Babies, Love, and Transformation

mother baby hands I’m in the midst of my fall semester, and my composition students have completed their first essay.  The assignment was a narrative, and the prompt instructed them to tell me a story about a person or event that influenced the way they see the world.

I’ve used this prompt in the past, and I’ve always enjoyed reading the stories.  Some of them I’ve cried over, especially those that involved the death of a dear family pet (I’m such a softie!).  But this time, I noticed a trend in a number of them, a commonality that made me stop and think about what it really takes to change a person and where true transformation comes from.

Out of the seventy-five essays that I graded, I would guess that about fifteen percent of them told me the story of how they became a mother and the way that event influenced them.  Many, if not most, of these stories told about living a teen’s life of drinking, drugs, and promiscuity, and some mentioned the hurts that produced this type of lifestyle.

One student told how she would get drunk every night, go to high school hung over, sleep in the bathroom stalls through classes, and then do it all over again the next night.  She wondered how she ever graduated.  This was a common story throughout my reading of these essays – a life of total licentiousness with no supervision or parental guidance.  But then something happened that changed everything.

For my students, it was a positive pregnancy test.  These women (or in many cases, teenage girls) were transformed from a wild lifestyle to one of responsibility, contentment, and even happiness.  Why?

As I read the essays, I would see sentences like, “When I saw my son’s face for the first time, I fell in love,” and “I knew I wanted to take care of my daughter and make a better life for us both.”  The common point in the transformation of these women from a promiscuous, self-indulgent lifestyle to one of contentment and joy was love, and in particular, the all-consuming passion of mother-love and the helpless, reciprocal love of a newborn.

These women were not changed by a list of rules or someone telling them they needed to straighten up and live responsibly.  They were not transformed by “shoulds” or “musts” or “have-tos.”  It was just love, and it was enough.

The implications of this lesson are huge for parents, for churches, for all of us, really.  Knowing that we are loved and accepted and loving others wholeheartedly is the key to true transformation and lasting change.  Since any love we experience has its origins in the Father, Son, and Spirit, we can say that God is the source of lasting change, but practically speaking, it often takes a human application of loving and being loved to feel the unconditional love of God.

I’ve always been a rules-type of person, so the idea of allowing the unconditional love of God to flow in me (invoking healing), through me (to others), and back to me (from others) as a means of experiencing more of human life as God intended it, seems a little intangible.  But as I’ve witnessed through the lives of my students, love is all you need.

~ by Nan Kuhlman

4 comments so far

  1. Alice Scott-Ferguson on

    perfect picture of unqualified love…his gentleness makes us great!

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      I agree – it’s God’s gentleness, kindness, love flowing through us that makes all the difference!


  2. iamjean9 on

    Beautiful. So TRUE.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      Thanks for your kind words!


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