Today my daughter, Brooke, turned two-and-a-half.
For the record, if you are ever trapped in your house on a snowy day that also happens to be the half-birthday of your firstborn child, do not throw an impromptu half-birthday celebration as a way to entertain that child, reduce the day's tedium, and use the eggs that were due to expire to bake a cake. Your oldest child will remember this on all subsequent half-birthdays -- both her own and those of her family members -- and will request full-blown celebrations with gifts, decorations, and party guests. You will not have the time or the patience for this. Just don't go there. You will thank me.
At any rate, as of today Brooke is halfway through two. Two is an age which gets a bad rap. No other year in a person's life is preceded with such an unpromising description. When I exhibit a less-than-stellar attitude or behave badly, no one shrugs, sighs, and offers, "Well, Robin is in the terrible thirty-two's."
Two is an amazing age, actually. A two-year-old's vocabulary expands exponentially. Communication becomes easier. You see little glimpses into personality and temperament that you hadn't noticed before, and by golly, you take a good look and realize that you've got a little person on your hands.
Our little person is now into climbing. She pushes chairs over to our counter and climbs to open the upper kitchen cabinets. She stands on the back of our couches. She's always trying to go higher, higher, as if an elevated altitude is beckoning her. And like all of her two-year-old peers, she wants to do everything herself. She announces this with great conviction multiple times over the course of a day:
I do it myself.
The other week, I sat on the corner of Brooke's bed with Kerrington in my arms as Brooke played with her big sister's Polly Pockets. The Polly Pocket figurines are small. Their clothes are difficult to pull on and off. I watched her struggle. Her fingers weren't adept enough to easily do the task, her dexterity not developed enough to manage the small details.
She grew more frustrated. I asked if I could help. Of course not. She would do it herself.
So there I sat: perfectly capable of fixing the problem, perfectly willing to offer my skilled fingers, and perfectly aware that I could not wrestle the toy from her hands. She would have to yield. She would need to choose to let go.
The more she struggled, the more frustrated she got. The more frustrated she got, the less likely it became that she would achieve her goal. She was adamant that she would handle things, yet she was incapable of doing what I so easily could have done for her to rectify the situation.
If only she would hand it over, I thought. I could fix this.
At that moment, I wondered how many times God has thought the same thing as He's watched me struggle.
Just as Brooke was grappling with a physical toy, I've spent hours wrangling my thoughts, mulling over difficulties, and toiling to get a problem "dressed." But my fingers sometimes lack the ability to make all things right. I don't always have the power to put the pieces in the places where they belong. I've grown frustrated, unsure why my efforts weren't getting anywhere, and yet I've continued the struggle.
I've had the same mindset: I'll do it myself. I've resisted God's patient invitation to hand problems over. I've overlooked the fact that His hands are more skilled, his resources more vast, and his timing more opportune.
This never gets me very far.
Brooke threw the Polly Pocket down, her cheeks flushed from exertion and frustration. She had created a mess. She knew that she was outmatched. That's when I gently asked one more time, "Honey, would you please let me help you."
This time she yielded. She handed over the toy and let me do the task that was beyond her ability. She trusted that I had the power to repair the mess that she had created.
I think that God is sometimes asking us the same question: "Would you please let me help you?"
He's able. He's willing. We sometimes need the reminder to let go.