Valentine's Day has not always held a special place in my heart. I can still remember those years in primary school, when it seemed that Valentine's Day was the focus during the first two weeks of February. Our classroom would be lavishly decorated with red cardboard hearts, chubby cupids with their bows and arrrows, red and white streamers and lacey doilies. My dread increased with each passing day.
My teacher would have us decorate brown paper bags and put our names on them, then attach them along the bottom of the blackboard ledge, in anticipation of that grand day when the bags would be filled with cards. The cards had pictures of boys and girls, and had sentiments such as "Be my Valentine", "Valentine, Be Mine", "You are the one for me", and so on.
My mum took me shopping to buy a book of Valentines, which I carefully cut out, writing the name of a classmate as well as my own name on the back of each one, then placing it in a small white envelope. I loved choosing special ones for each one in my class.
The day finally arrived. As we entered the classroom, we each placed our Valentines in the appropriate bags, then waited until it was time to collect our bag and discover who had given us a special card.
I watched as others grabbed their bags and poured their cards out on their desks. The children were giggling, giddy with excitement. Most had their desk covered with those special cards. Finally, I gathered courage to open my own bag, and there would be 3 or 4 cards in it. Saddened, but not surprised, I placed those treasures back in my bag. I was not one of the popular students, I was not one of the pretty ones, and did not have pretty clothes. My hair was short and straight as a board, unlike some who had long flowing curls or ringlets. Finally, the bell rang, and I sauntered off toward home, by myself.
As I think back on those early years, I wonder how many others feel as I did. Neither pretty nor popular, just plain and ordinary. Shy, sad, alone.
One day when I was 12, I reached into another Valentine bag. In it there was one large heart. On it were written words so loving and tender, words that stirred my heart and filled me with hope. "Lynn, I love you. Jesus". Joy overflowed as I sensed the embrace of the one who had sent that card. For the first time, I knew that I was loved deeply and accepted, just as I was. I wanted to run into the arms of the one who had sent that card to me that day. And run I did, straight into the arms of the One Who loves and accepts me without condition, with an everlasting love.
There have been other loves in my life, such as my sweet husband, children, in-laws, grandchildren and dear friends. But Jesus will always and forever be my one true love, above all others. He had filled the emptiness in my heart as nothing else could. Bags of valentine sentiments from classmates are nothing in comparison. My heart is filled to the brim. May that love spill over and touch those around me. May they, too, come to know the love of our great Saviour.
"He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
(Zephaniah 3:17 - NIV)
No love song could ever compare with the one He sings over us, His beloved ones!
Happy Valentine's Day!