A “Hallmark holiday” centered around kisses, hugs, adorable stuffed animals, roses, and sappy cards.
A day full of expectations for that perfect and ideally romantic gift.
A day for which reservations have been made, proposals have been planned, and poetry has been written.
A day created to celebrate that most cherished emotion…LOVE.
It’s a time when young loves express their fervent passion for each other and make rash promises about unknown futures.
It’s a time when married couples refocus on what is precious and special in their relationship…and remember why they fell in love in the first place.
It’s a time to cherish another and to be cherished.
I celebrate this.
I can’t say the day has been without painful twinges.
It would be easy for me to expend energy on that line of thought,
but I am choosing to celebrate.
I choose to celebrate that I have cherished and have been cherished.
I choose to celebrate that I have had many Valentine’s Day celebrations with one amazing man…one who treated me with respect and honor, one whom I shall always remember as my true love.
Today I celebrate that love!
He loved me enough to provide for me – financially, emotionally, spiritually.
He loved me enough to manage our family affairs wisely.
He loved me enough to spend carefully and save consistently.
He loved me enough to buy that life insurance and prepare that will.
He loved me enough to document all account information in one protected location.
He loved me enough to patiently teach me much about running a household.
He loved me enough to plan for a future that did not include himself.
He also loved others.
He loved others enough to invest in their hearts and lives.
He loved others enough to spend time showing he cared.
He loved others enough to express specific appreciation.
He loved others enough to bless them with financial gifts.
He loved others enough to say so…and brighten their days.
Today I celebrate his love for his children!
He loved his children enough to make church, revivals, and camp meetings a priority.
He loved his children enough to work hard to provide for all their needs.
He loved his children enough to focus on building good relationships with each of them.
He loved his children enough to compliment them regularly.
He loved his children enough to say so…often, and with much conviction.
He loved his children enough to fight with all his might against the invasion of cancer.
He loved his children enough to leave them with a legacy of patience, trust, and faithful submission to God through times of trial.
He loved his children enough to point them Heavenward with every fiber of his being.
He left us all a wonderful example of being God's feet and hands with love...
So, on this Valentine’s Day, 2016, as the glories of a week focused on God comes to a close,
I rest contentedly in God's perfect love for me in this moment.
I treasure the memories of my earthly true love.
And I treasure the love of my children.
And I resolve to show more Christ-like love to those same children.
Because if I speak eloquently to large crowds or testify boldly in church
but do not show I care about my children’s scraped knees or broken hearts,
I am as useless to them as a cell phone with no service...
If I claim to be an expert in parenting and all things spiritual training,
and if I put myself forward as some sort of super-Christian
but yet do not take time to push my child’s swing or make her birthday special,
I’ve completely failed Parenting 101.
And if I give generously to missions and tithe regularly
but my children hear me griping or complaining about doing so,
and if I volunteer my time just so I can brag about it on Facebook
but my children can’t get my attention for homework help,
my words about loving God will fall on hardened heart-soil.
Love is patiently explaining that math concept for the thousandth time.
Love is gently carrying a sixty pound sleeping child to bed after having soothed away a nightmare.
Love is watching my child outshine me…and being totally okay with that.
Love is NOT trying to be someone I’m not to someone who doesn’t really need me,
nor is it parading my story of widowhood in order to gain attention.
Love speaks kindly to that frustrated teenager,
doesn’t complain if “me” time gets interrupted
doesn’t keep track of how many times MY favorite pen gets used up, MY candy
gets eaten, or MY feelings get hurt…
Love finds absolutely NO satisfaction in the disappointing behavior or ill-advised decisions of my children, but instead rejoices greatly in seeing those children learn to walk in God’s truth!!
Love endures puke-clean up and toilet duty, becomes the children’s biggest fan, intercedes diligently with hope for their future, waits with patience for them to find their way.
Love…a father's love...a mother’s love…Christ’s love…never ends…