On Love Notes and Hearts

When I was a freshman in high school, I had an intense crush on an older boy. We’re talking intense, y’all. It was orderline obsessive, actually, and looking back, my behavior and feelings were completely unwarranted. I hardly knew him, save our experiences in first period Health & Safety class, and he literally didn’t know I existed.

As friends can do, mine were determined to change that. Dissatisfied with my passive approach to life, they habitually put me in ridiculously awkward situations in the name of “making something happen” between the two of us. Their feeble efforts to arrange a mutual romance reached a painful climax on Valentine’s Day. Unbeknownst to be, they bought him one of student council’s fundraiser valentines (a balloon, I think, and a handwritten love note) in my name.

I was lucky enough to get to see him and his friends share a laughing over the note at my expense in the hallway after school. That was awesome.

Seeing my devastation, one of my friends invited me to her house that afternoon…where later that same evening she called the guy and forced me to talk to him…during which I found out that his own student council valentine, sent to another girl, had resulted in their becoming a couple. Awesome. Just awesome.

Until that point, Valentine’s Day had been a fairly insignificant day. That year, though, Valentine’s Day became something different for me. It became a day of mockery and rejection and a string of elaborate reminders of painful loneliness.

My feelings about the holiday continued, really, until my now-husband and I were dating. As the month of February crept along toward the 14th, we avoided the topic until one of us awkwardly pointed out that “we should probably talk about” the inevitable. We both hesitated before revealing our mutual distaste for Valentine’s Day (which made me love him even more) and since then have done little but exchange cards in celebration of the day.

The thing is, as so many people celebrate the excitement of new love or the comfortable reassurance of mature love, I know there are many people who have no such love to celebrate today. I’ve always been aware that those massive bouquets of red metallic balloons and conveniently-placed displays of roses don’t make everyone’s hearts flutter. They don’t stir up anticipation in everyone. They don’t inspire everyone. For a lot of people, those worldly displays of romantic love are cruel reminders of past and present pain.

I get that. Our world….it doesn’t make it easy.

So today – the day of huge boxes of chocolates and balloon bouquets and mushy love notes – I want to tell you about something my daughter and I have been doing for several years. It’s become a big thing for us, and as people around us learn about it, others are joining in.

We look for love notes from God. All the time and everywhere, we seek out God’s love notes to us.

It started simply enough, with a heart rock in my path on a particularly discouraging day. That heart was a whisper to my heart: I love you. And that day, as God whispered His love to me in such a tangible way, His presence with me became more real.

As my daughter grew and learned more about God, I began explaining those hearts we would find in random places: “Those are love notes from God, honey. When you see one, remember how much God loves you.”

She’d bring me one that she had found somewhere – a tiny heart-shaped piece of paper from the hallway at school or a heart-shaped piece of a stick from the playground – grinning from ear to ear as she told me, “God’s really lovin’ on me today!” And I’d smile and nod, looking her right in the eye as I confirmed, “Yes, baby. Yes, He is. That was just for you.”

Sometimes they’re perfect hearts. Sometimes she finds one that doesn’t look like a heart to me, and sometimes she can’t quite make out the heart in one I show her. Sometimes I don’t even show her one I found, because it’s so personal.

But every time she finds one or one catches my eye, I smile, knowing that God is right there and He’s loving on me in a very real way. I have a bowl full of rocks, shells, and even pieces of broken concrete that bear that familiar symbol.

That may seem silly to you. When I talk about this, a lot of people give me that look that says, “Really? You’re a grown woman….collecting rocks….because they look like hearts…?” I get that it seems strange and, possibly, a little childish.

But here’s the thing about it to me: in God’s eyes, I am a child. I am His child and He is my Father, so He loves on me in the same way a daddy would love on his little girl. A daddy finds the things that are important to his girl. He gets to know who she is and what she likes, and makes an effort to enter into her world in order to keep a place in her heart.

My Abba Father is no different.

Friend, our God is enormous. He holds this entire universe in His hands and all of eternity in His sight. He is majestic and in all and over all and knows all. He is big…but He is not so big that He is separate from the small things of the world. He is not so busy that He can’t make time for you. He’s not so important that He doesn’t care what matters to you.

Because sweet friend, He knows what’s important to you. He knit you together and put those things in you. He knows your heart better than you do, and I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is important to Him that we are constantly reminded of how much we mean to Him.

Valentine’s Day is a weird day in our society. We spend exorbitant amounts of money to make sure that the ones we love are sure of our affections on that day. We don’t want to overlook them on that day. We don’t want to fall short on that day.

But God? He has gone to exorbitant lengths throughout history to make sure we would be surrounded by His affections, and He never lets a day go by without reminding us in big or small ways that we are His beloved. We’re never overlooked and He never falls short.

You may not get any balloons or flowers today. You may be sitting at home with an unromantic dinner, or may avoid turning on the TV because of what you know you’ll see. But be assured of this, my friend: you are loved. You are treasured. You are valuable. You hold the immense affections of the One who created your heart, and He is continually going to extravagant lengths to secure His place there.

I’d love it if you started looking for God’s love notes to you! Maybe it’s hearts. Maybe they’re crosses. Maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, and however He shows you His love, share it with us. You can find all of my love notes on Instagram by searching these hashtags – I’d love to see yours there, too!

Seeking Him,

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