Today was a special day for me! Not only was it Valentine’s Day, but I got to help out my mentor, Pamela Crim, by leading the 6:00 a.m. Daily Devotional call for our BIG Life Mentoring girls. I had agreed to help her out as long as I could find a Valentine’s Day devotional online and then read it for the morning’s call, making sure to cite my source, because there was no way I could come up with something and write it on my own. I was pretty nervous taking on this task, but I love a challenge and it would definitely push me out of my comfort zone.
I searched for awhile and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Nothing I came across had the feel or sentiment that I wanted to convey while also referencing the Bible verse that I chose to use. Time was ticking away and I wasn’t any closer to having a devotional picked out. A knot of nervousness balled up in my stomach when I realized that in order to get exactly what I was looking for, I was going to need to write the devotional myself. Could I really pull this off? I have never led a devotional before…and writing one from scratch…well, that’s just crazy!
With my new goal in front of me, I quickly dove into researching the Bible verse I had picked out, which was from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV). What did Paul, the author of this letter in the Bible, mean when he wrote these words to the Corinthians? How can we apply his writings to our lives today? I was gathering lots of good information and it was time to begin putting it all together into the kind of devotional I had envisioned.
The cursor blinked as I stared at the empty page in front of me. Things started out well. I began with my welcome, introduction, and the Bible verse I would be using, and then…nothing. I was stuck. No thoughts or sentences were forming in my head. I started to panic a bit. I started thinking that I wasn’t capable of actually writing this devotional. I thought to myself, “Okay, God, you’re gonna have to help me out with this.” It was time to do something that I should have done from the very beginning.
I put down my phone, closed my computer, and began to pray. I thanked God for the opportunity and challenge that was before me and I asked him to calm my nerves and let his words flow through me and onto the page. I sat with my eyes closed, in the quiet of my living room, and focused on the words and meaning of the Bible verse that I was using. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and picked up my computer to begin writing again.
Slowly, ideas and words began trickling into my mind. Thoughts became sentences and after a bit longer than I thought it would take, I had a Valentine’s Day devotional sitting on the computer screen in front of me. Wow! I could hardly believe it. I smiled to myself and thanked God for his assistance in giving me the words to write.
I messaged a couple of my friends to see if they could help me out by reading through what I had written. Meri was the first one to get back to me, so I emailed it off to her. She read the devotional and said that she loved it. Whew, what a relief! I needed confirmation that all of the words I put onto the page made sense and formed coherent thoughts and she said that they did. I was still needing a title and Meri had a couple of ideas for me. I ended up choosing her suggestion of “All You Need Is Love” because it fit perfectly and was a cute little nod to England and the Beatles at the same time. 😉
Below, you will find the transcript of the very first devotional that I, along with lots of help from God, have ever written. It wasn’t easy and it’s not perfect, but I persevered and got it done. This may be the one and only devotional that I write, but I wanted to share it with you all in case there is something in there that you need to hear. I hope you all enjoy the devotional and have a very happy Valentine’s Day!
Good morning, beautiful! Happy Valentine’s Day! Are your feet on the floor? Are you ready to begin this new day of life? This is Nicole Donovan from the Leadership Team and I am taking over the devotional call for Pamela today. I am leading this call for the first time EVER internationally, all the way from England!
Today’s devotional is titled “All You Need Is Love.” The scripture is from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) and it says, “(4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (8) Love never fails…”
It’s February 14…Valentine’s Day. The day where everyone celebrates LOVE. Flowers, cards, and candy are bought in abundance to be given to the people we love. You know, the commercial side of this “Hallmark” holiday. I do participate in the “Hallmark” side, but I truly enjoy the more personal side of it.
When I was still at home in Illinois, I would always make a special meal of lasagna, garlic bread, a salad, and homemade chocolate-dipped strawberries for my husband and our two boys for Valentine’s Day. I would set the table with a red tablecloth, the nice dishes (instead of our usual paper plates), a couple small candles, a vase of flowers, and a Valentine’s Day card with a Reese’s peanut butter heart for each of my guys. I wanted to take this day to make sure that my guys knew that I loved and appreciated them. Well, since I moved to England on January 15th of 2016, today marks the second year in a row that I’m not with all of my guys to make them their special Valentine’s Day dinner. I feel a little ache in my heart when we can’t be together for the traditions that we’ve created as a family, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t show my husband and our two boys how much I love and appreciate them in other ways on this day and throughout the rest of the year.
So, let’s look at our verse and break it down to see how we can show love in a godly way to our family, as well as other people, every day. I will read a part of the verse and then follow it up with a few questions for you to ask yourself…
Love is patient. Are you showing patience when you interact with others? Do you constantly rush your kids along to hurry up? Are you already thinking of your reply instead of truly listening to your husband when he talks?
Love is kind. Are your words and actions kind? Did you thank someone for helping you? Did you smile at the checkout lady as she rang up your groceries? Did you give someone a compliment?
It does not envy. Are you celebrating the successes of other people? Are you focusing on the blessings in your own life and of others?
It does not boast. Are you being arrogant? Did you help someone without any thought of being recognized for it?
It is not proud. Are you being humble? Have you served others rather than serving yourself? Could you take the time to visit someone in the hospital or nursing home?
It does not dishonor others. Have you brought shame or humiliation to someone? Did you snap at your child in front of others? Are you honoring others by your conduct and attitudes?
It is not self-seeking. Are you insisting on having your own way? Are you willing to put the best interests of your marriage in front of your own wants? What can you do for someone else today?
It is not easily angered. Are you slow to anger or do you fly off the handle at little annoyances? Did you yell at your child for spilling a drink? Could you take some time to chill out the next time you’re upset before reacting in frustration?
It keeps no record of wrongs. Do you drag up things from the past? Are you letting bitter thoughts and memories cloud your happiness? Have you thought of forgiving someone for wronging you in the past?
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Are you trying to justify bad behavior or are you celebrating good behavior? Are you finding joy in what is right and good in your marriage or with your children?
It always protects. Are you using love to protect and strengthen a loved one? Are you using your words to build up your husband and your children? Are you focusing on things that encourage the people you love?
Always trusts. Do you question the love you have for someone or is your love unconditional? Are you ready to believe the best about people? Can others trust and rely on you?
Always hopes. Are you able to be hopeful and show confidence in others? Are you willing to wait and have patience and not give up on the people you love?
Always perseveres. In the tough times, is your love persistent? Do you consistently seek the best for your loved one? Are you working hard to continue to love even when life throws curve balls at you?
Love never fails. Is your love rock-solid? Do you love with an everlasting love? Are you living your love as a verb and not a noun (as an action, not a thing)?
To wrap up all of what I said with a pretty, little red bow, I am going to read a short excerpt that I came across in a Valentine’s Day devotional from rightfromtheheart.org from a few years ago…
“But what is real love? It’s not lust or an emotion, or merely a sentimental state of mind. There is romantic love, and the love of family and friends. But, the Bible tells us the highest love is not based on feelings, but a commitment of our will. This love is patient and kind. It’s not envious or arrogant or rude. It’s not selfish or easily angered. It doesn’t keep a record of how others have wronged us. It puts up with a lot and endures with hope. It doesn’t run away when the going gets tough.
Real love never stops loving. God IS love – real love. Have faith in Him and you can experience true love. His love will empower you to show real love to others.”