In part one, we talked about brightening Valentine’s Day for single moms. In part two, the focus was on showing love to the elderly. Now, with Valentine’s Day just over the horizon, I want to refocus again.
The fact is, everyone needs the reminder that Jesus loves them. Valentine’s Day having the potential to be a lonely time, it can be a wonderful opportunity to express kindness to anyone. When you are praying, ask the Lord to open your eyes to the places you might have overlooked where He might want to shine His loving light.
For you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
~1 Peter 2:10
As you walk forward with Jesus, it can be so good to remember where you have been. Where were you when He first called your name? What was the first tear that He wiped away? What walls did you have built up to protect yourself before His love broke through? From where did His hand of mercy pull you free?
Remembering these things has been so important for me. I’m not naturally social, so it can feel risky to start a conversation with someone or to offer an encouraging word. Even when I was very good at hiding every kind of insecurity, others risked sharing their hearts with me. They showed me Jesus when I was all alone, even though they didn’t know what I was going through. Risky as it can feel, I don’t know what the story is behind the faces I see around me, sometimes not even the ones I interact with every day. It can be so easy to go years without anyone discovering the ache in your heart, because they want to believe you when you say that you are fine and when you smile. It reminds me that sometimes the “survivors,” the ones who seem the most fine, the ones to have it all together, are the ones that need the encouragement the most. Even through their smiles, confidence, and self-reliance, they can be some of the Valentines that feel the most left behind.
What is such a blessing is that we do not know how small things can be used to plant seeds of joy in the lives of others. Sometimes it can be discouraging to be unable to see whether taking a risk and caring for someone has done what we have hoped, but no seed Jesus has planted ever goes to waste. Keep talking to Him as you take the small steps, and He will remind you of His purpose in what He is having you do. Sometimes He will surprise you with the chance to learn just how much the things that you do might mean to another person.
So where will God lead you in reaching out to others? Are there people at your church who could use the reminder that their work is appreciated? Maybe a coworker needs to know that someone is there for them as they go throughout the day. Perhaps cookies or a card would brighten the day for the mailman, your favorite
librarians, or a neighbor that you have. You could encourage a sibling or family member, or even strike up a conversation with the cashier at your favorite café or fast food hangout. It can be a step out of the old comfort zone, but don’t be afraid of the vulnerability that comes with being sincere. You don’t have to wow anyone with a bubbly personality or amazingly deep and wise thoughts. It is so meaningful just to have someone give an honest compliment, or shyly give a gift from the heart. Jesus has so much more sweetness to share with the world than all of the clearance chocolate put together. Stay close to Him this year, and watch where He takes you as that love rubs off on others in your life. And have a very happy Valentine’s Day.
How has Jesus changed the way that you see Valentine’s Day? If you have a story or a Bible verse that you would like to share, please let us know in the comments! You can also start the conversation on Facebook. I hope that your day is sweetly and richly blessed.