In recent days, I’ve been enjoying three magic words that every parent preparing to potty train loves to hear; “I GOT POOP!” All of the preparations are being made for this historic event, with a potty chair in the bathroom corner and two year old conversations that always lead back to, you guessed it, poop.

Today’s routine is ordinary and everyone is on schedule. Joshua is playing alone and quiet in our family room. While surveying and picking up the miscellaneous odds and ends that have landed upon my hallway floor, an alarming voice rings out from the family room.

“I GOT POOP!”

Even after training five children to potty in the toilet, I am not expecting the dreadful sight that parents later laugh about. Hurdling like an Olympian over the gate, I witness our toddler standing before me with wide eyes and a full diaper in hand. Truly, it is a Kodak moment until the potent odor reaches my nose. In disbelief, my voice reaches an unfamiliar pitch.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

While carefully removing the diaper from his hand, he shares a decision that he’s made.

“I got poop…need bubble baf.”

I faced an inward struggle at that moment between denial, frustration, and laughter while his narration continued about his decision. I caught broken sentences.

“I change diaper…wipes…yuck.”

About twenty wipes lay piled on the open diaper and left spilling onto the carpet. Dark streaks stretched on the surface appearing washed by someone with very little experience. I chose silence as I layed my little helper down between the mounded diaper and brown carpet marks. Our conversation continued as I drove home a few points.

“Mommy do… Mommy change diaper… You use potty chair… No take diaper off.”

What a mess.

Although it’s great material for unending laughter at our dinner table, it isn’t until later that thoughts and insights about life’s struggles trickle into my head. How often do I attempt to influence or change situations myself? In weakness over the years, I’ve faced looming mountains of disunity in marriage, debt, weight gain, weight loss, broken relationships, struggles to forgive, insecurity, loss, and depression. In my human efforts, all solutions are met with temporary effectiveness. After the fact, I cry out and God receives me–wide eyed and in my stink. It’s then that I realize, I should’ve cried out to Him first, surrendered with my need in hand. By then, my mess is worse, negatively affecting everyone around me. I sigh with relief, grateful that He alone is the epitome of perfect patience, repeating the instructions and truths He’s already given me.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 

 I feel protected and safe. Because of Jesus, my looming stench is washed clean, with a fresh start that I don’t deserve–that’s grace. The reality is, He loves me. The reality is, He loves you. He wants to restore our joy, all while preparing and enabling us for the future ahead. Maybe like our son, we need to trust Him more and have more faith that He will come when we call. Our cries for His help–are delightful to His ears…