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all the needs

My daughter is two. She has her typical two moments. (I refuse to say terrible because I refuse to associate the word terrible with my daughter.) And she has moments where she is a little needy. She stomps into the kitchen and dramatically falls to the floor melting down in tears and two years of pent up hopes and dreams. Or she stands in front of the pantry where all the yummy stuff lives and she pleads with the door to open its wonders to her. I look forward to the day when she walks in to the kitchen and looks at me and says something like, “Hey Mom, I’m a bit peckish. May I have something delicious and nutritious to consume?”

Other times, we’ll be watching one of her favorite shows and suddenly and without warning she will scream and throw herself on the floor face down or onto the couch and I calmly ask her if she needs a nap. Most of the time “nap” is a four letter word. You know, because she can’t count. However once in awhile she will pick herself up and walk up the stairs and crawl into bed. I’m not even kidding. It is priceless. This gives me hope.

But most of the time, she is two. She has no idea what particular emotion she is feeling. She cannot express herself or ask politely for things, though she does know to say please and will vehemently do so in both sound and sign. I’m not sure if the intention is civilized communication with social grace and decorum, but it’ll do for now. She has a need, she doesn’t know what it is or how to ask for it, and she will frantically gesture, groan, plead, and grimace until it gets met.

It occurs to me as I watch her writhe on the floor, as if being attacked by venomous snakes, that this is the emotional maturity I have at times when I am angry with God. It strikes me between the eyes. I have needs, God, and You are currently failing to fill them. Like a prescription slip at the pharmacy, I expect to get there and have a bottle of pills waiting for me. If I have to wait for more than ten minutes, then at least entertain me with aisles of consumer goods or something.

And at other times, I have needs that I don’t even know about. I just know I’m discontent and I’m vexed. Just a general vexation. I feel like I’m pointing at everything in sight and thinking “Maybe it’s that. or this. or that other thing. It’s something. It’s something I don’t have in my hand right this moment. And I neeeeeeeeeed it!”

It’s maturity to know you need a nap. I’m super mature. It’s maturity to know when you need to eat, when your favorite show is ending and there’s nothing you can do about it. When you want a cupcake but it’s 8 at night and there’s no way your parents are giving you chocolate right before bed. It’s maturity to know these things.

It’s also maturity to know that you don’t know what you don’t know. And to know that you need something but can’t put your finger on it. Who do I trust to know that? And when I’m given it, do I believe it’s really what I needed? Or do I make a squishy face and pout at my parent for even considering giving me this?

My prayer for my daughter lately has turned into a prayer for myself as well. God, give her trust in me. That I am doing my best, that I am giving her good gifts and withholding things that will hurt her. Help her know how to settle and calm herself, knowing she is loved and cared for deeply and fully no matter what. Give her eyes to see truth amid all the shiny, alluring lies. Help her to see that, daily, even hourly, You will meet her wherever she is and will provide ALL the needs. ALL help must come from Thee. Help her believe it. Help her feel it in her bones. Help her open her hands expectantly and with great joy for all her days.

Help us all.

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