Parenting and a smiling pile of poo

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“Not again, Elias!”

I hate poop. I especially hate it if I have to clean it off my son, his bed, the carpet, the wall, and my own clothes. This marked the fourth time within six months. I was so angry with my four-year-old by that my body visibly trembled with rage. Somehow, beyond all reasoning, he had relieved himself of his pajamas, diaper, and the contents of his bowels. No poop could be found in the diaper, but it was everywhere else. He looked up smiling. “Not again….” I whimpered as my exasperation gave way to sadness encroaching on despair. I bathed him, and he screamed about being cleaned. I prayed silently, “Will he ever get over this issue? And will I ever stop wanting to throttle him for doing this?”

We’ve all gotten angry with someone else’s behavior.

We have all gotten angry about someone else’s behavior. My son is autistic. At this point in his development, he seems perfectly content to resist potty training. It seems that he'd just prefer to remain in his foulness. I tell myself not to get frustrated in those “Not again” moments. I pray God will give me greater strength and patience. Certainly the Sovereign Lord could throw me a bone and help me out! I’m tired of saying “not again” and having to apologize to my special needs son for getting so angry with him. I’m tired of humbling myself and having to repent of my sin over and over again. In those moments, God reminds me that I'm just like Elias. I'm content to stay in my poop. 

God uses suffering to bless me again... Yes, again and again!

With a gentle nudge, the Spirit reminds me that it is His kindness that leads me to repent (Romans 2:4-5). I do not need to indulge my hard heart. I sigh as I hold my washed son, and he hugs my neck. God uses suffering to bless me once again. He reminds me to turn away from my false hope in a higher functioning child or easier circumstances. He reminds me to rest in His strength and return to the forgiveness he offers through the cross of Christ. I don’t need more personal strength. I need to die to myself so that I may live again in the resurrection life Christ gives to me (Galatians 2:20).  In my weakness and rottenness, I must return to Him. Yes, again and again!

Heath Rickmond

Dr. Heath S. Rickmond is husband to Jackie and dad to Elias and Ansley. He holds his Ph.D. in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He teaches Bible and technology at Christian Academy Southwest in Louisville, KY. Heath says, "I'm a justified beggar showing other beggars where to find bread. I'm a nerdy hero who wishes he was super."