So there I was, finally with a baby on the outside of me, and not feeling quite so very dark and gloomy. But the easy days were not (are not?) yet upon me.
Soon after my dream baby boy was born, my spitfire toddler really got into her groove, personality-wise. I mean, Rosalie has always been a fairly intense kid, but she really ramped it up after Gus arrived.
Which, of course, I expected. This isn’t my first rodeo and I know how 18 month old babies react to new siblings. I get it. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the myriad of ways she would react, and how fiercely she would feel all these big, huge feelings. And the thing that threw me for the biggest loop is her persistence.
Lord Almighty, this girl’s got some staying power to her tantrums.
Tiny little girl that she is, she’s pushed me to the limits of my parenting, and sometimes it isn’t pretty. Without going into too many details, we’re talking out of control behaviors at all hours of the day. Keeping us up in the middle of the night, waking us up early in the morning, acting out all day long.
All of this, as you can imagine, takes a toll on the family. I love her with my whole heart, I do. But I don’t always like her very much. Oddly, I’ve found myself in those deeply frustrating moments sort of throwing it back on God by saying, “Lord, you made her this way for reason. Let it be for my sanctification and for your glory.”
But I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t mean it.
I sort of said it out of spite, maybe a tad bit sarcastically even, perhaps hoping that once I had shown that I’d “learned my lesson” (recognized my need for humility) Rosie would miraculously become a regular kid with regular tantrums who slept regular hours and didn’t terrorize anyone with her Nazgul-like screeching.
As you may have guessed, my ploy didn’t work. So here I am, 4 and a half months postpartum with a dream baby and a toddler on steroids, not to mention my 4 regular big kids. And as you may remember from my post yesterday, a pathetic prayer life.
Last week, when I began 33 Days to Merciful Love again, I figured it would be nice to read and remember what I liked about it before. I didn’t expect it to hit me squarely between the eyes.
A quote from the CCC on DAY ONE, no less:
Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in His goodness.
I don’t remeber reading this last time, but when I saw it this time, I immediately discounted it. “Nuh-uh,” I thought. It can’t be that simple. Cannot. So then I started testing the theory with every sin I could think of, and immediately it became clear.
The basis of all sin is a lack of trust in God.
A lack of trust.
I turned that single word trust inside out and upside down for a couple days.
The truth is that I haven’t trusted God with anything in this situation. I’ve taken credit for every (minute) parenting success and every one of my many failures. I’ve been trying to take on the burden of raising Rosalie into a not-sociopath, nevermind a saint, without even consulting her Creator for tips. Well, duh.
So I took a deep breath, and I said, “I trust You.”
I trust, Lord, that You made her our daughter and You made us her mom and dad on purpose. I trust that when those difficult moments come, You will give us the grace to handle them. I trust that You will provide us with the wisdom to raise her. And I trust that all you are asking us to do is do our best to love her. Not the touchy-feely love, but the self-sacrificing love of the cross.
And little by little, my hard, brittle, shrunken heart is cracking open. Again for the millionth time (and there will be a million more times before I die) I am choosing to trust God in His infinite plan of mercy.
I really hesitate to speak about “results” because, well, this is a toddler we’re dealing with. A Rosie-type toddler, no less. But with my heart a little softer and little less burdened these last few days, I’ve noticed a softening in her too. Maybe it’s because she does so easily what I fight against every day.
She trusts me.
Come back next week when I hope to wrap up this teeny series on trust. In the meantime, do you have any big areas of your life where you withhold your trust in God? Or am I the only one?