I have to admit it: I became a Valentine's Day Diva.
Really, I did.
I had higher expectations than I realized for our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. The whole week I was anticipating what my husband would plan. He never mentioned the subject in the days leading up to it, so I figured it was probably a surprise.
I woke up on Valentine's Day excited to spend the day together. He woke up and started getting ready for his workout — without mentioning any Valentine's Day plans.
Before he walked out the door, I piped up and asked him if he'd be interested in handing out flowers to people downtown in the afternoon. I secretly hoped he would also bring up romantic plans for dinner.
I looked at him expectantly as if he would read my mind (because that's what men do, right?).
While he still didn't mention any Valentine's Day plans, he agreed to join me downtown in the afternoon.
Excitedly, I grabbed my keys and drove across town to Target, where I bought eight bouquets of flowers. I also picked up some M&M's and other goodies…which I ate most of on my way home…but that's beside the point.
My early afternoon doctor appointment ran longer than expected and as soon as I got home, I began to gather up the bouquets we planned to share. He looked at his watch and pointed out that there was not enough time for us to pass out flowers together. He had to be at his next workout in an hour.
“Why don't we do it tomorrow?”
A tear formed in the corner of my eye as my blood boiled. I gave him the look.
What about this does he not get?!
**Note to self: Men cannot read minds and I should not expect them to.**
I lost it, “The point is to do it TODAY! Have you really not thought about making Valentine's Day plans? Do you even care?!”
“Of course I do but I have to go to football training tonight,” he replied.
**Trigger Valentine's Diva**
“Seriously?! I hate football.” I mumbled under my breath, wishing I could take it back as soon as I said it.
We argued back and forth. The poor guy was really trying. I just wasn't hearing it.
I threw my hands up in surrender, sighed dramatically, put my tennis shoes on, and grabbed my headphones.
I called over my shoulder as I walked out the door, “YOU KNOW WHAT? I TRIED! SO WHATEVER. I'M GOING FOR A RUN…HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO YOU!”
I huffed and puffed as I drove my feet into the pavement.
I was so angry and so disappointed and so sad. I was angry at myself for overreacting. I was disappointed that he hadn't met my expectations. I was sad that our very first Valentine's day as a married couple and it was already starting to go down as the worst Valentine's Day I'd ever had.
As I jogged through windy streets and up and down hills, my mind raced.
This is so wrong. It's not supposed to be like this. Isn't this the one day of the year we're not supposed to argue? Ugh, first grade candy valentine's is trumping this right now…
At that very moment, I saw an elderly couple walking hand in hand and suddenly all the negative thoughts faded from my mind and my heart seemed to take a 180 degree turn.
It was such a sweet reminder of simple love and it hit me how much I had let my expectations dictate my emotions all day.
Isn't it funny how we do that? Isn't it frustrating? Ugh.
Anyway, after seeing that elderly couple, I realized how much I had focused on getting than giving. I figured I had been working hard and that it was my turn to kick back, relax, and receive romance and affirmation and fine dining. But right in the middle of my pity party, God used that little display of simple love the old couple shared and nudged me to step out of selfish love and back into selfless love.
An idea came to me.
I picked up the pace, scurried in the door, grabbed my car keys, and drove back to Target for the second time in one day. I picked up a frozen pizza, chocolate strawberries, some Valentine's Day treats, a bottle of champagne, and twinkly string lights. When I checked the time, I realized that I only had an hour left before he got back. So, I raced home, popped the pizza in the oven, and got to work quickly. Let me just say that I struggled to set up a little blanket fort that would look semi-decent. Who knew traveling back to childhood would be so hard? 😉
I didn't have time to shower. In fact, I barely had time to change clothes or fix my hair by the time he walked through the front door. It wasn't exactly the romantic look I had envisioned myself rocking just hours earlier but the look on his face and the peace that surrounded our embrace made all the makeshift, messy pieces worth it. And the two hours of burnt pizza, mediocre strawberries, board games on the floor, and country love songs made our first Valentine's Day a win in my book.
You know, I don't share this story with you to complain or make myself look more like a diva than I would like to be. I share this story because sometimes there's so much more to it than the pretty, cute, snuggly little bits we see from the outside looking in. And sometimes we need to celebrate the little things. Sometimes we need to look at disaster and disappointment right in the eye and say, “NOT TODAY, SATAN.”
Truly, the majority of our day felt like a disaster. Was it? Of course not. It wasn't really that bad and I'm aware there are much worse problems in the world. But sometimes, unmet expectations and uncontrolled emotions in the middle of our every day can take us down a dark, downward spiral right into what feels like disaster. But out of the disaster, God made a beautiful demonstration of His love. He makes beautiful things out of dust, right? And that, to me, is worth more than any candlelight dinner and more life changing than any Hallmark card.
So if you've been experiencing disappointment or discouragement that's beginning to feel like a total disaster because you feel like you don't deserve it, I want to tell you what I needed to be told yesterday afternoon right around 4:00 pm.
First, when you feel like you don't have anything left to give, give a little more. Seriously, do it. When I stopped dwelling in the disappointment that the enemy wanted me to live in, I had a renewed sense of joy. In fact, I wanted to serve…I wanted to give my husband a simple and sweet Valentine's Day surprise. I wanted to step outside of myself and I felt like a giddy little school girl as I prepared everything to surprise him with. The world we live in tells us that serving ourselves and our own comforts is a sure way to happiness but it's truly a set up for disappointment and misery. I mean, Jesus was really onto something when he commanded us to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). It's not always easy to move from selfish to selfless — but it's always worth it.
Secondly, we don't need social media or Hallmark to tell us when or how to celebrate love. If you're in a relationship, remember the very thing I forgot: every day is a celebration of your love — treat it as such. You don't need a special holiday to love, serve, or give to the other and to God. Even if you're not in a relationship, remember that every day is a celebration of love. The enemy will use anything and everything to fix our eyes on disaster and disappointment. But God asks us to fix our eyes on His greatest demonstration of love: Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). You don't need a special reason to celebrate that. It's simple. It's every day. Live in that love — even when your expectations are unmet.Every day is a celebration of your love -- treat it as such. Click To Tweet
Lastly, don't write off your situation as a disaster. Don't settle for that lie. Trust that God can demonstrate His power, love, and victory over any and every disaster. You just have to keep your eyes open, your head up high, and run the race with endurance (Hebrews 12:1,3).
Friends, I was a Valentine's Day Diva in the morning but by the evening, I realized that God made me a Daughter of Victory. Yeah, our Valentine's Day wasn't perfect and most of the day wasn't all that cute… but God still made a way to make it a win. Just like He brought victory to Daniel in the lions den when all odds were stacked against him (Daniel 6:19-24), He brought victory to our Valentine's day when it looked like all odds were stacked against us. And isn't that what we're really celebrating on Valentine's Day anyway? Victory?
Perhaps we should call it Victory Day, then. Because that's what His love does. It wins. Every stinking time.
You can view the video of our little victory on Valentine's Day (one that I will treasure forever) here: