Spiritual Lessons from a Toddler

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Before I became a mama, I tended to secretly roll my eyes at all the platitudes I heard about parenting.

Things like:

  • "Your life will be changed forever"
  • "You'll finally understand what your parents were thinking"
  • "You'll begin to see things in a totally different way"

Yeah. Ok. Sure.

Until the day I gave birth to our daughter and within minutes I understood.

So many feelings surged within me that I never knew before: Fierce, mama-bear protectiveness, an overwhelming sense of "I have NO CLUE what I'm doing", and a love so deep that I couldn't even fully comprehend it.

Compared to many of you, my time as a mother has been relatively short. But oh, how I have felt myself being stretched and grown. And 'they' were right: so many things have changed; including my perception of God.

Growing up in a Christian home, I had heard God referred to as Father and us referred to as "His children" my whole life. But I have to admit, while I technically understood what those terms meant, I don't think I ever really fully grasped them. Until now...

Scenario #1:

My toddler daughter and I were walking out in our back pasture.

The ground was rough and uneven, filled with dried cow pies, rocks, and holes.

She is determined and fiercely independent. And she was determined to keep up with me, all.by.herself.

She kept stumbling as she awkwardly attempted to make her way to the barn.

I offered her my hand. And she refused it. She wanted to do it herself.

I silently thought, "Silly little girl. If she only knew that I can see the way that is easiest for her to go. If she'd just take my hand, I could guide her over the best path."

And then I hear a still, small Voice say "Yeah, no kidding..."

Ohhhh boy...

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Scenario #2:

It's after supper and we are playing in the living room.

That week we had been working with our daughter on coming when she is called. Because of the dangers where we live (rattlesnakes, large animals, a nearby road) it is vitally important that she learn to come when mama says.

In the midst of our playtime, I asked her to come to me.

And... she decides to throw a fit. You know, the full-fledge, kicking, screaming, wailing kind.

I sit her back up and ask her to come again. She refuses. I sit on the floor, just a foot or two away from her. I hold out my hand. And wait. And wait.

It's a battle of the wills. Hers against mine. She absolutely knows what I want. And absolutely does not want to do it.

I think to myself "It is SO simple. All she has to do is make a tiny step towards me and take my hand. Why can't she see that?"

And then that still, small Voice again, "A-hem."

Ouch.

How many times has God felt this way towards me? "Just take My hand. I know what I'm doing. Really. I can see far ahead of what you can."

And how many times have I stubbornly stomped my foot and declared, "No! My way!"?

But He always welcomes me back when I finally soften towards Him. Just the way I welcome my daughter when she finally comes and crumbles into my arms.

I hold no hard feelings when she finally obeys. Just an overwhelming sense of love, and even pride. Even after her defiance, nothing feels better than holding her in my arms.

I know this is just the tiniest glimpse of how God feels towards me. What an absolutely overwhelming thought...

Five years ago, I never would have believed that I could learn so many things from an 18 month old child. But I have. And I think God intended it to be that way.

Becoming a Mama really does change everything. :)

Blessings, Jill

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