She’s here!

She’s finally here!Image

The baby we’ve been waiting for all these months has arrived.  She’s beautiful and precious and perfect.  Lucy Grace has come to our family at last.

My last post, about a new kind of waiting, detailed the week before we met our Lucy Girl.  That was quite a week – busy, so many emotions, and not much sleep.  We went to Dallas on Friday and on Friday evening met our birth mom in person.  As soon as we walked in the door of the restaurant I spotted her.  I don’t think I stopped staring all night.  She is captivatingly beautiful, with such a sweet spirit.  She’s a delight.  Dinner went beautifully – so comfortable and natural.  We are beyond blessed to be matched with an amazing woman who truly loves our baby.

That night I really couldn’t sleep. Everything felt so official.  Next step : Meet our baby girl!  All night long I lay tossing and turning, sleeping for brief intervals, and thinking, imagining, dreaming of our girl.  What would she look like?  What would tomorrow be like?  What would her name be?  So many emotions, thoughts, and questions, and mostly, so much excitement.  Like Christmas Eve when you’re 7.  Times 900.

At some point in all the tossing and turning, what we needed to name our daughter became clear to me.  We had two name choices going into the weekend, and wanted to wait and see her face before we decided.  The choices were Ava Mae and Lucy Grace.  I had been leaning strongly toward Lucy, and during the night it was decided in my heart that Lucy would be her name (of course, I hoped Chris would agree with me!).  As I lay there thinking, the meaning of the names swirled round and round in my head.  Lucy means light.  A light in dark places.  Someone who shines brightly and boldly.  And then there’s Grace.  Grace which we did not deserve, in being blessed with a child when a child was impossible.  It was perfect.  In the morning I told Chris and he smiled – I knew he agreed – but he still said we had to wait to look at her to decide.

The drive to Gladney took 7 years.  Seriously, every time I am in DFW I am reminded of how much I love Amarillo “traffic”.  The drive really did take about an hour, and it felt like an eternity.  When we got there, we met with our transitional care mom, who had taken amazing care of our sweet girl and gave us all of her information and medical records, hand and foot prints, pictures of her first week, and a beautiful blanket she made.  Then we signed papers to make everything official (Eek!).  Finally it was time to meet our daughter.  Placement was a very emotional time for all of us – Chris and I, as well as our birth mom and her family.  In order to preserve our birth mom’s privacy and Lucy’s story as her own to tell, I am going to gloss over the details of this part.

We met our beautiful daughter and I cried and cried, saying, “She’s perfect”, over and over again.  Thinking back now, those are the exact words I spoke when I saw Claire for the first time.  I know for every adoptive mom it’s different – feeling close and bonded right away, or it being a process.  There is no right or wrong in this, just different ways of loving.  For me though, it was instant.  When I saw her, she was mine.  No questions, no doubts.  She was my girl.  Chris was smitten too, and of course Claire was so excited.


During Placement we decided on our little girl’s name.  Lucy Grace – a light into the darkness and a picture of God’s grace to us.  Also, in my research of the name Lucy, I learned that the first African American woman to win a major sports title was named Lucy Slowe.  Since we are a sports family and our birth mom is an athlete, this made the name seem even more perfect.

Being at Gladney and leaving with OUR DAUGHTER seemed surreal.  It was almost exactly a year ago that we first went to Gladney for our orientation.  Walking through the building last October our hearts were lit with excitement thinking of the baby that would someday be ours.  And now she really was.


We took Lucy back to Chris’ sister’s apartment and loved her up.  The whole drive home I just stared at her sweet face.  Some friends of ours who live in DFW came by to meet our girl and it was so nice sharing our excitement with Chris’ sister, Chelsea, and our friends.

We drove back to Amarillo that night, and can I just say that doing things with two children does not take twice as long.  It takes six times as long.  We stopped to pick up food at Burger King on the road and it took 45 minutes.  45 minutes, people.  We finally made it home and came in the house to a beautiful welcome from our dear friends.  I’m pretty sure we have the best friends on the planet.


The next day was spent admiring Lucy and showing her off.  Claire is absolutely in awe of her little sister.  I was so worried about how she would respond and she has blown us out of the water with her caring, nurturing spirit and willingness to help.  I am so thankful for her and her tender heart.


And sweet Lucy.  She is a joy and she is already a light.  She is an answer to so many prayers.  Not just ours, but a whole army who prayed for us along this journey.  And now she is home.


Waiting – Part 2

Waiting is hard to do.

Waiting on a reply to an important e-mail.  Waiting in line to use the restroom.  Waiting for Christmas morning (even though I’m 30).

Know what’s really hard to do?  Wait for a baby.  I’d venture to say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

To say that we had become impatient in waiting for our baby would be accurate.  To say that we had entered the begging/bargaining stage in our prayers wouldn’t be a stretch.

Last Monday evening at bedtime, Claire was close to tears saying she missed our baby and wondering when the little one would be coming along.  Chris suggested that we pray about it, and he asked God to give us dreams about our baby and speak to us as we slept.

The next morning – Tuesday – Claire reminded us of our bedtime conversation.  “Well, do you guys want to hear my dream?”  We were a little surprised that she remembered, and of course, curious.  “I had a dream that our baby is now.”  Chris and I exchanged a glance, silently asking, What does that mean?  We asked for more information and heard matter of factly, “Oh, and our baby is a girl.”  I felt a thrill run through me and a fresh burst of excitement fill my heart.  But Tuesday passed without a word.

Wednesday and Thursday came and went.  Thursday evening I posted something on facebook saying how very anxious we were feeling to get our baby.


Then on Saturday my phone rang.  I was doing my hair (after finally changing out of my pjs and showering at 4 pm), so I let it go to voicemail.  It was Melissa.  After all these months of waiting, all these moments awaiting this phone call, all the days checking my phone 10, 20, 30 times a day, THE CALL went to voicemail.  I quickly called back and Melissa filled us in.  A birth mom had chosen us and her baby had been born on TUESDAY .  Yes, on Tuesday.  The morning of the “Our Baby is Now” dream.

This was going to – most likely – be our baby.  A baby girl, weighing 5 lbs 15 oz, and 19 inches long.  Healthy and staying in transitional care – with a volunteer family – working for our agency.  But, it wasn’t a done deal yet.  The birth mom, “D”, wanted to talk with us on the phone Sunday evening.

So many questions, thoughts, and emotions were swirling through me.  What does she look like?  When can we see her?  What if…D doesn’t like us?  Something goes wrong?  What if, what if, what if?  And also, Wahoo!!!  Our baby girl is here at last!

Sunday night finally rolled around.  To say we were a huge ball of nerves would be entirely true.  I pressed three wrong buttons before being able to properly answer the phone.  Within the first minute of our conversation, we – Chris, me, D, and her mom – all confessed how nervous we were and shared a good, jittery laugh.  From there, our conversation went beautifully.  All I can say is that D is a delight.  We share so many things in common – from playing basketball, to being homebodies, to our dogs being similar.  After fearing this phone call for so long, we were unbelievably relieved with how it went.  We talked for 45 minutes and soon afterward heard from Melissa that D loved us as much as we loved her.  On Monday D met with her caseworker and at 11:44 we go the official word – this baby girl will be ours!

We will travel to Dallas to have dinner with D and her mom on Friday evening.  Then on Saturday we will meet OUR DAUGHTER for the first time  and get to bring her home.

One of my friends said to me, “Shannon, it’s like you guys have all the emotions of finding out you’re pregnant and having your baby jammed into the same week.”  That pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Life right now is a whirlwind – buying a car seat, bottles, and diapers.  Taking care of paperwork.  Celebrating with friends – and our friends have been over the top amazing – offering meals, making plans to care for Logan while we’re gone, setting up a fundraiser for us.  Calling the doctor.  Planning family visits.  And trying to remember how to take care of a baby.

To say that we are excited would be correct.  To say that we are happy would be perfectly true.  But to say that we are thankful – that just won’t do.  “Thankful” does not do justice to what we feel in our hearts.

I just don’t think there are words strong enough.



My alarm was set to go off at 8:15 on Sunday morning, so you can imagine my dismay when I heard Claire’s voice calling my name at 7:59.  I had made it so close to my goal of 8:15 – it was close enough to taste, and definitely too close to crawl back in bed and try for more sleep.  I rolled out of bed and walked stumbled clumsily down the hallway into Claire’s room, scooped her up, and trudged back to our bedroom.  As I walked back through the doorway, the dog gate which I had hastily slid to the side of the door was hanging out just a bit into my path.  I bumped into it with my leg, knocking it to the ground, and then caught my pinky toe in one of the slats.  As I stumbled, my only thought was Don’t fall – I can’t drop Claire.  (Feel free to nominate me for Mom of the Year.)  I managed to stay on my feet and walked around to my side of the bed, deposited Claire onto the pillow, and started to lie down.  You should know that me bumping into things is a daily occurrence, and “severely” stubbing my toe happens about once a week, so this morning was not really unusual.  I did notice at this point, however, that my toe felt wet.  Upon further investigation I discovered that my toe was, in fact, cut and bleeding.

I notified Chris (still slumbering peacefully at 8:04) of my injury.  You should know that Chris was up a large part of the night with an upset stomach.  After only two calls from me and a few pokes from Claire, he was up, and immediately came to tend to my wound.  (I’ve already nominated him for Husband of the Year.)  Chris called upon Claire for assistance and she was happy to help by turning on the overhead light (she’s brilliant) and getting a flashlight.

Upon close inspection of my toe, Chris got nauseated.  (Flashback to 2004.  Chris and I were married for 3 months and living in our first apartment.  While using a paring knife to cut brownies (any true chef’s first choice for cutting baked goods), I cut my hand pretty badly and Chris had to take me to the ER for stitches.  I was instructed to come back in a week to have them removed, but by that time I realized the uselessness in seeing a doctor again to do something as simple as pulling out stitches.  I recruited Chris for this task and as he went in with the tweezers to get the first stitch, the same look of queasiness spread upon his face.  He was unable to continue.  {I am convinced that his weak stomach only shows up in association with one of my injuries because of his strong aversion to seeing me in pain, which is pretty sweet.} Anyway, refusing to pay money to go back to the doctor as he suggested, and disgusted with his inability to continue with the task at hand, I proceeded to remove all the stitches out of my own hand.  {Feel free to nominate me for Woman vs. Wild.})

Anyway, back to Sunday morning.  Chris suggested that we contact his sister, Audrey, who is about to graduate from nursing school.  I, on the other hand, suggested that we just stick the toe back together with superglue.  What a quandary.  We did go ahead and call Audrey and she advised seeing a doctor.  However, I managed to convince Chris of the stellar history superglue has in my medical history.  (Flashback to 2002.  I was living in the dorms at Southwestern and back at school early from Christmas break for basketball practice.  As I was jumping down from my top bunk one evening, I landed on my Bible and cut my toe to the bone.  Recognizing that I needed help, and knowing that I was the only one currently on my hall, I hobbled down my hall and then the stairs to the basement, leaving a trail of blood behind me.  While at the ER, I was informed that it’s impossible to sew “creases” like we have on the underside of our toes, and that the doctor planned to glue the cut closed.  The doctor also suggested that if the injury should pop back open, I could save myself a second trip to the ER and just superglue it myself, which I later did.)

So, we went the superglue route.  Chris mustered his strength, cleaned my wound, and then glued it shut.  Sweet Claire, who recently told us she is planning to be a nurse when she grows up, was such a great helper.  She held the flash light for Chris, brought me a book to read, and rubbed my arm.  If she does end up being a nurse, I am certain she’ll be an amazing one.


And poor Chris, always putting up with me and my silly injuries.  For awhile he banned me from cutting with a paring knife.  Now I may be banned from waking up and getting Claire in the mornings.

Hey, that may not be so bad…


Dinner conversation tonight…

Claire:  Guys, listen!  I have some amazing news!

Me:  Oh yeah?  What is it?

Claire:  Daddy, are you listening too?

Chris: Yes, Claire.  What’s the news?

Claire:  Well, there is this new boy in my class.  But I don’t know his name yet.  I’m just learning it.

Chris:  Oh yeah?  Does he seem like a cool dude?

Claire:  Well…I didn’t really get to talk to him a lot.  (Troubled look on her face)

Me:  Did you not have enough time today?

Claire:  No, that’s not the problem.  (Sigh and long pause)  The problem is, he speaks English.  And I don’t know how to do that.


I’ve never dieted for health — ever.  (I can see the benefit of that.  It’s important to be healthy — to eat well and exercise and stay at a reasonable weight.  I believe that we should take care of our bodies in an effort to stay healthy.  Please hear my heart – I am not writing this post as my own personal license to throw caution to the wind and gorge myself on chocolate cake every night.)  But for me, it’s always been about appearance.  And it’s always about other people.  If I wasn’t constantly comparing myself to others and continually being concerned with how I “should” look, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

The problem is, I will never look like the vision in my mind.  I’ll never look like that girl on the commercial or the super-skinny mom at Claire’s school, or the Shannon of 10 years ago.  I suppose I could maybe come close.  If I lived on a very strict diet and spent a couple hours at the gym each night, I might attain results somewhere in the vicinity of what I’d like to look like.

But here’s the deal.  Looking back at my 21 year old body, I think, Wow!  Look at me!  I looked amazing!  Flat stomach, long skinny legs, flabless arms.  But when I was in that 21 year old body, I thought, Gosh, my stomach is not nearly as flat as hers, and my thighs are looking a little lumpy these days, and I hate the way my arms jiggle when I clap.  Right now I’m unhappy with my current body, but I bet when I’m 50, I’ll look back longingly on my 30 year old self.  Such is the nature of a woman’s mind.  We are never satisfied, never content.  We never think we’re good enough.

I have to stop and ask myself — is this the way God intended for me to live?  Always criticizing, always unhappy with my body, never content?  I know it’s not.  When so much of my focus and energy is spent thinking about what’s on the outside, how much is left for thinking about what truly matters, what’s truly important?

I so desperately want Claire to be happy with her body.  To see the beauty she was created with — on the outside, and so much more importantly — on the inside.  Isn’t that also the heart of our Father?

When Claire puts on a fancy dress and asks me if she looks pretty, I say, “Baby girl, you are always pretty.”

And I imagine our Father would say to us:

Baby Girl,

I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.  I wish you could know and feel and understand the love I have for you, and the pride I hold in my heart when I look at you.  You are always beautiful.  Not because of the way you style your hair, or how your legs look in those shorts, or the clarity of your skin, but because you are my creation.  I made you, and I take pride in my work.

I know you’re tired — tired of always striving to be better — more beautiful, skinnier, more put-together.

So just stop.

Don’t believe the lies this world tries to feed you, tries to shove down your throat.  When you try to fit their mold, you’ll never look good enough.  But when you try to fit mine, you already do.

So give yourself a break.  Take a rest from all your striving.

And just be content.


The first night home from the hospital Claire stayed awake for eight hours.  Eight. Straight. Hours.  I didn’t know what we would do.  Up until then we had been running on adrenaline and pride, because, hey, we had just created the most beautiful creature to have ever graced the face of this planet.  And then – the night from hell.  At about 3:30 in the morning I called the nursery at the hospital to tell them that our baby was defective and could they offer some advice or maybe just keep her for the rest of the night.  They couldn’t.

And so it went.  You see, nobody tells you this before your baby is born, but there is no bedtime in the womb.  Yes, babies just party it up in there with no regards to what time it is or what they should be doing.  And then they are born and they think, Who are you, Mother, to tell me what to do?  I have been living my way in my cozy dark cavern and doing as I please.  I don’t intend to stop now.  And Chris and I thought, We are the parents.  We will win this battle.  And I printed up my schedule and carried my clipboard around and read Baby Wise 17 times, and yes, Claire learned to sleep.  At night and in her own bed.  Bless the Lord.

I remember at about 6 weeks into this adventure, looking around and saying to myself, This cannot go on any longer.  Life has to feel normal again.  And I moved the stacks of diapers from our dresser into a drawer.  And I found a cute little box for my nursing pads.  And I washed the sheets that had baby poop on them from a midnight diaper changing explosion.  And I felt like we would make it.

Life was changed forever, and life with Claire became normal.  And it was beautiful and hard and exhausting and rewarding and all I hoped it would be.

I love being a mom.  I love the milestones and the smiles and the memories.  Being a mom is the hardest job of all and the best.  The truth is, when you love someone with your whole heart, it’s a little bit scary and a little bit dangerous.  But it’s so worth it – to love that way – to hold nothing back and truly love.

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years that we’ve had our precious girl.  Sometimes I can’t believe how big she is.  You know how “old” people always say, “Don’t blink or you’ll miss it”?  Well now I am old, and I want to tell you that it is true.  It is so true.  Claire’s life is like a blur in my mind – it’s like thumbing through four years worth of photos and they all turn into a blurry picture of this little life.  Her life – her beautiful, divinely created life – made up of months, made up of weeks, made up of days, made up of moments.

Those individual moments – fragments of time.  Most of them so ordinary, so day-to-day – sleeping, brushing her teeth, running errands with her in the backseat.  And then there are those moments that seem to stop the earth’s spinning and silence the clock’s ticking.  Those moments that leave an imprint on your heart you know will be there for the rest of your life.

Those moments late at night in the rocking chair when she would gaze into my face with those big brown eyes, just watching me.

When she smiled for the first time – so perfectly – and I knew it wasn’t just gas.

The moment when she stopped eating her blueberries, looked right into my eyes, and said, “Mama”.  Her first word.

Afternoons when she would see me pull up in front of the babysitter’s house and stand at the door, smiling and waving, so happy for me to be there.

The moments snuggled up under the covers, reading together – laughing at Curious George’s silly escapades and wondering about Carl the dog’s amazing baby-sitting skills, and imagining taking a rest in The Napping House.

That special moment when she asked Jesus into her heart and to be her friend forever and ever.

When we sat in her room playing babies and I heard her speak so tenderly and sweetly to her dolls.

The moments when her face lit up with wonder and she got it –  she understood something  brand new for the first time.

When she asked me why I’m proud of her and I got to tell her.

Times spent at the park together – digging and sliding and swinging and laughing.

The moment when she prayed, “Jesus, thank you for letting those soldiers be mean to you and kill you.  And please help all the mean people in the whole wide earth to be nice.”

Watching her face beam with pride as she rode her big girl bike for the very first time.

That afternoon when she said, “I wish I could take Jesus out of my heart so I can give him a big hug.”

Times spent in the kitchen together – with her flipping pancakes, or mixing brownies, or stirring banana bread batter by my side.

When she said, “Mommy, I miss our baby.  It’s so hard to wait.”

That moment when she kissed my palm and told me to press it to my cheek when I missed her and even when I washed my hand with soap, and even when I couldn’t feel the kiss, the love would still be there.

These precious, beautiful moments, that make up this precious, beautiful life.  I am so thankful to share in these moments, and thrilled to imagine the moments that are to come.  Other sweet moments like these, and so many more – different and new.  I’ll blink again and she’ll be 8, and again, and my daughter is a teenager, and then, a woman.  And I’ll sit back and remember when she was just 4 and wonder where the time went.  But in my heart I’ll always hold onto the moments.



What do you worry about?  Really, take a step back and look at your life.  What are you worried about right now?  What were you worried about last week?  Can you peg down a few things?

Here’s my current list…

  • My bottom teeth are getting crooked.
  • Claire will be jealous of our new baby.
  • Our baby won’t attach to us and will resent us for not being his “real” parents.
  • People will be rude to our new child because he is adopted.
  • There is dog hair on the carpet and laundry all over the couch and company is coming tonight.
  • I won’t make a difference and will feel like my life didn’t matter.
  • There are children all around the world who don’t have families.
  • These new people in my life won’t like me.
  • Claire will be mistreated by other students in her class.
  • Claire will mistreat other students in her class.
  • What will I make for dinner?
  • How will we afford (insert: bills, holiday travel, paying for our adoption, etc.)?
  • Sex slavery is alive and flourishing in our world.
  • People in my family, workplace, community do not know the Lord.
  • My t-shirt has butter stains all over it from when I dropped the knife on it at breakfast and I am just noticing it at 11:30 am.
  • My car has scratches on the bumper.

These are just a few of the things that immediately came to mind when I thought about worrying.  So in my 30 years of living, how much time have I spent wasted worrying?  Hours?  No, more than that.  Days?  Weeks?  If I don’t stop myself here, I may go on worrying about how much time I’ve spent worrying.  Has worrying helped me in any single situation?  Of course not.  We know worrying is futile.  It’s not constructive.  It’s a waste of time; a waste of emotions; a waste of life.

When I look at my list, I can easily categorize my reasons for worry into one of three groups.  From where I’m sitting, it seems that there are three main types of worry.  (The teacher in my wants to print this page out, cut my list into neat strips, and ask you to use a glue stick to paste them into the appropriate categories below.)

1.  “You Are Ridiculous And Shallow And Immature And No One But You Is Concerned About It” Worries
The worries in this category generally have something to do with what others think.  For example, I bought this shirt in a large so that it will look flowy and full, and stay away from my muffin top, not accentuating my rolls, but now I’m worried and thinking I should have bought a medium so that I don’t look like a frumpy old grandma.  What am I going to do???Gaw!  

I’ve heard worries in this category called First World Worries and that is so accurate.  In America, our lives are so full of extra stuff/activities/obligations/wants/bills that we pile on a whole heap of unnecessary worries.  Worrying about which cable package we should get or if our new rug matches the living room or what color we should dye our hair would not even cross the mind of someone living in the Congo (or someone living in our country 75 years ago).

When it comes to worries like these, I am guilty way too often.  What I need is for someone to say to  yell at me, “Get over yourself!  It doesn’t matter!”  I love the quote that says, “You wouldn’t care so much what people think about you if you knew how little they did.”  I hope that doesn’t sound harsh.  I hope it sounds like a huge box filled with one third of your current worries being lifted off your shoulders.  Ahhhh.

2.  “This Is Real Life And It’s Tough And You’ll Cry, But You’ve Got To Learn To Deal With It” Worries
These worries are hard.  Especially as a mom.  When we find out we’re pregnant or decide to adopt, we’re happy for .37 of a second and then we start to worry.

I’m pregnant – yay!
Am I eating right?  Am I drinking too much caffeine?  Have I felt the baby move today?  Should I go all natural or use an epidural? What if something goes wrong?

We’re adopting – so exciting!
How are we going to pay for this?  What if we never get chosen?  What if the birth mom uses drugs?  What if the birth mom decides to parent?  What if the baby doesn’t attach to us?

And then we actually get a baby.  A real-live human being placed into our very care.
He’s not eating enough.  Should we let her cry it out?  He has a cough.  She’s not crawling yet.  He’s not speaking clearly.  She still sucks her thumb.  What about kidnappers?  What about bullies?  What about peer pressure?

I weave worry webs in my mind, jumping from one source of worry to the next, barely pausing to breathe.  These worries are real and they are scary.  But there is an answer.  What we need when these worries surface is for someone to gently whisper in our ear, “It’s going to be okay.”  The Holy Spirit has graciously volunteered for this job, and he doesn’t stop there.  He begins with, “It’s going to be okay,”  and more importantly ends with, “because I am in control.”  And we say, “Oh yes.  I remember now.”  And our mind gets to rest.

3.  “Break Your Heart, Slap You In The Face, Put A Knot In Your Stomach, Heavy Burden” Worries
The day I heard Jasmine’s story, my heart ached in a brand new way.  I lay in bed that night thinking about the sweet eight year old girl walking up and down the halls of her school, asking one teacher after another to adopt her so she could finally have a family after years in foster care.  I lay awake in my bed for hours and I cried.  And I worried.  And I thought, How can this happen?  What is the answer?  There has to be a solution.

Worries like these are too heavy a burden for us to bear.  They grab hold of you and won’t let you go.  They fill up your brain and devastate your heart.  There is one thing that worries like these call for – action.  We need someone to shout at us, “Do something!”  Worrying is not enough.  Pray!  Give!  Go!  Serve!  Worrying and crying do nothing.  But praying, praying can change someone’s life.  Giving to an organization that gets it, that’s doing the work, that’s powerful.  Stepping out and doing something – donating to a crisis pregnancy center, serving in a soup kitchen, becoming a foster parent, inviting someone who’s outcast into your home for a meal – things like these can change the world.

I’m so thankful for the clarity found in scripture with regards to worrying.   Don’t do it.  It’s pointless.  There’s a better way.

Have you heard the song Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman?  It’s simple, but it’s so good.  My favorite part – the verses that reach me the most – are these.

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

We don’t have to worry.  There is a better way.  And the reason is…
His love is strong.