Happy GALentine’s Day!

Sophomore Mariama Hitchens struggled with being single in high school. It was not like elementary school when everyone had to bring enough Valentine’s goodies to share with the whole class.

She constantly battled the reality of being single versus the desire to be in a relationship, feeling firsthand the negative effects of rushing into a relationship that God had not planned.

“It can be fun to be single and change the way some people look at singleness as being an often dreaded season in life,” Hitchens said. “People’s frustrations with relationships often turn into bitterness, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Hitchens felt a call from the Lord to provide an outlet for other girls to discover their worth while being single. This was the beginning of GALentine’s Day.

Hitchens came to understand the fact that being single and entering into college as an individual was not a bad thing.

“Singleness is not a curse, but a time to enjoy the Lord as an individual”

GALentine’s Day is now in its second year, promoting the beauty and freedom of singleness, while understanding what it means to wait for the Lord to send singles a significant other rather than chasing after one.

“Singleness is not a curse, but a time to enjoy the Lord as an individual,” said Hitchens. “When His perfect time comes, He will send you that special someone.”

The event started out with nine young women its first year, and had about 22 young women in attendance this year.

Angel Whitehead attended the first GALentine’s Day celebration. The holiday does not hold fond memories for her because she was seriously burned in a Valentine’s Day accident in 2009.

“It was like a slumber party without actually sleeping over”

“A lot of girls struggle with self-esteem,” Whitehead said. “It’s a good reminder that you’re good enough and that God created you in His image, and in that waiting, you can bond and commune with other young ladies who are going through the same thing without the focus being how to get a boyfriend.”

She did not know what to expect when she heard about the event, but with an open mind, she attended.

“The second I saw nail polish I was like, ‘yeah, there’s nothing to worry about,’” said Whitehead. “It was like a slumber party without actually sleeping over.”

Hitchens has received testimonials from young women who once struggled with being single and waiting, but because of GALentine’s Day, were able to receive help in transforming their mindset.

“People normally don’t plan out their lives as if they were to stay single, so GALentine’s Day is meant to keep relationship pressure off of the girls’ hearts,” said Hitchens.

Both Hitchens and Whitehead agree that singleness is a season to use to get to know God and through getting to know Him, singles can get to know themselves.

“Sometimes it’s even frowned upon to want to remain single, but we need to know that it’s OK to be with just God,” Hitchens said.

The theme for this year’s GALentine’s Day is “Daughters of the King” with a focus on 1 Peter 2:9 which talks of God’s children being heirs to His kingdom.

“Both the theme and the verse serve as a reminder that God sees us as royalty in a spiritual sense so we deserve to be treated as such and that it’s all right to treat ourselves that way even if no one else does” said Hitchens.

Because Valentine’s Day was on a weekday this year, GALentine’s Day was held Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, and it began with a 5 p.m. photo shoot outside at the steps of the Montview Student Union.

Liberty University is well-known by staff and students for its “ring by spring” mantra and, unknowingly, some students may feel the pressure to be in a romantic relationship without first getting to know themselves.

“Some girls need to be reminded that they are princesses”

Hitchens would have been one of the students swayed by the pressure, but she allowed God to use her past struggles with relationships to teach her how to enjoy being single. She is now able to encourage other girls to do the same.

“I had noticed a lot of girls who struggled with being single especially on Valentine’s Day and I was one of them at one point, so this is all from experience,” Hitchens said. “I felt that God really wanted me to start a ministry for that group of girls.”

Hitchens plans to host GALentine’s Day until she graduates, hoping to find a supervisor who will help lead and organize the event so that it will grow and carry on after she graduates in 2019.

GALentine’s Day reminds girls that they’re loved by God,” said Hitchens. “Some girls need to be reminded that they are princesses and that He is head over heels for them.”

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