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It’s Valentine’s Day. The Taylor Swift lyric of holidays. Sweet. Sappy. Romantic. I think I got a cavity just writing that sentence.

Watching all the Twitter @ mention and Facebook wall post love flying around this morning (you know, those online digital expressions that have officially replaced the paper Hallmark cards and handwritten notes that are so 2003) got me thinking.

I’m a ridiculously lucky man.

Today, I woke up next to my beautiful Valentine of 15 years. We’re light years from perfect (and we know it), but our undying commitment to one another has led us on quite a journey. An adventure that now includes three little valentines and more undeserved love than we know what to do with most days. Valentine’s Day reminds me to celebrate this.

But I’m not ignorant. I also know this day threatens to swallow some of you. To remind you of what you don’t have. What you fear you may never have. Or maybe something you’ve lost.

An unexpected divorce.

Your annual tax filing status (once again) checked single.

A bouquet of flowers laid on a gravestone instead displayed in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Brokenness. Pain. Whether by poor choice or no choice of your own. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Today, as everyone else celebrates with balloons, candygrams, and romantic dinners for two, you quietly mourn.

I wish I had neat, easy answers. That Rosetta Stone Scripture that could clean it all up, snap it into focus, force it to all make sense.

But I can offer hope. Our God understands our sorrow.

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.”
-Isaiah 53:3

So if you find Valentine’s Day more bitter than sweet, just know you’re not alone in feeling alone. Pain is far too often a real place. God didn’t design you to live there. He doesn’t want you to stay there. But if you are there today, just know that He will be right there with you.

My God is close to the brokenhearted.

Lay the First Brick

Erik Cooper —  December 3, 2010 — Leave a comment

Yesterday I spent the morning across a coffee table from a heart wrenching story. A young man who’s past is marked with substance abuse, felony charges, and broken relationships.  A lost decade.  And the reality of beginning a journey he should already be well into is simply too much for him to carry.

Alone.

Scared.

Paralyzed.

The distance between where he currently is and where he knows he should be is so great, he’s completely unable to see the other side of the chasm.  No vision means no hope means no ambition means no action.

Means despair.

Grace is free.  God makes beauty from ashes. But there is no “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” waiting to magically re-build your life in seven short days (barring inclement weather) while you vacation in Disney World.

It’s a process. One you can’t do alone.  One you don’t have to do alone.

It’s time to lay the first brick.