Potty Training, Control, and the Gospel
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My son is 2, and we are in the midst of potty training!
I’ve seen a lot of information online about potty training methods – the potty training in three days method has seemed the most popular, but I’m not 100% sure I can handle a naked toddler running around my house for 3 days! Right now, we are just trying to go sit on the potty every hour or two. If he goes, I make a big deal of it – giving high fives and whatnot.
“I can’t force my son to use the potty. Similarly, I am called to train and disciple my son, but his salvation is out of my control. In each stage of my life, God continues to deepen my understanding of how little control I have, and why that’s a good thing. There is such a beautiful freedom that comes when we fully trust in Him.”
That short post did not capture the entirety of my emotions. I have struggled with lack of control in my motherhood journey. When experiencing a miscarriage and when battling infertility, I was angry at God. I wanted to fix the “problem” and continue on with my plan. During our adoption process, I struggled with anxiety. Embarking on an international adoption is not easy for someone who desires control! Your family’s future is left in the hands of social workers, adoption agency employees, governments, etc.
Now that I am in the trenches of motherhood, my desire to have control is still present. Wouldn’t it be lovely if our children were to follow the prescribed developmental milestone charts exactly (or ahead of schedule)? How beautiful would life be if the stay at home mom schedule I created (pre-toddler) were followed down to the minute with no interruptions? And this potty training thing, what if my son could grasp the freedom and independence he would gain just by telling me that he needs to pee?
Ah, but life is messy (literally). I’m not in control. My son’s unregenerate heart is evil. The fleshly desires of my own still consume me most days.
Ephesians 2:1-10 are my favorite verses to use when sharing the Gospel. And, mama, do you know what you need to hear when you are struggling with control? That’s right, the Gospel.
Here are three ways to preach the Gospel to yourself when struggling with control.
Remember who you were
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV
Before the Gospel changed us, we weren’t just messy – we were dead to God. We were enemies of God. We only did things out of our own desires, and deserved God’s wrath. When you struggle with parenting an unbelieving child, show them grace. Remember the state of your heart before God forever changed you.
Remember what God did
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 1:4-9
Remember who you were and how undeserving you were, then remember how (despite all of those things) God saved you! Because of His great mercy, love, and grace, we can, through faith, receive the gift of life. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice, taking the wrath that you deserved. When struggling with control, remember that your salvation was brought about not by anything you did, but as a free gift from God. If you can rest in your eternal security, rest in God’s control of this moment.
Remember your proper response
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
You are no longer a rebel. Mama, you are a follower of Christ. You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Let your choices, attitudes, and words today reflect this. Pray for God to continue to give you His desires. Thank Him that He is using motherhood to grow you into His image.
When I’m potty training my son…I need the Gospel.
When I’m parenting…I need the Gospel.
When I’m not in control, which is every second of the day…I need the Gospel.
Preach the Gospel to yourself today. Keep your rapt attention on Him.
What Do You Think?
In what aspects of motherhood (or life in general) do you struggle with control? How do you combat this? Do you preach the Gospel to yourself as you go about your day? If so, how?