When January 2016 started, all I begged God for was a bit of peace and rest. I needed to decompress from a super-tough 2015, and I just knew 2016 was the year to do it.
Then we bought a puppy.
It's ok, I already know what you're thinking. Yes, I AM certifiably crazy. Yes, I DO have terrible judgment. No, I DON'T love my personal belongings, which is a good thing considering that most of said belongings have been chewed to a pulp by Luke Sky"Walker" Watts. (As a side note, I'm thankful that we landed on the name "Walker," considering my youngest wanted to name him C3PO.)
They say hindsight is 20/20, and I say that foresight is priceless. Why did we do this again? Oh yeah...it was for the kids.
The things we do for our offspring...
Walker is super cute. I'm not gonna lie, the fact that he is very, very, super-tremendously good looking has been a lucky thing for him. It's saved his very cute hide a few times, like when he chewed up my favorite Rainbow flip-flops, and when he peed for the 187th time on the front entryway rug. His cuteness also helped him when he fought being crate trained for over three...count them, THREE...months, barking incessantly when he was put up for the night.
A loud sound machine in my bedroom and a large glass of wine helped, too.
Then there was the humping. The kid humped E V E R Y T H I N G. My leg, my son's extra-large stuffed Dalmation, the throw pillows from the sofa, his fuzzy bunny chew toy, my daughter's head.
My. Daughter's. Head. #ew
I first noticed it a couple of months into the whole dog ownership thing. Emerson called to me from the living room, laughing hysterically, "Mom! Come here! You have to see Walker. He's dancing on my head!"
I found her on her back on the living room floor, and, sure 'nuff, Walker was "dancing" on her head. Kinda like this:
I quickly told her to hop up and that she shouldn't let Walker "dance" on her face anymore. She protested but obeyed, and I walked back into the kitchen, shaking my head.
Let's pause here for a minute. My daughter is eight (going on 30), and over the last six months I've felt a growing sense of urgency about talking with her about sex. According to one of my favorite parenting books, The Talks, it's the perfect time. I felt very torn, though, between wanting to share the basics with her and wanting to protect her innocence, because (thankfully) she's super innocent. Should I wait and risk her peers telling her stuff, potentially offering misinformation or tainting her view of God's gift of sex? Should I go ahead and tell her and risk a loss of innocence and too much knowledge at too young an age?
I felt a real tension, and yet I knew it needed to happen soon. I found myself praying over and over again, "God, would you just lead me? Just make it totally apparent when the time is right? I'm listening and I don't want to mess this up."
He wants so badly to lead us in our parenting, and in our lives. He does the hard work; all we have to do is listen for His voice and His guidance, and then move when He says move.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago. I was in the kitchen again, and Emerson was playing with the dog in the living room. My mom was in town, along with another friend, and they were sitting on the living room sofa chatting while I made dinner. Suddenly, like a bad moment of deja vu, Emerson called to me, laughing hysterically, "Mom! Come here! You have to see Walker. He's dancing on my head again!"
Oh no she DIDN'T!
I walked into the living room, and, yep, the dog was going to town on my daughter's head. My mom and my friend tried to hide their laughter, unsuccessfully, and I tried to remain calm and collected when I was really ready to blow a gasket.
"Emerson, I need you to get up right now. I've told you before not to let Walker dance on your head, and you've disobeyed me. It's not funny, it's not cute -- get up now."
She immediately started arguing with me (I think she's destined to be a lawyer). "Mom, WHY can't Walker dance on my head? It doesn't HURT me! I LIKE it! Why won't you let us have fun?"
God chooses to speak in the most hilarious moments. I know this because He spoke to my spirit while my daughter was arguing with me about letting the dog hump her head.
"It's time. Sex-talk time. Do it now."
My first thought was, For real, God? NOW? Surely you can't be saying I should talk to her about sex now!
That's exactly what He was saying.
I don't know how to tell you what God's leading sounds/feels like, but I can tell you that when He speaks, there's no room for doubt. It's obvious, it's gentle, and it's firm. Scripture sometimes describes it as an audible voice, like in 1 Samuel 3 when God calls to Samuel, and Samuel kept mistaking God's voice for his mentor, Eli. Other times it says that when we have a heart that is inclined and open to understanding, when we seek and search for wisdom like hidden treasure, then we will find the knowledge of God (Prov. 2:1-5). Isaiah 30 says that we'll hear a word behind us saying, "This is the way, walk in it." We also hear from God by diving into His Word, a divine, God-breathed gift He knew we'd need (1 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12).
What I do know for certain is that, for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, God promises that we'll hear his voice.
Whoever is of God hears the words of God...John 8:47a
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me...John 10:27
He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, who desires to prompt our every move, if only we'll listen.
But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you...John 14:26
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come...John 16:13
His timing is perfect, and if we can live and move and breath in keeping with His perfect rhythm, we'll ever be led by His gentle hand. His timing is not always going to be convenient for us, and it's not always going to make sense. But it's always, always best.
This explains how I found myself sitting with my daughter in her bedroom, cross-legged on the floor and explaining the basics of sex and how great it is and how God designed it to be. This is how I found myself answering my daughter's questions, questions like, "So, you mean you and daddy have done THAT?" And, "How does it fit in that teeny tiny hole?" (She had the wrong hole in mind.)
Long story short, God clearly showed me it was sex-talk go time when my dog was humping my daughter's head for what felt like the bazillionth time, and His timing was perfect, and it's what she needed to hear, when she needed to hear it. My fears were for nothing, because it was comfortable and easy and it didn't strip her of her innocence, or change the way she looks at me or her daddy.
She was defintely listening, though. I know this because several weeks later I heard her sitting at the kitchen table, talking to her friend (sorry, friend's mom), and explaining that she "wasn't allowed to say what Mom taught" her, but that it does involve "an egg, a seed, and an organ."