Friday, February 15, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Valentine's Day, picnics in the rain and life lessons

The Day After Valentine’s Day
A devotional by Victoria Bylin

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:38-39 (NASB)

You know you’re young and in love when you go on a picnic in the rain. My husband-to-be and I did that on our first Valentine’s Day together.

We’d been dating for about two months and nothing could stop us from enjoying time together on that special day. We looked up at the ominous clouds, shrugged, and spread the blanket on the lush grass in Will Rodgers State Park, a beautiful spot near the Pacific Ocean.

The first raindrops sprinkled halfway through the afternoon. Big and round, they were few and far between. We nibbled away at our thick deli sandwiches, exchanged mushy cards, and savored being in love—until the clouds let loose with a deluge. That did it! Happy and laughing, we gathered our things and ran for the car. But even then we didn’t care about getting wet.

We were brand new Christians at the time—in love with each other and in love with God. Our faith was in the honeymoon phase, where dreams are born and newness abounds in the fresh wash of God’s forgiveness. In those first heady days of faith, we trusted God without question and loved both God and each other without condition.

That rainy day picnic was many years ago, but it still stands out in my mind as a picture of love in the face of difficulty. My husband and I have been married many years now, and speaking figuratively, we’ve been on a lot of picnics that were washed out by rain. Through it all, we’ve hung on to God and to each other.

Nothing—not even an epic storm—could separate my future husband and me that day. And nothing—read that list in Romans 8:38-39—can separate us from God’s love for us.

It’s pure joy to worship the God who stays with us in the rain. I want to be that kind of wife, mother, and friend. I can’t do it in my own strength. My humanity leaks all over the place when I’m uncomfortable with situations or other people, but by the grace of God, I can love others because God first loved me.

It’s amazing to realize that God called each one of us into fellowship with Him—that He chose us to love and be loved, and to share that love with others.

We give chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s day. The chocolates are eaten and enjoyed; the flowers bring beauty to homes and hearts. Those gifts are meaningful because of the love behind them, but nothing compares to the generous love of the greatest giver of all.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving me just as I am!

Author Bio:

Victoria Bylin is the author of 18 traditionally published romances. Known for tackling difficult subjects with great compassion, she delights in stories that shine the spotlight of God’s love on ordinary men and women facing realistic challenges.

Writing has always been a part of Victoria’s life. As a child, she wrote hundreds of letters and scribbled in journals. As an adult, she worked as a freelance journalist and editor before taking on the challenge of fiction.

She had one goal when she started her first novel: to finish a book-length manuscript, good or bad. That first effort will never see the light of day, but it led to a second manuscript and a sale to Harlequin Historical. Since then, she has written westerns and contemporary romances for both mainstream and Christian publishers, with Together With You winning the 2016 Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary.

Writing is a joy and a challenge for Victoria, but faith, friends and family matter to her far more. She’s a wife, mom, proud grandmother, and a dog-mom to a wacky Jack Russell Terrier. 

Originally from California, she and her husband currently make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys long walks, travel, and dark chocolate.

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