Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentines Day: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

I was looking back to this post that I wrote last Valentines Day.
Some parts made me laugh because they were eerily similar to this year.
Like this part:
Valentines Day is different when you have kids. For example, the thing you meant to write about your husband in honor of the day doesn't get written because you fall asleep at 8 o clock, teeth unbrushed and fully dressed, exhausted from nights up with kids coughing in your bed and needing steam showers in the middle of the night. 
There is laundry piled on the dining room table and dirty dishes in the sink.
You eat in.
You talk about the kids during dinner.
It isn't about candlelight and roses.

That is very nearly the exact replay of last night.
We were planning on relaxing together and watching a movie.
Except 2 of our kids were up at 10 watching a cartoon after waking them selves up coughing so hard that one threw up.  
What is it with February and our kids having terrible coughs?

We cleaned one up and comforted the other and while Aaron was helping Lilly fall back to sleep, I fell asleep on the couch, fully dressed and teeth unbrushed.
I was pregnant and exhausted then and I am pregnant and exhausted now.

The laundry was all done, but is now piling up because the "new to us" dryer installed yesterday, was falsely advertised and is not working.
I had to chuckle at how much my life is the same.  This is obviously the season I am for a while.

But as I continued to read last year's post, this part really hit my heart hard:

Because life isn't always romantic. Sometimes it's a baby crying in the middle of the night. Or something much, much harder.

And you can't make it through without real love.
This kind of love:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Little did I know when I wrote those words how much harder it was going to get.
Just a few days later we learned we had lost our baby.
And Aaron and I set out on the most difficult of our 17 years together.

I am so thankful to be here now.
That through the tears, the anger, the frustration, and at times, despair of this year, God has shown me the truth about real love.
It is hard.
It is hard to be kind, to not be self-seeking, to not be easily angered and keep no record of wrongs.
It is hard to always trust, hope and persevere.
But that is the love that never fails.
That is God's love and that is my model.

I love Valentines day.  I always have.
The first party I ever threw on my own, in 4th grade, was a Valentines day party.
Flowers are wonderful, romantic dinners are fantastic, cards are cherished, but when all those things fade away and times are dark, real love, the hard kind, is what sees you through.

I love my Valentine more today than I ever have before.
To be up with him at 4:30 this morning with another kid having another coughing fit, to laugh about him picking me up a special Valentines breakfast at McDonald's (not a fan of McD's), to know that our kids will be tired and cranky and coughy again tonight, but to just be happy that we are here together, well, that is the best Valentines gift of all.
It's real and I praise God for it!

These verses, from Ecclesiastes 4, were a part of our wedding:
9 Two are better than one,
   because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down,
   one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
   and has no one to help them up. 
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
   But how can one keep warm alone? 
12 Though one may be overpowered,
   two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Happy Valentines Day friends.
Hoping your day is filled with all things love: the silly, sappy kind and the real kind.  
Love from,


Four Flights said...

"When all those things fade away" so true. Happy Valentine's Day Greta.

Imperfectly Yours, Kimm said...

Loved this Greta! Thanks, I'll be passing it on.

katie said...

Perfectly said.

Betsi* said...

Happy Valentines Day, sweet. This made me cry a little. You are such a beautiful soul and a lovely woman of God. Thank you for being my friend. It's an honor. <3

Pam... said...

Ministering words. Real. Grateful. Thanks.

Aaron Eskridge said...

This is the most meaningful, and precious, Valentines day that we have celebrated.
Thank you for your love.
I feel so fortunate to share this day, and the rest of my life, with you.
I love you darling.

Your valentine forever,

Summers Family said...

Such a beautiful and heartfelt post Greta. I love it and appreciated the reminder. Real love is hard, but so worth it.

So, I am going to get off the computer and go snuggle with my valentine because as you pointed out that although I have 3 sleeping children right now, that may not be the case all night :-)

Happy Valentine's Day my friend.