My daughter-in-law Macey is a licensed counselor who once worked as a middle school counselor in an economically depressed school district in Georgia. In her building, several students weren’t only in financial trouble, they were also often in trouble with the administration. Some were even in trouble with the law.
Macey is an incredible academic professional who views her secular vocation as a sacred ministry. She goes far beyond her required duties of punching in, seeing students, putting in hours filing paperwork, or administering assessment tests. She throws herself into her occupation enthusiastically, making a concerted effort to develop respectful and loving relationships with her kids. She does this with even the most difficult students, recognizing many of them are acting out due to horrible situations outside of school.
Recently, she told me of one such child who was in trouble one day with the administration. He was given the chance to remain in school after an incident, as long as he agreed to go to in-school suspension and take his discipline. This included writing the rules of in-school suspension out by hand. He was not cooperating with the suspension assignment and refused to write out the rules. That is until Miss Macey showed up.
She knew of this student’s struggles. She’d prayed for him often. She realized students in his situation had the potential to get volatile and blow up, also blowing any chances of staying in school because they would then be expelled.
When she got into the room, she tried an idea she believed might work. She firmly but lovingly looked at this troubled boy, assuring him she totally understood that writing sentences is a drag. However, she had a trick up her sleeve—one that could save him heartache and prevent him from being kicked out.
“Look, I know you don’t want to do this. Writing out rules is no fun. But, tell you what—will you do something? Will you please just do it for me?”
He thought about it for a few seconds. Soon his pencil was making its way across the paper. He had no desire to write out rules, causing his hand to become all cramped up. But he did it for Miss Macey—the person who had taken the time to notice his situation and love him despite his behavior.
Family relationships are trying.
Marriage is hard work. So is parenting.
Doing both right sometimes cramps our style. It hurts. And some days, we just don’t feel like doing it. At. All.
Interacting with family members can stretch us to the limit. We grow tired of dealing with the same issues time and time again. We don’t see progress and, as a result, become discouraged. We want to resign and walk away.
If you want to give up—or to stay married physically, but become emotionally divorced and distant; if you want to stop trying to live in harmony with that spouse who aggravates and infuriates you so; if everything in you longs to stop showing up as a parent, giving up on teaching and training your child and just be done with it …
Listen to Jesus. The one who sees your situation and takes note of your struggles; the one who, despite your own bad behavior, loves you regardless. He is lovingly looking you in the eye today and saying …
“Look, I know you don’t want to do this. But, tell you what—will you do something? Will you please just do it for me?”
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Praying for you as you keep showing up in your marriage,
Be sure to check out Keep Showing Up: How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy.