Four months ago I was swearing off love forever.
I was self-medicating with copious amounts of coffee and depressing poetry, repeating the mantra “I am enough” in an attempt to convince myself that I am more. It was a frustrating period of life, one that swallowed me up like Jonah, my confidence lost somewhere in the belly of an enormous emotional whale.
Months of wrestling with the monster of self-worth (who, strangely, I thought I’d conquered years ago…) led into days of quiet meditation.
It’s true, what they tell you. God whispers.
He doesn’t yell. He waits quietly for you to tune out the lies and tune into his quiet strains.
It’s magic, what happens when you do. The bitterness you felt towards the guy who hurt you evaporates. God whispers, “He’s hurt, you’re hurt, and isn’t it a fundamental truth of life that hurt people hurt people? Forgive him.”
And, suddenly, you let go. You’re not mad anymore.
You don’t feel worthless or insignificant, because the One whispering to You is millions of lightyears out of your league.
And he’s SCREAMING – I LOVE YOU.
Oh, and He wants to show you He loves you, too.
He wants to send you roses in the form of friends, love letters in the form of Psalms, and tender embraces in the rhythm of water lapping against a stream bed.
So what does that mean for us today, on this day of love and romance and mass-produced greeting cards?
I’ve never had anyone to shower with affection on Valentine’s Day. I’ve experienced every conceivable emotional mood on this day, historically. Bitterness. Frustration. A deep loneliness that pierces to the core. And, unbelievably, looking around at all the people being adorable and happy didn’t help ease the pain.
Questioning my desirability as a woman and contemplating desperate measures (i.e. some cliche online dating site…or even worse, Tinder), I spent a lot of time wondering what it was about me that made me so earnestly desire to love and be loved when a relationship was simply inconceivable.
As you may know, humble reader, I am in a relationship now. I want to tell you our story, explain to you how this happened. How in four months I went from an insecure woman, wallowing in sadness and self-pity, to a woman who can stand tall in confidence and fullness, able and excited about pouring life into a man rather than draining life from him.
This shift in perspective had everything to do with me refusing, in Jesus’ name, to stop insisting that I wasn’t worthy.
Of love. Of confidence. Of every “good and perfect gift”.
Allow me to start from the beginning.
It’s September. I’m crying on the phone to my mom, wondering why I feel so much and why nothing looks like I imagined it would. Dry my eyes, it’s time to DJ a party. It’s a collaboration with my radio station and HeartSong, our crazy talented touring worship ministry. At some point, I walk across the patio and introduce myself to the band. I meet a guy with a guitar, kind eyes, and a steady gaze. I feel the weight of what could be.
A week later, that same boy with the same guitar is sitting across from me in the studio, singing Phil Wickham into the mic. He’s a guest on my radio show. Then he leaves. I never see him again.
I get a Facebook friend request, and I realize the guy’s name is Chris. And he’s ridiculously attractive. I have this kind of gut reaction, something I couldn’t explain to you if I tried.
I need to get to know him. It’s intuitive and annoyingly burdensome. I survey my friends: “How do you feel about a girl asking a guy out?” Never in my life have I thought about asking a guy out. Suddenly I’m talking to his friends and trying to pass him on the way to class but he is a ghost and I am growing hopeless.
Eventually, I give up. It takes one of his friends telling me it’s a lost cause for me to abandon the idea entirely. And then I move on, like I have many times before.
Fast-forward. It’s November. I get a call, and I hear everything I want to believe but find impossible to accept. Then, like something ripped from the pages of my diary, a couple weeks later Chris walks up to the window of the station. I’m in the middle of my radio show, writing show topics on the glass with special markers. I meet his eyes and see what he’s holding. It’s a poster board, a handwritten sign that says: “Angela – coffee?”
That’s when everything changed.
Now that poster board is in my room, a part of his Valentine’s Day present to me. His handwritten note sits a couple inches away, never far out of sight. He’s miles and miles away, but he’s close. I think you understand what I mean.
I’m not saying your story will look anything like mine. It’s not guaranteed that the handsome bearded stranger you’ve had your eye on, the one that looks and feels like Prince Charming, will waltz into your life and make everything feel magical.
However. I want with everything in me for you to feel like I do. To have the opportunity to give grace the way Jesus did, with no reservations and questions. I want you to know joy like this, like you’re a kid spinning around the playground with your head thrown back, laughing deep and hard about something ridiculous.
Chris is my inspiration. He is a man of integrity, faithfulness, and abounding kindness. He is utterly wonderful. One day this veneer of perfection we both wear, these masks of so-called authenticity, will be completely peeled back. Right now we’re chipping away at them, a day at a time. Just wait until he sees how imperfect I am.
But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?
To love fully is to know fully. He’s got to see everything, all the things I so perfectly hide from anyone’s eyes, to ever understand.
That’s something I didn’t need a relationship, even a godly one like this, to figure out.
I have been showered with grace from a loving Savior who chose to accept me.
This Valentine’s Day, if you’re in a relationship or you’re single, married or spending the day cuddling with your cats…you’ll find love where you left it.
He’s the one waiting on you. He has a voice that whispers and sings:
I. LOVE. YOU.
“The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
– Zephaniah 3:17