A Perfect Love

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  (1 John 4:18)

The U-Haul handled like a bus and I drove it with trepidation as I pulled into the dorm’s parking lot. It was a huge van, set on big wheels and terribly intimidating to me. But, I drove it. I had to – my need to do this for my children overrode my reservations, causing me to “drive” right through that fear. I’ve always told my children: Courage doesn’t mean you’re never afraid. It means doing what you have to do, despite being afraid. So, here I was, afraid, yet still doing it. There’s something about facing your fears that empowers you. It gives you strength to face down the next obstacle.

As we unloaded the van at my daughter’s dorm, one of my ‘besties’ came out to greet me. See, a funny thing happened on the way to college – not only was my daughter attending the same school as my son but she was also rooming with the niece of my good friend, through no design of our own. They were matched completely at random. My only misgiving was could they get along as roommates? But I could not be happier with God’s choice for a roommate (because this was surely God working and no coincidence) – my kids have known her since they were small and we all attended church together. She’s tall and beautiful, with legs that go on forever. (Sigh. I’d like to be her when I grow up.) She’s also incredibly sweet, carries herself well and is, I think, a good role model for my daughter.

It occurred to me that God had a two-fold reason for putting these girls together.  In doing so, it resulted in my friend being there for me. For all my illusion of strength and control, I could still potentially wind up a basket case when the time came to actually let them go. Just seeing my friend encouraged me. It let me know that I was not alone. Help was right here, just in case I needed it. That made me feel strong. Although she came to deliver her niece to the dorm, I felt like God had her come just for my sake.

I said goodbye to my friend and then unloaded my son’s things at his dorm. I wanted to make sure the kids had everything they needed, so my daughter and I took a trip to Wal-Mart to stock up on supplies. As we were standing in the grocery aisle, I noticed my daughter was suddenly quiet. I turned to see a face, peering around my shoulder and leaning between me and my daughter. I drew in a sharp breath as recognition dawned on me. I gasped three times – My FRIEND! It was my good buddy and co-worker from my call center days. We used to study our bibles together there. I hugged her to me. It was so good to see her again and doubly so on this day.

She’d sent me a message that her own daughter would also be attending the same college and added; maybe we’d see each other on move-in day. I thought it highly unlikely as they stayed in different dorms but here she was – another good friend, there for me on my big day. I knew God had done that. I knew he was taking care of me. My heart swelled with joy.

As we left the parking lot, my cell phone rang – my sister calling. She made some excuse to hide her true reason but I knew: she was concerned about me. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t lying somewhere in a puddle of my own tears, having a complete breakdown. She was worried that my legendary strength, in this, would fail me. She wanted to be there for me, if needed, even if only via phone. Of course, she denied it. But, I knew. I also realized it was her love and the love of my friends that gave me strength on this day. I felt like God had surrounded me with his love. Who could cry then? I felt migh-TY blessed.

We drove back to the dorm. As I prepared to take my leave, my daughter said, “Come back. Sit for a while. Have a bowl of cereal.” By this, I knew she wasn’t quite ready for me to go. So I delayed, helping put away her things and assembling her fan. Then I called my son over to her room and hugged them both, saying my goodbyes. I’m sure my nose turned red (it always does, I’m told) as I fought to not cry. I clasped their hands and prayed for them, speaking the same benediction over them which has evolved in the years since they first left for kindergarten: “Heavenly Father, In Jesus’ name, watch over my children and keep them safe from all hurt, harm and danger …” I choked up from the memories of it. My son gave his sister a look that clearly said, “Here she goes!” He expected this to be the BIG breakdown. Mama’s gonna lose it. But I didn’t. I kept it together and walked out of the dorm. I soon realized my daughter was beside me.

“What are you doing?” I say.

“Walking you to your car,” she said. Left unsaid was, “Making sure you’re OK.”

Her concern was my undoing. My vision clouded and tears finally began to fall as she hugged me to her. This time, my tears were only for her. I was letting my baby go.

“That’s it, forget it!” She joked. “Let’s go back and get my things and I’ll go home with you.”

“Not after all the money I’ve spent!” I said. “You’d better stay.” Besides, I didn’t want her to become like me, a bucket of fears walking around on two legs.

“Don’t worry – we’ll take good care of your baby!” Another voice said.

I turned to see a man in a suit walking by. I had faith in his suit; it comforted me. I hoped it meant he spoke with some authority and that I could trust him. In any case, I was holding him to his word. As I looked into my daughter’s happy face, the face of a young woman now, the final piece fell into place and a light came on. I realized I could trust God to take care of her. He loves her, too. He would be with her. He put a lot of people in place to guide her and keep her safe. He is invested in her. With that thought, the last of my fears evaporated.

“Perfect love casts out fear,” I quoted to my friend and counselor one day. She responded, “There’s no such thing as perfect love.” But I thought to myself then, thinking of my relationship with God, “Yeah, there is.” God’s love is perfect. His love on this day, manifested through the kindness of others, eased my fear.

As I drove home, I shed no tears. I was jubilant.  I was triumphant. I felt safe in the knowledge that God loved me. I felt secure that my daughter would be taken care of. I knew that I would be taken care of.  I had no worries.  I drove to the library to get a book. I got out of the car thinking, “Oh, I have to hurry home because of the kids…” No, I reminded myself, I don’t. Then, I went to the grocery store, thinking of all the things I would need to get for the kids … No, I didn’t. So, I pushed my cart, thinking of all the things I would get just for me. And I grinned. I was truly single, again.

Be blessed,


2 Replies to “A Perfect Love”

  1. I really had to laugh loria especially at the realization that you can finally save some money by not having to feed the kids, lol!!

  2. I know, right? It’s quite an adjustment. I hardly know what to do with myself now that they’re gone. I must say, I’m thankful for my daughter right now – she calls to check on me everyday. I’ve tricked myself into believing that this is just like when they went away to summer camp. So they’ll be back soon. That’s what I tell myself…

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