It has been said, "it is better to have loved and lost, than to never loved at all." with that being said, oh how Todd and I loved and my life is fuller for it! I think back to our 6 years of dating and 18 years of marriage and boy did we live life to the fullest and experienced such deep and great love! A love that often times happens only once in a lifetime and I certainly could have never imagined would end so abruptly. Someone recently said we showed people how to have a beautiful marriage. Considering where we came from and the broken marriages we saw on both sides of our families that was quite an awesome work of God! What a precious gift I was given with which I now only have found memories. I must also say that even though I was blessed with an amazing husband and Godly marriage it was not perfect, none are. We had our share of struggles and arguments and times where we did not agree. Although on the truly important things we were in agreement. I think back to just how different we were especially when we first started dating but as we grew up together we also grew closer to the Lord together and began to use our differences to help unite us as a strong team! What made our relationship so special and especially in a world where the divorce rates continue to climb, was our individual love relationships with Jesus. We kept Christ in the center of our relationship and we lived under the idea, if we love Jesus with all our hearts and live to please and serve Him first, we will never have to worry about loving one another enough. So as a result our hearts and lives were completely surrendered to Jesus and our focus was on Him not our own selfish desires, emotions, abilities etc...Not to say that came naturally but that was our focus and with that as our goal and God's help we had a great marriage!
Since my first Valentines Day without Todd has passed I thought it would be good to share exactly what I was thinking on this past day of love. First of all I had decided that instead of focusing on what I didn't have I would remember all that God allowed me to experience and remember the sweet Valentines days past. I understand that many of you may consider Valentines day a Hallmark holiday and yes I agree that Valentines should not be the only day one proclaims love. It should be done often by telling and showing the people in your life why you love them. My Todd did that very well daily but definitely wasn't going to let a Valentines Day pass without proclaiming his love in a BIG way! My most favorite Valentine memory although there are many, to be shared someday down the road for all you romantics out there! But my all time favorite Valentines day was in 1992. Todd and I had reconciled after a 4 month break up and had been back together for a few month and knew that our relationship would soon take us into marriage. Todd took me to the Denton Bible Church Sweetheart Banquet, so in front of 350 people celebrating love, Todd proposed to me! He had me stand on top of my chair while he stood at my feet and read the following:
Time stood still when to you I first glanced with you tender spirit my heart was lanced
Through youthful bliss we walked the mile, six years long with just your smile
Trails and tribulation came our way, with Christ in our hearts they could not stay
We blew with the wind and fell with the rain, but our love and devotion did not disdain
To cherish your love is now what I long, forever together my thoughts sing in a song
With continued guidance I wish to go further, like a young tree for us both I will nurture
The time has come to ask for your hand, on Jesus and marriage I pray to stand
With a "yes" from your voice it can be set, a wondrous dream and bond together will be met.
Up to that point any other Valentines paled in comparison to the beautiful proposal Todd wrote for me!! So as I reflect on my plan B without what I thought would be my "forever" Valentine. My heart is still broken and is under major repair but I am reminded over and over again of God's extravagant LOVE for me! I am reminded by the way he pursued me like a gentlemen in college when I was not walking with Him. He did not force His way into my life but brought people into my path who would point me gently and lovingly to Him. He allowed Todd to get his life together so he could be a better man for me and eventually my earthly spiritual leader. I am reminded as I am trying desperately to make sense of my adjusted life that God has always been here for me and that even through loss and heart ache HE DOES STILL LOVE ME and can use even this tragedy for good. God captured my heart many years ago but as so many do I allowed the love, devotion and commitment to my earthly love over shadow HIS GREAT LOVE. What I feel like God is trying to teach me during this deep valley is that He adores me and as I spend time in His word He gently reminds me just how much! Jeremiah 31:3... "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in with loving kindness" Isaiah 43:4b "Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you" 1 John 4:10 "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he LOVED us and sent his Son..."
So if you are single, married, have loved or never loved at all my hope is that you will know one thing for certain, GOD LOVES YOU!! My prayer is that you not only know but feel His love in a real way and by His grace He will capture you heart!!
Because of His great love, I can Live For More!!