Breaking the Habit

he sat in the chair at the orthodontist office with big crocodile tears touching his eyelids.
he listened intently and nodded.
he put on a brave face and tried not to let those tears fall.

as we walked to the car, he looked at me and said but mama i don't want to stop. i am not ready to stop. it's going to be so hard.

it's a habit he has had since he was about 6 months old.
his thumb has soothed him to sleep, and comforted him when he was frightened or hurt.
it's been his constant companion. 
his safety net.

his thumb is starting to cause issues with his teeth. it's a habit that needs to be broken.
he gave it up for about 6 months.
then he had moved into his own bedroom, a big change for a little guy, and he went back to what gave him comfort... his thumb.

last night he brought me his blanket so he wouldn't be tempted to suck his thumb.
i could hear him in his room, restless.
it was getting late and he still wasn't settling into sleep.
i walked in to his room to find big tears streaming down his face 
"i can't fall asleep"
my heart was breaking. 
in my mama heart i really really wanted to give him his blanket and tell him, its okay just for one more night you can suck your thumb.  
but it would defeat the purpose.

instead i laid in bed with my sweet boy and talked to him.
i rubbed his back and scratched his neck until he settled into sleep. 
{i am apologizing to landon's future wife right now if he needs his back rubbed or necked scratched when he has trouble sleeping}

as i laid in bed with landon i thought about what the orthodontist had said to me that day.
he told me that no matter what i do, no matter what interventions i try the only way that the thumb sucking will stop is when landon is ready to give it up. he NEEDS to make the choice to stop. he NEEDS to have the desire to stop.

i started to think about how often i've been convicted of a something: a habit that needed to be broken or an attitude that needed to be changed and my reaction.
how often have i stood with crocodile tears sitting on my eyelids?
how often had i stomped my feet and said i am not ready to give it up?
how often have i said it is just too hard?
how often had i said one more day or one more time?
how often has it been my own lack of desire to make a change?

when i feel the nudging of God to change something, an attitude or a habit i've developed i can make the choice to be brave and start making the changes right away.
even though it won't be easy, i know He will be holding my hand and guiding me. 
i know that His Father's heart will hurt when i hurt but He wants what is best for me.
i know that i might falter, but He will pick me up and put me back on the right path.
just like if/when landon stumbles and sucks his thumb there will be grace.  there won't be condemnation or judgment.  there will be gentle leading.
i know that even though a habit or attitude has given me comfort, has soothed a hurt it isn't the place where i need to be turning.  i need to turn to Him for comfort and healing.  
just as my boy is learning to turn to Him for comfort, for help sleeping, for strength to break his habit.

i think i can learn a thing or two from my brave boy.


Cherry Tree Lane said...

You inspired me, with this.
Thank you, Kristen.

{cuppakim} said...

wow. my heart breaks for landon. i just want to let him suck his thumb too.

and then you brought it to the next level.

read this and prayed this this morning:
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
(Psalm 101:2 ESV)

which reminds me to "ponder" or think about, or DESIRE a way that is blameless. hard to do. praying it for myself, for you, for landon. :)

Simply Sara said...

oh this breaks my heart.
this is my abby.

praying for sweet landon and his sweet mama.

also...feeling the nudges of what i need to give up too...

thank you sweet friend.
love you!

OCMom said...

I want to cry for him! However, I really needed to hear this today! Thanks for the inspiration!

Janelle said...

Sweet Landon! I will be praying for him during this hard time!

I love this post more than this little comment box can say. Just what I needed today, friend.

and that is why we blog!

LOVE YOU and your darling boy!!