A couple weeks ago, Heidi was happily eating her cereal at the dining room table while I sat across from her reading
“Mommy, all done,” Heidi said, signaling that she was done with her cereal and needed me to wipe her down and get her out of her chair so she could play.
“Just one second, sweetie,” I said, finishing up a chapter. “Mommy’s finishing this page really fast.”
“Mommy, all done!” she said louder. “Down now!”
I glanced at her over my book with the “mom” look. (Yeah, I do that now.)
“That is not how we ask. Be patient, and when you can ask me nicely, I will get you down.”
She squared her gaze at me. Then she took her cup (all her sippy cups were in the dishwasher so I had given her a regular “big girl” cup) and, in a very measured way, slowly moved it over the floor, never breaking her eye contact with me. Then she proceeded to dump all her milk onto the floor, smugly looking at me as if to say, “I bet you’ll get up now.”
I saw red. And I may have lost it a little bit. I didn’t spank her for the sheer fact I didn’t want to hurt her in my anger. In hindsight, I should have left her there. Instead, I got her down and put her in timeout. No toys. No Sesame Street. No moving until I say so.
Technically, she got what she wanted. But not in the way she wanted.
I can’t help but think she’s a lot like me.
It’s not a secret to many that Cody and I have been trying for baby #2 for over a year. There are days it doesn’t bother me. Days when Heidi and I have a blast together and I like it just being the three of us and I am not ready to throw my world into a tailspin by having another newborn at home.
Other days, I ache to watch my family grow and for Heidi to have a little sibling. I get frustrated with how out-of-control I feel in the process, and I feel slighted that it seems so easy for everyone else (even though I know that’s not always true). On those days, I wallow and pout and am pretty sure no one has ever had to deal with what I have to deal with (I know, pathetic). It’s not fair!! WHHHAAA!
After I got over my anger that day with Heidi, I just kept thinking: Heidi got what she wanted when she wanted it, but it wasn’t the way she wanted. She got down from the table and she got to sit on the couch, but she had to sit there in silence (actually, not quite silence…her crying was kind of obnoxious) until I told her to get up. I knew better than to give in to her rude demands and crying. As her mother, I am trying to teach her politeness, patience, and consideration for others (ok, mostly consideration for just me…HAHA, kidding). To teach her that, I sometimes need to gently correct her, and other times I need to discipline her by withholding something she wants. But I know better than to give her everything she wants when she wants it, lest I raise a selfish, entitled, inconsiderate little girl. If she had waited, and if she had asked me nicely, she would have received the fruits of her labor.
How much of that is God still trying to teach me? Granted, some days I wish He would choose another way to teach me. But in this waiting time, I’ve definitely learned to bring my frustrations to God more. I have been pushed to rely on His promises in Scripture more and to trust Him. It’s my only choice in the matter, unless I want to be bitter and unhappy every day, ungrateful for the many gifts He’s already poured on us. God will take our family in whichever direction He chooses. I have to release my death grip on my plans, and I have to be open to His plans.
Because we’re all waiting for something in this life, amen? I don’t know a single person who has it all, although we convince ourselves it’s true all the time. (I don’t care what Facebook says, no one is that happy and good-looking all the time!) I hesitated to write this post because I don’t want pity, and I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I wrote this so I could simply say, “Me too.” Sometimes the most encouraging thing is to know we’re not the only ones.
In this waiting time, I think God wants us to know that in Christ, we do have it all. Truly. Sometimes we are forced to wait and to live without the things we want, and then we find it’s pretty miserable just dwelling on what’s out of reach instead of truly living.
There’s no guarantee I’ll have another baby, and there’s no guarantee I’ll not lose the one I already have. Love and time is precious. Peace and contentment, in this crazy and insane world, really is having it all.
It’s better to be open to what He is teaching us than to be blinded by not getting what we want. It’s better to love Him first and most, over everything else…even if it’s something I want so badly, I can taste it. Anything that comes before God in my heart has the potential to be destructive.
This situation has made me step back a little bit, forget my own plan, and ask God what His is. In my experience, it’s typically more beautiful and surprising than what I had pictured in my mind anyways.
“To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice your understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent. A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways – always. A sacrifice is by definition not an easy thing. There is this: We give thanks to God not because of how we feel – but because of Who He is.
“I know it but I don’t want to: it is a choice. Living with losses, I may choose to still say yes. Choose to say yes to what He freely gives. Could I live that – the choice to open the hands to freely receive whatever God gives? If I don’t, I am still making a choice. The choice not to.” ~Ann Voskamp
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23