i love how big and bold she is. she's bursting with personality. she is smart and capable and determined. such a strong will. and boy, can she argue her point.
one moment, she will be well-mannered, reasoned, reasonable. the next, bossy britches and emotional and a wailing protesting heap of ridiculousness. i suppose that is the frustration of being three going on fourteen...or in her case, three going on forty. she surprises me every day with intelligence beyond her years. kindness and compassion and care. she can be exceedingly responsible. she takes care of things and loves to help. she is highly attuned to her surroundings. she notices the emotions of others. she is empathic like crazy. she can even bring her own emotions under control when reminded that she is spiraling. she is a little old lady trapped in a petite almost-four-year-old frame. and while i love that she wants to help and plan and organize and control and take-charge and have things in proper order, the battle between mature and immature - capable adult tendencies and silly irrational preschooler - tyrant and tiny little lady overwhelms her daily.
she runs herself ragged trying to keep up with her own mind. trying to manage her desires and tendencies and preferences. trying to keep herself controlled in the face of frustration. trying to balance the playfulness of childhood with her constant desire to mimic mama and papa and be the adult. we fight this battle constantly. she is such an old soul and wants to be in charge. she is capable and responsible. she has strong opinions. she has a quick mind. and can even have a tremendously thoughtful spirit. but there are numerous times in any given day when all these elements converge and cause a big mess. she tries to do it all. and sometimes, it doesn't work out as she planned. OR her will is in direct opposition of the authorities in her life. trouble.
it isn't always hideous defiance, sometimes she is truly trying to help...it's just that her helpfulness isn't exactly helpful in that particular moment. or she gets wound up and tries to control things and fix things and causes a bigger mess for herself. or she is trying to entertain the room and takes it a tad too far. or she cracks a fantastic joke that is beyond her years and while it is hilarious, it isn't appropriate.
God has given us such a gift in elinor. and He has also given us a tremendous challenge in the stewardship of that gift. every single day, we remind her that the spirit of the flesh is alive and well in her...and that in spite of her great ability, sheer force of will alone cannot save her from her own nature. we point her to Christ. we remind her that her acts of love bring delight to God and that her obedience honors her parents. we remind her that when she is feeling stuck or upset or disappointed or angry, she needs to stop and pray - that it is not just okay to ask for help, it is a necessity. we acknowledge her desire to do what is right and ask for forgiveness when she has offended. we pray sweet prayers together. we remind her of the destructive power of sin. we remind her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. we remind her that she is loved. always. we talk about all the amazing ways that we see Jesus in her - and all the ways that He will continue His work in her life. we encourage her acts of generosity. we praise her spirit of service. we talk about all the ways that God will use her life in bold ways. we talk about the struggle of the heart and flesh and mind and spirit. we point her to Christ again. we do the tough work of molding and shaping and pruning and refining and disciplining and instructing. she is learning so much and growing so much. and so are we.
God, equip us to do this great work of parenting. may we not be faint of heart. may we show grace and patience and mercy and strength. may we be tender and fierce. may we be soft and bold. help us to persevere and enjoy every sweet moment along the way.