The baby, who is about to turn 9 months old, is about to reach another development milestone: crawling.
However, she has discovered something more fun. If I hold her hands, she can take steps and walk. Guess what she wants to do all the time? That's right. Forget this crawling thing. Forget laying on the floor to play. Forget sitting. Forget tummy time. She wants to be held all the time, she wants to be walking. All the time. She will walk til she wears herself out. If you lay her on the floor with her bottle, she will lay there and cry, pretending to be helpless, to see if you will pick her up and walk her around. Its her latest trick: I'll lay here helpless until someone picks me up. Then I grab their hands, and HELLO! I'm walking!
But this does not work on me. Aha, I am finally smarter than someone: a 9 month old. She pitches her fit: pick me up! I can't roll over! I can't MOVE unless YOU move me!
I'm onto this one. I let her lay there, knowing that eventually, she'll get tired of her fit, roll over, and work on her crawling again.
Today was fit-throwing day again. Only she up'd it a notch. She added: the dramatic scream.
This time, I walked out of the room.
Unbeknownst to Cuddlebug, while she threw her "I'm helpless I need you to pick me up!!!!" fit, I hid behind the door to her bedroom, keeping an eye on her the whole time, making sure she was safe.
And actually, I did want to pick her up. I don't like it when she cries. I fear she will feel abandoned. I fear she will decide I have ceased to exist, and become traumatized. But, I know better: she needs to learn to do things on her own. I know that if I rescue her every time she wants to be picked up, if I roll her over every time she wants to be rolled over, if I sit her up every time she wants to be sat up, she won't learn to do these things independently. If I walk her from room to room all the time, she won't put the effort into crawling. And as much as I want to help her and love on her, I'm not doing her any good by enabling her.
Meanwhile, she cries. She probably thinks I'm mean. Maybe she thinks I don't love her anymore. Maybe she thinks I'm not there anymore. None of these things are true. I love her just as much as ever. And I'm right there-- waiting on her to help herself just a little.
So, I stood behind the door, watching her struggle for a few minutes, thinking "I know you can do this, kiddo!", until she finally decided she was bored with crying, and she
rolled herself over, got herself up on her knees, and then sat up and started playing with the toy that was next to her.
I immediately went in her room and started praising her for being such a strong, independent, big girl. She smiled at me, I think realizing that she had just done something good. Again. Just like I knew she would. And she might have been a bit tear-stained, but she was also a little stronger, and a little more confident in herself to get herself out of a bind.
Do you ever fear that God has abandoned you in your deepest time of need?
I know that I do-- all the time. There are even books written about this-- "Where is God when it hurts?" Just last night, I went through yet another disappointing circumstance that hurt me very deeply and I questioned God again-- where are You? Why don't You fix this? Why are You doing this? Why don't You come down here and HELP ME!?
But I invite you to consider something. What if God is allowing us to go through circumstances that will make ourselves stronger? What if He has not abandoned us-- but only watching us from a little further away, a proud father, whispering from Heaven, "I know you can do this kiddo!"
Scripture talks about how God is omnipotent and omniprescent. He is always everywhere, always watching us, all-knowing. What if He is allowing something to happen and purposely NOT stepping in to rescue me because He knows that letting me go through something tonight will allow me to wake up a little stronger tomorrow?
But... the good news is... at the appointed time, at just the right time... He will come. He will come.
The writer of the Psalms went through something similar:
All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire,
he set my feet on a rock,
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.