(I shared this story yesterday during our church’s Upward Basketball’s halftime devotion, and thought I’d share it with you too… Happy Valentines’ Day, my friends. With love… Jennifer)
It was 34 years ago today that I received my first big Valentine from a young man. We were in the 2nd grade. I was at church, sitting in my Sunday night class when this friend-boy of mine kept running back and forth in front of the door.
All of a sudden, he slid a paper bag into the room and it landed under my chair. He then ran off like lightening had hit him. : -) When I opened the bag, there was a beautiful red heart-shaped box of candy. His sister happened to be in my class, and she quickly leaned over and informed me that I better enjoy it – because it cost a lot of money. 😉
That young man and I grew up to be dear friends. When one of us was in need of a date to an event, we helped each other out, even through college. Throughout my growing up years, I always wondered if he would end up being my “true love”.
Like every little girl, I dreamed of a life of love, and romance, and marriage. I had my wedding planned down to the details by the time I was 9 or 10. I even knew what colored [ruffled] tuxedo shirts the groomsmen were going to wear… and praise God, they were WAY out of style by the time I married! 😉
The wedding was planned, but I had a hard time finding my “one true love”. My first valentine wasn’t it. None of the guys I dated were “it”. I went to college just SURE I’d find my husband there… I wanted to graduate with a teaching degree AND a MRS. Degree. But he wasn’t there… so I just settled for the Teaching degree…
I started teaching elementary school in Memphis, and attended a large church. Within the hundreds of singles there, I was just sure I’d find my “true love”. But I didn’t. I had great friends, but on the inside, I was frustrated, disappointed, and lonely.
One day I was standing in my one-bedroom apartment and it hit me… I had been reading in the Bible about how God loved me, and has the BEST plans for my life. I had lots of plans for my life that weren’t working out so well. But God promises that His plans for our lives are for our good (Romans 8:28) and they are to prosper us and not to harm us – to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
I looked around that little apartment and told the Lord that I was done looking for a husband. I accepted the fact that He loved me and that He had good things in store for my life. Then I told Him that if He wanted me to live in this one-bedroom as a single school teacher for the rest of my life, I was OK with that. I asked Him if He would be my “husband”. (The Bible tells us that He is the Husband to the husbandless… and that’s what I was.) I told Him that I would join my life to His in every way, and trust Him to fill me and complete me instead of waiting for a man to make me complete.
I started studying my Bible in a deeper way, and prayed for God to give me a passion for Him and for His Word. And He did. As I sought Him through Bible study and prayer, He changed me. He filled me. He made me complete.
And for the first time in my life, I knew that if He never gave me an earthly “true love” it was OK, because HE was the ONE and ONLY true love that could fill every hole I had in my life and heart.
Eventually God did bring me a wonderful man who is my earthly “true love”. His name is James, and we’ve been married 17 ½ years. I love my life with James, but as wonderful as he is, he is not equipped to fill my every longing in my life. Only Jesus can do that.
Only in turning to Jesus and seeking Him to be the need-meeter in my life did I find “True Love”.
God loves us so much. He loves those who know and love Him. AND He loves those of us who never give Him a second thought or glance. He doesn’t love like a human loves – conditional on how we make them feel. He loved us before we even knew Him. His love is real and everlasting, giving, and self Sacrificing.
John 3:16-17 from The Message tells us:
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted;”
If you feel like you are perishing right now – and longing to be truly loved, I challenge you to do what I did… Make God your goal – and turn to Him to fill you. Stop trying to make someone else complete you – because they never can. Decide to give yourself completely to the Lord. Seek Him through reading His Word and praying and living your life to please Him, and I promise… Whether you are a man, woman, boy, or girl, You will finally feel fulfilled and loved. He is Our Divine Valentine.
Jeremiah 29:13 says “If you seek me you will find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
This Valentines Day, whether you have an “earthly true love” in your life or not… You have someone who loves you unconditionally, and who is waiting to be all you’ve been looking for. He will forever and always be your Divine Valentine. All you have to do is ask.
A Valentine may play a love song for you, but God sings you the sweetest love song in the universe.
The Lord your God…will rejoice over you with gladness. He will keep you quiet with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
A Valentine may give you flowers, but God sent you the most beautiful rose of all, Jesus.
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. Song of Solomon 2:1
A Valentine may take you out to dinner, but God has invited you to the most amazing feast ever given.
Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! Revelation 19:9
A Valentine may bring you chocolate, but God provides you with something even sweeter, His Word.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth . Psalms 119:103
A Valentine may be far away, but God is always with you.
I am with you always. Matthew 28:20
A Valentine may give you something, but God has given you everything.
God gives us richly all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17
A Valentine may love you for a lifetime, but God loved you before you were born and will love you for all eternity.
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…with loving-kindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3
My prayer for all of us is that we each spend time at the feet of Jesus, and soak in His Words, so that we can feel how very loved we are by the Lord and by those around us.
If this is a hard day for you, please know that I’ve prayed for you about that, too. You are precious to me. If I can pray for you in any way, please let me know. 🙂