A Moment To Praise 2.8.21

Joyce Lochinger

Joyce Lochinger, Gravel Hill Worship Leader

Valentine’s Day

Ah, Valentines Day! The day where people who love you give you candies, jewelry, expensive gifts and cards to show you how much they care. I mean, that’s the only way to know that we are loved and affirmed, right? By getting material stuff from loved ones on a designated day that we make a big deal out of, right?

As you may have guessed, I am being facetious. As you may also have guessed, I have never been much of a Valentine’s Day girl. I suppose the reason is that I have always known that, no matter the day of the year, I am deeply and greatly loved.  Let me explain what I mean.

Deeply Loved

When I was a child (in the late 70’s early 80’s), every day I would wake up to a delicious breakfast of my choice. My mother, who was up before the sun, made sure breakfast was prepared and that we were well taken care of. I would sit around the breakfast bar with my father, mother, and brother, Gary, and we would laugh, talk and get ready for our day.

Everyone enjoyed that time together before the morning rush. There was a similar routine at lunch and dinner mealtimes, as well as through the evening as we all would unwind from our days. I felt loved and cared for. I feel like this was pretty standard for the time period during which I grew up.

Greatly Loved

Then, there were the times where things were a little more harried.  From infancy until the time I was nine years old, I had to have several major surgeries on my eye muscles. In fact, if it hadn’t been for my loving and persistent parents, I would have been blind by the time I was five years old. In fact, one entire summer when I was 9 years old, I had another surgery.

The recuperation for that surgery meant that I had to stay inside, have medicine and hot compresses applied to my eyes 4 times a day for 30 minutes each. Not only that, but I had to have my eyes covered and patched. I was not permitted to participate in any activity. That included sports, outdoor playing, reading, instrument practicing (I was ok with that one) or anything that would cause the stitches in my eyes to strain and cause the eye muscles to revert, requiring another surgery.  By the way – this was way before laser surgery!

Cheerfully Loved

What a boring summer! Or so you would think. Instead, that summer produced some of my fondest memories. My loving mother, every single day, sat by my bed. She applied compresses and medicine to my eyes. Even though the medicine burned and I was not the most cooperative patient, my mother not only cared for me, she did it faithfully and with cheer.

One session, she would read a chapter from a favorite book. The next she would turn on the record player and we would sing together. Perhaps she would pull out a favorite joke book and share jokes and laughs. At day’s end when I went to bed, she would pray with me and sing to me as I fell asleep. Now perhaps you know what I mean by knowing and understanding that I was loved and valued from the time I was very young.

A Moment To Praise 2.8.21: Faithfully Loved

If I fast forward to the present day, I have similar feelings about Valentine’s Day and being loved all through the year. My children, both grown now, consistently show me love through their actions towards me and Shawn. A call when they get home from a long trip letting us know they are safe.  Including us in their very busy lives. Talking to us about their dreams and plans. Randomly calling or FaceTiming to show us a project that they’re working on, or some funny antic from a grand-pet. Those are all ways that they show us we are loved.

I receive love every day from my hubby. Shawn will randomly empty the dishwasher or take my car and fill it up with gas so I don’t have to. He will walk around endless stores with me as I try to find that perfect piece of furniture or cut of meat. And he’ll clean off my car in a snow storm. He always puts me and his family first and therefore this list could go on forever. I have been blessed and I know that I am loved extravagantly!

But there are some of you who may read this and say, “Well good for you, Joyce! That’s not my reality. I am not loved or cared for. I am alone in this world and no one seems to care.” To those thoughts I want to tell you one more story. It shows greater more sacrificial love than the ones I have listed above and it starts with this scripture:

A Moment To Praise 2.8.21 in Scripture
John 3:16 NIV – For God so loved the world that he gave – Bible Gateway

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


God loves YOU! Genuinely, for real, no caveats, no catch. He loves you because you are His. He loves you so much! The way He showed it is that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for you so you could live! In my mind, that’s the greatest valentine that anyone could give.

So, as you approach this holiday focused on love, remember that you have reason to celebrate not only on Valentine’s Day, but every day, no matter your situation. Why? Because we all have a God who loves us very much. Who loves us extravagantly. Who gave his only Son up to a brutal death on an unyielding cross in order to give us life eternally with Him!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. I hope you can bask in God’s extravagant love for you!

A Moment To Praise 2.8.21 in Song

I love this song – it’s long but so worshipful!

Your Love is Extravagant (by Darrell Evans) WorshipMob live + spontaneous worship

Your Love is Extravagant by Darrell Evans + chorus of Free Falling by Tom Petty Worship Mob live & spontaneous worship – mashup arrangement by Kristopher Danie…