My first Valentine’s Day with a sweetheart looked like it was going to be a lonely one. I was 18 and living in a dorm at a Rhode Island Bible school. Over the course of the day, girls walked down the hall, giggling as they clutched a card or flowers or box of chocolates. But I had nothing.
My boyfriend, Dana, and I had been dating for a year, but he was going to school in New York. It seemed he’d forgotten all about me. Later that long afternoon, someone knocked on my door. A delivery person was waiting outside. And there was a lovely bouquet of roses from Dana!
Never was a girl happier than me—so happy, that three years later, I married him. But for many, Valentine’s Day — and the dark, isolating days of winter that follow — is a lonely time. Valentine’s Day only lasts for 24 hours, but Scripture is full of verses about God’s love for us. In fact, it is one of the teachings that sets Christianity apart from other faiths: the belief in a personal, loving creator who cares deeply about his creation.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV).
But when we are lonely, feeling overlooked, or grieving the loss of a loved one, it can be hard to feel God’s love—the way it is hard to feel the sun’s warmth in winter, even though the sun is still there. Here are three key steps to connecting with the source of all love and sharing it with others, all year long.
- Reach out. Spend time with others who are vessels of God’s love. Church is a great place to connect with people who are on the same journey, ideally bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together.
- Block out. Make a special time for yourself. If you enjoy a warm blanket and tea by the fire, or a solitary walk in the sunlit woods, schedule a time to get to know God. Try reading a few chapters from the Bible. Romans is a great place to start. And ask God to show you his love.
- Stretch out. Think of a neighbor or someone at work who might also be feeling lonely, and surprise them with a note, home-baked cookies, or flowers this Valentine’s Day, letting them know you are thinking of them. How far can your love stretch?
Even if you are alone, the origin of all love is closer than you may imagine. Like my first Valentine’s Day flowers from Dana, to receive it, simply answer the knock on the door of your heart. Then take a step to connect.