No Greater Love than the Father's Love
- Sharon Beth Brani Crosswalk.com Contributor
- 2009 11 Feb
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38 - 39
Years ago I wished that I could have ripped Valentines Day off the calendar. I was a single young woman and that was the one day that I felt unloved, lonely and forgotten.
But today its one of my favorite days to celebrate. God used the love of a little child to change it for me and teach me what love really is.
Yes, I remember well those Valentine's Days of years long past when I, an elementary teacher, would watch with pain as the florist delivered beautiful flower arrangements to women who taught at my school. Husbands and fiances surely knew how to communicate their love on that day. And although I was happy for all these women, I still responded with feeling left out, unclaimed and unwanted.
I also remember the year when I began to concentrate on others who needed a touch of God’s love on that day. Buying special cards to bless the lives of women whether widows or singles, became an annual tradition which brought so much joy. The more I looked around me and listened to His Heart of love for all, the more Valentine’s Day became transformed into a delightful day of praise. My hurting feelings no longer dominated my life or that day. I was beginning to understand His Song of Love.
But there was more for me to learn.
In 1993 on Christmas Eve, I adopted a precious little baby girl in Russia. It was a miracle moment which I will never forget. As I gazed into her little face with those big brown eyes I sensed in a powerful way God’s love for me. My heart responded with adoration and humility knowing that He knew my needs all the time and He had given me this special child to parent for Him.
Our Valentine's Day became an annual Jesus Loves Me party. Each year we hung pink and white streamers and had balloons. A luscious chocolate cake with the words “Jesus Loves Me” in white icing decorated the table. We played simple games and sang songs of Jesus’ love. Valentine's Day became a day we both anticipated each year with great excitement.
But there was even more.
In 2000 I stepped out again into the world of adoption. After a painful failed adoption, I finally brought my second little daughter home from Russia in 2003. Jenny was and is the sweetest child with a big heart of love for everyone. As I poured my life into raising her and her big sister, I realized again that holding them closely was God holding me. That welcoming them was welcoming God even more deeply into my own life. In truth, I began to see that each step of my life has been another one along the adventure of knowing the Heart of my loving Father. His love is so great it cannot be adequately described. His understanding so deep that we stumble to try to even explain it. But this one thing I am realizing the older I get. His Love is very personal for each one of us.
This Valentine's Day will be filled with joy and wonder again. Jenny’s birthday just happens to fall on February 14th. Could that just have been an accident? No, I know that God wanted me to know…He wants us all to know. Whether married, or single. Whether young or old. He loves you. He cares. He has not, nor ever will forget you.
If God were to paint His love, it would splash in vivid colors across the sky for all to see. Look for it. If He were to sing His song of love, it would be heard from sea to sea. Listen for it. Let His love lift you out of yourself and into His love more and more each day. And remember, there is always more.
Published February 11, 2009
Sharon Beth Brani lives in Culpeper, VA..Her greatest treasures are her Lord and her two adopted daughters. She is a licensed professional counselor and a specialized adoption coach working with adoptive families. She helps the adoptive parent and their children to maximize the adoption process and to enjoy a lifetime of committed love and growth in a healthful family situation. Her website is www.heartprintsadoption.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org