Tonight we had a moment. Not one of those picturesque moments that shows up in your Instagram feed of a sunset on the beach or spring flowers. This was a different kind of moment.

It was supposed to be one of those moments. We were supposed to go for ice cream. Today our middle child turned two and we were going to go to the Frosty Caboose. It’s an outdoor ice cream place that serves ice cream from an actual train caboose. It’s an Instagram moment in the waiting if there ever was one.  But instead we had a moment in the toddler trenches.

In trying to get them cleaned up from playing outside in the dirt, our older two had major melt downs. There was kicking and screaming and rolling on the floor and tears. So many tears they could have bathed themselves with their tears.

I really wanted to go get ice cream and celebrate, but we didn’t. Instead we had a moment. One of those moments my dad would have called a “teachable moment.”

But in reflecting on the conversation my wife and I had after the kids were down and in bed, I think she and I are the one’s who are being taught the lesson. A lesson about death.

A lesson about dying to the things we want and the things we think we deserve in order to do what is needed for our kids. We are learning that In order to be the parents God is calling us to be we are going to have to get pretty good at dying. The question is, are we going to do it with resistance and resentment or willingly for the sake of their good?

After all, this is the way of Jesus. This is what we are called to, death. Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, come and die.” Not in an abstract theoretical sort of way. But in concrete, feet-on-the-ground, real-life-situations sort of way. In our season of life it looks like saying no to the things we want, whether it be ice cream, time to ourselves or sleeping in, so that we can give our kids what they need.

What is it for you in your current season and situation in life?