My son hates his carseat. I don't use that term lightly. Pretty much since the day we brought him home from the hospital, Pier has fought me 98% of the time when I buckle him in. This Monday morning was a particularly epic battle. It consisted of kicking mama in the face, back arching, and snot-bubble-crying. It was 60 degrees outside and I was sweating. It was very dramatic.
To think, it wasn't even 8 a.m. and I was all ready for my 5 p.m. glass of wine...don't you love Mondays? As I started driving, the screaming started to escalate and I knew I had to act fast if I didn't want a migraine before noon, so I began to fumble around the car looking for something -- anything -- that might appease my child.
Then I found it. The toy that will make all my carseat problems disappear. It was a gift from my sweet sister-in-law -- a play cell phone that lights up and makes all sorts of noise (the only toy we have of its kind). I threw it back there and within seconds the crying stopped, immediately distracted by this lighty-up toy. I took a deep breath and prayed this prayer:
"Thank you Jesus for this day. Thank you Jesus for my screaming child. And thank you Jesus for light up toys."
After this simple prayer of thanksgiving, I thought about something. What about all the times that I've fought God the way my son fights me when I'm just trying to look out for his well being? How many times have I fought God kicking and screaming when I'm doing something I don't want to do? My next prayer consisted of being sorry for all the times I was difficult when God was trying to put me in my carseat. I am his child after all, and children don't always do what they're told, nor do they fully understand the rules their parents set in place for their protection.
Being receptive to God's will isn't always easy. As Christians, we trust that Christ is our Divine Father, loving us more than our limited human understanding can comprehend. He wants what is best for us. "Best" meaning He wants us to reach the highest level of spiritual growth so that we may live full, beautiful lives that align with His design for creation. And sometimes that requires a bit of self-denial, humility, and yes, suffering. When things get hard, when things are out of our control, when life happens....what do we do? We complain. We want to give up. We blame God. How much easier would it be if instead of kicking and screaming, we trusted. We trusted in His mercy, His forgiveness, and His encompassing love.
If you think about it, what is the purpose of a carseat? To keep you safe from physical harm. When riding in our metaphorical carseat, Jesus wants to keep us safe from spiritual harm. The difficulties that cause us to kick and scream are for our betterment. If everything were easy then we can't grow! The struggles in life help us learn that we can't rely on our own strength. We need God. If we are vigilant in prayer, complete our daily duties with cheerful charity, and give thanks for the small crosses in our lives, the hard things don't seem so hard anymore. And just as my son was distracted by a lighty-up toy, we're distracted by His Divine Light and we forget about what we were kicking and screaming about in the first place.
Pier teaches me something about God every day. Today it was as simple as putting a screaming baby in his carseat. I'm grateful for this little boy, even in the difficult moments, because he surely softens my hardened heart. Please know that I'm praying for all who read these words that the Lord may touch your lives today. Have a beautiful week!