The month of February is super-focused on love and romance. After all, February 14th is Valentine’s Day. It is a time of year when people give cards, letters, chocolate, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner and those they love, and you see common symbols of Valentine’s Day everywhere—like hearts, red roses and Cupid. It is also the time of year when women love to watch the Hallmark movies as they all seem to focus on love and happy endings.

Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Love is: a mother who stays up all night to see if you need anything when you are sick and running a fever; a father who secretly cries when you are leaving home for a new start in life; an older brother or sister who always ensures your safety and protection; or a friend who is always there for you no matter the circumstances.

In the Bible it says that the greatest gift is Love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” For only when we love God with all our hearts can we truly love another and, in doing so, find that special kind of love that never, ever fails. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Jesus gave His life on the Cross for us. This was His ultimate expression of love. Daily we face the opportunity to extend love to others in various ways, let us be encouraged to follow Christ’s example and do all that we can with great love.

Love is not just a single word. It is a feeling that is varied from person to person. Love brings out a lot of emotion.

It is an indescribable feeling that words sometimes cannot describe. Love is different for everybody, from butterflies taking flight in your stomach, to your heart skipping beats, to this uncontrollable smile, to a million other things.

Love is happiness. Love is being present. Love is letting people in. Love is instantly feeling better when they enter the room. Love is when you can sit in silence and still be the happiest you’ve ever been. Love is when you see them for all their beauty and their flaws, and you love their flaws. Love is happiness. Real love is acceptance – of the good, of the bad, and everything in between. Love is palpable, it’s real. Love is genuine when you take off the masks, otherwise it’s a ruse. We all crave truth and relationships that are real.

Sometimes we try to hide our imperfections. We think in our minds “would they love me if they knew this or that about me?” The more you let the other person know your shortcomings, and he/she sticks around, the more powerful the love.

When it comes to love we, all want that happy ending. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. This is because life is real with real people, real problems, real heartaches. Relationships sometimes fail, loved ones die, divorce happens, friendships struggle or end. It is then that we feel disappointment, unhappiness and a lack of joy. It is then that we must be reminded that true joy comes from God. John 15:9 says, “I have loved you just as My Father has love Me. Stay in My love.” Then in John 15:11, Jesus says “I have told you these things, so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” God’s joy is the real love we all long for. His love alone can bring true joy. Everything else is extra blessings.

My wish is that everyone can find the real love and true joy they need in their lives.

Cheryl S. Carter regularly writes on a variety of topics for the community. This article was originally published by the Culpeper Star Exponent on 2/21/18.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash