If there’s anything I know without a doubt, it’s that my son loves food! That boy’s stomach knows no end, per his envy-worthy metabolism. As such, I keep snacks handy at all times, and my grocery bill has grown by leaps and bounds as he transitioned from infancy to toddler to “big boy”. I'm starting to notice that with his increased appetite, he has also increased impatience around mealtimes. The boy gets HANGRY!
Let me paint the picture:
When he was around 18 months old, after our usual afternoon routine, I placed him in his high chair to prep dinner. I gave him a few snacks to keep him occupied while I cleaned and seasoned chicken. And no, the snacks don’t spoil his appetite – EVER. I consider it an appetizer of sorts, considering he generally consumes his dinner AND mine, then asks for more.
I left the meat marinating for a bit to focus on some side dishes when all of a sudden I hear, “mama, pees eat.” Translation, “Hey ma! Snacks are done. Whatever you’re making over there, I want. Now. Please?”
Our conversation continued as such:
Me: “No baby, dinner isn’t ready yet. You’ll get it soon though. More snacks?”
Him: “No. I want dippen!” Translation, “Nah, I want that chicken!“ – Because when you’re 18-months-old dippen = chicken.
Me: “No son. NOT YET. Look at this.” (Holds up raw chicken to make a teaching moment out of dinnertime) “You can’t eat raw chicken. It will make you sick. After I cook it in the pan, you can have some with the rest of your dinner.”
Y’all… this boy looked at me like he really understood then broke out into a FULL wail. I clearly underestimated his 18-month-old ability to reason and understand. I continued to explain that I wasn’t saying he couldn’t have the chicken at all, just not yet. It wasn’t ready yet! What kind of parent gives their child uncooked food? Salmonella much?
I mean, I’m not a mean person and I love my son. I understand his appetite and want him to be satiated. After all, he got his appetite from me. I helped make him (lol), I would never withhold anything good from him. Yet, he was convinced I was just unwilling to share my beautifully marinated RAW chicken.
I cleaned my hands, gave him more snacks to distract him along with a dose of Elmo’s World. I watched his tears dry up and proceeded to finish dinner while quietly murmuring, “Lord, is this how we are with you?”
In many ways motherhood has illuminated my understanding of the Father’s overwhelming love for us. This epiphany is one of several that forced me to look at myself, and consider all the times I complained about not having things I felt entitled to, and prayed for, but hadn’t received. Am I being patient, or am I as impatient as a toddler who doesn’t have the ability to think outside his egocentric world? Are you?
How many times have you prayed for something (or someone) and it seems like it’s so close, but out of reach at the same time. "I swear I'm being patient! Is God messing with me? Maybe this just isn’t in my future? I know He loves me, but it just feels unfair. Why didn’t I get that job, opportunity, (insert whatever else here), that I prayed fervently for, and even fasted for?"
I believe the word of God is true:
Psalm 84:11 AMP “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace and favor and honor; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Matthew 7:7-8 AMP “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.”
If the words above are true, why haven’t you received what you’ve asked for? Maybe what’s being prepared for you isn’t ready yet. Or consider this, maybe YOU aren’t ready to receive what you’ve asked for; and your loving Father knows that and is preparing you for when “not yet” becomes “it’s now time.”
The next time you’re struggling with patience, and are tempted to throw a spiritual tantrum, I want you to remember my son, raw chicken, and God’s heart for you. “Not yet” might just be the most loving words you’ve never understood.
“Just for me, many doors you've closed
Just for me, sometimes you will say no
So I'll be tested in your fire to purify my desires
So my blessings won't be just for me
So caught up in myself I couldn't see
The world did not revolve around me
So storms are in your will so I can feel what others feel
If I could speak honestly It don't feel good
But growing never does…”
Kirk Franklin, Just For Me
I love you & I’m rooting for you,