Pastor's wife: 'Potty training was hard but we conquered it'


Graduation is a wonderful time — even through the tears. 

While excited teenagers look to the future, their nostalgic parents replay scenes from their graduates' childhood years.

I remember it well.

It seems like it was just the other day when my husband and I were picking out bumper pads for a crib.  We were filled with excitement.  A baby was coming soon, one that would change our lives forever.

After our baby girl was born, little old ladies were drawn to me.  They all felt compelled to say the same thing: “Honey, enjoy ‘em while they’re little.”

I thought impatiently to myself, “If I live.”  I hadn’t had a decent meal in months.  My cold food was warm, and my hot food was cold.  My little cherub wanted to be held most of the time and curiously cried during all of my meals.  She never slept an entire night until she was 12. No kidding.

When I left the hospital where she was born, they forgot to give me the handbook that held all of the important instructions.

I consulted the almanac for when to take her bottle and pacifier away.  Were the signs supposed to be in the knees or bowels?  Or was that for potty training? I’m thrilled to say that even though potty training was hard, we conquered it, too.  Starting school was more traumatic for me than for her.  In kindergarten, I realized I DID want to choose her friends.

To be honest, there many times I didn’t think I’d make it.  Years ago, I found that I was muttering to myself, “I can’t do this.”  It began to wear me down. I felt guilty because I wasn’t perfect. I berated myself for not being as patient as I should have been.

Then one day, I read Philippians 4:13, and it just hit me: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Clearly it was written specifically for young mothers.  I memorized that crucial Bible verse right away.  I replaced my old words with a new mantra: “We can do this.”  (I was talking about Jesus and me.)  It made a HUGE difference.

The birthday of my daughter became a double blessing to me.  She celebrated another year of life; I celebrated another year of God’s strength and grace.

The little old ladies also used to say, “They’ll grow up before you know it.”  They were right about everything. Too quickly we went from buying our first bumper pads to prom dresses and then a graduation gown. 

At times my head felt like it was spinning with all the new adventures.  One thing was for sure: The Christ of Philippians 4:13 helped us through all of it.

Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at