Toddler Taught Truth

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My daughter cracks me up. Especially when she throws tantrums. I really don’t want to encourage the behavior, but seriously, it’s hard not to laugh sometimes! Am I the world’s worst mom or can somebody relate to this predicament?

I’ve figured out that I can’t give Jo something (namely a piece of candy or food) if she can’t have ALL of it. I have to hand her the entire bag of fruit snacks instead of just one at a time. I have to give her a banana whole, not chopped up. I have to hide the jumbo bag of dum-dums in order to hand her one, and I have to show her my empty pockets. I’m not kidding.

I’ve seen my poor little girl sobbing…WITH A SUCKER IN HER MOUTH. I can’t even understand how she could possibly cry with a pink lemonade treat on her tongue. Seriously, what could be the problem? Didn’t I just send her to “toddler heaven?”

Her dissatisfaction with what I have seemingly withheld from her makes her incapable of enjoying the bit she holds in her hand. What she doesn’t know is that a lot of moms don’t let their babies have candy (and those moms probably aren’t in a car with their child for several hours a week!). I don’t HAVE to give her candy at all, but still, she acts like she has been on the receiving end of some major injustice by her mother not allowing her to rot her teeth out of her head.

And it’s funny how the Lord uses these moments to teach me. A red-faced nearly-two-year-old screaming with blue lips (from the treat- not a lack of oxygen!) ¬†and a sucker in hand. And I think it’s ridiculous¬†but it’s not far from home.

We were a stocking short on the mantle at Christmas, so I felt lonely when surrounded by a loving family. I long for my baby boy and fail to cherish the moments with my precious little princess basking in what an incredible miracle her sweet little life truly is. I think about each holiday and birthday being the last in the States, and I am tempted to sulk instead of take in every moment. But at the same time I long to be in India, serving where God has called our family, and I don’t make the most of the ministry God has given me stateside. And it’s nothing but ridiculous. I am robbing myself of the joy of the blessings God has given me because I’d rather focus on what I feel like has been withheld from me or even taken away from me.

I don’t indulge my toddler with everything she wants or thinks she needs because I love her. The decisions I make are for her own benefit. All us parents are in agreement here (except for maybe the lady who said, “Shame on you” for giving Jo yogurt while her father and I ate ice cream). This makes perfect sense to us.

Yet, when the Father in heaven withholds or takes away, we question Him. Does He really know what He’s doing? Does He really have it all under control? Why would He not bless me in the way He blesses others, and why would He take something that is precious to me away?

Because while it may not please me, it benefits me. And you know what’s the greatest thing about that? He actually KNOWS what’s best for me, without a doubt, because He created me. He knows my inside and out and has been conscious of every moment of my life from the moment of my conception (what?!?).

And let’s be honest, I really have NO clue what’s best for Jo. I read blogs and books, I pin and ponder, I ask advice and worry around the clock. But I don’t really know what’s best for her. But, oh, I sure do try.

But he knows. And he provides, and He doesn’t have to try. Blessings and benefits flow from His wounded hands. He is incapable of producing anything but righteousness. Rightness. And everything He allows in my life is for my benefit whether I can wrap my head around that or not.

Maybe it’s the blessing of being used for His kingdom or just the sake of knowing Him more intimately. But isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

That’s all I need. You can have my blue lollipop and day of the week. Just don’t take Jo’s. Trust me on that one.

Mommy Guilt

I’m about the share my biggest battle on deputation with you. It’s not sleep deprivation, lengthy drives, financial struggles, or excessive carb-consumption (though at times, all of these wear on me!). It’s Mommy Guilt.

All of those little things about deputation not only have an affect on my life but also on the precious life of my toddler. At times, I begin to feel guilty about the long hours in the car, the 100th french fry (or 4th chocolate chip cookie) of the day, or the fact that she has worn the same thing for 3 days in a row and has had the same 5 toys to play with for an entire month. I get frustrated by our lack of schedule and bedtime that fluctuates by 1-3 hours which sometimes results in the following:IMG_0291

Thanks to my informative friend but victimizing enemy, Facebook, I see mommies doing activities I had hoped to experience with Jolynn this summer, teaching new things in creative ways in their home, purchasing new play items to stimulate and entertain their children and creating healthy, yummy lunches. As I peruse these displays of mommy perfection, the scum rises to the surface. Jealousy (there it is again). Guilt.

So maybe my child hasn’t had milk in her sippy cup for a few days, and has watched the same episode of Veggie Tales 16 times in a row. But this mommy needs to forget Facebook and focus on what my sweet girl does get to experience. She has fun, meets new friends, and learns everywhere we go. She gets to see her grandparents, great-grandparents, and other extended family on a much more regular basis due to our frequent travels.And not only that, but she gets to be with her Daddy a whole lot! We sure are lucky ladies to spend so much time with Daddy!

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She is loved by many people in many states. People all over the US have her picture on their fridge and pray for her by name. I would venture to say that she has had more hugs, snuggles, and kisses than the average kid, too. She plays with brand new (to her) toys and meets new friends in different nurseries 3 times a week. Many people give her gifts to keep her looking spiffy and staying entertained.

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She is learning to sit in church and will soon be learning from the Bible! She has become extremely sociable and will go to anyone. The most common thing we hear about Jolynn is, “She never meets a stranger!” With each person comes laughs, learning, and love.

If I think on the right things, I can see that truly, my girl is a blessed baby, and I am one blessed missionary mama!

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