I've already answered you.

Liam has entered a pretty interesting, and exhausting, phase. I like to call it "The Parrot." When he asks a question, he doesn't just ask it once; he asks it over and over, either until someone repeats the question or until whatever he asks to happen actually happens.

This little parrot gig often plays out when we go for a run. The community park is located in the neighborhood where we frequently go running. Once Liam realizes that we're headed that way, his little brain becomes fixated on a trip to the park that will immediately follow our run.

"Mommy, can we go to the park? Can we go to the park now? Are we going to the park?"

It doesn't matter if I answer him. It doesn't matter that I waste what precious breath I have left from pushing 50 pounds of kid in a 20-pound stroller around a hilly neighborhood to respond, he will continue to ask this series of questions for the duration of the run, until we manage to get to the park. Until I have actually unbuckled him from the jogging stroller and placed him safely on the concrete, where he takes off toward the slides, forgetting I exist.

When this phase started, I would answer him every time he asked a question, hoping that eventually he would understand the answer and just wait peacefully for me to keep my word. Well, THAT got old really fast, so my husband or I would tell him to stop asking, or that if he continued to ask, the answer would be no. When that didn't sink in, I decided I would answer once. If he continued to ask, I would simply say, "I've already answered your question," and leave it at that. Because really, NO ONE can hold a conversation while pushing a stroller uphill. But he persists...

He is so consumed by his own desires, his own need, that he does not even notice my answer.

How many times is that me? How often do I request something from the Lord, only to be so distracted by my desperation, so overwhelmed with my own need, so whiny and persistent that I fail to pause and listen for His answer? How many times does He say, "I've already answered your question," but I missed it because I was speaking over Him?

Turns out, I've been quite the chatty parrot myself.

Sometimes, Liam will ask to go to the park, when I have planned an outing to the zoo (which is MUCH cooler than the park). In these cases, the answer to his question is no; not to be mean, but because there is something much better that I have in store for him. If he could just stop asking, stop fixating on what he wants long enough to listen, or if he could just muscle up enough patience to wait and see what's ahead...

Isn't that how it is with God? 

Do I still not fully trust Him? After all of the shadowy valleys He's led me out of, after all of the ways He's directed my steps into greener pastures, do I still doubt whether He'll do it again? Do I still question His love, His faithfulness, His sovereignty? 

Just like my toddler, it's easy for me to grow attached to the picture I have in my mind of how I want my life to turn out, but if I'd just wait, if I'd just open my hand a little, I'd see that what God has in mind is much, much better. Actually, it's pretty perfect. 

Thankfully, God is a better parent than I am. While I get annoyed, He remains patient. When I threaten to take back my yes, His is there for the taking. His way is infinitely best, and He answers me always, if I'll just take the time to listen.