When big-girl bathtime was new and DeCelie was fresh into learning how to trust, she would scream. When it was time to rinse out the conditioner and she feared the water would burn her eyes, she’d wiggle so wildly that it would.
“Babygirl, you are afraid that mommy will get water in your eyes so you look down...but when you look down the water falls down too - right into your eyes. You gotta keep your head up,” I would say. She’d nod and lift her head high but then right as the warm water would start to fall over her hair - she’d panic and plunge her head down into her chest, forcing water drops down into her eyes. She’d shriek and blindly reach out in the air for a towel before hurling blame. “See! You got water in my eyes!”
“Sweetbaby,” I’d say, exhaling... “Your own fear put water into your eyes, not Mommy. You need to trust me, I’m not trying to hurt you. You need to keep your head up.”
The message would soon drip into her mind and right on into my heart…
There are times when others intentionally aim to cause pain. But how much pain have I caused my own self by holding on to fear and anxiety? How many times have I plunged my head into the shadows of my own desires in search of refuge only to sabotage it? How many times have I shifted blame onto others who were only trying to help? “See! You got water in my eyes!”...have I ever scolded God like that?
When we are fresh into learning how to trust, we do a lot of screaming. We wiggle so wild, we just about blind our souls with fear. In this panicked state, “keep your head up,” sounds unsympathetic and unreasonable. And then even when we choose bravery, we find out - our flesh still has strong reflexes. Trust is a trying process. A long work of trial and error...lots of trials, and lots of our errors. But God knows just what He's doing. He's trustworthy. And I’m so thankful He is also patient.
DeCelie has since learned to overcome her self-sabotaging-self-protective bathtub reflexes. While she sees trust never equals painless (she still doesn't like the pain of combing out her hair afterwards). She realizes that fighting the process only makes things longer...and harder. She wants a different "longer" - she perseveres through the pain knowing all of this is part of keeping her hair healthy so it can grow longer, (something she is committed to ever since beholding Elsa's long braid - from Frozen. Ha!).
So DeCelie has learned to keep her head up. She’s learned to be still. She’s learned to delight in the process...to trust my heart for her.
The first day she dared to follow-through with trust, she saw I proved trustworthy. It became easier and easier for her to trust me each instance after that. And now, when it's time to rinse her hair, she has a whole new reflex. A trust reflex.
* * *
Trusting God is not promised to lead to an easy road...in fact it's guaranteed to be painful at times. But resisting is way more painful. We want to experience the baffling peace of God that surpasses even the most painful of circumstances. We want to grow in God. So we persevere past the doubt and self-sabotaging reflex. We learn to keep our head up...to be still... and to delight in the process. We begin to see...to really believe...that He is trustworthy. Then one day we find within us a whole new reflex. A trust-reflex.
* * *
She leans her head back, closes her eyes, and relaxes as I pour the warm water over her hair. Her eyes whisper tranquility and her mouth gaps as though sleeping. Peace is a beautiful thing to behold.
“Good job sweetie, you’re trusting me,” I repeat over and over again as I wash and rinse her hair. “Babygirl, you are learning trust...thank you for trusting me.”