Nails. Makeup. Dress. Shoes.

“Go tell Dad I’m ready!” I hear an excited voice shout from inside her room.

My husband and I take our seats on the couch and wait for our daughter to come out to the landing and down the stairs in her high school homecoming dance attire.

There are moments when you realize time has taken leaps without your permission: when you look at someone that you see every day like you have just seen them for the first time.

As my daughter walked down each step, radiating with joy, I couldn’t help but place that same smile — yes, that same exact smile — upon a toddler who used to love to play dress up with poufy gowns while watching Disney princess movies. I took my eyes off her to look at my husband watching her. He was speechless; time had both taken his breath and his little girl.

God, do our children have any idea how much we love them? We tell them and show them daily, but do they really understand? We have seen them throw tantrums and heard their tears. We held them tight when they were hurting and let them go to watch them be hurt despite our best efforts to protect them. We have tickled, laughed and danced through ages and stages. We have swayed to lullabies and sang at the top of our lungs to songs that they know word-for-word on their playlist.

Can our children truly comprehend the pleasure of loving them? Can they grasp that we hurt when they hurt? That we rejoice when they rejoice? That we let go but we never stop being homebase; we never stop being Mom and Dad.

I remember sitting beside a friend of mine as she was lying in her hospital bed. She told me she was ready. She almost sounded excited. I wasn’t ready to let her go, but I knew she was loved by someone who loved her even more than I did. After she passed, I kept thinking about her peaceful surrender to the One who loved her the most.

In each step of my life do I have any idea how much God loves me? I know He does, but do I bask in this love? Is my faith bold in this love? Am I fully capable of touching the depth of His tenderness towards me? He tells me and shows me daily, but do I really understand? He has seen me throw tantrums and heard my tears. He held me tight when I was hurting and let me go to watch me be hurt in my free will and in the free will of others. He has walked joyfully with me through ages and stages, and He has whispered to me His truths and shouted them with me. And He has always been my homebase. Always. Yes, God has never stopped being God.

Oh, sweet Jesus, thank you! Thank you for loving us even more than I love this young lady waiting excitedly behind her door saying, “Go tell Dad I’m ready!”

And, God, when you are ready for me, please know that I am ready for You. Until then, may I present myself in a way that is worthy of the calling I have received (Ephesians 4:1). May I live in peaceful surrender to Your Word and Your will. And may I accept time in both the breaths and the leaps, knowing the One who created the hands of time also has His mighty hand upon my family and me.

“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26). Amen.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. You can find her newly released books, “H.E.R.O. Faith” and “Bad Disciples” on Amazon. To submit feedback on SGLY, please contact news@amtrib. com.