My daughter, Ava (almost 5), had the stomach flu this week. She spent the night with her head over a bucket while I spent the night holding her hair back. Big Idea: An awful time was had by all. The next morning, while Ava and I rested, Tami took Ryder (almost 3) and Lincoln (4 months) to Trader Joe’s. When they came back Ryder walked through the door with a big smile on his face and a tiny flower behind his back. Apparently, he saw them at the store and decided his sick sister needed one because she didn't feel good.
Needless to say, I was a wee-bit proud of my boy. It was a small victory.
See, in the majority of his waking hours, Ryder is wielding some form of weapon (the Lightsaber and Thor hammer are his weapons of choice). He spends his days waging one imaginary war after another. I love and encourage this in my son. I want him to grow up learning the values of protection, honor, and fighting evil. I want my son to grow up with the toughness it takes to be a Godly man in a fallen world.
Unfortunately, there are times when Ryder’s Thor hammer finds his sister's head. This is a problem. I follow this type of physical assault with some version of the same conversation: "Son, you don't hit your sister. We only fight bad guys. It's our job to love, protect, and take care of these girls." These conversations are motivated by a desire to see my son become a man who is tender toward those he should.
This is what made the flower a victory. Ryder was thoughtful, caring, and sweet to his sister. There was no lightsaber to her larynx, no hammer to her head, no repulser rays aimed at her rib cage (if you don’t know what these three things are you really need to step up your nerd game…). Instead, there were cute flowers and kind words.
It was a small victory, but a victory none-the-less.
In my (limited) experience, small victories are important in parenting and in life. You spend the vast majority of time feeling like you're getting it wrong, making mistakes, and anticipating the future phone call on which your child says, “So, I started therapy today…”
Then, from out of what feels like nowhere, God gives you a gracious glimpse of hope - a small victory. He reminds you that these kids are His before they’re yours. He reminds you that He’s using even your flawed faithfulness to shepherd your kids toward him.
You may not be a parent, but you still need to see these small victories, these evidences, these glimpses of grace. At times you’ll wonder if it’s true, but God is at work in and through you. It may not feel like it and you won’t always see it, but don’t ever forget that even the small victories are a glimpse of His grace…