Four Things You’ve Taught Me About Love, Olivia

Written by: Anne Peterson
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I’m thinking about you Olivia. Thinking about what you’ve taught me this past year.

You weren’t supposed to be here. The doctors told us you have Trisomy 18 and you would not live long if you made it through your birth.

We shed plenty of tears the day you were born. Happy tears and scared tears. All our feelings swirled around inside of us. Especially in this Grandma’s heart.

I’m learning about love from you, Olivia.

Love bears all things

The only way we can bear all things is to put them in bigger hands.

I know your Daddy has large hands, but God’s hands are bigger.

God is the one who formed you inside of Mommy. He made your eyes like Charlie’s, and he made all your little toes. God counted every hair on your head. Even the ones that go sideways.

He makes us strong so we can bear all things. Jesus told us in John 15:5:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing


When we forget how much we need him, God is happy to let us find out.

Love believes all things

The doctors said you might not get to stay with us. And we were very sad. But in the love letter God wrote a long time ago, in Luke 18:27, it says,

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

So when something looks like it isn’t going to happen, that’s when I like to pray.

Can I tell you a little secret? I think God loves impossible things. You wanna know why? Because when God does the impossible, we don’t wonder how it happened, we know.

Things looked bleak before you were born. I wanted God to do a miracle.

Did you know it doesn’t matter how much faith we have, but what we put that faith in? In Luke 17:6 Jesus talks about faith like a mustard seed.

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

Love hopes all things

Olivia, you’ve taught me that love hopes. We prayed and hoped things would go well. I didn’t care if it looked impossible, I didn’t care if it seemed hopeless. I kept remembering God loves working when things look impossible.

Did I know God would work? No. A hundred times no. But I hoped he would.

Grandma has prayed a lot in her life. Sometimes God answers my prayers, but sometimes his answer has been “No.” And that’s very difficult. But in those times, I try to look at who God is. I try to focus on him, instead of what I’m asking him for.

God knows things that I don’t know. God is infinite. That means he’s always been here. Grandma has not always been here. I know compared to you it may seem like it, but I haven’t.

We don’t think like God. He reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (ESV)

Sometimes even with hope it gets hard and we have to hang on.

Love endures all things

God helps us keep doing the hard things. That’s what it means to endure.

It’s like when mom and dad get tired because you like to be up at night. Even though you get to sleep whenever you’re tired, they can’t because of your brothers and sister.

So with little sleep, God helps them endure each day.

And when you’d have a seizure, they endured that. As well as when you’d needed oxygen. God helped them endure every difficult thing.

When you get bigger, we’re going to tell you all about God. Or maybe you already know about him. Sometimes when we look deep into your eyes and see the sparkle there, it makes us wonder.

I’m so glad God is teaching me about love through someone like you.

I love you, Olivia. More than you’ll ever know.


Editor’s Note: Olivia’s parents wrote a beautiful song and made a video about her. You can watch it here.


Our prayer for you: May the God of all comfort, comfort you in all your troubles.

What are your thoughts about the good nature of God and the reality of suffering? How do you reconcile both?

What are you struggling with at this time in your life? Ask God to broaden your understanding of his goodness and cover you with his comfort.