A Letter to my Daughter on Valentine’s Day

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Dear Daughter,

You spread your Valentine’s cards across the kitchen table and it’s like a mirror to your soul.

It’s the day when everyone calls you “friend.”

Girls who sign their Valentine’s “Your BFF.”

Boys who slip cards in your decorated shoebox making you giggle.

You will get 25 affirmations of friendship in one day and it feels like 25 million.

But after the candy is eaten and the cards thrown away, there’s one burning question left: What’s love got to do with it?

DSC02984DSC02950You know the truth of those cards is just a day long, but the reality of real love isn’t written in shiny red words on a Hallmark card.

Relationships can be the most beautiful thing and the most ugly thing, and it’s hard to see you experience both: the joy and the pain, the acceptance and the rejection.

I’ve been there:

The kid who wasn’t picked for the team.

The child nobody wanted to play with.

The girl who didn’t get invited to the party.

And yes, there are days when you wonder who your real friends are and days when you think you’ve found the one.

Yeah, we’re lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.

Because this is what I know about love:

No human will meet that deep desire for unconditional love.

Believe me, they’ll try. The boys who line up at the door, flowers in hand, ready to steal your heart.

As long as you know who really holds your heart, they can’t steal who you are.

Because there is One who has your heart in his hands already, who has loved you since before you were created.

The question of Who’s gonna love you baby? is knowing who already loved you before you were even born--the one who knit you together with great artistry, cell by cell, into a unique creation of flesh and bone, heart and soul.

This is who loves you. The creator and lover of our souls.

But like Israel, we forget our first love.

We place our loved ones on pedestals instead, our husbands and sisters and friends, who are bound to fail us because we forget they are only human. We expect their constant love only to find their affections fickle.

We place expectations on them too lofty and discover our own hearts broken and disappointed.

Anytime you place someone on that pedestal, you will always be disappointed.

The point isn’t the pedestal; it’s who has your heart.

DSC02979DSC02974DSC02949You wanna know what love is? So does the rest of the world.

Even when you stand in the front of the church as a beautiful bride, gazing into your husband’s eyes, hoping he will be your all, you’ll come to understand, that no man, no matter how wonderful, can be your all, except for Christ.

Here’s the truth the rest of the world won’t tell you:

Your relationships, even the best ones, won’t bring you the true joy you long for, because only One can meet your deepest need.

He’s the only One who won’t disappoint. He will be there in your worst pain and on your best day.

He’s the One we can call daddy when our own father fails us.

He’s the One you look to for comfort when your comforters are all gone.

I’ve sat at tables both full and empty.

I’ve stood with friends and stood alone.

But I have never been unloved, because he loved me from the first.

Don’t you forget this.

When your friends love you one day and leave you hanging the next, look to the One who will never leave you nor forsake you.

Don’t misunderstand me: you still need great relationships—friends who make you laugh until you snort, who love you when you’re a clumsy fool, who stand by you when the class bully shows up.

A friend sticks closer than a brother, the Proverb says.

So make great ones.

But know they are no substitute for the real source of love.

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Because the shiny candy boxes and heart-shaped balloons eventually end up in the trash. No amount of chocolate can fill that hole in your heart.

But His love that bleeds red for us is eternal.

It completes us. Makes us whole. Satisfies our thirst for what we can’t find here on earth.

This all-consuming love is joy spilling over, healing the deep ache for something that never ends. 

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{Read more from this series, The Joy Plan, by subscribing to this blog by using the header at the top of the page.}

Sara

4 Comments on Dear Daughter: What you need to know about real love

  1. I am soaking this in right now. Ali turned 16 last week, yikes! I’ve found myself longing to say the words she needs to hear as she begins thinking about dating, courtship, love. This is a wonderful reminder to simply go back to God’s promises, God’s word, and remember that it is HE who satisfies our thirst for love that is found no where else. Thank you, Sara.

    • Oh, thank you so much Trisha. Parenting a teenager is such a BIG calling. I know you will give your daughter wonderful guidance and support as you enter another exciting chapter. Then in 4 or 5 years, can I come to you for advice? 🙂

  2. this is amazing!! I’m going to print this and send it to Tonya and I’m going to read it to Emily. This Valentine’s Day, and other days when they need the reminder. And, because the message is one that we all need to be reminded of, I’m going to send it to my sons and nieces and nephews!!! Thank you, Sara, for helpings encourage the ones I love the most!

    • Thanks Deanna. You are continually a reminder to me of how to be an encourager to my child. Maybe your kids will have fun finding my typo in this post too. I’m far from perfect! That’s why I need this reminder some days too. Thanks so much for your encouragement and the smiles you continually bring me! 🙂

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