The Love That Must Be Celebrated

I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day.  When I was single, it seemed like a criticism of my single-ness and decision not to casually date.  After I got married, it felt like a cheap parody of trying to mend broken relationships, but without any actual work.  This holiday has always felt empty to me.  I never look forward to it.

Until this one.  Valentine's Day 2012.  Oh, how I looked forward to it.  The first Valentine's Day that I would be holding my daughter in my arms.

I thought.

Today it is that Valentine's Day at last, but instead it is the first Valentine's Day on the other side of stillbirth.  On the other side of  horrific, unexplained, heartbreaking loss.

But I am okay.  That is to say, I am alive.  I am standing.  God has not left me, and His love is all around.

This Love -- how can it possibly be expressed?  It is wider, deeper, higher, greater, stronger, more faithful, more grace-giving, more alive than I will ever be able to fathom in this life.

But since my precious Eve's death, I have been able to fathom it a little more.  Understand it a little better.  Find deeper intimacy with the Great Lover of my soul than I ever have before.

This Love, it is worth every bit of pain, every knife of grief.

He has made me better because of the child I love, because the child I love is dead.

I must celebrate today, on this Valentine's Day that is nothing like what I dreamed, what I wanted wanted.  I celebrate the Greatest Love that ever was, that turns the ash and stink of my life into unimaginable beauty.  And I celebrate the deepest, most painful, most exquisite love I have ever felt -- for the God who does not leave, and for the child I will never see grow.

Today is a day of Love, as all days are, in spite of her absence -- or perhaps, because of of her absence.

That doesn't make the pain any less painful.  But it makes it worthwhile.  This Love redeems.

My heart is mangled, but I am grateful.

"Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner."

~ 1 Peter 4:12-13

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