“I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth.”
Janis Ian – At Seventeen
I believed this lie which posed for truth long before age seventeen. As a teenager, I desperately craved the approval of my peers. Like most girls, I needed to belong like I needed air to breathe. I hungered for acceptance and would do whatever necessary to get it.
While not exactly an ugly duckling by teenage standards, neither would my classmates have described me as a beauty queen. I had certain body parts and features that I just hated. I had packed around an extra ten pounds since puberty.
I was poor and being raised in Mormon territory by a two pack a day cigarette-smokin’, part-time Jehovah Witness, single, hardworking, mentally ill mom on welfare. I managed to carefully guard this shameful secret until the summer of 1982.
I was sixteen then, when life as I had always known it was blown to smithereens. Out of the ashes something beautiful began to grow. God picked me up, poured his love over me, took hold of my hand and never let go.
The truth, my friend, is that real love is not only for the physically attractive, but for everyone.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11.
In response to God’s great love for us, as followers of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors and our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us. Matthew 22:36-39; 5:44.
This Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that no matter what you look like, who you are, where you have been or what you have done, you are loved. Life is worth living. You are not alone. You can enjoy the sweet fellowship of Jesus Christ if you will accept him as your Lord and Savior.
Love is yours for the taking and the giving. You have the incredible opportunity to bless someone else who may be lonely or hurting right now through a simple act of kindness. Look up from your circumstances and seek out someone who needs a friend with whom to share a cup of coffee or a meal. Deliver a card or a flower or the gift of your company to a neighbor, a widow or widower, a stranger or friend. God will not only make you a blessing, but you will be blessed.
Don’t wait for the valentines to come to you. This Valentine’s Day, be a valentine. Love.