As he was protesting his nap time today, this story shared by Elder Todd D. Christofferson from April 2011 General Conference came to mind. (Watch the video now so you will understand the rest of my post!)
As Devin laid screaming in his crib it was like I heard him say:
"How could you do this to me? I want to be up with you. I want to learn and play. And now you are forcing me to go to sleep, you have cut me down. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the mother here."
And I replied:
"Look, little baby, I am the mother here, and I know what I want you to be. I don't want you to be grumpy or crying. I want you to be a happy baby, and someday, little baby, when you once again go to sleep peacefully and stay asleep through the whole night, you are going to say, "Thank you, Mother, for loving me enough to cut me down."
It's absolutely terrible having to listen to him wail like he is in pain every time he lays in his crib. But I know he is fine. And I know someday he will thank me for "cutting him down" and so I leave him there to cry it out (or in his case... scream it out). Someday we will all be grateful when he sleeps easily and soundly again.
But this video goes deeper.
My car died almost a year ago and my husband totaled his car a few months ago. We have made four trips to the emergency room in less than seven months. We have all of these huge financial obstacles to face.
It is like I turn heavenward and say:
"How could you do this to us? We pay our tithing and keep the commandments. Why couldn't you have just told us that nothing was seriously wrong and we could have waited to see a regular doctor in the morning instead of the making trips to the expensive emergency room? Why couldn't you have prevented the accidents and made my car last just a little bit longer. How could you do this to us?"
And I heard the response:
"I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do and who I want you to become."
As we are still in the middle of our huge financial struggle, it is hard to say, "Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me." But someday... I'm sure we will. Someday we will look back on this journey and realize that it was helping to prepare us for who we need to be.