Beyond Romance

Jan 20, 2016 by

I still remember the moment when I declared Valentine’s Day the cruelest holiday on the calendar. I was in Walmart, shopping for cards for Nate’s class and treats for him and Christian. I passed the display of cards that used to drive me crazy because I could never seem to find one that wasn’t either inappropriate or over-the-top drippy. It hit me that I didn’t have anyone to buy a card for. No one would give me a card either, or flowers, or chocolate. I thought about all of my single friends who’d been dealing with this for years, but even that didn’t help.

I also remember the moment when God turned that salt-in-the-wounds day of hearts around through a friend who stopped by with a box of chocolate, a sweet card, and a hug. Two years later, I spent Valentine’s Day with another friend, who was celebrating her first outing after being declared cancer free. That same year, I helped fill goodie bags for women who felt the same way I did when I dragged through Walmart resenting a holiday that doubled as a painful reminder of what I might never have again. The next year I filled mugs and experienced the joy of handing one to a teary woman. She hugged me and said, “I was dreading Valentine’s Day, but this makes it better.” Her words made my whole struggle over Valentine’s Day worth it.

Valentine’s Day still isn’t my favorite day of the year, but I no longer resent it or find it cruel. Through the experiences above, God taught me that it can be sweet even when we don’t have romance in our lives, because love is about more than that. For me, Valentine’s Day is about appreciating friends and members of my family, and showing kindness to those who need a reminder that they are valuable. I don’t know what special thing I will do this year, but I plan to enjoy it.

21 Days of Love cover, large (2)

Several months ago, my struggle with Valentine’s Day inspired a story for Kathy Ide’s Fiction Lover’s Devotional, 21 Days of Love: Stories the Celebrate Treasured Relationships. The book hit the shelves on January 1 and happens to also include stories by two author friends who walked with me through the difficult process of adjusting to a new life.

To celebrate this gift from God, I would like to give away two copies of 21 Days of Love in time for Valentine’s Day!

To celebrate this gift from God, I would like to give away two copies of 21 Days of Love in… Click To Tweet

So, what is your story? How has God taught you that love is about more than romance? When has He sent a reminder that you were valuable at the exact moment you needed it? How has He moved you to show love to others?

Share your story and I will enter you in my drawing. If you also share this post I will enter your name twice.

I can’t wait to read your stories!

Share your story and I will enter you in my drawing. If you also share this post I will enter… Click To Tweet

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  1. When several of my friends went through divorces and two friends struggled with being single in their thirties, God moved my heart to send them cards and gifts throughout the year. I budgeted so I could send them gifts for Christmas. I never considered blessing them on Valentine’s Day, until you shared your story. Thanks for inspiring others to think beyond self, especially on days that can feel lonely. As I pray for my friends and family members who struggle with Valentine’s Day this year, I’ll be asking God to show me how to spread His love in tangible ways. Thanks for making generosity and courage feel contagious.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      You have a special gift for thinking beyond yourself and making others feel special, Xochi. Thank you for blessing so many people, including me!

  2. Strangely, Valentine’s Day has never really bothered me much. You’d think it would, since I’ve been a single mom since 2000 and would love to be remarried. The hardest day for me is usually my birthday. But in the last few years I’ve finally been learning to enjoy that day, even though I don’t have anyone spoiling me. Valentine’s Day sort of makes me squirm; all those sentiments and hearts and kisses… Not sure what that’s about, but I think it’s something to do with divorce, walls, trust, etc. no doubt. Does all that rambling count as a story? 🙂 I’d love to read the book. It might help me stop squirming, lol!

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      This definitely counts as a story! I understand the squirming over Valentine’s Day. All that emphasis on affection is just plain uncomfortable, for all the possible reasons you mentioned. I can see why birthdays would be difficult! Any day when one should expect to get special attention but most likely won’t hurts. I pray that your next birthday will come with wonderful surprises from God!

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