In our house, toddler is a verb. To toddler means to throw ones self in an inexplicable rage, sometimes in silent refusal, but often with wailing and flailing.
My almost 3-year-old toddlers better than any of our other children did, combined. She will throw a complete tantrum when asked to do something she doesn't want to do; you know, like get dressed. She doesn't like to be interrupted. She doesn't like to stop what she's doing, and sometimes just a simple task, which wouldn't take long at all, turns into a 30-minute war.
She knows when I'm fed up. If I begin to count, she knows she is losing the battle, and she throws herself harder. If I have to come get her, at the end of that count, because she still hasn't listened, I'm certain she can feel me burning with anger.
Then, the tantrum, as I pick her up, turns into, "NO, MOMMY! PLEASE BE HAPPY! Can you be happy!?" Only as she's yelling this at me, she is still kicking and screaming, and overall exhibiting unacceptable behavior.
Now, we're at an impasse. See, she is no longer throwing a tantrum because I've asked her to do something she didn't want to do. Now, she has realized her error, and she's pitching a fit, because she knows I am angry. Of course I want to be happy. Of course I want to just smile at her and pretend it is all ok. However, she has to learn that she is not free from the consequences of her actions. She has to learn that certain behaviors will not be tolerated. So I try, with as much patience as I can muster, to communicate this to her, and eventually she collapses into a strangling hug, desiring nothing more than to just be held.
And so I hold her.
This, as you can imagine, is not fun. I do not enjoy repeatedly rebuking this behavior, and appearing, however so briefly, like a villain to her.
But the last time this occurred, as I held my trembling, sobbing toddler, full of emotions needing guidance, God placed this on my heart. How many times in my own life, have I cried out in anger with him, over circumstances which were merely consequences of my own actions? How many times have I ignored what I should have done, to do what I wanted to do? Then, how many times have I simply needed to be held, clinging to Him, once I realized the error of my own ways?
How often do we, ourselves, toddler God??
What an image He gave me! Charlotte is not our easiest child, by a landslide, but the lessons in love, discipline, and patience, the Lord teaches me, daily, through her, is an act of love, in and of itself.
To be disciplined and corrected is to be loved! To have someone out there, who wants to see that you're successful, blessed, and your best self, is what it is to be loved! Whether you are struggling to raise up decent human beings, or struggling with being your own best self, know that discipline was never meant to be easy, but it was designed to be rewarding!
Pull up your big kid pants, and know that you are loved!
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
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