I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Greatest of These


By Heidi Larson Geis

There are only a few more days in the month most of us associate with love. Walmart’s aisles of red hearts and boxed chocolate have given way to pastel eggs and stuffed bunnies, and the Valentine roses are beginning to wilt. 

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit that my husband and I had our first big fight on our first Valentine’s Day. We almost broke up. I am thrilled to report that we managed to work it out and we’ve been happily married for almost eighteen years, but our epic battle is one small example of the perils that ensue when we allow society to dictate how and when we express our love. 

I’m not the Ebenezer Scrooge of Valentine’s Day, and I’m not saying people shouldn’t celebrate it.  I just think it puts so much pressure on all of us. Men freak out, hoping they will measure up to romance novels. Women freak out, hoping they will measure up to Victoria Secret models. Singles freak out, hoping they will measure up to each other.  All for one day out of 365 in a year.

In the end, none of us measure up. There is only one “Valentine” who could ever meet all the expectations of our hearts. Only one who knows how many hairs are on our heads. Only one who keeps our tears in a bottle. Only one who knows our deepest secrets and our fondest dreams. Only one who gave up his life to spend not just one day, but all of eternity with us. Only one who is LOVE. 

And Love never fails. 

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”  Proverbs 3:3 (NIV)



Your turn: What are your thoughts on Valentine's Day?

30 comments:

  1. Great post, Heidi. As a single, I always felt left out on Valentine's Day. I was never one of those who got "heart-grams" in high school, or was asked on a date for that special night. It (and I) felt very un-special for years.

    I think my expectations were placed on the wrong place/person for esteem and value. Part of what makes Valentine's Day a painful holidy for some is placing our expectations for affirmation in the wrong place. Only Jesus can affirm His love to us perfectly, affirm us as who He created us to be and fulfill that longing in our hearts to be loved perfectly and passionately.

    Okay, I guess I had a few thoughts on this one. :) Have a great day!

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  2. I'm not much on these "special" days dictated by Hallmark. For those who don't have someone to share Valentine's Day with, it's just a reminder. Like you, I think we should celebrate love every day rather than just one day. And it's all about Him!

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  3. I soooo agree. I remember being really upset on my first Mother's Day (I was pregnant) because my hubby didn't give me a Mother's Day card like the guy on the Hallmark commercial. The ad people build unrealistic expectations that often lead to disappointment, no matter the holiday!

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  4. Love this post, Heidi. So, so true!

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  5. Great thoughts, Heidi! My hubby and I try to do something out of the cultural norm to "celebrate" the day...this year we went to Target and bought all of our favorite snack foods and settled down to a movie. So relaxing.

    Sometimes we even go to the card section, pick out each other cards, show them to each other, and put them back. It's our way of sticking it to Hallmark...

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  6. My hubby hates Valentines day. He deems it as a marketing scam, but every now and then he does get me flowers. So I act surprised and even if nothing shows up, I know I'm loved. That's what is most important.

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  7. Honestly, I'm cool with any holiday that puts such an emphasis on chocolate. I like having little reasons to eat more candy, have more fun, get a little silly...and this is coming from someone who isn't married.

    I do agree that marketing efforts are a big reason why we end up with such high expectations on days like Valentine's. But marketers are simply doing their job. I just can't get all that upset at a for-profit business trying to, well, make a profit. :) It's our choice whether we let their expectations become ours.

    All that aside, it is awesome to me to know God loves me every day. And he shows me every day in ways that lost a lot longer than chocolate or flowers or cards.

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  8. Unrealistic expectations for sure!

    While flowers, candy, jewelry, dinners out are nice on Valentine's day, I prefer the unexpected--flowers on a Tuesday because he saw them and thought of me, words of appreciation for the things I do, cooking dinner because he knows I'm on deadline. Those things celebrate our love.

    And Jesus is the only one who doesn't have unrealistic expectations of us. He knows our hearts, our insecurities, our deepest fears...none of that is hidden. And the best part is He loves us anyway.

    Great post, Heidi!

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  9. Love your thoughts, here. I like celebrating love all year round. I'm not against Valentine's Day, but we don't do anything big (though I did get flowers this year!). But you're so right. So often, people's emphasis is on a person who they think will bring them fulfillment, instead of the only Person who can.

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  10. There are many ways to express love, flowers are just one. I think there's a lot of truth to our "love language", and it's important to find what makes your spouse and children's feel loved and express it that way.

    That being said, I did love the flowers from my son this year!

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  11. Sweet post, Heidi! Great job.

    And Amy, your card trick is hilarious!

    My husband and I as a rule don't celebrate Valentine's. At the risk of sounding horribly unromantic, I think flowers are usually a waste of money, especially around holidays where the prices are jacked up. I'd rather have the money go toward a book or something that won't be thrown away in a couple days. And we don't go out, because we don't like waiting 3 hours for a table and it's just wrong to go to Taco Bell on a holiday. lol

    This year we had a nice dinner at home and took our dog to the beach for the first time. Relaxing and fun.

    I'm with Lisa--the unexpected gifts or cards are so much more meaningful. But I do have to agree with Melissa that chocolate is always enjoyable. :-)

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  12. Sweet post, Heidi!

    This was our first Valentine's Day together, and I'm happy to report: no fights!

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  13. Heidi, I just had this conversation this morning at the coffee shop. Talking about the hairs on our heads are numbered.

    If God takes the time to do that, He's got the rest of our lives well in hand :)

    Great reminder!




    Roxanne, CONGRATULATIONS!

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  14. Jeanne~

    I completely relate to feeling un-special in high school! I desperately wanted someone, ANYone, to notice me, and therefore validate me. I never had a Valentine on Valentine's Day until I met my husband, and then we had a massive fight. So, there you go. It's as if God wanted to remind me that only He (and not any man, even my precious husband) could validate me. After all, God was The One who stuck by me for the 25 Valentine Days before Craig showed up. =)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I always look forward to reading your posts!

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  15. Pat~

    I truly hate that these types of holidays are such painful reminders of loss for so many. I know for many women who struggle to conceive or carry babies to term, Mother's Day is a bitter reminder of what they don't have.

    And I completely agree with showing love every day. In one draft of this blog I wondered how many people would read a romance in which the hero only showed his love and affection for the heroine on February 14th. I want to read about a hero who goes out of his way to show his love for her every single day. Because, as Jeanne so beautifully said it, God created us to long for that, and every great hero is a picture of Christ.

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  16. Sandra~

    You are so right...advertising moguls set us up for disappointment because of the crazy expectations they put on our human men. These poor guys don't stand a chance!

    And really, anyone can remember to pick up a memento when there are five aisles in every store dedicated to the holiday. I'd much rather have a card or flowers (or whatever) on March 10th for absolutely no reason except that he was thinking about me!!

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  17. Patricia~

    Thanks for stopping by! I was a little worried I might offend people with my take on Valentine's Day. I'm so glad to see how many people actually agree with me!

    =)

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  18. Amy!

    I thought my husband and I were the only ones who did that card thing! We cannot justify spending $5 on a piece of paper! Especially since, because of the amount we spent, we feel obligated to keep it forever. We've lived in our house for 14 years...we've run out of room for anything else!!

    This year Craig and I did go to dinner (which we don't usually do) but took the opportunity to have a nice long (teenager-less) talk about what we want to accomplish in the coming year. Then we spent a couple of hours coupon/clearance shopping at Walmart.

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  19. Jennie~

    There are a lot of men who feel the same way as your husband. I think that's why there are so many unhappy women on that day!! What I love about your situation is that you always know he loves you (I imagine because he finds opportunities throughout the year to show you) so you don't EXPECT anything. This means that when he actually does feel like sending you flowers, it is truly special.

    You are SO right...knowing you are loved, whether by your man or by your Creator, is The Most Important Thing.

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  20. Yay Melissa!!

    Like I said to Patricia, I was afraid I would offend people with my take on Valentine's Day. It's good to see a single gal with such a fantastic attitude about a holiday which makes most of us cringe! I don't like chocolate (take a breath, MTagg, I know it's shocking to hear) but I certainly took advantage of the 70% off post-Valentine sales on Willy Wonka Sweet Tarts and Nerds!!

    You make a great point...people (and companies) are going to do what they can to turn a profit. That's the beauty of capitalism in our country. It is up to each of us to take responsibility for our own expectations.

    Thanks for sharing your point of view! =)

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  21. Lisa~

    I completely agree with you. As I said to Sandra, anyone can remember Valentine's Day with constant reminders in every store. As I told Amy, my hubby and I went shopping at Walmart after dinner on Valentine's Day. You would not believe how many men I saw buying candy and cards at 9:00 at night. They looked panicked!!

    I am so blessed that my Craig finds way to give me "flowers" almost every day. My "flowers" are anything from picking up my favorite ice cream when he stopped for milk, to making the bed, to spending hours in the freezing cold of our garage trying to find that one box of Christmas decorations I just know must be out there somewhere. Like you wrote, these are things that CELEBRATE our love.

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  22. Lindsay~

    I completely agree with you--I'm a huge fan of Valentine's YEAR. We were just sharing that with some singles at our church. The other thing we shared is that singles cannot be looking for a mate to "complete" us as we often hear in movies, etc. We need to find completion in Christ and only then can we find the person God created to COMPLIMENT us. There is no winner when we try to put a human in the place only Christ can fill. Thanks!!

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  23. Teri~

    Thank you so much for reminding me about love language!! You make an excellent point. If your love language is gifts, then you will be more disappointed if you don't receive one. Obviously, receiving gifts is NOT my love language, lol. If you read all my comments above, it will be pretty easy to guess mine. This is probably why I'd rather have my dishwasher emptied than to receive a dozen roses. That being said, I hope I will get flowers from one (or both) of my sons someday. A son who sends his mama flowers is a testament to parents.

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  24. Jenness~

    The more I get to know you, the more I find we have in common! I can't stand the thought of blowing money on flowers. I would much rather get a book or a kitchen gadget. Also, I can't imagine waiting 3 hours for a table, although I find nothing wrong with Taco Bell...we actually had dinner at Panda Express this year! It was DELICIOUS!!

    If we lived closer to the beach, I would totally love a walk along the water. I love the ocean, and that seems very romantic. As far as chocolate is concerned, as long as it's WHITE, I'm in. =)

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  25. Roxanne~

    It's amazing that this is your first Valentine's Day!! Maybe it's good that you were already married before you hit that milestone! Craig and I were also doing the long distance thing, and spent hours on the phone every night. (Back in the days when you had to actually PAY for each and every minute!) In all fairness I should qualify our fight...it was ALL my fault!!

    Late on Valentine's Day night we were enjoying one of our marathon conversations when my call waiting clicked. I told Craig I'd be right back and took the other call. It was my ex-boyfriend...the one I had broken up with just a few months before meeting Craig. I felt so bad for him (he was the first guy I ever broke up with) so I talked with him for awhile...apparently it was about 45 minutes. Needless to say, Craig was furious. He thought I might be still seeing this other guy, and his accusations made me incredibly defensive, which just made it worse. It took a couple days, but thankfully, we managed to work it out. I think if it had been ANY other day of the year, it wouldn't have been as big a deal.

    I'm so happy for you, Rox! You inspire me to show my husband how much I love him as often as possible.

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  26. Ginger~

    Isn't it amazing?! He knows more about me than any human ever could. This means He also knows more of my flaws than anyone else...more reasons to NOT love me. And yet, He never leaves me, never forsakes me. It boggles the mind. I've given Him so many reasons to leave me behind, and yet He stays. What a gift!!

    I especially love the verse that says He keeps ALL of my tears in a bottle. My grief is important to Him...it matters. Like you said, if He takes the time to count my hairs and gather my tears, I can trust Him with EVERYTHING!!

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  27. As a single, Valentine's Day is kind of an "ouch" except for making it special for grandkids. Thanks for this line I love though, Heidi: "Only one who is LOVE."
    I can't believe I forgot to check for your blog post Wens (lots going on here) but I loved it early this a.m. Thanks, Heidi.

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  28. Dee~

    I can't imagine what it would be like to face Valentine's Day without my Craig! I do know that Christ is the husband to the husband-less, so that is a small comfort...especially since I know how much He loves me.

    I know you are so busy- don't even worry about yesterday. It was a pleasure to see your face today!

    HUGS!!

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  29. It was fun to read the post and all of the comments.

    I actually like having a day set aside to express love for the special people in our lives. I spend too much on cards and plaster them with stickers and write notes that hopefully warm hearts and remind friends and family how special they are.

    And I enjoy being on the receiving end, too. : >

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  30. Hi Patti~

    Thank you for chiming in! I'll admit, I love having a day to shower my kids and friends and parents with heart plastered cards. When my boys were younger, I actually decorated my house with hearts. And I won't lie; I love getting mail!

    I guess what I don't like is the pressure the day puts on couples/singles. The day has such potential, but so often it comes with some dangerous expectations.

    I truly appreciate the reminder to use the day to shower friends and family with love! Have a great weekend!

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