Yes, that time—as in, that time just this week.
I took my tiny minions of the apocalypse children to Babies R Us this week, splotchy-face and puffy eyes and all, and I didn’t even care who saw me or how bad I looked.
Because I was so darn tired of the slamming doors.
So incredibly tired of my son opening and closing every single door, rummaging around upstairs while I sat helplessly trying to get my daughter to flipping pee in the potty.
Tired of him dragging the rocker over to his sink and overflowing water onto the floor. Of emptying all his drawers. Of eating lotion (the third time this week). Of squirting out the rest of his tube of blue toothpaste all over the carpet, right where I’d just managed to clean up the first half.
Tired of him raiding the refrigerator and stealthily cracking open a dozen new, organic eggs on the floor and licking them up while I was—you guessed it—sitting helplessly on the floor with my daughter, trying to get her to flipping pee in the potty.
Tired of him eating chocolate syrup and squirting bright yellow mustard and unrolling a roll of toilet paper while I looked and sounded like an idiot, waving my hands enthusiastically to a song about poo. About poo, people.
And you know what? The poo still ended up on the floor, as well as the pee, where my daughter and the dogs had a grand old time splashing and squealing in it while I was cleaning up aforementioned lotion, toothpaste, cracked eggs, chocolate syrup, etc. etc. etc. Toddlers 1; Mom, 0.
But let me tell you: my house is now more secure than Fort Knox. So we should be good until my kiddos figure out how to undo all these baby-proofing devices, at which point I imagine we’ll just move to padded walls and straight jackets.
If my exasperated tone hasn’t already given it away, we have been in the middle of potty training our daughter (though I feel it’s dishonest to call it “potty training,” as my idea of potty training is that your child’s waste actually goes in the potty and not anywhere and everywhere else). And, to say it has not gone well is kind of an understatement.
To say I’m more than a little crazy and losing what was left of my mind is not, in any form, hyperbole. Seriously.
My kids are amazing. They are smart and bubbling over with personality and life. They were sleeping through the night—12 hours—by 3 months of age and never regressed.
They are not, however, potty training prodigies. And so, after much wrestling and innumerable tears, we are pulling the plug for now. I know half of you get it, and the other half is saying oh, don’t give up!
But stepping back for now is what’s best for our family.
Because I’d like to stay married.
I’d also like to keep from researching toddler rescue programs (that’s a joke, people, no need to alert CPS!).
So for everyone’s sanity, we’ll press pause and revisit the issue when we don’t have an impending cross-country flight and preschool and the arrival of a new baby breathing down our necks.
If you’ve been reading along the month of May, you know we just finished up a series all about motherhood—specifically, how to thrive in this phase of young motherhood. I have to release an ironic laugh and confess that lately, I feel I’ve been doing anything but thriving in this thing called motherhood.
And oh, how ready the enemy is with his whispers and accusations—see, you have no business writing. You can’t even practice what you preach on a consistent basis! Who are you to say anything?
Anyone else feel me in this struggle? I’m amazed at how I always seem to forget that, once God shows us truth, Satan comes right along behind Him, doing his best to snatch it all up.
It also amazes me how our enemy can use pretty much anything as a weapon against us—even something as strange and seemingly innocuous as bodily functions. But yes indeed, pee and poo have brought me to my knees—a variation on the whole “bowing down to the porcelain throne” thing, if you will.
The whole experience has shoved me into confronting truths about myself that I’d rather not confront. I’ve always thought of myself as a determined, stick-to-it kind of person, and in many ways I am …
… but I’ve also seen up close and personal my lack of persevering grit. Within just the first 24-hours, I wanted to give up a few dozen times. I wanted to take it all back, pull out the diapers again, and pretend this is something that will magically take care of itself—without intense effort on my part—at some mythical, future date (hey, a girl can dream, right?).
It feels as though I’m being forced into running a marathon, be it potty training, discipline, cultivating relationships, or motherhood in general. And can we be clear about something else?
I don’t run marathons.
I don’t run marathons, and I don’t ever want to run marathons. But the hard truth I’m learning? It’s not really up to us.
Many of us are running marathons we never intended to run—difficult marriages, difficult jobs, difficult financial circumstances, strained family relationships, troubles with children, illness and disease, and a whole host of other possibilities.
Whatever you’re facing, the tough truth is that life on earth itself is a marathon. God’s Word is filled with race-themed metaphors:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV).
As followers of Jesus, we are called to run the marathons we encounter—whether or not we consider ourselves marathoners or not! This thought could threaten to discourage those of us who, like myself, would rather sip fruity drinks on a beach than train for a race …
… but, the really awesome, encouraging news is that we have a divine Trainer, and thus we are not alone.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, living and active in us, we are able to dig in, persevere, and keep going through whatever circumstances we face.
The critical question becomes: in whose strength are you running your marathon? Your own, or God’s? On our own, we’re not capable—we will hit a wall at some point. I’ve been smacked across the face lately with the reality of how much I’ve been depending on my own strength, without even realizing it! Independence and rebellion have a funny way of sneaking up on us (just ask Eve).
So I say to you, as I say to myself, stop trying to run life’s marathon in your own strength. Lay it all before the feet of our Heavenly Trainer, the one who promised that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26 NIV).
You may feel so very weary and at times think but I didn’t sign up for this. I’m with you—there are things in my life for which I certainly didn’t sign up for … but we can have victory. We can have the abundant life Jesus promised.
I don’t necessarily believe the idiom that “God will never give you more than you can handle,” but I certainly do believe that God will EQUIP us to handle whatever trials we encounter. And in doing so, our lives bring Him glory as we reap the benefit of all we’re promised in Him.
Hang tough, my fellow marathoner. Sip some water, take a moment to breathe, and regroup with your very own personal trainer, who just happens to be the God of the Universe.
The prize is ours for the taking.