41Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44They thought he was traveling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there. 46Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions.47Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave. 48When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!” 49Jesus answered, “Why did you have to look for me? (Luke 2.41-29)
Now that I’m a parent, I can completely sympathize with Jesus’ parents. Jesus runs away. Mary and Joseph are worried. They search for him. They find him. And I love Jesus’ response, “Why are you looking for me?” – as if he can’t fathom why his parents are overreacting. This past week has been quite a doozy with my 3 year old. She not only says “no” to everything, but says it in the most melodramatic way possible. She tested my patience to the point where I almost broke. She discovered her new favorite cuss word. She insists on doing everything independently. She yells at her brother and dog for no apparent reason or if they give her contact.
In many ways, I can see a lot of resemblance between my 3 year old and Jesus. I’m not saying that Jesus is precocious, but I find that my 3 year old gives me the same opportunities to grow as my own relationship with Jesus. Here is what I learned from my 3 year old this week:
“I Like My Cheek Butts!”
This is what my daughter told me after taking a bath. In fact, she rarely hesitates to appreciate herself, whether it is how she looks in a dress, her dance moves, or in this case, her cheek butts. I love the fact that she fully accepts herself in every way that God has created her. And isn’t that how it should be – fully embracing the unique way that God has created us.
“NO, I’M Losing My Patience with YOU!!”
After refusing to eat dinner, take a bath, and go to bed, I told my daughter that I am losing my patience with her to which she quickly replied (and in a much louder voice, I must add), “NO, I’M losing my patience with YOU!” I give it to my daughter that she can certainly hold her own and is not quickly influenced by what appears to be my own reality. If what I say doesn’t jive with her own perspective, she will quickly point that out. She is so convincing that it makes me pause and reevaluate the situation. I often feel that with God, especially when I am losing my patience with God. I don’t get an answer fast enough. The situation doesn’t get better fast enough. I don’t get what I want fast enough if ever.
“Princesses Wear a Dress, Eye Glasses, and Ice Skates.”
I love that my daughter isn’t a girly princess. She is more of a ninja princess or an ice skating, near-sighted princess. Her ability to be original and think outside the box always impresses me. I love routine and being comfortable as much as the next person, but I always do feel God calling me out of my comfort zone or to see things in a new way.
“MOM, I FARTED REALLY LOUD!”
Imagine yourself in a library – a quiet library. Parents are quietly reading to their kids. And then all of a sudden, cutting through the silence, I hear a really loud fart, followed by a very proud 3 year old yelling, “MOM, I FARTED REALLY LOUD!” My daughter never ceases to surprise me, especially in the most unexpected places. God has a way of doing that too, surprising me when I least expect it – reminding me of God’s grace in the most depressing times; reminding me of God’s love in the most loneliest times; and reminding me of God’s forgiveness when I least deserve it.
This week, I almost signed my daughter up for anger management classes. It’s one thing to constantly say “no,” but to say it with such volume and disdain is quite exacerbating. It is not a side I like to see of my cute, little girl. It’s not a side I like to see in God. And although, I would like to skip over all the stories where God is angry, I know it is those stories that I need to continue to wrestle with and sit with. Maybe I need to do what I do with my daughter when she is like that. Instead of yelling back at her, which just makes her angrier or walking away from her, which just makes her angrier, I usually just sit with her and wait it out.
“I Can Do It Myself!”
Every morning, my daughter insists on buckling herself into her car seat. If I help her in the slightest way, she will start the process all over again. She is painstakingly slow. The problem with this is that I am usually in a rush to get to church. Today was no different. If I buckle her in without her consent, it is a long and very loud car ride to church. Picture her screaming and blowing snot out her nose for the whole 7 miles to church. It’s best to let her do things on her own time, even if it clearly inconveniences me. Many times, I feel that God’s time is not my time. Why should I feel that it will be any different with my daughter.
“What the F@$K!”
This is what came out of my innocent daughter’s mouth on Saturday morning. She was playing cartoons on my iPhone when she chose a cartoon that said, “What the F@$K!” She immediately squealed with delight – pure delight – and began repeating that phrase over and over again. Trying not to overreact, I told her that was a bad word to which she responded, “No it’s not. It’s a good word because it feels so good.” How can I argue with that? It’s true. Sometimes, it just feels good to say it. Sometimes, no other word will describe the situation. And that’s the truth. While I don’t condone my daughter repeating that phrase, I’m impressed how such a young girl can speak such truth.
And there you have it – things I have learned about God from my 3 year old this week. I can barely handle my 3 year old, I couldn’t imagine what Jesus was like at 3.