Guest Post by Jasmine Baucham
I don't believe there can be anybody here who doesn't revel in Jasmine's blog, Joyfully at Home--if you somehow have never made it over there, you must check it out (and that's an order)! In honor of our blogoversary, Jasmine has written a wonderful post for us celebrating the beauties of Valentine's Day and giving a new twist on it for us single young women. Although we're posting it a few weeks after Valentine's Day itself, it's still February, and I know you will enjoy this delightful article as much as I did!
February brings the dawn of what was always one of my favorite days as a little girl: Valentine’s Day. Never having had a proper valentine, I still loved to watch men frantically buying flowers, chocolates, and the little gifts that come in velvet boxes for their loved ones. I fantasized about my own velvet-box-gift: a ring of white gold –a sapphire snug between two diamonds –a promise. Oh, yes –even as a little girl, I was a hopeless romantic.
Something we hear a lot about on Valentine’s Day, though, and any day when love is mentioned, is our heart. Whether we’re talking about the chubby cherub with the bow and arrow or saying things like, “You’ve stolen my heart!” or “You have the key to my heart!” or “You hold my heart!” or “The heart wants what it wants!” or, unfortunately “You broke my heart!” the heart we’re usually thinking of isn’t the fist-sized organ in the left side of our chest that pumps blood through our veins. We’re talking about an idea: the seat of our emotions, the core of our desires, the emotional influence over our will.
Although the “giving of a heart” to the man of our dreams is, indeed, a romantic notion, heartache is also a stinging reality. There’s a reason why Cupid’s arrows are so deadly –unlike his fellow mythical figure Artemis, his arrows are not painless: they sting just like a real arrow in the heart would. And when we’ve had our hearts broken –our hopes disappointed –some of us would swear we feel a gaping pain similar to an arrow shot right through the heart. It’s crippling –it’s devastating –it’s bitter –it’s damaging. It’s a pain that –if carried into a relationship afterwards, no matter how strong the relationship is –can hobble us.
As Christian young women, a phrase we so often hear is to guard our hearts! But how do we guard them? Where can we put them? So often, we hear young women saying that their father’s hold their hearts until marriage: what does that mean? Does a dad hold our hearts the same way our husbands do? Do our husbands hold our hearts the same way God does? What about our moms? Do they hold our hearts, too?
Romance is a slippery concept to grasp in the Bible. Although there are many principles about purity and accountability, you will not find the word courtship in Scripture. What you will find, though, is a verse that has helped me in my understanding of guarding my heart:
My son, give me your heart,
And let your eyes observe my ways.
What people usually mean when they say the phrase “give your father your heart until marriage” isn’t so much akin to casting aside all romantic feelings and giving the reins to those feelings to your dad as much as it means trusting your father (and, I would argue, your mother) in matters of the heart… as we ought to trust their guidance in all matters. We are functional human beings with independent feelings and desires –unless we have a supernatural gift (1 Corinthians 7), teenage girls are not going to have utterly platonic thoughts. But while thoughts of romance are natural, they can also be damaging when they are not zealously guarded in a quest for emotional and physical purity.
Consider the Proverbs –they are a wonderful example of the kind of heart-giving we’re talking about here. Turning our eyes to our parents and observing their ways –making our heart’s desire to honor them, and to learn every biblical principle we can from their words and actions. Proverbs 31:10-31, some of the most beloved words about biblical womanhood ever spoken, were the words of a mother advising her son about seeking a wife.
This Valentine’s Day, if you’re a single woman like me without a real valentine to speak of, I offer this challenge: turn matters of the heart over to your parents. If you’re struggling with discontentment, share that with them; if you’re struggling with romantic inclinations, share that with them; if you’re perfectly content, praise God with them! Their wisdom is invaluable in matters of the heart!
Above all, though, if you have been blessed with parents who seek Christ, and who seek to help you protect your heart from enemies both foreign and domestic –praise God for them. And look forward with anxious anticipation to the day when the three of you will sit down and talk about the young man who will open that velvet box to reveal the sapphire (or diamond, if you’d rather) that represents the promise that he will cherish you, and walk alongside you as you strive to glorify the ultimate Holder of our hearts –the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:37).