Use Your Words

April 13, 2015

My oldest daughter will be three late this summer, and she is going through a definite “terrible twos” phase right now.

All of life is a meltdown waiting to happen!  Sometimes – often – I’m not even sure what she’s upset about because she’s been crying and angry about a continuous string of things all day.  She’ll crumple in a heap at my feet and wail without a single word of what happened to upset her, or burst out shrieking in frustration at the first sign of a challenge.

I find myself using the same phrases a lot.

“I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s bothering you.”

“Don’t just start screaming right away – ask for help first if you’re having trouble.”

“Use your words.”

If only she’d express what she needs or wants before imploding into a firestorm of freak-outery!  But she’s a toddler, a mass of intense emotions contained in a tiny body, and she’s still learning to control herself.  She’ll learn…and until then I need to work on being patient so I don’t explode along with her.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.45.42 PM

This phase is educational to me, because, you see…

I just turned twenty-four, but I am going through a definite “hormonal and pregnant” phase right now.

All of life is a meltdown waiting to happen.  Sometimes – often – I’m not even sure what I’m upset about because I’m crying and angry about a continuous string of things all day.  😉

It occurs to me to wonder if God is observing me much like I observe my toddler daughter, and asking the same question.  “Why exactly does she do this to herself?”  Being all-knowing, of course He doesn’t have to ask what’s going on, because He knows the depths of my heart and every detail of my life.  But so much emotion!  So much stress!

So much unhappiness could be averted, if I would just use my words.

Instead of being anxious for three hours over a potential misunderstanding with a friend, and arguing with myself over whether it’s really a big deal, what if I turned right to God at the first sign of anxiety? – and said, “Please give me wisdom in this – I’m concerned she’s mad at me, and it makes me worried.  I don’t understand, and I’m scared.”

I’ve started doing just that.

It sounds silly when I do it, and simple, and embarrassingly childish.  As with all the rest of life, my unfortunate inclination with prayer is to wait to communicate until I’ve sorted out all my thoughts, decided what’s worth saying, and formed an eloquent petition that encapsulates my problem perfectly and respectably.

But I don’t think God cares about eloquence one bit.  He wants us to cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us!  When emotions rage, especially irrational fears and frustrations, sometimes putting the emotion into words is enough to partly diffuse the explosion in my heart.  I don’t understand.  I’m scared – or hurt, sad, angry, overwhelmed – because of this thing that’s happening.  Help me!

It doesn’t make the situation go away, but it reminds me that I have a Help, a Friend, and a Father who is standing right there, holding me, and who has all control over the circumstances that feel too big for me to handle.  He cares about how I feel, and can reassure me, smooth my ruffled feathers, and give me the peace to move forward.

So when my daughter explodes with a shriek and throws her fork because she can’t successfully skewer a bite of waffle on her first try…I take a deep breath and remember that she and I actually have a lot in common.

We’re both still learning to ask for help first.  We’re both still learning to use our words.


“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
for he trusts in You.”

– Isaiah 2:3


  1. “…encourage the young women to be…sensible…” (Titus 2:4-5) – an excellent verse for women prone to be ruled by their emotions (which is all of us to varying degrees and in different situations).

  2. I love it!
    And am sorry for any stress I ever inadvertently cause you! <3

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