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ust we have Valentines Day again? I groaned. A day focused on love.

My mind slipped back to the game we played with wild daisies: he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not plucking the petals until there were none. Clenched in my hand was a bald flower representing my love gauge. Maybe youre dreading this holiday too. Growing up we stuff envelopes with candy hearts, wondering if love will ever find us. Since television and movies entered our lives, weve watched happily-ever-after stories where the good guy wins and the bad guy gets whacked. The underdog rises and slimy dude goes to jail. Evil fails and the heroine rides off with prince charming. Unfortunately, someone forgot to give my supporting cast the script! Can you relate? Maybe your prince charming isnt so charming, or perhaps he rode off in another direction. Take heart, God is still writing your love story, and mine. Pauls prayer holds a promise for us in Ephesians 3:16-19, I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lords Many of the love stories holy people, to grasp how we come across seem wide and long and high and perfect except theyre deep is the love of Christ ... missing one thing: a For years, Pauls prayer about the deep love leading role for us! So of Christ didnt seem real we search for our part to me until I met her. of that all-sustaining She WAS rooted and establove, sometimes our lished in love, it oozed whole lives. If youre from every pore! In John still searching, take 4:13 Jesus said, Indeed the heart. All-sustaining water I give him will become in him a spring of water love is waiting for you. welling up to eternal life. Heres what you need My 96-year-old neighbor to know to find it for WAS that bubbly spring. yourself. After surviving the depression, losing a son in WWII and caring for her invalid husband for 11 years, how did she get rooted in a love that poured out onto others? I found a clue one day in the worn

out Bible on her coffee table. It was open to Isaiah 46:4, Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. God knew we often have a hard time believing, so He repeated two things, two times in one verse; I am he and who will sustain you. In other words, dont look for sustaining love anywhere else, because you wont find it. No one or nothing else can take His place, but He cannot come if anything else is in the way. Even good things. When we put children, friends, or even our service to Him above knowing Him, we remain helpless and often feel unloved. The Hebrew word for sustain is saad which means to give support, relief, nourish, confirm, refresh, validate. Heres what it looks like for you and me: If youre flat worn out Ill revive you. If others rip you apart Ill build you up. If your heart is dehydrated Ill refresh you. If you feel insignificant Ill validate you: APPROVED!

by Luann Prater

In my mind, I can still see my neighbor, slightly hunched, tootling across the street to counsel and console this worn out, ripped apart girl. She modeled Christs deep love. It was real in her everyday life. She didnt have to put her game face on, His glow permeated her wrinkles. She knew Jesus. The family resemblance was clearly recognizable in her life and her impact on my life was eternal. I finally understood that my circumstances didnt matter, so long as I was rooted in Gods love. Winds blow and life gets messy, yet when God is our sustainer, His love takes root. Listen, He is whispering, Grasp how wide and long and high and deep My love is for you. You are My Valentine. We are deeply loved. Let that take root. v

Luann Prater is wife, mom and grandma. She is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, executive director and host of Encouragement Caf Radio. Luann steps through open God-doors and encourages others to do the same. She is a contributing author for Gods Purpose for Every Woman, The Reason We Speak, At His Feet Journal, Absolute Boundless Abandon Bible Study and Encouragement for Today online devotions.