February 2020

valentinesHappy Valentine’s Day! Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was blessed and filled with happiness this Valentine’s Day? In God’s eyes we’re all blessed, because He views us through the blood of His Son, but in reality, so many are blinded, lost and defeated by the world.

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” 1

A Heart-Breaking Response…

I answered Jennifer’s letter, and she poured her heart out to me and brought me to tears.

“Just knowing someone else out there knows a little about what I’m feeling helps. I suffer from PTSD, bi-polar depression, anxiety and manic-suicidal thoughts. A struggle every single day not to commit suicide. It is very scary at times. Suicide is the easy way out, and I know that. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed it seems like the only way out. That sounds so selfish, but it is my truth.

“I am also addicted to Percocet. I have had knee problems since I was 13 and have had five knee surgeries. I need knee replacement, but I’m too young. I got addicted in the last few years. It’s ruining my life, and you are the first person I have ever admitted my narcotic addiction to. My doctor is working with me to break the addiction, but man, it is really hard. People have been telling me since I got out of prison I had an addiction but I didn’t want it to be that addiction, you know?

I have hurt a lot of people through my addiction. I have compromised, begged, stole, lied, and everything else. I’m very ashamed, but getting help. My mental state has been a mess since my girls’ dad died in November 2016. He died so unexpectedly and quickly. We hated to love each other and loved to hate each other. He died of an accidental methadone overdose. He was a full-blown drug addict for ten years. He was my high school sweetheart and one and only love. He also fathered the two most precious girls ever!

“I spiraled out of control after his death. I introduced alcohol into my life, as well as Xanax. I have been a mess, Charles. So I guess I have multiple addictions. I felt so ashamed until years ago I read your story. I have wanted to write you for a long time. There was a reason God put the pen to the paper, and I’m relieved. I am an open book, so I confessed my sins to you. Is that okay? I’m praying for you. Thanks for writing back, and for listening to my life. Blessings, Jennifer, KS.

I’m Concerned for Jennifer…

It has been a few months since I received her first letter, and I didn’t hear back after my second response, creating more concern. I feel my ability is so very limited when it comes to helping anyone. Besides, who’s really listening? I did send her a card yesterday, hoping to hear back soon. I’m concerned for her and her children’s lives. Maybe you need to send someone a card too?

Regardless, in these times, I know my heavenly Father hears my prayers, so I pray for those the Lord places on my heart, rejoicing that we have a two-way conversation going on continually. I pray “…that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 2

Jesus, Our Valentine…

I remember as a child in school, going to the Five & Dime Store to buy valentines for my classmates, especially for the girls. I would secretly pass one to a girl, who I was attracted to in hopes of receiving one in return. I’m still writing a classmate to this day. I’m sure we can all recall those times we have been attracted to someone, but those times have come and gone, until possibly one lifetime partner shows up.

Remembering the father of her children, Jennifer said, “He was my high school sweetheart and one and only love.” For her loss, my heart goes out to her and also to all of us who have had our hearts broken. But there is a love that is so much greater that flows from the throne room of God through our Savior, Jesus Christ, our true Valentine. “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.3

Jesus Is the Answer…

We all cope with life challenges differently, but for some reason Jennifer could identify with my rescue from the shame of the crimes. I can identify with her loneliness and the way she dealt with her pain. But now I understand that Jesus took our pain upon Himself, giving us the power of the cross, the power of the resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit to turn our hearts from sin to faith in God. He became my closest friend and companion. This is the answer to all our pain. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” 4

I never heard back form the woman I am calling Jennifer, though I sought her by tears and letters. She is in my heart and prayer to this day, as I’m sure yours too. I know the Lord is chasing after her to be His Valentine. Whether Jennifer, myself or you, Jesus is our Valentine, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 5

Often, I receive letters from those who have Jennifers in their lives. It takes a divine touch to open their hearts, like with Lydia in the book of Acts. “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.6 We can only do so much, but God “…is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” 7

A Prayer for You…

Jesus, my Valentine, I give You my heart to create anew and to cleanse with your precious blood. I confess that You are my Lord, Savior and Righteousness. I believe in my heart that God raised You from the dead. By faith in Your Word, I receive salvation now. Thank You for saving me!

Father, I recognize my need for Your power to life this new life. Please fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit. B faith, I receive that filling right now in Jesus’ name! Thank You for baptizing me Holy Spirit; You are welcome in my life. Amen!

Scripture References (NKJV):

1) 2 Col. 4:4, NLT
2) 1 Jn. 1:3
3) 1 Jn. 4:10, NLT
4) Eph. 2:8
5) Rom. 5:8
6) Acts 16:14b
7) Eph. 3:20

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