Growing up, especially in my teenage and early college years, Valentines Day was a time to either enjoy the attentions of a specific young man or to pine away or even pout that there was no special valentine on the horizon. Of course I always enjoyed the specially picked cards and yummy heart shaped boxes of candy I always received from my father but more often than not I found myself lamenting with my girlfriends that we had no valentine.
It wasn’t until I was 19 that I realized the incredible blessing of not having a “special someone” in my life and began to enjoy a season of singleness. During those short five years, I spent Valentines Day learning about the great love of my Lord Jesus. Which in turn was a wonderful preparation for sharing a great love with the one He would bring to my life to be my love, my best friend and my partner in everything…dear darling Dan!
In 1996 after the Lord choose to bless us with four daughters (that later grew to six daughters), Dan and I decided that we did not want our girls “pining away” for the affections of young men each year on Valentines Day or feel like they were missing out by not being in an exclusive relationship before they were mature enough both spiritually and emotionally ready for it. (Which in my never to be humble opinion does not happen in the teen years) We decided to make Valentines Day all about them — instead of about us — although Dan and I always exchange cards and sometimes special gifts. Look at my beautiful floral bouquet! I LOVE fresh flowers….they make me smile with my heart. (For those of you who live in the Stockton/Lodi area – we know a FABULOUS floral designer for weddings or other special events – Blossoms by Lisa)
Our purpose in doing Valentines Day in this way was three fold:
To make Valentines Day at home the most fun, special, warm time they could imagine – in hopes that when they hit the hormonal teen years they would relish in Valentines Day with their family.
To use Valentines Day as a time to talk & teach about the greatest love of all – the love of our Lord Jesus Christ – the ultimate romance! (“And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you” Isaiah 62:5)
To have their Daddy treat them special…thus showing them an example and setting a standard of how they should be treated by a godly man in the future.
Here are some of the ways we accomplish these goals:
The girls and I make heart shaped sugar cookies & decorate them…always GREAT fun. (and cookies are my BIGGEST weakness…so yes I took today off of the diet – for my once a month vacation day!)
Later that evening we have a fancy diner complete with classical music, candlelight & flowers. Dad cooks up a delicious meal and the girls have the “night off” from chores. I help cook, set table, serve & clean up! (something I do not do the remaining 364 days of the year) In the beginning years we all dressed up fancy but more recently we have been at the beach for Valentines day…so it has been more of a “casual elegance”. Over dinner we share about the love of our Lord as well as the standards the girls should have when they get to the time of their life for courtship, love and marriage. As the girls have gotten older we pray for their future spouses and that they would choose wisely and well. (The decision as to who to marry is second only in importance to choosing Christ) Tonight we had a fabulous discussion over dinner that carried on for a couple of hours!
We finish our festivities watching one of our many favorite “Jane Austen” era movies – which the girls love for their traditional old fashion courtship portrayals…especially watching how most of the men are so proper and formal in their treatment of the women whose hearts they are trying to win! (We are counting on many of you out there raising up dashing young men who will come and ask their father for permission to “call” on our daughters!)
Now that we are blessed to be raising a young man, we will be looking for ways to use Valentines Day to train him (and hopefully soon…”them”) up to be godly men who know how to treat a lady and who will love and serve their beloved as Christ has loved and served us! Any ideas or advice from those of you who have accomplished that are welcome!
Happy Valentines Day!