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When My Three-Year-Old Drives Me Crazy…

I’m not alone in my frustration in parenting a three-year-old, right?

It is one of the hardest things I have ever set my mind to do. I have been struggling over the last month or so with how to treat Lily with the kindness and firmness appropriate to her position as my daughter in the flesh and as my sister in the family of God. My natural responses are strict and have a way of coming off as harsh, which gives me great pain as I see her little face respond to me. She is very sensitive to how Zachary and I speak to her, and I can crumple her little spirit with a few words spoken without grace.

I have been repenting a lot lately, to her, to my husband, and to the Lord.

A few days ago, the Lord dropped a passage of Scripture into my heart as I was praying through how to love and discipline Lily better: Colossians 3:12-17. It is something that I had printed out on my wall as a freshman in college, and I honestly haven’t thought of it much sense the 2002-3 school year. But how fitting it is for my season of life right now!

The Lord spoke so gently to my heart: “Amanda, be kind and gentle with her, like you have not been with your own self. Learn to love yourself as I teach you how to love her.”

So, when my three-year-old drives me crazy, I am choosing to remember this:

Lily is the elect of God, holy, and beloved. 

And so am I. 

Because Jesus has chosen me, loved me, and is making me holy, I can clothe myself with
tender mercies, 
and long-suffering. 

I have the power,
through the Cross and Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit,
to bear with her, 
to forgive her whenever I have a complaint against her, 
because Jesus has forgiven me. 

And above all these things, I choose to put on love, 
the bond of perfection. 

I choose to let the peace of God rule in my heart, 
because this is what Jesus is calling me to. 

I choose to be thankful for my daughter–
She is so fun to be with!
She is funny!
She is sensitive!
She is kind!
She is beautiful!
She is smart!
She is delightful!

For her sake, I will let God’s word—both Scripture and specific words He has spoken to me about her—
dwell in me richly. I will set these words and promises before me often so that I can learn wisdom as a mother. 

I will teach her, 
with silly songs, 
and spiritual songs,
letting my voice be filled with grace and not harshness, 
as I mother her. 

And whatever I do, 
as her mother, 
as her father’s wife, 
as her siblings’ mom, 
as her sister in Christ, 
I will do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 

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