To All the Single Ladies,
Whether or not this title evokes a feeling of freedom and hopeful expectation, a twinge of sadness, or has you humming the tune to Beyoncé’s hit song, if you fall into the “single ladies” category, Valentine’s Day is the one time a year when you are forced to consider your relationship status.
I remember when Valentine’s Day was as simple as taping some candy and signing my name on the back of a picture of Snoopy holding a bouquet of flowers, and giving one to every kid in my class. Today we expect a little more effort. The scale ranges from a low-key night at home with that special someone to flowers, exquisite chocolates, fine jewelry, or a gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant.
The truth is that it has been many years since I’ve had a date on Valentine’s Day, much less had a guy offer any of those romantic gestures. There were years when that was hard… really hard. Especially the years when I was married but separated. The years when I assumed I had someone to share that day with, and instead I was alone and devastated. When I stared at my gorgeous diamond wedding ring and realized that I’d trade that and every gift I ever had or would receive to simply have a husband who was faithful and loved me.
I don’t own the corner on heartbreak, and I know I’m not the only one who has experienced that oh-so-tender pain that throbs deep within. Perhaps, like me, you are divorced, or you’re currently separated, just out of a relationship, or widowed. If you are, I just want to say, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” And also, “You will get through this.” Valentine’s Day is not always an easy holiday, but when I look back over the years, I realize that despite my singleness and some less-than-ideal circumstances, some years were actually really good.
There was the one six years ago when my friend, Courtney, flew all the way to Virginia from Kansas City to visit. At that point my marriage was in shambles, and she left her husband and young daughter so that I wouldn’t be alone that weekend. We went to a fun tapas restaurant for dinner, shopped, ate ice cream, laughed until tears streamed down our faces, and danced like fools around my house to our favorite songs. She even bought me a lovely bouquet of flowers that I proudly displayed in a vase on my dining room table. It wasn’t until I had dropped Courtney off at the airport and returned to my house that I stared at those flowers and wept. But for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t out of sorrow. It was out of gratitude. Gratitude for the blessing of an amazing friendship with an incredible woman who is the epitome of beautiful – inside and out.
Then there was Valentine’s Day two years ago when my friend Katie and I made plans to get pedicures and Chipotle together. I thought some pampering and Mexican food would be the highlight of the day, but Katie surprised me with a small gift bag. Inside were about 30 heart-shaped pieces of paper on which she had written something encouraging about me. “Rachel, you crack me up!” “I love that you love God and share your faith with other so naturally.” “You have a smile that lights up the room.”
That was another time I found myself drying my eyes on Valentine’s Day and feeling supremely thankful and loved.
Then there was the Valentine’s Day I spent with Natalie, the one with Brittany, and another with Frances. Turns out I’ve had a lot of dates in the last several years… they just all happened to be with women!
I’ve learned Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be linked to being in a relationship or romantic gestures. While I do hope that one day I have an amazing man with which to share this day, I trust with all of my heart that if that is God’s plan, He will bring him into my life at just the right time.
Until then, I’m going to celebrate the real meaning of Valentine’s Day – LOVE. And I have love. Love from my family, my friends, and most importantly, from God.
You may not have flowers, chocolate, jewelry, or a date, but through 4word, you have a community of real, passionate, faithful women who believe in you and are cheering you on. And you also have access to the one, true romance – a God who offers a love that is unfailing, unfathomable and eternal.
I’m pretty sure Beyoncé wasn’t talking about Jesus when she wrote these lyrics, but with Him in mind, her words summarize my sentiments exactly.
Don’t treat me to these things of the world
I’m not that kind of girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve
Here’s a man that makes me then takes me
And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
Let me just say AMEN to that. And to all the ladies out there…single or otherwise, Happy Valentine’s Day!