Grab this amazing dress here
I love Valentines Day. It’s a day to be intentionally reminded of my relationship with my husband, of my family and friendships I cherish so deeply, and of my greatest love, God. I love celebrating love, and I am so grateful to know how unconditionally I am loved by the people I hold dearest to me.
I also know that, though a day to remind us of great things and eat chocolate without a care in the world, and receive cute Hello Kitty Valentines with lollipops on top, in some stages of life this holiday can be tough to face. Sometimes, the last thing we think we want to be reminded of is love. And, I get it. I don’t even mean just romantic love, but all relationships. Relationships are hard. Valentines Day day can feel sort of like rubbing salt in the already open wound. It can remind us of terrible relationships past, or maybe of the one the got away contrary to what we fought so hard for. Or, perhaps it reminds you of parents that got divorced, and there is the fear of that happening to you, too. Valentines Day can bring up a slew of emotions. But, it would seem that fear overwhelmingly takes a top spot.
Sure, I guess if you think about it, there is a lot to be afraid of in love.
Perhaps this is why God tells us to “guard our hearts” so intently in Proverbs, though, because “it is the wellspring of life.” Meaning that the state of our heart, what we fill it with and believe, will dictate how we view the world around us. It’s the spring from which everything flows. So, we have to view love well and put our hope in the right love in order to love others well. This doesn’t, however, mean to block out all chances of being hurt in love by never letting people in. Or, by falsely protecting our heart in love with other people. Relationships are great, and they certainly are fun, but that isn’t your identity and it’s not your heart’s protection. People are going to let you down. Neither of those scenarios are what “guard your heart” means. Guarding it means reminding it of its worth- the truth that God’s love conquers all and is above all else. Love definitely can be scary, but it’s worth it. It’s risky and you will absolutely end up hurt every now and then. No matter how much I love my husband, I will fail him. I am bent toward sin, I wear my sassy pants way more than I would like, and I can be sharp. I say stupid things I can ask for forgiveness from, but cannot ever take back fully. We are sinful creatures. My husband and I literally fought yesterday morning so loudly I was embarrassed to take Presley out for a walk, because I am certain all of our neighbors must have heard us.
Yeah, love can hurt. Even in a seemingly healthy marriage, love can deeply wound.
But, look at this quote from Four Loves by CS Lewis that actually quite literally changed my life during a break-up with Paul (yes, Paul and I broke up for a couple of months in dating!!):
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.”
If we want to love others or receive love at all, we must open up ourselves to being okay with getting hurt. Otherwise, the only other way to remain without wound is to live in hell, be it hell on Earth or in the life, or should I say death, to come. This is where I got it wrong for so long. I shut people out in response to hurt I had experienced for so long. But, God created us to love lavishly in order to better know him. Anything else is less than what he has in store for you. We are called to community, and into friendships, and into relationships, because every single person can teach us about the character of God. And, consequently, when we get hurt, our relationships remind us there is only one perfect love, and we are called to seek after him above all other loves. See, God’s love will never fail us- unlike our friends, family, or spouses. God’s love is perfect. This is why the Bible says that “perfect love casts out all fear.” No other love can do this. But, when we are in relationship with God, knowing that perfect love personally, then we can love others fearlessly.
Then, especially so on our days we would rather not think about love because of hurt, those are the days to remind yourself of real love. God’s love. It will influence every other relationship you have.
You tracking with me?
We can love others because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (John likes to talk about love a lot.) We cannot fully love ourselves or others if we do not first recognize how much God loves us. Literally to death- that’s a big deal y’all. You’re deeply loved. Walk in that truth. Be fearless in your love of people. Pursue people wholeheartedly. Reflect the love of God that is fearless and bold, and find your identity in that perfect love. Not in anyone else’s. I can assure you, it’s not as good and that kind of love is only temporary.
So, wherever you find yourself this Valentines Day, whether in a new budding relationship, a solid foundation, or in solitude for the first time in a long time… whatever your situation, remind yourself of love that casts out all fear and let that dictate your other loves.
Know your worth.
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah****
This dress is the most perfect LBD I have ever owned. I am in a small in these photos (I am 5’2 and a size 0) I was nervous that because it wasn’t specifically a petite fit that it would swallow me. BUT, as you can see, it didn’t! I am obsessed with dress and just thinking of anything I can wear it to- like my upcoming Valentines Day date or anniversary dinner! xoxo