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Trade Paperback
192 pages
Nov 2004
Barbour Publishing

Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms

by Dena Dyer

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What Real Love Looks Like

Now I know what love is. Virgil


My firstborn made my day—no, my decade—recently when we were licking ice cream cones at Sonic with his dad, Carey. (Every so often, we visit the king of drive-in milkshakes and burgers, in our pajamas. It's a quirky family tradition.) Nonchalantly, I asked five year-old Jordan whom he would marry if he could choose right now. Carey rolled his eyes, because he doesn't understand the motherly need for affirmation—yea, even worship--from the fruit of our labor.

Without hesitation, Jordan said, "You."

I melted faster than a soft-serve cone in the Texas heat.

I know Jordan's hero-worship of me won't last forever. In fact, I knew it on the day we brought him home from the hospital. In a fit of hormonal fluctuation, I lay on the couch with my firstborn on my tummy, crying.

"What's wrong?" asked Carey.

"He's going to grow up and leave me for another woman," I sobbed. Again, Carey rolled his eyes.   

But you, dear readers, understand.

You understand that never in our lives B.K. (before kids) had we experienced such passionate, fervent love for someone. And in the B.K. years, we simply couldn't imagine that their unconditional acceptance would transform us even more than the changes wrought by romantic love.

To tell the truth, I was a very late bloomer in the love game.

In first grade, my friends and I played catch-'em-kiss-'em in the playground, and the girls won. I kissed a boy named Robbie, and he said "Yuck."

In eighth grade, a dark-headed Italian freshman I met at summer church camp held my hand after a bus ride. I wrote--he never wrote back.

In college, a guy whose name I can't remember asked me out to a freshman dance and then wanted to marry me. It was my turn to say “yuck.”

The next guy I dated dumped me for another girl when I went home for the weekend. And the only serious boyfriend I ever had told me after two years together that he was considering an “alternative lifestyle.”

It wasn't until after college that I met Carey, my soulmate. Many of my friends were already married when we said "I do." But I wouldn't trade the wait for anything.

Through many ups and downs, God taught me to stop running after false love and from His real love. I learned to bask in the light of God's Son until I felt loved enough to not care whether a human being thought I was good-looking, talented, or smart. I learned (from wise teachers, godly counselors, and hard life experience) to wait for the best instead of settling for average.

Frederick Buechner once wrote, "Life itself is grace." I believe that love itself is grace, too--the kind of love that says hello with slobbery kisses and gifts of crumpled wildflowers, that asks for one more story---"Tree Pigs, 'gin, Mama"--and hides Cheerios in the sofa when you aren't looking.

This kind of love holds the wastebasket under my head all night on Valentine's Day after I've had some bad pasta. This kind of loves perseveres even in the face of competition from our kids, careers, and culture.

And this kind of love celebrates—with minimal eye-rolling--small miracles, like pajama-clad declarations of devotion, offered with a pure heart and sticky hands.


Notes from the Coach:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." I Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned." Song of Songs 8:6-7, NIV