Mother's Day is coming up and it's got me thinking about the privilege Courtney and I have to be parents to three amazing children. Also, parenting has caused me to learn more about God than almost any other experience in my life. Thought I'd share a few of the lessons I've learned this week.
With children ages 1, 2 and 3 we have been in potty training mode for about the last 3 months and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Currently our middle child Maya is having the most success so here are four parallels God has shown me about potty training Maya and my relationship with Him:
- When Maya says "potty" I drop everything and immediately take her to the bathroom. What do I do when God tries to get my attention or I hear His voice? Do I have the same urgency and place the same priority on His voice as I do Maya's? Too often I think I tell God to wait, or make a mental note to talk with Him when it's convenient for me, or just ignore Him all together. How do you respond to God's voice?
- Maya sitting on the potty, especially when she's successful, makes our other two children want to sit on the potty as well. Does the way I live my life make others want to imitate what I'm doing? The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians "I urge you to imitate me." (1 Corinthians 4:16) Can I in good conscious tell others to imitate my life? How about you?
- To maximize the chances potty training success we've learned that we must always have potties setup, ready for immediate use and stocked with toilet paper. If Maya goes to the bathroom and she can't quickly get to her potty we'll probably have an accident. Am I spending time with God on a regular basis, building my faith and trust in Him, strengthening my relationship with Him before a crisis or storm comes... or am I waiting until my life is falling apart and then trying to do those things. Are you waiting for a storm to get serious with God, or are you pursuing Him now?
- In addition to using the potty, teaching Maya to empty the potty, properly dispose of the toilet paper and flush the big toilet is critical. If not you may have a child successfully using the potty but still have a big, stinky mess on your hands. Do we teach people how to respond biblically after they create a mess? Or do we focus only on directing people how to live right and avoid sin? Not sure about you, but I make a mess in my life sometimes and I need to know how to respond properly when those times happen.
In case you find yourself in this situation, here is a good model to follow: confess to God, repent before God, confess to someone else, let them pray for you and hold you accountable, and put practical safeguards in your life in that area. Moving forward focus on being full of God and not trying to manage the sin that just happened.