On a routine trip to the store last week, I heard the words. “I don’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day.” They were not my words but, even more startling, that of a young lady who appeared to be in her late teens. She was walking by the Valentines display as I heard her explaining to her friend how she did not really want to accept the offer for a dinner date from a young man because she really wasn’t interested but she was likely going to say yes because she didn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day alone. Her friend verbally confirmed that yes, spending Valentine’s Day alone would be far worse than a mediocre dinner date.
As a newly single woman in her forties, I was stunned. It was almost as if I had been looking at myself of 25 years ago. Fortunately, I’ve learned some things over the last two decades. I wanted to tell this beautiful child she did not have to do anything because tradition or society deemed it so. She did not need a Valentine’s date to be chosen, cared for, or honored. I wanted to tell her she was special and God Himself found her worthy enough to die for. I wish I had but she and her friend disappeared from view and our paths did not cross again. Perhaps it was they who had a message for me.
I could not stop thinking about the sadness of this brief segment of conversation. Two young girls who were both in agreement their worth, at least on this one particular day, was dependent on another human. I began to wonder what their future would be like. Would they mature and realize their worth or would they allow others to devalue them, always seeking the approval or status of modern culture? My heart ached knowing the hurt that could be ahead.
I thought of my girl, Leah, who was never quite good enough in the eyes of Jacob. I thought about how she found herself striving over and over again to please a man who would only look past her to another and never quite see her. Oh but the eternal joy set aside for Leah. I can only imagine what a joyous day that was when she came face to face with the LORD and realized although Jacob did not see her value, God Himself chose her. He chose her to be the mother of Judah and, therefore, in the direct lineage of Christ. She was not rejected, she was chosen.
We can easily get wrapped up in whether or not we are chosen or rejected by others. I have been there myself and I can tell you, it’s a wrestling match with many possible outcomes on any given day. I drove toward home replaying the young lady’s statement in my head, reflecting on Leah, and considering my own position as a soon to be divorced woman and mother of two young ladies.
Valentine’s Day was never a big event in our house. I always craved it to be special but it was typically a small gesture of exchanging a favorite candy and on a good year, included a card. Then it was back to normal for the day. After witnessing the conversation between these two young ladies, I wondered what my own daughters thought of Valentine’s Day now that they are getting older. Did they believe it was all about the status and approval of another? Were they watching to see my reaction to this Valentine’s Day, the first time they have known me to be single? Of course they were. I knew what I had to do.
I immediately made a detour to the dollar store, then back to the grocery store. In a last minute decision, I came home with balloons, poster board, chalkboard hearts, and anything else I could get my hands on. I bought groceries to make both of my daughters’ favorite meals. It felt a little crazy, but it was so much fun. Somewhere between elementary school and adulthood Valentine’s Day tends to lose it’s fun and instead becomes a barometer ranging from not good enough to good enough. I felt the excitement again like a child attaching dum dums and stickers to a small card. It was the giving that was exciting. How had I missed this for so many years?
On Valentine’s Eve, I put together posters highlighting what God says about us in the Bible. I wanted to show my daughters we are all loved and valued, regardless of relationship status. I want them to celebrate being loved by showing love. I hope they will celebrate a genuine and Biblically based romantic love one day. But in the meantime, I wanted them to know they are already deeply loved. God loved them so much that He sent His only son to save them and He willingly did so in order to cover us in His righteousness. I want you to know this too. I can’t think of a greater love than that. It just doesn’t exist.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
I do not think it is wrong to celebrate and honor one another on Valentine’s Day. In fact, I highly encourage it. I do, however, think it’s wrong to place so much emphasis on the romantic side of Valentine’s Day in determining whether or not we are loved that we lose sight of the greatest love of all, that of Jesus Christ.
For Valentine’s Day this year, we celebrated in our home. We had a Galentine’s celebration for just the three of us ladies all weekend. We were reminded how loved we are and that we are chosen by God. Some may think I went overboard. Perhaps. But I can assure you that although Satan has been allowed to destroy much, He cannot steal my worth or that of my daughters, and he will certainly not steal our happiness on this day unless we choose to give it to him. Today is a day to celebrate love and that’s just what we did, just three girls recognizing their worth on a day that could have been consumed with negativity. I hope they remember this day and Valentine’s Day becomes a day to forever remember who loved them first and who deemed them worthy. Not today, Satan. Not today.
Feature Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
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