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Why Favoritism Is a Sin

favoritism is a sinIt can be a bit shocking to our ears to hear that favoritism is a sin. We tend to play favorites regularly and almost subconsciously:

  • Sizing others up
  • Comparing each other against worldly standards
  • Asking, “What’s in this relationship for me?”

While we might not think twice about the distinctions we make between people, God does. He says that when we show favoritism, we have “become judges with evil thoughts” (James 2:4). James exhorts us to “Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1). Favoritism is a sin. But why? What’s the big deal? 

Why Favoritism Is a Sin

Here are just a few reasons we are not to show favoritism:

  • Our God shows no favoritism. None. He chooses those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom (v. 5). He shares His glory and riches with us, not judging us based on outward appearance or “success,” but on whether or not we cling to Christ.
  • Our God is “the Lord of glory” (v. 1). We cloud His glory when we judge fellow believers on anything more or less than their precious faith in Jesus.
  • Our God is King, and He has a “royal law”: to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When we show favoritism, we break His law. And by failing in this way, we have become accountable for breaking all God’s law (vv. 8–10).

Favoritism is a sin, and the consequences are serious, even for believers. By forgetting God’s mercy toward us and withholding mercy from the poor, we will “be judged by the law of liberty” (vv. 12–13).

My Son’s Shining Example

There’s another way, though.

Our friends recently adopted a little boy from another country. When I shared the news with my son, Iren, he couldn’t wait to draw a card for “my friend.” Instantly this boy was “in.”

Iren’s response is a shining example to me of how I should be. He loved this other boy sight unseen. It didn’t matter to Iren that this boy has a different skin color, or that he doesn’t speak the same language. Iren didn’t care that this boy is from another culture. He didn’t ask if this boy was influential, rich, powerful, or stylish. Instantly, he was Iren’s “friend.”

Should I Only Be Friends with the Poor?

Does this mean we’re sinning if we build a close friendship with a popular girl? Not necessarily. (She, too, is your neighbor whom you’re commanded to love as yourself.)

Does this mean we’re super spiritual if we go out for coffee with a woman who doesn’t seem fit in at church? Not necessarily. (We could be doing it out of self-righteous self-love rather than out of love for God and for her.)

We can’t know another’s heart motives. But we can ask God to help us look past all this world values to what He values. We can rely on Him to love each person He places in our path in the same way as we love ourselves. 

Combating the Sin of Favoritism During Social Distancing

It may be a while before we gather with believers on a Sunday morning. But even in this period of social distancing, we can search our hearts for the sin of favoritism. For example:

  • Who do we text or call during this time, and who do we overlook or ignore? 
  • What social media accounts do we follow, and why? Do we feel better about ourselves by surrounding ourselves with “influential” people? 

Spend a minute confessing your sin of favoritism to God. Then, as you click off this post and move on with your day, turn these truths over and over in your mind, and interact with God about them: 

  • When you and I were poorly dressed in rags of self-righteousness, God covered us with His royal robes of perfect righteousness. 
  • He did not choose you and me based on anything that made us stand out above others. 
  • He welcomed us because of His great mercy.

Let’s go and do the same. 

If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll like A Hospitable Church Begins With Us.

(Versions of “Why Favoritism Is a Sin” were originally published on TrueWoman.com and MissioChurch.org.) 

Tears, Chasing the Sun, and All Things New

making all things new

I thought I was okay . . . until yesterday. The tears started falling and just wouldn’t stop. Apparently, even though I’m an introvert—and even though we’re all healthy—this lockdown is wearing on me more than I realized. 

When God Makes All Things New

I sat away from the computer for Skype “church service” so I wouldn’t distract others with my steady tears. We were studying Revelation 21, which gives a glimpse into our future hope: 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 

(I learned from our devotional guide that “The sea in the ancient world was a place of chaos, unrest, and dangers. The sea has no place in the new heaven and earth.”) 

The text continues, 

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem [a picture of the perfected people of God] coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 

In my weepy state, this next part captured my imagination most: 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 

Bernie Elliott wrote this in the devotional guide, 

Hospital beds, pharmacies, and caskets will be a thing of the past. It’s hard to imagine a life free of fear, a life without sorrow, an existence where death is no more. Yet this is what is prepared for God’s people. 

Amen. 

I wonder, do you and I long for things to return to “normal,” or is our hope in when God makes all things new?

Exercise, Chasing the Sun, and Limestone Fissures

When we finished our service, we chased the sun to Clark Reservation. We hiked across the limestone fissures and remembered that God will heal all the broken parts in our hearts and world.

We plan on continuing to chase the sun and to exercise harder after watching more videos from Virgil Tanner. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to his YouTube channel. He consistently ministers to my heart in the deepest of ways. Here’s a little coaching from him: 

“The most important thing you can do for your family is nurture a deep connection with Jesus. Find ways to withdraw, to engage Him with others, to obey the things He shows you . . . 

“The second most important thing you can do is work out. Because the third most important thing you can do is to create a way to find a healthy emotional space and to live from there. The other people in your house are going to draw their emotional tenor from you. And if you skip paying attention to your heart in order to pay special attention to their academics, they will come at their academics anxious. That will raise their affective filter, and they will learn less than they would have if you had put their school in the back seat and put your emotional wellness ahead of it.

“Remember that the best thing you can do for your emotions is exercise. Exercise is often prescribed as curative to things like low-grade depression or low-grade anxiety disorders. Take care of your body so it can take care of your heart. Also take care of your body so you can love your neighbor well, by not needing a hospital bed. As you take care of your body and it takes care of your heart, your heart can take care of their hearts, and their hearts will help their minds learn multiplication.” 

Here’s another short, excellent video I watched from Virgil yesterday that is really helping me. I highly recommend watching it. (Does Jesus’ favorite question surprise you? It did me.)

How We’re Doing Church + A Timely Word from Habakkuk

doing church over Zoom

How We’re “Doing Church” During This Health Crisis 

Yesterday was our third week worshiping with a small group of believers over Zoom. Our church is providing members with an order of service to follow in our own homes, and we’ve chosen to go through it with our small group each Sunday. While we can’t sing together (there’s a delay that doesn’t make that possible), I’ve loved discussing the passage together with personal application questions like,

What are some things in life you are tempted to believe God is entitled to give to you?” (Oh boy . . . where do I start?!) 

A Timely Word from Habakkuk 

Here was yesterday’s order of service if you want to use it yourself next Sunday. It was a timely word from Habakkuk 3:16-19. You’ve probably heard this part before:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

Sounds glorious, as long as you’re reading the words and not testing them in real life. But Habakkuk understood exactly what it would mean if the fig tree did not blossom, if the olive trees and fields did not yield food. In an agricultural society, this meant death by starvation. 

There were no backup plans. No restaurants, no grocery stores, no pantries. Our small group tried imagining such a dire situation, and we just couldn’t. Unfortunately, though, it’s reality right now for those in India. 

Habakkuk’s Realities True in India Right Now

The entire nation is in the midst of a complete, three-week lockdown. They only had four hours notice before everything was shut down. Many of the 1.3 billion people there barely survive as it was. Now, with twenty-one days of complete lockdown, this spells starvation and death for many. Please pray. 

Maybe this paragraph from yesterday’s order of service can help inform your prayers: 

“In an uncertain world, we can find joy in the certainty of God’s faithfulness and sustaining care. Even if we are stripped of all else—our comforts, our security, our very life—we can never be separated from the saving love of God in Christ Jesus our LORD. The lack that we sometimes experience, the hardships we face, the chaos we go through—it all focuses our eyes on the Gospel, because the gospel is not simply about God giving his people many blessings, but about God’s power to grant us the right to be reconciled to relationship with our Creator. God, in his strength, has granted to us the right to see Him and to rejoice in Him, no matter what may come.”

Sidewalk Chalk Theology 

Later in the day, our family took a walk. I was intrigued by how many signs we saw around the neighborhood. 

  • One family had painted a sign that said, “We are all together,” decorated with colorful handprints. 
  • Another used sidewalk chalk to mark off the distance of six feet and to encourage people to continue practicing social distancing. 
  • One home featured a sign in their window saying, “Things will get better.”  

That last one stood out to me in light of our focus on Habakkuk that morning. Things won’t get better for many. Hundreds of thousands will die. While I appreciated their desire to offer hope, it fell flat. 

After the kids were in bed, I realized we could write messages of true hope on our sidewalks. So Trevor and I hunkered down under the light of the moon and covered our sidewalks with Scripture. 

We live on a corner in the city, so we get a lot of foot traffic. Will you pray that many would receive comfort, hope, conviction—even eternal life in Jesus—through God’s Words? 

I’d Love to Hear From You

  • How are you worshiping God each Lord’s Day during this strange time when we’re unable to gather together corporately to do so? 
  • What are some things in life you’re tempted to believe God is required to give to you?
  • While you’re probably not facing starvation, what are you struggling with right now? Even if it’s “little” compared to what those in India are facing, how can I be praying for and supporting you? 

Jesus’ Response to Tragic Headline News

Jesus’ Response to Tragic Headline News

Dear reader, 

A friend told me she can’t bear to look at social media right now, because so many are posting about all the free time they have now. Ha! She was already over-extended as it was. Now, thanks to the current health crisis and school shutdowns she’s “a shell”: schooling her children, caring for her parents, continuing her job, and more. 

When I asked how I could practically help her, she asked if I could text her some Scripture regularly.

I wonder, could you, too, use some refreshment from God’s Word during this crisis? If so, follow along on Instagram and Facebook.  Today, I’ll include some brief thoughts from Luke 13 right here on the blog.

Jesus’ Response to Tragic, Headline News

In Luke 13, some people tell Jesus the tragic news of the day: Pilate has killed some Galileans, mixing their blood with the blood of their animal sacrifices. Rather than responding with something like, “That’s awful!” Jesus asks, Do you think these were worse sinners than other Galileans because they suffered this way? “No,” he answers his own question,” “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (v. 3).  

Jesus than takes a turn sharing another tragic headline news story with them. A tower in Siloam fell on eighteen people. Everyone died. Again, he asked, were they worse sinners than others because this happened to them? “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (v. 5). 

While you and I may (hopefully!) escape death by the current health crisis, we will all perish, unless we repent of our sin. Let Jesus’ response to tragedy serve as a wakeup call. Luke 13 goes on to share about the only two possible destinies for everyone on this planet:

1) For those who don’t repent, “…there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out” (v. 28). 

2) Those who do repent, though, will experience life beyond death: “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God” (v. 29). Imagine stretching out and talking and laughing and feasting with Jesus. If you are in Christ, THIS is your future. This is your hope. 

If this is not you, turn from your sin to Jesus, and He will welcome you to His table!

PS: I should explain this picture. Iren enjoys reading the paper with his grandma. While he’s reading the comics section in this photo rather than a tragic news story, may it serve as a reminder that you can still have joy because of the future Jesus has secured for you . . . with Him! 

 

When Date Night with Your Spouse Goes South . . . Again

My husband, Trevor, and I have a bad track record when it comes to our weekly date night. Often we return home unhappier than when we left.

A couple years ago, I surprised him with tickets to Cirque du Soleil. A friend told me she and her hubby loved the show, so I assumed we would too.

Ticket prices were steep, so I had to get creative with our budget. I depleted our date night category . . . discretionary category . . . garden category . . . and charged the rest to my personal spending category. (How did I think this was a good idea, being married to an accountant?!)

The evening began, lighthearted and fun, with Trevor guessing what we were doing and not getting even close. When we pulled up to the stadium, he was convinced it was a hockey game. It wasn’t until after we’d walked through security that he saw a sign advertising Cirque du Soleil.

Another Date Night Goes South . . . Again

We began our ascent up, up, up. My friend had told me there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, but apparently she hadn’t ventured this far up. Our seats were in the very last row at the tip-top of the stadium, and an arch was obstructing our view. And that’s when the whole tone changed. Trevor grew silent and sullen.

When the lights went down thirty minutes later, I moved to a better seat, Trevor trailing behind me. (He wasn’t thrilled with moving seats, as he’s more of a rule follower than I am.)

I didn’t feel I could enjoy the show, knowing that Trevor wasn’t thrilled. Even if he had been upbeat, though, the performers were speaking some gibberish language, and there didn’t seem to be a coherent storyline to follow.

To his credit, Trevor thanked me a couple times at the end, but it seemed forced. When we went to bed that night, he wasn’t looking me in the eyes. So much for my epic date night.

Many times I’ve just wanted to give up and say, If they’re gonna hurt this bad, let’s just forget date nights. Have you had a similar experience?

I always knew that wasn’t the answer, though. Here are a few problems we’ve bumped into on our date nights, as well as a few solutions we’ve found:

Date Night Problems . . . And Solutions

Problem #1: You don’t have a plan beforehand. 

Solution: When we realized that coming up with a plan “on the fly” wasn’t working for us, we tried surprising each other by planning a date night for the other (as I did with Cirque du Soleil). However, it didn’t take long for us to realize that was not a good idea for us.

So we compiled a Google document of date night ideas that we’d both enjoy. Give it a shot, and consider adding categories like:

  • Indoors
  • Outdoors
  • Winter
  • Summer
  • Cheap (ahem, Paula!)
  • In-home (for when you have kids)

Save yourself some heartache and don’t try to figure out what you’re doing as you’re climbing into the car. Be intentional in planning ahead.

Read the other four problems—and solutions—over at TrueWoman.com

I’d love to hear from you. Do you resonate with this struggle? Do you go on date nights? If you do, what has worked well for you?

If you do feel like you’re one of the only married couples who doesn’t have wonderful weekly date nights, know that you’re not alone. At the very least, the Marstellers are with you! We hope and pray that our struggles and attempted solutions help you to pursue deeper intimacy and enjoyment of one another.

My Long-Distance Relationship with Trevor (An Interview)

Good morning! I’m responding to a few questions about my long-distance relationship with Trevor at DatingAtADistance.com today. Questions like, How did you:

  • Grow in your relationship with God while you were in a long-distance relationship?
  • Make the decision to move to the city where Trevor lived before you were married?

And:

  • How did the two of you manage conflict and communication?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting a long-distance relationship?

Here’s a short sample:

How did you grow in your relationship with God while you were in a long-distance relationship?

In the same ways I had while single. By digging into God’s Word daily and communicating with Him through prayer—though definitely in a more distracted state!

I was also challenged to search the Scriptures and reconsider some beliefs I’d always held. Trevor had differing views and more freedoms than I was used to—specifically when it came to drinking alcohol. Another biggie was his understanding of how to discern God’s will, which was quite different from mine. That has resulted in much greater freedom in my life. If you’d like to read more on this, here are some posts on decision making.

Trevor has also been such a tangible picture of God’s steadfast love for me, even when the ugliness of my sin has been laid bare.

Catch the rest of the interview at DatingAtADistance.com

Having a Spiritual Leader Doesn’t Mean…

husband and wife studying Bible

Today I’m over at TrueWoman.com exploring what it looks like that your husband is your spiritual leader–or rather, what it doesn’t look like. Below is a short sample of the post; catch the entire version of “Your Husband Isn’t Your Connection to God” here. Mostly, though, I’d love to hear from you:

  • Have you taken a more passive role in your relationship with God since marrying? How so?
  • If you’re still single, what are your expectations for what it will mean for your husband to be your spiritual leader?

________________________________________________

Taking a Back Seat in My Relationship with God

You may have heard—or believe—that your husband is your spiritual leader. But I wonder what that means to you.

Based on this belief, when I entered marriage, I subconsciously unbuckled my seatbelt, got out of the driver’s seat in my relationship with God, and moved to the back. I looked to the front seat where my new husband, Trevor, sat and waited for him to lead us in daily time in God’s Word and prayer. . . .

Somehow, my complementarian ideals had led me to live as if I was in pre-Reformation days when only an elite few had access to God’s Word. I looked to my husband to lead me to God, rather than enjoying the direct access Christ purchased for me. But 1 Timothy 2:5 is clear. There is only one mediator between God and humanity, and it is not my husband. It is Jesus.

What Are Your Expectations of Having a Spiritual Leader?

What are your expectations of your husband being your “spiritual leader”? When you’re together, do you:

  • Leave all the praying up to him, or do you pray too?
  • Invite him to read and pray with you, or do you believe he is the only one who can initiate that?
  • Stay home with him because he doesn’t want to go to church, or are you faithfully frequenting its doors whether he comes with you or not (Heb. 10:19–25)?

Are you afraid:

  • To confront your husband in love about unrepentant sin in his life (Heb. 3:12–15)?
  • That you can’t pursue intimacy with God too fervently, because you might intimidate your husband and keep him from stepping up?

If you have children, do you teach them God’s Word, even if your husband doesn’t (Deut. 6:5–8)?

Dear Christian wife, I hope you aren’t tempted to “quit” your relationship with God in order to be a good, “submissive” wife. These two things are not mutually exclusive!

Yes, God has given your husband the role of “head” in your relationship. But rather than this limiting you, this should propel and empower you. Think about it. Do truly great leaders do all the work themselves, or do they empower those under their care to thrive, initiate, and lead? . . .

11 Reasons Why I Write (And Plan to Continue)

writer excited about garage door purchase

Why do I write? This is something I had never answered . . . until Cyber Monday. That’s when I splurged on Michael Hyatt’s “Get Published” course. (Yes, I’m already a published author, but that doesn’t mean my wheels haven’t been spinning in the mud for a while now.) 

In Michael’s first session, he asks, “Why do you want to write?” Here are eleven reasons why I write (and plan to continue), in no particular order:

Why I Write: First for Me . . .

  • Because doing so makes me dig deep into God’s Word like nothing else (and I profit more than anyone!). 
  • To be a healthy me. (If I haven’t journaled in days, it’s a sure red-light-indicator that things aren’t great in my soul.) 
  • To think thoughtfully about life and to discover what I actually believe. 
  • As an outlet for my much more challenging 24/7 job as mom of two sweet-but-needy little boys. 
  • Not just to be a “faith writer,” but to be a “faith-filled writer.” (Thanks for sharing this truth, Lore Wilburt.) I write to combat the negative voices in my head that tell me I don’t have what it takes. I write to be faithful with the gifts God has given me—even when they’re not as bright and shiny as the next writer over who’s stringing words together in a most beautiful way. 
  • To open more doors to speak (that’s just how it works in our world, folks). I “feel God’s pleasure” (Eric Liddell reference) when I teach like I do in no other way. I want to keep honing my skills and blessing others in that way. 
  • To keep up—and actually improve—my skills so I can be prepared to re-enter the full-time workforce should I ever need to. 

Why I Write: Then for Others . . .

  • In order to obey Scripture’s command to use my gifts of teaching and exhortation to serve the people of God (Romans 12:6). Thanks for continually beating this drum, Erin Davis!
  • With the hopes of helping my talented husband, Trevor, with the financial burden he shoulders as the sole provider for our family. My most recent contracting project for Revive Our Hearts enabled me to replace the impenetrable fortress of our broken garage door (which is pictured here behind me). 
  • Because I’ve found I’m bolder to speak truth with a pen or a mic in hand, and God seems to bless that boldness. 
  • To leave a legacy. I am aware my days on earth are limited. If my words (which point to God’s enduring Word) stick around longer than me, that’s a win (1 Peter 1:24-25).

Why do you write, or do that thing you do? And if you’re only dreaming of doing it, then why do you want to write, or carve, or start that business? As Michael Hyatt shares, you need to know your “why” if you’re going to succeed. 

PS: If my writing, editing, speaking, or interviewing skills can be of use to you or your church or your organization, please let me know. Now that our garage door slides open quicker than your tush can land on black ice, I’m ready for my next assignment. 

Life Is Too Short to Clean My House . . . Or Is It?

Life Is Too Short to Clean My House . . . Or Is It?

Some men don’t care if their home is clean or messy. Not my hubby. He grew up with a mom who could challenge anyone to the Heavyweight Cleaning Champion of the World title. Trevor is used to a spotless home (and I really do mean spotless). Mess stresses him out. But his high expectations for a clean house stress me out. Sounds like a killer combination, huh? Yes, I’ve shot lots of heated words his way over this volatile subject. 

The Clean Freak I Married

You know from my first book how for thirty plus years I ached for a pair of strong arms to hold me close. In God’s extravagant kindness, He granted that gift. However, in all those years of pining, I never gave a thought to what might accompany such a gift. 

Turns out, marriage involves more than being adored by a man. With a husband come kids, and that husband and those kids must live in a house, and that house must be cleaned, and those hubby and those kids must be fed and clothed with freshly laundered clothes . . . again and again and again. 

I was not prepared for that kind of service. In one childish-sounding journal entry I spewed, 

“Cleaning is stupid. As soon as you finish, it’s messy again. It’s futile . . . It’s not creative . . . I hate it.”

Truth be told, I thought myself above such dull tasks as dusting and mopping and window washing. After serving in women’s ministry for well over a decade, these sorts of tasks felt like the demotion of the century. 

My Cleaning Conundrum

Now, lest you think him a chauvinist pig, let me clear the record. Trevor does pitch in and help me clean. If it weren’t for him, our fridge, oven, and floors would never get a deep cleaning. But we’ve worked out a deal of sorts. 

See, he’s handy, and I’m not. We have been—and still are—in the middle of a home renovation. So anytime there is something I can do, I try to do it myself rather than asking him for help, in order to free him up for the tasks that only he can accomplish. 

In Search of Answers on Why a Clean Home Matters

There was simply no way around it. I needed to clean, and I didn’t want to hate every minute of it for the rest of my life. I desperately needed some big questions answered. Is there any redeeming value to cleaning? In light of eternity, why does cleaning matter?

By the grace of God, I finally stumbled across the answer in Courtney Reissig’s book, Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God.  

First, she showed me how housework is connected to the two greatest commandments of loving God and loving neighbor. My closest neighbors are my husband and kids, and work in the house is for them. This was an “a-ha!” for me:  

“Laundry is for people to wear. Food is for people to be nourished. Clean floors are for people to crawl around on. Dishes are for people to eat off. The people and the physical work of the home are not in competition. They are two sides of the same coin. . . . The physical work of the home exists for the physical people in the home.” 

I was wrecked (in the best kind of way). 

Another paradigm shift I experienced from reading her book is that work is not about my personal fulfillment; it is for the good of my neighbor. How have I missed that for all these years?! I wondered. Courtney quoted Martin Luther more than once in this regard: 

“If you find yourself in a work by which you accomplish something good for God, or the holy, or yourself, but not for your neighbor alone, then you should know that that work is not a good work.” 

Ouch. 

Keep the Whole Law with a Clean Home

Ever since I read these truths, things have been changing in my house and my heart. As long as I keep the big picture in view, I don’t resent the poop stains I have to magically remove from my son’s shorts. I don’t mutter about the smooshed grapes I have to clean off the floor. I don’t cry over the onions I have to chop for supper (well, actually I do, but for a different reason!). 

Life is too short not to love my closest neighbors with a clean house, clean clothes, and food on the table. Do I do it perfectly? Not even close. But I keep working hard at it, because in this small, ordinary way, I can actually fulfill the whole law (Galatians 5:14). 

Thanks to Crossway’s generosity, I’m giving away five copies of Courtney’s book, Glory in the Ordinary. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from reading it, enter here.

Potty Training Or Bust

Potty Training Or Bust

You guys, we survived potty training! The first day was exhilarating. (And no, I never imagined using those two words in the same sentence!)

Potty Training, Day One

Around lunch time, Iren sat down on his potty chair and laughed with delight as he saw pee coming out. “Do some more!” “Do some more!” he squealed. And he did. He’d sit back down, let a few drops out, laugh, and go dump it in the big toilet. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. 

That first day felt like my first major “mom win.” I needed that. In one sense, I had nothing to do with the day’s success. But in another sense, I did. I researched, prepared, and coached Iren along. At the end of the day, I wrote in my journal, 

“God has equipped me to do my job as a mom well. I long to embrace it and one day soon say without hesitation, ‘Yes, I love being a Mom. Yes, I am content with the lot God has given me.’”

Day Two

The second day was exhausting, just as author Jamie Glowacki warned it would be. 

Iren resisted potty training, and I found myself resorting to bribing him with a pretzel or a piece of Trader Joe’s Pickle Popcorn, because that seemed the only way Iren would agree to go. 

I was much more uptight than I was Monday, and as the day went on I remembered just how important it is not to prompt him continually, and to give him space to have accidents. I wrote in my journal, 

“Hopefully this isn’t ‘telling’ of future parenting; it’s okay if he makes mistakes. Only God is perfect.” 

Day Three

On day three, new help arrived. (Did I mention that I recruited back-up?) The first two days, an unemployed friend joined me to watch Hudson while I trained Iren. For days three and four, my mother-in-law joined me. I wrote in my journal that morning, 

“I see how every day there’s something new to be anxious about. Rather, to trust God for! Today’s area for trust is that Patti will cooperate with our potty training method. Please help us work well as a team today, Father.” 

The day felt like an emotional roller coaster ride, it was all so fast-paced. The highlight of the day was when Iren pooped in his potty as I was reading him a book. We praised him up and down. 

At the end of the day, I recorded, 

“My fear was unsubstantiated: Patti was calm and cool and played according to my potty training rules. She also brought us breakfast and lunch. Amazing. . . . I could never have done this without help. Thank You for sending Patti, God, who also did my laundry and more. Please help me love and bless my future daughters-in-law, should I have them, half as much as she blesses me and our family.” 

Day Four

By day four, I felt confident enough to leave the house for a small test outing. I brought Iren to the library for the first time ever. He had a blast. He asked me to help him get a “ball” (the library had planets hanging from the ceiling). We colored, he made some new friends in the play area, I checked out some books on going to the potty for him, and he went potty on their big toilet. 

A Potty Training Promise I Couldn’t Pass Up On

I knew the real work of potty training was done in just three days. That was the “carrot” that had me drooling when I first heard about the book, Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right

My friend, Caitlin, told me about this method where you could train your kid in just a couple days. That sounded too good to miss out on. So I got the book. (I only discovered recently that it has 1,166 Amazon reviews, so I’m not the only one who has found this author’s advice to be spot on!) 

Psyched Out

At first, what I read psyched me out:

  1. I was supposed to keep my eyes on my two-year-old non-stop for the entire process?! I’m more of a hands-off mom, plus I have a five-month-old, so that just didn’t sound doable. 
  2. I also read that Iren’s success would depend upon me not being stressed out. Ha! Anxiety has been my middle name for years now. So I put it off for a few more weeks. I think I’d rather have changed two kids’ diapers for years than potty train!

But after Iren got blisters a second time from sitting in poo overnight, I knew it was time. Iren was ready; out of love, I needed to do what was best for my boy. The author also explained that it gets harder–not easier, as many believe–the older kids get. So after blocking off a week on my calendar two times, and bailing twice, I finally “set my face like a flint.” No turning back. July 8-13 we would do this. 

And we did! I never could have done it successfully without Jamie’s book. Do yourself a favor and get a copy. If not for you, then for a young mom. The idea of potty training initially made me want to hide in a corner, but this book gave me the confidence I needed to empower my boy to learn a life-skill that he will use for the rest of his life. Thanks, Jamie!