Friday, October 17, 2014

Taking lessons from a 2 year old...on Grace

Just about 2 weeks before Lucy's 2nd birthday, we got a nice glimpse into this thing called the "terrible twos".

Our sweet and obedient toddler had decided overnight that her new favorite word was "NO", (which she says with an enormous heap of sass).  Time out became her new favorite place to hang out (we go there about 4-5 times most days), and playtime with other toddler friends turned into a gladiator-style battle of wills over what was "mine" and how many kids needed to be knocked over to get it back.

There's this whole new world of "sharing" and  "gentle hands" and time out. And it can be exhausting. In so many ways. One of our biggest problems we have run into so far is pushing. If another toddler steals her toy, or won't share, or simply is having more fun than her, she pushes them over. 

The first time I witnessed this I was literally stunned. Me and the hubs have never taught her to push. We don't have secret sessions in our house planning strategic ways to get-all-the-toys-from-others. So how do we un-teach something which we've never taught?

As parents, we have never taught her to say "mine" or to push, and it's possible she picked it up at daycare or from other children, but why has it stuck? It is a clear example to me of this thing called sin-nature we all have when we are born into this world. 

"The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other..." Galatians 5:17

So we literally have to fight this sin-nature inside of us, and our child, to choose what is good and what is right. We teach kindness, generosity, gentleness and grace, instead of selfishness, greed and hurting. 

And, the amazing thing to me, in the battle of wills I see after Lucy knocks another child over, is this beautiful thing called grace. She makes these little friends, pushes them to the ground, has a time out, a serious talk, an apology is said, and she goes back to play. By the time she is back, her little friend is ready to embrace her and play again, arms open, all transgressions forgotten and forgiven.

I, too, have my days, where I yell too quickly, or way too much. I find myself getting frustrated and losing patience, and this sweet little girl pours out grace on me. Forgives me, hugs me, and wants nothing but her mommy by her side.

And I am so thankful for that blank slate that starts back over, every time she forgives me or her little friends forgive her. I am so thankful for this thing called grace.

I've decided to rename the "terrible two's" the "grace-filled twos". Because, let's be honest, we can all use a little more grace.

"Sin spread when the Law was given. But where sin spread, God’s loving-favor spread all the more." Romans 5:20 NLV