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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: His Grace is Sufficient
By Jennifer Johnson


1. Mike has 76 cents. Oscar has 59 cents. Lucy has 81 cents. Who has the greatest amount of money?

4:20 PM. Homework had begun at 4:00, and Steven had only managed to write his name and date at the top of the Saxon math worksheet. Last night, homework spanned an exhausting three hours.

“Mom, is the Lucy on my math sheet the same as Lucy from my Chronicles of Narnia book?” Steven asks, pencil to his chin instead of his paper.

“No, honey. And that has nothing to do with the problem. Now, who has the most money?” I responded patiently, remembering my crying jag the night before.

L-U-C-Y, he writes slowly, barely legible.

“Oh, Steven. I can’t read your answer. Don’t you think you should copy it over?” I asked, also recalling his third grade teacher’s disdain for messy penmanship. Steven sighs, scratches out his answer and begins to play with the rubbery trailings left by his pencil eraser. 4:30 PM.

“When is the next Chess Club meeting, Mama?” he blurts.

“Steven, it’s Monday. It’s every Monday. Just like it’s been every Monday for the past six months. Now, do your homework!” The escalation of my voice is another red flag. Drawing a deep breath, I count to ten slowly and silently. Lord, give me patience.

Steven shoots me a look and manages to eek out the answers to numbers two and three. His focus is short-lived.

“Mom. The next time we go to Blockbuster, I want to rent Narnia again so I can remember the names of the other characters. Did you know that Mr. Tumnus is half horse and half man?”

“Steven!” I yell, and then catch myself. “I mean, Steven. Do you know what time it is? It’s a quarter ‘til five. Daddy will be home at 5:00. Don’t you want to finish up your homework so you can play hoops with him?” I plead, trying to offer incentives. Lord, show me a path here.

“Yeah, yeah. Basketball with Daddy!” Steven nods excitedly. He stares at problem number four, noting that Oscar has the least amount of money.

Thank you, Lord. I throw up a quick praise, watching Steven sail through problems five and six. Laundry. Yes. He’ll be okay for a minute. I can put a quick load in. He wet the bed again last night, and we’re running low on extra sheets. I need a breather anyway. Steven still has to read a chapter and copy vocabulary words five times each. I cringe at the thought.

“Robin, it’s me,” I half-whisper, carrying the cell into the laundry room. “I just have a sec. Will you pray with me? Yeah. I’m having a hard time keeping a lid on,” I confessed to my friend. “Steven’s been working on homework for an hour, and he’s only halfway through his math sheet.” Robin lovingly lifted us up, asking Jesus for patience and strength. I returned only to find Steven tracing the grout lines on our tiled white kitchen table, graphite gray trails forming perfect ninety degree angles. I lost it.

I have tired of asking God why. Why isn’t Steven normal? Why did You entrust him to ME? Why didn’t You make me better equipped as a parent? Why? Why? Why? was always the beginning of my questions in the beginning, in those days when I was angry, angry and surprised that God hadn’t delivered the perfect package to my hospital room eight years ago with ten tiny fingers and toes, a package that didn’t have the label ADHD attached to it.

Now, because I have exhausted all things within my control do I ask God the more proper question- Why not? Why not me? All that remains is faith, and the Lord has always reminded me that His Grace is sufficient for me, and even in the most difficult of days, His strength is made perfect in my weakness.*

I often ponder this revelation not only on the bad days but on the good ones as well, like days when Steven writes me notes that say, “You’re the best Mom ever!” even when I don’t deserve it. Days when he splits his birthday money at Toys R Us to buy his sister a treat. Days like today when Steven and I exchange a high-five for a smiley face on his behavior chart, the first one this year.

I think we’ll go to Blockbuster tonight and escape to Narnia for awhile…together.

*(2 Corinthians 12:9- NIV)

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This article has been read 558 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/14/07
VERY good story!

The only thing that may be lacking is a strong tie-in to this week's topic--surprise.

Your writing is first-rate, and you may soon leave beginners if you keep this up!
Catrina Bradley 09/17/07
Excellent, my friend! You may be a bit weak on topic, but the writing is terrific. :)
Ebony Broussard09/18/07
This will make a great devotional! I could not tie it into the topic, but your writing is excellent. I really enjoyed how you set everything up --- from the time to the math problems to the prayer and reminder of His grace. Great work! We'll see you in intermediate shortly.
Joanne Sher 09/18/07
This was very compelling - I could definitely feel your frustration. Good stuff!