My husband was watching one of his new favorite shows last night while I was working on book promotions. I was listening in as the show was on Valentine’s Day. As any good writer of romance, I wanted to see if there was something that would spur on my imagination.
As the show proceeded through the storyline, I found out one of the main characters had planned a romantic dinner out, for his wife so they could be alone, just the two of them. He carefully made all the necessary arrangements -- the most romantic setting, the best gift he could afford. Why he had even dressed in his suit and tie for the occasion. He did everything he possibly could think of to make this night special for her. Amazing how our best laid out plans fall apart, isn’t it?
I thought to myself, how precious that he would go through these great lengths just to let her know how much she meant to him. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. The perfect Valentine’s romance was a disillusion of what his mind had conjured up.
Two other characters on the show had their own disillusions of Valentines. One character said it was just another expensive sales day that business owner’s made up in greed. She no longer celebrated the day because she was always disappointed by her husband's last-minute attempts to keep himself on her good list. The other character, a male, said that he no longer believed in Valentine’s day for true love did not exist as his wife left him for another man.
Let’s face it. We all get a little selfish, sidetracked and disillusioned by what we consider love and romance. If it isn’t our way, or if there are no fireworks or some great showing of affection, then we often feel let down. We have seen so many fictional movies and read so many fictional books that we begin to think of romance and love is something we will never obtain. Televised talk-shows have distorted it. Ad campaigns have cheapened it. Many popular books declare themselves the way to a happy and perfect marriage or relationship. Come on, we all know there is no such thing. There is no perfection in this world. To allow ourselves to believe that there could be such a thing is to only become completely delusional.
When we reach this point, of believing if I am not loved or romanced the way I want, then it is not real, we not only find disappointment in our spouses, our children, and our friends. We even find it our God. In our disillusioned state, we lash out at those who love and care for us. We begin to blame others for our own misguided definitions.
“If he truly loved me then…”
“If she truly loved me then…”
“If God truly loved me then…”
Cade Andrews, one of the main characters in my novel, Leann’s Victory , had come to this place in life. He was bitter and angry because he had allowed himself to become disenchanted with love and with God. He had bought into the lie if it is not the way you want it, then it is not real. It had to be all about Cade, and his desires. Sound familiar? That is not love, nor is it romance.
There is a scene in the book that really speaks to my heart. I ashamedly admit that I have fallen prey to the lie that I was not loved by God. In this chapter, Cade and Graham Daniels, the other male lead, are walking on the beach when Cade asks him this question:
“How do you know God loves you?”
“Because He gave me people who loved me. Think about it. I know from what you have told me that you have been let down by some people. You are not just upset with those people; you blame God for it. But Cade, for all those who let you down, hasn’t there always been someone else who loved you?”
Cade did not reply. Instead, he counted those who did love him.
“How many meals have you missed? How many days did the sun not rise? What about your education? The scholarship you received? You’ve talked about all that you have missed, but what have you missed out on? Could it be that you have been worshipping your hurt? The truth is you have been loved. Maybe not the way you wanted. But you have been loved. God has loved you from the very beginning, and nothing will ever change that.”
Like Cade, too often we focus on what we don’t have, or on the disappointments in life, allowing those things to become the center of our worship. A life spent looking only at the hard times will never rejoice in the good. It is time we pull back the blindfold and embrace the true meaning of Love and Romance again.
They are so much more than what we believe them to be. Love and Romance move beyond intimacy. They reach out to sweep the floor, wash the dishes, and put away the laundry. Love and Romance leave notes of encouragement, whether written or spoken. They offer up a prayer for strength and wisdom. They exist outside of Valentine’s Day, Weddings, and Anniversaries. Often covered up and unseen, Love and Romance continue giving of themselves in the mundane in small and subtle ways.
The Love and Romance of God is the same way. It exists whether we do or do not acknowledge it. No human has ever been without it. King David said in Psalms 139, that God loved us long before we were born. My favorite passage, Isaiah 53, describes in great detail, the love of God for us all. The familiar verse of John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world, which includes you. That means you are loved by God.
You may not be loved the way you wanted, but you have been loved.
With each sunrise, God says, “Good morning, My Love.”
With each twinkling star, He whispers, “I am here, watching over you.”
With each breeze, He strokes your skin, letting you feel His presence.
With each sunset, He is painting a masterpiece for your enjoyment.
With each cry of a baby, HE says I still love mankind.
Don’t be disillusioned by what the world says love is, look to the Great Romance. He is love. And His love never fails.
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you not to buy some fancy card that will end up in the trash one day or an expensive gift that will soon be forgotten. Instead, do something that will enhance the love you have for your God, your spouse, your family, and your friends. List the many ways they show their love for you. Then list the many things you love about them. Give them these 2 lists. I also challenge you to make a list of the many ways you show love back. Keep that list for yourself, checking it often to see where improvements can be made.
I believe if we spend more time focusing on what love is, we will be less disillusioned and not near as delusional!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I pray you take this day to celebrate the gift of love.
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. (Jeremiah 31:3, NKJV)
The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17, NKJV)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NJKV)
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10, NKJV)
… To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (Revelation 1:5, NKJV)