My firstborn son came home from the hospital at four weeks old and four fragile pounds. And in just four more months, he’ll put on a cap and gown and a future, taking steps on a path apart from mine.

This past year has brought a hundred misgivings about my mothering, a thousand fears, ten thousand what ifs. I did not grieve the eventual loss of him enough along the way to avoid bearing the whole ache of it now. Many times I have wondered if I have loved him enough; so much seems unfinished.

Love and completion are indeed a worthy goal:

Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

The Greek word used here for “perfect harmony” is teleiotēs, which in its various forms throughout the New Testament is translated complete, finished, working as it should.

It is right to say that where there is something less than wholeness or harmony, there is something more than love at work.

I pair love up with something else by the moment these days: love and pride, love and fear, love and jealousy, love and self-righteousness — the need to have my own mothering choices validated as worthy and best.

But it is also right to say that God’s path to finished and perfect looks nothing like the one I’d carve out, and that God’s love can use my sins just as powerfully as my virtue to shape my son’s heart (and my own) into what He deems complete.

The glory in the story is meant for Him alone. If I think God can only work with my good choices and not my bad ones, I’m trying to make some of that glory about me.

The harmony He planned for His own Son led to the cross. Completion included crucifixion. Jesus’ final words — It is finished — it is perfectly done — the same Greek root as teleiotēs here — were immediately followed by His death. God’s love bound up the dark sins of the men who wished Him dead with the pure and perfect heart of Christ to make everything work like it should, once and for all.

Harmony leaves room for holes. Perfection has a place for the imperfect. I put on His love because it is strong enough to use both the worst of me and the best of me to work His plan to completion. It binds all things together — my weakness and my strength — in perfect harmony.