Chocolate, candy, flowers, and true love.

Red roses.  Teddy bears.  Jewelry.   Why does Valentine’s Day come only once a year?

Of course, I am really not in any danger of being drowned in too many red roses, or smothered by too many teddy bears, or decked out in too much bling.  For one thing, I don’t have a boyfriend or husband.  My dad, who was my red-rose, puppy-dog-with-the-heart-over-its-left-eye, velvet-box-jewelry-giver died over 7 years ago.

The funny thing–no, the amazing thing–is that, this Valentine’s Day, I’m not bitter.  I wouldn’t even exactly say I feel sad.  Sure, I want to be married–I think.  But there’s not this incredibly lonely longing for a man to ring my doorbell tomorrow, bouquet of flowers in one arm, teddy bear in the other, one hand holding out a box of chocolates, the other a velvet box.

Nah.

I want to be married someday, but, to be honest, if I ever do get married, he’s going to have to realize he just can’t compete with the competition.  You see, I already have been swept off my feet.

Diamond rings, well, even the most beautiful diamond ring is going to sit on my rotting finger one day when I die (if the ring is even left on my finger!).

–And chocolate–well, let’s face it, girls, chocolate is, at times, a more appealing gift than a jewelry store on wheels (is this why I’ve been single for so long?).

Candy, candy is tasty–but forgettable.  Thinking about it, I can’t really say after I eat a chocolate that I spend the rest of my life thinking about how unforgettable it was.  To confess, I had a box of candies yesterday that I wasn’t going to eat because they had modified food in them, and I *try* not to eat modified food.  I did very good, and put them in the pantry to be given to someone else.

I did very good for one whole day.

Then the next day–and to help you feel extra sorry for me, you might want to know the doctor has given me a mild steroid to help my viral cold I’ve been having (and having), which I’m sure gives me a crazy side effect for artificially flavored chocolates–I ate the whole little box of 6 chocolates.  Even the cherry taffy chocolate one.  I do not like cherry.  Or taffy.  I even ate that one.

The chocolate was, well, pretty forgettable.  Except than when I went to the grocery store today, I saw a bigger box of modified, artificially flavored chocolates.

Now red roses–red roses are even better.  Oh, I love red roses.  I really love red roses.  I love red roses with those beautiful little white spriggy flowers bordering the edges like little breaths of lace.  My father got me red roses when I was 14 or so.  He said he wanted to be the first man in my life to buy them for me.  (Hopefully, Daddy, you are not the last.)

But now let’s talk about stuffed animals.  Anybody who knows me (a.k.a., how childish I am), will know my affinity to stuffed animals over jewelry boxes or chocolates or red roses.  In later years, I’ve become more mature.  I guess that’s something that happens when you start getting close to thirty and stop enjoying the game “Old Maid”.  But still, I love cute stuffed animals.  I used to this was perhaps kiddiesh, until I read enough of The Five Love Languages to realize I am a “gifts of love” person.  (That translates to, I am not childish for hugging my stuffed animals.)

You know what, though?  Not even a truckload of stuffed animals on Valentine’s Day–even really cute ones with plastic teardrops and squishy eyes–would be enough to make me think twice about who I’m committed to loving above all.  In fact, all the rocks and cocoa beans and gardens and teddy bear factories in the world couldn’t change my mind.

It isn’t any man’s fault.  And I don’t want anybody to think I’m demeaning the role of men.  I have known many great men in my life, who have blessed me beyond any amount of candy or jewelry.  My father, for one.  Pastors I’ve had.  Friends.  My grandfather.  And men I’ve dated who are real treasures from Heaven.

But none of them–not even all of them altogether–would have a chance of sweeping me off my feet like my Savior.  This isn’t because of anything they’ve done wrong so much as it is because of everything He’s done that couldn’t even be dreamed up in a fairytale.

Take a beautiful, exquisite, perfect world.  Enter a deceiver, who tricks a woman into giving up the one best thing she ever had: God’s love.

Enter scorn, derision, abuse, confusion, neediness, loneliness, and a heart broken beyond anything a father or husband or friend could ever fix.

A fallen, sinful, broken world.

And go forward a few thousand years.

Now enter a Man, who claims to be God, who stops men from throwing stones at a good-for-nothing, disgusting harlot.

A Man who asks a woman reeling from so many rounds of relationships she can honestly say she’s not just committed to one . . for a drink of water . . . so He can open the conversation to invite her to drink eternal life.

A Man who defends a woman openly, unabashedly, refusing to be ashamed of her just because everyone thinks He should be, that she’s wasted too expensive a gift to pour out on His head.

A Man who protects a woman who has been so utterly forgiven by Him that she finds no fear He will demean her if she wipes His dusty feet with her hair and washes them with her tears.

A Man who, hanging from spikes in His hands and feet, remembers His mother and gives her–gives His mother–to His closest friend to be cared for as his own mother.

A Man who, instead of appearing first to a room of men who would have been reputable witnesses, appears to a person of very little importance, or credibility: a woman.

This is the Jesus I love.  This is the Jesus I’ve fallen in love with.  This is the Jesus who has captured my heart.  This is the Jesus who makes me think about Valentine’s Day, and, with a little smile, say, “Lord, You are my Valentine’s Day.”

“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV2000)

The earth moves and You find me, alive but unworthy
Broken and empty, but You don’t care
‘Cuz You are my rapture, You are my Savior
When all my hope is gone, I reach for You
You are my rescue
You are my rescue.

— “Rescue”, by Seabird

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