I was dreading potty training my third son. He’s quite stubborn and he doesn’t talk so I was expecting a horrible weekend*.
But as with anything mandatory with kids, I jumped in and did it anyway. Partway through the day I had this sudden realization that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and not because he was miraculously potty trained in 5 minutes. (he wasn’t, just to clarify)
I had this little epiphany: God is helping me. He is giving me wisdom and patience (LOTS OF IT) and energy so that I can continue the dreaded P-Day with joy. The revelation surprised me, because I had not thought to pray about potty training.
It is easier to remember to call on God when I’m working at church, or leading a Bible study, or praying with my kids. But perhaps I had compartmentalized my faith – remembering that God is with me when I’m doing “spiritual” things and forgetting that He also deeply cares about the things that are “mundane”.
Because really, when God is with us, everything is spiritual and has purpose. Even potty training.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed [or potty training],
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
The 3-day intensive potty-training method that I prefer requires that my son and I become constant companions. I cannot even go to the bathroom or check my email without having my eyes on him, and he cannot secretively dump his brother’s coin collection or eat an entire tube of toothpaste because he is beside me, and I am beside him.
I have grown closer to my little guy this weekend, better understanding his wants and needs, and he has stayed out of mischief!
Similarly, I am better able to stay out of mischief when I sit beside my God. His loves and desires for my life start to become my loves and desires and I begin to exercise my freedom in healthier ways.
“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”
As I train my child to empty his bladder into a toilet rather than the convenience of his pants, I must remember that he needs a lot of extra grace. He is trying something very new and it would be unfair to expect him to have complete success right away. He is a child, and is learning one more skill in the process of growing up.
Likewise, my God has a lot of patience too. I often feel like He must be terribly disappointed in me when I mess up. And yet, if I, an earthly parent, can extend grace and love when my child pees his pants for the tenth time today, how much more grace and love does my heavenly Parent extend to me when I say the wrong thing yet again? I am learning one more skill in the process of growing up spiritually.
“If you then, though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
*If there is potty training on the horizon for you, please check out the 3 Day Potty Training method! I had tried another method with our eldest with much frustration, and someone recommended this one to me. Within a day of trying it, he had it figured out. Our middle child took about the 3 days, and our youngest is on day 3 and basically trained now too. This method is VERY different from the usual, and involves no diapers or pull-ups, even at night. It really does work! It’s just these 3 days I was dreading. 😉 If you want to take a look at the e-book, here a Canadian link and an American link. (these are affiliate links, posted only because I seriously love this product and costs nothing extra for you!)
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