Do you love me only when I’m obedient? Do you love me only when you are feeling well? Do you love me only when you are happy? I wondered if those were the questions running through my 2-year-old’s mind. I know I love her no matter what, but did my actions and words prove that?

I had a bad cold, with congestion and coughing. I had hoped Anna would take a nap that day (she was improving from the same cold); I certainly thought she needed one (and I did!). But, her wiggly, energetic, getting-better body couldn’t settle down. Sigh! I made her some favorite food to encourage her appetite to follow suit with her renewed energy. She didn’t want anything. I was getting frustrated and irritable. By the end of the day I was tired, and my irritability had only served to fuel more rebellion in Anna.

That evening, the thoughts came to me. Maybe she wasn’t conscious of it, but hadn’t she tested my love that day? And did I prove it to her? While I did need to deal with the rebellious attitude, I withheld the loving and gentle words that could have given her the affirmation and confirmation that she needed. It’s easy to say “I love you, sweetie!” in cozy, pleasant moments. But I believe Anna needed to hear those words just as much when I respond to her disobedience. I grieved for the way I had acted, and asked the Lord for help. The answer came the next day, a second chance: I still felt tired and sick, and Anna wouldn’t take a nap.

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