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Better than a shiny, heart-shaped balloon

Another holiday is passing us by. This time, it’s Valentine’s Day, and we’re separated again by necessity–me and our little Livi in a hospital and you working hard for us at home.

Doctor’s orders and the baby still growing inside mean no sweets for me. But heart-shaped balloons, dropped off by a volunteer, are floating around the room and I wore purple in honor of the day.

Shiny as those balloons are, I know they are not what love is made of.

Love is you on a rough night–jumping out of bed more times than I can count, making sure our Olivia is OK, and trying to let me sleep.

It’s you working so hard all day to build a company and then coming home to do more than your fair share.

It’s you–still trying to make me laugh even when my mood makes the effort seem futile.

Your unrelenting faith keeps holding on to God and His love and His Word, no matter what you see. I lean in when things get hard–me leaning on you and us leaning on Jesus.

Filled with hope, you talk about the future, and my heart is strengthened.

You pray, and fear flies away.

*****

They say St. Valentine was martyred for performing secret weddings for Christian couples during a ban on marriage.

Whether that is true, I’m not sure. But I know real love comes through sacrifice. I know it, because I’ve seen you live the truth right in front of me–the gospel of Jesus Christ in vibrant color.

I don’t know what I thought love was going to be like when I fell for you over a decade ago. It’s been a long time, and the person I am today is so different from that 19-year-old girl.

I do know this–that my heart aches to offer you even a measure of what you’ve given me. That my prayer is for God’s kind of love to multiply in me and shower you with the overflow.

With all of my heart, I also know that if time were rolled back, I would choose you again.

I do choose the man you are now, today and every day for the rest of my life.

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