New Year, Same God by Shawnee Soto

My entire life has changed in the past two months.

On Thanksgiving, my fiance, Matt, and I both tested positive for Covid. I couldn’t smell or taste and all I could do was sleep. I wasn’t able to eat much because nothing tasted good and I kept having bouts of nausea. My fiance had the same symptoms plus an ugly cough that kept him up during the night. 

Covid is almost more of an emotional battle than it is physical. Fear crept in. Matt and I were getting married in two weeks. What if we had to reschedule everything? What if something worse happened to one of us? The Holy Spirit comforted me when truth and peace felt far away.

We finally were both able to visit a doctor after the Thanksgiving holiday to give us some help and also received infusions to speed up the healing. 

The following Wednesday was Matt’s birthday. We knew we would have to postpone his celebration until we felt better and could go out into public again, but I was still excited to get to cherish him and celebrate him with loving words on that day.

That evening, my father passed away suddenly.

I felt broken physically and emotionally.

I still do to some extent. Do we ever heal from trauma, or do we grow new roots in truth to support the change?

My siblings started coming into town the next day, but I was still under quarantine for the next three days and had to wait until Saturday to see them or my mom. I just wanted to grieve with them. I just wanted to give my mom a hug.

The following week, my emotions were all over the place.

Dad’s service was on Wednesday, our wedding rehearsal and dinner was on Thursday, then we got married on Friday.

Matt and I didn’t want to reschedule the wedding. We wanted to be united in marriage in celebration of our love for each other and God’s favor on us.

On Thursday night, I numbed out from the grief to focus on marrying the love of my life.

My mom walked me down the aisle and my emotions caught up to me some when she “gave my hand” to Matt. I cried in grief at missing him there in that moment and in adoration of being loved by my mother. She is such a rock in my life. It was a beautiful moment having her blessing giving me away to Matt.

 Dad’s cowboy hat that he would have worn to the wedding rested on his chair next to my mom.

At the reception, Matt had his mother/son dance then called me over to the dance floor. My brother’s and mom had planned a surprise for me and it is a memory I will never forget.

All of my brothers took turns dancing with me in place of my father/daughter dance while “My Little Girl,” by Tim McGraw played over the speakers. Matt admitted later that he was afraid I would be mad at surprising me at our wedding, but it is a moment I will always cherish.

The entire wedding day was perfect, filled with love and celebration with my family and best of friends. We left town for the next five days and we were blissfully happy celebrating our marriage.

Returning to town was hard though because the reality of my grief resurfaced. 

Matt was amazing through it all, reminding me of what is true and reminding me that it was okay to fully allow myself to feel what I was feeling. It is something that I never realized I had done before losing my dad, suppressing my emotions because they didn’t feel convenient. 

I’m getting better at it and being honest with myself when I feel that I’m suppressing my feelings at the moment. It’s still a work in progress.

There is so much more detail to the story, but I’m thankful for the love and support I have received from this Prize31 community during it all. Thank you.

Photo by Susanna Dee Photography

No matter if it’s an hour when I’m feeling loved by my husband or sadness at the loss of my dad, I keep reminding myself to thank God for being present and unchanging.

I do have to remind myself sometimes to thank him when my emotions are high and low in the same day, but he is faithful, no matter the circumstances.

In this new year, no matter the highs and the lows, let us all remember to give God thanks which is his good and perfect will for all of us.

“…give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Although my life has changed and a new year has already started, God is the same gracious and faithful God I praised before and is the same God I will continue to praise.

Let us continue to set our roots in Christ so that when we feel broken and unable to hold ourselves up, we will remain strong in him.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Nancy Perez

    Wow what strength you have because even in your midst of difficulties you still stayed faithful in God and prayed over me and my family! You are a blessing and sorry for your losd

  2. Meagan Goyne

    Shawnee you are admirable! Your continued strength and faithfulness for Gods plan is incredible. We love you!!

  3. Diane Qubty

    God bless your heart, sweet lady. I can’t imagine. Thank you for sharing your journey 🙏💔

  4. Ashley Elle

    Thank you for sharing your story Shawnee. You are amazing and I was very blessed in reading your life this last few months. I have been through some lows lately and your story shows me how I need to celebrate Gods blessings during those low times. You are a blessing to me and our Trinity community.

  5. Denise Dietz

    I feel lost for words. You’re living the unimaginable, gracefully sustained moment-by-moment. It’s not that you are strong, but He’s enough!!! The proof of our faith is worth much more than gold. Every time I see you taking another step it’s proof the greater One is alive inside you. There’s no other way to possibly overcome the magnitude of what you’re experiencing. I believe more than ever…happy and sad go together. Because through it all His beauty comes through. ♥️ Friend. With you.

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