Often for Valentines, I remind parents (and myself) to focus on the love of God, the love of family, the love of friends and the love of our children – not just romance. It just seems that on this holiday, there is so much focus on romantic love that families need to be reminded that that is not the only kind of love to celebrate! Romantic love is great, don’t get me wrong, but, it seems to come and go in many of our lives. At Single Parent Advocate, we used to do a Valentine Dance for parents to come with their kids, do crafts, and celebrate each other. It was always a fun time, and I hope we can bring that kind of spirit into our homes and LOVE EACH OTHER!
When romantic love is fleeting, it is easy to look in the mirror and really get down on yourself. We do this by focusing on all the things we cannot be, or cannot do, or cannot have. For example, I find myself always wanting to give a little more, do a few more chores, participate in more activities, read more, cook more, clean more…look better, be more fit, be more smart….you name it. So much so, that I have become my own worst enemy.
Honestly, if we question our ambition – why do we do this to ourselves? Is it because we do not LOVE ourselves? This is especially important for us as single parents to explore. After all, it is said that you cannot love others, unless you first love yourself.
Well, that is a tall order. How do you even do that? Especially when our opinion of ourselves is so often centered on others’ opinions and evaluations of us even when we know that everything cannot be perfect.
So this Valentine’s Day, I want to send you a little love note – a message in a bottle – if you will. Picture this little note floating your way and surprising you with a message that has come a long way and is just for you – and picture it on the inside being a truly good thing – filled with exactly what you needed – and may have given up on.
I want you to stop a moment, and close your eyes, breathe in, and imagine yourself just as you are–being accepted, appreciated, and fulfilled. Picture your family and friends and even God lovingly smiling at you with warmth and care. Then look at yourself in the mirror, and do the same.
Love yourself. Really? Where do you even begin? Especially when so many around you are quick to say all the things you are not. So…let’s begin right there- let’s begin with what we are not:
- Make a list of all the things that you ARE – not a list of all the things you are NOT. We are not designed to be everything to everyone. Expecting that of ourselves is unrealistic and unachievable.
- Then, trim that list to the things that you LIKE about yourself, what you are proud of, or what you enjoy being capable of.
- Include what you are thankful for in your life. What are unique things about you that have really made you pause and say thanks.
Remember, who you are is not equal to what you do or don’t do. You are not the sum of your failures.
You are unique, and you are incredible. You have amazing potential.
You deserve to be loved – especially by the one you see every day in the mirror.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your families. May it be full of all the kinds of love there are!
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
Stacie Poythress is a passionate leader whose personal journey through divorce and unemployment as a single mom drove her to serve families facing the same challenges. She began a Single Parent group in her own church. In 2010, she used her corporate and personal experience, amid her own fears and tears, to establish Single Parent Advocate. Since its inception and by the grace of God, Single Parent Advocate has provided assistance to hundreds of single parent family members in collaboration with area schools, non-profits, churches, and business leaders.
Stacie has since re-married and together, she and her husband, Steve; alongside their team, push forward to bridge the gap for single parents and their children. For more information, visit https://www.singleparentadvocate.org/
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com