In the year of 1998 after my third son Levi was born, I now had the joy of diapering all three. I use that word joy loosely. Jared was two and a half years old and nearing the potty training stage. Caleb, my five and a half year old with Down Syndrome, also needed to join his brother in this cost effective developmental milestone. I had attempted the feat a few times previously without success and let it go believing he was not ready as his developmental age mirrored Jared’s. Money was not the only motivator for me. It was just plain gross.
Jared learned very quickly and loved sporting his new big boy dinosaur undies. I thought Caleb would not want to let his younger brother pass him up, alas, not so. Fast forward to the Fall of 2000 and now Levi is in potty training mode. Surely eight year old Caleb would catch it this time! As with Jared, Levi caught on rapidly and our trip to Target to get his big boy Spiderman undies was a thrill-especially for me. I felt like I just got a big raise.
I know better than to pray for patience, yet my patience or lack there of, was definitely a testing place for me. I pulled on my creativity hat every day. I used M&M’s, glasses and glasses full of water or juice, put the potty chair in front of the TV so Caleb could watch his Disney Sing-A-Longs, bribed, begged, and pleaded for any sign of progress. I sought out help from others including his teachers at school and his pediatrician. I even took him to a Urologist to see if there was a physical reason preventing success in this never ending saga. Physically, he was fine. He just did not want to do it. He was perfectly content with the status quo, now wearing adult sized pull-up style diapers. In contrast, I was far from content with this scenario and had no idea what to do next.
Finally at age nine, “the want to” kicked in and Mr. Caleb was potty trained. I did not do anything different, it was Caleb who decided to venture out of his norm. Oh Happy Day! Never had my patience been tested at this length before. I was so glad to pass that test and be done with it. I was now a certified patient woman. So I surmised.
Every once in awhile this memory will surface if I need a mental pat on the back. Just the other day the thought visited me again. As I was reminiscing the ordeal and feeling pretty good about achieving the certified patient woman status, that inner voice spoke up again-you know, the One that speaks the truth. It said, “LOOK AGAIN.” So I ran through the memory again and found an additional lesson to patience. I looked at what Caleb was doing, or not doing, and saw his resistance to change. He was not in error or being willfully disobedient; his lack of desire kept him in stinky diapers a very long time. I have been resistant plenty of times refusing to do things contrary of my own will. I thought of myself as spirited and strong-willed. The reality? I was hardhearted and rebellious. Caleb’s innocent resistance revealed my not so innocent resistance, and I began to see the need for me to shed the metaphorical diapers and don my own big girl panties.
When we clearly hear that inner prompting to make an about face and come to terms with something that needs cleaned up in our lives, it is imperative not to ignore it. God is so gracious and merciful. He washes us completely clean and does not hold anything against us. Hebrews 3:7-9 NLT says, “That is why the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried My patience, even though they saw My miracles for forty years.'” Because of this, they were denied entrance into the Promised Land.
If God prompts you to LOOK AGAIN at a memory, ask Him to reveal a new lesson and don’t close the book on what you think you’ve already absorbed. He was patient with me for fifteen years to teach me a lesson on resistance. Take another look. A good one. The reward is worth it.