February brings all of us the vision of Valentine’s Day and red hearts and white lace, flowers and cards and candy and Cupid and the word “love” used with smiles and hugs. I was thinking about how casually some of us use that word. We love our pets, our relatives (well – most of them), sometimes our jobs, a dear friend, our children, our spouses and parents, our grandchildren – maybe our car, our house, a special piece of jewelry, a certain smell, some foods, a certain movie or song. We use that word so loosely. “I love this,” and “I love that.”

        Love covers a whole range of things that are nothing more than what we “like,” or something that is our “favorite,” or something that moves us and brings forth a smile or a sigh or a deep emotion – gratefulness, thankfulness - an endless array of “feel good” things. We “love” those things.

        But what is love – really? "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . . .” How many of us would give up our own child for the benefit of strangers? Or how many of us truly love someone out of deep need and adoration? How many of us would give up our own lives for someone else?


     Sometimes I think we over-use the word “love,” to the point that it begins to lose its meaning. How many times have you left someone’s presence with the words “ - love you!” Did you mean that? How about signing a message or a letter with “Love and prayers,” or “Love from xxxxx?” Don’t get me wrong. Love is a beautiful word, and it makes other people happy when they hear it. It’s a good word to use, and I tend to over-use it myself. We certainly don’t leave a party with a “Hate you!” to the host. We don’t sign letters that way, or hang up the phone with a “Hate you!” But I think we should weigh the value of those three beautiful words – “I love you.”


     Love, to me, connotes an EMOTION of the deepest kind. Are you emotionally attached to dark chocolate, or it is just a favorite food? Are you emotionally attached to a movie or a pair of shoes, or do they just give you pleasure? Gratefulness, pleasure, enjoyment, laughter – we “love” all the things that bring out those feelings, but true love is so much more than that.

        My love for a puppy isn’t the same as my love for my husband of 55 years. When you love – no, adore – someone that much for that long, you become one in thoughts and desires. You finish each other’s sentences. You respect each other’s differences and love them for those differences. You want to please, and you appreciate your spouse’s loyalty and devotion, and the fact that they are always there when you need them. You continue to see each other as still twenty years old, even with gray hair and wrinkles. And if physical love becomes impossible (for any number of reasons), you still desire your spouse and remember why you fell in love with him (or her). That never changes for two people truly “in love.”


     This  picture really touches my heart. Look how beautiful this woman is. Just think of what she might have given up to follow her husband west. When I look at this picture, I see true love – sacrifice – devotion. The story A LANTERN IN HER HAND is the epitome of sacrificial love. It was the first book I read that made me want to write something similar. It’s a MUST READ, and it is the basis for so much of what I write when it comes to the heroine and what she will do for the man she loves.


       This Valentines, I hope you remember to tell your spouse how much you truly “love” him. Tell your God how much you truly love Him, your children how much you love them, your parents and siblings – but I hope you recognize all the different kinds of love and respect the true meaning of the word. We have all heard the term, “I love you, man.” But we know that kind of remark means little. The best love comes from looking deep into a person’s eyes and meaning it in the deepest, most beautiful way . . . “I love you.”
PLEASE NOTE:  My Street Team members are in for a special giveaway treat on Valentine’s Day, so check Rosanne Bittner’s Heart of the West Street Team (Facebook) page to learn more about how you can win a lovely Valentine’s sweater and an Amazon gift certificate!



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