Fourteen Days of Love
Every time I walk into my local mid-west Walmart, I am immediately reminded that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Big stuffed animals, sweets and chocolate, and cards declaring forever love. My mind goes to thinking of you.
I wonder what led up to your current chapter in your story. Did you discover your husband was addicted to porn, or find out after he was in court that he was lying to you and he actually molested that child? Was it a slow path of being beat down verbally and emotionally and you felt worthless and totally alone? Whether you were betrayed or abused, your dreams of forever love were shattered.
You don’t have to hid under the covers with a tissue box until Valentines Day is past, or jump into the arms of a stranger who isn’t committed to you in order to have a moment of romance and pleasure. You can create your own way of celebrating love. I have been married for 22 years, and there’s been some really special Valentine’s Days with my man, and there have been some tough ones with tears because of broken trust. There’s not often been a lot of money for going out to dinner and he doesn’t always get me roses, and sometimes I have taken his lack of planning something special as him not really caring. I have allowed my disappointments and my pain to put a shadow over this holiday. I know I am not alone because the many women I serve whose husbands or baby daddies are in prison, have expressed how this season sucks for them.
Friends, I challenge you today to take back your power. IT IS possible to experience love in the midst of this national celebration of love, because love is so much more than sex and boyfriends. I have written out an adventure that we can go on to first of all care for our hearts, and then to give love. Did you know that when we give to others there are parts of our brains that light up that are normally associated with pleasures like eating or sex (read this article in the New York Times)? In this adventure, there will be a suggested project for each day- some will take 5 minutes, some could take some time and a little planning ahead. You don’t have to do all of them, or do them on the day I post them. Do the ones that stand out to you- that challenge you, that you connect with. We all have different gifts- you may feel totally inadequate as a cook, but you are great at being a listening ear for others. Some of us are good at self-care, but struggle in motivating ourselves to go out of our way to give to others. Others of us are always helping others and never taking care of ourselves. Our love adventure will inspire us to live both.
Are you ready? Let’s do this friends. We can take back this holiday and make it something new. It’s time to rebuild, reinvent and reinvest after shattered dreams.
Day #1 Love Adventure
2/1/19 Our journey starts with valuing ourselves. During our women’s retreats for those who have a loved one incarcerated, we set the timer for 3 minutes and try to write down 25 positive things about ourselves. A few women get 20 or more “I am awesome” things written, while others are still struggling after just three. We can often think of great qualities of our friends, but when we look into the mirror all we see is a failure. Is negative self-talk a daily part of your life? Are you always feeling like you aren’t enough? YOU have the power to change that.
Today, write yourself a post-it-note and stick it on your bathroom mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful. Or take your lipstick and write on the mirror, or write a big note and tape it to your wall right next to the TV so it’s right in front of your face. If valuing yourself is hard, take the challenge to write a note each day telling yourself what great qualities you have. Practice reversing negative self-talk for the next 14 days and write down “love notes” to you- reminding yourself how amazing you are. Example: “I am creative” “I am kind- I care about others”
I am a woman of faith, and I view the Bible as my guide for life. So when I challenge myself to think of my good qualities, I have had some questions about whether I’m just feeding my pride. I was in a counseling room one day when I was first challenged to love myself. The statement that stood out was, “God created you. HE loves you. He wants you to love what He created- He wants you to love all the uniqueness that He put together when He made you. He wants YOU to value what He divinely designed- yourself.” When I went to my guide, my Bible, I found words that supported this: “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!” Psalm 139: 13-14 Let’s get to writing down those amazing qualities we have and value what God created when He made US!