the sanctification of potty training

I knew potty training was going to be an adventure, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be quite so sanctifying.

The first day was as I expected: lots of liquids, lots of wet panties, and lots of laundry. No successful potty trips that day, but it was a first step, and I was thankful. The second day was fantastic: only 1 accident, several successful potty trips, cheers, stickers, treats, and even a few proud/happy/ohmygoodnessmybabyisgrowingup tears shed. Then it was Thursday……..

Thursday was a rough one. The delight and celebration of the day before struggled to be repeated as accidents happened and AK seemed overwhelmed with it all at times. But it was rough, mainly, because I’m a very selfish person. The climax came around lunchtime, when I was unable to make lunch because I was taking my Little for potty trips every 3 minutes with no successes. I found myself laying facedown on the carpet, in tears, mentally battling the defeated, frustrated, self-centered thoughts swirling around in my head. I didn’t want to potty train AK anymore. Why had I let go of the ease and simplicity of diapers?? I knew what everyone had told me in preparation of what we would face entering the world of potty-training, but I just sat, discouraged, in my emotions. It was just too hard.

I wanted to go back to our normally scheduled programming; the kind where I didn’t have to stop what I was doing and leave tasks unfinished, or dishes unwashed, the bed unmade, or myself unshowered. I wanted to eat my lunch and I wanted to, occasionally, sit down. I didn’t want to do another load of laundry or pull out the carpet cleaner again. I just wanted it to be easier.

I am thankful for a God who doesn’t leave me to myself. By His grace, I realized then, in my moment of a full-on pity party, how central I was to my thinking. And since I was thinking about myself so much, I sure wasn’t leaving much room to focus on the little girl who was having to learn to completely change a habit that she’s had since day 1 of her 2.5 year old life. I wasn’t thinking about the discomfort this transition was bringing her; or what a new experience it was to learn to actually discern the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom and to be able to communicate that every time; or how sorry she was everytime she had an accident. I wasn’t thinking about what a big transition time this was for her and how she needed her mommy to be extra patient, gracious, and encouraging as she was walking through uncharted territory. And the moment that absolutely broke me was, that as I lay there with my face buried in the carpet, I felt a little body came lay down next to me and as I turned my face to look at her’s, she said, “Momma, m’kay?”, with the sweetest concerned look on her face. Oh, my heart ached and I felt about the size of a nerd candy.
In that humbling and sweet moment, I repented of my selfish focus that had controlled my day and asked the Lord’s forgiveness, as well as that of my precious daughter. It saddened me to think of what a hindrance I had been to AK during that day and to think over the example I had been to her. I thought of the verse I have been teaching her:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3
I had not be a living example of that. I was quite the opposite example, in fact. But. And, oh, how thankful I am for that “but”. God’s grace is sufficient. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness. As much as my heart breaks when I sin against my little girl, I am thankful that He uses it in my own heart and also as a testimony to her of her mommy’s need, as well as her own, for Jesus and our inability to live a righteous and good life outside of Him.
Who knew that potty training would be such a heart-changing process? I am thankful that it has been. The Lord uses countless different, sometimes unexpected, circumstances and situations and people to be tools of growth and sanctification in our lives. He gentle and clearly reminds us of our daily need for Him that we might live for Him by His grace.

I am so deeply thankful that I am His and that He is working in me. And I am so thankful that He has allowed me to be momma to a beautiful little girl who, I pray, sees a lot more of Him and a lot less of me with each day.


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