Leave it to a trip with my son to remind me of who God is and why I am not Him.
Last weekend I traveled to South Arkansas, to my hometown, with our little boy.
He’s 2.5 years old and truth be told he’s a pretty good traveler. He’s not fully potty-trained yet so we don’t have to stop a ton, yeah go ahead with the you Mommy-shaming. He usually dozes off for a bit. He loves listening to music. And occasionally he’ll watch a show/movie on the tablet.
This past weekend, with just the two of us in the car, I had my husband download quite a few movies for him before we left, so I wouldn’t have to manage that while operating the car.
And as toddlers do, the 487,000 options were not the ones he wanted.
If that surprises you, you aren’t a parent. All the Mommas and Daddys said, “amen.”
Also, in my repertoire of stellar parenting moves is the classic, “forget to charge the tablet” move.
Yep, you know the one. The one that coincides with also only having the world’s shortest charging cord available. It pairs nicely with a toddler who LOVES to plug and unplug objects; specifically, the ones you tell him not to.
Basically, what I’m setting up for you here is, a recipe for disaster.
And that’s where we were on the drive.
We were on the backroads of Louisiana, you know the ones where the speed limit changes from 55 to 25 in a nanosecond. Special shout out here to Officer Bernard of the Homer Police Department for the $275.50 ticket I received on this great adventure.
As luck would have it, our little man was completely engrossed in a video he’s seen around 1739 times, Lego Jurassic Park; more affectionally known as “white dinosaur” at our house.
And then it happened.
You know what’s coming.
Yep, the tablet died.
It only died because he unplugged the charger.
We won’t focus on how I didn’t have it charged up before heading out.
I had told him no less than 389 times to leave it plugged in. I was in fact, forfeiting the use of my own cord/plug to allow charging to his device. And he refused it. Took the initiative to unplug it himself.
I had re-plugged it somewhere around 412 times when I had lost track of what was occurring and then heard the deafening silence from the tablet.
The peaceful, serene silence was quickly erased by the squalling and Pterodactyl like crying. We’ve really got the dinosaur thing down at our house. And can we just take a moment to discuss how dumb it is that that word starts with a P?
Turns out Judd was devastated by the consequences of his continual rebellion towards my immense wisdom being shared, “just leave the gosh dang charger plugged in” style.
So, I did what every red-blooded Momma would do, I said in a louder than normal octave, “give me the tablet.”
This is not to be confused with yelling.
This is my parent-voice, completely different.
And then Judd did what all toddlers do, he wrapped his arms around his tablet and said, “no!”
Now things can get a little confusing here because he too was talking in a louder than normal octave, but he doesn’t have a parent-voice yet. So, I guess we can categorize that in the “terrible two” voice category.
As one can imagine, his refusal and tone just elated my heart. I felt encouraged, revered and adored.
OK, OK, those probably aren’t the words I would have chosen in the moment.
I’ve got some Native American blood in me and when I get nice and ticked off, my tan skin turns a lovely shade of red.
In this particular moment I matched the Razorback red jerseys.
So, with all the maturity in the world I replied to my son, “fine, I didn’t want to help you anyway.” Please hold your applause for this stellar parenting move, and no, the book I’m working on is not a guide to biblical parenting.
I turned my podcast back on and went about my business of transporting us safely.
I believe the Lord interceded at this moment on my son’s behalf, as He always does with His children. Judd sweetly said, “Momma please fix it.” I was in this moment reminded of the reality that I say all too often, “he’s lucky he’s cute.”
And as you do, I grabbed the tablet, plugged it in, got it turned back on and his movie loaded back up for his 1740th time to watch the “white dinosaur.” As soon as he heard the intro music he squealed with delight, clapped and said, “thank you.”
This child has learned the art of using your manners to be persuasive at a very young age.
I blame his Daddy.
That reminds me, I wanted to say “thank you” to all of you who make a point to read and share my blogs!
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a two-year-old, or it’s been awhile since you yourself were a two year old, you may not know what happened next.
But if you are in the throes of parenting a little one right now, you know exactly what happened about .45 seconds later.
As I heard the charger being forcefully unplugged, I said out loud, “Jesus take the wheel.”
My kid is used to us praying in the car, so he quickly said, “amen.”
I pulled over, this clearly could not be dealt with while operating a vehicle.
I got out of the car. I opened his door. I took the tablet. I walked to the back of the car. I opened the trunk door. I unzipped his suitcase. I placed the tablet in the suitcase. I closed the trunk door. I walked back to the driver door. I got in the car. I put the gear in drive. And I turned my podcast back on.
And what did my son do?
He cried for about 15 minutes and then fell asleep.
Now this is the point where I’ll have to ask those in line to receive the autograph of such a stunning example of parenting to please form your line calmly and quietly to the right.
Once he’d finally began snoring sweetly, I looked in the rearview mirror and smiled “he really is so cute” I thought to myself.
You might be wondering why I’ve shared this parenting moment with you.
And no, again, it is not to boost book sales on a, “471 steps to being a biblical parent” piece of literature.
But instead to share with you what I learned in that moment, besides to either a) always have a charged tablet for road trips or b) always travel with duct tape to ensure the charger cannot be removed.
In that moment I saw a detailed picture of my relationship with Jesus.
It’s such a dang tricky piece of my belief system.
I do believe in free will.
I think that’s clear all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
And I think it’s clear, dating back to that time, that humans are dumb.
We want to do right, but our minds wander, and we just can’t stay disciplined 24/7. That’s what separates us from Jesus. His mind never left His purpose and He never strayed.
That’s why He is God and we are not.
In that moment I saw myself in my son. Knowing what I want (for him to watch his movie, for me it’s countless things) and clinging so tightly to my _____ that I tell God with my actions and even sometimes my words, “no, I’ve got this.”
And He does what any parent would do, He just continues driving the car.
He doesn’t raise His voice.
It never leaves that James Earl Jones tone.
Come on, you know God’s voice sounds just like Mufasa from Lion King.
The beauty of God’s grace and mercy is that He is a better parent to us than I was to my son in that moment. He never pulls over the car, puts it in park, and takes away whatever it is we are holding on to. He just keeps plugging the charger back in. He keeps calmly explaining to us why we need the charger plugged in and what will happen if we don’t keep it that way. Over and over and over again.
I saw in that moment with my son the reality of God’s grace.
And yes, I felt guilty for losing my patience.
But I also felt loved.
Because I know that God never loses His patience with us.
I was reminded yesterday that to truly love someone you can know their imperfections and still choose to love them.
I’ve known that idea forever, and being a parent makes that truth come to life for me.
But that’s who God is.
We are His pride and joy.
He loves us.
He celebrates us.
We don’t deserve that, but that’s the beauty from the ashes of the cross.
God knows what paths we will take in life.
He knows what mistakes we will make.
And He still chose to send His only Son to pay the price for our lives.
To me, that’s the Gospel.
Happy Sunday friends; be patient with one another, we are all just over here unplugging and plugging chargers in life!