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Love Even in the Midst of Suffering


At 4 years old my parents divorced. My mom, brother and I moved to Boise, Idaho and my dad to Japan. Divorce is tragic and so confusing. Deep seeds of envy, jealousy, fear and questions of self-worth tried to creep into my heart.


Years later, my dad caught the blond bombshell pictured below. She is not just beautiful on the outside but on the inside as well. Melissa was determined to not be the scary, mean stepmom written about in every children’s story. She was kind, loving and helped me to still feel a part of their family.


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

1 Cor 13:4-8


Soon after, a sweet, beautiful, big-smiled little gift arrived. During a trip, Melissa let me hold Caroline until my arms almost fell off. I loved that little baby.

At the same time, those seeds of envy, jealousy, fear and questions of self-worth grew stronger than ever.


But I knew. . . it wasn’t that little bundle’s fault. She was the gift in the midst of a hard situation. Though it was difficult for my very young heart, I loved that little baby like she was my own.


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”


A later trip, just after the birth of my little brother Wesley, 1-year-old Caroline woke me up with a block to the head, to show me her most prized possession. I knew we were meant to be buddies.


She showed me I can deeply love another person even in the midst of yuck. On summer trips to visit my dad, I spent hours by her side at daycare, playing games, exploring outside, eating root-beer floats and laughing together.


She grew up to be a brilliant, beautiful, strong and adventurous young woman.


My dear sister, Caroline, took her life on Wednesday.


I picture holding that little baby, I can hear her laugh and I see her smile. I am sad to know those will be the last memories I have with her.

My heart aches and the tears just keep coming.


I am deep in the trenches of the 5 stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Also known as the shoulda, coulda, wouldas.


One moment I am sad, so sad and the next I am angry, fire burning inside me angry. Why didn’t I. . . Why did I let insecurity stop me from . . . I could have. . . I should have. . . If I had known, I would have. . .


Grief reminds of the children’s story, “You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You have to go through it.”


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”


I feel like I failed her.


Though my heart wants desperately to go back, I can’t go back. I can only go forward. Not letting emotions like jealousy, fear or hurt keep me from loving others.


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.


Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”


We are created for relationship. We want and need to know we are loved, valued and treasured. We want to know in the deepest parts of our heart and soul we are worth it.



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