My friend, Stephanie, is a blind date expert. Not by choice. She spent several years going on a series of some of the funniest, weirdest, and most interesting blind dates.
She wrote a book about it – I Was Blind (Dating), but Now I See, which chronicles some of the more mortifying moments of her life, but also how God revealed his grace and love in the most unexpected ways. Who better then, to share encouragement with us as we head into the roller coaster of emotions that is Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day can be fraught with so many emotions other than love.
If you don’t have someone to celebrate with, the incessant jewelry commercials can feel like multiple carats of pain. And even if you do have a valentine, there are plenty of opportunities for ugly things like guilt, comparison, and unmet expectations. Social media only seems to make us feel worse, as there’s always someone out there whose life looks happier, prettier, or more romantic.
My sister recently asked me to share a fun Valentine’s Day memory, and to my surprise, the one that came to mind was the Valentine’s Day I was in fourth grade, home with strep throat. I was heartbroken to miss the school party—and the valentine exchange in particular—but to my delight, my neighbor brought my decorated shoebox home on the school bus for me. My mom sat on the edge of my bed and we opened them together, one by one. My fiery throat was momentarily forgotten, and it didn’t even matter that I had no appetite for the chalky candy hearts. As my mom sat there reading valentines with me, I felt supremely and unequivocally loved.
Over the years I’ve spent more than my share of Valentine’s Days solo. I watched as one friend after the other started falling in love, putting rings on their fingers, and then getting married. Meanwhile, I felt stuck, like their lives were moving forward while I was standing still. Each year when February rolled around, I got a pit in my stomach, knowing I’d be surrounded by reminders of what I longed for but didn’t have—what seemed to come easily for other people but kept eluding me.
If this is a hard holiday for you, I won’t pretend there are any magic words that will make it easier. But I want to say these words anyway, to let you know that you are not invisible. You are not alone. And even when it doesn’t feel like it, you are loved. If you’re feeling loved already, God is inclined to pour out even more love on you—the excessive, abundant, extravagant kind. And if you’re having a rough Valentine’s Day, I think he’d like to just sit there beside you and let you know you’re not alone.
This week, if you feel betrayed or abandoned by someone you thought would never leave, this is what God says to you:
I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.
This week, if you feel alone in this big world, God says:
Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
This week, if you feel forgotten, like so many leftovers, God says:
I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
This week, if you feel like you got passed over when Cupid was flinging his arrows, this is what God says:
I have loved you . . . with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
This week, if you feel unnoticed, damaged, unappreciated, devalued, here’s God’s promise:
The Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
My love isn’t close to God’s love. It has conditions, it lets people down, it’s forgetful, it’s self-centered and fickle and cantankerous. But my prayer this Valentine’s Day is that God will weed out my own love from my heart and replace it with his love. Love that is unconditional and pure and selfless.
“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”
—C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
It’s with that generous love that I want to love God and the people in my life. And it’s with that love that I love you, whoever you are, wherever you are, however alone you’re feeling right now.
Wherever you find yourself on Valentine’s Day, know this:
You. Are. Loved.
To celebrate all the ways that each of you is loved, Stephanie and the fine folks at Tyndale House want to give three of you a FREE copy of her new book, I Was Blind (Dating), but Now I See. To enter to win a copy just leave a comment sharing a memory of a moment or a time when you felt loved (or your favorite blind date story, if you have one :)
Related post: How Not To Be Disappointed This Valentine’s Day