Rooster is a runner. It's probably the worst part of our terrible two's so far. His legs may be shorter than mine, but when I have a baby, a diaper bag, and another toddler in tow, I have a hard time catching him.

The first time he ran was at a family reunion a few weeks ago. We pulled into the parking lot and I knew we would have trouble. From our pavilion we could see another party across a large field, and they had a bounce house. We weren't at the park 5 minutes before someone said, "Is that little boy in yellow one of ours?"

I looked up and see my two-year-old half way across the park eyes fixed on that bouncy house. "Lord, help us!" I unceremoniously dropped whatever was in my hand and ran after him.

I expected to feel annoyed, frustrated that my two year old was making me run after him in public, but honestly, I mostly just felt scared. Sure I could see him, and I knew he was alright.

But still, I was scared. I was suddenly aware how big the world is compared to my small and defenseless little boy. And he just doesn't seem to understand!

The second time he ran was in the church parking lot. This time I couldn't see him and I didn't know he was alright. 

We'd come out of the nursery like we do every Sunday, and Rooster took off around the corner and out the front door. I hollered at him to stop, but my hands were full and he wasn't listening. 

I didn't panic until I got outside and didn't see him in the group of people mingling in the breezeway. In fact, I didn't see him at all. I was keenly aware of the cars pulling out of the parking lot, and my eyes were furiously scanning in every direction for some sign of my little boy.

I dumped Cupcake and Little Bear with a friend and started looking for my son. I found him in the church play area with a group of bigger kids. I called for him to come, but when he saw me he ran. Again. I chased him down a hill and into the parking lot finally catching him before he headed around the back of the building.

The thing that gets me is that every time he runs (he's now taken it up as a full-time hobby), he's all smiles. It's just a game to him. He has no understanding of danger or harm. He doesn't understand the consequences of disobedience. He is drawn away by his own desire with no thought for moving cars, kidnappers, or just the basic fear of being lost.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. {Jas 1:12-15 KJV}
In some ways, I'm very much like my toddler. We all are. We see something we want and we go after it. We ignore the boundaries God has placed in our lives. We forget that they are not some arbitrary set of rules but a set of guidelines meant for our protection and for our good. Remember, he's the parent. He knows more than we do! 

And our lust leads to sin, and the wages of our sin is death. 

However, I'm so thankful I have a Father who loves me enough to patiently call me back when I run. He pursues me and His Spirit convicts me. And when I finally stop running, he doesn't yell or pour out his wrath. He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sin. Because I am His child and have been adopted through the blood of Jesus, He takes my hand in His and leads me back in the right direction.  

I hope that I can be that kind of parent to my children. Sometimes it feels like no matter how much I correct them it doesn't quite sink in. They keep doing the same things. But I know that correcting them, loving them, and doing my best to keep them from running through the parking lot is just part of the job. 

Maybe one day they will thank me too. Probably not anytime soon...

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