Most days I just love my kid to bits.
I catch a smile or a look. He just takes my breath away. His sweet face, toddler curls, amazing eyes, joy-filled smile.
But there are those days…
Those days when I just don’t know what to do with him. So I have a dance party or pray or do something silly to make myself laugh, or I might just pull out all my hair.
Lately, it’s the screaming. I can tell he’s frustrated with his lack of communication skills, but oh man! Really?! Is squealing at that excruciating pitch really the answer?!
He gets frustrated with me. I get frustrated with him. And I try to imagine him as a well-behaved, respectful son in the years to come, but it just seems impossible when I have to wrestle with a screaming toddler just to get his diaper and clothes on in the morning.
I’m frustrated at how easily frustrated I am.
Why can’t I control my emotions better? I should have prepared for this, learned more self-control and self-awareness or something. And how does he know my buttons when he is so small? He’ll only get smarter and better at pushing them.
I don’t have the strength or stamina to do this by myself.
On those trying days (or even just trying moments), I feel like I was thrown into an athletic competition with no training. I’m going to lose. Or inadvertently hurt myself or someone else for lack of experience and skill. Or cry or throw up and pass out from exhaustion.
Yesterday, I came across this passage…
In John 14:12, Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (emphasis mine)
Greater things than what Jesus did? Me?!
Read John 14:6-14. Theologically speaking, this is passage really challenges us. There are no two ways about it. Jesus clearly states, He is the only way “to the Father,” to Heaven. And later in the passage, He digs into His part of the Trinity. “[He] is in the Father, and the Father is in [Him].”
He claims to be the only way to be saved. He claims to be God. And I believe Him. And He cites the miracles He has performed as evidence. Then He says… “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Greater than the miracles performed by Jesus, God Himself. That’s what I can do if I have faith in Him. And it gets better…
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14
Suddenly, I feel like the Bionic Woman! My flimsy parenting skills have been reinforced, supernaturally. My insufficient emotional and physical strength are no longer an issue because I have faith. And because of that faith, that relationship with God, Jesus can do great things through me. Greater even than the miracles He himself did! And whatever I ask in His name, He will do to bring glory to God.
All I need is faith and prayer, and suddenly I can do the impossible… manage toddler tantrums and tirelessly guide him towards a God-honoring life for the next couple decades. Seems impossibly difficult. But then I remember what Jesus said in that passage. Suddenly, I have a whole new outlook.
Parenting a crazy toddler? Ain’t no thang. Jesus’ got this.
So let’s heave a collective sigh of relief. We can do it, mamas… because it’s His strength and skill, not ours. We’ll keep building up our strength, working those muscles of faith and prayer, and He will provide the power and strength to deal with the rest.