Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remember that old game show, Press Your Luck?

"No Whammies, No Whammies, No Whammies. . . . STOP!"

A Whammy meant your luck was up, and you were back to zero.

Sometimes I feel like I am on that out-of-control game show. Like I am frantically moving around, trying to avoid the Whammy. I am frantically moving around, trying to avoid the Thing that keeps haunting me, that I know I need to work on. For me, that Thing is my patience. I can do great for a while, and then - Whammy! - it is gone.

Stay with me as I explain.

A few days ago, I was traveling solo with my boys. We were just two hours from home, and Big Guy was sleeping like a champ. I knew Little Guy was tired, so I revealed my secret weapon - the pacifier. LG was thrilled that I was breaking the "No Paci In The Car" rule, until he dropped it.

"Bap-bap! Bap-Bap!! Gouwnd! BAP-BAP!!!"

I reached and felt all over the back seat. No paci.

I pulled over. I searched the car on my hands and knees. I started sweating. I ripped the car apart. No paci.


"I don't know! I don't know where it is!! Believe me, if I had it, I would give it to you! What did you do with it? Where is it??? Don't wake up your brother. I cannot believe this!"

As I stood there, in an empty bank parking lot on the side of the highway, searching my car in a panic and yelling at my 20 month old, it occurred to me that this was not right. Not only had I lost perspective, I was losing my mind.

"Get a grip, Courtney!" I thought to myself. "You've just got to get a hold of this situation, and rise to the challenge." And at that moment, I realized that God was challenging me. Testing me. He was saying, "We still need to work on your patience. That Thing you’ve been avoiding. Here, try this. I’m going to steal the pacifier at what you think is the worst possible moment." Poof! (We never did find that pacifier. It is gone. Bermuda Triangle Gone.)

I took a deep breath, and said, "Little Guy, it is gone. I'm sorry, but it is gone. You are going to be okay. Let's just go home."

That speech did nothing to calm him down, but it helped me a little.

We drove on. Big Guy slept, Little Guy screamed. And cried. And screamed. I felt like I was going to throw up. I wished with all my might that the pacifier would appear, that I would find another one, or that Little Guy would just fall asleep. None of that happened.

I tried to think patient and calm thoughts, but my mind wandered back to how I have been at war with that pacifier for months. How I have been dreading the day when we have to get rid of it. Oh, that horrible day. . . Then the second part of God’s challenge hit me: This is the day! The time is now.

I called home and told Hubby that I had received a message from God: Time to get rid of the pacifiers. He said, “Okay. Done.” He got them all out of the house.

You may be thinking, "God doesn't care about when your son gives up his pacifier!"

I think he does. I think he cares about everything. (The Lord will . . . watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8.) Right now, child care and pacifiers are a big part of my life. And I am sure that God cares about my sanity. Which I was about to lose, until I saw the situation as a divine challenge.

I think God was testing me, and in the process, widening the shores along my narrow river of patience. Dredging, scraping, to help me become wider and deeper. Not so quick to bubble over. (Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24.)

I felt a wonderful sense of calm as I visualized that process, and I was able to say, “Okay, God. I hear you. I’ve got this.”

My children did not hear God, but we made it home.

To our home which remains paci-free.

Not Whammy free. I know the Whammies are lurking, ready to test me again at my narrowest point. Ready to see how quickly I can go from calm waters to bubbling over. Here’s hoping that I’ve learned to stop the frantic moving around; to slow down and say, “Hello, God. I know you are there. Are you trying to tell me something? I’m listening. . .”

But please don’t steal the Lovies.

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7 Responses to “Whammy”

  1. Oh how I hear you as my patience level is next to nothing these days. I guess I never looked at it from this perspective, though that it was God reminding me that I need to work on it. Thank you for this post because it provided me with a gentle reminder that not only are there other mothers out there who lose their patience, but more importantly that I need to take that time to stop and reflect on what God is trying to tell me through it all. I'll have to remember that too when we finally take Stuart's paci, but thankfully (ha, ha) God hasn't spoken to me about losing the paci just yet :)

  2. I love that metaphor, "... widening the shores along my narrow river of patience." A+ from the (very patient [?!]) old English teacher in the family!!

  3. Wow, thank you for this awesome post for so many reasons --- the "when do I brave getting rid of the paci?" dilemma, the patience that gets stretched so thin, and most importantly, keeping things in perspective & reminding me that God is ultimately in charge and has a plan. I needed this gentle reminder. Thank you again. :)

  4. Courtney this is such a good post and comes at the perfect time for me. I too am always working on my patience and I never feel like it is enough. I also feel like God is sending me gentle reminders to guide me in the quest. I do think that he cares about all aspects of our life even if is only pacis and temper tantrums. Thank you!

  5. Courtney,
    Thank you for your honesty. So comforting to know God is working on patience with other moms. It is so important for us to show our little ones His love and He is so very patient.

  6. I agree with your Mom...shores, rivers, patience, scripture. This is awesome!

  7. Thank you for this post! I've had "whammy" days and never even stopped to think "What could God be trying to teach me through this?".

    And I have to say...I've been in that exact same position. Driving in the car...pacifier dropped on the ground...sometimes it just helps knowing someone else has been there and done that with you. :-)