Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort. - Humphry Davy, British scientist
This “getting up in the morning” discipline has helped them through the years. We have had a few
faux pas getting out of the door for church. You would think that the same premise would hold, but understandable, getting up early for school and then having sports responsibilities on Saturday, made getting up early on that seventh day a challenge. On Sunday, somehow finding their church shoes was an issue. One morning I was over the “I can’t find the other shoe” and he just had to go to church with mismatched shoes. We never had any problems with their church shoes again. Experience really is the best teacher.
When the guys were little (under 8 years old) , we really were worn out by Sunday so we committed to making it to the church house every other Sunday. This gave me the opportunity to get myself together for the next sprint of leading the family out of the house before dawn. But we didn’t necessarily sleep in. Those were the days that we had church at home. One person was responsible for reading a Bible story and explaining it, one for the prayer and then we would all sing a song. Oddly enough, we would also have meet and greet. This is the time during our services when we go around the church and say hello and hug each other. We can’t get to everyone at church, but the thing the fellas enjoyed was the older and wise ladies (we call them mothers) who would always remark on how well the guys were growing. They would say “Look at those fine boys. My, how they are growing”. This is the southern definition of fine (respectful, wholesome and mannerly, not the attractive, eye candy definition), although I still think they are a handsome lot. We would mimic those greetings as we were doing our meet and greet at home. It seems silly, but we really enjoyed it. My guys got a big kick out of hearing the mothers’ remarks and it was good for me too because I was constantly wondering if I was doing the best job I could do. The mothers’ remarks were just the encouragement/reassurance I needed.
Getting back to the home services at ‘Church Valentine’, the song needed accompaniment so we would get the Fischer Price 10-key piano out, someone would grab a pot and spoon (and maybe another toy instrument) and we were ready to sing with gusto. More times than not, the song that was sung was:
This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made.
To this day, this song means something so special to us. When it is sung in church, we turn and smile at each other. When we were having our roughest times, we would try to stay focused on the words of this song. Just recently we were out of town and couldn’t make it to church so we gathered together and shared how grateful we were for the years that God has blessed us. We prayed and finished with our faithful song.
The Valentines have been through some things, let me assure you. I have cried many a day wondering if it really was going to work out. Then I remember the verse of what is referred to as the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:11) that says give us this day (our daily bread). It reminds me not to get overwhelmed with tomorrow, the next week or the next year. I, some days, only have enough (faith, confidence, strength) for this day. Since tomorrow is not promised to us, I only need to focus on today. Remembering this helps to keep me from being overwhelmed.