Anyone that has been around a toddler….well, maybe not all toddlers…let’s just say, anyone who has been around my daughter knows…

This girl knows what she wants.

I think part of it is because she’s so verbal, and she can express her every desire rather well.

She tells me what she wants for breakfast, what type of drink she wants, and now we have ventured into another world.

She is opinionated about what she wears.

This is when I flash forward to teenage years and totally freak out.

She insists on wearing a dress EVERY. DAY.

Cute, right?

Notice the lip gloss? Oh dear…

It is cute, except that most of her dresses are for church and they have really been put through the ringer. Playground, finger painting, it’s always a dress.

Thank goodness she has nightgown dresses, or she would probably wear them to sleep too!’

The plot thickens…

She also wants to wear some that are too small, too short, so I try to make her wear shorts under them. (They kind of look like a shirt…right…)

Well, the shorts…that is just an expected nightmare. A sweater over a thin-strap dress is almost impossible.

Almost, because…sometimes I win.

Sometimes I am sneaky, and I find a way to make it cool. Distraction, bribery, encouragement, punishment…I’ve tried it all.

As I go through my day and when I’m looking for answers, sometimes I am given a little insight.

It usually comes when things are pretty low. I’m feeling a little overstretched, and I ask Heavenly Father for a little help.

That’s when I had a really cool realization about our “will.”

I have a toddler with a strong will. She will insist this is what she wants. She wants a dress, end of story.

As her mother I have a bigger picture. I know that she will be cold, or that it will get ruined, or that she has tons of other adorable outfits to choose from.

I know, it sounds lame…but it’s really a big deal…

I want her to be happy, and when she submits to my will…things are pretty good around here.

It is hard to teach obedience to a child, but when  it works I realize how much more I need to depend on my Heavenly Father. I’m not self-sufficient in the gospel. I need His direction. He can tell me what is best.

The whole purpose in this life is to align our WILL with God.

Our “stuff” is much bigger than just insisting on wearing a dress. One of our leaders often talks about giving up our “favorite sin.” We all have things that are keeping us from being totally on the Lord’s side.

The beauty is, as we come to desire what He desires for us, we find joy.

That’s why as we keep commandments we are blessed and have a clearer picture of where we want to be.

I know that I have a long way to go.

Some things are easier to see through a toddler’s eyes.

When she looks up at me and asks,”Is mommy happy?” It melts my heart.

She wants to do what will make me happy. She is sweet and tender, and yes…250% girl.

So when we butt heads now, tomorrow, and forever…I will try to take that to the Lord and do better to submit to His bigger perspective.

Side note, did you know the word “Islam” actually means submitting your will to the Almighty God. Pretty cool.

Here’s Neal A. Maxwell’s take on it. He’s certainly more eloquent and drives it home.

“As you submit your will to God, you are giving Him the only thing you can actually give Him that is really yours to give.

Don’t wait too long to find the altar or to begin to place the gift of your wills upon it!

No need to wait for a receipt; the Lord has His own special ways of acknowledging.”

–Neal A. Maxwell, “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been”, Ensign, May 2004, pg 46

“Another cosmic fact: only by aligning our wills with God’s is full happiness to be found.”

“So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality (see Mosiah 15:7). What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things—like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves (see Luke 9:24). He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self.”

–Neal A. Maxwell, “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father

Blessings to all you moms who have survived toddler years, teenage years and adulthood.

Now I know why it’s true joy when your children walk in righteousness and follow the will of the Lord.

Anyone else out there in the same boat as me? How are you managing??



3 responses to “Will

  1. Jill, your Carmen is so much like my Samantha. Samantha too ALWAYS not only wanted to wear a dress it also had to “spin”. I too used her spin dresses as “punishment” when she made mistakes. She too had many other cute clothes that went unworn and it was frustrating for sure. I was luckily successful in getting her to wear shorts under her dress. School will help with that also because they require it. Monkey bars require it. 🙂 Now as Samantha is 16 those spin dresses are a rarity. However that strong will still exists and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She is strong in her faith, strong in her self and what she stands for. She now has turned her passion for dresses to jeans but it’s good to be strong willed. It makes them tough and the teenage years are tough. Just look at this time as Carmen’s building time a time to make her strong for her future. That strength will be a huge asset for the future. Love that little girl!

  2. Yes Max is SO strong willed. He wants what he wants and no one can persuade or change his mind. He is persistent and even if I distract him he will remember later what he wanted from a ball, to a toy, or food, or going somewhere! Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a loosing battle, but when he knows I’m upset and says sorry, or when he gives in and changes his mind I feel like it’s the best day of my life!

    We are working on being obedient and sharing and listening to mom. I think its a continual battle and there is always room for learning and I think ONE DAY it will sink in and the little things won’t be such a battle anymore. I remember Natalia Andrus was all about skirts at one age when I watched her and she grew out of it…so just think this is only a stage and one day I will miss her persistants and her sweet little 2 year old demands 🙂 Thats what I continual tell myself after a particularly long and hard day!

    Love your blogs Jill! I love that we are going through the same stages and that I can totally relate to you on so many levels 🙂

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