I held him earlier today during one such episode. There was a time not so long ago when I absolutely did not have the grace to do so, certainly not without internalizing much of his emotion in a very negative way. As God is perfecting his love in me, I am increasingly able to pour it out on my son with fresh grace and with authenticity. In other words, if given the choice, I'd rather not "fake it 'til I make it," you know?
Twenty-some minutes later, the screams and cries became the gasping, hiccupy breaths of a post-tantrum child, his head resting on my chest. With a face still dripping with tears, he raised his eyes to mine and smiled.
Lather, rinse, repeat eight minutes later when my telling him no, you may not claw at mommy's mouth like that triggered more crying and more holding, but the calm and the smile came much more quickly this time.
So it's working, I'd say...teaching a child who has known nothing of a parent/child relationship and who spent the first thirteen months of his life comforting himself that he can express his emotions safely in mom or dad's arms. More importantly, I am communicating to him I will NOT let you go. Cry it out. Scream in my ear if you must...I can take it. You are no longer solely responsible for soothing yourself. You are mine forever, and you are safe and loved here. Sometimes I pray or sing over him; other times I try my best to carry on with whatever I was doing previously, which today was an American History lesson with my oldest son.
All the while I am learning more about my Abba Father who invites me into his lap to bring him my sin, my ugly thoughts, my pain, my fear, my hopes, my desires...myself.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me...Psalm 18:16He never pushes me away. He is not undone by my fleshly rantings, my unbelief, or my tears. He welcomes me and I come. The abiding there is up to me.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. John 15:9I'm learning about holding from the master.