Sitting on Dirty Floors
I’ve never minded sitting on floors- even dirty ones that other people wouldn’t dare to sit on. I suppose germs have never really freaked me out that much- and before I lose you- I didn’t say I eat off the floors, I just said I can sit on them. But the Lord called me to another level of floor sitting when He gave us our youngest. I’ve figured out that when she hits a certain stage of breakdown, when she uses a certain type of voice and begins repeating herself- I know we are in it. I know what’s coming. My pre-Esther parenting might have reasoned and explained, or even commanded change. And there are some times where stern commands for obedience work. But there are other times- there are other hard moments where I see the breakdown in my daughter’s precious brain, developmentally wired a bit differently than mine. And in those moments I see one way out. When she begins to crumble and logic does not make sense to her, her little fists ball up. She might stomp or fold her hands across her chest. She will likely flop on the floor in protest. Her voice gets louder, more adamant in whatever her request- to do, or not to do something, to have or not to have something... Reason has no reason here. That comes later. In these moments that creep up to the precipice of the mountain of impossible reasoning, her emotions are all that matter. Her logic begins to go in circles and there is little that will break the cycle- except one thing: I join her.
I’ve sat on many unexpected floors. The most recent was a church lobby. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t have a smoothie like her big sister had just been given (and finished) and that was all it took. A few years ago I might have been more embarrassed at the escalating breakdown that began, but it’s oddly been a place of calming for me as well.
I crouch down with her and plop. I look her in the eye and try to tell her back to her face what I hear her saying.
I know she needs this. Because she has many communication struggles, she needs to know she's being understood. Essie needs to hear me say back to her what she’s asking me. So I say, “Essie, I hear you say you want a smoothie right now. I know that is what you want. Is that right?” I give her time to confirm. Just hearing her own requests repeated back to her can be cathartic in and of itself. But this is when I now need to just let her be frustrated. “Essie you can’t have one right now, there is no more. I know that it really really frustrating.” Tears. I hold her if she lets me. Then usually comes The Offer. This differs from case to case, but I usually have to suggest another option, choice or solution. She usually rejects them all at first. So there we sit. And I whisper to her, “well, let’s look around us. We could sit in this place all day right here, but that doesn’t seem very fun to me. Does that seem fun to you?” (if she's really mad she might say yes out of pure defiance.) But if she agrees that what we are doing isn’t very fun, then I offer again that we choose to get up together and choose another option.
I think God is okay sitting on dirty floors with us.
I think I’m learning just how much He is alright stopping in the middle of a crowded store and sitting down to let us be frustrated at something we don’t understand. Because most of the time, I think all I’m wanting is for Jesus to sit down with me in the middle of my confusion, angst and tears and say, “I hear you…” But in His infinite kindness and simultaneous wisdom of all that we don’t know, He doesn’t always answer our questions. We often ask God for clarity, but I think He asks us for it as well. He asks us things like, “IS this what I hear you saying? Is that what you really want?”
We don’t always get up from that floor with what we want. But what we do get, is a God who sits with us and hears our hearts and desires and requests and pissed off moments. And that same God that doesn’t leave us there, is also the one that helps us get back up again.
He helps us look around and say, “Are you having fun down here? Because I will keep sitting with you, but I do have some much better ideas when you’re ready.”
A few days ago we had a backseat car breakdown because she asked me to move the sun and I couldn’t. Since we were driving I tried logic first. I told her only God could because He is the one that put it there in the first place. But then I told her, “but Essie- even though you don’t like it there, I’m pretty sure that’s where God wants it to be, and so we just have to be ok with the sun.” There was a small pause and then I heard a whisper in the backseat, “God, please move the sun.”
So whether you’re asking God to move the sun or just for a smoothie, know He cares enough to sit down on the dirty floor with you, hold you and eventually, help you back up again.
"Pour out all your worries and stress on Him and leave them there, for He tenderly cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 TPT