deep breaths

My toddler is NUTS right now.

I mean, he’s a great kid. Maybe even a particularly great kid, for his age? But he’s at that two-and-rounding-the-bend-about-to-hit-that-apparently-infamous-terrible-THREES stage, which means some days are just complete and utter insanity. Like I-cannot-even-understand-what-you-are-saying-I-don’t-understand-you-were-just-totally-fine-WHAT-are-we-freaking-out-about-again?? insanity. Comical insanity, even, when I’m on my A game. Immediately followed by GIGGLES and KISSES ON THE FACE of course. HOW does one KEEP UP?

The funny and sort of terrifying part of this stage is that nearly every time he is flipping out, asserting his iron toddler will, insisting on having the last word, or seemingly unable to cope when something doesn’t go quite as he planned I think to myself my goodness that child is HIS MOTHER’S CHILD.

I’m not sure if its because of all the infamous stories from my childhood–several of them caught on home video [there is literally a VHS tape in my parents basement somewhere that is marked “ERIN BITE” on which from a distance you see me nearly exactly Ezra’s age slow-biting a neighbor boy twice my age square in the stomach after he refused to move out of my way on our indoor mini trampoline], my own early childhood memories, OR the fact that there is still a little tiny-toddler-Erin inside of me today, but when I see that little dude encounter conflict the way he does, I think THAT KID IS ME.

I wish I could just have patience, one hundred percent flexibility, perfect grace, ALL the time. With my kids, yes, but also just with everyone and everything. I would rather not have to acquire these things through hard work and prayer and the slowww process that is sanctification. Motherhood is not what I need these things for, it just does a really great job at reminding me how much I do not have them on my own. Add sleep deprivation on top of toddlerhood and my own normal disposition and it can feel like a lost cause all together sometimes.

My husband is of course one of the people who knows me best and has had the pleasure of encountering my shortcomings on a daily basis over the course of a good chunk of my years (lucky him!). I can’t tell you the number of times in our marriage he has paused, looked at me, and very kindly and noncondemningly said, “let’s take a couple deep breaths together.” I used to hate it. Actually, I probably still do, when I’m in the heat of feeling really upset and really convinced I have to be right (of course). But I have to say, I hear his voice in my head, and take those deep breaths sooooo often on my own in this season of life. Not just because THE KIDS. Because life, work, stress, house, kids, etc. etc. etc. Even on the kids’ best days, its a fight for peace and patience all the time.

There is a way to have peace when life’s circumstances are just not peace-filled. I know its possible. I know it is because its promised to me in Scripture. Because the Lord calls his Holy Spirit my comforter, my counselor, and a gift that has been given to me, to the church. But its amazing what a daily struggle it is. We need grace upon grace every hour, and constant patient guidance and strength, even on the good days.

I am thankful for a God who doesn’t give up. Who sees and cares about the tiny little troubles of my daily life. Who has paid for my sin in full, and promised to grant me re-dos upon re-dos. Take comfort, friends. Every moment is a new one. There is nothing the Lord is unable or unwilling to redeem. Deep breaths.