She is only 2 1/2 but she is fiercely independent and smarter than it seems she should be for her age. And sassy….oh the sass. I am a little frightened at what the teenage years will be like, I am going to spend those years praying I can guarantee!
Recently she figured out how to buckle herself into her car seat. Helpful for certain and we celebrated her success. Then she figured out how to unbuckle the clasp….
Oh that buckle, that infuriating buckle.
She has decided that she no longer wants to wear the upper straps of her 5-point harness, and since she can undo her own buckle she takes great liberty in making herself quite comfortable in her seat.
And so it goes, every time we are in the van for any length of time, the buckle comes undone. And then the argument insues. “Karlena – put your straps on” “No!” “Karlena – it isn’t safe, please put your straps on” “Noooooo!” “KARLENA (insert mama’s impatient tone) PUT YOUR STRAPS ON!!!” “NOOOOOOO – followed by what I call “extreme spitting”.
Oh you haven’t lived through a good toddler tantrum until you have experienced extreme spitting!
Last night on the ride home she followed her exuberant spitting with screams and cries. Lots and lots of screams and cries. For over a full hour she carried on and there wasn’t anything that I could do about it.
I even stopped about 45 minutes in at a McDonalds, at 10pm at night, to buy some cookies in hopes of bribing her with chocolate.
She saw past my ploy and refused to take one….she is one strong willed girl.
I on the other hand am not. I ate her cookie and mine as she screamed on.
Finally at some point her body tired to the point that she couldn’t fight any longer and she fell fast asleep.
As I glanced back at her, mouth slightly open and peaceful, I couldn’t help but think about my own “fight”.
We wear our seat belts because they protect us. They can keep us safe from injury. This is super important when driving in SW MN, the “deer on the side of the road state”. We frequently travel through an area lovingly labeled “the kill zone” because of the large number of deer killed in that several mile stretch every year. So many that once they had piles of dead deer stacked on the side of the road for pickup.
But I digress….
There is a reason that we believe in the validity of the buckle, the strap….
I thought about my relationship with God. How walking with Him, following His path keeps me safe. He is my buckle, He is my strap.
But if I am honest there are times that the buckle and the strap feel too constricting. I think that I know best and just want “freedom”…so I undo the buckle and tuck the straps behind me.
Of course when trouble hits, and God is gently calling me back under His care, I choose to rage instead.
I too have mastered the tantrum of a child who hasn’t gotten their way. While it typically doesn’t include “extreme spitting”, the behavior itself usually isn’t much better. I blame, I scream and shake my fists. I swear and cry and ask God “why”? And at some point my body is weak and I give up the fight.
I have been to this place enough times to know that my perspective is always different in hindsight. That in the thick of the fight I can’t see the benefit of the buckle. I can’t see how any good can possibly come from a difficult situation.
But as I reflect on the past 17 years, on all we have been through, how God has redeemed so many areas of my life. How he has taken the broken and the ugly and made so many things new. At times I shake my head in disbelief at how generous this God of mine is. How much He truly loves me.
Funny now how I have come to appreciate the buckle and the strap. Come to see how clothing myself in the Word of God is important and necessary. That if I want to really know who He is and understand the full benefits of His plan for my life I have to invest in my relationship with Him.
And let’s be real, at times the investment is tough. It can feel constricting…and I want the buckle off. I make excuses of why I don’t have time. But as I look back on my life and remember all God has done for us even when I wasn’t making Him a priority in my life, I am encouraged to seek Him completely and embrace the comfort that His buckle has to offer.
Yes it is a buckle that I am grateful to wear…it has brought a multitude of blessings and I am so grateful.
Where do you find yourself today friends? Are you fighting the security of His hand or relaxing in the peace He offers? My prayer is that you may seek to know Him and discover the peace that trusting only Him can bring.