August 12th, 2018 started out as a beautiful day. My best friend was getting married and I got to stand beside her as she said, “I do” to her person. That day, I thought the biggest concern of mine was the speech I was going to have to give at the ceremony. The wedding ended up being beautiful; full of laughter and happy tears. I gave my speech and my stress for the day was gone. After saying goodbye to the bride and groom, Michael and I got on the road and headed towards the Windsor/Detroit border where we were going to spend the night at his parents house in Michigan before finishing our drive to Nashville the following day.
We arrived at the border around 9pm. I had all my papers ready to go and we were eager to just get across and get home to bed. The border agent looked at my passport and the papers I brought, but told us that we would have to go inside and answer a few additional questions from customs before continuing our trip. Butterflies immediately started in my stomach, but Michael was calm so I took a few deep breaths and we headed inside. I explained my situation to the agent inside: I have some immigration papers being processed, my work visa just expired but I’m still within the grace period, we just got married at the beginning of the year, and I have a job to get back to on Tuesday. The agent took all that information and went back to his computer to do some verifying. We sat for a few hours feeling good about everything and confident that we would be on our way soon. The man called us back up to the desk and said, “You don’t have status in the U.S. and since you left while your paperwork was processing, we cannot let you back into the States.” — my heart stopped.
In the span of a couple hours, mine and Michael’s lives were suddenly turned upside down. I broke down into tears as the man told us that I wouldn’t be able to return to the States until all my papers were processed, and that if I were to show up at the border without those papers, I would be barred from the U.S. indefinitely. We found a hotel room for the night and called our parents to let them know what had just happened. Thankfully, my mom had attended the same wedding and was still in Canada, and Michael’s parents were only a couple hours away over the border. They were soon all making plans to come and meet us in Windsor in the morning.
The following day was a complete blur. We met with a lawyer and the bad news kept coming. We were told that the new process we were going to have to start could take a minimum of 10 months to complete. As you can imagine, we were in shock. Through tears we tried to make sense of what was happening and accept the situation as reality. Michael wouldn’t be able to stay in Canada with me. He has a job and we have a house and a dog that needs taking care of. And me, I couldn’t go home and was going to need to find somewhere to live.
Monday, August 13th was the worst day of my life. I went from having a life in Nashville, where I got to see my husband everyday, to being separated between two different countries. The reality of this situation doesn’t even seem real right now, and all I can think about is why me?
In Habakkuk 3:17-18 it says “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” I do not want to praise God’s name or give Him glory or be joyful. I want to scream and yell and cry. I am angry at God and I can’t understand why this is happening. I am struggling to see His hand in all of it. Having faith and trusting His timing and His plan in an almost unimaginable situation feels impossible. My prayers are full of questioning and pleading for Him to make this end and let me go home to Michael.
At this point I have no idea how long I’ll be away from home. I don’t know what the next steps are or when I’ll get to see my husband. What I do know is that I can’t get through this alone. Yes, it is hard to trust the Lord and no I don’t want to praise Him right now, but I do know that my God is a big God, and if anyone can pull a miracle out of this situation, it’s Him. At our house we have a sign, and on that sign is the phrase, “I will sing until the miracle comes.” No longer is that just a sweet saying that I picked out off of Pinterest; it is now something that I am going to have to live out each and everyday until I am back home.
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”