As a little girl, I loved February 14th. It has always been one of my favorite holidays, even when I had no concept of romance. Why? Because we would get to see Mr. Valentine! My grandparents thought Christmas could be excessively focused on consumerism, so they chose to have our family exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day instead. Every year, our extended family would gather to eagerly await the arrival of Mr. Valentine, whose identity was a timeless secret. To this day, I distinctly remember pressing my face to the living room window with my cousins, as we would strive to be the first to spot the sign of a man with a white mask, top hat, red cane, and covered in red and pink hearts. The first kid to spot him would yell and point to the odd looking figure tripping nonchalantly up the road, twirling his cane, and bowing to random strangers on the street.
Once he arrived, (sometimes with an unknown Mrs. Valentine), he would speak in an altered voice that hid his true identity, and usually do some sort of spontaneous dance in the middle of the living room (which included break-dancing one year)! Then, with great aplomb and hand-waving, he would unlock the Master Lock on the handmade cardboard Valentine house, and distribute the “gifts of love” to us kids. Every year, I thought of Valentine’s Day as a time to celebrate the love of family and friends. Today I cherish this childhood memory as it has always reminded me, even now as a single woman, that Valentine’s Day is a way to celebrate love outside of a romantic context.
Now – realistically speaking – it doesn’t matter if you are single, married, widowed, or divorced – Valentine’s Day can cause a woman to pause and yearn for a bit of romance. A married woman may hope that her husband actually remembers to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, or her marriage may be struggling. A single woman hopes for a card or a sign of love from a girlfriend. A widow or divorced woman may be inundated with nostalgia as she remembers all those moments where she shared romance with a former spouse. Consequently, the day can be bittersweet for many, both men and women.
I want to offer encouragement to you: February 14th can be a day you look forward to!
Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. It is a day to celebrate the presence of others in our lives and reach out to those who may be hurting, no matter their marital status. It’s an opportunity to think about the greatest Love ever shown to us from Abba, our Father, and be grateful for ALL the relationships God has given us. Every good and perfect gift is from Him (James 1:17), so think of this as a time to remember friends, family, coworkers, single elderly people, anyone who has been a blessing in your life, romantic or platonic. And ladies, don’t assume that your married friends find Valentine’s Day an easy day. In a previous post, we talked about how marriage doesn’t cancel out loneliness, and the need to cultivate a realistic view of this commitment. Instead, take time to acknowledge your love for her as a friend – trust me, she will appreciate it and be unexpectedly blessed! If there is a man in your life, bless him on Valentine’s Day, and remember that love ultimately gives – without expecting anything in return.
God is the one who thought up relationships and romance in the first place. When you feel discouraged about singleness, when you wonder if the wait is worth it, remember that God is the author of romance. He is the One who first said it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). In other words, if God has a man for you, trust Him to move in the heart of one, lowly sinner of a man (not Prince Charming!) to notice you in a special way. Psalm 33:13-15 says that God observes and fashions the hearts of all the inhabitants of the earth. This means you can trust the One who first said that man would need a helper to move in the mind of one sinner on this Earth to acknowledge his need for companionship. This puts the focus and glory on God’s hand – not yours. There is no need to try to make anything happen. There is no need to try to control your dating life. Let the One who came up with the concept of marriage and romance in the first place orchestrate these events in His timing.
This is a time to meditate upon Eternity. I know. If I say we will ALL be single forever in eternity, that may not sound encouraging. But think about it – there will be no need for marriage in heaven. We will be experiencing a joy in eternity no eye or mind has ever conceived (I Corinthians 2:9). If you never tie the knot on this Earth, rest assured when you get to heaven, you will be so overjoyed in the presence of God that you will live like you never missed out. There will be no need for marriage, because we will all enjoy a level of companionship and love that goes beyond anything your limited mind could understand at this moment. It is easy to get focused on short-lived things as we travel this world. Don’t ever forget the joy and peace in which your heart can rest when recalling how the glories of heaven surpass ANY temporary pleasure this present world offers.
Folks, our time here on Earth is so short. A friend of mine, Alyssa, once shared with me this great visual of Eternity in a rope illustration presented by Francis Chan. I pray that you may be encouraged and blessed this weekend to rest in the love of your Abba, and know He will never withhold any good thing from His children (Psalm 84:11).
Sunshine is a teacher living in the East Bay of California. She has traveled to Ethiopia, Cambodia, Ireland, England, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Darien Jungle in Panama. Sunshine enjoys discipleship at her church and makes a mean tortilla soup.