- Monday, February 5, 2024

Are you struggling with grief as Valentine’s Day approaches? You aren’t alone. My precious Valentine, the man I used to refer to as “my reason for living,” was called home this past September to enjoy heaven with Jesus. After a seven-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, I can only offer my Prince Charming a “Happy Valentine’s Day” on this side of forever.

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This year there won’t be a beautiful card that tells me, “You’re my forever love.”  No kiss just before opening cards or happy tears that come after we’ve read the words of undying affection to each other. To add further insult to my injury there will be no special dessert to share while reminiscing about the Valentine’s Days we shared in the past. No, not this year.

Despite the pain, God has allowed me to survive the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Bob’s birthday without his physical presence here. I trust on Valentine’s Day morning I will raise my hands to the Savior as I do every morning before I rise and thank the Lord for how He sent me the most remarkable representation of His Love!

Since Bob passed, I’ve been invited to countless grief share groups, though my heart just isn’t in a place to share my deep grief with those who don’t know our story.  If you can relate to my reluctance then I’m so happy I’m not alone. For those of you who do reach out to a support group, know that God will bless that time since we were created for fellowship. For me, writing and carrying on daily diatribes with God is the best way I express and manage my true feelings of grief.

On this Valentine’s Day, I will sincerely pray for all of you who are grieving. Why?

As you painstakingly learn of roses being delivered to friends or relatives from their spouses, or witness couples walking hand-in-hand in department stores and you long for that confident and loving grasp only your loved one provided, there will be pain. I am praying that in your grief you still see the peace offered by God. Believe with me that God has a new plan for our precious Valentine’s and a word for those of us who grieve, that word is ‘Hope.” Honestly it is all I have. That hope is attached to our most precious Valentine of all, Jesus Christ. I realize that He has now become my best “reason for living.”

“Those who stand firm during testing are blessed.  They are tried and true. They will receive the life God has promised to those who love him as their reward.”  – James 1:12 CEB

Christ died so you and I could have the hope of being with our treasured spouses again. Jesus knew you and I would have to endure these holidays and other occasions without our earthly loves. Jesus, who taught us how to love, gave each of us a Valentine’s gift to show us His undying love every day of our lives … our salvation. Without this confidence, this hope I have in Jesus, I would not be able to live each day in anticipation of being with Bob again.

Even in His hope, every night I cry myself to sleep. I want you to see that God’s hope doesn’t mean an absence of pain. Yet even in that deep sorrow, I wake every morning to praise Him. Joy can be had in our mourning … if we look for it … if we choose hope … if we choose Jesus.

One of the most precious gifts Bob left for me were these parting words, written down years ago and put away for such a time as this”

“…know how much I love you and how much I will guide you along the way. Regardless of the outcome remember God is good. When you say your prayers at night know that I am there wishing you all my love every night and all day long. I will be waiting at the gate for you every day until we are side-by-side in heaven forever together…”

Recently, my co-author Tiarra and I published a book, I want to share something with you from it, because grief looks different for each of us.

“I can’t say that your response to tragedy will look anything like mine. I don’t know your story. I do know, however, the power of prayer and how it got us through. People all over the world were praying for us. The strength of those prayers was what kept me going. The strength of our Savior is what allows me to take baby steps each day. I cannot survive this life without Him.” (Excerpt from “God’s Grace & Grit: Surviving Your Fairytale”).

This Valentine’s Day, if you are grieving, join me in focusing on His Glory for our good. Your pain of loss does not go away but the hope in Him can create an understanding of our true “reason for living.”

Carolyn Snelling is an author, writer, and graduate of Colorado Theological Seminary with a Doctorate in Biblical Studies. Carolyn has written many books, including, her most recent, “God’s Grace & Grit: Surviving Your Fairytale.” Inspired by her journey as a wife to a husband needing support and care through his journey with Parkinson’s. www.Godsgraceandgrit.com

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