The love charm fell from my necklace on Valentines Day. Slipped off and landed somewhere under my feet. A Freudian slip, if you will. On this, the day for sweethearts, extra kisses, and reminders of who we love the most, I felt like love slid from my grasp. I was grumpy, irritable, and in no mood to be loving or loved.
In an effort to reassure myself, I tried reciting the Biblical definition of love. You know the passage, the wedding standard: I Corinthians 13. Used at so many marriage ceremonies, it’s almost tiresome. Almost. Except the tug on my heart reminds me, it’s there by design. When love begins, when love is hard, when love is bored, and even when love just feels unlovable.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
I Corinthians 13:4-7 (The Message)
Sure enough, I failed in every way possible today. I was selfish and ready to quit. I lost my patience, more than once. I pouted and let everyone in my path know what I wanted. Despite my husband’s loving kindness, I snapped whenever he spoke to me. My daughter struggled to find her mother’s smile. I convinced her to help me clean the house for her father’s Valentines surprise; in truth, it was for my own peace. I grumpily prepared our traditional dinner of pancakes and berries, all the while grumbling and barking orders. The worst part was, I knew how unloving I was and didn’t have the guts to snap out of it. Who and why would someone love a grouch like me?
There is One who loves me when I am unloving, unkind, ill-tempered, and impatient. One who loves me when I make myself unlovable and when I don’t show love. One who gives me grace upon grace until I am drawn in, once again, by His enduring, steadfast love. God, who gave us flowers and chocolates, who created our hearts to crave love, and who showed us the ultimate example of sacrificial love, loves me despite my flaws. My heart of stone crumbles and is made tender, open to all the joy of love in Christ.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
Hey Grumpy, this one’s for you. Boy, did I need it today!
I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.
And this? This is what it’s all about. Such grace, such acceptance, such love.
This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
I John 4: 9-12
No matter how you find yourself on Valentines Day – married, single, single again, with your children or not – or any day, may you open your heart to love, real Love. Because, whether you’re in the mood or not, He loves you anyway.