There are Mommy blogs out the wazoo. All over the Internet. There are suggestions on how to sleep-train, how to help a strong-willed child learn boundaries, meal ideas, etc. I read enough of them, to know that some of them are helpful, some not so much, but regardless, the internet is full of them.
This is not a how-to. This is not a step-by-step instructional. This is the lamentation of someone who found a new love and understanding of her Heavenly Father, through the insurmountable blessing that is her sweet baby boy.
I gave my life to Christ when I was 3 years old. Although I've made mistakes, and we all do, I have had a close relationship with Him for as long as I can remember. I talk to Him about my day, thank Him for the little things (like the sweet smell of Aidan's head after a bath, his little gapped toothed smile, and his chubby hands), and am frequently moved to tears when I think about all His goodness. Just like with any longterm relationship, even when you love a person, it may seem sometimes that you know most everything about them. Not that you're bored, but you find yourself in a comfortable place, not really expecting to be surprised.
And then, in the middle of a battle of wills with a little blonde despot, God reveals himself in a new way. And my eyes are opened, and I am surrounded by a fresh adoration and sense of wonder.
These are the 3 things I've learned about the nature of God since becoming a Mama.
1. The Cracker
Aidan is a very verbal little boy (wonder where he got that from?!). He tells me "snack" when he's hungry, "all done" when he's done, "please" and "thank you", and of course the toddler war cry, "NO"! One day, Aidan came to me, and said "snack". I gave him a cracker, which he happily munched on, until he dropped it, which would've been no big deal (we live by the 5 second rule at our house), but it was already soggy, and then he stepped on it. I decided to give him a new cracker. He was holding a toy in one hand - which of course he would not let go of, and the soggy, broken cracker in the other. I asked him to give me the "yucky" cracker, so I could give him the nice, whole cracker. He said, "no". I asked him again. This time he said "NO". I tried prying it out of his little hand, knowing that the whole cracker would be yummier, if he would just let go of the first cracker. However, he is a determined little boy, and held on with all his might.
This is when God reminded me that his plans are better than mine. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
God holds out amazing plans for us, but sometimes we are holding on to our own ideas so tightly, that we refuse to let go, and take from God what He so desires us to have - because He KNOWS it's better. Just like I knew the clean, whole cracker would be better. He does not force them on us, and if we protest enough, He lets us have our way. But He would rather we let him have our ratty things, and open our hands to His blessings.
2. The Mother's Day Card
For Mother's Day this year, I helped Aidan make cards for his grandmothers, as well as one for myself. While holding his hand making little handprint bouquets, it occurred to me that Aidan needed my help - even to make something for me! Which lead me to the thought, that we are very similar to a toddler in that aspect. Even when we do things for God (go into ministry, go on a missions trip, give our tithes and offering...), we still need His blessings and help along the way. We can't dedicate our lives to God's service if He doesn't give us the grace to wake up in the morning. We can't give our tithes and offering without the job God gave us first, which provides the funds. 1 Samuel 12:24 touches on this. "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you." It is because of the great things that God has done for us, that we can then do things for the glory of God.
3. The Free "I Love You"
I can't be the only mama in the world, who was dreaming of the day her little nugget would look at her and say "I love you". So, from the minute he started talking, I would try to coax an "I love you" out of him. FINALLY, the day came. I said "I love you", and he said "I you"! I didn't know I could feel such joy! Imagine my emotional state, when the next day as we're playing, Aidan comes up to me, gives my knee a kiss, and says "I you"! I could've flown! And in that moment, I understood why God gave us free will. It feels so much better to receive a "free I love you", rather than a "coaxed I love you". As our Heavenly Father, God wants us to want Him. He wants us to WANT to spend time with Him, to choose Him over all others - just like we mamas want our babies to love us. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
Romans 8:38-39 puts it so passionately. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord." That kind of love deserves to be loved back. And to be loved freely, just as freely as it is given.
I thank God for blessing us with Aidan. Not only because he brings so much joy to our family, or because he is so sweet-natured. I thank Him because it has brought me closer to God, has made our relationship deeper, and made me want to serve God even more faithfully than before.