“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:2
I’ve felt the weight of this verse on my heart lately.
Let me tell you-the toddler season is a doozy. The emotions of these little people get thrown from zero to one hundred and back again. Sometimes the cause is clear. Other times, there’s no obvious rhyme or reason. With there being two toddlers in the house, believe me when I say, some days end in a headache.
So-why this verse?
Oftentimes, parents are the first image of God we receive. It is my job, as mom, to model what Christ does for us. It’s overwhelming when that sinks in. Running away, distracting, breaking down or blowing up is often the instinctual reaction when tantrums and meltdowns erupt. However, after being blessed with this verse, my perspective on tantrums has changed. Perhaps I must re-wire instinct and, instead, use tantrums as a time to lean in.
Parents are the first to show our children unconditional love, forgiveness and grace. Tantrums are a chance to teach and disciple the heart of God. Just as our Heavenly Father is our fortress for the weak, our protection and our place of safety, so we are as earthly parents to our children. I am my children’s safe place, their shield and fortress when they feel lost in big emotions.
Tantrums highlight the confusion and frustration they feel as they navigate new experiences and new emotions, as they attempt to find and settle into their place in this world. And as my children seek out my arms for comfort and solace, so begins my greatest ministry.
As God extends grace to me during moments when I am less than Christ-like, I must extend grace to my children and to myself. Because while they’re learning to become who they’re called to be, I’m still learning how to mother them through it.
As they grow, we teach them that, in choosing to seek out God as they have sought after us, it is the Lord who will provide the greatest comfort and it is through Jesus that they will find and know true peace.
When those meltdowns and tantrums and big feelings roll in, I am challenging myself to (as much as humanly possible) be the calm in their storm. The fortress in which they retreat. When those little arms reach for me, I will hold them close and swing and sway until their little bodies relax and their breathing steadies. Until they find peace. Just as God does for me.
Thank you Jesus for being my fortress-so I can be theirs.