Friday, February 1, 2013

a new look at Valentine's

Happy  February! It't the month all about love and dark chocolate.

And then there's February 14th. You know what? Valentine's Day has not always been my favorite. It was once was my least favorite. But something changed in my life that caused me to look at Valentine's Day in a completely different light.

I fell in love with Jesus.

I know, you thought I was going to say that I met the man of my dreams and got married and lived happily ever after. I did do that. And now we're working on happily ever after, that's something that just doesn't happen.

I remember dreading Valentine's Day before marriage. All it seemed to bring me was reminders that I was alone and all my closet friends were not. It was tough. So once I married I naturally assumed that romance that would surely come my way on the first Valentine's Day as a married couple. I think I got a card. It is an understatement to say that I was a bit disappointed. Don't worry, it gets better.
Unfortunately Valentine's day progressed much the same as the years went on. My vision of the ideal Valentine's day never matched up with reality. And that was hard. Of course my husband loves me, he always has. And he was not shy about expressing his feelings for his dear wife. The problem was that I didn't see them, because I was looking for roses and heart shaped chocolate. It took many years for me to realize that I really didn't marry a hard core romantic. He is romantic, just in a different way. Valentine's day changed not because my husband did, it changed because I did. I didn't see his romantic gestures because I thought they should look one way, in little love notes and flowers and poetry. Or something like that. And because my eyes were searching for expressions of love I never saw all the ways he did express his love. Like the times he came home at noon while all three kids were napping, he wasn't coming home for lunch either. Like giving me an afternoon off from the rigors of motherhood so I could go sit in silence at a coffee shop. Or when I found him folding the laundry. And bringing me coffee in the morning. Or sitting down and looking me in the eye and really listening when I'm talking. I could go and on.

And what does this have to do with Jesus? Well, it took me getting closer to him for my squeezed shut eyes to be open to all the romance I get every day from my husband. The more I fell in love with Jesus the more I was able to receive the unique way that my husband loves me. And the more I was able to return it.

I think sometimes that when us gals are looking for romantic displays of affection, we forget that men voice their love differently than women. And I'm really grateful for that.

Those Jesus opened eyes changed everything for me. But especially the holiday of love. And now the day is a celebration of the world's first and greatest I love you-God sending his son for me. I appreciate Valentine's Day so much more because I have already received all the love I need from God. The love I get from husband is just a wonderful and special extra gift.

Sometimes I get heart shaped chocolates, I don't always get flowers, and sometimes a tight budget finds us picnicking on the floor instead of away at a candlelight dinner. But we still express love, in our own ways. And his unique way of showing me his love is so much better than everything I wished for as a young girl.

This year Valentine's day will find us on a school field trip with our son. We will also have that candlelight dinner, it'll just be with our kids. And it will all be done within the context of our love for each other, love that is patterned after the greatest romantic at all: God.

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