Seeing Beyond the Tantrums

My almost-two-year old has been throwing some pretty big tantrums lately. We’re talking the throw-yourself-on-the-driveway-screaming-in-front-of-the-neighbours kind of tantrums. She usually does it when my hands are full, which means that I have to drop everything (literally) so I can wrestle her inside. I have the bruises to prove it. Some days, I think I would prefer to negotiate with a terrorist.

You might think, “Wow, only bad parents would have such an out-of-control kid!” But we’re really trying. We’ve read several of the best Christian parenting books and we follow them to the letter. We’ve sought counsel from people we respect and we do the things they’ve told us to do. We’ve prayed over our daughter, disciplined her, put her in her room to hash things out, prayed some more, claimed scripture verses over her life, disciplined her some more, and above all, remained firm and unmoving. We don’t let her get away with anything. My husband and I have a motto: “We will not let a two year old run our home!”

Despite that, I’m at my wit’s end some days. You know, the God-give-me-grace-because-I’m-losing-my-sanity kind of wit’s end. On those days, I feel like throwing myself on the driveway alongside my daughter and seeing if I can out-scream her. The only thing keeping me from doing that is my fear that the neighbours will realize that we’re even crazier than they already think we are.

Today, however, something neat happened. We’re having this thing called “presbytery” at my church right now. What is presbytery, you wonder? It’s when people with the gift of prophecy come and minister. (My husband would tell you that it’s when Presbyterians come to town, but don’t you believe a word he says.) I used to think it sounded pretty hokey until I saw it firsthand eleven years ago. First of all, it’s biblical. And secondly, trust me, these people know things that only God could tell them.

Tonight at the service, several young people were ministered to. Most people were watching these kids/young adults. My eyes, however, were not on them. My eyes were on their parents, who sat in the audience sobbing their eyes out. These are parents who have poured years of tears and prayer into their children. They are glimpsing the call of God on their children’s lives, and it overwhelms them.

What on the earth does this have to do with tantrums, you wonder? Well, I realized tonight that God has a very, very special plan for my children. My vision needs to extend beyond the stage they’re currently in. Sure, my kids sometimes drive me crazy now, but some day they’ll grow up. And they have the potential to do incredible things that will impact the world.

So the next time I’m at my God-give-me-grace-because-I’m-losing-my-sanity kind of wit’s end, I am going to remember one thing. The way that I respond to my children today could either hurt them or it could propel them into their destiny.


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