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
One of the days that I have felt most loved was one random Tuesday morning, I woke up next to my boyfriend and he asked me to marry him. That day! I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet and was still running sleepies out of my eyes, but I said yes and we got married that same day! It’s been an adventurous two and a half years since then, but I’ve loved every second of it!! Not only has my love grown stronger, but my heart bigger (toddler!) and my faith bigger, too! We will be apart this year for Valentine’s Day, but I love knowing that I’m loved by Him!
My story is not so much blind date, but my husband and I met through a mutual friend at a party and I honestly didn’t think much of him as boyfriend material. But, then my friend told me that after I left he said that he liked me and wanted to go out, so I gave him a try. We came to find out later that she had also told him that I liked him and wanted to go out with him. So neither of us were really interested in the beginning and she set it all up! But, here we are 15 years later married with 3 kids!
I was a young teen, maybe 14?, when my youth leader, Kris, a woman my grandmother’s age, told me, “You’re beautiful! You know that, right?” I didn’t know that. I knew that I was smart, but also that I was awkward, that I had no idea what to do with my hair or about make-up, that I had gone half that I would sometimes wear something that would make someone say “you look nice today.” (Today.) But *beautiful*? No. I did not know that. But, Kris was the kind of person who was encouraging, but not fake, and she said it like it was an obvious fact, that I had to consider that maybe it WAS true, and that I was lovable to people other than my family, who had to love me.
February 13th (eight years ago) was memorable for a number of reasons. First, I got the last of my six (because I’m lucky like that) wisdom teeth pulled. Second, my then-boyfriend proposed…even though my face was bruised and lopsidedly swollen, I was loopy because painkillers, and I couldn’t say “yes” without drooling. I figured if he could ask me with that whole hot mess going on, we’d be our own happily ever after.
One Valentine’s Day, I went out to dinner at Cracker Barrel with several single girlfriends. When it came time for us to get our checks, our waitress informed us that another customer had paid for our dinners! I thought that was such a nice way for someone to “pay it forward” and show love on Valentine’s Day!
This isn’t a Valentine’s story, or even a romantic-love memory. But when asked to share a time when I felt loved, this is the first thing that came to my mind.
A blind date that my girlfriend, “R,” set me up with ended up becoming my husband. 10 yrs later, I was betrayed by him and in the midst of a painful divorce. I had spent the night at our home, alone and without electricity in the midst of a big snowstorm, because he had left his dog behind, too. (I didn’t like the dog, but I felt sorry for it being out in the weather, so I stayed there to make sure it had fresh water and food). Because our driveway was so long and steep, I parked at the bottom and walked up to our house. The next morning, already cold from no heat, I pulled on several layers and trudged through snow and down the couple hundred freezing feet to my car, then drove the short distance to R’s house to take a warm shower before work. She met me at the door with a robe that was fresh-from-the-dryer warm.
It was such a simple gesture, but at that time I felt like such a zombie –and so rejected– and this little thing was a really big thing to me. A true Jesus gesture.
And I really felt loved.
Oh Selena – wow what a beautiful gesture that was. Amazing way to show real, practical love. Thank you for sharing that!
I felt loved when I started reading your motherhood book and it felt like a high from a dear friend.
So well said, Stephanie! Even in this season that’s supposed to be joyful (and usually is!), I find myself sometimes feeling lonely and longing for someone to pour love into me, as it feels like I’m constantly being poured out. These words were a balm for my heart today. <3
PRAISE GOD!!! I felt loved when God spoke to me and told me: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love. With lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” I felt loved when God saved me through JESUS. I felt loved when God told me: “I just want you to serve me.” I felt loved whenever God loved on me, wooed me back and said: “I love you.” I felt loved whenever God forgave me. I felt loved whenever God didn’t condemn me. I felt loved whenever God told me He loved me the First. PRAISE GOD!!! IN JESUS’NAME, Amen.
Thank you for writing this. It was beautiful, and I love the truth about what God thinks of us interwoven in your experiences. My favorite is my husband and I’s first anniversary. He bought me the most beautiful diamond tiny hoop earrings. I just felt very loved, and it was a huge surprise. We don’t have money for things like that now with kids, but he finds other ways to show he loves me!
I help lead a Bible study for single moms. I will definitely be sharing this with them.
Forwarding this 2 single gal pal now!! Thx Lisa Jo?
Thanks for this timely reminder that His love is love like no other, and the only love that will not disappoint us. So thankful I am never alone in His love.
My favorite blind date story is actually my parents’. My mom’s roommate in college knew a friend of my dad’s in med school, and my dad happened to see my mom, so he asked his friend to set him up (so it was a blind date on my mom’s side only, I guess…). They celebrated their 40th anniversary this year. :)
A time when I felt loved…last year my 35yo husband was hospitalized with congestive heart failure, and we weren’t sure whether he was going to need a transplant in the near future. Our in-town family was out of town. A friend of mine, and my husband’s best friend and his wife, stepped in and took care of our kids, made sure I ate something, and came to the hospital the day my husband had his pacemaker put in. That weekend both my siblings came into town, cleaned my house, cooked meals for my freezer, took care of the kids, and made me eat when I didn’t think I could. Even though that was one of the scariest weeks of my life, at the same time I felt incredibly loved and supported, and there are no words for how grateful I was, and am still to this day. (My husband is doing well–he will likely need a transplant someday, but for now he’s stable.)
Strangely enough, a time when I felt loved was when my significant other had separated from me. I was sleeping on a cot in the guest room at a friends house – feeling utterly alone & depressed. I felt what can only be explained as God’s presence, wrapping His love around me & a thought came into my head saying “Dear child I love you & will get you through this. You will be okay.” It was beautiful & wonderful & He most certainly has always gotten me through the tough seasons of my life. :-)
This has nothing to do with romantic love. But I was at a team meeting for work last week and started crying while sharing how stressed I was over some work projects. My coworkers and supervisor responded really kindly, with both comforting words as well as practical help. Some days, those small moments are the times when we see the hands and feet of Christ ministering to us.
Every year for Valentines Day, my headband and I go out to eat at the same restaurant. We don’t buy each other gifts or even cards, our dinner out is our gift to one another. This year will be our 11th year!
I was dumped by my boyfriend at the time. As he was my first boyfriend, I had no clue he was already seeing another girl and it was very upsetting to me. Friends of my ex stepped in to comfort me along with my own girlfriends. Though I was through a harsh time, I felt loved.