The past couple of weeks, my daughter has sucked all the patience and compassion out of me. People always talk about how difficult it is to have a newborn baby in the house, but give me a newborn any day of the week over a three year old! Two newborns in fact!
Some days I just don't feel equipped for this job. And today is one of those days.
Yesterday morning and then again today, Miss 3 has slammed her little brother's finger in a wardrobe door, leaving a big gash, and now requiring stitches, for which he'll have to be sedated. I'm sitting at home waiting for my 11-month old to wake up from his nap, so that I can take him to the emergency room for the rest of our lives (ah hem... what will seem like it anyway), where he'll be sedated and receive stitches in his finger from being squashed not once, but twice, in a sliding door by his loving sister, two day in a row. We have been to the doctor's twice for this, and now the hospital is next!
Yesterday, after the first incident and trip to the doctor's office, L solemnly promised she would never do it again, and yet here we are again today. The past two weeks, she has been into everything, destroying everything, not listening and generally wearing me out in whatever way she can think of. And unfortuately, her little brother often bears the brunt of her behaviour. I hear that it's just three-year old behaviour, wow am I looking forward to her turning four!
When one of your babies hurts another of your babies, it can be an emotional rollercoaster ride. Fear, anger, pain, regret, worry, love, and lots of tears from all parties involved. I'm still not really sure how to deal with this type of situation. I'm feeling exhausted and it's only lunchtime!
While I was contemplating all this, God brought to my mind how I do the same thing that L has just done. When I do something to hurt someone else, someone he loves, I solemnly vow that I'm not going to do it again, that I'll change, and yet before I know it, there I go, doing it all over again - and not just twice. How much He must love us, to be able to watch us do the same wrongs over and over, and yet forgive so compassionately and so fully.
Of course I forgive L, and I know she doesn't always fully understand the consequences of what she does, but I do understand the consequences of what I do. The thing about changing behaviour is that we can't do it fully in our own strength. The Bible talks about a renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), and I have learned in recent years that try as I might, I can't do this myself. It's ony through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life that I can begin to change the way I think, which in turn effects my behaviour.
...and i know that 'he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion' (Phillipans 1:6).