Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a day for love and lovers. As a single girl, I have to do Valentine's Day differently. There won't be any flowers, any candies, any romantic dinners. But neither can I simply ignore such a day. I can't ignore the longings in my heart for love. I can't ignore the deep desire I have to one day have a Valentine.
And as I said last year, it's not sufficient, either, to spend this day with the Lover of my Soul. Jesus does not answer these aches, either. The most He can do is to speak into them, and so He does.
Last year at this time, I told you how I was spending Valentine's Day with my love. At the time, I thought maybe I would do that every year until he finally comes. But it's been kind of an interesting few weeks and I couldn't have anticipated a season like this, and so this Valentine's Day, this single girl is doing something different again.
This Valentine's Day, I'm spending the day with my loveliness.
Let's be honest - I've never really been what I would consider lovely. I've never thought of myself as beautiful. I have always, in my love life, begged for mercy and subscribed hopefully to the idea that there is someone for everyone, even a toad like me. I've always figured that one day, a man would come into my life and he would be content to settle for me. I would be exhausting to him, but he would be too lazy to look anywhere else. We would spend our lives side-by-side, a mutual convenient arrangement to squelch the loneliness burning inside each of us, and we would call it love. But there wouldn't be much passion. I would be his consolation prize; he would be my mercy. He would be indifferent toward me; I would be afraid to love him at all.
Yes, really. This was what I always imagined might happen.
Because I wouldn't have considered myself lovable. I...can be a lot to put up with sometimes. I have my quirks. I have my wounds. And I don't buy into a lot of what the world says loveliness is supposed to be. I don't spend hours a day on my make-up; I don't even own any make-up. Doing my hair means running a comb through it. I'm far more comfortable in blue jeans and a T-shirt than in a skirt or a dress. I wear flats, not heels, because I place more value on being able to walk than on how my butt looks when I do so. All these things that women are supposed to do to make themselves lovely...I don't buy it. So I'm not lovely. And if I'm not lovely, how will I ever be lovable? And if I'm neither lovely nor lovable, how could I ever hope for love?
But something changed in the past few weeks. Yes, so recently. So close to this day of love. I can't remember what I was doing at the time or what really prompted the moment, but all of a sudden, I had this wave of holy understanding wash over me (as happens from time to time). In a moment, I heard a whisper about my loveliness. About the promise that one day, there is going to be a man who does not just settle for me; he will cherish me. He will be drawn to me. He will choose me over all others, more than merely a consolation prize. He will love me. Because he finds me lovely.
Me! Lovely! I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, so I settled for a measure of both. I laughed because the idea seems so far-fetched, that a man in this world would find me lovely. I cried because the mere thought of this pierced the insecurity in my heart in a way I cannot describe.
And from that very thought, from that unexpected moment, something else changed: I began to think of my own loveliness. I began to think differently about the girl I see in the mirror. I began to understand how beautiful she is - plain face, boring hair, jeans, T-shirt, tennies, and all. I began to think that the whisper might just be right, that there might be a man out there who would come to know me and decide he couldn't help but love me. Love! Me!
I don't think any more about a man who might be willing to settle for me. I'm not interested in doing any settling. I'm not thinking about the man who I will one day live my life side-by-side with; we're going to do life together. I'm not thinking about his indifference toward me; he will cherish me. I'm not thinking about my fear of loving him; I already do.
I'm thinking about love in different terms this year, and so, I'm spending Valentine's Day with my loveliness. I'm using this time, when everyone is so interested in love and lovers, to reflect on what it is in me that is worthy of both. I'm thinking about the beauty, the delicateness, the tenderness God has put in this blue-jean, t-shirt heart. I'm looking in the mirror and discovering it's all true. And I'm looking into the future and knowing it's all real.
Happy Valentine's Day, lovelies. May you keep your love, your lovers, and your loveliness in front of you as the world celebrates the greatest of all things - Love.