With February 14 fast approaching, my heart and mind has been heavy for so many who have lost, in one way or another, someone they love. When we think about Valentine's day, we think about people we care about, our crush, our love, our children... we think of people who love us and who we love. However, sometimes this date brings more strife than joy.
I have a friend who recently lost his wife… unexpectedly, suddenly, and far too early in life to seem okay or even acceptable. Yet it happened. He is now a widowed daddy with two young children. His wife was the glue. She was his muse. She was the one who kept their life organized, balanced and beautiful. They once stood before their families and church and promised each other forever. How could forever end?
(Any time I hear about a loss like this, I always think of my daddy… he was once a young father left with two littles and a broken heart… But that's a story for another day.)
How is this fair? How is this right? What now?
I have another friend (Yes, I have two! Wow, I'm blessed!), she is struggling with her family “falling apart”. Her husband has left and seems to want a different life. She is left juggling 3 teenagers, work, life… without the partner who promised her (and God) “til death do us part”... How do you do that with a heart that is breaking? How do you move forward when you are overwhelmed by “why am I not enough”, how do you comfort your (angry and hurt) children, how do you keep things going… when it feels like you can barely breathe?!
(My heart and hurt identity so deeply with her situation, but again, that's a story for another day.)
How is this fair? How is this right? What now?
God, where are you in these situations? Where Are You? Often my prayers turn into these cries. Sometimes, the more I pray, the more frustrated I become, because I Want Answers… and I want them NOW. I want to see the big picture. I want to know the good that will come from the bad.
Because of my friend, Jesus, I believe there is a plan. I believe we have choices along the way that can affect the outcome of the plan, but I really truly believe God wants His children (Me and You) to experience good things.
Writing that makes me think of Romans 8:28. This is definitely a scripture we want to think of, feel and believe… all the time, but especially when we are hurting.
Growing up, I always read from the NIV Bible. It's still my first go to, but as I've grown, I've found that I love reading others too… especially when I read a scripture I feel is meant specifically for me at a specific time. I really like what I found when I read this passage… in NIV, the Message and Amplified versions today.
Check it out….
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28 MSG
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” Romans 8:28 AMP
What does that mean? Well, for me, it tells me that even in my darkest days... you know, the ones that you feel like you've been punched in the gut, can't breathe and your heart is literally breaking... on those days, God is still there... looking out for my best interest, caring deeply for me in my hurt, and LOVING ME! Wow. That means He really is My Best Valentine.
There are plenty of days in life when I need to remind myself of this. No matter how broken my heart may feel, I am not alone. God is there... "helping us along" (MSG). Looking back on my life, I can clearly see He was there in those darkest days. I am so grateful.
So, this Valentine's Day, whether you are struggling to just get out of bed to face the day or if life feels the most blissful it's ever been, God is there. Because of my relationship with God and who He is to me, I know "every detail of our lives... is worked into something good." (MSG)
And, if you know someone who is hurting right now, maybe this is a good time to reach out to them. I imagine someone has come to mind... and that's for a reason. Don't let this opportunity pass by without taking the opportunity to let someone know you are thinking about them. Take time to love on someone... a thoughtful note sent in the mail, a favorite drink or snack left on their desk, invite them over for a simple meal, offer to take their children for an evening... Just Do Something to show you care.
xoxo - jules