You Are Loved.

you are special and loved

I struggled with figuring out what to say to you today.

I seriously wanted to write a message about love because Valentine's day is tomorrow, but if there's one topic that's as foreign to me as an android phone — I'm just saying — it's the topic of romantic love.

Since I have yet to experience the kind of love that people celebrate on Valentine's Day, I'll do my best to share the only love I know.

I'll never forget the day that my mom told me, my sister, and my brother that our dad was very sick. She took us out to dinner and explained to us that daddy was going to have a kidney and pancreas transplant surgery.

I was 11-years-old at the time and didn't fully understand the severity of her words.

I knew that my dad was on dialysis because I remember him saying that unfamiliar word—dialysis—when I asked him about the bandages on his forearms.

Daddy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 9-years-old.

Growing up, I would see my dad testing his blood and giving himself insulin injections, but I never thought it was something out of the ordinary because it was all I ever knew. So, when my mom told us that he was sick, I was a bit confused.

Sick? From what?

My dad's diabetes led to kidney failure, and a transplant surgery was the best option for him to lead a healthy life.

But that wasn't all.

That night, my mom told us that she was going to be having surgery too. Being by my dad's side through the hills and valleys of life was definitely enough, but my mom took love to another level — she was going to donate one of her kidneys to him.

I learned a lot about love through my parent's actions.

My mom loved my dad more than life itself and was willing to donate one of her kidneys to save his life. That was a huge risk that she was willing to take and an admirable act of love.

You see, true love is demonstrated through our actions and behavior. But, to truly know what love is, we must first know who love is.

God is love.

I grew up with born-again parents who loved God with all their heart and kept Him at the center of their marriage. My dad worked full-time for the church I was raised in, and both of my parents served in various ministries.

Letting God lead their decisions was their accustomed lifestyle. So, as desperate as my mom was to help my dad, she yielded to God when He ultimately closed the door for her to donate one of her kidneys.

Only God knew that my dad was going to meet Him in heaven two weeks after his surgery, and He needed my mom to be strong for all the changes that were about to take place.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."

— John 15:13

The greatest gift we can give anyone is love because that's the greatest gift that was given to us by God. Jesus not only was willing to lay down His life for ours, He did.

His love is the only love that I've known, and it was exemplified to me first by my parents and their selfless acts toward others.

Even when I took the path of the prodigal's son (Luke 15:11-32), living a little in the world, God welcomed me back with His arms-wide-open. And as I began to abide in Him, He revealed Himself to me in an even more real and personal way.

God’s love saved me and made me whole.

I don't know whether you're single or not, but I do know that you are loved unconditionally and important to God. He knows every desire in your heart and hasn't forgotten about you.

Just last week, I was thinking about some of the things I've been praying for, and God revealed to me what it might cost the people around me if He was to fulfill those desires right now.

My mom made all the necessary preparations to donate one of her kidneys to my dad, but at the last minute, God said no.

Although people can live healthy lifestyles with only one kidney, my mom is currently raising two hyperactive boys — a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old. If she would've donated one of her kidneys, 16 years ago, would she be healthy enough today to raise the boys?

Only God knows what our decisions will cost others, which is why His way is always best. Because of His precious love, He protects us even when we don't know that we need protecting.

So, when everyone is celebrating Valentine's Day tomorrow, remember that God loves you more than any significant other can ever love you. His love is the only love that doesn't have an expiration date and can completely fill every void in your life.

You may not always be able to see the spinach salad with ginger dressing being made in the kitchen, but you can trust that God is always at work preparing what you need nonetheless.

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

- Romans 8:28

Happy Valentine's Day (in advance) <3!

What's the best example of God's love that was shown to you? As always, I'd love to hear from you. Head over to the discussions page, and I look forward to chatting with you.

You were born to do great things. Stay encouraged!

- Mags