Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Lacorina...She's Gone. Grief, Gratefulness and God.

Almost no friend of mine is exempt from the nicknames that I give. I called Carolina, my Lacorina. 

When I was 17, I started going to a church without my family. This was hard because all my life I had gone to church with my whole family. I went to that church for 8 years. Not having family there was tough sometimes, especially since the church was Hispanic and therefore very family oriented. Many times, I felt lonely. I quickly learned that the youth group would be the main place for community, growth and support. About a year later of attending that church, I became a youth leader and my time in ministry began. I learned so much in those days, especially from our youth pastor, Jose. He led by example. From him, I learned in ministry to love those you serve, be respectful to authority, put others above you, seek to do all things biblically and go about things wisely. Youth group and the youth leadership team were a place I felt like I could be myself; and because of that, I was able to grow so much in my faith. Jose was someone I looked up to and was supported by. 

A few years later, Jose met a lovely woman named Carolina and they got married. They were truly a match made in heaven. I had never met someone so mature, wise and relational like Carolina. I admired her life. She served Jesus faithfully in ministry in El Salvador and mission in Africa. She waited long to be married to the right man. Once married, her and Jose waited for God to knit a baby in her womb...and He did! When Carolina came in the picture, I felt I had even more support because she was a woman and she was able to speak to my life in the areas that Jose couldn't. Carolina and Jose constantly showered me with love. I used to tell them frequently that I felt they were my spiritual parents; they were my family at church. 

Carolina has truly been the most amazing person I've met. It was hard for me to trust and open up to people, but I learned that she was someone I could go to for help. She got me through really difficult times in my life...especially through heartbreaks. The words that poured out of her mouth were always wise, honest and filled with love. She always made me feel cared for as she always checked up on how I was doing and gave me gifts all the time, for no particular reason. She was so giving. She always said "I was thinking of you, so I got you this". She would text me and say "we love you and are praying for you". Her love for me didn't stop even when I moved to another city for school. The past 2 years that I've been in Toronto, I've continued to feel her support and love. Just about every time I came home to visit, I would visit Jose and Carolina. I would spend Christmas and sometimes New Years with them. We would share meals together and occasional day trips. Not only were they so inviting with me, but also with many others. They have treated me like their family and for that I'm so grateful.

Because of Carolina's impact in my life, I am able to be a woman who enjoys my singleness. I am able to learn how to wait on the Lord faithfully, clinging to His promises. I am able to strive to be a wise woman in ministry. I able to seek to be a mentor, the way that she invested in me.  

I only knew Carolina for 7 short years. Her life ended today. I truly thought she would be a part of my life forever. Carolina- my Lacorina- has died suddenly and left a husband and a 3 month baby. I feel incredibly distraught. I feel hurt that she is not on this earth any longer. 

Since she was a believer in Jesus (as her only God and saviour), I know she is in Jesus' presence now. I know that I will see her again. Nevertheless, the pain of her death and absence is here. I don't know if I will ever again meet someone like my Lacorina. She meant so much to me because I've had very very few people invest in my life the way she and Jose have done...and now, she's gone. 

My heart hurts-literally- from the pain I feel from her death. Don't tell me to stop sobbing. I will cry because I have lost a dear one. Don't tell me to be strong. I will be weak while I grieve. Don't tell me to be happy because she's in heaven. I know she is with Jesus- but let me mourn for her because she isn't with us anymore. 

We must learn how to grieve and mourn. God allows us to do so and not to suppress our emotions. Even Jesus, knowing he would raise Lazarus from the dead- cried because his friend was gone (John 11). So, let me follow Jesus' example and let me cry for my dear friend, sister and mentor. 

Weeping lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). 

Thank you Jesus for letting Carolina- my Lacorina- to come into my life and the lives of so many. We are in pain because we will miss her so much. We groan because we ache for her husband and baby. But we are comforted by you God. Bad things happen on earth, but you remain good! Thank you because we can depend on you and the comfort of your word. We know we will see her again. We know that she is in your presence now; joyful and without pain. I'm a little jealous of her because she gets to meet you sooner than us. But I thank you for letting us borrow her for a little bit of time... for that little bit of time did a lot of impact to a lot of people. Thank you Jesus for living through her. Thank you Jesus because she has left a legacy...let us carry it on, just as she did, till the day we die. Amen.  

At Caro's wedding

Spending Christmas with them in 2011.

A big part of our work in ministry was planning youth retreats. This was the last one we planned together in 2011. 

At my 25th Birthday

Visiting Carolina and Jose's newborn baby for the first time.

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