As I prepare to turn in final projects for my first semester of grad school, I’m happily giving up control over WTH for the day and handing it over to a lovely lady, Emelda, from Live in Color. I found Emelda’s story to be fascinating and her writing style exquisite—I know you will, too.
“Let go of your old narratives when they no longer serve you. Life changes constantly, and your story will, too.”
- Tammy Strobel (Author/Blogger/Photographer)
Over a year ago, within two months, both of our cars were totaled.
Before my husband and I could sigh, we learned about our baby. My emotions vacillated from surprise and joy to the kind of wrenching terror novel responsibility bears. How would I bring forth a life as I still searched for myself?
Months passed; halfway through the pregnancy, one of our doctors solemnly cautioned something may be wrong with our daughter’s heart. Racing anxiety quickly yielded to determination and prayer. We stood in the hospital parking lot on a tepid spring day, my husband, mother and I, heads bowed. We remained calm. A few days later the test results were negative.
After a nearly three-day delivery in August, Naima entered the world at 11:11 a.m., healthy and whole. Only seconds earlier, she maneuvered to break free of the umbilical cord which locked itself around her neck twice; the first cries were an audible reminder that life, in all of its complexities, is a continuous marvel.
As I look into those eyes, pressing against the softness of her skin, my heart is imbued with unending joy. She is here, because we refused to give up on her, on the power of faith. For me faith is not the absence of doubt—it’s having the courage to wrestle with it, facing our vulnerabilities, one day, one moment at a time. As Iyanla Vanzant, teacher and author often remarks, “we must do our work.”
This inner work is constant and consistent. I believe God pushes us with each new challenge to trust more fully. Certainly, there are days when it all feels impractical to me, as if I am swimming against a current.
This autumn, while leaves fell, so did my tears as I came to grips with a stark realization—a close family member now deals with a lifelong illness. There would be no retreat, only our resolve to cope.
It is during quiet times of reflection, as the bustle of life subsides momentarily, that I am reminded faith, ironically, is perhaps with us most strongly in chaos, when it’s easier to lose ourselves in despair and panic. We only have to remain willing to see promise and possibilities, not obstacles.
Emelda De Coteau works for an arts non-profit in Baltimore. She juggles blogging and graduate studies at Notre Dame of Maryland University with blissful family life. She loves cuddle time with her hubby Keston, daughter Naima and their beagle, Ms. Foxy. She is the founder of Live In Color blog, which features posts on inspiration, style and culture, and chats with inspirational people in a variety of fields such as independent GRAMMY-nominated artist Carolyn Malachi and Baltimore-based filmmaker Bashi Rose. Her writing has also appeared in The Baltimore Times, Beautifully Said magazine, and Bmorenews.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.