Our sweet (and difficult and hilarious and fearsome) Christian has developed a few special loves in his short life. They are the following, ranked in order of importance:
1.) Grandpas (his in particular, but any older, graying fellow will suffice.)
2.) Hammers, screwdrivers and any other sharp or heavy life-threatening man-tools.
Personally, I can understand the love of grandpas and tools. He is a boy, after all. But the batteries?
He has discovered the junk drawer. (You have one too, right?) At any given time you can reach inside and find paper clips, a broken flashlight, a couple stray Legos and a dozen batteries, most of which are dead but cannot be thrown out because we couldn’t risk tossing one that might still have a little juice in it. We are cheapskates. And possibly hoarders.
Last week, he was especially attached to three “C” batteries that he had pilfered from the drawer’s abyss. I found him coming down the stairs with them. He had cleverly slipped all three into one of Edy’s kitty-cat house slippers, so he wouldn’t have to navigate the steps with both hands full.
They couldn’t be parted, he and his batteries. Even at naptime.
I tried everything I could to convince him that it wasn’t a good idea to sleep with batteries. It just won’t work, darling. Let mommy hold on to those for now. You’ll be much more comfortable. It will be better for you, I promise.
But negotiations with a 2-year-old are generally fruitless, I have learned. And I am brilliant and choose to pick my battles.
He slept with the batteries, and he woke up a lot. Kept rolling over on them until I finally fished them out of the covers.
Poor kid just couldn’t give it up.
And all for three silly batteries.
“Surrender” is my word for the year, it seems. Or at least it’s starting out that way.
Two weeks into January and it’s on my mind so much that I am forced to look it in the face. And I don’t like its face.
Surrender means you’ve lost or you’re giving up or you’re admitting that you’re defeated. However it comes about, it’s like a little death. And I don’t like dying either.
I have long held-on-to hopes that God may be asking me to give up for now, for this year, or possibly forever. I have short-term plans that seem to be falling through. I have timetables that God and I are apparently not in agreement on, and I have small children. Who, while are growing up fast, are also constant reminders that God’s will for me is to stay home right now and sometimes those years ahead look long and uneventful.
But God seems to say, “Surrender.”
And I ask, “Why?”
These dreams are not bad dreams. My hopes for my family don’t seem to be contrary to what he would want. My plans aren’t all selfish (although some definitely are.)
“So what’s the problem, God? Why should I have to surrender? What do you have against me being happy and all my dreams coming true? What kind of God are you?”
But when God and I wrestle he takes me to Psalm 90. The pages are crinkly and the verses familiar, but I keep managing to forget.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Ps 90:14).
Satisfaction in the Lord = joy and gladness.
And isn’t that what I really want at the root of it all? Joy and gladness? Isn’t that what all my dreams for the future and plans for happiness are based upon? The idea that, once achieved, I will be joyful and glad for the rest of my life? Finally completely happy? Finally satisfied?
Isn’t that what I’m after?
So why do I keep going to bed with my batteries?
I want to get comfy here on earth. I want to be happy and have happy kids and a successful husband and for all of you to look at me and think how cool I am.
But I am also an idiot. And I want these things on my own terms.
I want God to let me have them even when he knows they’re not in my best interest. I want God to leave me alone so I can just do things my own way. I want to sleep with my stupid batteries, even when God lovingly says, “It just won’t work, darling. Let me hold on to those for now. You’ll be much more comfortable.”
But I rarely listen, and I keep waking up. Restless and uncomfortable in my own decisions. Unhappy and unsatisfied.
But God is unfailingly patient. He fishes out my bad so he can show me what is truly good. He acts in love. Always. And he knows best. Always.
Surrender, he says.
It will be much better for you.
Is God asking you to surrender too? How? I need to know that I’m not alone in this.