Roses, gifts, candy and hearts all serve as beautiful representations of Valentines Day. Memories of past Valentines Days often remind us of special moments we have shared with those we love. One such Valentine memory stands out in my mind, but it did not include the "traditional gifts."
On February 14, 1993, I was asked to sing at my first wedding. It was the second marriage for both the bride and groom, and the ceremony was to be held in their home. Having never sung at a wedding before, I charged them a whopping thirty dollars for two songs. If you have had the privilege of hosting a wedding lately, you know thirty dollars is quite a bargain. The bride and groom got a deal, and I was grateful for the opportunity.
Three days before the big event, my duet partner was called out of town and let me know he would not be available to sing at the wedding. I tried desperately to contact the bride and let her know we would need to choose another song, but I was unable to reach her. The day of the wedding, I nervously approached her and let her know, with much regret, that I would not be able to sing one of the two songs she had requested. After breaking into tears, she let me know that I would need to learn another song. Two minutes before the procession began, I wrote the words to the new song she requested, pinned them to the back of a chair, and sang with perfection as she ascended down the staircase to meet her two hundred guests. After the wedding was over, I quickly got my thirty dollars and headed toward my car. This was one Valentine's Day I wanted to forget.
As my date and I approached our car, we realized that the two hundred guests were parked behind us and had blocked us in. We had a plan. There was a small hole between the house and cars that would allow for our escape if we could drive through the bride and groom's front yard.
As we cautiously proceeded through the yard, my little car slowly passed the long column windows where the guests were seated in the house having dinner. They looked in disbelief, and suddenly, our worst fears became reality. It had rained a lot that week, and we were stuck in the bride's front yard.
The guests came out to move their cars so that a member of the wedding party could pull us out of the mud with his truck. After he also got stuck, more guests came to move their cars to make room for the wrecker who would now pull both of us from the mire. The wrecker charged $75 so my gig as a wedding singer had actually put me $40 in the hole.
As the wrecker removed my car, two large, wet, muddy ruts were left in the ground. The bride and groom would have a constant reminder of my attendance at the wedding. Although I longed to run when I saw the ruts, I approached the bride and groom and offered to pay for the damages.
Little did I know, God would use these ruts as a gift to me. To my surprise, the bride and groom began laughing, telling me how much entertainment I had been for the guests. The bride even apologized for being so harsh about the song, claiming she had forgotten to call me back during the midst of all the wedding chaos. I thanked them for their graciousness, and used the driveway this time as my means of escape.
This bride and groom were a shining example of I Corinthians 13. They chose to react with love and kindness. Kenneth S. Wuest, who brings out the meaning of each Greek word in I Corinthians 13: 4-8, translates this scripture the following way:
"Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others. Love is kind, gentle, benign, pervading and penetrates the whole nature. Love does not brag, not does it show itself off…love believes all things, hopes all things, bears up under all things, not losing heart nor courage. Love never fails."
Perhaps you would like to leave more favorable "ruts" on the hearts of the ones you love this Valentine's Day? Make I Corinthians 13 a verb in your life. Candy is easy to buy. Giving of ourselves sacrificially and unselfishly costs us something. What action can you perform this Valentines Day that will leave a lasting impression, or "rut," on your loved one's heart? Get creative. Do something drastic! Leave a "rut" that is such an amazing demonstration of love it will last for years to come, and when they look back on this Valentine's Day, they will know you were there.
I Corinthians 13 became a beautiful rut on my heart when I married my husband, David, on February 14, 2003. I pray that I leave loving "ruts" on his heart daily that help him to soar.
Shannon Perry is a speaker/singer whose new If The Shoe Fits women's conferences combine her teaching prowess with her musical talent. Perry's new music CD entitled The Real Thing (produced by Lifeway writer/producer Paul Marino) features songs specifically written to fit in with the theme of the conferences. Perry wrote the bulk of the original presentation in hospital waiting rooms while her husband was undergoing cancer treatment. Perry earned her Master's Degree in Education with an emphasis in counseling and taught in the public school system for over fourteen years before entering into full-time ministry. She has previously-released music projects with both Daywind and Benson Records which garnered radio airplay on the national Christian charts. She has performed with the Houston Symphony and has even appeared at Carnegie Hall. She has been a featured soloist at the J&J Music Conferences in Houston, Texas, and led praise and worship at numerous women's conferences and for the national Lifeway conferences held annually in New Mexico and North Carolina. For more information, visit www.ShannonPerry.com