God, Eh-ah. Amen.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

I'm going to let the world in on a little secret: I don't really know what I'm doing with this whole parenting thing.  Oh, I've read lots of books on the subject and talked to many moms I admire.  I've Binged and Googled and Pinterested to my heart's content issues on the matter of parenthood, especially as it pertains to this new land we've recently entered: Toddlerdom.  But when it really comes down to it, I'm just doing the best I can with what I've got.  Some days, that's more than others.  At the end of every day, though, all I'm ever left with is a prayer in my heart and faith in my Heavenly Father that I'm raising my daughter in His way.

I realize most learning at this stage is through example.  For instance, on one particularly bad day a month or so ago, I stomped my feet and let out a loud "gggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" in frustration.  It wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, just more of a release from the day.  Of course little eyes were watching.  So it came as no surprise when it wasn't long before Gia had adapted her own version of this "foot-stomping-grrrrrrr" reaction.  As if asking forgiveness of anyone isn't hard enough, try asking it of an almost-two-year old who has no clue what you're saying.  Yeah, that's humbling.  I'd like to say that once was enough for me to really "get it" that my daughter will follow my example in many ways- good and bad- but I'm just going to be realistic and tell you that I will mess up again in front of her.  And I'll have to ask her forgiveness again.  But in this fallen world, I'm learning to become okay with that.  I know that when I mess up, its an opportunity to bring the Gospel to her heart (and mine).  

Just like I've realized my daughter will follow my cues in stressful or difficult circumstances, I'm learning (with so much joy in my heart) that she is catching on to the good things I am trying to teach her, too.  She's picking up phrases all over the place.  Sometimes, she will say something and I'll have to think back to what I've been talking about to realize that she did, indeed, pick it up from me.  I never realized I used "honey" as a term of endearment quite so frequently until she started saying it back to me in her sweet little two year old voice: "huh-neeee."  So Sweet.

Every night as I'm putting Gia to bed, we read some books, talk about her day, then I ask her who she wants to pray for.  She goes in spurts and it always warms my heart to hear the random people who are on her mind at the moment.  Sometimes it is Keegan, her newest cousin.  Sometimes its Pop Pop, Gram and kit-cats (their kittens).  But almost always, she wants to pray for Ella, her bestie.  Or "Eh-ah" as she calls her.  We had dinner with Ella & Heather tonight, so Ella must have been on Gia's mind, because after I finished praying (including thanking God for Ella and praying that they would be encouraging & uplifting friends to each other as they grow up), Gia wanted me to pray for Ella again.  So we prayed for Ella again.  When I said "amen," Gia still wanted to keep praying for Ella!  So I told her, "You do it."  As she sat facing me in my lap, she looked up at me, then deliberately down at her hands as she folded them beneath her chin. (I'm guessing they learned that at church?) She close her eyes and I held my breath to see what she was going to do.  In her sweet, angelic voice she simply prayed, "God.  Eh-ah.  Amen."  God, Ella.  Amen.  Talk about making my heart burst!  Now who knows what her mind can comprehend about those three little words she just prayed.  But I think children understand more than we expect them to, and I'm ok with raising the bar of expectations here.  As she prayed that, my heart cried "Yes!" along with a million thoughts of them growing up together, prayers that they will be good influencers to each other and those around them, that they wouldn't argue over boys, that they can be different and still be good friends, that they can do life together the way Heather & I (and all our other girl friends) do.  

So there you have it, my baby's first prayer.  I know I screw up as a mom.  Most days I'm just flying by the seat of my pants, hanging on for dear life and doing the best I can.  Speaking truth to my daughter and trusting in God, believing His promise that His Word will not return void.  In the moments where I see the sinful side of myself mirrored in my daughter, my heart breaks.  But in the moments where I see God's plan of redemption and promise bursting forth from my tiny two year old, my heart is not only healed it is grateful & joyous, abounding with hope at the grace given to us by our loving God.  And I'm okay with not knowing exactly what I'm doing in Toddlerdom-- I'm not alone.

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  1. Was thinking about you, and thought I'd stop in and see what you were up to! :)

    There's so much I love about this entry. Gia's prayer was so precious, and I can so identify with so much you said about parenting. Ezra is such a sponge lately--lots of wondering where the heck he learned something, and then realizing I inadvertently taught him.

    Thanks for sharing. Love it.


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