Today I saw a bumper sticker, "Keep kids alive, drive 25." I saw it while I was on a drive to put my toddler to sleep for her nap, because she was refusing to go to sleep otherwise. When I saw the bumper sticker, I had the glorious thought, "You have to drive slowly when kids are around because mine is not the only kid in the world prone to run into the street!" I know that sounds silly, but sometimes, when I hear about other kids going to bed for their naps really easily and happily holding mommy's hand in the parking lot and sleeping through the night and putting away each book on the bookshelf before picking out another, it sounds like every other toddler in the world is a perfect angel and I must have done something really wrong with mine. It was good to be reminded that, actually, my daughter is a perfectly normal toddler.
I was surprised when, upon the birth of my daughter, I was immediately considered the expert on raising her. "Would you like to give us permission to immunize her?" "Would you allow me to hold her this way?" "What should we do about feeding her - is a bottle okay or are you going to exclusively nurse her?" The options were endless, and I felt like I didn't know nearly enough to be making some of these decisions. And I worried. Not knowing the consequences of almost any of the options, and growing in my awareness that no one else really did, either (although there are a LOT of opinionated people out there who fundamentally disagree with each other), what could I do? This worry only got worse the more convinced I became that it was inevitable that at some point along the way I was likely to do something less than what was best for her.
I was involved in a car accident a number of years ago when I was on my way home from college. A lady was hurt and her car totaled, and she decided to milk this opportunity for some cash. So she sued me for hundreds of thousands of dollars. No, her medical and car expenses were nowhere near that, but there were "loss of happiness" issues and such (no kidding - that was the wording on the lawsuit). My car insurance hired a lawyer and we went to court. While prepping me on what to say, the lawyer concluded, "Just relax. There is nothing you can say today that I can't fix."
While the ethical implications of my lawyer's comment in that setting made me uncomfortable, God has used those words to give me great comfort in many other areas of my life, including that of raising my daughter. Yes, I may make mistakes. But there is nothing I can do that Jesus can't fix. Jesus will call my daughter to himself, Jesus will be stronger for her than any habit, Jesus will bind up her wounds, Jesus will forgive her and me and make us both whole, and we will rejoice with him forever, not because I was perfect, but because Jesus is.