When it all builds up to an edge you're about to fall over, then you run into the closet in tears, drop to your knees, and sincerely offer up a prayer that includes the words "I just can't do this part by myself - I need You." There's no miraculous turnaround, no beam of strength slicing through the closet ceiling to descend upon you, there's not even that warm feeling inside - not yet. It comes a little later in the day, when your arms are still held out in despair and your hands are still in a little bit of a claw shape because you're so frustrated, and...into them drops a little pearl. Small, but so precious because of what it meant and when it came. In my case, it was a "Thanks for dinner, Mom. Sure, I'll clean my plate." (This from the kid who five minutes earlier had wailed and wept because I told him we were having meat loaf for dinner.) And a little bit later, another pearl, in the form of the same kid explaining, quite thoroughly, a deep understanding of what his teacher had taught in Primary that afternoon. And another, when we were reading scriptures tonight, and Dad explained a passage we read and the very same kid (who, YES, was the main reason my hands turned into claws earlier) said, "I think I understand what this means. So if we do what God asks...[proceeding to reiterate Dad's explanation in his own words]." And that was all I needed. My burdens weren't taken away, and my children weren't automatically changed into perfect beings, and that kid will probably give me grief about the spaghetti we are having for dinner tomorrow, but I was given just a little bit of what I needed - hope. And sometimes, that's all we need.
what I needed
Have you ever had one of those days (or nights, weeks, months, etc.) when everything has already been piling up on you for some time, and you really are trying to do better in those areas you have New-Year's-resolved to make an effort in, but you're getting no results or good feelings or blessings or anything? Your husband's in his office trying to catch up on the work he had to miss when he was incapacitated by strep throat for 5 days, so he's got his own stress to deal with, the kids (one especially) are absolutely non-cooperative with your keeping-the-Sabbath-Day-holy offerings, and you really did try to start the day with a good attitude.