Monday, June 29, 2009

Hold

Beads of sweat lined up across her forehead causing wayward strands of hair to matte her cherry red cheeks. With her fists balled, her eyes shooting darts of fury, and her nostrils flaring, my daughter released a deep rage through piercing screams. Still a toddler, she had mastered the skill of tantrum throwing several months before her third birthday.



Standing in front of my little girl at that moment I inwardly wrestled with my own sadness and anger, which were mixed with feelings of inadequacy. I felt clueless, helpless, and useless. My child had been lingering in that state of wrath for more than thirty minutes...nothing I tried diffused the situation. Ignoring the fit proved futile as did sending her to her room until she calmed down. Issuing consequences only intensified her wails.



I tried every iota of parenting advice I had ever read or heard. It was time to listen to my heart.




Without a word I sat on the floor just inches from my daughter. Firmly gripping her shoulders I pulled her into my arms and I held her tightly while rocking back and forth.



At first, she flailed forcefully trying to escape my embrace.



“No Mommy,” she yelled. “No! I'm mad, mad, mad! I don't want to hug you Mommy. I'm mad. I'm mad. I'm mad!” In another attempt to break free she bent her knees and with all the might encompassed in her thirty pound body, she pushed her hands against my stomach and, for good measure, bellowed, “Let go of me right now!”



I didn't let go. Steadied by a calm I am certain was a grace gifted by God, I held my daughter close and gently pressed my lips on her wet head. Then I whispered into her ear.



“Shhhh. Get control. I know you can do it. I know you are angry, but I know you can get control. Shhhh. Mommy loves you. Let me help you. Let me love you.”



After another minute of squirming, she stopped screaming. She stopped fighting me. Her body went limp from exhaustion and her breathing was loud and heavy. Still, I kept her in my arms and continued giving her gentle kisses until she fell asleep.


At least two years have passed. Thankfully, my sweet Pumpkindoodle no longer throws temper tantrums of such caliber. But that memory remains fresh. Honestly...I hope it never fades away.



It isn't because I want to hold on to a memory that is often missing from baby books. It isn't to garner praise for my mothering technique that saved the day and my sanity. What I never want to forget is recognizing a bit of myself in that raging toddler.



Sometimes the injustices of this world overwhelm me. Times when I rebel. Times when I vent my frustration and rail in anger. Times when I grit my teeth and think "I'm so mad, mad, mad I could spit!" There are times when I cannot see past what I want and what I cannot have.



There are times when my Father enters to comfort me and I push Him away. There are times when I refuse to open my Bible. There are times when I lose my breath , choke on my sobs, and scream “No!”



During those times, even when I'm at my ugliest, God doesn't let go. He stays close, and He teaches me how to regain control...how to be still...and how to allow myself to be loved.




20 comments:

RColleen said...

So beautifully expressed - thanks for some moments of tears and letting me lovingly see those "tantrums" of mine! God is so good!

sara said...

oh my word, this was so good!! I felt every word.

I love that my God whispers in my ear and holds on to me, even when I thrash back.....I just wish I didn't do that so often.

Emily said...

Wow.

I can't tell you how much I needed that.

Andrea said...

Beautiful and very moving. Blessings, andrea

Chatty Kelly said...

WOW! I have had a tantrum like that with God myself. What a great analogy. Thanks.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Loved every word of this. :) I sometimes feel myself fighting off the comfort that my Heavenly Father offers. Sometimes I WANT to be mad...

I am so glad he is relentless in His love!

Krystal said...

What a beautiful story! And something that I needed to hear today! Thanks Angela!

Donetta said...

great post! so true so true...

Anne said...

Hmmm...yep, been there and done that. Both with a screaming toddler and as myself as a sometime tantrum-throwing adult.

God is good to us. I imagine about the time you grabbed hold of her and began rocking, that he too was holding you tight, letting you know that he knew you could do it.

I just returned from a 12 day vacation and realized that no one cried on the trip. I mean, we had whining, but no one cried. I didn't think that day would ever come...and it does, of course.

I do believe we will all miss this when it is gone...but boy do we need God and patience and hugs and kisses and yes, an occasional tantrum to get to the pass.

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Angela, This was an amazing post! It really spoke to me. Thanks!

Carol said...

Beautiful!

Angie said...

Powerful word picture. Surrender is a beautiful thing.

Amy Bayliss said...

I use this same technique with my boys. It is so hard to be angry when we allow ourselves to feel the love. This is a great reminder of our Father's love.

well written!

Ashleigh (Heart and Home) said...

Beautiful... what a picture of how God loves us through the tantrums we pitch, holding and loving and calming us.

Funkidivagirl said...

Lovely...good analogy.

jendalyn said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! God is good.

Holley said...

Wow, your words brought chills to my arms and warmth to my heart. I often struggle to even feel my anger because I fear it. I love how you reminded us that our Heavenly Father can handle it--handle us--with love, grace, and gentleness even in our moments of "madness"...

Dana said...

God often shows me how he must feel about me while I'm dealing with my children... Which has got me terrified of the teenage years :).

Seriously though, this is truly beautiful. I pray that I have the wisdom that you did when I need to throw the parenting books out the window and even more importantly, the wisdom to see it when God is trying to show me something.

This was a blessing to me.
Dana Ellis

Kimberly said...

I love your writing, Angela. You are so talented.

How are you doing? I am sure things are busy in your life right now. I hope that in the middle of all that is your life at this moment, that there is peace, joy, and a deep assurance of His heart towards you.

Just thinking about you. I love the videos you post. All so thought provoking. But just so you know...I really love your writing. That's not to put pressure on you to write. I just felt like I should tell ya'.
Love you,
K

Alana said...

What a great image of the love and patience of our Father with us.

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