Monday, November 23, 2009

Reminders of Promises

Elijah doesn't trust me. Or he has really terrible short-term memory. Or something. I'm not well-versed in all the details of child development; all I know is, he doesn't yet understand that I'll do what I say I'm going to do.

Often I'll tell him we're going to do something--take a walk, say, or read some books--something he really, really enjoys. I try not to mention it until I'm actually ready to do it, but that doesn't always work: I'll get him dressed and get shoes on, but realize I need to hit the bathroom before we go. We'll sit down in the reading chair, and I'll immediately catch a whiff of poopy diaper.

Apparently, in his two-year-old mind, not doing it RIGHT NOW means we're not going to do it, ever again in his lifetime. So when I get back up out of the reading chair and carry him to the changing table instead of selecting a favorite book...well, you can imagine this makes for a very upset toddler.

When I see the agitated, anxious look on Elijah's face, and he begins to whine, I find myself repeating, over and over, my promise that we're going to do what I said we would do. If you'd been in my house this morning, when the reading/poopy diaper scenario ensued, you would have heard something like this:

"We're going to read, I promise. Mama just has to take care of your poopy diaper and wash her hands, and then we'll read. I promise we're going to read. We're going to read, in just a minute. I just have to wash my hands and then we'll read. We really are going to read. I promise, I will read to you!"

My thought is that this endless repetition will calm him enough to avoid a meltdown in the sixty seconds it takes me to finish the task and get back to the reading chair. (I do think it helps a little...if nothing else it makes me laugh instead of getting frustrated.) I'm reminding Elijah that I haven't forgotten my promise, that my word means something, that I really will do what I said I would do--even if it looks for a brief moment like I'm reneging. I'm human, so I know I'll screw up sometimes, but my hope is that my son will learn as he grows that Mama can be trusted--that she keeps her promises, that she is a woman of her word.

It occurred to me this afternoon that I know someone else who keeps promises, who really will do what He says He will do. And I know someone else who tends to freak out when it looks like He has forgotten her.

But I have an endless supply of great and glorious promises at my disposal. I know that even if I sometimes (be it deliberately or inadvertently) break my promises, God never, ever breaks His. I'm thankful that instead of getting angry with me when I fail to trust Him and instead get agitated and upset, He patiently reminds me of His promises. His Word is full of them--and perhaps I need to repeat them to myself over and over, until my soul calms down and I rest in the confidence that my Father can be trusted--that He keeps His promises, that His Word is true.


Tom Gabbard said...

Great is His Faithfulness!!

Danielle said...

Sounds like my boys. Great post and analogy. It's true, so often we're spiritual toddlers.

And btw, your bean table sounds really cool. Although I don't know if my boys could be trusted with it. We're still working on not throwing everything!!!!

Zoanna said...

What an excellent "object lesson" for me.

I am so grateful that my parents are people of their word. They didn't make promises casually, and when they did, they fulfilled them as often and as best they could within their control. Because of it, I think it easier for me to believe my heavenly Father will come through. I do struggle with believing Him for some things in particular, but had not my folks been faithful, I may be a different person. By God's grace, keep on being a woman of your word.

Natalie said...

This is really great, Amy. Thanks for this reminder!