Yesterday Hailey, Caleb, Jeannie (our roomie/daughter/sister) and I went to Chick-fil-A before we did our insane Wal-Mart trip. Hailey had gotten a coupon for a free ice cream cone through her summer reading program. So after she finished eating I took her up to the register and let her order her ice cream. She was so excited. She got her ice cream and took it back to her seat and ate about half of it when I noticed her doing the "pee-pee dance." You know what I'm talking about.
Anyway, if you don't know, she has this incredible fear of automatic flushing toilets. So I went to the bathroom to scope it out and see what kind of toilets they had. I knew Wal-Mart, which was our next stop, definitely had automatic flushers. And to my surprise they had regular potties. So I went back and gave Hailey the good news and she went with me to the bathroom. Well...when we got in there she started FREAKING out. Like "who is this child and what happened to my Hailey" freaking out.
She WOULD NOT let me pull her panties down to let her go potty. I'm sure if people could hear us outside they would think I was beating her up or something. I finally got her on the potty..I mean I am fighting her...and she peed and I MANUALLY flushed the potty like I told her I was going to. We washed hands. I squatted down eye-to-eye with her and explained to her that she needed to trust mommy. That mommy knew what was best for her and mommy knew the potty wouldn't flush on her.
She continued to cry. Not the weeping and wailing from before but this like whiney kind of whimper. I told her she needed to calm down. She didn't. She wasn't freaking out anymore. Just whining. It was a "cry"" I knew she could stop on her own. She wasn't upset anymore. She was just being stubborn at this point.
We got back to our seat and she continued to whine. Seriously... I told her that if she did not quit whining I was going to take her ice cream from her. She continued to whine. I took her ice cream away. She continued to whine. I told her if she didn't stop whining I was going to throw her ice cream away. I really didn't want to throw her ice cream away. She contiued to whine. I reminded her that if she didn't stop whining and have a good attitude I was going to throw her ice cream away. I still did not want to throw her ice cream away. She still continued to whine. I threw her ice cream away. She fell apart. We left Chick-fil-A.
We got out to the car and she finally calmed down. I buckled her in and that's when the heart to heart started. I told her that I love her very much. I told her that I did not want to throw her ice cream away. I told her that I really wanted her to have her ice cream cone. But, because she chose to disobey mommy and continue to whine after I told her she needed to stop I had to throw it away. I did it so she would learn to obey and have a good attitude. I felt like the talk went pretty well. I told her I loved her and she told me she loved me. We hugged it out.
The night before I found/God gave me a passage in Hosea that popped in my head sometime after this whole ordeal. It's Hosea 6:1-3
"Come, let us return to the Lord! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of the dawn or the coming of rains in early spring."
God doesn't want to take away our ice cream cones either. He loves us and he wants us to have good things. Sometimes he has to take away our ice cream cones....aka a job, a friendship, a loved one, a security, an "idol"...so that we can come back in a right relationship with Him. Not that these things are bad...well, the idols are, but really an idol is anything we place above God and our relationship with Him. I took Hailey's ice cream cone away from her for her, not for me. I don't want just an awesomely behaved kid. If I wanted that I would have let her keep the ice cream cone. I took it away so she would learn to be obedient and learn that when I say something she needs to trust me...whether it's that the flusher won't flush on her or that I will take her ice cream cone if she doesn't obey me. God is concerned about where our heart is, just as I am with Hailey. He wants us to want Him more than anything else. My desire for Hailey is that she would understand God's love (Eph 3:14-19) and that she would want to obey Him because of that love. God does the same thing for me. He "takes" things from me sometimes so that I will dig deeper in His Word and long for His principles. So that I would obey Him because of the love I have for Him and the love He has for me. "The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles" (Ps 119:71.)
My encouragement to you is: What is God doing in your life? Is he taking things away. Does life seem kind of crappy right now? Run to God. Embrace Him. Throw out your idols. Desire His Word. Let it live in your heart. Let it not depart from your mouth (Joshua 1:8.)