What is true love?
Valentine’s Day 2014 is tomorrow and it has got me thinking about love.
I remember being so excited in elementary school, to make my handmade, cereal box mailbox the week before Valentine’s Day. So excited to hand out my store bought cards. To drop each one into it’s recipient’s mailbox and check out all their mailbox handiwork. To open my own mailbox and search it’s contents for candy. To sort out the cutest card …. and then to search… in hopes… of a card from the cutest boy.
In search of true love, I married young at 19. Reality set in and the excitement of a real Valentine wore off, as each year, the anticipation of this special day became another day of disappointment.
Eventually, a single mother, Valentine’s Day would find me busy helping my four littles choose which cards they would hand out, make their Valentine mailboxes and checking off their lists of classmate’s names. I would focus on showering my children with love, and go to bed each Valentine’s night, crying myself to sleep over the love I didn’t have.
One Valentine’s day, in the darkest time of my life, a florist delivery man handed me the most beautiful, giant bouquet of flowers. My eyes popped like an emoji. As he walked back to his truck, I couldn’t wait to see who they were from. Who on earth could they even be from? I had no love in my life. I imagined it was from my sister who was feeling sorry for me. My heart leaped at her kindness! I was so happy! I quickly took out the card….. it was the wrong address.
Not too many months after that, Brian and I were married. As our first Valentine’s Day arrived, like always, I was busy showering my children with goodies and love and helping them show their classmates love. I was also full of excitement at the anticipation of having my own true Valentine and what this day would look like for me now. I cannot remember the exact details but what I can tell you is that my Valentine’s Days were nothing like I had pictured. There may have been an occasional heart-shaped box of mixed nougat chocolates to dig through, taking a bite of each one until I could find the almond or the carmel, or maybe an occasional Hallmark card, but the first several years of marriage certainly did not fulfill my Valentine’s dreams and most years, left me completely empty.
Eventually, we reached a tipping point and our marriage began healing and flourishing. We had finally found True Love. It was not a love made up in any woman’s mind. It was not a love that any man could ever buy. It did not come from chocolates, or cards, or flowers or dinners. It did not come from cupcakes, jewelry or mailboxes. We had found True Love. A love that can only come from Jesus Christ.
My husband always says, ‘Everyday is Valentine’s Day”! I tell him he’s just saying that to get out of buying me roses! We both know I am kidding. We both know that he is speaking the truth. We both know that everyday is a day filled with True Love and that there is nothing this world offers that can take the place of that. We both cannot imagine spending a dime today on any common store bought Valentine gift. My heart would literally break if my husband were to walk in tomorrow with a dozen red roses. Commercialism is the last thing we want in our lives today.
God has taught us so much about True Love. He tells us that we are more blessed to give than to receive. He is so right. He tells us to love others. The more we give of our hearts to others, the more our hearts are overflowing. My husband is right too. Every day is Valentine’s Day. Every day is a day to love others and when we do, we are loved more in return than we could have ever dreamed of.
How will we spend this Valentine’s Day? By loving others together. By reading God’s Word together, praying for our children, calling my mom, texting my sisters, making cards for widows, writing letters to our sponsor kids, working on getting other children sponsored, and mailing supplies to an African Pastor. We will share a meal, get a coffee and go for a walk. We will spend quality time talking about all God has done for us and all He is doing with us now. We will spend this Valentine’s Day the same way we spend every day, by loving God, loving each other and loving others.
I have spent my whole life searching for True Love; in handcrafted mailboxes, in boxes of chocolates, in flower delivery cards, in fortune cookies, in boyfriends, a made up figure called mother nature, the universe, and in the power of positive thinking. In psychology, philosophy, man-made religions, self help and in husbands that didn’t deliver. This Valentines day, I am so grateful, thankful, giddy like a school girl! I praise God, my God Named Jesus. The Giver of my babies, sunsets and sunbeams. The Father of nature, of all rivers, creeks, ponds and oceans. The Crafter of all hills, valleys, plains and deserts. The Architect of all orbits, of all DNA coding and of all relationship chemistry. The Creator of every living thing, Creator of the universe and everything in the universe, and the Creator of all universes. I praise Him, The Giver of all courage, Supplier of all Comfort, and the Source of all True Peace. I thank Him, my Heavenly Father, my bbff: my Bestest Best Friend Forever, for giving me the most incredible Valentine’s gift ever received: the gift of True Love. Not out of a mailbox, a store or a church building; not of man nor of this world. The gift of His True Love that only comes from loving Jesus and loving others… out of the Love He has given me. The gift of intangible True Love that is received …. when it is given away.