Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's "Bah Humbug"

I don't think I explained about my Month of Love posts. It's been very intentional. You see, February 14th has been a precious day for me since I was 12 years old. Well, maybe even before that when we decorated shoe boxes for receiving Valentine cards from our schoolmates. Up till February 14th, 1961, the cards I received from boys were slim-pickens. But from 1961 until 2010, Valentine's meant the world to me. My Sweetheart and I had our first "date" on Valentine's (ages 12 & 13) and every year since then, we made it "our" special day. Since he graduated to heaven, my sweet kids send me "love" cards with precious sentiments, but you "single" girls know what I mean -- it's just not the same. You just wish there wasn't even a day where the emphasis was on love and lovers -- especially if you don't have a significant other.

But this year, I decided to defeat those thoughts as soon as February rolled around. Rather than being wimpy, I purposed to be energized, strong and determined. I decided to embrace this whole month and call it a Month of Love -- focusing my attention on giving out love daily, expressing my appreciation for friends, family and ESPECIALLY, my Father God -- the greatest LOVER of all.

Yesterday, I, along with other ladies from my church, delivered floral arrangements for Toni's Flowers. We do that for Valentine's and Mother's Day, and she is so generous to make a donation to our women's ministires. What a joy it was to see the faces on the recipients of those flowers, and Toni is so giving that she provides us with beautiful long stem roses with bows and packaged beautifully to give to those we just deemed needed a brighter day. One receptionist accepted the beautiful arrangement for a co-worker and asked "Where are these from?" I told her Toni's. She said, "I just knew it. Toni is wonderful. When my husband died, I went into her shop and ordered the arrangement for my husband's funeral, and Toni also put together a beautiful arrangement for my kids to have there. She didn't even charge me." And, I said, "As a matter of fact, Toni's is where the flowers for MY husband's funeral were from and when I found six little glass birds in her shop for my grandchildren's arrangement, she said, "That is my gift to you." Here were two women embracing the love and the memory -- just because I delivered an arrangement to that business.

After that, I took lunch to Mom and then went to the Nursing Home where my dear friend is recuperating from surgery. I spent time with her celebrating "she's still here, so God's not through with her yet" and then I prayed with her and her daughter. When I made it back to home, a dear friend from years' past called. She had no idea of my husband's passing 5 years ago. She was astounded, yet we both rejoiced in his graduation and celebrating our lives today. For nearly two hours we celebrated God's goodness in our lives.

I'm sharing my thoughts with you about "Valentine's NOT being Bah Humbug". I checked my heart on this before this month rolled around. This month, I'm looking for who I can bless. In fact, I've already made a date with my mother-in-law for a Valentine's lunch-out together. We'll be each other's sweethearts. I'm going to take communion to my friend in the nursing home. Instead of waiting to be loved, I'm making the decision to give love. I have so many friends who need to know someone is thinking about them right now. And there are wonderful ministry opportunities to reach out to those in need. There is so much joy to be had when we seek to invest loving acts into others’ lives.

I am NOT going to fall for the "IF ONLY" lie. You know, "IF ONLY my sweetheart was still here, IF ONLY I had a boyfriend, IF ONLY I had a romantic husband." "IF ONLY" can do quite a number on our hearts. That’s why I’m determined to replace my "If onlys" with "I ams". I AM loved by God. I AM so thankful for the people I do have in my life. I AM so happy that I love this LOVE season because I can express love to God and others. 1 John 4:19 explains it this way "We love because He first loved us."