Great Expectations

This is how I spent Valentine’s Day 2014. I know you all are super jealous.

I’ve got one kid who needs to be potty-trained (aka Jonah, the 3-year old wild man) and another kid who doesn’t want to be left out of anything that’s going on in our house (aka Vivienne, the 1-year old little mama). I can’t keep up. I don’t know how parents of twins do it.

Actually, I’m only really potty-training Jonah at this point. If I can get him to catch on, then we’ll work on Vivienne. Because she thinks she is ready. She wants to be grown up but I just want to keep her small for a while longer. She is the baby, after all. And, Lord willing, there will be no other babies coming from this body. Because we are D-O-N-E. Anyway…

We (and by “we,” I mean “I”) attempted this potty training thing with Jonah last fall, and it was a major fail. He had absolutely no desire to teetee in the potty and every time I made him sit, there was screaming, kicking, yelling, crying, and gnashing of teeth. And only some of that was from Jonah. It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life and I’m not exaggerating. I finally gave up because I didn’t have the energy, stamina, or desire to fight with him.

Fast-forward a few months and things are completely different. Of course, I’m pretty sure I can’t take much credit for this miraculous turn of events. A couple weeks ago, two ABA therapists (ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis) started coming to our house three times a week to help us work on things that are difficult for Jonah. Big surprise – potty training made the top of the list.

These people are freakin’ geniuses. They can get him to do just about anything. Sort of like a circus monkey. Every time they come, I’m amazed at the things Jonah can do. Like learning new language skills. Like actually putting his own shirt on. Like peeing in the potty. It’s astonishing.

Peter is always at work when the ABA therapists are here, and one day he said this to me : “It must be weird to have some strange person in your house teaching you how to parent.”

Um, yeah. Thanks for that, my love.

But actually it is sort of weird. I mean, we raised Brienne and she turned out mostly alright. And we were ten years younger and a lot more stupid when we had her. But after seeing how quickly Jonah picked up some skills with the ABA therapists, I was beginning to feel like a slacker parent. Sort of like I had set my expectations too low for him.

I think I sometimes do this with the Lord too. I set my expectations too low. I don’t pray big prayers. I try not to get my hopes up in case He disappoints me or He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I think He should. Recently, I was praying for healing for someone but chose not to tell Brienne about this person’s illness for fear he wouldn’t be healed and she would be disappointed in God. Instead, I kept a blessing from her because this person was healed and she never even knew he was sick. She missed an opportunity to see a miracle and give God the glory all because of my weak faith. I often tend to think that it’s just easier to do things myself instead of believing and trusting the One who loves me more than I could fathom.

But when we decide that we have all the answers, we miss out on miracles. We miss the opportunities to see God show out on our behalf. I don’t want to miss those blessings.

With Jonah, though, I realized that we weren’t being slackers. We do need help teaching Jonah to get dressed. We do need help teaching him to sit and wait. We need help because he learns differently. And that’s ok.

A friend introduced me to a website where you can find your birth verse. It’s a pretty neat idea – a verse that is completely unique to you based on the day you were born. Here is Jonah’s birth verse:

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” 1 Cor 10:26

My first reaction to this verse was, Big deal. Everything belongs to God. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But the more I thought about it, the more I let the truth of this scripture sink in. Jonah belongs to the Lord. Christ knew Jonah before we were even aware of the possibility of Jonah. He knew that Jonah would have to learn things in a different way than most people. He knew we would need assistance with some things. So instead of feeling like a slacker or entertaining feelings of defeat or despair, I’m choosing to be thankful for people who are trained to help families like ours.

And I’m choosing to trust Christ to help me when I feel unbelief setting in. I’m choosing to let go of my low expectations and to trust Him with my desires, my fears, my prayers, and my hopes. Because He is good and wants the best for my family.

And hey, Jonah didn’t have a single potty accident all morning. It’s a miracle! Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

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