking about even the simplest things were incredibly difficult tasks.
Being bruised on my face before the most photographed day of my life was upsetting, but God in His mercy (and kindness), healed that before the wedding rolled around. Good thing I had a shoulder to lean on through the frustrations this brought 🙂
#10: The Month We Got Married
I could’ve also titled this section “The Month with the Most Trauma,” but that’s not how I want to remember it. Our wedding day was so good, and we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating our union with each other, our family, and our friends.
Rain was forecasted that day, and alternative plans for our outdoor wedding were the main topic of conversation at the beginning of the week, but honestly I wasn’t worried about that. The most important thing that day was to glorify God and thank Him for what He had done. I hated the thought of our guests getting wet, but my solution honestly was to get a bigger tent for the reception and hope they brought umbrellas for the ceremony!
It did rain that day–only before the ceremony, not during or after, which was a huge blessing. But the bigger blessing was the incredible rainbow that appeared right above our reception.
In all the talk about the rain, we hadn’t once considered that it would bring anything positive. Yet of all the things we planned, all the money we spent, all the details we delegated, the rainbow took the cake. Unplanned, free, intricately detailed, a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness (check out Genesis 9).
And if you look closely, you’ll see that this isn’t just any rainbow. It’s a twinned rainbow, which occurs when two rainbows are on the same arch. In other words, when two rainbows become one. Wow. God’s incredible, undeniable kindness.
#11: The Month Things Started Calming Down
As I hinted before, October was really hard. We had a car accident with a drunk driver driving without headlights on the interstate, and I witnessed one of our dogs attacking the other.
Miraculously, no one was seriously injured in the car wreck or the dog fight. Again, God’s incredible, undeniable kindness.
These traumatic events on top of getting married and moving to a new state was a lot to handle. But at the beginning of November, my dear friend Kelly visited us from New York. And after that, things began to turn around. I still had a lot of physical therapy to go after the car accident, but having a friend come stay in my new home made it feel more normal, and it really helped me get my feet on the ground. Never underestimate the gift your presence may be to someone! (You guess it: God’s kindness!)
#12: The Month with the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
This month was another where I had to hold both joy and sadness. Mid-month we found a new owner for Hazel. While I was thankful to find such a perfect fit for her (we had looked for 2 months), it broke my heart to give her up. We did all we could to keep all three dogs, it simply wasn’t possible.
That’s why I’m so glad she became Hazel to us instead of Ginger back in January; it’s an easy reminder each time I think of her that God sees her. Again, His kindness.
Thank you for looking back at 2021 with me! Before you go, let me know a few ways you saw God’s kindness in your life this past year in the comments!
We pray that your 2022 is full of blessings! -Charlsie, Mohammed, Honey, and Maple (not pictured @natashathebarncat)