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Faith Inspiration

A Love Note From God: Thoughts For Valentine’s Day

I almost perished on Valentines Day, 1997. Here’s how it happened.

Up to that point in life, my romantic life had been. . . lackluster. I spent a great deal of time pining away for certain young men. But all these gentlemen preferred hanging out with me as a friend (oh the mortal wound of those words!). I would’ve made an exceptional romantic heroine—for a novel about unrequited love. 

So in ’97, I was a college freshman dreading the arrival of yet another Valentine’s Day with no boyfriend in sight. I’m not sure what rallied my spirit, but I got it in my head to have a “No Valentines” Day sleepover for all the girls who’d be dateless like me.  We watched chick flicks and ate ice cream and commiserated about our sad dating prospects.

The next morning, we drove out to nearby Lake Michigan and breathed in the beauty of a majestic lake, waves frozen in choppy layers at the shore. But just when my heart began to fill with the romance of nature . . . my foot cracked through the ice! 

Thankfully I found footing on the pier just a couple feet below the surface. But for a moment there, I really thought I was going down! Thus ending the tragic story of a young woman, dying alone and unloved on Valentine’s Day.

(I might have been a bit overdramatic about matters of romance back then.  Let’s blame that on Jane Austen and move on, shall we?)

Eventually, I found a wonderful man who wanted to be my friend and husband. And in 2006, another love came into my life when my son was born on Valentine’s Day.  Ever since, I’ve been content to surrender the romantic Hallmark veneer for birthday celebrations featuring Thomas the Tank Engine and Minecraft instead.

Yes, my Valentine’s prospects have improved significantly. But you know what? That insecure, freshman girl still lives in me too.  She still remembers the sting of those romantic rejections. She still wonders, at times, if she’s really worthy of love.  

I wonder if you can relate.  Amidst life’s messes and miscommunications, do you sometimes feel unknown, or unloved? Do circumstances ever fray the edges of your faith, making you wonder if God’s really invested in you? Do you long to be treasured—yet fear that you’re not worthy of it?

In this world that’s so broken, there are many situations that can make us doubt.  No matter our relationship status, at a deeper level, aren’t we all still pining for a Greater Love?

Love on a Wall

All these musings about love floated through my mind recently as I worked on a home improvement project in my daughter’s bedroom.  This summer, we decorated her walls with some decals displaying coral-colored flowers and puffy, gold metallic letters that spell out the word “LOVE.”  (She suggested the gold. My girl likes a little bling.)

Unfortunately, the adhesive on the back of the letters started giving way. The “V” and the “E” had fallen off the wall and migrated to the treacherous territory under my daughter’s bed. So the word “love” had morphed into “lo” weeks ago.

Now if that’s not a picture of what happens when we’re feeling unloved, I don’t know what is. A life with love falling apart is “lo” indeed!

To remedy the situation, I bought some gold metallic paint and decided to replace the adhesive decals with something permanent. I thought it would be a quick fix, but guess what? Painting tight corners freehand takes a long time. And it required four layers of paint to conceal the bright teal of the walls beneath.

Now, before you think I’m some supermom who sacrificially gave up her time for this long, difficult task, I have to tell you this: I was in my glory. My hands busy creating something, my ears listening to favorite songs, my mind wandering wherever it felt like going with no interruptions—it turned into one of those moments where the line between heaven and earth feels a little thin.

As I dipped my brush into the golden paint and added stroke after careful stroke to the wall, I imagined some future day when my daughter might sit on her bed and glance up to these words of love.  I thought about the challenges of adolescence—what heartbreaks and dramas might unfold for her in the years ahead.

And then I said a prayer that at some point, on one of those dark and stormy days, she would notice the golden letters and be reminded of her mama’s love.  I have to tell her this, I thought to myself.  Let her know that these words are more than just decoration.  I want them to be a reminder of my love.

Right then, a winter sun broke through the clouds and I glanced outside the window to enjoy it. And God’s Spirit painted a fresh reminder on my own heart:  Haven’t I done the same thing for you, my daughter?  Haven’t I painted this world with incredible color and beauty so that you will always remember you are loved?

I paused to truly take in the scene before me:  Drops of ice decorating bare tree branches and glistening in the sun. Dead grass and dirty roads whitewashed by freshly fallen snow. Soft gray clouds hugging the horizon, adorned by ribbons of turquoise sky.

In Psalm 19, David wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3).

Friends, we live in a world of craggy, ice-capped mountains and majestic, towering sequoias.  Geysers that throw water into the air like confetti. Fish glowing like underwater stars amidst a the sea’s kaleidoscope of colors.

All this speaks to our Father’s incredible imagination and power—in ways that mere words on paper never can.  If we’ll only listen, we’ll hear it echoing a message:

“Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.

His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.

His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.

His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—

His faithful love endures forever.

the sun to rule the day,

His faithful love endures forever.

and the moon and stars to rule the night.

His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 136:4-9).

God’s Valentine

It strikes me that as this Valentine’s Day approaches, some of us may be feeling unloved. Perhaps you long for a boyfriend or girlfriend, and your nights are still spent alone. Perhaps you’ve lost someone you loved.  Maybe there’s a distance in your marriage that leaves you feeling lonely. Or a distance in your relationship with God—with feelings of guilt and anxiety clouding out any certainty of His love.

There’s more than one way to feel alone on Valentines Day.

Can I offer a humble suggestion today?  If you’re doubting Love, look out your window. Crack open the door and inhale the fresh air. Study the quiet beauty of a tree, its branches swaying in the breeze.  Watch for a bird or a dog or a squirrel, and notice the joyful dance in their movements.

Go for a walk in the woods, or grab a book of nature photographs off the shelf.  Get up early to watch the sunrise. Or stay up late and find some nature videos on Youtube to watch in the hush of the night.

Whatever you do, however you do it, notice God’s creation today. Can you hear what it’s trying to tell you? 

That dazzling beauty? That quiet grandeur? That exuberant life pulsating through the forests and rivers and trees?  All these golden brushstrokes were painted by your Father, to remind you of His love. 

Hallmark can keep printing their cards, and FTD can keep delivering their roses. But this Valentines Day, let’s rest our hearts in the Love that isn’t reserved for the romantics. Let’s listen to God’s message for the lonely person who lives, on some level, within us all.

He loves us.  Forever.  And He’s painted a reminder of that love in unfathomable numbers of colors all around us.

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