To Those for Whom V-Day Stinks
by Jen Hatmaker on February 13th, 2014

I’m probably not supposed to reveal this because of the manliness and machismo and tattoos and Harley and whatnot, but I married a gigantic romantic. He is mushy and cry-ish and I love it. He thinks up ways to surprise or thrill me. I mean, he threw me a surprise party for my 27th birthday, a year with absolutely no significance whatsoever. It took me five minutes to stop being confused why all my friends were there.
 
We'd been dating six weeks. Please note: No one had taught me about eyebrows yet.
And also? I would kill for those earrings right now.

Sidebar: I am a notoriously horrid gift giver. I call as my witness the front-row tickets I bought for Jamie Foxx’s “stand up comedy show” which turned out to be his “concert” (I am also lazy with details) in which we were the only white people in attendance and couldn’t hear for three days. (On the final song at a billion decibels and 36 inches from the speakers, I finally surrendered to White Girl Lameness and plugged my ears with my fingers only to tentatively glance behind me and find every single sister behind me doing the same. SOLIDARITY.) If ever I attempt to defend my side of the marriage equation, Brandon just says “Jamie Foxx” and the argument is dead in the water.
 
So I am going to be loved on V-Day, and in keeping with our marital rhythm, Brandon will receive such affectionate tokens like my delightful presence and shaved legs.
 
But I’m thinking through this weird holiday in which love is forced upon us all, and it occurs to me that it is a sorrow to so many. Even though we all know it is cheesy and commercialized and INVENTED, there is a part of every one of us that just wants to be loved on Love Day.
 
So for those of you planning to avoid V-Day and its declarations and precious pictures and Public Love Fest because you are certain none of it is aimed at you, here goes:
 
To all the single parents:
 
No spouse is going to force help your kids make you lovely Valentines, and as for love of the romantic variety? You’ve turned back into a virgin at this point. Well guess what? I see you and the incredible work you do and I honor you. Brandon has been out of town for four days and I’ve considered ending my life. You are a marvel. You are both mom and dad and there is never any relief, and yet here you are: raising beautiful, amazing children. You are doing it. You are a hero.
 
I give you a Valentine for being brave and strong and faithful to your little family. Don’t imagine that your children will not rise up and called you blessed. You are writing commitment into their stories, and they will never forget it. You are doing the grueling, faithful work of parenting alone, and we applaud you. Standing ovation. I am so proud of you. May the rest of us love you well and be your village and tuck you and your people into our homes and hearts.
 
To the discouraged single guy and gal:
 
What narcissist invented this holiday, right? Now, I do not assume every single person wishes they were part of a set. Of course not. Some of the happiest, most satisfied folks I know are single, and I often look at them with their free lives and think: TAKE ME WITH YOU.
 
But for those of you who are lonely and this day sucks, I see you too. You are amazing. You are independent and brave, and I marvel at the dreams you are chasing, the gifts you are using, the life you are building. I do not know how to turn on our grill, I couldn’t guess our average electric bill within $250, and I have never mowed a yard. Do you understand what a dimwit I am? Because I got married at NINETEEN (you read that right, gentle reader), I failed to develop adult skills that you are stunning at.
 
I give you a Valentine for being courageous and smart and resourceful. Look at what an amazing human you are! When forever love finds you, and the stats say it will, you will be an exquisite, capable partner who brings so much to the table and enriches your marriage beyond belief. I am proud of you. Your life is already beautiful and doesn’t need a Hallmark card or reservation at PF Chang’s to validate its worth. (And hey, if you decide to go to a movie that starts in 17 minutes on a random Tuesday, YOU JUST CAN. Revel in that please. It takes an act of God to get out of my front door.)
 
To those who lost their Valentine:
 
This used to be a happy day for you and now it is a reminder of what you’ve lost. Everyone else’s happiness is a dagger and it seems the world is out to further ruin your shattered heart. Well, I see you, friend. Imagine me sidling up next to you, slipping an arm around your shoulders, acknowledging what was and mourning with you.
 
For those of you who lost a Valentine because you parted ways, I honor your loss. My gosh, love is so hard and confusing. All the books and systems are crap. More often than not, lasting love is a mystery we stumble into. If your love didn’t last and you are heartbroken, just come here to me. *we are hugging and I am petting your hair* You have full permission to feel how you want on V-Day. If you want wine and Casablanca and an unbridled ugly cry at home alone, have it. If you want your best friends and high heels and an expensive dinner and laughter, do it. If you want to write a dramatic, angry, emotional email to your lost other, do it then delete it in the morning (trust me on this one, Pet). I give you a Valentine. You are going to make it. You are precious and your story is not over.
 
For those of you who lost a Valentine to death, I celebrate your life of loving well and being loved well. I embrace your priceless memories and honor your story. I won’t dare attempt to minimize your grief. I only sit by you as a sister and agree that a Scheduled Day for Love is so hard when you miss your person. Whatever you loved most about your Valentine, I receive it here with grateful hands. If you want to remember them well in the comment section, we will hold your memories with reverence and thanksgiving here. You were loved and you still are. I give you a Valentine, dear one.
 
To those struggling with their Valentine:

 
You are fighting for your marriage or devotion or commitment, and along comes V-Day with its artificial affection and you want to burn it all to the ground. When you’re struggling to stay in the same room as your Valentine, a day of cards and flowers and affinity can tempt you toward despair. You hate everyone. You hate yourself. You hate your partner. You hate love. You hate Cupid, that snot-eyed flying baby.
 
I’ve been married twenty years. I know it, friend: marriage is hard. Ohmystars. Fighting for commitment is no joke. It is the grittiest work imaginable. Don’t believe the love hype you see on V-Day for a second. We’re all posting our best material. You are not the only couple struggling to see another day, I swear. You are not alone. I see you and honor your fight for love. Mercy, you are so brave.
 
I give you a Valentine for working hard. Us marrieds sit in solidarity with you. Getting together is easy; staying together is the work of a lifetime and sometimes it blows. Every hard conversation, every humble apology, every effort to listen, understand, compromise – standing ovation. You may not have the feelings but you are doing the work, and that deserves honor. Please reach out to us. May we come alongside each other’s marriages in support, counsel, wisdom, and backing.

..........................

With something as complicated as love, none of us should believe its mass commercialization. Don’t despair, friends, if it feels like salt in a wound. It’s just a fake day, but you are still loved, precious, valued with or without a $2.99 card.
 
Speaking of $2.99 card…Dear Brandon, V-Day is upon us and I am sorry to tell you that I suck again. Please reference the above-mentioned shaved legs and try to make your peace.
 
 
Your stories and memories and feelings are safe here. I love you and your people love you and God loves you. That’s enough love for one day. Happy Valentine’s Day, dear one.



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282 Comments

amy volk - February 13th, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Just love this. I have been married 21 years and I don't understand why V-day exists. I get to celebrate with my man but for so many, it sucks. Thanks for such a beautiful piece.
Loralee Ashley - February 13th, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Thank you sweet Jen...My "Valentine" went home to Jesus almost 9 years ago. He loved Valentine's Day...as all holidays. He loved me with passion, with joy, and with Jesus. (It was his birthday when he suddenly left me. Wow, what a birthday gift for him that was!!! ) I still miss him so, and I do get terribly lonely on these "special" days. But having friends as yourself, (either in person or via the internet...) remind me who my REAL Valentine is. His heart gave me the ultimate gift...His blood.
Rachael - February 13th, 2014 at 2:21 PM
Loralee, your comments touched me. Tears streaming. God bless you!
Christa - February 13th, 2014 at 3:50 PM
Loralee, may great memories flood your heart and mind as you remember your Valentine. May God's love surround you until you meet again. God bless.

Mandi - February 13th, 2014 at 2:02 PM
Jen,
Thanks so much for this...I don't know you and we'll probably never meet but it means the world that you have the sensitivity to see life and days like tomorrow from perspectives other than your own!! I'm single and while tomorrow will not plunge me into the depth of despair, there's always a tiny twinge...but your words made me a little teary (in a great way). Thanks and Happy Vday to you - from a girl who is SUPER thankful she won't need to shave her legs tomorrow! LOL
Keely - February 13th, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Ditto to this! Also, cheers to not have to shave our legs tomorrow!
Michelle - February 13th, 2014 at 7:05 PM
I really appreciate your comment. I can say for the first time in my life that I am single and so HAPPY. I'm trying every day to hand over my worry and angst for my future husband to God.... and he is doing well carrying this burden.
Stacey - February 13th, 2014 at 2:02 PM
Thank you... Thank you for this... I am a single mother of one exquisite boy, single woman, jaded more than a time or two. Some days it doesn't bother me... but tomorrow is the one day of the year I feel it the most ... and it's hard. So thank you for being amazing.
Sandy - February 13th, 2014 at 8:32 PM
Thank you for standing firmly there, showing your boy what love looks like. May God bless you and send you a hug and pat on the back tomorrow. I love you sweet sister!
jenna - February 13th, 2014 at 2:03 PM
Thank you, Jen. More love in this post than in dozens of blogs on the interwebz this week about "why you're single" and "tips for snagging that special someone" and "what the Bible says about dating." BLEH. This one, though, this is just so full of compassion and understanding.
Katie Hampton - February 13th, 2014 at 2:17 PM
Amen, Jenna. Just what I was thinking.
Kirsten Oliphant - February 13th, 2014 at 2:03 PM
I loved this. I started a linky for bloggers who want to work on writing, and this week's prompt was all about out of the box (ie, non-saccharine-y) love stories. There were some real beauties! I love looking at this holiday outside the normal realms. OH, AND THE CANDY. http://kirstenoliphant.com/2014/02/10/small-stories-second-edition/
Grace Toninato - February 13th, 2014 at 2:04 PM
I cannot tell you how much I love that I found you here on this over-crowded abyss called social media. You are my long lost, kindred spirit and friend. Thanks for using your gifts, your talents, your eloquence and heart to speak life and comfort at all times. I LOVE sharing your posts. Keep them coming for all eternity please.
Kathi - February 13th, 2014 at 2:04 PM
You have a beautiful soul.
Shannon - February 13th, 2014 at 2:05 PM
I would also add...to the pre-teen/teenager that feels awkward and weird around the opposite sex while all your peers (at least that's how it feels) are out buying gifts and singing valentines that the school sells for their "loves," you are not alone. These kids are just kids and you will never remember who got the most valentines and secret admirer love notes in middle school. The longer you wait to jump on this bandwagon, the longer you put off your first heartbreak because the person you think you love in middle school is not your forever love. It's ok for you to wait for all of that and you will be happier for it in the long run. Love, Mom
Amy - February 13th, 2014 at 2:27 PM
Thanks for this addition, Shannon. That was very much on my heart too. I don't have any pre-teens (yet), but I do have a precious 15-year-old niece. What a vulnerable stage she is at! And God has much better things to offer her than shallow relationships and emotional appeals she might gravitate toward now.
Allison O. - February 13th, 2014 at 2:05 PM
I'm laughing and crying all at the same time, and it is really just coming out in incredibly loud snorts! What I am writing on my hubby's v-day card, "Dear Reag, so sorry, my razor broke..." Bawhahaha! Keep it real Jen Hatmaker - love you!

Debra - February 13th, 2014 at 2:05 PM
I just love you!! Thank you for this :)
brett - February 13th, 2014 at 2:06 PM
nice one Hats, thankx for taking the time and putting the energy in to share with all those different groups of people - despite having been married for close to five years now, i got married fairly late [35] and so have a huge heart for my single friends [got to share this amazing story on my blog of a single friend of mine who is definitely not looking for Valentine guy tomorrow: http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/taboo-topics-singleness-meet-kate-sherry] and yeah just so much truth and love spoken here so thank you on behalf of all those needing to receive it...

keep on
love brett fish
Patty - February 13th, 2014 at 2:07 PM
As a single mom, thank you. My boys are now grown but I can testify to young single moms, one day your children will rise and call you blessed as Jen stated. Both of my sons love on me and care for me and thank me all the time for being their mom and they thank me for teaching them the most important thing in life is a relationship with Christ! I am humbled by that. Also, if you are single mom not dating anyone, make it a special day with you and your children. One memory my sons have is when I made them dinner and we ate by candlelight. I learned that idea years ago from a single mom and it was very special . Happy Valentines Day! Your greatest Love, Jesus, loves you more than anyone on this earth could ever love you. I honor and applaude all single parents !
anonymous - February 13th, 2014 at 2:07 PM
I have tears streaming down my face as I remember my first V-Day as a parent with my infant son. My husband died one month before our only child was born. I remember being so sad that day but I wasn't lonely because I had my newborn son in my arms. I even remember the clothing I had on that day. :*(


Jaimie - February 13th, 2014 at 2:07 PM
I love this post; I have so many friends in hurting marriages. I also published a post 2 days ago along these same lines called "When You're Married {but Lonely} on Valentine's Day." Loved your words. http://jaimiebowman.com/married-but-lonely/
Julia K - February 13th, 2014 at 2:08 PM
Jen,
Thank you. This was such an encouragement to me. I literally felt your hugs as I was reading. Yes, I'm one of those singles, I lost my husband to death 19 years ago, raised two boys on my own and am still here to tell about it LOL! Thank you for you words of encouragement.
Kelley Mathews - February 13th, 2014 at 2:08 PM
"You may not have the feelings but you are doing the work" - I think I heard a variation of that this weekend in Austin with you. Who isn't having some kind of struggle w/ a loved one (whether your Valentine or another)? Remembering the forgotten is grace, Jen! Thanks for this. Hope your sappy dude is home for V-Day, and may you not receive a new razor w/your roses ;)
Crissy - February 13th, 2014 at 2:09 PM
I hate this day, but with littles in school and preschool I have to play along. And so help me if that man of mine for 15 yrs of marriage comes home with something.... **secretly, something is seriously wrong with me because I hope that man of mine comes home with something. Damn you v-day!
audra blumn - February 13th, 2014 at 2:09 PM
Jen...I love you. And in the nicest, most un-stalker like way possible, I TOTALLY think we could be best friends! :) Thanks so much for being REAL and transparent to the rest of us women!
Beth Bates - February 13th, 2014 at 2:09 PM
"My delightful presence and shaved legs" DYING laughing. Sent it to my husband and told him he's not alone in this world. Just a short drive from us is another husband who suffers through a wife like me! You, my sister & kindred spirit, do great work for the Kingdom just being you.
Kristi - February 13th, 2014 at 2:10 PM
As a single woman, just let me say thank you for yet another reason to love you!
Lynne Dickey - February 13th, 2014 at 2:14 PM
Wow! I fit into 3 out of the 4 categories, single mom, single, lost my hubby to cancer. I just keep reminding myself how much I am loved by God. And it's winter so who needs to shave?
Sally - February 13th, 2014 at 3:19 PM
"And it's winter so who needs to shave?"

ROFL!!
Cassie - February 13th, 2014 at 9:14 PM
Hahaha! I second that. I was somewhat glad to hear that it's going to be warming up... then I realized that meant shaving time. hahaha!

Love this post! So simple but so deep with all the situations mentioned. Thank you!
Cindy - February 13th, 2014 at 2:14 PM
Jen you are AWESOME, but you made me ugly cry. I am happily married and HATE Valentines day. I hate it every year because I think you should tell the ones you love everyday not just because it's February 14. I dislike flowers that cost double what they will next week and because "just because" flowers are far more meaningful. Thank you for your love of all people and thanks for the reminder to shave. Gods love!!!
carolyn - February 13th, 2014 at 2:18 PM
Inspired me to send valentines to my single mom friends. I use to hate v day. Then I made it my wedding date. 26 yes tomorrow.
eryn - February 13th, 2014 at 6:49 PM
For your friends, thank you! As a single mom going on 3 years, I got my first bouquet of flowers delivered after my husband was out of the house, sent by a dear friend. I will never forget that act of kindness.
Carol - February 13th, 2014 at 9:38 PM
You go, Carolyn! My husband left almost 2 years ago and now I am a single mom and most of our friends just don't think of us and there is not a lot of empathy in the world. That is so wonderful that you took this step.
Jamie - February 13th, 2014 at 2:18 PM
Gurrrl. I'm calling party foul on this post.
I think you're the bees knees and gifted up one side and down the other, but any post regarding Valentines Day (especially one that you hammer the readers with your own relationship and flaunt your non-Ben & Jerry's plans) is going to be read as obnoxious, conceited and condescending. Since you don't know what it feels like to be an adult and painfully aware of being single, stick to what you know. Tell me about how much God's love motivates you to love others. Give me reasons to get off the couch tomorrow and out into the community to love as God loves. This post? Didn't feel like love.
Kim - February 13th, 2014 at 8:56 PM
It's always tricky to express empathy for situations that are so distinctly different from our own. But we all love Jen for having a heart that wants to - and from the comments, sounds like many readers felt that love. Points to you for saying what you felt with humor and grace. :)
Jennifer - February 13th, 2014 at 2:20 PM
I am the one who is 30 years old and has always been and believes she always will be single, so yes, Valentine's Day pretty much just sucks for me. I didn't even want to read this post, but I'm glad I did. Thank you for your encouragement to me.
Melissa - February 13th, 2014 at 2:22 PM
Jen, Thank you so much for this.... I had been boycotting Facebook for the month of February for this very reason.I don't want to see all the posts about love and everyones significant others. It does feel like having salt rubbed into a wound. After years of struggle in a 12 year marriage, I am now a single mom of three. I desire to have a husband who will love me and my children and take care of us. It seems like such an easy statement to make but so hard to find. I have pretty much put any hope of this on the shelf but still feel the salt in the wounds because the desire to have someone to love and to be loved is still there. Thank you so much for putting this into words for all of us that struggle.
Jennifer - January 6th, 2015 at 9:56 PM
I was in a 13 year abusive marriage, now a single mom of five. I also desire to have a man who loves me and my children, one who will encourage me and appreciate me. Hasn't happened yet and I do get kinda depressed around the holidays....thank you for this post...
Ruth - February 13th, 2014 at 2:22 PM
My husband died on Christmas Eve, and truly the whole Valentine's thing is just SO hard. Thank you for acknowledging the difficulty of it all and reaching out to us. My husband was so sweet and compassionate, and I am thankful for all the memories of the love we were able to share, but missing him right now is definitely intense.
Amy in Italy - February 13th, 2014 at 3:21 PM
Oh Ruth, I am so very sorry for your loss. I'm praying for you.
barbara - February 13th, 2014 at 3:46 PM
My love died on December 13th, two months ago today. He was the perfect romantic Valentine and I am so not looking forward to tomorrow. Ruth - my love and prayers to you. Jen - thank you for this post, and for recognizing the heartache that tomorrow brings for some of us.
Xanadu - February 14th, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Mine, on January 7, just five weeks ago. It is excruciating.
Sarah - February 13th, 2014 at 2:23 PM
Thank you so much, Jen. My husband and I have been separated for a year because he had an affair. I have two young children and it is so hard doing it alone. I'm blessed to have a great family who have been an incredible support system. I have never cared much about Valentine's Day, but for some reason, this year it is hard. I guess just knowing that the man I love is lost to me for now. Thanks for being so considerate of all the single moms out there.
Erin - February 13th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Sarah, I'm praying for you & for your heart right now. My husband moved back home about a month ago after being gone 18 months. Our separation was also due to my husband's affair and I, too, have three young daughters. Being a single mom is hard and lonely, I know. I pray that your heart will be encouraged and guarded by the love of Jesus tomorrow and in the days to come.
Tammy - February 13th, 2014 at 9:45 PM
Sarah, I am in the exact same situation you are, except my husband left me and my 2 kids only 6 weeks ago. His affair continues and his life of answering to nobody, except God, appears to be a little easier than mine. Honestly I really want to fight for my marriage, but he does not. I want to have hope, but feel hopeless. I have always hated Valentine's Day too, I thought every day should be a special day with the one you love. This year, I hate V-Day more than ever because the one I love is suddenly a complete stranger to me and he has chosen a life of adultery over me and over my kids. I am clinging on to my faith and trusting the Lord will get me and my kids through this. I will pray for you!!
Katie - February 13th, 2014 at 10:18 PM
I'm there too ladies. 2 years and counting. It's so hard! Praying for rest and miraculous restoration for all of you. I have no doubt God sees us, loves us, is refining us, and will honor our faithfulness. Hugs to you!
Sarah - February 13th, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Sarah - my name is also Sarah :) my husband and I have been separated for going on tree years and I have two small children. We have been separated due to my husbands sexual addiction with multiple affairs. Today I realized that my marriage is over - accepting that the last years of work in hopes of restoration have returned void. I knew it was coming - but feel so helpless that he has chosen himself. I am blessed by great supportive family and Gods provision for myself and y two littles ones. I feel blessed also by the posts !!
Karlie - February 13th, 2014 at 2:23 PM
Jen - I love this! Thank you!
jennie - February 13th, 2014 at 2:36 PM
thanks for expressing in ways I can not....you are right on with every comment and encouraging word...
Christie - February 13th, 2014 at 2:24 PM
I dread Vday. My 16 year olds sons funeral was on Valentines Day.
The kids and I made Valentines that were taped to the coffin.
Valentines Day will never be the same.
Pamela - February 13th, 2014 at 2:51 PM
No wonder you dread it - it wouldn't matter which day you had buried your boy it would be torture. Cannot imagine losing a child or anything worse to be honest. Praying you have some special time with your loved ones to remember your son x
Kourtney - February 14th, 2014 at 9:03 AM
Praying for you. Had an ugly cry just now on your behalf. Peace, sister.
Pepper Helms - February 13th, 2014 at 2:25 PM
Thank you, Jen. I love your heart & insight from the Spirit. I am a 44 year widow (my husband died 10 months ago). I have lost my Mom, a child, & now my husband. Losses hurt in different ways but without my Valentine & his support, everything seems SO hard- just making a decision is hard. I am now a single mother of teenagers, which I never saw coming. So I thank you for your heart felt words & sentiments. Thankful for Jesus' love which fills all the gaps!!
Adrienne Hunter - February 13th, 2014 at 2:27 PM
You are a gift from God! :)
Momof4 - February 13th, 2014 at 2:28 PM
I read dozens of different blogs and have never commented on any of them till now. This piece is so beautiful and compassionate and real, and it still has me in tears ten minutes after reading it. As I contemplate my 17-year marriage, which is at it's rock bottom, with divorce looking like sweet relief, (even though I know there would be nothing either sweet or relieving about divorce), Valentine's Day is going to be uncomfortable at the very least, and downright hostile at the worst. I have to work a 12 hour night shift and am utterly relieved that I will not have to spend the evening or night with him. I don't know where we go from here. We are both at fault. I feel nothing for him anymore but some affection as the father of my children. I don't remember what it's like to love him or why I ever loved him. I am a 41 year old mom of 4 and have literally never been so miserable. So thank you for your sweet, kind, and loving words. They are healing medicine to a wounded and jaded heart.
Trish - February 13th, 2014 at 3:37 PM
Oh my dear. I am so sorry you are hurting. I stopped and prayed Jesus would give you hope and wrap you in his arms. You are loved by God, and also by a stranger in milwaukee.
Darlene - February 13th, 2014 at 5:22 PM
Please hang on and know that anything is possible with God. Luke 1:37

Kimmie - February 13th, 2014 at 9:28 PM
You are loved by a momma in Virginia. I will be wrapping you up in prayer. I'm praying that God will show up and show you true love. I also am praying for healing in your marriage. Hold tight and don't quit fighting please
Karen - February 13th, 2014 at 9:52 PM
May the peace of Christ's love envelope you. Know that a woman from Ohio is praying for peace for you and your family. May you find comfort in these words and may the seed of love find a way to get planted in all of your hearts and grow!
Julie - February 13th, 2014 at 10:26 PM
And a girl in Texas is praying for you, too. Dear, sweet, lady, He is the one who raises people (and marriages) from the dead. I had a brief period where I looked at my husband and felt no love for him. I wrestled with what I felt and what I knew to be true. Then I read Stormie O'Martian's book The Power of a Praying Wife. It was helpful to me and God restored my love for my husband. Don't give up!
Nelle - February 13th, 2014 at 10:31 PM
Precious One, praying for your every need, and for each member of your family. Praying that you will very clearly see God's hand and know his presence in your tomorrow! Love from a fellow fortyish mom of four!
Connie - February 13th, 2014 at 10:48 PM
Praying for you in Alabama tonight.
Carla - February 13th, 2014 at 2:30 PM
Excellent! As usual! I have friends in every area you mentioned and I plan on sharing this with them! I have been married 33 years and I love my man dearly and he too is getting shaved legs! Woo Hoo! Our days have definitely NOT been filled with sunshine and lollipops ~ marriage IS hard. Life is hard with or without love. Your sensitivity to others is one of the beautiful things about you! Thank you for this! Made my week!

Beth - February 13th, 2014 at 2:30 PM
Single Awareness Day. For so many years, this holiday we celebrate was dreaded. I saw it creep up on the calendar and it mocked me. It was a day that I just wanted to get through. I didn%u2019t want people to feel sorry for me. I told my dad not to send me flowers to work because it would make a scene. I wanted to skip the embarrassment of being single. The first time I heard this holiday called %u201CSingle Awareness Day%u201D, I was sitting at church, alone. And, it made me laugh. It%u2019s so true. If you have never been single on Valentine%u2019s Day, then you have no idea what I%u2019m talking about. But, if you have, then you know exactly what I mean. It%u2019s like you have a huge sign on your forehead that reads, %u201Cplease feel sorry for me b/c everyone knows that no one %u201Cloves%u201D me today%u201D. You have no date. You aren%u2019t invited to parties. And, even churches host dinners that you must be a couple in order to attend. It%u2019s very apparent that you are, in fact, single. But the truth is, the longer I%u2019m married (our whopping 4.5 years) the more couples I meet who do not celebrate Valentine%u2019s Day. What we all have in common is that we each want to be noticed and loved. No matter the situation, feeling left out is unbearable. It makes you feel like no one wants you. We all want to be wanted, sought after, longed for. We all want someone to think we are a big deal. Now, when Valentine's Day rolls around, I try to send cards to the singles I know...or even the women in my life that don't celebrate the holiday for whatever reason. I just want them to know they are loved. It doesn't have to be romantic love, every one desires to be loved well.
Jenn Buell - February 13th, 2014 at 2:30 PM
Thanks, Jen for this. My husband of 20 years suffered a massive heart attack 5 months ago leaving me to care for our four kids. I'm not sad for him. He's with Jesus and he's fine. But tomorrow is going to suck for me as I try not to feel his absence so keenly. I was doing OK until my MOPS meeting today and all the reminders. Thanks for your kind words that weren't empty platitudes.
Michelle - February 13th, 2014 at 5:46 PM
Jen, I'm so sorry. One of the things I've found that helps me in my grief of good V-Days past is to stay off of social media on the hard days. So sorry for your loss. I'm the single mom to 5. It's a hard job. Praying for you.
Amanda - February 13th, 2014 at 2:30 PM
I am a single mom, thanks Jen your so awesome.!!!
Jennie - February 13th, 2014 at 2:32 PM
Beautifully put! I'd sooooo be your valentine%u2026.. ;-)
Becky - February 13th, 2014 at 2:42 PM
Thank you for your words
Jenn - February 13th, 2014 at 2:45 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how people will take a heartfelt and meaningful post that was meant to encourage, uplift and acknowledge those hurting, and turn it into something that "didn't feel like love". Really?
Cupid - February 13th, 2014 at 2:47 PM
I think Jamie is having a bad day.
Shirley Rose Glisson - February 13th, 2014 at 2:47 PM
I will have to add another category of those left out on V-Day (and most others): Aging parents! I am widowed, but my mom has been alone for 38 years. Sure, we have occasionally sent a card, and she has never professed to care, but I bet she does. I bet every "older" person could use a little extra love. So tomorrow? I will celebrate having an amazing mother who was a single parent for my most challenging years, who stayed with my children when they were small and I needed to get away, who is now my "kitchen fairy," loading and unloading the dishwasher daily. I am blessed!
Shelley in So. IL - February 13th, 2014 at 2:48 PM
When I was single, vday was always "black (insert name of whatever day vday falls on). I'm still that way just a bit. I love my husband and I stand united with other sisters who shaved their legs as their greatest gift. But I still want a bit of acknowledgement. Nothing grand-though I wouldn't turn down the trip to Hawaii or a new minivan- but a moment to say you are special to me and thank you for helping me to raise our children.

And you made me laugh and cry. Thanks.
mamabear - February 13th, 2014 at 9:11 PM
I feel the same way. I don't need grand fanfare just a small acknowledgement that you see my hard work and appreciate it. Luckily my husband does try to do this.
Donna - February 13th, 2014 at 2:49 PM
Jen, your post was fun and uplifting. V-day is just another day but for those that don't tell that special someone they love them, this is a day that reminds them to show it. Some men just don't show affection, and one day a year they are reminded to tell that special someone how much they love them. My husband makes my cards himself, he references things we have done and plans we have made, and simple words like I love you in his writing mean so much. I have kept each and every card. So V-day is just another day to me but one that I look forward too because I like to see what he will come up with next. He surprises me through out the year with little things, but nothing like his hand written card. He doesn't send me flowers at work, or chocolates, or teddy bears. He makes me a card. I don't make him a card because that would be doing the same as he does, and I can't write like he does...so I give him a big hug and kiss, and remind him how much I love him, not just on v-day but everyday. 17 years and still going strong. 9 children between us, non together, 13 grandkids, loving every single minute. We sent cards to our grandchildren, we try to come up with fun things for them. Just a way of saying hey we are thinking of you.
Sarah - February 13th, 2014 at 2:58 PM
I lost my husband of 8 years only 7 months ago. I am now the single mother of a precious 1 1/2 year old. Your post brought me to tears. It spoke of the ache my heart is feeling while also making me feel honored at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing!

Sarah
www.joelandsarahsjourney.wordpress.com
Vicky - February 13th, 2014 at 11:21 PM
God bless you and your baby, Sarah. Try to do something special to honor your lost love, as well as something special for yourself. And they aren't really "lost," you know. I have faith that I will see my husband who passed almost six years ago again in heaven one day; that's what gives me strength to go on.
Lisa G. - February 13th, 2014 at 3:03 PM
November 2012.... My husband and I were laughing about all of the doomsday prophecy chatter regarding 12/21/2012 being "The End". He actually joked "Wouldn't it be a hoot if Jesus decided to really come back on that day?" Well... Jesus did show up that day. He took my husband to Heaven. I was left a widow and my just shy of 9-year-old daughter was left without an earthly father..... 4 days before Christmas. I spent last Valentine's day in shock.... So I am counting this one as my 1st without him. Thank you Jen, for your ever timely, hit-the-nail-on-the-head, gracious words. I will spend this Valentines day with my beautiful daughter, celebrating the years we did have and focusing g on our true love, Jesus. To all of the other widows/widowers out there.... We love you, as does Jesus, and are sending many prayers for joy, peace and love your way.
Alexis - February 13th, 2014 at 3:07 PM
Thank you for reminding us to look for those who are forgotten and forsaken and seek to see how we can love them well!
Shannon - February 13th, 2014 at 3:15 PM
Can I add the category of in a solid relationship but the spouse doesn't recognize it as an actual holiday so he doesn't do anything? I've been waiting 13 years for a surprise Valentine. HEB is none the wiser that I am buying my own chocolate covered strawberries. On the bright side, I don't have to shave my legs!
Jaclyn - February 14th, 2014 at 1:48 AM
Amen sister!!!! Solid and always there but not one ounce of romance. I vow to stay off of Facebook for today so I don't hate every woman out there who has husband doing fabulous things for her on this day and deciding to brag about it!!!
Sarah - February 13th, 2014 at 3:28 PM
Thank you for my single parent day Valentine. It came at exactly the right time with just the right words.

I sat with my 5YO son Beau last night and helped him write out Valentines for his whole class (28?!), and then he went on to write some cards out for his dad, his new stepmom, his step siblings, my ex-MIL, ex-SIL, and the list goes on. I'm absolutely supportive of my son's relationship with his father and with his new step family, but I sat up wondering at one point, 'Wonder if it occurs to my kiddo to write a Valentine for me?'

Then I quit being so self involved, snapped myself back together, and just felt the gratitude of knowing that I'm the one who gets to raise him every day. There's no card for that, although it's definitely a gift.

Thanks again xoxo
Lindsey - February 13th, 2014 at 3:30 PM
Single & love it, but ALSO love this & the valentine you've given me!:) I have deemed tomorrow black friday & am celebrating with wings, a beer & hopeless romantic movies with my best friend, which is just your average friday night! Jen you just rock. Also gift giving hazard right here, I bought tickets for a concert on craigslist that didn't exist, & least you got a show at the expense of your hearing.
~Karrilee~ - February 13th, 2014 at 3:31 PM
GAH! How are you so consistently awesome, all sayin' what I want to say (but saying it so much better)?

I LOVE this!!!
Karen - February 13th, 2014 at 3:32 PM
I'm a single mom to two precious boys because my husband passed away way too young (five years ago now). Thank you for your Valentine to me and validating the loss that I feel on these particular days. And I wish a Happy Valentine's Day to you....
mamajaia - February 13th, 2014 at 3:35 PM
I couldn't find a single card for less than $4!!!
pauline - February 14th, 2014 at 6:36 AM
Dollar store

Christy - February 13th, 2014 at 3:36 PM
My Valentine went to be with Jesus 2&1/2 years ago. Like your Brandon, Mike was a romantic who always made special days amazing, including Valentine's Day. My favorite V-Day memory EVEEER was the year he took the day off to plan. We were still a new couple, no kids yet. We preferred to celebrate at home, so he shopped at Central Market & planned a fancy dinner (he was an exceptional cook. Some of my best memories are making meals together, laughing maybe even dancing.) That day, I arrived home to a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a beautifully set table, and my favorite chocolates (he would enjoy the half dozen red hearts full of mediocre candy every teacher receives...I'm a candy snob, but I promise I accepted each one with a sincere smile & grateful spirit.). He told me if I wanted to know what I would be served for dinner, I could peek in the frig...dinner was covered with a cloth on the top shelf. I excitedly tossed back the cloth, expecting to see steaks marinating. Instead, two sets of eyes turned to look at me. I screamed, a scream that brings everyone within a ten mile radius running to see what happened, the kind of scream a girl screams in a bad movie when she finds a dead body in her bathroom, the scream of horror when a guy in a mask with a chainsaw jumps out from behind a tree in the dark. I simultaneously jumped and ran backwards as far from the eyes as I could get. Once I was past being traumatized....okay I'll be honest, once I stopped screaming & he pried my arms off my face, and once he stopped laughing, he walked me back to the refrigerator to see the live lobsters he would be cooking later. Love wasn't the best choice of words for the emotion I felt in that moment. I mean really? What girl expects to see her dinner look at her with those creepy little eyes? I shudder still with the memory...

Our lobster dinner was delicious, although I excused myself to the powder room when it was time to place them in the pot. We danced to piano music from the master pianist & most romantic of musicians, Jim Brickman. We ate chocolate covered strawberries. We made memories....

I refuse to be sad tomorrow. I experienced true love, with the man of my dreams, with my soul mate. I am grateful for the years we celebrated together. Some people search their whole life for love like I shared with Mike. Tomorrow I will celebrate love with the twin boys that make every day brighter. I will tell them the story of the V-Day that Daddy & a couple of lobsters traumatized Mommy. Then maybe they'll understand why I avoid the lobster tank at the grocery store. I will pray to a Savior who loved me so much that He died for me! I know we usually reserve that sentiment for Easter, but come on....that's Love people! Can you imagine if a man said he loved a girl that much? She'd go nuts! Well I go pretty nuts when I let that fact truly envelope me, that Jesus loved me that much. If you find yourself sad or lonely on this made-up holiday, I hope you let that knowledge & the feeling it brings envelope you too. Then, like me, you can treat yourself to some good chocolate or a pizza just the way you like it or a mani & pedi. Whatever makes you feel special.

Thank you Jen Hatmaker for acknowledging the many aspects of how a day of Love affects the people who aren't in a relationship. Thank you for inspiring me to write my memory... (Sorry for writing a blog post in the comment section of your blog)
Erin - February 13th, 2014 at 8:18 PM
I am blessed to have read this. Thank you for posting such a sweet story!
Lee Ann - February 14th, 2014 at 6:49 AM
Oh my..this is just perfect. Thank you so much for the reminder. Your boys are so blessed...they will be wonderful men.
Leigh - February 14th, 2014 at 7:14 AM
thanks guys

Jenelle - February 14th, 2014 at 7:16 AM
Wow. Thank you.
Ketra - February 13th, 2014 at 3:37 PM
I laughed, I cried! Thank you!
Ricki - February 13th, 2014 at 3:40 PM
Oh jen, this so speaks to me. I have been divorced 7 years and man, is V-day still such a hard thing for me. When you see all your friends ( and even your ex..eesh) in love and professing that and going on dates..woo it hits hard. I havent even been on a real date in probable a year or two. Ugh waiting for the right one is very hard sometimes. Ive found lonlieness is the hardest of emotions. I long for a wonderful loving Christian man and marriage again one day. I love how God sends us little love notes ( like this one above!) to us right when we need it. He's so neat like that. Happy Valentines to you and your love. :)
Natalea - February 13th, 2014 at 3:41 PM
Loving all the love in this post, Jen. Thank you for your encouragement. You are such a gem!
Sherri - February 13th, 2014 at 3:50 PM
As a single woman that has been divorced for a little over 12 years (now longer than I was married)...THANK YOU for this post.
Miranda Emanuel - February 13th, 2014 at 3:52 PM
I LOVE to read your blogs!! I too was married at 19. My husband and I are new in ministry. I am also the worst gift giver on the planet!! It made me feel good to know someone else is also. I thought I was alone in this. Like all women have this genetically bred ability to give kind thoughtful gifts. I am the queen of practical. If I know my husband needs underwear that will be his gift and likewise I will ask for a steam mop as my gift. I like to write as well and have started a little blog. No where as good as yours but you are inspirational for sure.
Leanne - February 13th, 2014 at 3:56 PM
I needed to read this today~thanks Jen.
Alyssa - February 13th, 2014 at 4:01 PM
I'm a single foster mom. I've never been married. I've never had a date for Valentine's Day. There are some years it has been harder than others. This year, I'm not commiserating the lack of a husband. On tomorrow's Day of Love, I'm supposed to say goodbye to my little one. The little one that has been in my home for 8 months and 1 day. I was at If: Gathering last weekend (I'm the one that failed at playing it cool when I ran into you outside Starbucks :)), and my miracle prayer encouraged by Christine Caine is for my little's one biomom to come to know Jesus. Because, then she will lead her children to know Jesus.

On this fake day of commercialized love, I will accept hugs from 49 students. I will cuddle with my little 5 year old for the last time. And I will go home and cry.
Denise DiBelardino - February 13th, 2014 at 5:45 PM
Sweet sister in Christ Alyssa!

know that I am praying for you, and for the biomom to DEEPLY come to Christ in the marrow of her bones! hugs from Virginia
Jennifer S - February 13th, 2014 at 8:35 PM
I so hear you! I too am a foster mom who has said goodbye to a sweet little girl after 12 months. I too was moved by Chris Caine and the IF conference. You have served her well. Sometimes God only needs us for a short time in their lives. But you have made lasting changes in her development, ability to love, learn and form trusting relationships. And best of all she now has a prayer warrior the rest of your life. I listened to the song Oceans over and over the day we dropped our cutie at a homeless shelter. God literally carried me that day and I pray you will feel him carry you tomorrow.
Andrea - February 13th, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Your post really touched me. I am praying for you tomorrow.
Hailey - February 13th, 2014 at 11:11 PM
Will be praying for you tomorrow. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle.
Stephanie Groutas - February 14th, 2014 at 8:14 AM
Alyssa- The love you are sharing and painfully giving is TRUE love. Thank you for loving children so well with the love of Jesus. I'm praying for you today.
Laurie - February 14th, 2014 at 8:56 AM
Alyssa, you truly deserve a lovely Valentine! Here's a huge hug and tears of joy from me that you are a fine human being, and very probably loved by many! When God closes a door, He opens another; wait o n Him as He has something good for your future. He has told us that, so believe!

Teresa - February 14th, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Alyssa, one of my best friends will be in the same boat as you next week. I'm balling my eyes out with you, just thinking of you saying goodbye. But I AMEN your prayer for your little one's biomom.
Oh that these children can know Jesus someday! That someone in their life can show them Christ's love. That they will make the choice to follow Him someday.
I love you, sweet sister.
(Now if only I could see to find the tissue box)
Nicole Jasien - February 13th, 2014 at 4:01 PM
This is so good! Made me cry. Tomorrow will be my first Valentine's alone in 11 years. My husband is in federal prison for a crime committed 8 years ago prior to his conversion and becoming a preacher. So I am alone with my 3 kids fighting stage 4 breast cancer and everytime I see the mush the tears start to flow. Thank you for this post!
kathy - February 13th, 2014 at 9:25 PM
Praying for you Nicole. What a heavy load.God is near always.
Dick - February 13th, 2014 at 4:11 PM
I have been married to the sweetest girl there ever was for 60 years, 8 months, and 21 days. You have written a wonderful piece, and I applaud it.
ThomMonahan - February 13th, 2014 at 4:16 PM
From one non-V-Day practitioner let me applaud your heart- felt message. It is easy to see that your compassion is present every day of the year not just Feb14th. To Cupid I say, " stop taking credit for what many of us do every day of the year!" I don't need a reminder to know how truly blessed I am with an abundance of loved ones. However, I do need a reminder once in a while that there are people who don't feel as blessed. I see a new non-commercialized holiday on the horizon. A holiday that is constantly in motion and not limited to one day a year. Thanks for the heads-up
jackie - February 13th, 2014 at 4:18 PM
I am in a solid marriage.I have never celebrated Valentine's day.My husband does not believe in gifts for me.He loves for me to give him gifts but he never reciprocates.The few gifts I have gotten for other holidays are usually something he wanted or something for the kitchen.I have just decided to tell him to forget the gifts all together.If I really want something or need it I'll just get it myself.I have stopped buying him gifts too.I wish he was romantic but after 36 years I know he isn't going to change.
AW - February 13th, 2014 at 8:59 PM
Jackie, I'm with you here. Unfortunately, I set the precedent early that gifts were not my love language. And he has taken it to mean I will never love a gift. I wish I'd had more forethought and just shut my pietrap. We just don't do gifts at all. Christmas, birthdays, nothing. Maybe a dinner out to eat, but we do that anyway, so it's never special. I mourn that sometimes.

BUT...he makes me coffee every morning. Without fail. He opens car doors for me. He sends me random texts throughout the week when we're both at work to say "hi sexy". He prays over me when I'm broken. Or when I'm having a tough morning. He's a great father to our boys. He coaches the oldest's soccer team. He is the voice of reason when I want to strangle our youngest. I never have to fight him to go to church or small group. He tells me when he thinks I'm wearing something particularly sexy or pretty. He kisses me daily. He spoons at night. He always comes home to me. I don't have to worry about him having an affair. He loves Jesus.

While he doesn't always express love to me in the way I'd like or feel I need, I know that the Lord provided him to me...not just to make me happy...but to grow me. To teach me to depend on the Lord for that deep down in the spirit fulfillment. Bottom line: I am choosing to see the positive...at some point during those dry periods, my heart will follow.
Leigh - February 13th, 2014 at 4:34 PM
Thank you Jen. This resonates so much. My husband of over 35 years died unexpectedly three years ago. And while I expected Christmas and Thanksgiving to be hard, I never even thought about Valentine's Day until it got close on the calendar and oh my goodness! It was worse than all the other holidays. No one on earth, no matter how close, or how much love they have for you, like a child or sibling, can fill that spot that is so empty on a day set aside to celebrate a couple's love. Thanks for acknowledging the difficulty it brings for so many. Your post was full of love and helped me face tomorrow.
Cortney Schwalbe - February 13th, 2014 at 4:41 PM
Can you please tell me where I can get a $2.99 card? Oh yeah, in my great home state of Texas. Sometimes it sucks living abroad, and by abroad, I mean California. I laid down $4.89 for a piece of crap that will be thrown away in a few weeks. Next year, I'm going to buy him a coffee and have the barista write, "Happy V-day...I love you." At least you get a whippy caramely something for the 5 bucks.

Seriously though...thank you for writing this Jen. I think of so many friends/family in my life who have lost their spouses both in death and divorce, and those still waiting after so many years to meet Mr. Wonderful. I have forwarded this to them and know it will truly bless them to read your words.
Heidi - February 13th, 2014 at 4:44 PM
Very good points, Jen. Something to consider: discontinue using the phrase "I considered ending my life" in sarcasm to make a point. I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide and it was heart breaking. After this experience, I became painfully aware of how many times suicide is mentioned flippantly in daily conversation, blogs and on television to convey someone's negative feelings about certain circumstances or situations. It brings tears to my eyes and a shudder to my heart. I know you did not intend to make light of suicide, but I would ask that you consider other word choices to make your point. Thanks, Jen. I appreciate your heart and the way you encourage the body of Christ.
Amy - February 13th, 2014 at 4:49 PM
From a single mum...your words so touched my heart just now. Thank you! The reminder of what I am building into my son's story keeps me holding tight to God's love and promises. You pen the thoughts so well.
MC - February 13th, 2014 at 4:54 PM
as a single mom to four who watched her husband of 23 years walk away....thank you Jen...... I needed this so much today. thank you.
Tracey - February 13th, 2014 at 4:54 PM
Thank you Thank you Jen! I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face after reading this. My sweet husband of 19 years went to be with Jesus 2.5 years ago. I am now raising a 17 year old son on my own and it definitely has it's challenging days. Valentines Day was like a stab in the heart the first year and last year a little less. This year it's more like an annoying ache I would like to forget. I am sitting here as a I write this making construction paper cards for my family because I still can't bear the Valentines Card aisle this year. I am working again this year on remembering that I am loved by the ultimate Valentine Jesus Christ who wanted me so much he went to the cross to prove it. Your words are like a balm on my aching heart today so I want you to know how much you have blessed me
Sue - February 13th, 2014 at 4:58 PM
Thank you so much, Jen. I have been getting increasily cranky over the last week or so and finally made the connection yesterday. Doh. Your post is a wonderful affirmation. Blessings.
Kristen Swartz - February 13th, 2014 at 5:02 PM
This past year, I lost my valentine to alcohol and marital infidelity, but that doesn't mean Valentine's Day has to be a sucky day. I decided to spend my special days (my birthday is the day before Valentine's Day) dong something I've wanted to do for a long time. Go to a lodge in the middle of the jungle of Guatemala. Funnily enough, it has WiFi. To those who have no special someone, spend the day doing something you love or always wanted to do. Trust me, you won't regret it.
Amber - February 14th, 2014 at 3:12 PM
That is so awesome. I'm young and have never been married, but I've always said to do something you love when you have new time to spend in your life. And seriously, what better place than Guatemala? It's a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing, in it's own way your response to this article is inspiring. That's a big project! Enjoy it. Praying that you'll get to see God's beauty there. It's quite wonderful :).
Michelle - February 13th, 2014 at 5:03 PM
You crazy thing....what a treasure you must be to the loved ones and friends in your community! I found myself in several of your categories: The everyday marriage funnies of shaved legs and being the pampered one, that turned into the one of the struggling marriage, that ended in a love lost, that left me a single mom with 5 children, and now leaves me a little lonely and wishing I had love again this weekend with my kiddos gone with Dad and new wife. And yet....God keeps whispering and inviting me to Himself, and a value that was worth dying for, not just a $2.99 card and a fancy dinner.
God's richest blessings to you for "petting" our hair and wiping our tears, for listening to our hearts.
Katy - February 13th, 2014 at 5:10 PM
As always this was a beautiful piece.

And a reminder to shave my legs for tomorrow. ;)
Tina - February 13th, 2014 at 5:16 PM
Tears started rolling down my face when I read "You may not have the feelings, but you are doing the work, and that deserves honor...thank you.
Val - February 14th, 2014 at 3:14 PM
Yes. Amen.
T - February 14th, 2014 at 4:51 PM
Same here. Blessings.
Jenny - February 13th, 2014 at 5:21 PM
THANK YOU. I always appreciate your honesty, but, in this post, I mostly appreciated how that honesty translated into love. I think this message of acceptance is often missing in Christian communities, and I appreciate you bringing it to light.
Jamie - February 13th, 2014 at 5:38 PM
How did you survive that concert around all those minorities?
Marianne - February 14th, 2014 at 1:10 AM
Really. Really now.
Kristi - February 13th, 2014 at 5:41 PM
You are my new favourite person in the world.

Lola - February 13th, 2014 at 6:18 PM
Thank you for these life-giving words. Oh my word.
Laura - February 13th, 2014 at 6:20 PM
I still love Valentines Day even though four years ago on Feb 13 my 19 year old son went to live with Jesus. It was sudden and the hardest thing we've ever been through but my husband and I knew God was going to make good things come from it and He did! Our greatest LOVE is from our Lord and he wants nothing more than for us to feel it. The catch is letting Him. We have to let Him love us through others. We also heal by loving others . We started having food drives on his birthday and on the anniversary of his passing and that has been wonderful. He would want us to bless others instead of being sad. We still have our moments but we rejoice in the day that we will all be together again in our eternal home. By the way I saw you at "Chosen" and you were awesome! My favorite was the breakout session where so many revealed the pain in their lives. I'm sure some healing took place that day!
Single Mom in Texas - February 13th, 2014 at 6:26 PM
Thank you! 20 years of marriage ended because of numerous affairs. Finally gave into a Godly relationship, and he dumped me last week. It's been hard. And I see tents of flowers and big bears and hearts and feel alone. But HE is the lover of my soul!!! Still good to read this and feel like someone outside of the single mother circle might not see us as failures but reminds us of why we do this. I'll be back to read your blog. Thanks!
Anonymous - February 13th, 2014 at 6:26 PM
Can I just call myself "anonymous"? V-day is hard for me because I am in a struggling marriage, and sometimes I wonder why it didn't turn out the way I had hoped it would. Is God punishing me? I really thought he would be different. I feel like he fooled me. I spent a really long time looking for a card that I could give that wasn't a complete lie. He was so caring when we dated, but life has taken its toll, and everyday is just another long, hard day. I feel like he doesn't even notice me most days. I love to be romanced, but that all ended a long time ago. And now I say it just is what it is.
Anonymous - February 13th, 2014 at 10:28 PM
Right there with you. I felt obligated to purchase a card for my husband, but uninspired by anything I read, so I settled on letting my two year old pick one with his favorite character.
michelle - February 14th, 2014 at 9:42 PM
I am so glad to not be alone. I totally understand the card thing. I thought i was the only one.
Anonymous - February 14th, 2014 at 10:16 PM
Same here. Prayers for hope and restoration for us all.
Melinda - February 13th, 2014 at 6:26 PM
This brought tears to my eyes as well. Today is the day that Jesus called my precious Mother home to be with Him in Heaven. So not only am I a single lady in my mid 50's without a mate to celebrate with, I get to reminisce about my Mom as well. I do truly appreciate your insight to how so many of us look upon V-Day and have a hard time rejoicing in it. You words came like a comforting Angel's whisper into my soul...Thank You from the bottom of my heart!
Rachel - February 13th, 2014 at 6:27 PM
"you will be an exquisite, capable partner who brings so much to the table and enriches your marriage beyond belief. I am proud of you. Your life is already beautiful and doesn%u2019t need a Hallmark card or reservation at PF Chang%u2019s to validate its worth."

Thanks Jen. I know it's silly to be struggling at 21 like this, but I do. Jesus is teaching me about satisfaction, and lately just about what a privilege it is to have this life to seek Him as our main goal--single or not. Your blog helped me re-focus on that. Thanks for loving us single girls well :)

Also, I think I'm going to go see a movie on Tuesday!
Lauren - February 13th, 2014 at 6:28 PM
My older sister was born with cerebral palsy that left her with a body that didn't work (couldn't control her arms or legs, nor could she speak), but her intelligence was intact. She was a remarkable person few took the time to get to know. She struggled with loneliness, especially on Valentines Day. Her 30th birthday was Feb 11th. That Valentines Day, my parents fed her a milk shake (she loved her sweets), and she choked and died in their arms, meeting her Ultimate Valentine in Heaven where she is no longer disabled - free to dance and sing and Praise her God with a beautiful voice we can't wait to hear.

This Valentines Day is the 7th anniversary. The commercialism of this holiday makes an in-your-face reminder of her loss that day. It's so hard on my parents, especially.

Thank you for acknowledging those who lost a Valentine due to death, as it is difficult to grieve on a day "meant" for love. You captured it so well.
Annie - February 14th, 2014 at 9:08 PM
If your sister is who I think, she was a lovely lady and quite an inspiration to me. I visited the young adult class ("Crossroads") and that week I received a really sweet and sincere welcoming email from "Lesley" who was obviously a bright, articulate and caring person. I had met so many that evening that I didn't remember which one she was. I couldn't wait to see her again. When I met her again the following week, I was just stunned that she had taken the time to write a rather lengthy note when I found out what a challenge just using the computer was for her. One of my fondest memories of her was at a friend's bachelorette party where we all went bowling, and were wearing these fun little tiara combs in our hair. Lesley in her wheelchair with her bowling frame beat the pants off of all of us! She was such a sweet and fun loving girl, and I loved to hear her worship. It stirred my heart. I can only imagine how your heart must be shattered by her loss. Praying for the Holy Spirit to comfort you as only He can. Love from one of Lesley's, many friends,
Abbey - February 13th, 2014 at 6:30 PM
I'm a little single college gal who has never had a Valentine. Some Valentine's Days are better than others. This year, I've been a little bummed. Graduating from a Christian college without a husband is seemingly impossible. But if you were to put me on a scale from one to single, I would be Oprah Winfrey. My parents call me every week asking if there's any "good news". It's easy for me to get caught up in feeling alone on any given day, let alone Valentine's Day. This blog post is definitely encouraging to my little heart. While reading this, I had tears streaming down my face thinking about all of the years I have been loved. My friends, my family, and my Jesus are no joke. When I wake up on Saturday morning my life will be just as full as it was on Friday. I'm blessed beyond belief. I'm dedicating this Valentine's day to the other 364 days of the year. Just another day to feel the love!
Mary - February 13th, 2014 at 6:51 PM
I think this is a great piece, however I think you left out one category. The mostly happy marriage with the husband that doesn't recognize most holiday gift giving ( not a bad gift giver just never sets time aside to make it happen) I love my husband I don't feel our marriage is struggling, but I do get my feelings hurt on a lot of holidays. I only wish my husband had taken a class on gift giving and thoughtfulness.
Jen - February 14th, 2014 at 5:14 PM
I hear you -- my boyfriend doesn't like what he thinks of as "Hallmark holidays" and prefers to give gifts at other times, and I have to nag him to give me a card, or I won't get one and will feel even worse; I feel remarkably ungrateful for wishing he would just do even the minimum without my reminders.
Tammy - February 14th, 2014 at 10:02 PM
Oh Mary that made me laugh so hard. I'm guessing there are millions of us in this category. I actually read your post to my husband because I was laughing so hard.
Marcy - February 15th, 2014 at 7:41 AM
Mary -
That's my husband as well. My 40th birthday was such a disappointment it left me in tears.

A couple of weeks ago, my uber healthy, totally fit non-smoking husband was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Our V-tines Day was spent researching treatments, wondering if this will be the last one we share. I happily will take no gifts on Valentine's Days and birthdays for the next 40 years if God will just let me keep him that long. He Valentine's Days me when he vacuums out my car without me asking, cleans out the garage, takes out the trash, organizes my Gladware, throws the balls with the boys, kisses me when he walks in the door, tells me he loves me, holds me in his arms.

Buying into the romantic notion that it's all about a gift is just the devil's work at hand in our lives. Focus on what's marvelous instead of what's missed. Hugs to you. I totally get it. But now I get it in a whole different way.
Karen - February 13th, 2014 at 6:51 PM
Thank you for this post. Truly- to be a Christian and have gone through a divorce that was not of your choosing is so very,very hard sometimes. This world, especially after about age 30, seems made for married families and often single parents can feel invisible. Just -- thanks.
discarded - February 14th, 2014 at 9:54 PM
i understand. the same happened to me after 37 yrs of marriage. it is sad but I am surviving after over a 1 1/2yrs. This divorce nearly killed me but has certainly made me stronger thus proving there is truth in the old saying. Hang on and better is yet to come for us. It is hard and makes me feel bad sometimes still. He was a narcisisst and treated me badly through much of the marriage. I realize I didn't deserve that. he has an older woman now who buys him things and he says he is happy.I believe he will reap the lies and other things he has sown. It is a relief that I don't have to worry about his tantrums and fits of rage anymore. God has a plan for us even though we may not see it yet. my depression is lifting slowly without his berating and cruelty. God got me out of a terrible situation I was to weak to remove myself from. He will give us double for out trouble so to speak and lead us to many wonful things. this is proving to be true for me. that man broke my heart terribly but I am surviving. I am 57 and starting over after being with my only real boyfriend and husband since I was 16. It surely is weird to say the least and I have cried a million tears. Why all this happened is a mystery to me but my 2 sons and grandson are precious and worth it all. one son still refuses to speak to me and the other thinks who knows what after their father's lies. please pray and hang on and life will eventually become better. He was convinced I would die or go crazy without him and I nearly did but it is not going to be the death of me if i can help it.
OTTER - February 15th, 2014 at 12:31 AM
Take comfort in the gift that God has given you. I was divorced at the age of 25 with a newborn and a toddler. I was a single parent for 21 years before I married again. Single parents have it tough, there is never time for yourself and you always feel like the bad guy, you can barely take a shower alone, feel like you have to pack half the house up before you leave just to go to the grocery store only to find out that the little hands in your cart have added more items than you can afford.

I struggled for a long time as to why God would allow all this to happen in my life and my kids lives, until the light bulb went off.......hello......this is his plan not mine!!! I grew through the struggles and bouts of loneliness without even knowing it, I was stretched in ways I didn't know needed to be stretched. It is kind of funny now to hear my adult children with children of there own talk, they are so thankful and appreciative for the things they learned through those struggles. They learned from there own experiences that no matter how tough things get we will help each other to get through it. They have learned to manage and juggle some crazy schedules with ease, they have a compassion and understanding for others and the struggles in there lives. They aren't perfect but accepting of others. I am so proud of them!

Now I have been married for married for 8 years, and life isn't what I thought it would be either, the romance that was is no longer, the dates nights have gone by the wayside too.....and those weekend getaways didn't last that long. The partner I married is now the person I have become a caretaker for. It's funny how life ebbs and flows......marriage is tough and takes a lot of work just like raising kids, juggling finances and responsibilities...it doesn't matter whether you are caring for a child or an adult you got to just keep going keep growing and enjoy your life, there will be good days and bad but you can do it!!! Then when you least expect it someone will share with you how you have touched their life in a way you had no idea. The person you are becoming is an inspiration and a blessing to someone else....so keep on going. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION AND A BLESSING!!
Kristi - February 13th, 2014 at 6:54 PM
Your post gave me goose bumps. I'm a single mom, raising a 12 year old girl. Sometimes I get so exhausted for having to be both the mom and the dad. The one always having to be the "bad guy" when punishment is due. So, thank you.
Amber Austin - February 13th, 2014 at 7:11 PM
I lost my husband this year. I was pregnant when my husband passed away. Now I'm a single mother of 2...and a widow. And you are right...everyone else's happiness is like a dagger. Thank you for your thoughtful post.
Jan - February 13th, 2014 at 7:14 PM
Enjoy it! Valentines Day really stinks when your sweetie is in heaven!

Lisa B - February 13th, 2014 at 7:36 PM
I lost my husband 4 1/2 years ago, leaving me to raise our two children (now 9 and 11) on my own. I miss him so very much, and I feel like things should be easier by now, but they aren't. They are just different. Thank you for this post!
Rena - February 13th, 2014 at 7:46 PM
I lost the love of my life 11 yrs ago. He was so thoughtful, loving, and very romantic. I miss him so very much. You touched my heart with your thoughtful words. Thank you!
Kate - February 13th, 2014 at 7:47 PM
You sweet thang!! Thank you so much for posting this. Last Valentine's Day I was with my fiance, this year I am single; broken engagement and no wedding. I am not looking forward to all the mushyness tomorrow; it makes my heart hurt. Thank you for "loving" on this single girl!! You are wonderful!! Kudos to not having to shave my legs or buy a 4.99$ card!!
Sam - February 13th, 2014 at 8:01 PM
This week I actually uttered the words to a friend, please just help me survive until Monday. I want the homemade valentines for kids & teachers done. (Note i am not crafty- this is horrible in and of itself.) I do not want to be asked anymore about what blind date I might have, or how i need to go online to find someone special. I don't want to hear about how wonderful your life is and how one day it will be good for me too! I just want this week done. Each week feels like survival as a single parent- this one just makes it a bit more emotional than the others.
I needed another perspective this week, and this is perfect. Thank you!
Susan - February 14th, 2014 at 1:01 PM
It's going to be OK. You can do it. Just 3 more days and it'll all go away. But I hope you can find a way to enjoy your life and your children while you're waiting to find love. When every week feels like survival, it means the good stuff either isn't happening or isn't registering. That's not a criticism. I'm married with two kids and we've had times where every day felt like survival. Looking back, I wish I could have focused more on the good stuff that was happening amongst all the stressful stuff.
Melissa - February 13th, 2014 at 8:01 PM
My heart is going out to my Granddad this Valentine's Day, who only a month ago lost his Valentine of 64 years. My Grandma was an amazing woman, and I think about her everyday, but I know my Granddad's heart is aching and tomorrow will be another reminder that she is gone. Praise the Lord that this world is not our home and we will see my Grandma again one day!
Adrienne - February 13th, 2014 at 9:34 PM
My grandma passed away in December. My grandparents were married 61 years - so I'm with you. Gonna be sending a lot of extra love to my grandpa tomorrow :)
hannah - February 13th, 2014 at 8:01 PM
thank you for this post. being 30 and newly single after a 4-year relationship is hard, even though i have never cared much for this holiday (even when i was in a relationship)... it's not so much the loneliness (that's every day, unfortunately), but the pity and questions and comments i know i will get from people tomorrow. i might as well wear a sign on the back of my shirt all day that says "not wanted." your post made me smile though. i gladly accept encouragement and prayers from anyone who offers them, so thank you for yours.
Katie May - February 13th, 2014 at 8:11 PM
This is an amazing post. Neither a pro-Valentine's Day nor an anti-Valentine's Day post, but an honest post to others so they know that they are seen on this day. Really, really loved this!
Jodie - February 13th, 2014 at 8:12 PM
you just don't even know the peace you have given me today . . . I love you for that my friend . . . me and my little family of three, we just love you;)
Jennifer - February 13th, 2014 at 8:17 PM
I needed that! I am 9,000 weeks pregnant with our second, trapped in the house on bedrest getting a good hard look at just how hard my husband is looking for a job and watching our three year old.all day. I have reached the point where I cannot be in the same room with him because of what I am afraid I might say. And mean. I feel a little less.alone and like a little less of a monster now.
Patricia - February 13th, 2014 at 8:20 PM
Oh Jen, what a beautiful piece. I do ok on Valentines Day until the flowers start rolling into the office and I know none are mine. This year my Valentne will be your words. Next year, I'm having my single friends over to share a meal. Decided that today after reading this. Thank you for thinking of all of us who are alone. Hope you enjoy the day. For the record, I shave my legs every day!
Katy - February 13th, 2014 at 8:22 PM
Once gave my husband a Happy Birthday card on our anniversary. Bonus: he opened it in front of his parents
Sarah - February 13th, 2014 at 8:23 PM
I miscarried on valentines day last year. It was my first pregnancy and my second pregnancy half a year later also ended in miscarriage. God has brought me peace in these losses but I know Valentines Day will never ben the same for me; will always be a reminder of the baby I lost. Thank you for your post. I know this is a difficult holiday for many and I am comforted in a way knowing I am not alone in my sadness on valentines day, even if we all grieve for different reasons.
Rebecca - February 17th, 2014 at 8:10 PM
Sending a prayer and hug your way. I had three late miscarriages and I know the pain you are feeling.
Amanda - February 13th, 2014 at 8:23 PM
I used to send my Mom a Valentine's Day card to thank her for her love and support. She passed away last July. To honor her I have shared this love with my two aunts to thank and love them for being amazing women to me after my loss. Happy Valentine's Day Momma, I love you and miss you.
d - February 13th, 2014 at 8:26 PM
Thank you for this, Jen. Single, never married. I've had so very much richness in my life%u2026 and I also long to share that richness with someone. Also never been a mom. That one aches more deeply; can never seem to talk about that one without tears. It's just deep. All this said, I am really grateful - not only for the fact that you wrote this, but HOW you wrote it. You're entering-in, yes via the interwebs, but entering in none the less, and I, for one, receive that. Know that I'm praying right now that your tomorrow is splendid%u2026 shaved legs and all :)
Laurel - February 13th, 2014 at 8:29 PM
Thank you for sharing your heart. I heard you speak in Charleston (rally and break out) a couple weeks ago and found that you are as true and genuine in person as you are in words. (And listened to If online Sunday bkz I am officially too old to attend there or local :/ )No valentine this year for me, divorced a couple years ago and that's ok bkz God is making everything new in my life, just like He told me He would. I so love Him and through Him am proud to call you my sister! You encourage us - pls keep reminding us of true and important things.
Loren - February 13th, 2014 at 8:33 PM
Thank you for acknowledging single adults that way. I hadn't thought about it quite like that. I did recently jump start my car with a booster all by myself recently to the astonishment of a married friend. I plan to spend tomorrow at an adoption conference and then will have dinner with a dear, dear married couple who are eager for my company. For the first time in a long time I wouldn't wish to spend Valentine's day any other way.
Alicia - February 13th, 2014 at 8:35 PM
Darling Jen,
I've been a single mom for 16 years, so thank you. I needed to hear that I am writing Commitment into their stories because sometimes life tells me I just wrote Brokenness, The End. Church families mostly don't think about single moms and their kids and so the hope that the church will be the village that will help you raise your children ends up dead in the water next to the broken dream of a happy, two parent family. God heals and life does go on, but it's hard and so it feels nice to been seen. So, thank you and a Valentine for you - for loving your own sweet family, and for also loving beyond them.
Lisa - February 16th, 2014 at 5:04 PM
Alicia, your comment hit a chord for me. Single-mom life is hard. Hard. Hard. And I thought I was the only one who is astonished that church families don't give us a single thought except on Sunday when they see us...and then move on to their shared responsibilities with no realization that we do it by ourselves every day without a break. And then have the audacity to say... "you should really take some time for yourself once in awhile." Really? Really?... So here I am, in the sisterhood with you. Grateful to read Jen's words, and her acknowledgement that she sees us! I see you too! And Commitment is our new word. Right?
Jennifer - February 13th, 2014 at 8:38 PM
Thank you for this post. It brought tears to my eyes, good tears. I am a single girl that is waiting on God to brig me my man! I often forget that God is making me into the women He wants me to be. And I can do stuff, just today I fixed the weed eater and the deadbolt. Thank you for reminding me I have value and that tomorrow does not have to be a hard day! Plus, being single, I don't have to shave my legs tomorrow! :)
Weary Mama - February 13th, 2014 at 8:38 PM
Oh yes, dear one! Thank you for permission to cry. As a never married single mom of 4 through the crazy journey of foster care and adoption, I'm just tired. There's always too much to do, and never enough me to get it all done. And when I surprised my kids with valentine balloons from the dollar store tonight, and my 3-yr-old asked me where mine was, she didn't know that it hurt me, knowing that there won't be a balloon for me tomorrow. Or a card. Or flowers. Or any of that cheesy stuff that will flood facebook. So maybe I'll just share your post as my own personal valentine tomorrow. :-)
Mary - February 15th, 2014 at 6:15 PM
Ah, thank you for sharing that! I'm just starting the single-mom-through-foster-and-adoption journey, and I'm already tired! I've had two newborn babies in the past four months and with working full time, there are days where I feel so exhausted. Valentine's Day is never a favorite anyway, and now as a single mom it was even more draining emotionally. Our culture idolizes romantic relationships, whether or not they are realistic. Last night I would've loved to at least take a long bath, drink some wine, watch a movie or get dinner with other single girls, but instead I made bottles, had popcorn for supper, cleaned up messes and formula (EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE FORMULA!!!!) and went to bed early so I could be ready for nighttime feedings. When I felt on the brink of a pity party, I was reminded that God loves me unconditionally, AND with an everlasting love, and how special and blessed am I to pass on a small amount of human love to these beautiful babies who so desperately need it.
Weary Mama I am praying you feel loved, strengthened, rested and cared for today. You are an inspiration and a beautiful example of the very hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you!
Nova - February 19th, 2014 at 12:33 AM
Word!! I'm 33, never married, & adopting my son from foster care next month! (He's been mine for 3 years!) Didn't set out to adopt as a single woman, only to foster, but here we are! But tonight I was laying in bed & happy tears of gratitude just dropped down my face thinking about the sweet/spicy 4 year old (who drives me nutzos) sleeping in the next room. Most days are hard but still filled with laughter, snuggles, & me squeezing his little "peaches" (or he calls them "booty cheeks." Spicy, remember?) ANYWAY, loved this post, needed this post. AND..... Loved seeing other single "baby-mamas-thru-foster-care-adoption" (which CAN feel possibly as grueling as squeezing humans out of a vagina, just sayin'.) As Jen would say, SOLIDARITY, mamas. :):):)
Beth B - February 13th, 2014 at 8:42 PM
My husband is around to help with our son, but we are struggling with this child and I needed the single mom portion as well. Thank you. Seriously, balm of gilead found here today, thank you!
christina - February 15th, 2014 at 5:44 PM
I am in this boat with you. I am married with a newborn and toddler but felt the single mom applied to me just as much as the struggling marriage. One day at a time.
Leslie Gustafson - February 13th, 2014 at 8:50 PM
As someone who with her husband have written a really helpful book on marriage some of what you said was a bit hard to take and I believe untrue. We CAN do much to make love last. Nevertheless, I love your heart for the hurting and like many dates on the calendar, VDay can be a trigger for pain not bliss. So, thank you for your generous heart!:-)
Jana - February 13th, 2014 at 8:55 PM
this is awesome. all kinds of awesome. i know so many who can relate to what you've written here. thank you. and happy valentine's day to YOU, spreader of Love!
DeAnn Richardson - February 13th, 2014 at 8:56 PM
I just posted on Facebook how I could truly despise V-day now that I am a 40 something widow, single mom of 3--instead I attached Meredith Andrews "you're not alone" song and reminded myself as much as others that my true Valentine is God. But dang it's hard when all you really want is that familiar hug and kiss and even a chance to say "not tonight honey." Thankful someone shared your post-needed it. Nice to be remembered, even if those remembering do not know us by name. Thanks for the words and remembering those of us that would like to sleep through tomorrow. Enjoy your day, shaved legs and all!! Xoxo --lonely but loved in Rome, GA --DeAnn Richardson
Judi - February 13th, 2014 at 9:00 PM
I am single, never married and no kids. Over the years, I have stuffed and avoided the pain of all holidays by working. My coworkers always appreciated it because it gave them the opportunity to be with their loved ones. But it was an act of self preservation, not benevolence. V day is the worst and for some reason, this year it is kicking my butt. I appreciate your words of insight and encouragement to all of us who struggle at this time, whatever the reason. You have a gift!
Mary - February 13th, 2014 at 11:22 PM
Judi, I am right there with you! I'm in the same situation. Had to have a hysterectomy a few months ago and no one to grieve with me. I'm an island.....yes, I'm independent, but I pray to God everyday for a partner in life. I'm tired of being so independent...I need help! I had a date on Valentine's Day once. That was it. I'll go to work with a smile, be the "happy" teacher who celebrates with her first graders and stay away from the front office (an office full of beautiful flower deliveries). I can't wait for February 15 to come!
Heather - February 13th, 2014 at 9:05 PM
There are no words to describe how much I love reading literally everything you write!! You've made me laugh, and cry, and stop and think, and so much more. And your "shout out" to us single parents, well, let's just say there may or may not be giant tears streaming down my face right now. Thank you for that. "You%u2019ve turned back into a virgin at this point." OMG! Literally spit my wine across the keyboard! Keep up the great work and thanks for all you share with us.
Deborah Kaye - February 13th, 2014 at 9:12 PM
A very dear high school friend lost her husband--her best friend, her partner in life, the father of her precious children, her soul mate, her best friend--at 5 p.m. today. The day before V-day. Liver cancer ravaged his body and he went peacefully into Heaven. I was having my own pity party because my finance' has been cruel and left me struggling with so many decisions. Get priorities straight is my first Valentine gift to myself. Thank you for this post. It meant the world.
MoMaS - February 25th, 2014 at 3:52 PM
Deborah, oh this hurt me. PLEASE, PLEASE reconsider being in a relationship with someone who is cruel. You deserve so much better than that!!!!!! Make you first priority to find someone who will love you like Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her!!!!!
~K~ - February 13th, 2014 at 9:21 PM
I needed this hug. Thank you, Jen...for being the hands, feet and even loving hug of Jesus. I'm raising four little boys and just 60ish days from divorce. It's a tough season. I was so blessed by your words.
Kimberly Pruett - February 13th, 2014 at 9:23 PM
Your comments made my "Valentine's Day Sucks" attitude better. Thank you sweet lady. Kimberly Pruett
emily - February 13th, 2014 at 9:25 PM
This is just beautiful. I lost my husband last April. We have 3 children 14,12, and 7. It is hard being alone and a single parent for sure. This really helped.
Shay - February 13th, 2014 at 9:34 PM
first time in 17 years I will not give or receive a valentine from my husband. Heartache. Pain. Loneliness. And yet hope as I look at my young daughters and know MY STORY IS NOT OVER. Scary at the moment, but joy is on the horizon.
Esther - February 13th, 2014 at 9:38 PM
I just finished a month of travel accompanying my dear friend who lost her husband in Afghanistan. My heart still aches.

Today I heard from a friend who is fighting for her marriage.

Tomorrow I hop on a plane to travel for work. (Many would tell me the reason for my singleness -- I call it trusting Jesus to lead my every step.)

Marriage is good, but it is not the ultimate. Jesus is. So thank you for being so selfless to think of others in this post and remind us of God's great love . It may be my favorite post ever.

With love. (and I mean it)
Kelly T. - February 16th, 2014 at 1:26 AM
Hugs to you sweet friend! Your love for The Lord and your love for others encourages so many! I miss you and I'm praying for you! I think you are due for a stop in Cali : )
Lisa - February 13th, 2014 at 9:39 PM
Just no words for how this lifts me tonight, just WOW. First Valentine's since my husband left%u2026.not that the Valentines' before that were anything decent, truth. I'm 51, fearful, guilty, angry, but know God wants me to participate in my own life%u2026.these words help.
Laura V. - February 13th, 2014 at 9:49 PM
Glad I stumbled on this page. As a 39 year old, lonely, single gal who wonders if she'll EVER find her true love, I dread valentines day. I get a card from my parents. How sad is that? The only valentines interaction I get are from my 67 year old mom and dad. (Don't throw things at me - I'm so grateful they are in my life and try their best to make me smile. They want me to find my true love too.) It is so nice to know that someone out there (even though you don't know me) gets it. Thank you.

And to those of you in the other categories, I know your pain is different, but I admire you for pulling through. Just one day...we can do it, right?
Deanna Bortner - February 13th, 2014 at 9:52 PM
I love your heart Jen- btw your eyebrows look fine to me....:) you are a blessing to this cold world...thanks for caring and expressing it and thanks to your family for sharing you with us.
Sarah C - February 13th, 2014 at 10:08 PM
Jen,
You are such a blessing. You recognize every aspect of life and acknowledge the pain that comes with this holiday. I have been with my BF 4 years last week. He does not find this holiday ( or many others) important So thank you for telling it like it is. As a single mom trying to find the balance i appreciate the honesty in your words. May God bless you and Brandon.
singlelady - February 13th, 2014 at 10:11 PM
As a single woman in her late 30s, I agree with one of the first comments, made by Jamie. I love reading Jen's blogs but having anyone who has been part of a set for their entire adult life (and this includes some of my best friends) try to uplift me on a "day of love" feels very condescending whether they mean it or not. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate that they try, but it is hard to read and hear. Single women deal with the feelings of being unloved 365 days of the year, not just one. Each day is different and some days we might not even think about it for more than half a second, but some days it is overwhelming and Feb 14th can be that day for some. If I can, I'd like to offer this blog post to all the single women reading these comments. The last section about seeking luminaries is great! http://www.4wordwomen.org/blog/2014/02/a-path-to-joy-in-singleness/
Steph - February 26th, 2014 at 11:37 AM
"Single women deal with the feelings of being unloved 365 days of the year, not just one. Each day is different and some days we might not even think about it for more than half a second, but some days it is overwhelming and Feb 14th can be that day for some."

YES to all ALL of that. I feel you :)
Julie - February 13th, 2014 at 10:21 PM
My husband was killed on Valentines Days 11 years ago this year. Thank you for this..What a beautiful heart you have. Thank you. They use to tell me that as time went by I would heal. I just learned how to manage a different life. He was my true love. So thankful for my 2 beautiful children and grand babies to soak up now.
Kristy - February 13th, 2014 at 10:37 PM
I am truly stunned, affected, and transformed by your words. This day has forever in my adult life been my most hated day of the year, but your words have now miraculously changed my mind! Thank you and may God bless you and yours. Amazing words from a compassionate soul who understands and loves people! Thank you!
Mendi - February 13th, 2014 at 10:41 PM
Thank you so. so much. I am a 43 yr. old widow raising my 3 precious children (13, 12 and 8). My husband was killed 8 years ago, and Valentine's Day just sucks. I KNOW Jesus loves me, more than I can imagine%u2026but I still miss my Valentine. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words!
Kelly - February 13th, 2014 at 10:47 PM
Wow, It's perfect! I've separated from my husband of 18 years and have full custody of 2 teenagers. ugh. . . My 15 year old daughter is on a "I wish I had a Valentine" kick it makes me want to strangle her. The plus side to Valentines Day is my mom who is a Valentine's baby. So I am celebrating her birthday with her and my children and maybe pretending Valentines Day isn't happening this year. That would be ok. Thank you for your grace. God Bless you and your amazing gift.
Christy - February 13th, 2014 at 10:50 PM
Jen thank you for this post. Made me cry (which is unusual for me). 12 years ago I was engaged and my fianc broke off our engagement the day after valentines day. I never cared much for valentines day, I always thought of it as a made up holiday. But even though I'm so thankful I didn't marry him, it is a yearly reminder. It is that little voice I the back of my mind that whispers every year. And every year I have to quietly remind myself (because I can't talk about it with anyone because would pity me & say cliche things & I'm not up for that either!) I'm better off, even single. Because of all of the above being single on v day has not made me depressed or upset in the past. And this year I'm not depressed or upset but there is a deep sadness & longing in my heart. A longing for someone to build a life with & raise children with (and at 35 it seems more & more unlikely). A desire to skip the wait because waiting sucks. A longing to see the promises of God fulfilled & to be able to look back & see how He has orchestrated the last 12 years so perfectly for His plan & purpose. I'm ready. But God is sovereign. And he loves me. And that is enough on valentines day & every day.
This American Wife - February 16th, 2014 at 7:56 PM
Beautifully said. Hang in there, Christy.
Brielle Gage - February 13th, 2014 at 10:58 PM
You are one funny gal and one annointed preacha, I give you that, but please tread lightly when using the phrase "I've considered ending my life." There are some out there (too many) for which that term is all too real and we have suffered through the death of a beloved loved one via the avenue of suicide. It stings.
Bless you...
Hailey - February 13th, 2014 at 11:03 PM
I am 24 and my boyfriend passed away July 25, 2013. I have never been super into Valentines Day but at the same time do not understand why people hate it so much, however I have been dreading tomorrow. I miss my Valentine, but for me its a day to celebrate real love; and anyone who has experienced real, good Love knows how good it feels whether they have it or lost it. Thank you for this post!
Kris - February 13th, 2014 at 11:09 PM
Jen, I love the heart behind your words. You have a beautiful way of speaking encouragement to so many people from different walks of life.

I too have been the bitter and brokenhearted on Valentine's Day. I also married my best friend at a young age and "lost" him two short years later at the age of 23 to a car accident. I say "lost" because his body survived but he sustained a severe brain injury. For many years I lay in the wreckage of a grieving and bitter heart. Unable to make sense of the tragedy that has taken away his ability to walk, remember things, even brush his own teeth. And yet today I can honestly say (5 years post accident) that God is good, that he is the ultimate healer of the brokenhearted, that he loves us so completely and gently, that I am often drowning in his sweet grace. Tomorrow I will stop by the nursing home where he lives on my way into work and share a cup of coffee as I help him eat his breakfast. I know this is not the original plan that I had dreamt of when I thought of love but God has shown me a love that is bigger than me, and my plans. We are no longer married, yet he is still my family and I am his main (and sole) caregiver. And one of the sweetest gifts from all of this is that he is one of the great rays of sunshine and joy in my life, despite the heartache that is a twin to the joy. So friends who are grieving and hurting, I am sending love from one broken and mended heart to another.
Jessca - February 13th, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Thank you for this beautiful post.
Laura - February 13th, 2014 at 11:13 PM
Needed to read this tonight. I fall in to the "discouraged single gal" category and these words were just what I needed to be reminded of and hear tonight. Thanks for your openness and being a blessing to those of us who often dread everything about the 14th of February.
Anonymous - February 13th, 2014 at 11:16 PM
As my husband lies asleep, on the couch( he cooked dinner ), thank you so much for sharing 'how hard it is to work at staying married. I know, he hasn't bought me anything for V-Day. He's not exciting. He's, absolutely 'boring', most of the time. But he 1) has a good enough job, 2) Doesn't beat me (lol),& 3) Will NEVER leave me! I chose him 25 years ago, this June, so I have to live with my choice. Nice guy. Have a Happy V-day to all. Been on both sides of fence. Advantages to both. Accept & enjoy!
Alison Myers - February 13th, 2014 at 11:18 PM
I have not followed you until now, although I've heard lots of praises about your writing from my Christian girlfriends...I am a young widow to 5 boys. Lost my husband while pregant with 5th. He was my soulmate, met at 16 & married at 21. I like you had never mowed a lawn or balanced the checkbook/paid the bills. We had our "roles". He was perfect for me & the best daddy to our boys. Valentines day stinks, & FB makes it even harder to see all my friends happily married & displaying what they have & I no longer do. I am touched by your writing & the heart you have for so many in different places in life. It means a lot. And you now have a new fan. Thank you for your heart.
Carrie - February 13th, 2014 at 11:39 PM
Thank you thank you thank you thank you! This is what my heart needed, although now I am sitting here as a puddle of tears.

My husband and I filed for divorce this week after several years of marriage. While it was my decision, it's hard nonetheless. Thank you for sending out love, even though you didn't know who would receive it. I'm going to hug my little girl tight and remind myself that hopefully one day she'll understand why I did this and be stronger because of it.
Kelly - February 13th, 2014 at 11:46 PM
Thank you for your Valentine! It will be the only one I get this year and the first time in fourteen years that my man and I will not be celebrating our love. Although I've never cared much for V-day, I do love chocolate and getting a little special treatment (like getting to pick the restaurant or a chick flick at the redbox ;) But this year will be different because we separated earlier this week and agreed not to celebrate. We will be spending an awkward and ironic Valentines day going to meet with a marriage counselor for the first time. I can remember our first and second Valentines days and the rest are a blur, but this one will be one for the books. The Valentines Day that we began to fight for our marriage, I bet they don't make a card for that. Thank you for your post and your kind heart to think of those hurting (I have been shamefully unaware of the pain on this day, but never will be again) and thank you for giving me space to share my story, and for others to share theirs. I have read every post so far and am so moved by all these women's stories and their hearts. Hold on, friends, God is close to the broken hearted! He is truly all we need!
Brooke - February 14th, 2014 at 12:49 AM
Your response brought me to tears. I have been in a relationship for 19 years(married for 14 of those) and have fought on and off for it. We are about to endure our 2nd attempt at marriage counseling, and I am at the point of letting go of this marriage to finally be happy, but fear it all at the same time.
I have never been on the receiving end of a romantic dinner or chocolates and roses on V-day, since he always thought this was one chalked up to be a "Hallmark Holiday"-a marketing ploy for people to waste their money on. This year is the first year I actually sat up & gave notice to the "snot-eyed flying baby" & seriously wanted to punch him in the face! Instead, tonight while grabbing some groceries at the supermarket, I noticed the huge selection of chocolates & chose to buy some for the people whom I love & not expect anything in return. That is my true Valentine to me. It may suck to be without a Valentine to love me, but that doesn't mean it has to stop me from being on the giving end!
Kelly - February 14th, 2014 at 6:54 AM
Good for you for choosing to give even though you are hurting. I hope you picked up a box of chocolates for yourself to enjoy too! Praying for your broken heart and your marriage! And that you would feel God wooing you today. He is the only lover of our soul who will never let us down. Feel His loving arms wrapped around you today. Happy Valentines Day, Brooke! ((Hugs))
Lindsay - February 14th, 2014 at 12:14 AM
You are honestly the first person that has said what I've been needing to hear, thank you!!! I'm a military wife turned newly single mom and yep, it's HARD. Today I want to take my heartbreak, leave it at the door for atleast one day and celebrate the loves of my life, my two young daughters. I love you gemma and charlotte! and you too jen, I think you're just the best because somehow you understand us all.
Nancy - February 14th, 2014 at 12:45 AM
Thank you for thinking of the many for who this day is a heart breaker. A painful reminder of what one has had, or never had, or no longer is. My son, Army SPC Kale D Clay died 2/13/10. He was 23. Valentines has become a deeper/more painful day. Full of remembrances of love and memories of treasured moments. Reminders all the love we had will no longer continue in this way and I just MISS him! You are getting a valentine from me. For your wonderful witty words, your willingness to say it how it is. Helping me to reprioritize the things in my life I thought were important.

Wendy - February 14th, 2014 at 12:48 AM
Over 30 years of being single made me disregard Valentine's Day. 13 years of being with my husband haven't changed that much. Sometimes I get him a card. I don't think he usually gets me anything. We make bigger fusses over each other on other occasions. I have to say, my best Valentine's Day memory is from when I was about 26, and it suddenly occurred to me that although I couldn't magically produce a boyfriend, I was perfectly capable of at least getting myself chocolate and flowers. I read this post thinking of my 26 year old self and her roses, of my sister who's marriage of 30 years is grinding to an end, of my never married friends, and I thank you for your grace and understanding.
Stacy - February 14th, 2014 at 12:58 AM
A friend sent this to me, and it made me bawl. As a discouraged single girl, man, it really touched a nerve to be thought of. Not going to lie, though, your line about the stats that forever love will find me threw me a lifesaver out on my sea. #hope
Kristen - February 14th, 2014 at 2:08 AM
I never thought Valentine's Day would be hard. I have always hated the commercialism. I love the unique, thoughtful, every day expression of love- not just on a day when you are "supposed" to. This year I am sad. At 38 weeks pregnant with our second child, my husband of. 5 years finally admitted to having an affair with a woman in his worship band. I have tried for the past 7 months to make things work in spite of this on going affair and his complete 180 in character, but he is refusing to end this relationship and make things right. Now that God has given me the freedom to walk away, and the divorce process has been started, I am sad. Yes, I have two beautiful little boys, and yes God has provided support and love from so many, I am surprisingly sad. I am mad when I see others take for granted their marriages, when I would do anything to have a second chance at mine (it took the two of us to get to the place our marriage was). God has a plan, and God has given me the most perfect peace through this hard time (peace even through the delivery of our baby w the knowledge I had)..... But it is nice to be able to admit here that I secretly want my husband to come home and to be sorry for what he has done and to make things right. It's nice to be able to admit that I want him to come home with flowers and chocolates and all those "cheesy" things I once despised. Love to all of you feeling sad on this day as well.
Constance - February 14th, 2014 at 2:22 AM
I fall into the unusual category of: "Happily and Madly in Love for 11 years" At age 60 I will marry this amazing man this coming September. Yes, we are going to have a Wedding, Ceremony, Flowers, Guests, Dinner and all the usual Hoop-Laa! At first I thought "Maybe I am being silly", "At my age is it crazy to have a formal wedding"? Then one special gal told me, "You know, the fun of getting married at your age, is that you can write your own script and make your own Rules." I loved her for saying that! Why not?! I love this man more then I have ever loved. Why should we not celebrate our love in a grand and special way?

Now, the reason for my post: My guy is the most caring, giving, sacrificing man I have ever met. He would do anything to make me happy , and he has proved that time and time again over the past 11 years. It's the little things he does: Making dinner when I am exhausted after a hard day, making a run to the pharmacy in the middle of the night when I am sick. Holding me when I am sad, and laughing with me when I need it most. He never leaves the house without a kiss and without saying "I Love You" ....and it doesn't stop there. He treats my adult sons with love and respect. If they need help, he is the one that they turn to. My wonderful guy has been more of a Father figure to my sons then their real father ever was! What's my point? In 11 years my guy has never acknowledged Valentines Day. He feels it's silly, and he refuses to play into the commercialism of the holiday. The first couple of years it hurt my feelings, but then I realized how much he shows his love for me 365 days a year! I have come to respect him for his belief on the subject of candy and flowers one day a year simply to proclaim his undying love, when he shows his love for me through his actions every day that we are together. Thank you for the timely reminder. Others can have their one day a year "Love Fest"...as for me, I am happy with a man that never forgets, even one day of the year, to honor our love.
Anonymous - February 14th, 2014 at 3:00 AM
Wow. What tender precious words. I married at the young age of 19 also and have been married 33 years. My husband was in a near fatal car accident 5 years ago and he changed. He became very hateful to me, we had also lost two brothers 6 months prior to his wreck. What a difficult time. Now a month ago he left. Without a word to me. He is living out on his lease and drinks his days away. If anyone would have told me this would come to us I'd never would have believed it. Our children hurt. Our youngest is a senior. God walks each day withe and I with Him. I am blessed to have a huge support system. Reading so many of the comments reassured me I am not alone and there are so many with a broken heart. Thank you for the sweet, tender words you wrote. I have walk through some difficult times, the two hardest have been the loss of my little brother and now the loss of my true love. But I do have the truest love of all...Christ!!
Mellie - February 14th, 2014 at 6:41 AM
I have been married 40 years to a lovely man who also happens to be a lawyer who calls V day "legislated love". So, to spare him, i schedule surgeries and painful dental work ( age 61 and my face is twice its normal size from a wisdom tooth extraction) so he can display what he calls genuine love. He us so bad ar the legislated kind and so good at the genuine kind.
Kathy - February 14th, 2014 at 6:59 AM
Excellent! Nine years ago on Valentine's Day, my husband's drug addiction came to light. Best. Gift. Ever. (in retrospect.) This year he said, "I guess I'll give you the traditional gift: a sober husband." For Better or Worse has been much better the past nine years.
Stephanie @ Hugs, Kisses and Snot - February 14th, 2014 at 7:10 AM
I love these words so much. My husband and I don't celebrate V-day because we don't need to. Plus I'm too cheep to spring for a sappy card when I could just spend that money on a Starbucks. But I stand w/ all the women out there who hate this holiday. Virtual hugs and support. Love to you all.
Judy - February 14th, 2014 at 7:33 AM
My husband passed away last July. he was like yours, very romantic, and always remembered everything. I am like you and could never get it right. But even though this da has mixed emotions, I am blessed with friends who make it ok. A friend sent me flowers. My in-laws sent a card. And the day has just begun. I love, miss, and remember all of the great times we had, and know that I am blessed for 20 years with a man who adored the ground I walked on. I didn't deserve it, but that was how he was. May Bod bless him.
lauren - February 14th, 2014 at 7:58 AM
oh thank you from this single mom, single gal...thank you, the most wonderful valentine I have gotten in years...
Dawn - February 14th, 2014 at 8:00 AM
I lost my Valentine in an accident 4 1/2 years ago. I have little kids and relate to the single parent, doing it all on her own. This morning my kids went out the door, armed with their valentine day cards, refusing to wear red (3 boys), my daughter is sporting pink.
If Ryan was here, he would stop by Java House on his way home from work on his big Classic, BMW motorcycle and pick up a piece of Death by Chocolate cake for us to share after the kids are in bed. He would come through the door to cheers of "Dad!" and a kiss for me. Smelling like an aircraft mechanic should. I love that smell.
Mom - February 14th, 2014 at 8:31 AM
You're a wonderful cheerleader - and oh, how I wish what you said about our children rising up to call us blessed was really true. My husband was an abusive, adulterous alcoholic with whom I stayed for 21 years because I was too afraid to leave him. I raised a daughter who loves and serves the Lord - she is a missionary in Centro America. Everyone adores her, and she adores her dad. She treats me with disdain, and breaks my heart every time we skype. Though I finally found the courage to divorce, I'll never get over the pain of my child's rejection..
Melissa H-K - February 14th, 2014 at 8:31 AM
Jen, thank you for acknowledging those whose Valentines have died. My Valentine for the last 37 years died the day after Thanksgiving. He had been sick for many years, and a lot of my mourning was mixed with relief that his suffering was over. But dang! Valentine's Day really stinks this year! I very much appreciate your kind, sensitive words, even though they make me cry.
So here's what y'all should know about Jonathan. He loved me and our children so much that we were practically defined by his love. We lived every day with the mantle of his love around us. That was what he did best, and it was the best thing that anybody could do for us. Thank you, honey. We love you, too.
Nancy - February 14th, 2014 at 8:35 AM
This is a beautiful piece for all! Having had a beautiful marriage for 28 years with a man I'd enjoyed life with for 32 years, I so feel Valentine's Day in a different way now. Thank you for your wonderful insight. And Happy Valentine's Day to you. %u2764%uFE0F
Name - February 14th, 2014 at 8:51 AM
My former wife of 16 years formally left me on Valentine's Day two years ago today, in a counseling session where she had called ahead to let the so-called expert know her plan, and he went along with it. I do not like Feb. 14.
liz - February 14th, 2014 at 8:55 AM
My husband of 6years told me he doesn't love me and never has. I am hating this day. We are still together....but I know better than to expect affection and love today :(
Suzanne - February 14th, 2014 at 9:37 AM
Thank you for these precious words. Although I do not currently find myself in any of these categories, my heart wept for friends that I know in each of them. I would also add....to the mother (and father!) of a brood of young'uns...you are loved. With spit-up and only two hours of sleep, and the last time you shaved was probably the last time you wore shorts (which was 3 pregnancies ago). And the last time the husband and you spent an interrupted time together was also 3 pregnancies ago. You are meaningful, and you don't need an expensive dinner to remember that love.
Casey - February 14th, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Thank you for this post! My mom owned a flower shop and for as long as I can remember, Valentine's Day was the most fun because it was all hands on deck, everyone working to make this day special for so many others in our community. It was the most fun and now that it's been 3 years since my mom died, my family and I struggle on this day more than any other!
Rachel - February 14th, 2014 at 11:15 AM
Jen, your encouragement through your words is so...encouraging. (another cup of coffee would have provided me with a better adjective. or being home-schooled) Thank you for your constant humor and candor!

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/ChurchandMinistry/churchhistory/st_valentine_the_real_story.aspx

I used to hate Valentines Day until I started sharing the reason for it with my children. (see above link) It's changed for me from an invented holiday full of guaranteed disappointment, (either no gifts, or too much money spent on crap gifts) to a chance to tell my kiddos that the most important thing is following Jesus no matter what the cost. His love for us is worth celebrating.
I read them this book every year:

http://www.amazon.com/Story-St-Valentine-Candied-Hearts/dp/0882640097/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392398137&sr=1-13&keywords=the voice of the martyrs
Monica - February 14th, 2014 at 12:18 PM
Hi Jen! I found your blog via Dreaming Big Dreams. I would love to subscribe, but can't figure out how.
Carmen - February 14th, 2014 at 12:34 PM
So love this. I am the category of single, never, ever had a valentine, but as I look around my 4th grade classroom and I see all of their excitement and tons of hearts and cards, and kindness..I just have to smile. Thanks for your words. They mean OH so much to me.
Courtney - February 14th, 2014 at 1:15 PM
Thanks for your awesome message Jen! As a 27 year old single gal who graduate from a Christian college six years ago, it can be difficult to see so many of my friends married, dating, or recently engaged (seriously, two people recently got engaged this week and two other friends are getting married this weekend).

But if I was given the choice to give up those six years for a relationship now, I wouldn't do it. Looking back I have grown up so much and I learned how to take care of myself and my friends and family too. Best of all, my relationship with God is the strongest it's ever been. How God desires for us to know him and depths of his love! I know that if I had a boyfriend/ husband the past couple of years I would have been very distracted and might not have the intimate relationship with God that I have now. I'm not saying all relationships distract us from God (many relationships actually enhance it) but for me, it would have been a distraction.

Tonight, I am celebrating Valentines day by having 10 beautiful single ladies come to my house for pasta, wine, chocolate, and a movie. I haven't met my mate yet, but today I am celebrating love with not one love, but 10 beautiful and amazing loves!
Blu Wyatt - February 14th, 2014 at 1:16 PM
Well, after that beautifully articulate love embrace I'm warmed:) and reminded to shave my neon white legs before my man gets home from work! He won't know what hit him sista!
Thanks for the umph!
Mom Missing DD - February 14th, 2014 at 1:41 PM
Thank you for your post. It shows love, understanding, and support (with a bit of humor too :). This is my first V Day without my best friend, my dear daughter. At 18 last October, she was called home after years of illness. I miss her like crazy but find comfort from our Heavenly Father. Please keep your eyes on pleasing Him and turn away from critical comments . . . our world is full of critical, negative people. You have a message to share, keep sharing! Love and blessings to you!
Megan - February 14th, 2014 at 1:56 PM
This is so beautiful. But even more beautiful is every precious woman who has shared her pain in the comments. I am moved to tears and am sending love to you all. God see's your pain and holds every tear.
I went through the devastating loss of my marriage years ago. I was the willing partner, the one with open arms wanting to stay and fight. I endured years of loneliness, rejection, and of feeling invisible. I remember when the sight of couples being affectionate in public caused me physical pain. I felt the sharp pain of discovering infidelity and dealing with the ongoing knowledge of an affair while I stayed home raising our two young children. I was a single parent long before I was divorced. Eventually my marriage ended even though this was not my desire. It was the darkest valley of my life. But what I want to offer today is hope. Going through it, I hoped for a somehow brighter future, but I really only had the emotional energy to get through the pain of each day. By some miracle of grace, God has given me a new life that is beyond my dreams. I am remarried to a man who loves me so well. This was never my goal, and came when I least expected it. I am experiencing love in a way I never have before. Everyday is a gift. God opened up a career for me that is beyond my dreams. I cannot believe I get to make money doing what I love. The joy I have experienced in this new life God has given me completely eclipses the pain I once endured on a daily basis. While I know every story does not end wrapped up in a neat bow, I do believe that God sees what you are going through, and the promise is true that when you sow in tears you will reap with joy. Hold on, its quite possible that the best is yet to come!
Kristen - February 14th, 2014 at 3:23 PM
thank you for this. i wrote my quick story above, but it seems I am currently going through something similar. I held on and waited until I heard God give me the green light to walk away, even though I'm still not sure the story is over for us. God wanted me to trust Him enough to let go, even though the future is so unknown. Hardest time of my life, but I honestly don't know if I would change it because of all it has taught and shown me. I've never felt or seen the Lord so clearly. Anyway, thank you for the hope that life does go on even when you find yourself in a place you NEVER would have imagined..... divorced, single mom....I hope someday to use my story to encourage others
anonymous - February 14th, 2014 at 1:57 PM
Amazing, compassionate post. Thank you so much. Although I'm among the lucky on Valentine's Day, I have a daughter in the single parent category. I try to keep the occasion low-key because I know how she must be feeling left out. Also my Valentine's Days since 1998 have been tainted with the memory of my brother's suicide on Feb. 13. Yes, the day of Love is not a happy celebration for many people. Thank you for so beautifully recognizing and expressing that. Happy Heart Day to you.
Lisa - February 14th, 2014 at 2:06 PM
Jen, dear heart, you wonderful person. Thank you so much for your encouraging post. I'm 53, one of the "parted ways after 33 years of marriage"--I left him because he had anger management problems that were affecting our teenage daughter. Separated two years, tried to patch it up, couldn't. Daughter grown up now, left the nest this summer. This was going to be a horrible day. I decided to invite six of my single/divorced/widowed gal-pal sisterchicks to come over and have a party tonight. Unfortunately, the snow in Virginia blew that thought... Oh, well... but still, God loves us and we did good. God's peace be with you.
Cait - February 14th, 2014 at 2:06 PM
Thank you so much for posting this. It is so difficult. And this was so encouraging. And I am a long way from home and the distance and various complications...short version: my fiance left me last week. We were engaged for three years supposed to get married at the end of my trip in May. I just can't tell you how much your perspective helps. Thank you.
Anna - February 14th, 2014 at 2:12 PM
Jen, I love your heart! I have been reading through all of the comments: the broken hearts, the struggling relationships, the loneliness. Thank you for giving all of these beautiful souls a place to voice their feelings about today, and also to give tribute to love ones they have lost.
Shuvawn - February 14th, 2014 at 4:45 PM
What an amazing perspective. To read the comments gives me fresh eyes to see the people I know and maybe understand their struggles a little bit more. Thanks.
Ashley - February 14th, 2014 at 5:31 PM
Thank you, Jen! I am one of the singles gals, never married and no children at the age of 33. I was holding it together quite well by pretending today was just like any other day.... that is, until I read your blog. I burst into tears as soon as I read, "To the discouraged single guy and gal". In my heart, I so desperately want to be married, but at the same time the logical side of me knows it's not the answer to all of life's problems. After reading all of the comments - yes, ALL of them - I know that I am right where God wants me. I am praying for God to bring me to the place where I'm not expecting it to happen (referencing the ray of hope comment that said "when I wasn't looking for love, I met him"). It is quite the conundrum to be hopeful and yet not think about it every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I don't want to settle because marriage is just hard. I want God to bring the man he designed for me into my life at just the right time.
P.S. Just to offer you some comfort - I don't own a grill because I'm afraid I'll blow myself up. But, I did shave my legs today - just for me. :)
Debbie - February 14th, 2014 at 7:01 PM
I am a 42 year old widow, mothering two girls (19 & 6)... My sweet and very much loved husband passed away in January 2013, after 22 years of marriage. I have been brought to tears several times while reading through ALL the posts!!, but one thing I want to share with all the broken-hearted and discouraged ladies (& men) is: "TRUST in the Lord with ALL your heart; lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths". Our Heavenly Father is not finished with you!! Let Him heal your heart, and trust Him for better times to come :) MUCH love & MANY hugs!!
Melissa - February 14th, 2014 at 8:41 PM
From one of the single gals, who doesn't mind Valentines, but will admit it would be more fun with someone else... Thank you!
Judy - February 14th, 2014 at 8:47 PM
I lost my Valentine, my wonderful husband Al, to death in 2009. He was everything to me - my life, my love, my friend, my strength, my future. I miss him every day but know that, with God's grace, I will see him again in the place Our Savior prepared for us in His Father's house. Very recently, I found the very first valentine cards he gave to me - one each day of the week way back in 1975; what an incredible treat that was! I had also kept the last valentine card he gave to me. So today, I cleaned up an old montage frame, mounted the cards, a nice photo of us at a valentine dinner and a few other pieces of memorabilia. I hung the montage, stood back and smiled. I don't smile or laugh much these days, but I did today looking at those sweet cards. Al was the greatest blessing God ever gave me. I will be grateful for the time we shared for the rest of my life. For those widows and widowers out there, I wish your broken hearts gentle healing and peace. I wish you warm memories and the knowledge that your love is still ever with you in your heart of hearts.
Anonymous - February 14th, 2014 at 9:23 PM
Thank you for your Valentine :) I'm a single mom with two young toddlers. My husband and I seperated while I was pregnant with our second child and we are now devorced and he is MIA, no child support, no contact. I moved half way across the country for financial reasons when we seperated and I don't have any "real friends" here. I'm always broke and always alone. Today has just made me feel more lonely. I truly appriciated your words of encouragement! I know my girls need me but sometimes I wish I had a adult to talk to.
Allison - February 14th, 2014 at 9:26 PM
Thank you! I really needed this. I am that single mom. This day is always hard to get through, whether I like to admit it or not. Your kind words are really appreciated!
Annie - February 14th, 2014 at 9:36 PM
Thank you Jen! I have very mixed feelings about Valentines Day. I was engaged to be married at 25 and ended up breaking the engagement b/c he was not ready to be a responsible adult, lost his job and drivers license, caught stealing from his employer, had a lot of anger issues, etc. Found out 6 months later not only had he slept with someone else (we had both pledged abstinence until marriage) but also that he was involved in Satanism and the occult. While incredibly grateful God spared me from such a disaster, I have never been married, 24 years later, and missed out on the joy of having children. Sometimes I relish my freedom, and other times my heart just aches returning each evening to a quiet apartment, no one to share my thoughts with, and eating dinner alone. My only company was my "Kitty-man" Maxx, and I lost him in July last year. Sometimes it's fun to go out with the girls for what we call "Stupid Cupid" Night, and other times, even that seems hollow and artificial. I truly appreciate what you said about being "an exquisite and capable partner" with a lot to bring to the table, and able to "enrich your marriage beyond belief..." I do have much to offer, and am still hopeful that God will bring someone into my life to share it with. Thanks so much for these words of encouragement and hope!
aura - February 14th, 2014 at 10:01 PM
So thankful for a heavenly Father who loves us perfectly and has no favorites!!!! Even the purest of love this side of eternity pales in comparison to His perfect love. I pray a gigantic hug for all those hurting tonight...I pray you allow yourself to press against His chest and feel His heartbeat and know that He is madly in love with each one of us!!! Take it to the bank...HIS LOVE WILL NEVER FAIL!!!
On a different note..Jen thank you for staying to talk to each and every lady on line that waited to talk to you after the IF gathering..as they were taking the place down around you...you are sweet and warm and fuzzy ( evidence in this post ) and ohmygawsh....so funny!!! My friend and I were one of the last on line that kept hugging you and taking pics...from NJ...and to God be the glory...you radiated Jesus!! love ya!!!
Holly - February 15th, 2014 at 7:26 AM
Dave Aldridge. I miss that guy! There are many moments I still can't believe he is gone. Yesterday, on Valentine's Day, my son came in and asked if we could share memories of daddy, which is exactly what we did, as well as watch videos of him biking, laughing, camping, trying to conquer Dance Revolution and other crazy adventures. I miss the fun Dave, for sure, but what makes me weepy is the commitment he had to our marriage. We were in the category of "to those struggling with their Valentine" for a couple years and they were dark and hard, but I am so beyond grateful for every counseling appointment he religiously dove into, every book he read, every wall he let down and for leaving this world loving me and our kids with every piece of him. Dave, we miss you every second of every day.
Elizbeth - February 15th, 2014 at 8:48 AM
Five years today I lost my husband. The day began with hope of a possible cure . . . by the middle of the day he was gone. . . . to our Creator. 32 years of marriage ended. Valentines only brings those memories back to me in a rush wishing it was six, eight, ten years earlier so maybe I could change the ending.
Tabitha - February 15th, 2014 at 11:57 AM
Thanks for the thoughtful post that includes people at all stages of life%u2026some just trying to get through the day%u2026and quickly. The retail world wants us to focus on romantic love, but If Valentine's Day is about love, then let%u2019s make it about love all around.

Embrace the love you have for those in your life%u2026close friends or family, your children or grandchildren. Embrace the love you share with your best girlfriend, your sister, your parents, your grandparents, etc. I%u2019m single and never been married at 43 and for Valentine%u2019s Day, I mailed my mother a Valentine%u2019s Day card to remind her how much I absolutely love her. (I know she%u2019s missing her Valentine of 46 years, my dad who died two years ago.) I also put together a small goody bag of Valentine%u2019s Day treats for the girls in my bible study group. That was fun.
Alicia - February 15th, 2014 at 12:25 PM
This is such a great blog post, you write so well Jen Hatmaker! Keep it up, your posts are always so comforting and so darn funy.
Leigh Ann - February 15th, 2014 at 6:50 PM
I am AWFUL at Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries. I really need to hire someone to take care of that for me. Solidarity in the shaved legs, because that's about all mine got too, along with the good hair day I happened to be having.
Haverlee - February 15th, 2014 at 9:51 PM
Thank you for this, Jen. I knew the whole time my part was coming but I still welled up with tears when I got to it. Thank you for honoring my fight.
I also cracked up at the part about lacking life-skills when you marry young. I married at 19 too and always feel like a school kid bringing home important papers to my dad. "Here's something that looks important honey. Please don't ever die. I don't know how to fill out a W2."

PS. My last blog post was about how 7 is changing my life. And I'm only through chapter three. Thanks for paving the way.
Donna @ Cooking Praying - February 15th, 2014 at 9:58 PM
So thoughtful of you to think of those of us for whom the DAY simply hurts. My husband left me after 30 years of marriage. Eventually I met another, much kinder man. I wouldn't marry him because he wasn't a Christian. He became a Christian just before he died. (Thank you, Lord. I think.) So I call that day with hearts and dancing cupids VD. Seems appropriate.
Sam - February 16th, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge all the people who are saddened on this Day. It was a very thoughtful, kind, generous post. God bless you. And as a widow, I just want to say that when I was married, I was in a bubble and honestly didn't think about all those that were not for one reason or another. I now "get it" and God has definitely broadened my compassion to the whole other world of singleness. I read the other day that if Valentines Day makes you sad, reach out to someone else and make their's a good day. Walking outside our own situation always helps.
danielle - February 16th, 2014 at 2:24 PM
I wish more people knew about the history/meaning of Valentine's Day that is SO much richer and deeper than the sentimental stuff Hallmark represents. It's the celebration of a man who was martyred. And much of the story has little to do with romantic love (as wonderful as that is) but legend says that Valentine gave hearts to Christians in Roman prisons to encourage them in the love of Christ. Valentine's Day can become a day to celebrate love and encouragement of all types, not just the romantic.
Vertical Mom - February 16th, 2014 at 8:33 PM
I was vomiting out my guts on Valentine's Day while my husband fulfilled MY surprise idea of chocolate fondue and a movie for the kids. THAT is true love. Bless it.
Mike - February 17th, 2014 at 1:06 PM
Thanks for the Valentine. Not usually a big deal for guys but it sure didn't hurt. Your willingness to reach out to single parents in a very genuine manner was impactful. I am a single dad of a teenage boy I adopted from Russia ten years ago when he was 8 years old. Being a single parent has not been easy and it can be very lonely. Your comment about needing to be mom and dad really resonated. There are times when my son's background in an orphanage for many years impacts things in ways that I cannot fathom or readily help manage. But he is without question the single great blessing in my life. I had become distant from God and any formalized worship, but the calling to step up to the plate and adopt an older child and the great blessing brought to me through my son's adoption opened up a new path to Jesus that I could never have imaged possible. Thank you for being a voice in the crowd reminding people that Christians are not cookie-cutter people, but that we are unique individuals who build families, face struggles and grow to serve God in diverse ways. Blessed are the poor in spirit, Blessed are those who mourn, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the peacemakers . . . Matthew 5:3-9. God bless.

jess - February 18th, 2014 at 8:00 AM
So... I'm a little late to the party, but my Abba knew I needed to see this today. I've been grieving all weekend and couldn't really put my finger on why. My 2 boys made dinner on Friday night (with the help of my mom - Thanks mom!) and they made my day special. But it also marked the 1-yr anniversary of my ex marrying his new wife. Thank you for sending a Valentine to those of us who feel forgotten and marginalized while still presenting a strong face to everyone else around us.
Blessings!
Elise - February 18th, 2014 at 11:57 AM
I loved this post! I lost my mom in September & it had to be a difficult day for my dad! I usually get chocolates, maybe some flowers from my hubby of 22 yrs. This year I was in the hospital & got a lumbar puncture (spinal tap ) for Valentine's Day! I hope Cupid's arrow doesn't hurt as much as that did!
Teresa - February 19th, 2014 at 1:23 PM
Valentine's Day was a little hard for me this year as I stood beside the bed of my 85 year old mother. She took her last breath on Valentine's Day. As I listened to different people share what they got for Valentine's Day I wanted to scream. Enough with the gifts, I lost my mama.
Lucendia - February 21st, 2014 at 9:10 PM
Teresa, my heart breaks for you. I lost mom nearly 25 years ago and sometimes the pain is still acute. Losing her on Valentine's Day would be very painful. I will speak your name in my prayers and pray that God eases your pain with time and replaces it with all the wonderful memories of being allowed to have your mom till age 85. I lost mine when she was 62.


Christina - February 19th, 2014 at 9:22 PM
St Valentine was pretty awesome... Valentine's Day is a wonderful day to extend Gospel love to many... and/especially to the persecuted Church (such as was Valentinus). Anyway Hallmark has hijacked a day honoring a bold & godly man who died defending both marriage & Christ's love.
Jenny - February 22nd, 2014 at 9:51 PM
I am so pitiful, but can anyone tell me how to follow this blog. Thank you for not judging me :-)
Shelly - March 10th, 2014 at 9:59 PM
Just now catching up on your last several entries. Talked about you this weekend at my birthday get-away weekend with my Mom and sisters. We love how you make us laugh and cry. And once again, these last two blogs didn't disappoint!
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