Shortly after moving to the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) and joining my church home, I began asking God to “show me, me.” Insert Chris: a sarcastic ass with a sensitive heart. A visionary who struggles with follow through by making the biggest obstacle of himself. Someone who has made family of his friends and loves those he’s deemed worthy, relentlessly. A person that is both lustful and passion driven, but also concerned with pleasing God. It’s amazing how easily I can identify these traits within him, because they are also the words I’d use to describe myself. Never mind that I didn’t notice our similarities until introducing Chris to my family and having my sister tell me matter of factly that, “He’s an asshole.” Let the record reflect this was said in comparison to me being one and as means of affirming why we fit together. 

As we embark on the next step in our relationship, I reflect on the scope of our experiences and can’t help but feel both humbled and blessed. To be frank, Chris and I aren’t walking into “marital bliss” unscathed. We have not always been faithful to each other. We’ve hurt each other deeply. We’ve made poor choices, regretted them, and still found ourselves demonstrating the same behaviors. We didn’t get it right the first, second, or third time. That’s not the way our story unfolded. When opportunities to start over and come clean presented themselves, we often dug deeper ditches. We had to have our trump cards pulled. Things had to blow up in our face and come full circle before healing made its way to the table. 

We contain a multitude of contradictions. We require infinite patience. However, we teach each other forgiveness and strive toward loving each other Biblically, daily. And that’s just it. In choosing Chris, I recognize the work that I have yet to do and am affirmed that it is not beyond me, because I am doing it beside someone conquering the same demons. I am steadily tasked with extending the mercy I so regularly require. And more than all of that, I have a partner in Christ. I have someone that reminds me to refill my spirit with the gospel. Someone that prays with me when we’re both at our wits end - with life or with each other. Someone who doesn’t claim to be superhuman, but makes it plainly obvious that they’re as human as it gets but committed to the work that God consciousness requires. Because it’s not enough to be a believer and not have your day to day be evidence of that knowing, of that belief. To operate in God consciousness is to steadily strive to live as your highest self in midst of all life’s temptations. And that’s what I’m marrying into. A promise to continue trying. To fall seven times and stand up eight.

It can be scary when I think about how much of a choice love is and how faith driven my choices are these days. I can literally point out a handful of relationships I entertained that did not serve my greater good or help grow me. Prior to our union, (as terrible as this sounds) I felt pretty put together. I wasn’t too aware of my shortcomings. If anything, I’d tell you I had a slick mouth and likely leave it at that... partially because I often chose to invest my energy in people who didn’t truly envision a future with me, so they didn’t care enough to help me mature ... partially because I didn’t want to do the work that self awareness requires. 

Truth be told, I avoided writing this for some time now - due to the fact that it’s taboo to air your own dirty laundry, and black culture teaches me that “what goes on in this house, stays in this house.” However, the people who have walked alongside us as we made our way to the altar made one thing abundantly clear to me: sharing your truth provides others with the space and will to do the exact same. More so, sharing the reality of ones experience is a tool, that when used properly, gives people the benefit of your lessons without the hardships those lessons required. And that’s one of the many ways I seek to glorify God. By making my grey skies someone else's white clouds. By not allowing shame to trick me into thinking I’m experiencing something that is disgraceful and to be greeted with silence or only discussed in secret. Both the good and the bad are to God’s glory. So, with that in mind...

My name is Brandi. I am not perfect - neither is my relationship. But we’re committed to growing each other, and our time together has allowed us to do exactly that. Our story isn’t the iconic “happily ever after,” but we’ve found happiness. To God be the glory. Truly.