The Day My Toddler Saved Me
Lately, I've been upset with the wide, frustrating chasm between where I am in my weak, always slipping-and-failing human nature and the strong, upright, better person I wish to be.
I am constantly humbled—even humiliated—by my own weaknesses. Like sneak-eating too many walnuts, or sitting lazily in front of the tv after dinner with a large bowl of warm, coconut-oiled dates. Or losing my patience with the teething toddler, first-thing in the morning, because it was a hard night and looks already to be another long day of him whining from his perma-perch around my legs. And then taking it out on the husband, even though he so kindly got up early with him so I could sleep a bit longer.
I don't want or like being this way—I know better. I expect myself to do the right thing, right now. Shouldn't I have mastered these small things (already)?
As it turns out, I keep landing smack on my face. Which stings.
And yesterday, just before dinner (when all childish breakdowns happen?) I ugly-cried in frustration and disappointment and sadness and regret and desperation and self-loathing.
Maybe I was sorrowful for my actions, or maybe I was having a personal pity party. Possibly both.
But somehow, as the tears were falling, a Thought came to me. This Thought was that I needed Help. That I couldn't do this—I couldn't overcome my weaknesses—on my own. And this Thought said to go straight to Jesus.
So I did. Literally. I went to Him, hanging in His own weak and humbled state, from the blessed crucifix in our living room.
I kissed the spot below his feet. I pray-begged Him for help with my failures. Again.
And my heart wanted—needed—something from Him, right then, in the moment. Consolation. Comfort. Help. The knowledge that He was not just listening, but that He still loved me, even if I didn't.
But nothing came.
Worse, the toddler was watching it all from just a few feet away.
And because I don't enjoy crying, and I really hate crying in front of people—even 16-month-old toddlers—I was determined to finish up my blubbering. It was time to "get a grip," for him.
But then, he crawled over to me, with a look of quiet bewilderment. First, he flashed his most winning, toothy-gummed grin. When I couldn't quite smile back, he stood. He studied me.
And then the most amazing thing happened.
He put both of his hands on my cheeks. He cradled my face in his pudgy, sticky, sweet little toddler hands.
He didn't speak. He didn't move—which, if you know anything about toddlers, is just short of of miraculous. Seriously.
He just held my face. It was nothing he had done before, nothing he learned from us.
He held me, looking down into my eyes—right into my soul—with the most compassionate of looks. A look that felt like a tender gaze from Jesus, Himself.
Which, obviously, just made me cry harder—this time in wonder and thanks and joy and gratitude.
Because such a perfectly timed event is one of those small, divine rainbows we glimpse after a flood, in our time of personal need. This gesture could be nothing less than an expression of Jesus' unfailing, unchanging love for me. The kind of pure, unadulterated love that can only be delivered through the perfect, innocent hands of a child—my child.
He held me.
Points to Ponder + Discuss:
- How has the innocence of children revealed God's love to you?
- Do you believe we grow away from God as we "grow up"?
- Have you had an experience where you felt God's love or consolation shortly after you needed or asked for it?
- Does God always work this way? Why/why not?
- Ponder/discuss the verse, below: