Our daughters have finished their remote learning for the day and we are waiting for the sleet to change over to the much hyped and publicized 8″ of snow that is supposedly going to blanket our our area of Tennessee.
I am sitting here in my pjs with a cup of coffee in my favorite snowman mug, thinking over the last 24 hours or so. This morning, I’ve tried to be productive, having helped my 1st grader with her assignments and printed out tags for an up-coming consignment sale. Yet, my thoughts keep returning to how we spent Valentine’s Day 2021.
The Sunday morning started “normal” enough. With the extremely-cold-for-Tennessee temps, attendance at church was a little thin, but my preacher husband gave a strong, gospel-centered sermon on God’s continued sovereignty and provision. (Have I mentioned that he’s my favorite preacher – even when it’s not Valentine’s Day?)
After a lunch of Popeye’s, (Their chicken sammies really are the best!) my oldest and I watched “The Princess Diaries” on Disney+. It was a quiet afternoon with all of us doing various things around the house. The younger two sisters played well together and didn’t even fuss or fight when it was time to clean up.
We then set about our Valentine’s Day traditions. They aren’t really that elaborate, but, nonetheless, our girls have come to expect them:
~Gifts From Their Daddy – This year, along with the card he specifically selected for each individual little lady, he gave them a gift card to their interest with the promise of a “daddy date” to help them spend it.
~Special Dinner – Served on our wedding china, this dinner began out of canceled plans the year our first born had to celebrate this romantic holiday with us due to her first real fever. That year, Wally went for take-out and I set the table as she sat in her swing and chaperoned the evening’s festivities. We realized then how nice it was not to fight the crowded restaurants and to have that set aside time at home. This year, Wally did sirloins and shrimp. I twice baked some potatoes. Publix provided sushi in a heart-shaped platter. The Pilsbury Doughboy did the heart-themed sugar Cookes.
~Family Devotion – Since the start of COVID lockdowns and quarantining we have done a much better job having regular, weekly, family devotionals. Normally, they aren’t very detailed and most of the time I find myself wondering if the girls are even getting anything out of it. Last night however was different. It was sweet. We read 1 Corinthians 13 and various verses from 1 John. For whatever reason, it just seemed to click.
Wally and I have tried to be intentional over the years we’ve spent parenting to look for ways to teach our daughters insights into gospel truths through everyday things, things that aren’t necessarily spiritual and even things that are anything but. Believing that Christ is in all and before all, we know He can be found all over.
Creation boasts of His greatness. Whether it is a movie plot or a television theme, the gospel is in every story. Even the most secularized and commercial holidays can be teaching moments to seize.
Maybe it is the girls’ ages this year (17, almost 12, & 7)? Maybe it was the fact that it was a Sunday? Maybe it is because of the weather compelled slower pace of the weekend? – Whatever the case may have been, our discussion last night of God’s definition of love really seemed to sink in.
Their daddy and I shared how God’s definition of love is so very different from ours. We highlighted how we love different people differently, how our love as a married couple is different than how we love them as our daughters.
But, we really keyed in how God really shouldn’t love us at all. Even though He created us, we have and continue to treat Him pretty terribly in our propensity to sin. We would walk away to protect ourselves from someone who says they love us, but their actions declare the opposite. (Having survived the 5th grade girls last year, Piper related to this illustration too easily!) The way God truly, amazingly loves us is beyond my comprehension.
We chatted about how great romantic love really is, and that we understand why people make such a big deal celebrating it on February 14, but that even as great as it is, it pales in comparison to how God feels about us. He sent His only Son to literally, physically die in our place. That is most definitely worth celebrating with good food on the good china and should be acknowledged on more than just Easter – we should celebrate this love at every opportunity. Why not Valentine’s Day?!
Also, we talked about how we pray for their future spouses, if that is God’s will for their lives. I told them how I have seriously joked to make sure that they marry men who can cook like their daddy – but in all joking aside, that I do pray that they would marry men like their dad, men who love Jesus more than they love them.
This morning, as I remained in my bed with my covers pulled up to my chin, I watched their daddy, the man I married, bundle up in his red long johns, with layers on top, to walk to his daddy’s house a few doors down. He is spending his morning displaying love in how he cares for the 90 year old man who modeled so much love to him. Cooking, cleaning and sorting pills, teaches our girls so much about the depth of love too.
Yesterday, he and I exchanged cards and, this year, sunglasses. I am still chuckling over the card he picked out for me. We both agreed that this was a pretty stellar Valentine’s. We love our life together and thank God for all the fingerprints of His grace in which that He has chosen to show us His love.
In he depths and layers of our relationship and how our love has matured over the 23 Valentine’s Days we have spent together, I can see reflections of God’s love too. I am so thankful for Wally and how he strives to love me as Christ loves His bride, the church. To be friends, to be spouses, to be brother and sister in the gospel . . . just as we’ve tried to teach our daughters about God’s love through Valentine’s Day, He is still teaching us too.
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