A few weeks ago I watched the Parenthood episode where Julia & Joel realize their daughter, Sydney, who is about the same age as Ruthie, is a sore loser.
When Sydney loses a game, she throws a major fit – screaming, flailing, and she even slaps Joel across the face.
Joel tosses her in her room where she continues to throw a fit for hours. Eventually Julia gets home and takes a shift sitting outside Sydney’s door with a bottle of wine and a laptop.
By the time Joel returns, Julia’s blathering on about failing as a parent, and Joel quips about this kid being a bust but they can start fresh with a new one.
Up to this point I wanted to marry Parenthood I loved it so much. FINALLY! I thought. SOMEONE WHO GETS ME.
Julia & Joel opened the door to Sydney’s bedroom and we see she is sprawled out in the middle of the floor, passed out in a room that was completely destroyed in her rage.
I nodded. Oh yes, I thought. I’ve been here before.
Like flipping a light switch, Julia & Joel get downright giddy over how adorable Sydney looks passed out, and they giggle about her lovingly as they try to get her to bed without waking her up.
This is where the show totally lost me because I couldn’t fathom how they still liked her after all that.
And then it hit me that parents everywhere seemed to still like their kids despite this sort of behavior. How did they do that?
You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children — with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him — lost children yearning for their home.
– from The Jesus Storybook Bible
I have a daughter who throws a fit like Sydney many times a week – sometimes nightly if the moon and stars are lined up just right – and I realized I scratch a mental notch into my heart each time she does, like a prisoner counting off the days he’s in jail.
All these notches adding up over time are hardening my heart toward her, and I find myself disconnecting from her relationally.
Must be awesome to get parented by me.
So I’ve pretty much been praying for a heart transformation since I don’t know what else to do. Ruthie’s a difficult kid, there’s no doubt about that. But so am I, and Jesus pursues me despite all my bitchiness.
I have a feeling my daughter will struggle with rage and rebellion into perpetuity (I sure do!). It’s my prayer that I can become an earthly example of the heavenly Father who pursues her with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.