And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19

There is no medicine. There is no cure. She will probably not live to see her fifth birthday. I am sorry. The words kept coming. With each statement from the nation’s leading physician in mitochondrial medicine, another part of me died.

After our first-born daughter, Caroline, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I felt paralyzed with grief. All of the hopes and dreams for her life? Gone. The baby book with all the exciting “firsts”? Empty. The days were filled with bad news from doctors.  They were filled with insurance fights, therapy appointments, hospital stays, and paperwork. When there was time, the days were filled with tears.

And yet.

The days quickly filled with other things as well. Our mailbox and inbox filled with words of shared grief, words of hope, words of love. Meals were delivered. Childcare was offered and provided.  An entire community came together and raised money to fight for a cure.  Prayers—so many prayers—lifted up by friends and family, her doctors and nurses, and complete strangers. Another child joined our family full of energy, fun, and kindness. We were continually wrapped in love and support.

And Caroline? 

She made it to her fifth birthday. In fact, she has made it to her fifteenth birthday. While we don’t know what the future holds, we do know Who is holding her. At first glance, she is a nonverbal, tube- fed, hearing-impaired, wheelchair-bound child. Look closer and you will find more. Joy. Light. Strength. Laughter.  Patience.  Love. The hopes and dreams were erased and replaced with an achingly beautiful life that cannot be described in words.

Love is both a noun and a verb. Our family has been gifted the “best seat in the house” to bear witness to this truth. In our darkest hours, Love rushed in—surrounded us, lifted us, and empowered us to walk these days with a strength that is definitely not our own. Amazed. Overwhelmed. Grateful.

Thank you, God, for loving us so much!

Donna Pulliam

About the Contributor

Donna Pulliam is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.