Skip to main content

Dear friend,

We’ve made it to February! I’m sure by now you’ve seen your fair share of messages on “love.” This month can really sting for a widow.

I will never forget my first Valentine’s Day after becoming a widow.  I was lonely and sad thinking that I wouldn’t have anyone to send me flowers or a heart shaped box of chocolates.  I had been in counseling and remember my counselor saying, “Find ways to be gentle with yourself and show yourself some love and compassion.” I decided that year I would be my own Valentine and buy myself some flowers and chocolate.  I will never forget the little bit of courage I felt wash over me as I looked at the gifts sitting on the counter. I had taken the first step in learning to love and take care of myself again.

The moment I became a widow, I felt like I lost parts of myself.  I had lost pieces of my identity and felt a little shaky and unsure of my future and capabilities. I was also picking myself up from what had been a few rather rocky years in our marriage. My self confidence had taken a huge hit and I felt like my self worth had slowly gone down the drain.  So needless to say, I was in a low place personally when my husband died.

With a little bit of work and courage, day by day I began to rediscover who I was.  Does this sound familiar?  It seems like when you lose your spouse, self discovery and life lessons soon follow, along with new life skills that you never asked to learn- like how to fix small things around the house or what warning lights mean on your car dash. My biggest discovery and lesson though, was learning how to love myself again.

Now, I have to be honest with you, this was a struggle.  I’m not sure why, but for some reason the thought of self love always sounded a little selfish or conceited.  I really struggled with the idea for a while.  But now, I realize it’s good and very healthy to love yourself.  Let me explain.

Every day we are bombarded with messages that we aren’t good enough. There are millions of products and programs that promise to make us better.  Eventually we begin to believe the lie that we aren’t good enough or worthy to be loved just as we are. We must do more and be more to gain our worth and be deemed lovable.  But friend, God made you just the way He wanted you to be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You have a purpose. You are worthy of love. And you are deserving of seeing yourself the way God sees you.

If we’re honest, how many of us will admit we’ve thought or said some pretty negative things about ourselves, or believed a lie someone has spoken over us? It’s time we redirect our thoughts and words.  Sometimes I have to stop mid thought and ask myself, “Amanda, would you say this to your daughter? Or your best friend?”  The answer will let me know whether or not it’s a lovely thought or one that needs to be discarded and redirected.

I believe as women, we naturally have the ability to love others.  We freely give away love and extend compassion our spouse, kids and others we love.  But when it comes to ourselves, we don’t feel worthy of being our own cheerleader and champion.  We forget to extend the same love, compassion, and grace to ourselves.

Jesus made it very clear in Mark that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  But the second greatest commandment he mentions is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Let’s take a look at that for a minute. We are told to love our ourselves. Yet, most of us find it so hard to practice self love and compassion.  Why do we find it so hard to practice these things?

I think a few obstacles that get in the way of us truly loving ourselves are judgement, shame, guilt, and even lies we may have believed from our past.

For me, one obstacle is the thought that if I love myself, I must be selfish. Cue the judgment. That is the furthest from the truth.  Have you ever been on an airplane and listened to the flight attendant give the instructions before take off?  They tell you that if for any reason the cabin should lose air pressure, the first thing you must do before helping someone else (even your children!) is to place the oxygen mask over your mouth first. Then, after you have given yourself oxygen, you can help others. What a message!  Before you can fully love or help anyone else, you must first help and love yourself.

Other obstacles I believe we face are lies we may have been told or have told ourselves throughout our lives. Think about the first time you ever felt unloved or less than. Was it a comment someone made about you or something you did? You’ve probably carried these things your entire life. One lie I have believed about myself was that I’m not enough. By allowing myself to believe that, I often held back from trying something new and being the best version of myself. It also limited me from showing up for others in a strong and positive way. How many times did I allow this lie to hold me back from things God wanted me to do because I felt like I wasn’t good enough?

These lies and actions can build up shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness, and prevent us from living out the full life God has planned for us.

Sweet friend, Jesus came to set us free from every lie and every thing we have or will ever do that causes us to feel unworthy. And the words He speaks over us are full of life and love. He calls you beautiful, lovely, amazing, capable, strong, enough, chosen, and always loved. Can you believe that about yourself?  He believes that about you.

I think about a little girl when she puts on a dress and twirls in front of a mirror.  She radiates beauty and glows.  She shows up in confidence. Friend, we need to put on the things that make us glow and show up in life with confidence.  We need to clothe ourselves with love and compassion. Starting with how we treat and show love to ourselves.

Let’s starting speaking words of kindness and compassion to ourselves.  Let’s fill our minds and bodies with things that say to our body, “I love you.” Let’s do things that bring us joy. Let’s fill our cups. I know when my cup is full, and I’ve taken time to do what fills me up, I am a much better mother, friend, and person.  I can fully love my “neighbor” when I love myself well.  You are worthy of showing yourself love and compassion, and totally deserving of buying yourself some flowers and chocolate. ❤️



Embark on a transformative journey by ordering Amanda Elizabeth Martin’s book, “Love, Grit, and Grace.”

This book is a compelling exploration of the difficulties of marriage, widowhood, and self-discovery after loss. Discover how Amanda finds solace and inner strength through her faith, and witness the transformative power of God’s love and grace amidst life’s challenges.

Visit Amanda's Site
Order "Love, Grit, and Grace"