My child is a delight; and a challenge. Right now we are in potty-training boot-camp. At least it feels like I have become a Marine drill Sergeant, barking out “Let’s go to the potty!” every 30 minutes like clockwork. (I’ll bet you never thought you would hear someone talking about potty habits in a devotional, did you?)
As those of you with children realize, this potty-training stuff is a big challenge. Not only is it a challenge for our children, but for us adults as well. We are hyper vigilant, always at the ready to pick them up and run. We monitor their intake of liquids and solids, trying to predict, and prevent, an accident from happening. We want so badly for our child to succeed, to master this new task. Mastering potty-training brings them one step closer to independence; and, truth be told, we look forward to not having the cost or clean-up associated with diaper days.
Throughout this struggle, I have gone through a wide range of emotions. Everything from, “I’m not ready for my baby to be this grown up”, to triumphant cheers; and, I ashamedly admit, a fair amount of frustration, even anger.
As I am going through this trying time of potty-training boot-camp, I find that I am doing everything I can think of in an attempt to help my little boy succeed. Yet, I know that this is a goal he must master on his own time line. I am not in control of his body; and at times neither is he.
Once I began to realize the truth of the situation, my attitude began to change. I began to relate this trial to our calling to serve the Lord. Often we see a friend struggling in an area of obedience or faith. We want to jump in and do whatever we can to fix things for them. But, ultimately unless our friend first recognizes their need and desires the end result of change, there is little we can do to help; except cheer from the side-lines, and pray. Our pushing, and suggesting, and monitoring their activities will be of no assistance.
While reflecting on this it occurred to me that the One who can bring about change in the lives His people can even assist my son in mastering the potty. You see Jesus cares about anything and everything that is a concern to us; yes, He even cares about potty-training.
Why hadn’t I thought of this before? I had missed the mark. I failed to include God in my struggle. When I finally figured out that the best source for assistance with our potty-training challenge could be found with simple prayer to God, I began to take my concerns to the Lord. I even let my son know that “Mommy is praying that God will help you to be a big boy, and put your poo-poo in the potty.”
Not long after I told my son that I was praying for him, one night during our nightly ritual, (read a book, pray, sing, rub his head) when I asked my son what he wanted to pray about that night, he thought for a moment, then with a beaming face said, “Pee-pee, poo-poo, in the potty. Get candy!”
You see my son was focused on the immediate goal of getting the “Tootsie-Roll” that we had placed on the back of the toilet as motivation to for him to “put his poo-poo in the potty.” However, his prayer request gave me the vision that soon, hopefully very soon, I would have the opportunity to teach him an important life lesson about prayer and God’s awesome love. And wouldn’t you know God answered my little boy’s prayer the following evening. My son managed to put his poo-poo in the potty for the first time, and he earned that sweet treat he had been longing for.
I rejoiced with him; clapping and saying “Great job”, and then, just a short time later, I cupped his sweet, sticky, little face in my hands. I seized the teaching opportunity and I told him, “Precious Gabe, today God answered your prayer. Today, God paused just for you and helped you to put your poo-poo in the potty. Never forget this day! Never forget that God loves you and He answers your prayers!”
My sisters in Christ, just as God answered the prayer of this precious little boy, He patiently waits for you to lay your cares at His feet. No matter what your struggles or challenges are; no matter how big or how small, God cares about your concerns. He doesn’t want you to be anxious; rather He wants you to petition Him with thanksgiving, being certain that God will hear your cries; and that He will answer them. You too are His precious child. Won’t you give Him the chance to demonstrate His love for you today by taking everything to God in prayer?
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (NIV)
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (NIV)