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Last night we had a fabulous family Valentine’s Day.  We spent the evening just enjoying each other.  We made an easy, family friendly dinner and as we sat around the dinner table we were talking and sharing about our day.   I asked my son to share one reason why he loved his sister…then I asked her the same about her brother.  Then they started asking us about what we lo about each of them.  We spent a long time sharing reasons why we loved each other and just affirming each other.  I have to tell you…it did this momma’s heart good to hear my children share such fond, and touching reasons why they love each other!  Especially since that is NOT how they act all the time (or even most of the time!).

But when we had gone a couple of times each and my son asked his dad to share another reason why he loved my daughter….SHE replied, “Because we have the exact same nose!”.  We all BUSTED out laughing.  I had a mouth full of food and almost choked and then laughed so hard I was almost in tears!  This is so funny to me because I remember when I was pregnant with her…..my husband and I were having a conversation about what she might look like and he specifically said, “I think she will be beautiful!  I just pray she doesn’t come out with my nose!!”.  We all just had a good old fashioned belly laugh!  It was so good to be sitting around the dinner table sharing such joy and laughter with my family….DEFINITELY very high up there on the best Valentines memory list!

It was also last night that out of nowhere, my son’s heart showed itself in a huge way.  I have to say that it totally caught me off guard.  We were all bantering and talking and I was standing at the stove preparing dinner.  We were all in the kitchen and he ….. out of nowhere…… said, “So mom….is February 22nd the worst day of the year for you?”.  By the time he finished his question…he was standing behind me with his arms wrapped around me.  I looked over at my husband, with tears in my eyes, and just softly answered, “yes.”.  He just continued to hold me and he said, “I thought so. I’m sorry.”.  He gave me another squeeze and went on about his evening.  I, however, took a little longer to put myself back into the “happy” compartment.  It is times like this that remind me that I don’t have to go through this alone…I have a others to go through this with. Bryce loves me and his brothers….and is getting old enough to share my sorrow with me…..and that is huge!

So….I am thankful today for a blessed and wonderful Valentine’s Day.  I am thankful that I got to see more glimpses into my children’s hearts.  I am thankful that deep down, they really understand what love and family mean.  I am thankful that their daddy, loves them…and me…with all his heart.  I am just blessed.

Today I thank God that as I prepare and go through this next week…leading up to “the worst day of the year” for me….as my son so eloquently put it….I thank Him for the constant reminders…… that I am so blessed to still be here.  I am still needed on this earth. I am still in search for the purpose He would have me fulfill…….and that love runs deep in my home.  I am thankful that as we shared what we loved about each other …… each person’s heart and how tender and sweet …. was one of the first things shared.  I thank God for growing each of us…in His time.

I seek your prayers….for as strong as He is, I am weak.  This is a difficult time.  Joy is still present.  But so are memories that hurt very deeply.  For the next few weeks I can share with you so much about where we were and conversations we were having 15 years ago…..  This can sometimes comfort me…but also torment me. 

I know my God still, and always will, sit on the throne!  I know He will guide my path, as He always has, and strengthen me in this time.  I know all of this… but the pain is still very real and present.  Sometimes it seems it would be easier to just hole up….stop reaching out…and not go on.  That is why I need, I crave, nights like last night!  More blessings…more silver linings….to keep me moving forward ….. in order to fulfill my purpose and get me closer to my eternal Valentine’s celebration…where all our hearts and souls can reunite and rejoice together….forever!

Share love, joy and laughter with those around you.  You may never know how much they may need it!

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Well….it’s February!  HEART month! 

As my kids prepare this weekend to make their annual Valentine’s boxes for school this weekend….it has made me take a look at what has been going on in my heart and in others around me.

This past week has been a little difficult for me.  Last week there was a senseless tragedy that is similar to my own that made national news.  I have had several wonderful people reach out to me and ask if I am ok…..and offer (much needed) prayer for me during this time. 

Part of what is so difficult though…really hit home on Thursday night.  It has really made me reflect on the “condition” of our hearts.  Not if we have clogged arteries or an irregular heart beat……but the condition of how much and what we allow to Break Our Hearts!

When was the last time your heart broke?  When was the last time your heart was so broken you felt like you couldn’t breathe?  When, my friend, was the last time your heart was broken to the point you felt called to action?  When…..have you felt for someone else….and not been able to sleep because your heart broke for them?

I spoke at a small gathering this past Thursday evening.  I shared my story and the story of my family to a group of some very strong and courageous people!  One lady, at the end shared with me that she remembered my story. She said she cried for a week every time she thought about it.  That took me back a little.  I mean, I remember crying for weeks….DUH!…..but she was a total stranger.  Yet….her heart broke every time she thought of me or my boys or anyone in my family……broke to the point of tears.

Does this still happen?  Or have we closed off parts of our hearts so that we don’t feel that deeply any more?  I know that there are more and more tragedies just like mine that happen much more often and they barely get any mention any more because it seems so common place! 

Allow me to share a couple of stories with you that highlight some people that allow their hearts to still break….

The first is a friend of mine who just this past week sent me a text and asked me to pray for a very difficult situation.  She asked if I could help her grasp the idea that something she was trying for just wouldn’t happen and that if she could just grasp that reality it wouldn’t hurt as much because right then…..it hurt a LOT!  I told her I would pray …… but I also told her that getting our hopes up is not a bad thing!  We hope for the best and have trust…and that is what we are called to do!  Yes…it leaves our heart more vulnerable for hurt….but also makes us more compassionate and caring and moldable!  I asked her to not close her heart or stop expecting….because that allows HIS plan to unfold and we will be open to it!  Hurt is a part of life. 

The second is a friend who has opened her heart…and her home….to foster children.  She has a heart that is burdened by these sweet children “who haven’t done anything to deserve what is happening!”.  I so often hear others say, “Nope.  I couldn’t do that…because when they came to get that baby and give it back to its mom or dad…I’d be like….No way!  I’m too attached!”  or…..they say, “How can I do that to my kids….let them get attached to a child like a sibling only to have them ripped from their home and break their hearts?”.  I love the way her heart has broken for these children and the way she looks at it…  She says, “How can I NOT….take these babies in?  They didn’t do anything to deserve this.  And if I don’t take them…..who will?  A shelter is not what these babies deserve.  They deserve a home where they are loved like they are a part of a family.”.  And that is exactly what the little boy she has now is experiencing …..  a family that truly loves him.  She encourages the parents to work their plan to be able to have their child back as soon as possible…. and KNOWS that her heart will break when they do and this baby is placed back into it’s parent’s home.  She also knows her children will have a hard time…..but also knows that she wants to teach them that this is what we are here to do….to make a difference in the lives of others…..to let God break our hearts for something…and not just sit on the sidelines and gripe or hope that someone else will do something about it…..  To let our hearts BREAK………  for others……

Just like the sweet lady I met who cried for a week over my loss…..  a stranger.

So…..this heart month as you prepare to give a Valentine to someone you know and love…please also take a little time to check the condition of your heart.  I truly believe that the more our hearts break……the bigger they can get.  Let’s not get so desensitized to what is happening around us that we don’t think there is anything we can do about it.  God can do anything…..He just needs a willing heart to step forward to show His love…..

~cheli

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