So this past weekend I had, to date, the worst grocery store tantrum-throwing melt-down I've had since becoming a mom. And the Oscar winning performance goes to...my little Allie-girl. I'll be honest folks, I've never seen such jaw-dropping dramatics from either of my boys at the grocery store. She took it to a whole new level.
In a nutshell. She refused to sit in the grocery cart. She also refused to walk (apparently the freedom didn't interest her). All she wanted was to be held...by me. The problem was that it's virtually impossible to push a grocery cart with only one free hand (assuming the other is being used to carry a toddler). Especially when the cart is quite full. So logistically I simply couldn't grant her "Hold Me" request.
And so the melt-down began. For 20 minutes we walked through aisles, not getting very far mind you. She would kick and scream buckled into the cart, weasel her way out of the buckle, and force herself to a standing position. If I set her down to walk, she went limp. I would patiently tell her the options again, she would cry and whine. I'd set her in the cart, she'd kick and scream. I'd set her down to walk, she'd go limp and whine.
After 20 minutes of this she finally just laid her face down in the middle of an aisle and threw a doozy of a tantrum. Oscar worthy! People walked by in shock that such crying and screams could come out of such a little body. She refused to move toward me, was crawling away in fact.
When I finally got to her, I stood in the middle of the store and held her for 15 MINUTES while she just cried and cried on my shoulder. I didn't move, just stood there and let her get a grip. Dozens of people walked by me. Who knows what they were thinking? I didn't care at that point.
Her hard, little stubborn heart needed softening. So for 15 minutes I stood there comforting her and gently reminding her of the options available. I knew she needed time. So I just waited. And prayed God would soften her heart. Eventually she caught her breath and relaxed. So I asked her again what she would like to do, "Sit or walk, baby?" Quietly she says to me (in her sweet little voice), "Sit mommy." I said, "Okay baby-girl" and kissed her cheek. I set her in the cart and that was that. We finished our shopping. I checked out. We drove home.
I read in a book recently about a parent whose number one prayer for his child was that her heart would be soft toward God. One tender enough to trust and obey. One tender enough to have faith & believe that He exists and that His design and His ways are always best.
I was struck by this prayer after Allie's grocery store episode.
OH how I hope her heart is soft toward God instead of a kicking and screaming kind-of hard heart.
A soft heart toward God can be difficult to find these days.
There is such great unbelief. Such deep rebellion in the hearts of many in this world toward God. And the result is a vast amount of people who are straying from God with heart's that are hardened. They are kicking and screaming against His ways. They are going limp on His paths. They are crawling away from Him, refusing to believe He exists.
Hebrews 3:7-19 speaks to this subject of unbelief stating that often the heart of the unbeliever is "hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Theologian Barnes put it this way: "Sin is always deceitful. It promises more than it performs. It assures us of pleasure which it never imparts...The man who commits sin is always under a delusion; and sin, if he indulges it, will lead him on from one step to another until the heart becomes entirely hardened. Sin puts on plausible appearances and preferences; it assumes the name of virtue; it offers excuses and palliations, until the victim is snared, and then spell-bound he is hurried on to every excess. Sin deceives, deludes, blinds. Men do not, or will not, see the fearful results of indulgence. They are deluded by the hope of happiness or of gain; they are drawn along by the fascinations and allurements of pleasure until the heart becomes hard and the conscience seared - and then they give way without remorse."
So without over-spiritualizing a barely 2 year old's tantrum at the grocery store, I'll simply say the experience has driven me to pray for her heart in a new way....to pray that her heart wouldn't be hardened by sin's deceitfulness and that it would be soft toward God.
Will you join me and let's pray!
I pray my children's hearts would be soft toward You and Your ways. May they trust and obey You with tender hearts. Protect them from sin's deceitfulness that forms hard callouses on their hearts and sears their consciences. Protect them from kicking and screaming, even crawling away from You because of unbelief. Give me wisdom Lord as to how I can encourage them in faith and obedience toward You.