Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine Letter to Herself

COLUMN: A Valentine letter to herself
By Linda Crow • • February 14, 2009

On Feb. 14, 1984, I was 21 and preparing to go on a Valentine's Day date. If I could speak to myself back then, here's what I'd say:

Dear Linda,
This is from the body formerly known as "you."
You're lingering at the mirror, turning this way and that. I wish you didn't care so much about imperfections, because you're more than the sum of body parts and clear skin. Significance comes from being God's child, not from a young man's opinion of you. So just step away from the mirror!

Let's talk about romance. Your date tonight is going to break your heart soon. Eventually the pieces get put back together, and you'll marry him next year, but the lesson of the breakup is important: there's one shining knight on a white horse who'll never fail you, and his name is Jesus. No human deserves Jesus' place in your heart. God intended your husband to be a good man, not a "god-man."

Your marriage is intact in 2009, but it's not because you've been great spouses. It's because you didn't leave God at the altar with the flowers. He has been your marriage's saving grace time and again. If God hadn't been your beacon in the fog all these years, you would have run your ship into rocks and squalls that would've made you a divorce statistic.

Good news! Over time, your husband finally learns to pick up his towels! Bad news: just this week he left dog biscuits in his pockets that went unnoticed until you removed the wet, gooey laundry.

But it turns out you made the right decision in marrying him. No one is perfect, and with time, you become aware that you prefer his faults over anyone else's. Plus, he brings you coffee every morning and occasionally bathes your little dog.
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At 21, you don't know that real love entails a series of offenses and pardons. You'll bring out the best and worst in each other, and often you'll need 1 Peter 4:8 to help you through: "Love covers a multitude of sins."

Romance is wonderful, but a man who submits himself to Christ is even better because he answers to a higher authority and grows continually in learning to love. How could anyone ask for more?

My best advice to you is that when your hearts wander from your beacon and away from each other, remember to "return to your God. Hold fast to love and mercy, to righteousness and justice, and wait expectantly for your God continually" (Hosea 12:6). A favorite song says, "It takes a little time, sometimes, to turn the Titanic around, but baby, we're not going down." With God's help, you'll survive the storms.

Valentine's cards, roses and blushing cheeks may all lose luster, but living under the canopy of God's protection and grace allows love to endure and flourish for many years.
Now go have fun, you wrinkle-free young thing. Your future coffee-bringer awaits you!
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