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If there was one thing I really didn’t like about public school was the Valentine’s Day ritual. For $1.00 you could buy a Carnation to give to someone as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The same ritual occurred in December to celebrate Christmas but instead of Carnations it was candy canes.
Thankfully it was only a middle school ritual that I only had to endure for three years. But each year I so desperately wanted someone to send me a carnation or candy cane. I remember sitting at my desk during the last period of the day when the Carnations were handed out praying that my name would be called…
My name was called once in December. That year I gave the office ladies and the Vice-Principal some home-made popcorn cooked in a Whirley Pop on the stove and some of my Great Grandma’s Peanut Butter Fudge. As a “Thank You” the Vice-Principal gave me a candy cane. Although I was thankful that my name was called I would have rather received the candy cane from a “secret admirer” than the Vice-Principal.
But nevertheless, each Valentine’s Day all the popular girls in school would have their names called several times and I’d again be sitting there begging God that my name would be called… At that time in my life I so desperately wanted to be “liked”; to fit in and belong.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…”
~1 Peter 2:9a
One of the things I really didn’t grasp all those years ago was the depth of love that God had for me. It’s something that I still struggle with grasping now. I may not have ever been chosen by a peer but I am chosen by the Creator of the universe. “…that [I] may proclaim the praises of Him who called [me] out of darkness into His marvelous light…(1 Peter 2:9b).
A little over a year and a half after the last Valentine’s Day ritual I was baptized and became a Christian. Instead of seeking to please my peers and fit in with those around me I began to seek to please my Savior (Galatians 1:10). Along the bumpy road I began to realize that fitting in wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Friends were fickle, material possessions meant more than family, friends and God, and along the way convictions once held dear become a thing of the past.
As I continued to grow closer to Jesus over the years I’ve realized quite a few things and grown in ways I never would have imagined. I no longer want to be popular and “fit in” with the in crowd. I am learning that spending time with my family is something to cherish because it won’t always be like this. One day in the not too distant future we’ll all have families of our own…
I used to think that spending Valentine’s Day at home wasn’t cool. I was always jealous of all those couples going out for dinner and getting sweet gifts from their significant others. But I’ve learned to embrace the season that I’m in now. After all memories are made here and now. There’s no point wasting time sulking because of what I don’t have when I have SO much of life to live now.
Valentine’s Day has changed for me over the years. What I once thought was a day to sulk, eat pasta and ice cream while watching a sappy chick-flick has become a day where I remember and be thankful. I remember the great love that Jesus has for me each and every day. I’m thankful for the family that I have that reminds me that I am chosen by a loving God and tries to make Valentine’s Day special for us all; regardless of our current relationship status.
Until next time,