I've always been told that when you become a parent, you learn things about God that you might never see otherwise. I have certainly found that to be true, but what I didn't expect was the lessons I would learn about myself.
One of the most irritating habits our little peach has is that she loves to ignore me. Pretty much on a daily basis, I will tell her good morning, say hi, ask how school was, ask about her day, ask her what she's watching, etc and receive cold silence in return. Most of the time it's not a big deal, so I just try and brush the annoyance out of the way and move on, but sometimes it happens when Hailee or myself are trying to instruct her in some way, which just adds fuel to my irritation. Sure, this may be a problem with me being an impatient control freak, but that's a confessional blog for another day.
My desire, my fleshly response is to just ignore her right back the next time she needs something from me—I don't usually have to wait long. I think I partially like the idea of winning; kind of a, "You're not going to get me to talk on your terms," kind of thing. Or maybe it's more of a, "I'll show you how fun it is to be ignored," kind of thing. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle of all that.
And yes, it might be petty to live in competition with a three-year-old, but #can'tstopwon'tstop.
After what is usually a conflicting moment of wrestling with myself, I typically decide that ignoring her question or her asking for milk is probably not the most mature response. (I would personally prefer to resolve all conflicts with thumb wars and pogs, but as the wise old bard, Mick Jagger once said, "You can't always get what you want.")
When I decided to not treat our little gremlin with her own medicine, a thought struck me. Not a pleasant thought, at least with regard to my character, but a necessary one.
I ignore God a lot. An embarrassingly large amount, actually.
When He tries to get my attention, I often turn away and pretend I didn't hear Him. When he tries to instruct or guide me, my first response is flight. When He just desires for me to want to spend time with Him, I seek after anything else. And perhaps worst of all? Sometimes I willfully ignore God, almost making a game out of it. I'm not sure why I do it, in much the same way that I'm sure our little one would have a hard time articulating why she ignores us sometimes. Sometimes, when she's not responding, I will look at her and she's looking away and smirking mischievously. Almost like saying, "You can't make me respond to you, so good luck."
Oh, how often do I stubbornly smirk in the face of my Father in heaven, daring Him with a, "You can't make me," childish attitude? Why do I insist on playing these games?
Are there times He just lets me be to wallow in my own immaturity? Sure. But you know who will always answer when I finally call out? God will. I'm so glad that He isn't as petty as me.
In Psalm 91 God promises that He will answer when I call to Him. This is the example set before me. Though I am stubborn and often (too often) refuse to meet with the Lord and respond to what He is trying to do in my life, God is faithful to remain as a refuge and a fortress for me. It doesn't make any sense, but such is the nature of the depth of the love that God has for us.
As for our little foster child, she has something of an excuse for the way she acts. The poor girl has seen so much in her little life, and she understands so little of it. What excuse do I have? I have seen God be faithful time and time again, and have seen the joy that comes from remaining faithful to Him and leaning into His direction. But still, I rebel, prone to wander as I am.
For me, I have a lot of growing to do. A lot of growing up to do to meet the Lord where He wants me. And I have a great example for how to treat our little angel (or something) when she gives me the cold shoulder. It's my job to be a refuge for her, whether I'm frustrated or not, whether she is cooperative or not. When she ignores me, I'm there; when she finally seeks me out, I will answer. Even on her terms.