A Love Like This


The words on the other end of the phone sent me reeling, like I’d been sucker punched:

“So your daughter will be 15 this December?”

Simple question.

Innocent enough.

And I had every intention of affirming it, in a normal human way. But instead some strange involuntary noise expelled itself from my lungs. It was sort of a groan mixed with a sigh blended with a stifled sob and a hint of a gurgle…delivered with the intensity of a dry heave. I imagine it sounded like I was being strangled.

I guess I’m not the first mom to respond that way, though, because the receptionist form the pediatrician’s office—the one who had posed the question—responded with a laugh and an “I know how you feel!”

I am glad she knows how I feel, because sometimes I don’t! All I know is that panic started to set in at the thought.

Do you even know how close 15 is to 18? I’m guessing you do! And I know you know how fast time goes!

People, I’m counting down the spring breaks and the summers I have left before my firstborn can fly this coop. And it doesn’t even take all the fingers on one hand anymore.

Part of me is freaking. out.

There’s still so much to do. So much to say. So much to experience.

So much to teach, to show, to walk through…with her.

Before she goes out into the world.

While she’s still my kiddo in my care.

And time is just slipping away.

Someone get me a brown bag!

~~inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale…repeat~~

I’m okay. Really. That was just part of me, having a moment. Those panicky moments pass. Most of the time, I retain my sanity. I promise.

Most of the time, as I watch her grow, I stand back and just breathe in each day I have with her. And with each breath, I am awash with awe and gratitude.

The baby girl who first made me a mother. The little one whose life so changed my own. The tiny four-and-a-half pounder who now stands tall enough to look me in the eye…she has grown into this lovely, healthy, generous, passionate, thoughtful, responsible, and deeply kind young lady. And I can hardly contain my joy when I think of her!

Seriously. you know that button-busting sense of pride people talk about? That’s what I’m talking about!

For 15 years, she’s been a gift to me. Her life has taught me so much and grown me in so many ways, most of which words are insufficient to describe.

Becoming a parent is life changing in and of itself. But when you become a parent under difficult circumstances, the experience can be world shaking. It certainly rattled my world.

Fifteen years ago this month, I sat in a doctor’s office, desperately trying to absorb what I had just been told.

My first child—the one still snuggled up inside my womb—had a life-threatening birth defect. Her future was uncertain. Nothing prepares you to hear that or to face it.

She was born, a little too early, almost exactly one month after her diagnosis. My memories of that day are vivid. In the NICU, staring with burning, blurry eyes at the newborn I couldn’t even hold, feeling her tiny hand wrap around my pinky, and feeling the crushing weight of a love that left me breathless.

A love that would have traded places with her in less than a heartbeat.

A love that agonized at her every pain and struggle.

A love that would, without hesitation, pay any price to rescue her.

Opening my heart to experience that kind of love is perhaps the greatest gift that she first gave to me.

Before my children, I knew God loved me. I knew His love sent Jesus to the cross. But the depth of that love was so abstract. I had thought I understood. But with the birth of my first child, I realized I had no idea.

Almost 15 years ago, God gave me this sick, helpless, vulnerable baby…and with her, my first real glimpse of His love. His perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, life-giving love.

That little glimpse began to transform my relationship with Him.

With every passing day and every fleeting year, being a mom has taught me more and more about my Heavenly Father. For that, I am again completely awash with awe and gratitude. And because of that, I can calm down.

I get through my panicky moments and allow His peace to settle over my heart. Because I know I can trust Him with her…as she grows and as she goes, slowly and quickly out of my care and into this world. I can rest knowing that He is her Heavenly Father too.

My love is nothing compared to His.

He, somehow, loves her better and bigger than I ever can.

So I breathe in and savor every moment He gives me with her. The time goes fast, but the impact of these days lasts forever.

Have you experienced that kind of love?

That love so deep and pure and complete. So perfect. Many have, especially when it comes to their children. But have you ever related that to how God loves you? Yes…you!

When you get even the tiniest peek into that love, it changes your life and it shakes your world…like nothing else ever can or will.

For myself, my family, and every DoAhead out there, I echo Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians:

“…I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”   (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

Your (Learning to Comprehend) DoAhead Friend,


About Dana Boyd

Dana is a lifelong lover of words with a passion for sharing stories of the heart—both her own and others. Her writings draw from her experiences as a woman, a writer, a wife, a mother of three, and a Bible-believing Jesus follower. She is a defender of truth, an avid proponent of common sense and a recovering (often relapsing) perfectionist still learning to lean in to grace. Her writing is an honest outpouring of her introverted heart, driven by a longing to inspire others to feel deeply, think critically and act compassionately. Dana shares her words as a monthly contributor at DoAhead Woman.

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