Training

Updated: Apr 20

Train up a child in the way he should go.  Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 NASB

I will be honest with you. I am weary. And I found myself wanting to write yet again about tension. Particularly the dichotomy of Christmas. Here we are on the eve of Thanksgiving, the very precipice of all things merry and bright just around the corner. I have thoughts, as I know all of you do, about some of our sweet and grieving families in our very midst. The unfairness of it all. I have been thinking of writing about the innate need for home we all have and how this one we are in is so temporary. Sometimes I worry that Mark and I are not homeowners right now, but then I remember that all of us humans are pretty much here on earth via a lease agreement anyways. But I cannot even string those thoughts together. Because for the past six days, my life has revolved almost completely around potty training our two-year-old.

I don’t know why we decided to start the process when we did except that neither one of us had the wherewithal to see that the timing would bring mayhem. I think Mark and I were both somehow blindsided by the whole thing even though we ourselves marked it on our calendars, bought the treats, the trinket toys, and dusted off the potty chair. Before I knew it my life was completely dictated by our independent, feisty two-year-old. I was the servant, Andrew the master. And only one of us was pleased with the arrangement. And though we have the sweetest, most profound four-year-old son, it turns out Joshy is not the most supportive potty-training partner. Nor was he pleased with Andrew’s authoritarian style of governance.

We use this intense three-day method and though it does work, the hardest part is you cannot tell your child to go to the bathroom. You continually repeat to them, “let me know when you need to use the potty, ok?” The first 72 hours, I went outside just once. I stood in the back yard with my face in the late afternoon November sun and with my eyes still closed repeated over and over, “let mommy know if you need to go potty, ok?” I was hopeful a neighbor would hear me and send coffee. Or call my husband. I role played using the potty with Mickey Mouse characters and researched things on YouTube I never thought I would type in a search bar. At the end of the three days, we are about 90% there.

Why am I sharing any of this? How is it encouraging for you or helpful to your faith? I have not the faintest idea, friends. Maybe I just selfishly needed to process it. I do however have some reflections; How often do we pause to wonder about the lengths God goes to not just care for us, but to teach us? Does staying constantly near His child’s side utterly exhaust Him as it did me this week? Does He find teaching us the same thing over and over mind numbing or discouraging as I did? Though He is the Servant King, does that make me the master of the house?

I don’t mean for us to ponder these things in self-deprecating ways. We all know we have far to grow in our likeness towards Christ, and that there is beautiful grace in the process. Typically it is a sobering reality when we realize how very different we are from Christ. But this week I realized, the flip side of that is the joy that Christ is mercifully so different from us. He does not parent as I do. He does not tire of our false sense of independence. He does not get into power battles with two-year-olds. In fact, He delights in us.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.   Zephaniah 3: 16-17

How very grateful I am that God is so very different from me.

Last night in the middle of our bedtime routine, Joshy said to me, “Mama. The past few days of potty training were really rough for me.”

Me too, sweetheart. Me too.

We have a good, good Father.

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