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I spent ten years of my life as a widow and single parent to two young boys.  During those years I didn’t particularly look forward to Valentine’s Day.  None of my friends were widowed and I knew that on that particular day their loving spouses would do something special to show them they were loved.  Some would get flowers, others cards with well thought out sentiments scrawled inside.  A few would get breakfast in bed or dinner at a restaurant without the kids. Then there were those who would get a spa treatment or a weekend away.  I knew that I wouldn’t get anything unless I bought it for myself and I could never quite bring myself to do that.  Valentine’s Day for me was a day to have a pity party on the inside and a brave face on the outside that said, “I’m rejoicing that God loves me.”

I spent many a gloomy February the 14th crying out to Jesus to help me see things differently than I was.  The answer that I wanted was a knight in shining armor to come and rescue me from my romanticless life.  Someone who would love me passionately.  Someone who would want to be a father to my children.  Someone who could rescue me from counting pennies and worrying about finances.  I wanted someone or at least something that I didn’t have to plan, orchestrate and pay for myself.

For many years I didn’t seem to get an answer to my pitiful pleas.  Then one year I heard God speak to me.  He used another widow and single parent to show me the way out of my pity party rut.  I met her in the pages of Scripture.  I don’t know her name, just that she was from Zarapheth and that she was approaching her own February 14th with the meagerest of provisions.  Actually, the Bible tells us that she was gathering firewood so that she could cook up the last of her food for her and her son and then die.  Do you think that she was praying that God would somehow come through for her?  I do.  Like me, she probably had ideas for God of how that rescuing should look and like me it hadn’t happened.  When she was at her lowest point and hoping for Prince Charming to come galloping over the horizon, he didn’t come.  Instead the prophet Elijah showed up thirsty and hungry and asking HER to provide for HIM!  The little she had God wanted her to give away and THEN He would provide for her.

The day God spoke this to me, I didn’t feel like I had much to give.  I was tired and depleted myself but I knew that He wanted me to do to others what I WANTED others to do to me.  I longed to receive some token of love on Valentine’s Day and so I decided to give the little I felt I had away.  I became the hands and feet of Jesus and prepared gifts and cards and devotionals for other single women that I knew.  Some were abandoned by husbands and had sampled the bitter taste of divorce.  Others were in there 30′, 40’s and 50’s and were still waiting on the Lord to bring Mr. Right to them.  One was filing for divorce after years of emotional abuse that finally turned to physical abuse.  No.  These women weren’t widows like me but we were all on the outside looking in and thinking the same thing.  If only…  I could relate to that.  So off I went to scour stores for deals and to prepare cards and heart shaped boxes of chocolates and flowers and jewelery and all sorts of things for these dear women who maybe wouldn’t get anything otherwise.  It was fun to think of each one, what they liked, what their favourite colour was, a verse that would have particular meaning for them, a devotional that might speak to them.  It was an adventure to sneak things into their mailboxes under the cover of darkness or during the day when I knew they would be at work.  I showed up at church early to leave my treasures at the welcome desk with their names boldly written in big font so they couldn’t miss that there was something waiting there for them.  Everything was signed, “Love Jesus” because I knew that this was His idea and not mine.  It’s when I gave the little I had that the miraculous happened for me just like it did for the widow of Zarapheth.   Somehow I was filled with joy.  Somehow I was given what I needed for that day.  Somehow I was laughing instead of crying.  Somehow God miraculously was coming through for me.

I’m now married and maybe I will get some token for Valentine’s Day.  If I do, I will treasure it because it’s been a long time coming.  If I don’t, I know it won’t be the end of the world.  I pray that either way, God will show me someone here who really needs a token of His love and that He will again give me the privilege of being His hands and feet.

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