• Clarice Aeby

When Valentine arrows strike a blow


I hang up the phone and cry.

I’d spent the early morning hours in peaceful denial about today – Valentine’s Day. If I didn’t acknowledge it, it wouldn’t hurt, I subconsciously reasoned.

Valentine’s Day isn’t a Biblical idea, though loving others sure is. The day seems to take its shape based on personal experience. For some it’s the childhood creating of cards to be carefully dropped into each student’s decorated box. For some it’s a romantic date with the love-of-your-life.

For others it’s a time of aloneness, the kind that requires all the self-talk and distraction one can muster. Perhaps for some it means nothing.

For me, now a widow, I’m thinking about what Valentine’s Day had once been… a day to celebrate our family love. We dressed up; the men cooked until late afternoon; the women sat around the fireplace eating hors d’oeuvres, talking and listening to music. When we were called to the elegant table, we all brought gifts – boys to girls and girls to boys. We simply basked in the delight that was our family. If “sacred” can be used in a human setting, Valentine’s Day was it for the Aeby Family.

As I was saying “goodbye” to my girlfriend on the phone, she paused and gently said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” The barriers fell – the ones I’d erected around my heart to try to make this day like any other.

In my tears, I heard God’s Whisper, “Remember, I love you,” and my spirit garnered the strength that had eluded me. I didn’t need to ignore the reality that my day would be spent without my husband of 37 years. No, God Himself had reminded me that I could bask in His love for me.

Whether married or single, embracing the amazing love of God is always a good way to spend Valentine’s Day – and the other 364.

The past week I’ve been meditating on Ephesians 3:6-7:

… 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.

These are the essential dimensions I crave to feel complete on Valentine’s Day.

I have some discoveries to make today. I’ve spent the past several days re-reading Gary Chapman’s books:

* The Five Love Languages

* God Speaks Your Love Language

His words have opened new insights about how love is given and received in myself as well as others. Gary describes them as:

1. Words of Affirmation

2. Quality Time

3. Gifts

4. Acts of Service

5. Physical Touch

This morning I long to know this about God: the width, the length, the height, and the depth of His love for me. So I decide to give my waking hours of Valentine’s Day to this discovery. I can easily spend the whole day in my search because God has chosen “Quality Time” as my love language. And as my daughter-in-law once said about her husband, and me, “You ‘Quality Time’ people sure are high maintenance! For me, a simple gift, and I’m good to go. But you guys require hours!”

Yes, I confess, I do! I’m so grateful God has plenty of time for me today. In fact, Immanuel – God With Us – will give me all the time I need to see His love for me in fresh new ways.

With eyes wide open, I’m on the search.

TO CONSIDER: “How can you live daily in the reality of Jesus’ embrace?” - James Bryan Smith

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