My lovely maid of honor was married for the first time this past weekend. I was Cate’s matron of honor humbly fulfilling the role she so generously provided for me nearly 22 years ago. And after praying and waiting for over 20 years, God’s hand brought Cate a wonderful man who adores Christ and cherishes her. I am still giddy as I look at some of the pics from my phone taken during the reception. Cate and I have, quite literally, beseeched God for this blessing untold numbers of times.

All of my children relate to Cate as an aunt. And, truth be told, she is more of an aunt than anyone related by blood. She skipped family gatherings to be present during their births. She made a priority of attending their birthdays when we lived close to one another, and now that we are separated by more miles than either of us wish, she remembers to call them. She is a beautiful example of godliness, and I simply could not ask for a better person to help teach my children how to love Jesus even when He appears to ignore your prayers.

Cate was the very first person I called with the news about Asher. I cried on the phone while I related to her the conversations Joseph and I had with our kiddos late the previous evening. She probably doesn’t even remember what she said to me. I don’t. But I do remember feeling heard and loved. And I remember her willingness to drop everything and fly to visit during the beginning of this nightmare. She loved on my kiddos and helped them feel normal in the midst of therapies and court appearances.

Since Cate was single, it was easier for her to visit us when we moved apart. This past summer, Cate made plans to join us for her usual week but before tickets were purchased it was obvious that her relationship with Charles was getting serious. We invited her to bring him along and soon everyone was smitten with her beau. 

Well, everyone except Asher… because Asher is still not home.

During that summer trip, we all thought our son would leave JCF well before a wedding. And when Cate and Charles became engaged, we still thought there was a reasonable chance of Asher attending since the wedding was tentatively set for mid-December. But as the days turned into weeks, and the truth of Asher’s hardness towards us became more and more apparent, the possibility of him missing an event he has wanted for his entire life shifted to an absolute.

Asher was absent for Cate’s big day.

Life keeps moving forward even when you are locked up in a world of cynicism and resentment. Asher missed seeing Cate walk down the aisle looking radiant. He missed her first kiss as a married woman. He didn’t get to dance or eat cake or laugh at his younger sister catching the bride’s bouquet. He won’t have any memories of the hours upon hours of driving we did to get all of us to southern CA and back home. He missed the beach and amazing Mexican food and warm weather when our own state is buried in snow.

Instead, he sat in JCF’s gymnasium and had a Christmas program where all the boys received new sweatshirts and got to drink a soda as a special treat.

I wonder, at times like these, how Asher will come to accept all the things he missed as a result of his bitterness. And I hope I can learn a valuable lesson from the insight!