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posted: 2/13/2014 1:01 AM

Difficulties can't defeat us when we receive God's love.

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By Annettee Budzban

I had never seen anything like it before. In our driveway were huge tire tracks -- I mean huge -- in the shape of two hearts interlocked with each other.

The puzzling thing was there wasn't a trace of tire tracks coming or going from these hearts.

Jeff and I smiled at each other. We knew it was a heavenly Valentine's Day message from above. It was also our 13th anniversary.

This year is our 17th.

As many of you already know, those 13 years were extremely challenging. The second year of our marriage my health issues spiraled downward.

I was housebound for several more. Jeff took over many of the chores and shopping. We did our best to manage our hurt feelings and disappointments.

But the past year had been different. I was slowly emerging and starting to get out a little. Our love and family were uniting and coming back to life again because we made the decision to stick it out through the hard times.

We were seeing some blessing on the other side.

We felt blessed by the message that "God is love" left by the mysterious hearts intertwined in our driveway.

It's my desire that, whatever hardship you're facing this Valentine's Day, this message will help you receive God's love. He loves you because he is love. It is his nature to love and forgive.

In the Scriptures, the Apostle Paul prayed that others would know God's love and be strengthened inwardly when they did.

It's through inner strength that we can face outward challenges. Difficulties cannot defeat us when we receive God's love.

Allow yourselves to receive God's everlasting love for you today. When you feel your strength is gone, remind yourself, "I have strength because God loves me." Then pass that love along to another.

You don't need a formal valentine. A smile brightens the heart of someone else. A hug warms a heart. Saying "thank you" or "please" shows another you care and respect them.

I thank you, precious reader, for the valentine gift you are to me, because you are God's special valentine!

• Annettee Budzban is Christian author, speaker, life coach and nurse. She can be contacted by email at Annettee Budzban or (847) 543-8413. She is available for speaking at your group or event.

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