That was it. I broke into tears. Here I was trying to do right by my children, and all they could do was fight me and make everything more difficult.
My son's heart instantly softened and he gave me a big hug as I reminded him, "I do the things I do, and ask the things I ask of you, because I love you."
He patted my back and I wiped away my tears of frustration and hurt. Then he turned around and did the work I had asked him to do, this time without complaint.
Parenting isn't for the faint of heart, and there's nothing wrong with having one of those days when all you want to do is cry. In fact, crying makes you feel a wee bit better. And if you don't hide those tears from your children, wet cheeks can suddenly put things in perspective for them.
As for me, while my children took new interest in doing their school work, I took up some housework and prayed.
"God, thank you for reminding me how I look in your eyes. I know I often don't listen to you as well as I should. I often take too long to do the things you ask me to do. Sometimes my heart rebels and I say 'No!' Sometimes I wonder how a God who loves me can let certain things happen. I am a sinner, Lord. Thank you for showing me grace. And please help me to teach my children about your amazing grace, too."