My daughter was doing her math homework. From my vantage point, she was doing just fine. She was in the living room in her favorite chair. Her 2 older brothers were both in their own rooms doing their homework, both listening to their favorite music. I was preparing a quick meal. What could be better.
Soon I heard a whimper; barely audible, I knew it was her. She has this kind of low whimper that she does when she is frustrated. I call out from the kitchen to her asking her what is wrong. I hear no response. That is my cue to walk in to look at her and ask the same question 'what is wrong?' She is sitting in the chair; head down, pencil in her hand, tears streaming down her 'best actress in a homework scene meltdown' face and her assignment almost finished yet not quite, sitting in front of her on the table. I asked her again what is wrong, her attempts at speaking at first are not understandable, I breathe because I know this is going to be a hard one - for me, not for her. These are the times when retiring at 55 can't come soon enough.
She repeats herself after she notices the irritability in my eyes and this time she slows down. She takes a breath and begins to tell me the saga of a 10 year old who loves-math-and-does-the-homework and yet her teacher-always-gives-her-zero's and she doesn't understand why. When she gets into this mode, I breathe and do my best to not smile at the drama queen. I am interested, at least for a few minutes, in trying to get to the bottom of her dilemma. So, after she tells her story, I ask to look at her assignment. After going over a few of the problems in an orderly fashion, I discover she has had a minor miscalculation in a few of them and tell her that it is not all that bad. The minute I try to explain to my daughter where she went wrong and show her, she begins to tell me that what I am saying is not right. She tells me how her teacher explains it and that I am wrong. I say to her, and yes it is juvenile but I say it anyway because I am tired, I say if you knew what you were doing you wouldn't be getting zero's and just a reminder little girl, I graduated from high school and college and have my degree, so why don't you just be quiet and listen. Silence. More tears. I walk out of the room to check on dinner. Say a quick prayer asking the Lord for help and then go back into the homework battleground and begin again. By then she has had her own personal aha moment and says mom I get it now. Aha for me too. I turn around and go back to my sanctuary - the kitchen.
After another 30 minutes or so, I hear more whimpering. Oh my, here we go again. I ask her what is wrong and then I add the word that all mothers use when they have reached their boiling point NOW?? so what is wrong NOW?? She announces again that she just doesn't get it. I tell her that she has run out of grace for the day and why not go upstairs, brush her teeth and get into the bed and I will wake her up early tomorrow so she can finish your homework. I told her I would wake her up around 5:30 a.m. At first she resisted and then she did as I suggested. She oozed up the stairs and quickly fell asleep in her bed - tears streaming down her face. The next morning I woke her and she immediately began working on her homework.
I have my coffee and listen to Joyce Meyer. After about 20 minutes, I hear singing. I go into her room and she is singing and almost finished with her homework. I said hey sweetie are you ok. She says yes mom, I got it now and than addes pleasantly and surprised , it was so easy and I am almost done. I told her that's great and I am proud of you. I then decided here is a teaching moment. I told her that I know how she feels and that sometimes I am crying or irritated when I can't figure out a problem. I added that when I get like that, I know it is time for me to go to sleep and that I know I have run out of grace for the day. I explained that God gives each one of us just enough grace to get us through the day. I said that that is what happened to her last night. However once she went to sleep, God worked it out in her brain so that when she woke up HE had given her the answer and that is why she was able to understand her math problems this morning. She looked at me. I know she didn't totally get it but she understood that something happened. So I added that remember this moment and that when you are exhausted you have run out of grace for the day and it is time to go to sleep and pray to the Lord to give you the answer. I then sealed it with a lot of mommy all over the face kisses and closed the door. As I walked away she was singinng. I smiled. Grace in the morning wakes me up and grace allows me to sleep and allows my daughter to get her math assignment. Amen.