Thursday, February 11, 2016

Look Out--No, Really...

This is not your normal Valentines post. I'm past the kicking, screaming, and  hating the day. Please hear me out.

So, here we are again in February, the month of Valentines. I was just going to repost last year's post, but I feel like I need to share what's on my heart. Tonight I have a few thoughts on the subject, so here goes.

It's no secret that for many years I hated Valentines Day. It can be a very painful event for single people. Valentines Day focuses on relationships and we find ourselves yet again single. Over the years, though, it has become less painful for me and easier to tolerate by the sheer grace of God. I was just thinking the other day how good it feels not to be in pain emotionally.

Then the Lord reminded me that is still not the case for many of the singles out there. For many, it is still Single Awareness Day, pointing out to them and the world that they are not in a relationship. For those of you who are still hurting because you are in need of that special someone, I offer this small encouragement, though I know from personal experience it is not what you want to hear: God loves you. Turn to Him and ask Him to show you His heart for you, and He will. I know this to be a fact, because He did it for me.

"...may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Ephesians 3:18,19 NLT. 

It doesn't matter why you are single. You may have never been married. You may be divorced. You might have lost your spouse to death.

The point is there are a lot of people who don't necessarily enjoy Valentines Day to some degree. Some are not necessarily upset over being alone as much as how society views singles; as though all of us--of course--are looking for love and not finding it. By some, we are seen as somehow incomplete because we are not part of a couple.

This post is for those people. I'm here to tell you I feel your pain.

I'm in the category of those who are single because of divorce. I have struggled with my singleness and moved past merely accepting it to actually loving it. I am finally content for the first time in years.  I do enjoy being with family and friends, but there is a time to be with people and a time to be alone. I know that now, and I'm not afraid of it anymore.

The Lord has shown me when I need to be with my family and friends and when I just need to be alone--and He gives me the grace for whichever He is leading me to do.

This year I am being led to "look out" and turn my focus outward to show the love of Christ. You don't have to look very far to find hurting people. So I challenge you to join me in making this a good Valentines Day for someone who is hurting. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. It may not cost a dime.

Here are some ideas:

Visit someone in the hospital or nursing home. 

Spend a little extra time with your kids; snuggle with your little ones and read a book or watch a movie together if you are fortunate enough to still have one or more small children at home.

Call your mother, dad, or a grandparent or neighbor who lives alone. A phone call can be a treasured gift to an older adult. (Note: If any of my children happen to be reading, this is not an elaborate attempt to get you to call me. This is truly what I believe God would have me write.)

There are many ways to show someone you care,  Ask God to show you how to reach outward this year, and I promise He will.  The best way to forget your own pain and problems is to help someone in need. 

"For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:4 NLT.

Happy Valentines Day!