I chaperoned a field trip recently. Let me specify… I chaperoned a middle school band field trip recently. To an amusement park. On a 90 degree day. I had seven kids in my group and I only knew the names/faces of four of them. Even before MS, I’ve never been good with names and faces, but recently I forget names ALL. THE. TIME. It’s so frustrating! I made sure the kids all had my cell phone and texted me with their names in hopes that I would remember!
Anyway, let me walk you through the day:
We rode the very hot, loud, smelly school bus for 2 ½ hours that morning. We waited in the bus line to park for another 15 to 20 minutes. We walked to the gates of the park and waited another 20 minutes for our tickets. Finally, we were free to go about our day!
The bulk of the day went pretty much like this. We would walk to an attraction, and I would sit with 7 back packs while the kids rode a ride. Then we walked to a new location up a massive hill and I sat with 7 back packs while the kids rode a ride. I managed to ride two rides I think, but my daughter (who was in my group) made it clear that she would rather I sit out the rides. I wished I had thought to bring a book or something to do during all my waiting!
We were late eating lunch. I was 10 minutes away from full blown hangry. I helped the kids figure out what they were ordering and we proceeded through the long line. An employee got a little snippy with my daughter over her order. I got a little snippy back. Another mom on a different field trip got VERY snippy with me because I had been a little snippy at the employee. My daughter was mortified by the whole thing and ended up mad at me and wouldn’t speak for a few hours. I apologized to the kids for participating in the snip fest to which they responded, “It was entertaining!” Great. So glad I brought entertainment to their day.
We moved on and walked from attraction to attraction while I waited in various locations, counted heads, texted kids to make sure they were still in line when I couldn’t see them from my waiting spot, and tried to soak up some sun.
On a drink break, one of my girls dumped bright red Gatorade on my khaki shorts. She had meant to throw the drink at her friend and missed. I held my tongue (I think my eyes said IT ALL), and I quickly got to work pouring water on the stain in hopes I could get it out at home.
The kids were late getting out of the last ride and we had 20 minutes to get to the front of the park, eat, and meet our group to head to the bus. By the time we ordered and waited for food, we had five minutes to shove food in our mouths and meet our party. It was pandemonium. We made it though and I delivered 7 kids to the front of the park with time to spare.
As we were walking to the exit, one of my kids became faint and we had to pause and get her to drink and eat some food so she could walk. I started mentally beating myself up for not watching her to make sure she ate and drank enough during the day. Thankfully she recovered quickly and we got to the bus only about 20 minutes behind everyone else.
I was DONE. FRIED. I smelled of sweat and red Gatorade and I just wanted to take a long bath and crawl into bed and binge on Netflix. I wanted to climb on the bus just sleep for the 2 ½ hour drive home. I was preparing my speech for when I walked in the house: “MOM has retired for the day! Ask your dad if you need anything!”
The only seat on the bus was next to a little girl with adorable freckles and a long red ponytail. I asked if I could sit next to her and she said sure. I settled in and rested my head on the seat in front of me and thought I could squeeze in a little nap. A nap did not happen. That sweet little girl did not stop talking to me for 2 ½ hours. I kindly asked if I could rest my eyes for a few minutes, but the quiet would only last for a minute or two at most. At one point I remember pray/screaming in my head to God,
“I’m done! I’m ALL out of grace for today, Lord! You’ve got to make these tests and frustrations stop or I’m seriously going to lose it!”
We made it home. I got my bath and bed and binge watching that I wanted and settled in for a LONG sleep.
The next day was Sunday. Mother’s Day. I had my kids with me in church and I was mentally planning the pic I would make them take with me and I was so proud that everyone was in a good mood and looked cute.
During communion, I bowed my head and pretty much instantly God slammed me with something. It wasn’t an audible message, but it went something like this,
“So your grace ran out yesterday, huh? Funny… My grace never runs out for you.”
Instantly, I was a mess. What conviction. How many times would I throw my hands up and say, “I’m DONE!” if I were God and I had to watch me fail time and time again? I’ve never been more thankful that God is God and I am not in my life. His reminder that His perfect grace is sufficient for me makes me feel ready and able to dish out grace to others and then more grace and more grace when needed :).
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
We’re weak. It’s okay. We’re never going to be able to dish out the grace that God does. But you know what? The BEST thing is that when we are weak, God’s power is made PERFECT! When our well of grace has dried up for the day, we can call on our Heavenly Father to fill us up so that we can continue to love and forgive others.
Are you all out of grace today? Go to our Mighty God in prayer and let Him fill you with Grace. Recite 2 Corinthians 12:9 over and over and let the peace of God wash over you as you picture God’s perfect power in your weakness.