On Valentine's Day

I think I've had a breakthrough of sorts.

First off, I feel so incredibly loved by my husband and by my children. And not because of a particular date on the calendar - 02.14 - but rather, because of the other 364 days of the year. They tell me and show me often that they love me. I know I am loved. {This beautiful artwork is courtesy of Christy over here. I've recently discovered her site and love it!}

I'm on this new journey chasing down this photography dream {which, by the way, my website should be up and running by early next week, if not before then} and Jack has been such an incredible support and encouragement in that endeavor. And just in random ways he has written words of affirmation {my love language to be sure} lots ... and so my love tank is filled to the brim. I know I am loved.


I'll be honest, I hated Valentine's Day in high school and college and post-college and into my late 20s ... because not once did I get flowers or a note or chocolate or a date on that day. Never. Ever. And it was one of those dates where you just felt like an absolute loser and ugly and fat and unlovable because you didn't get any of those things. I was the one that wore black on V-Day, on purpose. And bought myself flowers and yelled "Screw you!" from the rooftop of the high rise where I lived. I had, what you'd call, a HUGE chip on my shoulder. I was just mad about it. It felt unfair and wrong. Why did the other girls at the office get these ginormous bouquets of flowers and bonbons and I had to sit alone in my McDonald's booth muscling down the 69 cent burger -hold the pickles please - and my trustworthy medium Diet Coke? {No surprise there. I've had a crush on Diet Coke for decades now.}
And so, um, well, I had some pretty high expectations about V-Day when I got married. Truth be told, they were somewhat unrealistic. And then the Lord thought it would be funny to have me marry Mr. I-HATE-HALLMARK-WITH-A-VENGEANCE-AND-I-ALSO-HATE-VALENTINE'S-DAY-AND-NO-ONE-WILL-TELL-ME-WHEN-TO-BUY-MY-WIFE-FLOWERS. SO THERE!!!!
So that wasn't so good. And it's probably fair to say I might have shed a few tears over the whole situation. And last year I might have left the country over the Valentine's Day weekend because it was just easier that way. {That sounds way more dramatic than it actually was - the kids had a long weekend so we went to visit my folks, who happen to live in Canada. A different country.} I can laugh about all this now.

Because I've had me a breakthrough, Scooter.

So, typically I do dread Valentine's Day. Because I've been focused on ME and what I would - or wouldn't - get from the day. For some reason I felt entitled to certain perishable items. But I really was so wrapped up in wanting to receive that I actually completely missed the whole point of the day.

But this year I wasn't dreading it. I was really going to be okay with it. I'm 41 after all. And my love tank was filled to the brim.

So last night I got home from gathering groceries and I was totally weary. And then I remembered that I had 2 children that would just think it was the most awesome thing to wake up to yummy heart-shaped pancakes. And a hand-written heart Valentine from Mommy. They'd think I hung the moon. And I thought of my own shortcomings and how so often I am short with them, feeling like I'm in 'survival' mode as a parent a fair bit of the time.

And so I snippity snapped to it and got the griddle out and ready. Got the ingredients situated on the counter. Made the Valentines. Set the table all festive-like. It was a party waiting to happen is what it was!

Payoff time rolled around at 7am this morning. Sweet little buddy called me into the bathroom and said, while sitting on the, um, can, and waving his hand in the air, "Mommy who did all this party stuff for us? Did you and Daddy?" {And rather than let the kids in on the little secret that the dadster hates V-Day I simply said yes.} And with the biggest smile he said, "That was so nice of you."

That made it all worth it. Maddie loved it too and was very tickled to start her 3rd grade Valentine's Day with such a bang.

But it gets better.
We were driving to school and K-Love was playing and they were talking about how today is a day to tell others they are loved. By God, by us. And what were we going to do about it. Would we choose to bless someone today, letting them know they were loved? Letting them know they are beautiful?

And so all of a sudden I decided {this isn't necessarily atypical - I tend to be rather spontaneous} I was going to go buy cookies and flowers and head down to the homeless shelter to share with the ladies that morning. Because I mean, really, what woman doesn't want flowers and candy on V-Day, right?

And I have to say, it was such a breakthrough for me. Because all of sudden this day was no longer about me. And honestly, I don't think it'll ever be about me again - it was that big of a breakthrough. Valentine's Day, Schmalentine's Day. Be gone with you. You are dark to me. That's what I think of V-Day now. {Okay, I lie. I still like V-Day but I've come to my senses.}

And so I saw some old friends {sadly, it has been awhile since I've been down to Breakthrough Urban Ministries} ... met some new ones. Shared flowers and cookies and the women seemed genuinely touched by that simple act of kindness. I mean, truly, they couldn't believe someone would do that for them.

Every woman does want to feel like she's special. Every woman wants to feel like she's loved. And I can help them to feel that way. They knew they were loved.
I have a one-in-a-million husband who makes me feel loved and special every single day. I can walk in the confidence of his love for me and that is such an incredible gift. And yet for years now I have focused on myself and expectations not met, instead of reaching out to others who actually might not ever feel special or loved.

It really is amazing that when you focus on others it does give you a great sense of joy and purpose. It goes back to everything we learned in Kindergarten. Share what you have with others. Be kind to others. Tell others they are special.

So there you have it. The good, the bad. the ugly turned beautiful.

God is good in His patience with our self-focused living.

I hope I always remember this year as the year that I really learned the lesson that it IS more blessed to give than to receive.

Oh, and just to bring things full circle, Jack gave me a beautiful necklace that I had secretly coveted since I saw it on Julie's Etsy shop ... AND, an amazing love letter. On Saturday, Feb. 12th.


Anonymous said…
I must remind you...Dont you remember the Valentines day that that guy from camp sent us two dozen red roses and picked us up and took us to the suburbs to some buffet? I had to laugh at that memory!


p.s. I love, love, love reading your blog!
Julie K. said…
Thanks for the plug! *wink*
Alice said…
I love this post. It's so true. Sometimes we get fixated on one day (hello, wedding?!) or romantic whatever, and we can only be disappointed in reality. But God's love is never, ever, ever disappointing! Never! Oh, how He loves us!
cleary said…
You are a gift, Alysa.

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