I spent a lifetime in a few brief years, full of sadness and worry, never sure of God’s affection and care toward me. I went to church, read the Bible, and had a tribe to hang out with that were “faith-based families.” But I wasn’t really as spiritual of a person as I assumed in those baby rocking days and child raising years. How I know this is that when storms in life came, I was frightened, sometimes angry, and felt alone, so alone…as though I’d forgotten there was a loving Father.
‘Loving Father’ was nowhere in my ideas when my world went dark….a stillborn baby, a troubled marriage that eventually ended in divorce, a runaway child for 24 of the longest hours ever, etc. Hard days and nights.
Yet I never completely turned away from Him, and I am thankful for that. A dimly burning wick, that was me. Glad it didn’t go out; thinking now as I look back that God’s heart toward me was to shield my little flame from going out. That is part of His heart toward us humans. And He put some really caring people in my path in those days, another lifetime ago.
So now it’s February, Valentine and sweetheart season. Yet so many have no sweetheart. Children love making valentines for friends and family, a sweet tradition, I think. But not everyone has a child in their midst to make it special that way either.
Hopefully our hearts are growing bigger year by year to include the forgotten and the lonely. There are so many scriptures in the Bible about widows, orphans, and God’s desire that we take care of them. That’s a part of His heart that we can all appreciate.
The fun thing to me about holidays and other days now is that we can create new traditions. We don’t have to do the commercially appropriate things if it isn’t life-giving. When joy happens in our hearts, then we know that we are on the right track.
So I will do things differently this Valentine’s Day. I can’t enjoy giving sugar to kids already loaded down with sweets. It’s flu season, and sugar shuts down their sweet little immune systems. Maybe I’ll just give one healthy treat per person prepared with great love for friends and family. My sweetheart and I will enjoy the treat of each other’s companionship as always. No candy or flowers, well…I do love a rose sometimes! Also, we might visit an older friend, a widow for nearly 2 long years.
Also, I might encourage a couple in the early stages of dating to focus on building a deep friendship. My husband and I are lovers but also best friends. It’s easy to be attracted to someone. It’s hard work to keep the fire burning by building lasting bonds of friendship, mutual respect, good communications especially in learning to really listen without fixing the other person, helping and serving the other in practical ways, finding healthy ways to resolve conflict, finding common ground of hobbies, etc. The more different you are from each other, the better in some ways; but the challenge will be to find common ground, yet so worth it!
I spent one lifetime in one world where I didn’t understand God as a compassionate Father to watch over these life details. But I’ve stepped into another world and another lifetime, where getting to know God’s true Father heart is setting me free from burdensome, duty-bound ways of living. Now I can really celebrate and reach out to love in ways more meaningful to me. Who needs your love in this season?