By Rachel Meyer
I am helping my daughter and her husband potty-train their little girl. It is probably enough just to say that Kinsley is a two-year-old, but she is so much more! Kinsley is strong-willed and opinionated; she is adventurous and bold. She is bright, and beautiful, and all things good in the world. Can you tell that I love being her gramma?
And love her I do, but here’s the thing: I’m kind of an old hand at this. Not to mention, I raised her mother. I have an edge in this situation. I learned long ago, that no matter what the situation is, it pays to have an edge. I understand now, what I did not realize with her mom. That hundred-watt smile? She already knows how to work it! Those tears that break our heart? They have nothing at all to do with penance! Even at two years old and just pushing three, she is truly becoming “wise as a serpent,” but I am not so sure she has the “harmless as a dove” part down yet. This child just wants control!
The other day, as we were ritualistically conducting the Battle of the Bathroom, I said, “Dear God, this child is more stubborn than I am!” I think God laughed. Seriously. I think He laughed right out loud! Then I heard that little voice I have come to recognize so well. “You can be successful or you can be right.” I think He said it with a touch of humor. I was about to spout off and say I was glad we could add some amusement to His day, when I “got it.” I was either arguing, or trying to reason, with a TWO YEAR OLD! I began to get the visual of what this must look like to The King of the universe! This time, I laughed! I also changed my tactics.
Now we have fun with it. I’m more patient, more kind. She gets to make choices. I get to relax the reins a little. She still has to wash her hands, but she can choose a lotion to use after. If she has an accident, no harm, no foul. I’m just as disappointed as she is, but it’s all good because in ten minutes we get to try again. We still have discipline, but I believe in her. I try to be quick to laugh, quick to applaud. I try to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. I try to be like my Father, because I know what He is like with me.
That’s where I am really going with this. God’s Word is so much more than words. It’s a blueprint for every single situation, every personality, every success, and every failure. God is not a control freak. He’s a Father Who wants the best for His kids. He gives us all the tools we need for success, and then He gives us room to explore them. I remember times I have not chosen wisely myself.
Like a typical spiritual two-year-old, I have stomped my feet, bucked the rules, and insisted on my own way. Crazy as it sounds, I honestly thought my way was better. With a perfect plan laid out before me, I have chosen to go my own way, but that isn’t the worst of it. The worst of it was being too embarrassed or scared to apologize and try again. I was stubborn. I didn’t mean to cause harm,but I did. God knew. He wasn’t mad at me; He was waiting for me. He still had the same plan for success that He had in the first place. And just like Kinsley is with me, I was still the apple of His eye.
Myriad times I have looked up at the sky and said, “God, You could have stopped me. You knew what would happen. You knew what a mess I was making. Where were you?” And myriad times, in a hundred different ways, I’ve heard Him say the same thing. Over and over again. (He is truly tireless.)
“I was right here, making sure you got a second chance, and a third, and a fourth. I am always right here, meeting you in whatever place you are, speaking in whatever way you will hear Me. But you have to choose Me. I am God. I don’t argue My authority. My authority stands on its own. I am in love with you and My boundaries are for you. I will never leave you, not even to your own devices. There is always a way out.”
Yes, God has had His fair share of experience dealing with my two-year-old nature. But He loved me enough to pursue me. He loves us all that much. No matter where we hide, He loves us enough to invade our hiding places.
The words of the Psalmist come to mind:
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night”, Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
~ Psalm 139:7-12
God has a lot of experience with kids and hiding, all the way back to Adam and Eve, so you need never doubt that you’re loved and forgiven. Never believe that you’ve got it wrong one too many times. Your Father loves you to the ends of the earth. He sent His Son to redeem you. My experience with children has taught me one thing for certain. The child who responds the best is the child who knows he is loved. The child who responds the best is the child who knows she will be forgiven. Children want to be found. They want to know you love them that much, even when they test you. There’s a little bit of the child in all of us.
Know that God does not want to get even with you. He has never said, “I told you so.” He knows the end from the beginning, and He is not disappointed. You have potential you don’t even know about yet. I thought about Kinsley hiding from the bathroom. She has no idea this is not a big deal and she will do things so much greater. It’s the same for all of us. There is a lifetime of amazing things in store. We won’t always be trapped in the the whirlwind stage that keeps us spinning right now.
But I don’t really believe in the “terrible twos”. I don’t think God does either. I am having the time of my life with this little two-year-old I get to spend time with, even though some times may be smoother than others. I love that God can speak such wonderful things through a toddler and a bathroom! That’s just Who God is. Someone you can make memories with, count on, laugh with, run to. Will you still make mistakes? I think it’s safe to say, you probably will. Are there rules you won’t like? Of course there are! What good parent does not discipline those he loves? Is it worth it? Ask Him to show you ! You’ll be in for the time of your life once you decide to run with it. He is not a God Who is far off…..He’s just as close as the bathroom 🙂