Much to my children’s disappointment, I’m not the mom who rises early every morning to cook a three course hot breakfast from scratch, complete with freshly squeezed orange juice. I admire her. Sometimes I wish I could be her. But no, I’m the mom who taught her youngest child to make her own waffles in the microwave when she was four-and-a-half years old so I could sleep past 6 a.m. Sad but true.
Special occasions are special, however, and those days greet my family with a morning spread worthy of a hungry jack. Birthdays, holidays, and sometimes on a random Saturday, I’ll pull out all the stops to delight my peeps with a morning treat.
Today is one of those days. Valentine’s Day. My plan is to serve heart-shaped fried eggs with bacon baked in the shape of a heart alongside waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. What hits the plate may look more like scrambled eggs with bacon bits, but I’m going to give it my best. Whatever happens, the chocolate treats my girls selected for each family member should carry the day. Even our oldest is coming home to join us for our early feast. That’s what makes it really special. Being together. Making a memory.
And love. True love. Not the kind that’s celebrated with gifts and romantic dinners. Not the kind that requires having a valentine with whom to exchange googly eyes and mushy words. I’m talking about the greatest love of all. The greatest gift of all:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:4-9).
In light of God’s love for us, what can we give back to Him, our Forever Valentine? How can we love Him back?
2 John 1:5-6 answers: “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This isthe commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”
We can love God today and every day by loving one another. I read the most beautiful adaptation of I Corinthians 13:4-8 by Jerry Bridges in his book, The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Happiness (p. 39). I share it here today as my valentine to you, both in the understanding I hope it provides in order to extend this kind of love in your life, and as a challenge to myself to give this kind of love to you and those around me.
I am patient with you because I love you and want to forgive you.
I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
I do not envy your possessions or your gifts because I love you and want you to have the best.
I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
I am not self-seeking because I love you and want to meet your needs.
I am not easily angered by you because I love you and want to overlook your offenses.
I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you, and “love covers a multitude of sins.”
This kind of love – God’s kind of love – never fails. It’s a valentine with eternal value.
Lord, as You love us, help us to love one another with Your kind of love as we become more wholly Yours today.