“Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story– those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.” Psalm 107:2 

Valentine’s Day is today, and while Netflix is teeming with rom-coms and happily-ever-afters, real life isn’t quite as formulaic as my favorite chick flick. There is no soft filter smoothing the fine lines on my face from where I smile, and no theme song playing in the background. I don’t have a trendy assistant/best friend that brings me my coffee while we banter about our latest shenanigans. And I don’t wear Gucci or Prada.

My story is a little less shiny. There are seasons of joy and sorrow, faith and doubt. There are times of courage and times of fear. I’ve experienced love, romance and marriage, with flowers and all the feels and mushy stuff. There have also been hard days, when we honestly didn’t know how we were going to work things out.

My husband and I know the joy and challenges of having two awesome kids.

We know the pain of grief and the hope of heaven as we wait to meet loved ones again someday.

There have been detours and windy roads, ambiguous places where it wasn’t clear what to do. Whole chapters of my life story are all about waiting, and then waiting some more. And every now and then there’s a lightning bolt of clarity and direction, launching me into a new and exciting adventure.

But as I look back over my 39 years, I see another story as well. The story of Jesus, at work in my life, laughing when I’m goofy, crying with me when I weep, redeeming my pain for purpose and standing by me triumphantly in victory. His presence has been constant, even when I wasn’t looking for him.

God has written my story into His bigger story of love. He has gone to the greatest lengths to make sure that we can be with Him, secure and loved. His love is true and perfect. God’s love drives out fear. It’s patient and kind, and keeps no record of the wrong we do. It endures all things. In fact, the theme of the entire Bible is the story of God’s unfailing love for us!

This is the firm foundation upon which our identity is grounded. Who we are at our very core is “beloved by God”. On days like Valentine’s Day, it can be tempting to let the world’s expectations, or even our own, creep in and stir up comparison and disappointment. But regardless of our relationship status, how many friends reach out on Facebook to wish us a Happy Day, or how pampered we feel, we can know, without a doubt that we are loved by God.

There’s a hymn I grew up singing in church and it is one of my very favorites. I think it perfectly captures the peace of being so beloved by our Lord.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Our life may not be perfect, but we can have the perfect love of Jesus. He never abandons us, he pursues us and protects us. We get to experience that perfect submission and rest that the song speaks of. We are filled with God’s goodness and can get lost in His love.

What’s more, when we embrace our belovedness to God, we begin to see the belovedness of others. It changes how we interact with the world around us and gives us a heavenly perspective. We feel more loved by others because God is first and foremost filling us with His perfect love. We can in turn, show love to others who need it, and live a life with our minds free from comparison and insecurity.

Let this be your story and song too! Rest in knowledge that the God who created the universe and all things in it, thought the world needed one of you too. You have value and worth, and are deeply, and profoundly loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day friend!