If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling. ~ Frederick Buechner

21 January 2016

Just Ride the Potty Train

Today, the rumbles of thunder are so low, pellets of ice fall from the ominous Edgar Allan Poe sky up above, but there are rays of sunshine in my heart.

When I agreed to be on the launch team for Kristen Welch's new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World,  I knew that I was probably cracking the door open for some spiritual warfare in our household. Living in America, it is so easy to dismiss the fact that there are constantly things happening in the unseen spiritual realm, but the manifestations of that ongoing battle is so clearly evident in the world around us. 

And Kristen's book? It is going to shake things up. 

So yeah. Yesterday.

Yesterday morning was beyond tough. After I had confessed to my husband on his lunch break that I thought I was screwing up our children and I didn't know the first thing about mothering and training these little people to be God's warriors, I put both kids to bed and crawled under my own covers, hoping that they would take long naps, because we all had to be up late (I had to take them to work with me, since Nich has extended work commitments all week). 

I went to bed last night soul-weary and body-weary, thinking that if the trumpets started blowing and the seals began opening right about now, I would be okay with it (so selfish, I know).  A night of intense, vivid dreams followed.

I slept past my alarm this morning and woke up to my boy snuggled next to me. I placed my hand on his warm little back and prayed over him. I prayed over his tall body, that he would continue to grow strong and tall, just as God made him. I prayed over his tender heart, that as aware as he is of people's attitudes toward him, that he would always be able to remember that he is first a child of God and that he is deeply loved. I prayed over his hands, that he would remember to be gentle, that he would use them to God's work. I prayed over his words, that he would speak kindness into the people around them. 

And I cried at the thought of sending him off to preschool this morning after such a hard day yesterday. 

But although he told me he didn't want to go to school today, once we pulled up, he hopped out without hesitation. His sister called out, "I wan kiss, Brubbie!" and he willingly complied, running around to her side of the car to give her a kiss and a squeeze, making her giggle. And he walked into school with a smile, even responding to the director's morning greeting with a cheerful, "Good morning, Miss Trish!" 

God knew I needed that assurance.

I took Little Lady to the library afterward. After I let her put all the books into the drop off (both kids like to watch the books go down the conveyer belt and z-i-i-i-ip into their appropriate bins), she usually tries to run off to the kids' area right away. Today, she ran a few steps, then stopped and looked back at me. I said, "You need to wait for Mama, because I have to pick up my books, okay?" I got my books on hold, turned around, and she was standing there in the same position I had left her in. She caught my eye and said, "I waiting, Mama. Go inside now?" 

God knew I needed an easy morning.

Then we stopped at a grocery store on the way home, and the people there are always so kind. I wish it was closer to our house, because I would go there all the time if I could. There is an older, Eastern European cashier named Judit who is so sweet to Little Lady. She tells me that it is good that my son is so tall and strong, that he was made just the way he was meant to be. And she tells me that my daughter is petite and surely meant to do ballet, because the "little ones are the best." 

There is the tall, friendly black assistant manager who always greets us, talks to my children like they are real people, and just brings sunshine to my day. 

And today,  there was an older gentleman in the parking lot, getting into his bright lemon yellow Fiat with stripes the color of the Italian flag down the sides. His car fascinated Little Lady, and she pointing to it, exclaiming, "Car! Peety car!" He turned around and smiled such a kind smile, said hello and told her how pretty she was. And then he looked at me with those grandfatherly eyes and said, "She takes after her mama." 

I wore no make up today. My hair is tousled and messy in the same haphazard bun I had it in yesterday (and slept in). I hadn't even showered. 

You know how sometimes, you don't appreciate the small, good things until you've had a series of not-so-great things? 

Well, all these things this morning were such gifts to my heart. A reminder that there is still so much kindness and generosity in this world. That not everybody is ignorant and abominably mean in their souls. That venturing out does not need to be a draining, soul-scarring experience every time. 

That it can be an opportunity to smile with strangers and exchange joy. 

And to always stop to laugh, because even your toddler participates in the joy-giving: "I go on potty-twain, Mama!" 

Because when you're just shy of two years old, and you hear all about potty training, it must mean that it's going to be a fun ride!
Little did I know this morning that the Potty Train is a thing.