Victory over “V” Day

It’s coming…only 3 days away. The day of roses and chocolates – another Hallmark holiday.

How I used to dread Valentine’s Day! For weeks before February 14th I pined and pouted, miserable at every commercial for jewelry and every comment from friends about what they would be doing to celebrate with their sweethearts. I didn’t have a sweetheart and it made me miserable. I wanted to be in love and for someone to be in love with me. I wanted a reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Over the years I stopped whining long enough to look around me. What I saw were many others who were alone on Valentine’s Day. Some had never been married like me, but others were alone because of divorce or widowhood. I saw them not only lonely without their loved one on Valentine’s Day but also with bittersweet memories that sometimes made the day even more difficult than mine.

I also discovered something else. While there are many happy marriages with sweethearts rekindling their love each Valentine’s Day there are many married couples who won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day together. They are struggling to stay together and to rediscover their love for each other.The proclamation of a day of love will not magically fix things between them.

All of this observation has me looking at Valentine’s Day differently. Yes, I still wish I had a sweetheart, but not just for Valentine’s Day. A friend of mine commented the other day that if you’re in love with someone you should show it every day and you shouldn’t need a holiday to tell you to express it. I agree! And this applies not only to a significant other, but all of those whom our lives touch.

Now when I look towards Valentine’s Day I seek ways to brighten the day for others. I think about those around me who will be lonely and without celebration and do what I can to make their day better. For me it’s baking cookies and making valentines or dropping an e-mail or note in the mail. Praying for others is also critical because where I can’t physically touch lives God can through His all-encompassing love.

If you have a sweetheart and look forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day I’m not suggesting you tone down your celebration or don’t share your love with others. Your relationship can be an inspiration to others. But as you look ahead to the big day I ask you to also look around. Find someone who may be alone or lonely in the midst of a relationship and reach out to them. A phone call, note or even a little chocolate heart can make all the difference in their day.  

The greatest Valentine any of us can receive is the love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ who showed the ultimate love by coming to earth and living a perfect life, only to take the sins of all mankind when He died on the cross. If you don’t know this Love I pray that you will give your heart to Jesus and know the love that never fails not only on Valentine’s Day but every day of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day to each of you. May this year be one of expressing love not only to your sweetheart but to each person you touch. You could be the missing peace to someone’s Valentine’s Day puzzle.

blessings and peace to you…

Paula

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Keeping Everlastingly At It

For many years my dad had a sharpening business. He began with a machine to sharpen his own chain saw chains and grew to a shop full of equipment so he could sharpen just about everything (including wits!). He became well-known for his sharpening as well as someone who enjoyed visiting and keeping current on events of the community and country. When Dad would come in for lunch or just to take a break during the day, before long we’d hear him say, “I’d better keep everlastingly at it” and out to his shop he would go.

Five years ago today I got the phone call I had always somehow dreaded. My dad had a heart attack and didn’t make it. I had talked to him just a few days earlier on my birthday but now he was gone. My world began to crumble around me. My dad and I had a special relationship and the blessing of a closeness few fathers and daughters have. I didn’t know how I could go on living without my dad.

But on that plane ride halfway across the country to be with my mom and sister and say “goodbye for now” to my earthly dad, somewhere deep inside my soul resonated, “be still and know that I am God.” It is impossible to explain how that soothed me in the midst of my sorrow, for while I couldn’t imagine going on I knew I would, and I could. Although my earthly father was no longer with me I have a Heavenly Father who is omnipotent God and will never leave me. Even in the midst of the sorrow and uncertainty in my mind God knew what the future held, and with Him beside me I could “keep everlastingly at it” until I understood it too.

“Be still and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46: 10-11

What uncertainties are you facing in life right now? Do you have uncertainty in your job, your family or your friendships? Do you look at the future and wonder how you can go on?

I encourage you that no matter what you face to remember that God is still in control. He doesn’t promise that it will be easy or that you will always understand but He does promise to be with us and to be God in the midst of our circumstances if we allow Him to. When we put our trust in Him and keep everlastingly at it we will have peace in the midst of the puzzle of our lives.

Looking back over the past five years I see so much growth in my own life. I have pushed myself to try things I didn’t before and have had to learn things that I never imagined I’d be doing. There have been plenty of tears along the way but much joy as well.

I still don’t know what the future holds but God knows the ending I can’t see. He sees the woman He will continue to mold me into as I allow him to work through my sorrows, my struggles, and my successes. He knows your future too and longs to mold you and lead you face together whatever lies ahead.

I hope today you will look ahead with hope and just like my dad, keep everlastingly at it. God will be there too.