"I will never forget the potty-training process with my first son. Although he caught on fairly quickly, he had a habit of willful resistance that often resulted in physical pain for him. While I had my moments of empathy as he writhed in the pain of constipation, my frustration grew as I expected him to see that he was the cause of his own pain. Our battle finally culminated one afternoon in the second floor bathroom of my in-laws' house. My son was sitting on the toilet in obvious pain, clinging to the resistance and fear that prevented him from seeing that he had the power to change his circumstances. I was perched on the edge of the bathtub directly across from him, shelling out advice/coaching/admonitions, when he finally had enough. He leaned forward, looked directly into my eyes, and let out a yell of desperation and frustration that truly came from the depths of his being. I, being the mature one, responded in like manner, with a similar sound of exasperation. Time froze for a moment as we sat stupefied by what we had just witnessed from the other. It was almost as though we were both asking the question, "Did you really just do that?"
Then, as if a wave of grace washed over us, not of our own doing, we both began to cry. I moved from my perch to sitting on the floor, he climbed off the toilet, reached for me, and crawled onto my lap. We held each other and sat weeping on the bathroom floor. Looking back on this low moment in my parenting journey, I was overcome by my selfishness, lack of patience, and desire for control. After seeing the ravages of my heart exposed in such a raw manner, particularly to someone for whom I would give my life, I wondered in that moment if I could ever recover. And yet I now recall that day as one of the most intimate experiences with my son. We both reached the end of ourselves, we both responded by laying bare the true nature of our hearts, and we both embraced each other in a strength that only the gospel of grace could have given.
God has taken this unsettling realization that it's not about me and transformed its sting into a soothing comfort. Though you might be initially disconcerted, you'll eventually realize by the grace of God that this most freeing truth brings the greatest relief."