How flailing arms showed me about Jesus.

My little guy miles is quite the two-year-old.
He has a vibrant personality. So fun and loving.
But he can throw a mean tantrum.
He is a talker, a thinker, and a mover.
And he never quite slows down. He's always moving something.
I can't ever keep up. He cracks me up and makes me want to pull my hair out at the same time.

Miles doesn't love obeying. In fact, i think he rather hates it, to be quite honest.
All the books will tell you that consistency is the key to getting your child to finally obey you.
So consistency is what i've been doing. Day in and day out. It takes a lot of really hard work.
And the surprising thing is that it is finally paying off.
He's finally starting to get that whole obeying thing.

But last week, we had a rough day.
A really rough one. We were all sick. I was distracted a lot.
And since we were sick, we couldn't go do stuff. And I knew miles was bored,
but there wasn't a lot i could do about it.
I could tell that the more bored he got, the more disobedient he got.
And slowly, tantrums started to creep in. He would get a time-out and the tantrum that followed
would kind of just blend into the next one. Like I said, it was a rough day.

After several time outs, and me about to lose it, I really pondered how I should handle my little guy.
He was disobeying so much, but I wasn't quite sure he was doing it because he wanted to be naughty.
I am an observer. I like to take in my surroundings and assess situations. 
And I knew I could continue to give him time-outs for disobeying so much. 
But all it seemed to do that day was make matters worse.
I finally scooped him up in my arms and held him really tight on my lap.
I just wouldn't let go. I held him tight until he stopped flailing everywhere.
He was so, so tense at first. And it took several minutes for him to stop trying to break free.
And then, after a little bit, all the tension left his body, and he started to relax.
And the tears of anger turned into tears of just needing his mama to hold him extra close for a few minutes.
I rubbed his back and calmed him down, and in those few minutes, I knew that was exactly what he needed.

Now let me make myself clear. I make a LOT of mistakes as a mom.
This whole two-year-old deal is new for me. I have never been a mom of an active, little boy.
But I can confidently say that in that particular moment, I know what I did was right.
No miracles happened after that. He wasn't cured from disobeying. He probably disobeyed three minutes later. But I knew in my heart what my little guy needed...he needed extra love and to be held really tight.

The thing is that I know that is how Jesus is with me.
Listen, I am the queen of making bad choices. And I have felt the Lord's disappointment with me a lot.
I know that His discipline is ultimately showing me how much He loves me - just like I am with Miles.
And I know that his consistency with it is what whips me into shape.
But there have been hard times in my life where all I've really needed is to just feel the Lord holding me tight.
There have been times where I've known that I'm not listening to anything the Lord has to say
and where I've thrown really embarrassing adult temper tantrums. 

But I love that we believe in a God who longs to love on His children.
We believe in a God who pulls us close, sits us on his lap,
and holds us really tight so that we can't break free of his grip.
We believe in a God who will deal with those flailing arms and those moments where we scream
"I don't want to obey!"
And we believe in a God who will hold us until we finally melt in his arms, surrendering our control.
And then he is super gracious with us - letting us feel extra loved when we've messed up really badly.

He's a good God like that. I want to be that way too.


  1. Oh how lovely to read this- It's just the Father I need so much. Good luck with your little guy, I hope it will get easier!

  2. I want to be like that too. Love this!

  3. I do this with my just-turned-three-year-old girl too... she is my tender hearted child, very emotional... just like her momma, and when I don't know how else to help her, I just hug her... and I love that in that moment, love really does conquer all- just as He says it does.

  4. oh how this speaks to me. i love that his love is constant and not based on anything i do. i'm kind of in awe over it.

  5. Girl, this is so great. SO SO great.

  6. I had a moment almost exactly like this with my two year old lady on Wednesday. I made the decision to hold her through her flailing tantrum till she stopped fighting and screaming too, but I wasn't sure if it was the right thing, if I had addressed the issue in her heart. Now I feel that I did. Thank you for sharing this story, amazing how God can use two almost identical situations to speak to two completely different Mamas!

  7. parenting is such a good example of the Lord's love for us through discipline. even though i experience that first hand, its so SO SO refreshing to be reminded of that through stories like these katy.

    some days a tight squeeze does so much more than a swat on the rear. (figuratively speaking). God is GOOD and gracious. and merciful.

    and you are a great mom.

  8. wow. so good. desperately needed this reminder.

  9. so good, friend. i love your kid/God analogies. so simple. so good.

  10. you are so wise and understanding...i know your little man feels really blessed to have you for a mom...God bless you both~

  11. this is so good, Katy.
    thanks for sharing. :)

  12. So good! I think we're in the same boat with our kids so close in ages and we have been having more of those flailing days than ever. Such a great reminder to just embrace them always.

  13. thank you, katy. i needed to hear this today.