A friend asked me today how I was doing and my answer is always the same it seems: “Depends on how I choose to control my thoughts.” And it’s true, a whole lot depends on that conscious decision. I can act like a two-year-old and have a tempter tantrum and cry because I’m not getting what I want, or I can choose to act like a grown-up and surrender my wants to Jesus, especially when I know full well that I can never have what I want again anyway – at least not in this life. To act like a two-year-old only gets me a one-way ticket to misery. Surrender doesn’t ease the pain very much right now but at least it doesn’t make things worse.
As I watch Zoe walk and explore and grow in the awareness of her surroundings, I’m very alert to my responsibility to protect her from some of her ‘wants’. I have to be there to redirect her from her desire to play with knives or descend the stairs head first. Sometimes it’s as small as taking a small rock out of her mouth and exchanging it for a Cheerio. Sometimes it’s as painful as changing a poopy diaper and putting ointment on a developing diaper rash. When she fights me I don’t let it bother me too much because I know what I’m doing is out of love for her safety and well-being. The bottom line is, something she just doesn’t get what she wants. When she easily surrenders her want and moves on to something safer then she’s a happy tike. When she’s determined and head-strong about what she wants and can’t have it she can get quite miserable. In the end it really is her choice. My decision and actions are the same, to love her and keep her safe. Not necessarily happy, but loved and safe.
I still have my moments when I act head-strong and focus on what I can’t have and it makes me totally miserable. There are other times when I have the grace to let the temptation pass me by and not drag me down. But there are still other times when thoughts of Bernadette just wash right over me like a tidal wave and all I can do is fight for the next breath. No matter which moment I’m having, I at least know that I can count on God being my loving Father who will love me and keep me safe. And the reassurance to know that when I’m acting like a two-year-old that He doesn’t get all frazzled and demand that I grow up. He understands and He just waits it out, the same way I would wait it out when Zoe has her little meltdowns, with an ache in my heart for her happiness once again.
I wish that all my moments were with the grace to accept what has happened and to know with infinite assurance that Bernadette is so perfectly happy that I’m wasting my time thinking/fearing otherwise. I know this is where I need to make another conscious decision to control my thoughts. I have to choose to believe in God’s infinite love for Bernadette and completely trust Him with her (like I really have a choice!) This, I confess, I’m having a bit of a harder time with. It’s not as easy. It challenges all my beliefs. Do I truly believe or don’t I? If I do, then the grace will be there to move forward in trust and confidence in God’s love for all of us. If I don’t, then I’m in big trouble! God willing, I will choose more and more to walk in His grace. Thank goodness I have Zoe as a tangible reminder of the peace and happiness that awaits me if I choose grace and the patience of God our Father when I don’t.