Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Your toddler has just thrown a fit in the middle of the neighborhood grocery story and falls out on the floor kicking and screaming because you told him/her she couldn’t have their favorite snack this time. You feel the rise of anger and frustration build up as it seems that every shoppers’ eyes are graced upon you to see how you are going to react? You feel they must be thinking I have absolutely no control over my children. Sound familiar? I myself a mom of three toddlers have felt the pressure over and over of this situation and began to wonder how I can find joy in such a “terrible” time? The Terrible two’s and threes as they are referred too, when our toddlers are in discovery of themselves, testing us as parents with getting their way, and denying every healthy food item we would like them to have.
The Teaching Moment
In the moment of one of these outbursts, did I mention I have experienced it multiple times? God wanted to show me what it feels like to not be in control. Ouch! Stay with me. Our toddlers happen to be some of the best teachers that are present in our lives aside from mentors, friends, parents, and or professors. They are stubborn, relentless when they want something…the constant mommy, mommy, mommy… or Daddy, daddy, daddy as we hope in that moment our name somehow magically changes. They challenge us, they test us, they even tell us what they want and don’t want. Aha! There is the magic in his teaching. In our own adult lives we can also exhibit the same behaviors to our Father in Heaven. Not only do we at times think we know it all, we also are very stubborn to his direction and plans he has for our lives. We insist on trying to do things ourselves, making just enough room for God, to provide just the right amount of input that we want him to have. When we have made decisions that didn’t turn out well, we usually look for God to “fix it”, as we have wreaked havoc in our lives. Our toddlers can also be adamant about putting the wrong shaped puzzle piece where it doesn’t fit. We too attempt to force things in our lives that don’t belong, and force things out of our lives that belong. We have given God a my way or the high way attitude with “our lives”.
Finding The Joy
So how do we find joy when we find ourselves enduring some of the many embarrassing situations that our toddlers may leave us in or that we think back on? We ask God to help us find the joy. He tells us “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24 ESV). Is it that simple? Yes it is my friends! With all of societies pressures to raise our children a certain way, the Bible is very specific on how our children can be raised on his word. It is in these teachings that we come to realize that while we area being taught how to raise our children we are also children of our heavenly father who also is raising us to be representors of his kingdom. So much of our lives we are working to determine direction and purpose in our lives that we don’t rely on the promises that he gives. Jesus tells us “I am the way the truth and the life”, He also tells us. Your ways are not like my ways. And that he knows the plans he has for us. So, while we are going along in life and trying to make it through the toddler years, or even reflecting back on when our children were toddlers, I am sure that we can remember many instances of joy that we had in watching our children’s curiosity grow, their discovery of themselves, and their identity. I am sure that our Father in heaven has the same joy when he looks down on us and helps us along our journey with him right by our side!