“Don’t look for the big things. Just do small things with great love…. the smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.” ~ Mother Teresa
One of my Facebook friends recently posted a picture that referenced an explosion of Valentine’s Day gifts. A table overflowing with flowers and balloons, heart shaped boxes filled with chocolatey goodness, and, of course, a large, plush teddy bear. Her caption was, ” Why can’t this happen to me?” I responded with, ” Don’t feel bad, I have been married over 11 years and it hasn’t happened to me either.”
In today’s world we are so overtaken by the social media and Hollywood idealism of what love should look like. When the sad truth of the matter is, love is realistic. It’s challenging. It’s not always pretty. This Valentine’s Day, thousands of woman will be left feeling disappointed and unloved. A day society has marked the one day of the year we are to profess our undying love to one another through wining, dining, and materialism.
The young girl who had big dreams of a romantic dinner in a fancy restaurant where her boyfriend gets down on one knee and professes his love while reaching into his pocket and taking out a small black, velvet box, slipping onto her finger a costly diamond ring that sparkles so perfectly in the dim light of the candle-lit table. Instead of this dream coming to pass, she is taken to a mediocre restaurant at best and given a box of chocolates. She goes home completely disappointed because of the fantasy image she had created in her mind of what the perfect Valentine’s Day should look like. Her boyfriend goes home picking up on her disapproval of the evening and begins to feel like a failure. When really, he is working his tail off finishing his college degree while holding down a full time job that doesn’t pay nearly what he is worth and did the absolute best that he could with what minimal resources he had to work with. Both, start to question their relationship and the love that they have for one another all based on the misconception of what love really is or should look like.
Let us think of the millions of guys and girls who do not have a significant other to spend this holiday with. They sit at home and wallow in self-pity and doubt of their ability to be loved because they are spending “the most romantic day of the year”, all alone. They slip into their beds at the end of the emotionally exhausting day, ashamed and feeling unwanted and undesired, asking themselves the questions, “why am I alone, what is wrong with me, am I not worthy of love?” I know I can think back on many Valentines Days asking myself these very same questions; feeling these very same emotions. I can also recall many spent as a wife, wondering if I can even fathom the thought of another year being married to a man that I held so much resentment for, wishing to God that a sparkly new necklace and a dozen roses would fix our marriage and heal my wounds. Eating a dinner in silence or filled up minutes of small talk which felt like torture, but endured through because going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day is something we are “supposed “to do.
Life, dreams, relationships, goals; they don’t always turn out the way we plan. Our lives are filled with so much uncertainty and unexpected circumstances in which we should learn to embrace. This is the beauty and uniqueness of life and love. We tend to get so caught up in this perfect image of how we think something is supposed to be, we easily lose sight of what blessings are in front of us. We miss out on what God is trying to teach us through every trial and disappointment we face, and through every wound that we carry within our heart. Scripture teaches us that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose. Nothing we endure will be in vain; not even on a disastrous Valentine’s Day. Something good will come of it. Someday, in Gods perfect timing, He will reveal why each and every holiday spent alone sitting in question, or every heart ache and disappointment, was meant to shape, refine, and mold your character all to better equip you for the good that has yet to come; good that is beyond what you could even imagine.
To the broken hearted readers, who are hurting today because you are holding onto so many deep hurts that have been obtained throughout your relationship/marriage, filled with bitterness and resentment: hang on! It gets better. I too, have been in this place where I didn’t see a ray of hope in my future with my spouse. I learned through this hurt to rely completely on Christ for my strength and wisdom. It is through His love that you will find your power source and motivation to keep on moving forward. John 15:12 says, ” My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” I prayed many prayers for the Lord to help me love my husband in the same way that Christ loves him. I knew that through my own strength and bitter emotions that I could not open my heart to him again, taking the risk of getting hurt all over again. It was only through the love and strength I received from Christ that I was able to stay in our marriage, forgive and heal, and continue to love him unconditionally. We must remain patient within the small victories after a fall. We must be patient upon waiting for the Lord to fulfill his promises. The Bible teaches: Love is patient, Love is kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way. Love is not irritable and keeps no records of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NLT)
On this Valentine’s Day I would like to encourage you not to get caught up in the “perfect date” or stress about material gifts, but rather give the gift of grace and kindness, forgiveness and self-sacrifice, words of affirmation and of love. And most of all, praise God today for the gift of His unfailing love He gives us even though we all fall short of glory of God.
So, here we are, Lord. Another Valentine’s Day that just doesn’t measure up to the idea we have in our head. It may be that we don’t have someone special to share it with, just went through a hard break up, or we don’t get to spend it with the one we love. I ask that You come in and fill this void; this very difficult spot that feels like the world around us is crumbling down. Our desire is to be loved and to love. We crave intimacy. You made us that way. Lord, be that for us. Show us your undying love for us. Thank you for always loving and affirming your love for us. Amen.