Sunday, February 9, 2014

Loving Each Other


Valentine's Day growing up was a very special day in our home.  My dad believed in celebrating this day and it always involved the "boys (he and my brother)" making it very special for the "girls (my mother and me)".  It would start in the morning.  We would come to the kitchen table and there were wonderful cards and gifts from our parents to me and my brother.  Always, my brother was in charge of getting me something for Valentine's Day. According to Daddy, this was a day when a boy should share how much he loved a girl - even if that meant his sister!!  I am sure there were many years growing up that it pained my brother to have to purchase a gift for me, especially after a sibling squabble.  Yet, he would and the day was always special. (On a side note to my brother, I still have the jewelry holder you gave me one year - and I cherish it each time I look at it).  My brother and I would, in turn, ensure that we had cards (and when we finally saved enough) a gift for my parents as well.  It was a day in our home when love was truly celebrated.  Daddy's gifts for Mommy would range in extravagance - but they were ALWAYS creative.  I am sure if I were to ask my Mommy, she would tell you the ones that were least expensive were the most cherished.  

The boys were both wonderful cooks and the meal on Valentine's Day evening was always quite involved.  It started with a menu of creatively named dishes - appetizer, main meal of scrumptious delights, and the same dessert each year - a Twinkie with whipped cream on top.  I shouldn't say dessert was the same EVERY year, they attempted a heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie (that looked more like a circle) one year.  That took us back to the Twinkie dessert next year.  As you can tell from the flood of memories, Valentine's Day was a day by which we took the time to revel in our love for each other.  Such the bar was set for Valentine's Days to follow.  I always get excited when this time of year comes.  I enjoy celebrating it with our children and certainly enjoy taking some extra time to tell my husband how very much I love him.  I try with some of the same traditions - a few tokens to show my family I love them.  Maybe it is a special breakfast, cards, a few little gifts - just enough for them to know that this day is about the love we have.

I have to share, I have had Valentine's Days that have been less than wonderful.  Years when I have not been able to be in the same location with my family, years when I have not had a relationship in my life, years when I have had many physical struggles.  Then the pity party would set in.  If someone can give a pity party, you would need to come over to MY house when one of those is going on.  I can give a pretty good one - stating all the reasons why "I" am alone, why nobody loves "me', why "I" am the only one struggling.  Have you been there on this "day of love"?  I believe we have all questioned ourselves, wondering when we will find the person of our dreams, have the family that would provide the love we deserve, share the love of a special friend in whom we can confide.

The true irony in this "pity party" comes from Simple Faith.  As I was trying to select the verse that tugged on my heart for today's blog, I was utterly amazed at the many points of scripture that proclaim God's love for us, his wonderful and unconditional love.  It was great to read the verses as they popped off the page - each sharing how God loves us so much and how Jesus' love was so great that he was willing to give it all for us - His perfect life given up for us - because he LOVES us.  With each verse it became increasingly clear that the love that we may have for others, or want from others, comes only from our true Heavenly Father.  The love that fills us is from Him.  The warmth that we feel during special moments of our days is God hugging us in love.  The peace we find when we know that a sin we committed has been cleansed is Jesus holding us in love.  That desire we have to share kindness, goodness, and joy with others is the Holy Spirit inside us in love.

With the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have more love than is truly imaginable.  The importance is to share that love with others - not to keep it all for ourselves.  The ways to share love is immeasurable.  It can be shared in a simple smile, a bouquet of flowers, a hug, or even a Twinkie with whipped cream on top.  The important thing is to remember to share it.  What we gain in the sharing of God's love is so much greater than any "pity party" we can throw ourselves.  Find that creative way this week to share God's love with someone.  Maybe it will be a romantic way with your special someone.  Maybe it will be a fun way with your children.  Maybe it will be a subtle way with your co-workers.  Maybe it will be something as a smile with a stranger.  Sharing God's love is a powerful way for us to remember the love He has given us.  If you are looking for a way to actually see how much God loves you start with the cherished Bible.  The word love will start popping off the pages.  If you have a study Bible, go to the index and look up the word love - I'm sure you will be as amazed as I was of all the wonderful words.  Then sit silent with a special verse in your heart.  Let love abound.  Here's to Valentine's Day - all year long~~

"My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down one's life for one's friends."  (NIV)  John 15:12-13

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.