This morning I received an email from Ethan that said, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me." I jokingly wrote back, "Gives me what? What is it Ethan? The suspense is killing me!"
But I was encouraged. This is his budding faith in action, as he was gearing up for what we both knew was going to be a rough day, reminding us both who we need to trust. He has a quarter paper due tomorrow, and in defiance of the word "quarter", he has chosen to instead try to do it in about a week. The last seven days could be titled, "The Butz family learns the meaning and consequences of deadlines." This morning he still had about 4/5 actually written, but not edited, and no bibliography. Nothing like a challenge for Monday morning!
To make it more interesting, Megan went to a birthday sleepover on Saturday night with 20 other girls where they were allowed to stay up until 1:30 am. I don't remember the last time I willingly stayed up that late. It was probably my freshman year of college, before I realized that I can't function beyond 10 pm. We learned yesterday that Megan can't function well herself on 6 hours of sleep. Today, we were still feeling the residual damage.
All that added up to an emotional day, the kind of day where my heart struggles to stay engaged with my kids, to enter in to their emotions fully, to just sit with them in their tears. Part of me wants to let them just cry it out, to say, "Yep. I get it. School is hard. Life is hard. I'm totally with you kiddo," and another part of me wants to move them through it as quickly as possible back to a place where they can actually finish the work and put us all out of our misery.
At times, I think, "This is too much God. My heart can't stretch any more. I can't sit through another meltdown. I don't have what I need for this."
But throughout the day, I've remembered Ethan's email. I can do all things through Christ who gives me . . . strength, yes. But really, fill in the blank. Patience. Compassion. Gentleness. A bigger heart. Whatever it is we need.