When Valentine’s Day Makes You Feel Unloved

standard February 10, 2016 Leave a response

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and everywhere you look there are stuffed teddy bears holding red hearts, big balloons with “Be Mine” stamped across it, and rows and rows of chocolate.

But what if Valentine’s Day holds no joy for you and the thought of all those happy couples feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries is enough to make you want to scream…or at the very least, eat a whole bag of conversation hearts?

Such was the case for me one particular Valentine’s Day.  I was in high school and did not have a boyfriend or even the prospect of one.  All that week my school was taking orders for Candy Grams to be delivered to the one you were “going with” or “had a crush on.” (Sidenote: Candy Grams are most certainly from Satan.)  Needless to say, I was having serious anxiety about going to school that day knowing that all my friends would be receiving multiple Candy Grams and I would be left feeling unloved, unpopular, and every other kind of “un” you can think of.  Yet each time the classroom door would open for a Candy Gram delivery, a little bit of hope would spring up inside of me: A Candy Gram for me? Sike!

Well, someone must have seen my misery because that Valentine’s Day morning when I went out to my car there was the most amazing surprise waiting for me!  Helium balloons with “Be My Valentine” written across them filled the space in the tiny car and on the driver’s seat was a box in the shape of a heart filled with Russell Stover’s chocolates with a note that simply said, “Your Secret Admirer.”  I drove to school that day on cloud nine with the biggest smile on my face, wondering to myself: Who could this wonderful Secret Admirer be?  And how did he know that I loved Russell Stover’s candy?  That’s the very same brand that my dad always gets my mom for Valentine’s Day!

That day I didn’t care how many Candy Grams were passed out to other girls.  I had a Secret Admirer and I felt loved…even if I did suspect that the admirer was pretty close to home.

You have an Admirer too, Friend!  He longs to lavish you with sweet surprises and love.  He sends you Valentine’s notes with things like,

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh how beautiful! (Song of Songs 1:15)

I will go before you and I will be with you.  I will never leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

I am abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)

That’s better than a plain old Candy Gram, don’t you think?  It’s endless love from a faithful God who thinks you are the most beautiful woman He has ever seen.  And you are beautiful, you know.

If you find yourself this Valentine’s Day without an earthly Valentine, that’s ok.  Pick yourself up a box of chocolates and shake off the urge to want to strangle the stuffed bears.

Remember that you have Someone who loves you to the moon and back.  Literally.

 

What’s Your “Word” for 2016?

standard January 13, 2016 6 responses

Years ago at the church I attended, our pastor would always encourage us to adopt a specific word for the year.  I thought this was a great idea in theory, but I never took the time to actually implement it.  Boy, was I missing out on a simple joy that this life has to offer!

Speaking of joy, fast forward several years to 2015 where my friend Lesli adopted the word Joy for the year. You may remember her post JOY: A Choice, Not a Feeling.  I watched her take this word and run with it. And guess what? Joy permeated her entire year.  And not just hers but also those she came in contact with.  It was truly a joy to be around her.

Another good friend of mine chose the word Love to focus on for the year and she noted how crazy it was that she would see the word everywhere around her…in her news feed, on her favorite brand of clothing, and in verses of Scripture that she had read a hundred times before but never really noticed the word love.  It got to where so many others knew her word was Love and they would send her text messages or post to her Facebook wall whenever they saw the word.  How nice to be known to others as love!

So how does one go about picking a word for the new year?  Well, there are several ways.

  1. Think of something that you’d like to work on in the new year.  Not just as a new year’s resolution, but something that you will carry with you throughout the year.  One great idea I heard was from a friend who wants to improve her self-discipline (i.e. putting limits on entertainment; doing the hard things first instead of procrastinating).  Now, that’s a word!
  2. Choose something you want more of in your life: Gratitude, Peace, Patience.  The list is endless.
  3. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to a specific word. Now, of course I know that He will be at work in the above two ways as well, but this approach is just strictly having Him lead you to a random word.  Such was the case with the selection of my personal word for 2016: Hope.   A precious friend of mine gave me a stack of cards on HOPE.  At first, I was thinking, “I’m digging it. Hope for the future, and all that.”  But when I really sat down to think about it, there IS so much for me to be hopeful about in 2016.  Hope for my mom’s total healing from breast cancer.  Hope for my girls and their continued spiritual growth.  Hope for this new Bible study that has formed that I have the honor to teach.  And such an expectant hope of where God wants to take Reflecting Light as a ministry after my graduation in May.  The Holy Spirit whispered to my soul, “Take it, April.  Pick up the word Hope.”  So I did and I am loving what He is teaching me through this “not-so little” word.

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Once you have your word selected (or in #3’s case, given to you), take some time to look it up.  You can go to Blue Letter Bible and plug your specific word in and voilà…every verse containing that word will be listed and you can study it in-depth with their study tools.  It’s so easy and you don’t ever have to be intimidated by an old-school concordance again.

Lastly, let the word take up residence in your heart and in your actions.  If your word is gentleness, let it be evident to all (Philippians 4:5).  If it is self-discipline, memorize 2 Timothy 1:7.  If it is hope, then study the book of Jeremiah and learn exactly what God meant when He said He will give us a “hope and a future.”  The point is simply to carry the word with you throughout the year and let God teach you about it through His Word.  Nothing could be more fantastic.

I told you, Dear Reader, that our future is bright for 2016 and it can be richer with a simple word.  So, tell me, what’s your “WORD” for 2016?

Put A Little Love In Your Heart

standard February 4, 2015 2 responses

I was standing in the after-school pick up line waiting for my Kindergartener to come out. When she did, I asked her teacher for a report on her behavior for the day. The teacher said, “She was great, but I had to move her at nap time because she was kissing a little boy on the forehead.”

What?! We do not kiss boys! Her daddy and I explained this to her and she nodded her head like she understood, but I could see her confusion…she was just trying to be sweet to the boy and now she is receiving a lecture on germs and other people’s personal space.

Then the weekend rolls around and I receive a text from my friend displaying a note that my 2nd grade daughter had written to her son and it looks like this:

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I am dying! “Love you” with a heart on the exclamation point!!! Who are these forward girls? Didn’t their mama teach them better? (Ahem..)

Then it hit me. Don’t I preach day in and day out for them to love others? Isn’t that what they are doing in their own, sweet, innocent ways?

Romans 12:10 says, “Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.” And my Kindergartener must have been taking literal St. Peter’s instructions of, “Greet one another with a kiss of love,” (see 1 Peter 5:14).

Jesus, thank You for reminding me through the actions of my children that we are called to love one another as You have loved us. And also for the reminder to “outdo” each other in order to show our brothers and sisters honor. We have this love to give because You first loved us.

And by simply giving the gift of LOVE, the world will be a better place.