Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Treasures

Valentine’s Day is always a fun time for my family.

When my daughter was about three years old my husband Michael created a special treasure hunt for us to enjoy on Valentine's Day. He hid small candies throughout our home for the family to search for. This treasure hunt is a tradition and a highlight of every year.

The hidden candies are fairly easy to find at first, but it gets harder and harder to find them after the most visible ones are found. Michael hides some of the candies in such concealed places, that we never find all of them on Valentine's Day. A great part of the joy in the hunt is that we always continue to find the candies unexpectedly during the days and months ahead.

Our anticipated Valentine treasure hunt is very much like life. When things are going smoothly, it's easy to see and enjoy the treasures. But during the difficult seasons, it can be a tedious thing to find and focus on the treasures. They have to be tirelessly sought after because they are hidden. But it is the hidden treasures that are truly the most valuable.

Without the storms, I don't believe I would have ever discovered the priceless treasures of life.

In January of 2006, Michael was self-employed, running a graphic design business with another design artist. The small company was suffering and eventually had to be shut down, leaving us with a very small income. This gave our family the opportunity to look for treasures in the midst of adversity.

On Valentine's Day that year, we had very little money and we knew we couldn't buy gifts or cards like we had done in previous years. We decided to make hand-made cards for each other instead of giving presents and store bought cards. Since then, we’ve looked forward to designing our homemade cards every year.
One year, the card my husband made for me had a huge heart on it, symbolic of the love that has grown in our marriage. My daughter made me a card with pictures and words that remind me of all that God has done in my heart. On the front of the card that my son made for me when he was ten years old was a colored picture of a rainbow, a storm, and a heart in the middle with a sword stuck in it. He had written words in that hand-made card that later proved to be prophetic. “Remember a rainbow comes after a storm. This is how you reach your heart’s goal.” Those were such words of wisdom from a young boy.

Each year the cards are more meaningful to me. They are irreplaceable—something that money can't buy. And even though my husband now has a good career, we realize that the best things in life are free (monetarily). I don’t want to ever forget those times of being in need. Our family learned the most important lessons we will ever learn.

Every year as I embrace the words and the love expressed through each of these handcrafted cards, I thank God for the storms of life and the blessing of my Valentine treasures.

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field..." Matthew 13:44 NIV

Live Abundantly!

This post has been updated and revised from a piece originally written in 2008.

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