Practical Discipleship: Valentine’s Day

Valentines’ Day is just around the corner. For some, this is cause for rejoicing because the day brings love and lots of chocolate. For others, not so much. I remember as a single girl in college not liking Valentine’s Day a whole lot. Regardless of your personal feelings about it, each year it rolls around and each year we have the opportunity to ignore it or use it to grow our faith.

One year, a family who lived near us and had three daughters joined us and our two daughters and we celebrated Valentine’s Day by blessing our girls with their favorite foods and then taking time after the meal to talk to them about the greatest Love of all sent to us in Jesus. As parents, we washed their feet and spoke a blessing over each of them and demonstrated what Love really looks like so as they grew they would have something to compare all other “loves” to.

At church one year, I created take home communion kits for the families that attended that included juice, crackers, and a special Valentine’s Day liturgy. Parents and kids could celebrate communion in their home while celebrated the greatest Love that was even given in the gift of Jesus.

This year, I want to share what my friend Judy is doing with her kids. I love Judy’s heart for discipleship. She has embraced her calling as the primary faith former of her kids in ways that are both tangible and creative and I am so grateful to be able to share her Valentine’s Day discipleship here!

Tomorrow is February 1st and I’m prepping these cute little mailboxes like it’s ValenMailboxChristmas Eve! ❤️💜❤️ For the past five years these mailboxes have made an appearance for the first 2 weeks of February. Inside each box every morning is a TREAT & a TREASURE. The treat is usually some junky stocking stuffer that I got on clearance after Christmas. The treat is what the kids anticipate and get excited about but it leads to the treasure. The treasure is a little note about God’s love. Some days it gives them an assignment based on a scripture (I took a picture of our treasures for the first 3 days so you would get an idea of what I’m talking about).

I don’t know about you but I am sick & tired of the way our culture defines love. In our society, love is whatever feels right. If it makes you happy, then it must be right. “Follow your heart.” IT’S ALL LIES. 

The Bible tells us that love is not “self seeking.” In other words, it’s not about you!! It’s about being humble, kind, patient… it’s about putting another person before yourself.

Parents have a responsibility to teach their kids that love is not always about a feeling, it’s a decision…. a decision to show love even when you don’t feel like it. Learning to love the way Jesus did starts in your home. We don’t have this concept mastered AT ALL, so every year we take 2 weeks and purposefully focus on what God wants love to look like. ❤️💜❤️

It’s not too late for you to snag this idea. Just do it for 7 days the week before ValenLetterValentine’s Day. It will be a fun surprise for your kids. Go to Target and get a little tin mailbox out of the dollar bins (I’m sure other stores carry them). Buy a couple prizes or get a bag of Hershey Kisses. I think the prizes are important. Kids speak the language of fun. If you just put a note in their mailbox, they won’t care one bit about it. Make it FUN! Below are SEVEN comments with generic devotions that you can just copy and paste into a Word document. Add your own kid’s name or your own thoughts and you’ve got a FUN way of teaching God’s word.

Day 1: The Bible says, “Let all that you do be done in LOVE.” That means every single thing you do should be done out of love, not because someone is making you do it. Think about that today and this afternoon I want to hear about one thing that you did out of love for someone else today!

Day 2: The Bible describes love as PATIENT. Yikes, that’s hard to be patient especially with the people we love the most. Think about it… Who is the hardest person in your life to be patient with? I’ll bet it’s someone in our family. Tonight I want you to tell me one way that you showed patience to someone in our family. I’m going to work on this too! I’m sorry for the times when I haven’t been patient with you and I’m going to ask God to help me do better!

ValenLettersDay 3: Romans 8:38 says “YOU ARE LOVED FOREVER!!” How awesome is it that God loves you forever and ever, no matter what you do! You could never do something so terrible that God would stop loving you! That’s how Dad and I feel too! We love you forever and ever. We don’t love you because of your grades or because of how well you do in sports. We love you because God created you to be a perfect part of our family! It was God’s plan for you to belong to us and nothing you could ever do would change our love for you! We thank God for the gift of YOU!

Day 4: 1 John 3:18 “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions.” That means we shouldn’t just SAY that we loves someone…. You have to SHOW them that you love them. You can’t say you love your brother/sister and then argue constantly, refuse to share, tattle and do everything possible to annoy him/her. That’s not LOVE. Your actions should show that you love him/her.
Today’s challenge is to do one undercover act of kindness for someone in our family.

Day 5 (Younger Kid Version): Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times.” Did you get that?? It says at ALL TIMES, not just when they feel like it. Think about your friends. Who is a good friend ALL THE TIME, not just when you do what they want you to do?
Here’s a clue: If a friend says, “I’m not going to be your friend anymore” every time they get upset. Then they aren’t a good friend. If someone ever says to you, “I’m not going to be your friend anymore if you don’t _______.” They are not a true friend. Don’t ever say those things to a friend. Friends don’t always have to agree with you or do what you want. Love your friends when they’re grumpy and keep loving your friends even when they want to play with someone else.
Pray this scripture: “Jesus, help me to be a friend that loves at all times.”

Day 5 (Older Kid Version): Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times.” Did you get that?? It says at ALL TIMES, not just when they feel like it. Think about your friends. Who is a good friend ALL THE TIME, not just when you do what they want you to do?
A true friend doesn’t ditch you when a different “cooler” friend shows up. Whenever you are around groups of friends (at school, in the dugout, hanging out at the gym waiting for your basketball game to start, at youth group), take a second and check what’s going on around you. Who is being left out? Who is not being included in the conversation? Is everyone goofing around except one person? Selfish people only think about themselves and how they are feeling and whether or not they are being included. God wants you to be an includer and that is VERY VERY hard, but God can help you do it. Ask God to give you wisdom. Ask God to help you include others. Ask God to help you think less about yourself. Pray this scripture: “Jesus help me to be a friend that loves at all times.”

Day 6: 1 Corinthians tell us that true LOVE doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. That means, when you love someone you shouldn’t keep track of all the things that person has done to annoy you or get you in trouble. Think about one of your siblings or one of your friends who has really made you mad or hurt your feelings. Have you forgiven them? You don’t have to talk to them about it because it might have been something from a long time ago. You can talk to God about it.
Pray this prayer: “Dear Jesus, please help me to forgive __________. Help me to not be mad at them or have hurt feelings because of what they did. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Day 7: Romans 5:8 tell us that God show his love for us, while we were still sinners. That means, God doesn’t love us because we do good things. Of course, he likes it when we make the right choice but God loved you from the moment you were created. He loved you before you ever asked Jesus into your heart. God loved you before you even knew about Him! Believe it or not, God even loves people who do really terrible things. He loves people who are in jail. He loves people who do drugs. He loves people who go to church and people who don’t go to church. One of the ways that you can show God you love HIM is by loving all different kinds of people. You should love people who are poor, people who have a different color of skin than you do, people who have a family that is different from yours, people who dress different from you and even people who get in trouble at school. God loves them and you show God’s love by showing them kindness and patience.

BONUS: I think it would be a good one for you to use if you can remember a time when your family has gone through something hard: My favorite verse in the whole Bible is Zephaniah 3:17. It says, “The Lord is in your midst. He is mighty to save….He will quiet you with his love.” Have you ever been really, really sad about something. I know that I was super sad about leaving Pennsylvania. I cried and cried and couldn’t even drive home after our last Sunday morning there. But this verse kept popping into my head. I think it was God reminding me that everything would be okay because he loved me so much. He was quieting me or comforting me with his love. Whenever you are super upset, all you have to do is start thinking about how BIG God’s love for you is and it will help you settle down. There have been times when I’ve been sad and crying and I actually feel like God gives me a hug when I start talking to Him.
Think about something that brings you comfort. It might be your favorite blanket, or snuggling up in your bed, or eating your favorite snack. God’s love can bring you comfort just like those things do.


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About this Blog

EmbreeFam2017

Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed

*The advertisements at the bottom of this page are chosen by WordPress, not by ReFocus Ministry, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of the author. 

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