Saturday, May 24, 2014

The soldier in the mirror

Parenting a strong-willed and highly intelligent child is exhausting.  There is a lot of yelling (and not just on his part, unfortunately).  The fact that he is an almost-four-year-old boy competing for attention with two younger sisters is just icing on the cake.  On the rare occasion that he plays quietly and independently, I don't disturb the beast.  For I know that when it strikes his fancy to join the rest of us again he will move mountains.

I'm hit with an endless barrage of inquiries, and not just the typical toddler "Why?" but lengthy and detailed scenarios that must be solved post haste.  I often find myself explaining complex themes of death and God's omnipresence.  If the seat belt doesn't stretch far enough or the lego bricks don't separate easily, we brace ourselves for the eruption that is to follow.  In his bright young mind, it's his way or the highway, and when his philosophy clashes with the reality of my authority, he makes it very clear that he will not back down without a fight.

And now it hits me.  This precious little challenge is a carbon copy of me.  I've heard a lot over the last year about my strength, but the truth is, I don't know the alternative.  I simply don't give up without a fight, and I get it from my mother.  This strength of will runs in our heritage.

My brain never shuts off.  It runs and runs with facts and detailed scenarios until it overheats - the source of anxiety.  And wouldn't you know it?  My anxiety sneaks out in the form of grouchiness - short answers and snappiness.  I like for things to be done my way and in my time.  I just don't follow well.

The puzzle pieces divinely fall into place.  God is using this complex little being as a tool for my molding.  The gift of a mirror.  Suddenly, I look at him and I see myself.  I can almost hear my heavenly father say, "Frustrating isn't it? You know the healthiest, smartest, and most beneficial way, but this child of yours insists on doing it his own way. Kinda like me and you, huh?"

Boom.  I'm melted and humbled once again.  He saves me once again.  What a marvelous gift to have a constant reminder in my home of how God loves.

I know that my boy will use his intelligence and strong will to become an unstoppable soldier in the army of our Lord and Savior.  He will make a difference in this world.  He already has.  I look at him today and tell him that God has been using him since the day he was born.  I only hope that I can make our God proud by raising this little soldier up in the way that he should go...and the two that come behind him.