Confession: I am tired.
Our family just came through a week of participating in vacation Bible school for city kids of Meadville. Ryan taught a class of eleven-and-up boys, I taught a class of seven-year-olds, and our kids sat in classes too.
Some nights Kelly insisted on being held while I told the story, which meant I drew on the whiteboard with one hand and balanced my daughter on my hip with the other.
Halfway through the week, Regan decided he wanted to be in my class. Hard to argue with a child while simultaneously teaching. So he stayed.
And Aarick was in my class anyway.
We had the most precious students–eyes shining, tongues wagging, fingers creating, hearts warming.
We had super help—excellent teacher-assistants in each of our classes to carry much of the load (here’s one: thanks, Sierra!), good supervisors to coordinate the week, and one night when Regan and Kelly went to Grandma’s instead.
But we’re tired.
By eleven o’clock Friday night, our bodies are low on sleep, our children are exhibiting their worst behaviors, we’ve faced some severe relational challenges, and our marriage is apparently on the rocks.
We’re not heroes. We’re very human people who come home and snap at each other, who try to think of something quick for supper again… A couple dozen people of our church group faced these same challenges this week, and I heard not a word of complaint from a one of them. (Not even afterwards on their blogs–I see they left that to me.)
Today I am remembering one evening a month ago, our family trooping through town on a church prayer walk. I walked in step with my friend Sharon, a valiant woman of prayer. We prayed back and forth, her and I, while the men walked ahead praying too, and the children trudged along. Halfway through the walk one of my children spotted a McDonald’s, and all things slid rapidly downhill from there. Whining. Lagging. Interrupting.
Mommy, I’m hot.
It’s too far.
Why can’t we get some ice cream?
Unable to pray without stopping for correctives every few moments, I began to apologize to Sharon. I don’t know how to make this work with children.
She wouldn’t let me. Shari, don’t you even worry about it. It’s okay. Satan would love to get you upset and discouraged—just keep going, and bless your son.
She turned to him and called him by name. I have noticed how you are being so brave! This is really far, isn’t it? I bless you for being such a big, strong boy. Good job!
This morning my eyes sting with tears, remembering her words. Satan would love to drag you down. It’s okay. Just keep going and bless…
I am tired this morning. But it’s going to be okay. He said so too…
This is how we and our children get to learn alongside each other how to give,
out of brokenness