i’ve had a pretty love-hate relationship with valentine’s day thus far. there were so many years where i complained about this singles-awareness, hallmark holiday and even a few where i painted my nails black in protest. i once told a guy i liked that if he asked me to be his girlfriend on february 14th, i’d tell him to try again another day (charming, aren’t i?). but the truth is, i love too many things about valentine’s day to hate it. i love chocolate and homemade cards, glitter, flowers and kind words. i love love. i’ve realized that this day dedicated to pink and red hearts, as commercial as it might be, is the best excuse to love the ones you’ve got, to make them heart cookies and remind them that they’re important and cared for and never forgotten. what could be so bad about that?

if you’re without a valentine this year, i hope you’re feeling thankful for the million different kinds of love in your life: the friend that knows your coffee order, the roommates who accept your quirks, the mom that tells you too many times to wear a coat. but if instead of feeling thankful, you’re feeling sad, i hope you remember that you’re fully, perfectly loved. that you’re not and could never be unlovable to our father, who looks at you through the lenses of our perfect jesus. that you’re seen and known and never forgotten. that you’re at the mercy of a god who gives exactly what you need, what is positively best for your sanctification and his glory. i hope you remember that a life without a significant other isn’t the same as life without love, even when you feel like it is. that while it’s perfectly normal to wish for someone to love, it’s such a shame to wish away your purposeful, wonderful life in the waiting. know that love is much deeper and wider than romance, that your worth is much greater than your relationship status, and that reese’s peanut butter hearts are the jam whether you have a valentine or not.

remember that there are all kinds of love that don’t always sound like “i love you” and sometimes come from the most unexpected places. remember that sometimes love sounds like “what do you want from starbucks?” and “what can i do to help you?” it sounds like “put down the to-do list and go home” and “you should really drink more water,” like “how was your day?” and “don’t slip on the top step ice patch.”  it sounds like “don’t forget to lock your door” and “how’s the pressure in your tires?” like “you’re doing a great job” and “i’m sorry,” like “how is your heart?” and “let me remind you what’s true.”  sometimes love is the friends who don’t mind when you cry into your coffee, who insist on shoveling your snow or paying for your burrito, who turn your eyes back to jesus when it all gets too heavy. you see, there are all kinds of love in this world, and none of them can even compare to that of jesus, who loves you best. today, i hope you look around and see you’re loved in a million ways. i hope these waiting days remind you to look for the outsiders, to love the marginalized, to speak hope into the loneliness and emptiness in others that you’ve known all too well. i hope that today and everyday you’re compelled to love better by the perfect love you’ve found in jesus. grace and reese’s hearts to you, dear ones. happy valentine’s day.

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