Isabella became very skilled at throwing fits at an early age. I distinctly remember a moment right after she turned three in which she was potty training, and she chose to throw a fit that moved from room to room and lasted about an hour. Matt and I considered the fact that she might be possessed.
Now that she is nearly 5, she does not throw a lot of fits. (Jack has been willing to take over but to a much more manageable degree.) Her current repertoire has advanced to include a sassy mouth, running away, slamming doors, threats, and more sassiness thrown in for good measure.She had a particularly challenging day a couple of weeks ago. Challenging as in mommy goes to her own room to cry her eyes out, collapses in daddy’s arms, and questions what in the world God was thinking by giving her this child to raise. Yes, I threw a tantrum for God. Oh, I was upset. I wanted to be a mother, to experience pregnancy and childbirth and breastfeeding and a tiny baby all my own. I wanted a sweet girl who would cuddle with me, hug me, listen to me, and love to shop with me. (That last one – bingo. She fits the bill almost every time.)
But the epic screaming fits? The sassy mouth that gets sassy juice multiple times a day and still has no intention of quitting? The massive attitude that never knows when to stop? I didn’t see that one coming. I have seen difficult children, I have cared for them for a few hours at a time. But every day…with barely a break in the stress and pressure? The constant questioning of my discipline – is it too much? Not enough? Does she need new consequences? Stick with the same ones? I feel like a mommy zombie as these questions roll around in my head every day.
“Why did you give her to me? I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t have any choice in the matter. I don’t get any say at all? Do you care about how I feel in this situation?” Yeah. I am sassy, too. I know very well that I am the mom God chose for Isabella. He could have given me any child, and He picked her. But it wasn’t just for her good. It was for mine, too. How much praying, crying, trusting, learning, sacrificing has happened in my life over the past 5 years? A lot. Crazy amounts, really. I have learned some hard lessons about trusting God with the heart and soul of my child that I would not have had to learn if Jack was my only child. Parenting Jack is a completely different experience, one for which I am very grateful. I begged for an easier temperament when I was pregnant with Jack, and I am thankful every day He saw fit to grant my request. But it would be far easier to attribute Jack’s personality and good behavior to my parenting if I didn’t have another one ready to fight me and rip away that “awesome mom” award.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV) I believe that we will reap a great harvest because of our investment in Isabella. However, I have many days where my hope is based on nothing I can see. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV) I cling to this with great desperation. My soul needs this hope. I need to know that my faith is placed in something much greater than myself, my parenting abilities, my daughter, her ability to obey the rules, or anything else I can see and measure. God is the one who will save her soul, change her heart, and do all the work that I long to see in her life.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26 ESV)
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)
Who will put a new spirit within them and remove their heart of stone? God!!
I’m writing to myself today, trust me. I hope God can encourage you as well to place your hope in Him for every overwhelming and confusing circumstance you face.
And just maybe this will come to mind the next time I gear up to throw a big fit.