-by Nicole Cox

“As a mom of a two year old girl, I’ve become aware of the struggles of “normal” toddler behavior. One of the more frustrating aspects of the toddler psychological profile is the tendency to heed the parent’s command for a brief two seconds before recommencing the undesirable behavior. It’s a little game to them, though they don’t even know it. Listen to Mommy. But wait, it’s more fun to do what she asked me not to do. I’ll do that instead. Now I’m in trouble. Listen to Mommy. Rinse and repeat. Obviously, it’s a game they win. I mean, not that the parents don’t try to win, but almost any adult who’s interacted with a young toddler knows that a battle of the wills doesn’t get anyone anywhere. So we try, again and again to stop the naughtiness, only to have it rear its ugly head the moment we turn our backs (or not; the toddler knows no shame).

I realized, while pushing down the anger and frustration over my daughter’s inability to control herself once again this weekend, that spiritually speaking, I’m very much like a toddler.

“That’s wrong. It will hurt you,” says God.

“Ok, I’ll stop,” I reply.

Two hours, two minutes, or two days later…guess what? There I go again. The same sin, the same struggle, the same lack of self-control. And I’m an adult, fully rational, and very well-formed. My daughter is still learning to correctly identify primary colors. I’m fairly certain that God doesn’t rant and rave or even huff in disgust when I (again) do what He’s expressly asked me not to do, for my own good. And at the same time, He doesn’t lower the standards just because I’m not exactly meeting them.

I can read parenting advice books and blogs until the cows come home, but there’s a pretty great blueprint of how to discipline that’s been around since the world began. I can find it in the grace of Christ’s forgiveness in the confessional, and in the story of redemption played out over and over in the Bible. Hopefully, I can remember it better the next time my toddler scratches the baby, throws food on the floor, and so forth. The path to perfection is a gentle slope, and we’re all a bit like toddlers, stumbling our way up it to the merciful Father.”

His Grace is THE answer!!!  Pray for it!  Wait for it!  Ask for it!  Beg for it!  It will, it does come.  I have felt it, and been suddenly surprised at growing strength to resist temptation.  Strength I did not, do not possess, without Him (Jn 15:5).  I promise.  I do.