Not Enough Suitcases

Today’s guest post is from my friend and fellow blogger, Julie Sibert, who blogs regularly about marriage and intimacy on her site at

A friend and I recently went on a long hot walk around a lake, meandering about the ups and downs and in-betweens in our respective lives.

Not surprisingly, we emotionally arrived at what we already knew. Marriage is hard and parenting is hard, at least some of the time. Life is hard, at least some of the time. Relationships are complicated, except when they aren’t. But often they are complicated.

We spend a lifetime reconciling joy, love, friendship, heartache, tragedy, frustration, confusion and disappointment. We unpack it and repack it; rearrange it and set some of it aside—only to circle back around and question if we picked a suitcase big enough.

My suitcase never seems to be big enough. Just when I think I have found my footing and figured out how to revel in joy and face heartache, something new saunters on to the scene, catches me off guard and compels me to feel even deeper.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for that.

As you look back over your life, do you see all the moments where the Lord was calling you to feel even deeper? 

When I was in college, a friend of mine was facing an unplanned pregnancy. I was with her when she gave birth (on her 20th birthday, nonetheless) and held her during the heartachein the days and months after she gave her daughter up for adoption. We were a couple of 20-somethings without a lot of adulting on our watch. But there we were—feeling deeply, experiencing joy and loss and the tender beginnings of anenduring friendship.

Years later, that same friend would stand in a cemetery as her husband was laid to rest after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 36. My friend was 35 and had four young children.

So much adulting. So few suitcases.

Another one of my friends has a daughter who has struggled on and off with drugs and mental illness. Another friend lost her 20-year-old son in a car accident. Countless other loved ones have shouldered illnesses, accidents, and so many unfathomable losses. I have waded through my own waves of mess and misery; found myself on the floor, completely spent.

2020 about did me in, as I cared for my elderly mother-in-law and simultaneously tried to help my brother as he spiraled into depression, addiction and homelessness. He died December 13, 2020. My mother-in-law died January 14, 2021.

More suitcases. More packing and unpacking.

As you look back over your life, do you see all the moments where the Lord was calling you to feel even deeper?

Of course, the suitcases don’t just hold the heartache, but also all the good moments. We do a lot of adulting in that space, too. The sound of someone’s sweet voice, a hug from someone who means it, birthday celebrations, Saturday morning pancakes, an unexpected encouraging text, conversations over coffee, and unforgettable road trips. What can possibly be said about the encounters that seem ordinary but are anything but ordinary?

So many people and moments have wrecked my heart in the very best way.

For those of us who are married, we do so much of this living while navigating life with our spouse. Marriage for me (and probably just about everyone) has been a mix of blessing, bewilderment and burden. I have experienced indescribablecomfort, passion and friendship with this man.

But we also have disappointed each other. We have at times let each other down. We have misunderstood each other. And forgiven each other. And remembered our covenant. Fell in love and out of love and back in love.

So much adulting. So many suitcases.

I don’t know what anguish and agony you might be facing now—or what joy and peace and gratitude may be spilling out of your heart. But as you look at your life, do you see all the moments where the Lord is calling you to feel even deeper?

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for that.

Julie Sibert is an author, speaker, blogger and advocate for healthy sexual intimacy in marriage. You can find her at her website When she’s not writing and speaking on sex in marriage, she’s enjoying her husband and sons, deep conversation, a wide array of music and a ridiculous number of books.

About Debi Walter

Tom and Debi have been sharing encouragements through their blogs for many years. Marriage, Reading God's Word and documenting family history is our focus. Growing in our relationship with the Lord is primary in all we say, write or do. We are grateful for all who desire to join us in the same endeavors.
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