True love

Free Valentine printable from http://rachelwojo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/valentines.pdf

Free Valentine printable from http://www.rachelwojo.com

I love Valentine’s Day. Though I never had a boyfriend until my senior year in college, I always thought it was fun to make special treat for friends and enjoy a more low-key school day. When I started following Jesus in college, I realized that this just might be my favorite holiday- a whole day to celebrate love? And now I knew what true love was and had an eternal Valentine whom I could share with others!? This was just too good to be true!

“this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”                1 John 3:16

Valentine’s Day is a culturally acceptable day to love people, make them feel special, and point them to true love, displayed on the cross. I know that it’s important for married couples to carve out time for one another. And that is so great. But I also feel like this day, for whatever reasons, is a day of brokenness for many. This is an amazing opportunity to love the single, widowed, divorced,hurting people in our lives. This commercialized holiday can be redeemed and used as a chance to bless our loved ones, our neighbors, and those we don’t even know.

I am super excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my family. Tomorrow, Finn, Piper and I have some errands to run. I saw the idea online to take valentines out and about with you to give to people you encounter. Finn is at the perfect age for this- he is going to have a blast. And lest you think you can’t do something similar because it’s last minute, you can! Even if you just print something cute from pinterest, it could totally make someone’s day. It also teaches your little about loving others and being others-focused. (another sweet idea, which I would love to do in the future, is visit a nursing home or hospital). Even better- is there a neighbor or someone in your life that you’ve talked with a little but would love to get to know better? Grab your adorable little kiddo and a flower or something sweet or whatever and seize this day!

Maybe the idea of giving a stranger or neighbor a valentine really scares you. Can I double-dog dare you to give it a try? And, in the midst of heart-shaped pancakes and a date with your spouse, keeping an open eye and an open heart to who could really use some true love? Maybe it even means forgoing a fancy meal and as a family blessing another couple a gift card or having friends over (or maybe visiting http://www.compassion.com and buying someone a much needed item from the gift catalogue?) My point is this: it doesn’t matter how big or how small the gesture is, but let’s be pro-active to love someone in a special way this Valentine’s Day. With pinterest and social media the way it is it’s tempting to think that any thing we do has to be super cute and original and handmade and on and on. Thankfully, it actually just needs to be done with love. Here are some other ideas:

-take this opportunity to write an affirming note to someone: a coworker, friend, parent, missionary, sibling, spouse, etc.

-if you sponsor a child, take time to make them a valentine with your kids

-send flowers to your grandmother (or maybe someone who has lost a spouse recently

Please don’t read this post and then feel guilty for whatever. The last thing any of us needs in our life is more guilt. What we all need is more Jesus. Let’s let him saturate our hearts, our lives, and this Hallmark holiday and turn it all into a sweet offering unto Him. As you love your hubby, your kids, your single sister, the cashier at the grocery store, may it all be the overflow of a heart that is loved, cherished, and captivated by our One True Love.

P.S. one more idea for making this an extra special Valentine’s Day? Write a love letter to your Savior. It doesn’t have to be long or eloquent or written on parchment paper with a quill or something crazy… Just a few words of love, just loving the One who loved you first.

What are some ways that you like to celebrate True Love on Valentine’s Day? Would love to hear stories and ideas or ways that you’ve been loved!

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Happy New Year!

Somehow, it always seems to sneak up on you. Starting with Thanksgiving: “Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving!?” And then Christmas: “It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas!”

And then comes the remembering. The sweet memories. The regrets. The joys, the sorrows….the failings. The things you should have done but didn’t… the things you shouldn’t have done but did… the New Year’s resolutions that apparently you weren’t very resolved about, after all.

And with the New Year dawns the temptation to do. To strive. To be better. To make up for all of the mistakes and failures and things you lack and fill in the gaps and prove that you be better and make your best life now.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that Holy Spirit-driven sanctification is precious and important. And I think New Years is a great opportunity to take stock and evaluate so that moving forward you can live the life you want to live for Jesus.

But it will never be enough. You’re not going to be skinny enough AND nice enough AND memorize enough scripture AND make homemade cookies every day PLUS work out every day WHILE solving world hunger AND eating only whole-real-organic-etc etc and on and on….well, maybe YOU will. But I know I can’t. Or even if I can, there will be a million other things that I’m not going to do well enough.

This year, I NEED A SAVIOR. I need Jesus. And so do you. I want to encourage you, today, January 1 (insert year here)– let Jesus be your enough. Be grateful for the gospel. Thank him for the blessings of last year and thank him for dying for your sins that would crush you without the blood of the Lamb. Look forward to the next year and be thrilled that no matter what changes, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

I don’t know what this year holds for you but I know Who holds you.

I hope that many of you find the time to evaluate, to think about your priorities and to make New Year’s resolutions. But I hope most of all that looking forward this year, and every year, your heart looks heavenward and sees the Son, interceding for you, loving you, being your brother. And that as you seek to love and honor Him, God gives you grace to know that in Christ, He’s your Abba Daddy who loves you and delights in you.

And it will be a Happy New Year, indeed.

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