The love of your life is gone.
Or has never shown up.
Your family is all but destroyed by broken relationships. Or a deeply valued friendship has slowly waned away.
Dreams have shattered and hope seems forever lost. Endless prayers weren't answered in the way that you longed for. And now Valentine's Day approaches.
And it's anything but a holiday.
Enter any store and you are assailed on every side by hearts and flowers. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candy and bouquets of red roses and sappy cards seem to flood every aisle. The sight brings anything but happiness. Hurt, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, and despondency creep in, entwining around your already wounded heart. And once again it hits home.
I. FEEL. SO. ALONE.
LeAnn Rice found a way to redeem February 14th. The caterer/event planner turned ministry leader writes ...
"I know I have mentioned on numerous occasions that Valentine’s Day
is my second least favorite day of the year. (New Year’s Eve gets the number 1 spot.)
Being alone on one of the “couples” holidays is just plain hard!
But… when I am hurting the most, I find someone else to love on.
There is always someone hurting more than me.
Are you aware of someone who needs to know that someone cares? Someone in pain, either physically or emotionally? Someone who lost someone they love? Someone who has just been diagnosed with a chronic or fatal illness? Someone who is about to lose their home because they have fallen behind on their mortgage payment? Someone who won’t have a hot meal on their table? Someone who’s a shut-in? Someone in a nursing home who rarely or never has any visitors? Someone with a sick child?"
And maybe it's no accident that my very first blog post was penned on Valentine's Day. Way back in 2008 I wrote, "I just found out that February 11 - 15 is Friendship Week! Never even knew that such a thing existed ... but I like the idea!" And here's the 4 questions I challenged our brand new readers with.
In Joel 2:25, God tells the prophet that He will restore the years the locusts have eaten. Are you ready to cooperate with His desire to do that in your life? Are you willing, by His strengthening grace, to reach out to someone who finds themselves in an even more desolate place than you are? And to affirm and bless the relationships that are already in your life?
Trust me ... you won't have to look far to find someone who needs a touch of Jesus' compassion.
May He empower you to be that blessing,
1 John 3:11, 18 -- "This is the message you've heard from the beginning: We should love one another ... let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
Linda Stoll is Director of Creekside Counseling Services at Creekside Ministries in Poughkeepsie, NY. She has served at numerous Legacy Retreats, and she blogs at http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/. Visit her blog to find many helpful posts about illness, legacy, and relationships.