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Another Valentine’s To Remember

I should have written this yesterday, but I simply didn’t have time. If you recap last year’s Valentines for my family (HERE and HERE), my husband and I were separated…but not apart. We were in the middle of a reconciliation.  We were in the throes of a dark night that had been pitch black for so very long, and we were just starting to see the light.

Well, this year we are together…happily. It’s been yet another rough year, but progressively better. Bloke and I are (I can’t believe I can say this) happily married! We see the steps God has taken to get us to where we are. We feel more bonded as a couple than I think we even did when we first got married. When I had lost just about every ounce of love I had for my husband, God took what was at the bottom of the barrel and turned it into full-fledged love. The slate actually does feel clean.

The pastor at the church we are visiting preached the Transfiguration sermon yesterday (see Luke 9:28-36).  It was such a touching sermon for Bloke and I because it not only talked about the transfiguration of Jesus but the hope the disciples had afterward.  There was something to cling to.  Hope has been a recurring theme in our lives as a couple and as a family.  The pastor said, “There is a dawn that follows every darkness.”  God made this true.  There is no day without night and vice versa.  Bloke and I (along with our extended family and even friends) have been through a long, long night, and we so hope that God does not want us to endure that particular one again.  I think I can say, however, that morning has broken – or is breaking – on a new dawn for us.  I really do feel like it is a new marriage, a complete family, and a new love.

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, God

I was blessed with the best Valentine’s Day I think in my entire life….yes, including those ever so sweet grade school ones where I received thoughtful cards with Jem, Gummie Bears, and Smurf characters that had been signed in some weird form of sanscript on the back (I can’t say anything really, my handwriting is pretty bad even now). I generally have a strong disdain of the commercialism of the holiday. You know, the cheesy stuffed animals and chocolates in shiny heart shaped boxes….extortionately overpriced cards and flowers. I don’t like that many times Valentine’s Day is the only day of the year couples do something special for each other.

This year, however, was different. My husband and I, in an effort to further the progress of reconnecting and learning how to communicate with one another in a way that glorifies God and that is loving, decided to go on a date.  Mind you we’ve been separated for about 4 months now. I prayed about it beforehand. I asked some of my friends to pray about it. I so didn’t want this to turn into a heavy laden discussion about our situation or to wind up in yet another conflict that needed to be sorted out through more heavy laden discussion (interspersed with apologies). I hoped for a light, sweet, fun night where we laughed and talked about funny things we used to talk about…when we were getting along. I really, quite honestly, wasn’t expecting a lot. But I prayed about it and hoped anyway.

I went to pick up Husband who was sharply dressed and looking quite cute if I did say so myself. And what did he have in his hands? The biggest, gawdiest, most adorable stuffed red dog, a tin of chocolates in a shiny heart shaped box, and an extortionately overpriced card! And I LOVED IT!! I realized that, while most have had some sort of typical Valentine’s Day, I have not…not ever. And I was excited. It was cheesy and cute and wonderful! Husband and I decided to detour the typical steakhouse restaurant meal and opted for the quieter more intimate setting of a fantastic Indian restaurant. And alas we talked….about normal things, sweet things, funny things, a few serious things (not in the category of heavy laden discussion though). We laughed…I mean really laughed. ‘This is different’ I thought. This is fun. Husband was a gentleman, kind hearted and affectionate. Husband paid for dinner and we went to a popular bookstore. I know, kind of odd that we’d want to spend time in a bookstore, but we have had lots of good memories in that bookstore. We hung out, talked some more. Actually we didn’t wind up buying any books…funny that.

And then we went shopping. Husband used to hate shopping. Very impatient. You know a go-in-get-what-you-need-get-out kind of man. When we entered the store, we shopped for him first. ‘He wants to buy new clothes? He cares about what he looks like? This is different’ I thought. He picked out some pretty swanky clothes that really do suit him. At this point I’m thinking, ‘You know, he really is quite handsome’. I don’t think I’ve looked at Husband in such a way in, oh, over four years or so. Alarmingly, he shopped with ME afterwards! He was patient and interested. He took notice of what I was buying. He didn’t rush. He didn’t get that “can we please leave now?” look on his face. He was having a good time. I was having a good time. This new normal is getting better and better! We checked out and it was time to take him home (not before he so sweetly filled up my gas tank because I freaked out about how much money I spent shopping. So he’d rather buy me some gas so I could have that much more in my pocket for whatever I need….so sweet). Here’s where I have to break for a moment.

Three year old baby girl often tells me that butterflies tickle her skin. She loves things that tickle her and she loves butterflies. She thinks they’re beautiful and soft and she loves the way their little legs tickle when they land on her. When it was time for me to leave Husband after a perfect sweet night, God made butterflies tickle my heart. How sweet it was to FEEL something for Husband. How I’ve longed to feel something…anything …for a very very long time…years even. I mean I don’t think I’ve gotten butterflies in over 5 years (and we’ve been married almost 8). I’d forgotten what it felt like. But this time was different than the very first time even that I felt something for him. This time Husband and I both are new creatures and constantly being transformed by the grace of Christ. This time we were blessed. I gave a little bit more of myself to Husband last night. Together, we took off a brick from the wall that surrounds me. But I realized on the way home, tearfully, that it wasn’t Husband and I that removed a piece of my wall of fear and mistrust. My God took off that brick. He just used us to do it….for His glory and for our marriage.

So my Valentine’s Day was perfect. It was filled with hand holding, laughter, corny stuffed animals, curry, quiet moments, and, most importantly, butterfly tickles. And amidst all of that I realized that the best Valentine’s card I got last night cost the most extortionate of prices, the loss of the One and Only Son of God.  God reached out His loving arms and enveloped us.  He made our time sweet.  Our prayers were answered!  Not just a little answer, but a HUGE one as our night wasn’t average, but awesome!  Husband and I are still a long way off from being a true family again, but at least my wall is one brick less than it was and I think it was another big one.  Who knows?  If I tippy toe, I might just be able to peek over.