I have been insanely busy; so busy that I was not able to post my Valentines Day post on the actual day, so busy that Husband and I have scarcely read the Bible of late, so busy that I almost got myself killed in a car accident as my car careened out of control and slide into a ditch, tipping on its left side.
I was busy. Then I almost died. And I stopped the busyness enough to say Thank You to the Lord. I had come away without a scratch. It was a total miracle. My car was 95% totaled.
Now I'm back to being busy again. Isn't that an awful thing? I owe my life to God (not just in general, but quite literally last Friday afternoon) and here I am being busy again and going through the motions again and sinning again.
Wednesdays are hard for us. I had to take my 8 year old stepdaughter to a doctor's appointment WITH her mom (Lord gave me grace) and then we had to scarf down dinner and Husband took 13 year old SD (stepdaughter) and I took SD8 and SS (stepson)5 to Awana.
The devil loves to attack us on the days we bring the children to their religious education. We get snippy and crabby; the kids act up and I drop the younger two off at Awana and feel like the worst parent in the world.
Isn't that what the enemy wants me to think? I feel guilty that we don't read the Bible with the kids, that we don't bring God into our lives more. I know this is an area God wants us to grow in. But is God saying I am a failure as a stepmother? Absolutely not - that is the enemy talking!
God loves me. He knows I have a long way to go in the patience department. He knows I am susceptible to the devil's mocking and ruining. But the Lord is always there, speaking in my ear over and over: you are loved. You are loved. He speaks what He told His Son:
"You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11 NIV)
You are my beloved daughter, He tells me. With all your imperfections, with you I am well pleased.
Isn't that amazing love? Love is what I want to write about now in this post. I want to post the "essay" I wrote about faith and Valentines Day. I had to get the other stuff out first, though. Below is my Valentines Day post. Enjoy.
When I was nine years old, a boy gave me a box of candy for Valentines Day and I fell for him in my nine-year-old-way. Okay, it was more of an obsessive way. Thus started my search for the elusive “perfect love,” the idea of the prince in shining armor who would give me roses and candy every Valentines Day and save me from all distress. During my teen years, I exchanged love letters with a boy and doted on the handwriting, the smell of the paper, the whole exchange process in the school hallway. Cloud Nine seemed too low for me; I was on Cloud Twenty. I thought that was real love: being on such a high that you can’t think straight, reading those letters over and over again until I could recite them.
Not until I was married did I receive the best Valentines gift a man can ever give me: not candy, not a rose. My husband introduced me to Jesus and the love, mercy, and forgiveness that comes with Christianity.
My yearning for a Valentine-kind of love was not all that different from the love I found in Christ. In fact, I now know that God is the only one who can provide me with unconditional love – no strings attached, no hidden agenda. Jesus is my knight in shining armor. He is the only one I can count on because his kind of love can never fail me. Jesus’ kind of love will always surround, infuse, and ignite me. What a difference that is from my nine-year-old-love where I yearned for that boy to show me attention, to look at me in the hallway, to give me another box of candy the following year. And do you know what? He didn’t. That boy decided I was too much of a pest and “dumped” me. I was devastated, heartbroken for the first time at age nine.
Now? Now I love Jesus who I know will never “dump” me. He made the ultimate sacrifice for me, for us, and he wants us to love him in return. God even gave us a love letter – the Bible! I do read that love letter over and over, like those letters written to me in high school.
The Apostle Paul even calls us a “love letter from Christ” in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (NIV)
Happy Valentines Day, Lord. Be mine always.