Wednesday, October 23, 2013

unless I say no...

As I'm typing and banging away on my ancient desktop and sipping away on my [tepid] coffee I have the glorious sound of worship music and toddler tantrum playing in the background.

It has been a long night. A long week really, but specifically a long night... and morning. Like I said, a long week and it's only Wednesday.  My now 16 month old son has taken to screaming his head off to nap, sleep, anything really. Cue in amazing toddler season.  Yeah, he is now screaming in the middle of the night for no real reason other than wanting what he wants-- which is to not be in bed, to not be sleeping and to be held all.the.time.

I mean... how could you not snuggle with this face?
Listen. I'm all about snuggles.  I have no problem holding my babies and loving on them and snuggling them.  I by no means deprive my children of being held, loved on, snuggled on, etc.  You're talking to the Mom who wore her 3 year old. That's right... Me, my daughter in our Moby.  And I loved it. And so did she.  My prescription to a bad day is forgetting everything and snuggling on the couch and watching a movie, listening to music, reading a book, etc. So, clearly, I don't have any problems holding or snuggling my children.
So when my son wakes up at 2am to be held, it sure in heck is not because he lacked it during the day.  I mean, and that's the only reasonable reason why my child would scream to be held in the middle of the night.  I thought it was teething at some point. But no.  Our teething remedies do nothing for this screaming toddler.  And he doesn't scream like that at any other time of the day...

Unless I say no.

"Justice, no! Don't climb the shelf. Not safe." [enter screams]
"Please get down from the toilet!" [enter screams]
"Hey bud, let's have chicken instead of cereal for lunch" [enter screams]
"Justice, share with your sister please. Nice." [enter screams]
[enter Mommy's internal scream]

I'm no professional on parenting. That's no secret.  But my suspicion is that this little boy is bent on getting his way and he has a Jesus lovin' Mama who loves him to much to let him get away with that.  So, he screams.  And he throws whatever he has in his hands in anger just to drive the point home. And then he's still screaming. And even after Mama has written a full five paragraphs, he keeps screaming.


And then the thought occurs to me as I try to bury myself in the Word of Jesus, frantically searching for some form of encouragement and reinforcement that I'm not the World's Worst Mother and that He values my very very weak and fragile efforts, that we are just like my 16 month old son who screams and throws because he has to be put down to nap instead of running around like he wants.

I wonder how many times my Perfect Father has sat next to me, listening to me scream and rant in my heart because I wanted what I wanted and I thought I knew best. Of course my son needs rest. It's the right and healthy thing.  He needs rest more than he needs happiness.  And so does my heart, Beloved. 

As the Perfect Father, my God knows overwhelmingly more than I do (both as the mother and the daughter) what my heart needs to grow roots and flourish.  He knows the lessons I must learn to master obedience and perfect love. He knows.  And sometimes (okay, let's face it, all the time) those lessons and His perfect execution of those lessons go against the grain of what we want.  And sometimes (or if you're me, most of the time) our hearts throw tantrums. Much like my 16 month old son.  And in His patience, the Lord listens and speaks encouragement to our hearts-- whether through silence or Word, He is a continual being of encouragement, patience and mercy.

I am unbelievably thankful for His perfect example and His Grace. He has yet to abandon me and I love Him for that.  I am blessed that through the brokenness of this season, He whispers nuggets of mercy throughout, molding and shaping me to be His Bride. A Shulamite Mom indeed.

I think I'll go finish my cold coffee now and bask in His mercies...
while my son continues to scream in the background.