Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays where there is not a whole lot of neutral ground.
No really, think about it. Most people either love the holiday or hate it.
I must confess, that I have gone through quite the gamut of emotions regarding the cards and flowers holiday. Growing up it was always a celebration. One of my parents’ top love languages is gifts, so we usually woke up to cards and some form of candy. It wasn’t extravagant, but we always felt celebrated and like it was a special day.
Fast forward to middle school and high school when all my peers started
exchanging very OBVIOUS lovey-dovey gifts at school. (Gag)
Lots of other girls would tote around balloons, flowers, stuffed animals, and chocolates from their “love” while I was left with my sarcastic humor and high standards.
And then came a total of two years in high school and college when I DID have “a valentine” (different guys and non-consecutive years, mind you). And THOSE years, my outlook on Valentine’s day was much more chipper. (Insert eye roll here).
In the single years of college, my bffs and I even managed to have a ball at the expense of the holiday. We held “Jesus is My Significant Other” parties for “Singles Awareness Day”. We stayed up way too late playing monopoly and yelling at sleepy guy friends, “GO HOME, YOU CANNOT SLEEP ON OUR COUCH. LEAVE NOW OR I WILL MAKE MY DOG BITE YOU.” (Hooray for protective cow dogs who will bite on command).
My view of Valentine’s day and romantic love in general was directly correlated to my relationship status. And I realize now, just how unhealthy this was.
The summer after I graduated regular college with my Bachelor’s degree, I was engaged to be married. This guy (not Nate) and I were supposed to be married that August, but we broke up in June. I’ll spare you the details for now, but it was rather traumatic.
The first Valentine’s day after this break up I was still single. I was attending Bible College in Tulsa, but I had left town to spend the weekend with my family. When I got back to my house in Tulsa, I was welcomed with flowers that my sweet Mama had delivered to my house. As I was setting them up in my room, I distinctly remember being overwhelmingly happy that I was NOT spending Valentine’s day with the wrong guy. All of a sudden, I was never so happy to be single in my whole life. I had a little dance party right there in my room by myself. Just me and Jesus. I celebrated. I genuinely celebrated the fact that I had not married the wrong guy. I celebrated that I was single and perfectly loved and I KNEW it. I celebrated my great romance with my God. I celebrated love in its truest and purest form.
And in the midst of that celebration, I realized that I was healed.
I was truly and deeply healed.
But you see, that healing did not come automatically.
Time does NOT heal all wounds; Jesus does.
Bitterness does not make you immune to pain; it just masks it.
Cynicism does not remove the need for love; it just diverts attention from it.
Healing is not something you stumble upon; it is Someone you seek.
One of the things I am most passionate about, is true, deep, soul healing. I consistently pursue this kind of healing for my own heart and long to help lead others into it. I say “consistently pursue” because as long as we are on this earth, we have an enemy who hates our guts. Satan is vigilant in his assaults on our hearts, therefore we MUST be vigilant to guard our hearts and usher in the healer when we are wounded.
Here is an outline of what I did to get really, truly healed from the heart wound that came from that no fun breakup.
1. Focused on scripture that talked about how much God loved me.
People are imperfect, and even the best of Christians will at some point fail to love others perfectly. The more firmly established you are in how well God loves you, the easier it will be for your heart to heal. I wrote out these scriptures, personalized them, spoke them out over myself, and posted them all over my room. Saturate yourself in the love of God.
2. Settled in my heart that I would rather be single forever, than to settle for anything less than God’s very best husband for me.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Whatever you most desire, is where your feet will tend to move. If my innermost desire was for a spouse rather than Jesus, I would have derailed my own healing.
3. Refused to idolize marriage
Idolatry is desiring anything more than you desire the presence of God.
So often what we turn into an idol would be a GOOD thing in its proper place and priority. Marriage or a relationship is no exception.
Marriage is not the ultimate goal, Jesus is.
4. Refused to allow cynicism about romance or the opposite sex to take root in my heart.
It was clear that my ex had not loved me the way God desired. And that’s fine. But rather than jump back on the man-hater or romance-cynic train I had proudly led for a time, I made a conscious effort to build quality friendships with Godly men. I had a few friends and family members that became my “visible” standards for how Godly men should act. When a situation came up or I saw a particular depiction of romantic love, I ran it through my filter of “is this how (Jesus Loving Man) would treat their friend or wife?”
5. Stopped listening to love songs and watching love stories
In the song of Solomon, God charges us FOUR times to “not awaken the desire for love before it is time”. My desire for romantic love had been awakened. I prayed for God to put that desire back to sleep until it was time, but I also had to do my part to guard my thoughts and heart here.
6. I asked Jesus to romance me.
Now before you roll your eyes, think about it: the creator of the universe, roses, melodies, and romance itself, LONGS to romance you. Jesus wants you to KNOW through experiential knowledge how truly and deeply you are loved.
So, I asked Jesus to come and capture my heart, to captivate my attention, to steal me away in moments of beautiful worship. I wanted to be more IN LOVE with Jesus daily. I still do.
No matter how good of a relationship or marriage you have, there will always be a place in your heart that only God can fill. And when you have a full heart, secure in God’s love for you, then and ONLY then can you receive love from and give love to another imperfect human in a truly Godly way.
Whether you are single, married, single again, happy, or lonely know this:
There is healing for your heart in the Love of God. God is willing and able to redeem your story, heal your heart, and fulfill your deepest longing for love.