“7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12
God is Love. Mariel is God’s child. Mariel is love.
God sent Mariel here when she was 16 years old, a junior at St. Croix Lutheran High School. I met her first because I was working at that time as St. Croix’s international student coordinator. I caught – like a virus ☺ - her enthusiasm, her happiness (she was so grateful for that opportunity!), her open heart, and her faith in God. She found a reason to love everyone she met! Then the miracle of love happened to Mariel and our son, Andrew. We get to have Mariel in our FAMILY!
The cynicism and scorn of this world have not diminished Mariel’s love for her God, her husband, or her children – among whom she counts her nieces, nephews AND the lovely kids for whom she was a daytime “mommy”! They have also not diminished the truth of her innocence of any harm or wrong-doing.
As her American mom, I have had the privilege walking beside her through life’s journey since 2000. Her gentleness, sincerity, and faith in God’s promises have never wavered. Her gentle, unconditional love for all children is an amazing example to all parents and caregivers.
And so the journey continues. We ride a tandem bicycle with God on the front. When we feel the vehicle turn, or lurch, or stop, we lean forward and say, “What’s happening?” God simply leans back, smiles His love, and says, “just keep pedaling. I’ve got this.”
Everyone’s sincere outpouring of love over the last year is God’s way of helping us pedal. Mariel’s innocence will be proclaimed! We are being held.