Brushing Teeth

Yesterday evening at bedtime for the little ones, I was preparing to brush my two year old’s teeth.  She insisted repeatedly that she be able to do it first – as two year olds are so likely to do.  “I will do it myfelf!” is a popular refrain around here these days.  But our rule is that a grown up needs to brush the teeth first with toothpaste and then they can finish on their own with whatever suds are left.

So she stood there on her stool in front of the sink, looking up at me defiantly.  I fully admit I wasn’t feeling really into bedtime last night, and I had a lot on my mind.  But instead of causing me to be short tempered as it usually would, I was just wandering around in my own thoughts and it brought about a moment of good parenting completely by accident.  I stood in front of her with one hand on top of her head and one poised with the toothbrush while she sat there and glared at me with her mouth clamped shut.  It might have been a battle of wills if I hadn’t been daydreaming.  But my daydreaming seems to have done the job of patience in the situation pretty well.

After a few moments (and no words from either of us) she simply opened her mouth and let me brush her teeth.

It struck me that God very often handles me just like that.  He lets me know what he needs from me gently, but I set my jaw and dig in my heels and say, “No, I will do it my way!”  And He lets me sit there, staring Him down.  He just waits until I catch up and find myself surrendering my will to His.  Often it is not nearly as peaceful as this, and I protest a little more vehemently than my two year old did over the tooth brushing.  But sooner or later, if I am paying any attention at all, I get the message.

The key here though, is that my two year old was looking at me the whole time.  Even when silently protesting, her eyes were fixed on me.  God can handle my disagreements with Him, but it is crucial that even if my will is set against His, I keep my focus on Him.

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