Thursday, February 19, 2009

On Being 2 and Other Challenges

Well, since sister never really had the typical "terrible twos" I had hoped the brothers would make the same smooth transition from babyhood to toddler. Not so! Of course though the twins are as different as night and day, they are individually and as a unit different than their sister!

I won't say the boys are terrible because they're not. They are however firmly entrenched in the "terrible twos!" In any given 10 minute period they are sweet and loving, playing side by side and enjoying each other's company. Then one of them hits the other and is reprimanded. Then the one who was hit, hits back and the original discussion expands to "we" and "you boys."

Then one of the boys decides to do something "naughty." They just can't help themselves! Besides when you're two years old almost everything you perceive as fun and interesting is off-limits! What's a two-year old to do? I spend a lot of time holding the boys as they cry out of frustration because life in their world is challenging, frustrating and quite frankly confusing.

I've been through periods like that in my life. The 18 or so years I spent without Christ in my life - the 18-35 years - were exactly like that - confusing, challenging and frustrating. I spent a lot of time wandering lost and alone. I didn't know at the time what was missing from my life. Actually I think I did know. I don't know why I didn't run to God along the way. I was raised "in the church." I guess I just didn't have the good sense then. I believed I could do life on my own.

Now that I have been back in church almost 18 years I realize what I had missed. My "terrible twos" lasted a really long time. I had a lot of healing to do to recover from the effect of not abiding in Christ. I know it's a common story -- as one of my instructors shared -- it's legendary. Still . . . I lost a lot of years to praise God and rejoice in the gift of His Son.

I thank God that He used those years for my good--for His plan. He would have much preferred I had walked with Him during those years, just as I really wish the boys wouldn't go through the "legendary terrible twos." Fortunately, I understand this is a stage for them -- a season in which they are learning about themselves and others and their world, which grows larger and more challenging each day.

When I begin to run low on patience, I think of how God was so faithful to me through all those years. On the days when I think I may have to lock myself in the bathroom for a self-imposed time out, I realize how many times I must have broken God's heart. And I can't help but praise God for loving me enough to wait for me to run to Him. God promises to restore us to a right relationship with Him. Not that He wipes out the memory of those years, but He uses the memories as reminders of how we were - so we don't go back there again.

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25 New King James Version)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Running Laps and Fighting God

What a week we had! All three little ones are healthy again after a very unpleasant month-long round of strep throat! How I didn't contract it can only be attributed to Divine protection!

The boys, now that they are two have a whole new set of boundaries to push and ideas to implement that just generally throw everyone else's world into utter chaos! They have decided they don't like nap time any more. Oh, after lunch when I say, "Let's go take a nap," they're right there ready to go. They even act very quiet and look so angelic as they snuggle their blankies and I shut the door to get sister settled for her nap. They need their afternoon nap and when they do sleep, the go for at least 2 hours.

Yesterday, however, they were having none of it! After I ate my lunch and cleaned up the kitchen, I settled down to read for a few minutes. By the 2nd paragraph I began hearing banging coming from the boys' room. After the day I found them signalling to the workmen in the cul-de-sac with their window blinds, I ran upstairs. They were both on their backs in their beds kicking the side of the bed.

Later, I went upstairs and one brother was digging in one of the drawers while the other brother was telling him, "No, no!" The third time (yes I made them stay up there -- it was Friday and I was exhausted:-) I went up because I heard heavy footsteps from their room and I thought they were running circles. Well . . . they were - in their cribs. Round and round the circuit of their cribs. OK. By this point I just shook my head, told them they had better go to sleep and left the room. (I know it's entertaining for them when I'm exasperated, so I'm glad I could offer them that!)

The final time I went upstairs because of yelling, both boys were in one bed (one of the twins loves to get in his brother's bed even though he has been bitten and pushed). Both of them had their shoes on the floor, socks off and one brother had figured out how to put the socks on his hands like a sock puppet. He was quite pleased with himself and held up his hands for me to admire his newly acquired skill.

The other brother had decided he didn't really want his socks off and so held them up to me saying, "socks, socks." Socks went on the feet of both boys. All boys were returned to their rightful place in the room. I not very sweetly informed them that they had better get to sleep or they were going to be in big trouble. (I'm pretty sure I heard them making fun of me in their secret twin language as I walked back downstairs for what was, gratefully, the last time.)

Ummm . . . I've wrestled with God that much. Or I should say He has wrestled with me! He has tried countless times to get my attention, to gently guide me, then more forcefully direct me, then finally just throw up His hands and wait for me to figure out that He wants what is best for me. He doesn't give up on me! He just gives up on my obeying according to His time and His plan. He waits for me to get with the program and then blessess me.

But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18 )