Take today for example. Today is Valentine's Day.
I had lofty ambitions of heart-shaped breakfast foods and yummy muffins in heart-decorated cupcake cups.
Perhaps some streamers or bags of goodies to share, with my children, a little bit of non-routine joy in our little home school house.
It didn't happen.
I slept later than I intended and woke up in pain.
It was gray, gray, gray outside with lots of rain, rain, rain.
Rather cheerless if I do say so myself.
I was out of sorts already because the night before I emailed a response to a friend that was well-intentioned, but poorly written.
I know this for certainty because I showed my email to Karl and he read it and said
(as gently as he could),
"There is no way to NOT be offended by that remark."
So I went to bed in a funk and woke up in a funk.
Downstairs I realized I had forgotten about Valentine's Day and about doing the dishes before going to bed.
A gray day, a messy kitchen, and funkiness crowded out new mercies in the morning.
I glanced over and spotted the notebook Karl and I use to write to each other.
And the balloon.
And the Ghiradelli Hazelnut Chocolate bars.
And a fabric little pouch that I knew was holding a gift card to one of my favorite stores.
We had gone out together for dinner on Saturday night and had a wonderful time.
And now all this too?
His thoughtfulness and generosity seemed to highlight my profound lack of either.
We managed to get everyone fed but a general feeling of malaise permeated the house.
Morning hymn and prayers were... obligatory.
We moved to the kitchen for bible study and then I realized we're studying James Chapter 3 this week.
James chapter 3, as in,
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.
The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body,
and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell."
"But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
Oh dear. This explains a LOT. My failed email. The recurrent bickering between two of my children.
We can't just learn these verses in our brains.
The Lord is making sure these verses are fleshed out.
And boy do we have a whole lot of flesh and yes, we need it out!
Bible study was... strained. Prayers were... painful.
I left the room just before starting history and heard bickering. Again.
I felt like, "Epic Fail" was stamped onto my forehead.
We made it through history and then I disappeared upstairs feeling very, very glum.
They followed me.
Not all at once, but one by one they showed up in my room.
Something happens in my room though. There is less... pressure. More... coziness?
I don't know what it is. Everyone piling up on my bed means giggling and whispering and unguarded silliness.
Maybe, even, a little bit of hope?
Papa made one of his specialties for dinner tonight. Something special.
We needed something special.
We braved the rain and the wind and more rain to traipse next door.
Dinner was good-- in taste and in temperament.
We headed back and the questions came, "Are you having bible study tonight? What can I do to help?"
Something changed. The heaviness that was present all day lifted.
Piles of books were straightened. Dishes were loaded. The bathroom was cleaned. The floors were vacuumed.
In a matter of minutes, everything was ready and everyone was... happy.
A neighbor popped in with Valentine's Day cards for the kids and I realized-
Love Never Fails.
God had it under control.
Where I had lacked, others "stood in the gap" for me.
One by one the ladies came.
Wonderful ladies that encourage and hug and pray for me and let me cry my day out.
The last one came, with gigantic red glasses on.
Her "Love Glasses" which she had us all wear so she could snap-off pictures.
She came with a smile, joy, cookies, and chocolate-covered fortune cookies that my children enjoyed.
They had their special treats after all.
Even when I fail in my flesh, I am hidden in Christ, and He in me, and He never failed.
Love Never Fails.
Our study was... perfect. We gleaned what we needed to glean. We shared, we encouraged, we exhorted, we prayed for each other, we laughed, and we loved.
I was noticeably better and grateful the Spirit encouraged me to press in and press on today.
I'm glad I was able to see and experience the Love of God through His people coming along side of me when I thought I had none to give.
I'm grateful they were able to give Love to these that are so precious to me...