I feel so spoiled! Tonight as I sit at my desk, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and little gifts. Earlier, when I was praying about what to blog about today, I remembered a Valentine’s Day I blogged about five years ago. There is a huge contrast between this Valentine’s Day and that one. This morning, I sat in my room staring at beautiful flowers gifted to me by my daughter and her husband. Five years ago, I sat on my parent’s bathroom floor staring at my convulsing sister. Today I know I am an overcomer. That day I struggled with feeling like a victim. This Valentine’s Day has been peaceful. That one was chaotic. Both are special to me because I am well aware that in both the good and the bad times, God always meets us where we are. His love and care for us never change.
So that being said, here is my Valentine’s Day blog post from 2013:
Since I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who anticipates Valentine’s Day as much as a dental appointment, I had intended to write a humorous post today to encourage some of my single friends. So much for my plans!
In the midst of family demands and meltdowns, by 9:00 a.m., I was wondering if I was going to finish breakfast, much less finish a blog. Since I desperately needed some personal time to whine, to pray, and to be renewed by the Word, I stuffed the rest of my bacon-wrapped-in-toast breakfast sandwich in my mouth, left my bedroom (the living room couch,) and headed toward my office (the car) with the intent of “Getting alone with God.”
Since my computer was frozen, on the way out, I tucked my pen in my pocket and scooped up a small notebook and my Bible. However, as soon as I reached out for the doorknob to make my escape, I heard my sister Judy cry out from the other room. “Oh, no! Not now, Lord! ” I voiced.
I immediately dumped the contents wedged in my arm and ran to the kitchen where my elderly father was trying to keep Judy standing long enough to get some support under her so she wouldn’t injure herself when she fell.
My sister Judy has had epileptic seizures since she was two. Her seizures, which vary from momentary memory lapses to grand mals, have yet to be controlled by medication. Unfortunately, today was a grand mal day. Since Judy’s seizures often cause her to empty her bladder, when her seizure ended I made a quick call asking for prayer and then guided her into the bathroom so I could help her shower. “Hurry up!” I thought to myself. “I need to get alone with God!”
Before Judy undressed, she began having a second seizure. This one was much more severe. I yelled for assistance from my nephew who had just come into the house. He and my father helped me lower Judy to the floor. I prayed as I managed to wedge a wash cloth between her teeth so she wouldn’t chew up her mouth while I attempted to hold down her thrashing limbs so she wouldn’t smash them against the cabinet. A short while later, she stopped thrashing and slipped into a deep sleep. As I continued to pray, I felt a mixture of compassion, helplessness, and frustration. “There is nothing more I can do for her, Lord! This day has been so crazy! I need to get alone with You, God.” I then heard in my spirit: ” You already have.” Three things came to mind.
The first was Matthew 25:40. “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me (NKJV). The second was the priest in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), who was so religious he “missed” God, and the third was the memory of my most cherished Valentine—a heart-shaped candy box.
I was eight, the box had been my mother’s, and it wasn’t even Valentine’s Day. But it was my special day. My mother had given me the heart-shaped box as a symbol of my new heart. As I sat on the edge of my parent’s bed fingering the ruffled ribbon and lace that adorned the edges of the beautiful pink foil-covered candy box, I thought about Mom’s sacrifice in giving it to me. I also thought about the sacrifice the Lord had made for me. The box had once been full but now was empty. My once empty heart had now been filled. For that was the night that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior—my forever Valentine!
Although this has not been the Valentine’s Day I had planned, I have been blessed with some beautiful Valentine gifts. The gift of God’s presence in the midst of chaos, the gift of loving others, the gift of friends who listen and pray, and the gift of remembering that the greatest demonstration of love was not given in a box, but was nailed on a cross. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 NKJV).
AS YOU CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S TODAY, MAY YOU EMBRACE ALL OF THE GIFT’S GOD’S HAS FOR YOU—ESPECIALLY, THE GIFT OF HIS SON!
*Update: That day in 2013, I never could have imagined all the amazing ways God would meet me so powerfully during the difficult years when I was caring for my family members. Looking back, I see His heart and hand in everything.
My mother and baby brother are now in heaven, and In 2014, the doctors found a few medications that ended most of Judy’s seizures. The ones she has now are sparse and mild. Last year, Judy and my father moved to Arizona where they are now being cared for by another family member.
Today the Lord met with me beside the still waters. Five years ago God met me in a storm. I don’t know if today has been easy or hard for you. But God does. Whether your day has been peaceful, exciting, chaotic, or disappointing, always know, that no matter the circumstances or the season, God loves you.
YOU ARE ALWAYS HIS SPECIAL VALENTINE!
May you be abundantly blessed,