One of the more challenging things I do with Claire is trimming her finger and toenails. I remember the first time I did it. It was traumatic—for me. I had the clippers out and was able to get a few fingernails in a half hour. I was so scared I would take a chunk of her finger! I didn’t take a whole finger, but unfortunately I got a little bit of skin and it bled. Man talk about feeling like a bad father.
At 10 months old trimming her nails isn’t a traumatic experience anymore, but it is still challenging. I find myself giving her shinny things to look and hold with one hand, while I try and trim her nails with the other. It is a bit rough to say the least. Claire is able to twist, turn and yank her limbs away all while screaming at the top of her lungs. I guess this is why surgeons have anesthesia.
A few days ago we were at it again (I swear they grow overnight). Claire fought like a mad woman. I would try to calm her with monkey noises (one of her favorite sounds), handing her a tiny flash light we keep by her crib, and finally by trying to reason with her. The monkey sound was the only slightly successful tactic. At one point I pinned her down and tried overpowering her, but quickly realized that this would only lead to more trouble.
Force never works.
As I stood frustrated over Claire, clipper in one hand and pinning her with the other I came to the realization that Claire’s attempts to keep me from trimming her nails is something I do…with God.
God is constantly speaking to us—even to those of us who believe He isn’t there. God is constantly trying to steer us towards Him and all that is good. God does all He can to help us to see that what He has to offer is what we need. I’m sure God has His own monkey noises for us; shinny things to attract our attention and heaven forbid He would try to reason with us. I know I fight Him just as much as Claire fights nail trimming. Claire’s nails must be trimmed so she doesn’t hurt herself, but she will fight it. There are things in my life that must be “trimmed” yet I fight it. I kick and scream and in the end the only thing I’ve done is cut myself with my own nails.
I often wonder how incredibly frustrating it must be to be God. To have a bunch of whinny, difficult and crazy children that reject every good and perfect thing He offers. It must be exhausting and infuriating. As I think these things Claire smiles as she lies pinned down by my hand. I smile back and realize that even in Claire’s fighting and whining I love her beyond her fighting me. I know this is a lesson for me. In all my fighting, whining and rebellion God still loves me.