Letter to My Daughters on Valentine’s Day

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First of all, I know that this day has taken on new meaning in our culture mostly because of business and marketing.  How completely wrong that there are people who will feel sad and less valued because they didn’t get a bouquet of roses or some candy or a card (from someone who felt obligated to do it whether they wanted to or not…).

Although both of you lovely women might get a gift or two, you both also feel a lack in your life when it comes to the relationships our society idolizes.  I want you to be able to see through the hype thrown at you, that sneaks in and lingers in the shadows in your mind – that voice that says…

you are less,

you are flawed,

you are boring,

you are not ready,

you are never,

you are not…

In reality you are beautiful young women who are brave enough to be alone if need be.  You are proving it by being alone now.  If you were less strong, less committed to your ideals, less in tune with who God made you to be, you could be in a so called “relationship” even now.  But getting a gift on February 14th doesn’t necessarily mean you are truly loved with constancy, faithfulness, sacrifice, and without conditions.  No love on earth gives you that line up.

Meanwhile you have a treasure trove of people who love and value you for who you have been, who you are now and who you will be.  Even more important you have a Creator who knows you better than all these others and who knows the shortest route to your ultimate happiness.  Hard to believe at times? Yes.  But you are on that route – it’s called life in Christ. It’s marked by lessons in trust that are often hard and seem never to have an end.  But you will be taken care of in difficulty and you will benefit from each and every hard thing and they will create an even more beautiful you.  It happens faster when you realize that’s the purpose and get to that place of gratitude.

Happy Valentine’s Day daughters, and remember…

You are more than you sometimes feel you are.

You are on your way to perfection.

You are fascinating.

You are ready for whatever is next, with God’s help.

You are always in His view and his planning.

You are a daughter of someone called The Eternal “I Am”.

 

Christmas Shopping

wpid-20141216_212222.jpgOf all the possible shopping days before Christmas, I’m hoping this was the worst one, because at least it is over now. I have such a conflicting bunch of feelings about the whole subject that I almost feel ill with confusion. I’m not a big shopper at any time of the year so I guess it’s no surprise that I hate it now. In no particular order, my twelve thoughts on Christmas shopping.

1. It makes no sense to me that what was supposedly the birthday of Christ is now an occasion to shower ourselves with presents to the point that most people don’t even care whose birthday it was. When it’s your birthday who do you think should get the presents?

2. It makes no sense to me that I should buy something, anything, whether or not it’s wanted or needed, just to meet the unrealistic expectation of a present for everyone.

3. It makes no sense to me to try to gift everyone I care about all on the same day (or even in the same month), not timewise, not financially.

4. It makes no sense to me that I should shop for everyone on the same day or week that nearly everyone is shopping for everyone. Living for hours in a checkout line is not good for my health/sanity.

5. It makes no sense to me to buy gifts in July so that I can give them in December either. Why wait?

6. I remember childhood Christmases. There were many good things about them but right in the middle was the MAJOR thing – what’s in those packages and what am I gonna get? Not proud of that but, hey, I was a kid.

So about this time I’m deciding that there will be no Christmas shopping for me. I will not let marketers lure me into this insanity. And then I get these thoughts…

7. Someone gives me a gift and pretty much blows me away with their generosity. I have to thank them. I want to reciprocate in appreciation. I have no idea what to get them.

8. No matter how much someone tries not to care about presents, when everyone else is getting them, those who aren’t wonder if anyone cares about them. I want them to know I care. I have no idea what to get them.

9. Time is a worthwhile present and I want to give it to the people closest to me – but all in the same week? Across five different states? How am I going to get any shopping done? What else can I get them? I have no idea.

10. I have to get them something useful, something they will love, something that says I know them and care about them, something that doesn’t make them feel obligated to buy a gift for me, something not from the dollar store, SOMETHING THAT I DIDN’T GET THEM LAST YEAR. I have no idea what that is.

11. There is a beauty in glittering, wrapped packages with ribbon all over them. People need to have pretty stuff like that to look at. They are like flowers – here today and gone tomorrow with the after Christmas trash pick up. But they have their moment.

12. If I could find that perfect gift, it would actually be following the example of what God did when he gave us part of himself, his son. If I could give it in love it wouldn’t matter whether it was on the same day as Jesus’s real birthday. If I could give it sacrificially it would be meaningful and cherished by the recipient. But honestly, I have no idea what that perfect gift would be.

I’m not going to tell you how I handle this dilemma, but I do manage to get through the season. What are your thoughts and feelings about shopping and gifts for Christmas?