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April 14
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girlreadingdarker

HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: learning to hear

For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.

In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls! 

From my heart,

Diane

(image by Hillary Kupish)

Healthy people do not need a doctor— sick people do.

I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.

Mark 2v17

God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.

Matthew 5v3

 

It is early.  Deep dark, winter cold…quiet and still and… welcoming.

No alarm clock woke me, just a quiet whisper… an excited urging… an expectant sense of something more, of something I need.

Something I want.

And this: the certain knowing that Someone wants me by myself… for Himself.

That He has something to say… to me… today.

And that if I don’t get up I’ll miss it.

I’ll miss Him.

And so, hair wild, barefoot and barely awake, I shuffle to the kitchen to start my tea. While the kettle heats, I make my place: furry blanket, shiny tea cup, pretty napkin, scented candle.

Like a fort for a grown-up girl, this is my tucked-in place, my refuge before the day begins.

And He’s there, I know He is, with a knowing that cannot be explained and will not be denied.

I relish my first cup with Him. Heart open, mind still half asleep, I sink deep, listening.

I bring no list, no worries.

I don’t pray.

I just listen… and sip tea.

And after a while I open His Book of Words to the place I left off the day before, reading, listening, talking, asking, taking notes.

Hearing.

It didn’t used to be this way for me. For years and years I got up because I had to. Because someone told me I should. Because I needed to be disciplined and do my duty and do it right and do it every day, no matter what.

Because I like rules and this was rule #1: A good Christian reads her Bible every morning. Amen.

And so I’d be up when the clock said seven and I’d put in my time. No yearning, no feasting, no wanting, never listening. Just a list and my Bible and the clock ticking.

And sometimes I’d miss and feel terribly guilty. Ashamed. Less-than. So I’d resolve never to sleep in again, never to miss my “devotions”, lest I mess up somehow and miss the mark.

That went on for years.

Until one morning. A morning seared into my soul as if it were yesterday. Not a memory so much as a mark on the inside of me. Forever I will call it The Morning After.

That morning I woke up early too. Mind racing, questions clamoring for answers, I snuck quietly into the living room while three children slept, hoping they’d sleep a little longer than usual.

Desperate to hear.

The night before, at my husband’s urging, I’d met with the elders of our little church in Santa Cruz. In a cramped back room they’d prayed for me, prayed over me, anointed me with drops of less-than magical oil and asked God to heal me.

For no reason any doctor could find, my hearing was failing. And I was terrified… and angry… appalled that the God I had dutifully served would allow deafness to swallow me.

I’d come to these men wanting healing, willing to beg God in their presence as I’d been begging Him every day for months.

And as they prayed, something happened.  Something magical and mystical and biblical and wonderful— I heard God.

I mean I really heard Him. Not an impression, not an idea or a quote that somebody else had said about Him. I heard Him.

I heard words.

Not the words I wanted to hear, in fact, the words He gave me sounded much like the ones my dad had used when, as a little girl, I’d panic and he’d calm me with a stern sort of love. Nothing sweet or quaintly Christian.

To all my begging for healing, for ears to open wide, for the deafness threatening my world to go away— for the healing I knew He could do if only He would… I heard this—

Diane, it’s okay. It’s okay, Diane, it’s okay.

And let me tell you, girls, those were the most beautiful words I have ever heard. Rich with knowing, dripping with the kind of love I had only dreamed about, His words enveloped me in… glory.

In that moment of NO, I felt more joy than I’d ever felt before. It was okay! Gloriously, beautifully, magically okay.

I floated home from that impromptu prayer meeting, holding His words close in. I’d heard Him, really heard Him. He’d called me by name.

God spoke, He speaks… to me!

That is why I was up in the dark hours on that Morning After. I had to know if it was true, if I’d heard what I thought I had… or if I was just overwrought and delusional, a pathetic mess.

And that, my dear girls, was the beginning— the first morning of my love affair with the Savior. Because He met me there, filling my heart with more words— stern words, truth words, words about life and joy and trust.

He wrapped me in words and drew me into an intimacy I’d never known possible.

By the time the children got up and Phil started coffee, I was ablaze with joy. Spilling with hope, feeling so loved and known and cherished and full.

And every morning since it’s been the same. Quieter, for sure, less drama and more restful entering in. I come to meet Him, to talk and more than anything else, to listen.

Every morning, with the house all quiet, I come to Him— the One who knows me, all of me, and still wants me for Himself. I open His Word and let His words speak deep.

Sometimes, to tell the truth, I can barely hear Him. On those mornings I wait. I sip tea, I make another pot. I read further or I read it again. And slowly, if I’m willing and wait long enough, He quiets me enough to hear.

Because He is always speaking. Through His Word and around His Words, using words to love and teach and reveal and convict and set free. But sometimes I cannot hear… and always I hear imperfectly, like the deaf woman I am.

I know this post was a bit rambling again… but next week I have less mystical, more practical thoughts to share with you.

For now, know this:

  • God speaks… really says things… to you and to me.
  • He speaks mostly and most clearly through His Word.
  • We hear best in the quiet, and it’s up to us to clear space for that restful listening.
  • He speaks loudest to those who come in need— the ones, like me, who fail and cannot get up. The broken and thirsty, the desperately repentant.
  • He wants to be felt— experienced, heard, seen. He has sent His Spirit to make sure that happens. And He has given instructions to pave the way, with guidelines to keep us from getting… sort of… well… weird.
  • If you can’t seem to hear Him yet… be patient. He knows you want to and He’s helping you even now. Nothing happens fast in His Kingdom. Just let Him bring you close and teach you.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. If you’ve heard Him, will you say so? Will you leave us a note to encourage those who are still wanting to hear but frustrated in the silence?

And if you’re one of the many who’ve told me you’re still waiting… will you leave just a simple message so I can pray alongside you?

Just your name is enough… and maybe “still waiting”.

 

 

 

Posted
April 10
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glimpses

A NOTE TO MY GIRLS

(source)

It’s time for an update on some of the changes swirling around my life, in case you’re wondering where I’ve been.

First:

We’ve moved into Firwood Cottage (photos coming soon!) and I have fallen head over heals in love with my new/old little home! It’s cozy and fresh, full of light with warm wood floors— and the kitchen is a better cook than I am.

There is still plenty of work to be done but now that we’re settled in we can take our time. Stay tuned for my “Garage Give-away”, when I’ll finish sorting through my too-much stuff and spend a Saturday giving it all away. A great way to meet my neighbors and let others enjoy pretty things.

Second:

I’ve started in on writing my book.

It is the story of losing my hearing and all the anger and grief that I handled with so little grace… and God’s amazing grace to me in spite of my wrong reaction. It is a story about learning to listen to God and falling intimately in love with my Redeemer.

Many of you prayed as I gathered up the courage to submit my proposal to my agent who in turn submitted it to several publishers. Now I’m hard at work, learning how to do this— still scared but confident that God will not leave me to do it on my own. I signed a contract with Zondervan publishers and have a wonderful editor working with me.

Third:

Drums roll… Matt is engaged! If you followed my year of writing LETTERS TO MY SON, you’ll know that he asked me what to look for in a wife. Little did he suspect that his question would prompt such a long reply!

Matthew and Simona met at Bridgetown and have been dating for over a year. The whole Comer family is delighted and filled with joy over their love story. I am hoping to post their story in all its wonderful detail one of these days…

Since Matt just proposed this week (in New York City!) I haven’t yet heard a firm date… details to follow!

And fourth:

My daughter, Elizabeth, along with Brook and their two children are moving to L.A.

I am sad… I have loved being so close to my daughter, who is my close friend. I have cherished the hours spent with Duke and baby Scarlet. Now those relationships will look a little different as we connect from a distance. They will, however, be living just 15 minutes from Rebekah— I expect to gain a whole lot of frequent flyer miles in the years to come!

At the same time, I couldn’t be more proud of Brook and Elizabeth. They are following God’s clear leading to be used by Him to influence and impact one of the culture centers of our world. To do this they have chosen to make significant sacrifices, choosing His way over comfort and ease.

Years and years ago, Phil and I were mentored by two missionary couples (Bill and Laurie Keyes and Norm and Muriel Cook) who pressed into our hearts a saying that we, in turn imprinted into the lives of our children.

We were, and are…

willing to go anywhere… at any time… to do anything.

And so, it shouldn’t surprise us that our children are following hard after the God they have seen to be so fully trust-able in our lives.

Times of significant change, I have learned, either leave us insecure and sad, frantically trying to control the inevitable… or thrust us closer into the heart of a God who never changes.

His sameness becomes our comfort. His faithfulness to care for us becomes our story, and His.

I love this wild adventure of following Jesus. After all these years and decades of tentative trust, of risking and worrying and believing and seeing Him write beauty in our story, I have learned that He is trust-worthy.

For those of you just starting those first wobbly steps of walking after Jesus, let me give you a bit of my courage— it gets easier, it really does.

At this point in my life, to not trust Him would be a flagrant insult.

Now…

when I worry and fuss and lose peace, I sense almost instantly that nudging back into God’s comfort and intimate care.

And…

I know with a knowing of many years, that clinging to Him is the only way in to that place of rest I crave.

Give yourself the grace of time to gather up your own stories of God’s trust-able-ness. He’s writing those stories every day. Don’t just skim the headlines, you’ll need those details to help nudge you back to His rest.

One last word: I picked up this enticing nugget of gold from a book by Amy Carmichael…

“And all through, the brave little sister held fast to Him who she believed…

and was held fast by Him.”

May we hold fast all through… and be held fast by Him,

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. Are you learning that God is trust-able? Can you share a verse or a story or some word that is helping you to hold fast? 

Posted
April 7
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partyhats

HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: have a little fun

(source)

For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.

In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls! 

From my heart,

Diane

 repost: 11.2013

So I recommend having fun,

because there is nothing better for people to do in this world

than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.

That way they will experience some happiness

along with all the hard work God gives them.

Ecclesiastes 8:15

Dear girls,

This post really ought to be addressed to me, Dear Diane… because having fun is so foreign to me that every time I read these words from the pen of King Solomon, I have to stop and ponder.

What does he mean?

Hard work, I understand. Schedules and lists and budgets, I can do. I’m all about neat and tidy rules with ought to’s and shouldn’ts.

But fun?

As in play?

As in non-productive, non-achieving, no-point-to-it hours spent accomplishing nothing?

I don’t think so.

Until a couple of years ago Phil and I had all but given up on fun. We’re just so different. And so we stopped having fun together.

And then we hit a crisis. For reasons we could not understand, we were hurting each other’s feelings and rubbing each other wrong and just generally having trouble getting along. Every conversation turned into some sort of conflict.

What was wrong with us?

And I’m sorry if you think pastors and their wives are always nice to each other. That we always practice what we preach. Or that love and passion are enough to overcome anything… because those are the makings of fairy tales, not real life.

At least not my life.

The constant conflict led us to seek help from the wise couple who had mentored us throughout our ministry. Not exactly counseling, but wise counsel. We flew to their home across the country, determined to get to the bottom of what was wrong.

What they said stunned me.

Your husband needs to have fun.

They went on to explain him to me and me to him. Using personality tests and years of Biblical wisdom, they pointed out our differences and made us see those differences as good.

But mostly I learned that Phil needs to have fun. A lot of fun. Frequent fun.

And I don’t. At least not the fun defined by most people.

I mean, who really thinks it’s fun to curl up all day with study books and dream about how to write a book about suffering so that women will understand and be able to teach their children and maybe avoid the pit I fell into when suffering about strangled my faith?

Yeah. Fun.

And so I set about trying to learn how to have fun. Or at least help Phil have fun. It was tough.

I tried to find a book about fun. Fun for Dummies. No luck. And if you’re a writer reading this and you know anything about how to have fun, here’s a definite felt need, at least by me.

I observed fun people. They laugh a lot. Out loud. My laugh is all inward, a snicker at best. When I try to laugh like they do I sound like a seal. People look at me strangely.

And I realized that in all those wonderful family times when we go around the table telling the birthday person, this is what I like about you… no one has ever told me I’m fun. Because I’m not. Ever.

After much studious thought and a week of serious pondering, here I am writing a list.   I’m hoping you girls are going to help me out, because this is one topic I know next to nothing about…

Six Ways To Love Your Husband With Fun:

1.  Recognize a man’s need to have fun.

I know that sounds simplistic, but I’d been married nearly 30 years without really honoring my husband’s need to have fun. My man-boy has an inherent need to play, to hoop and holler and immerse himself in something that doesn’t impact the history of the world.

2.  Give your husband/fiancé/boyfriend permission to have fun. Our world, especially the church world, admires men who achieve. Hard working, smart, disciplined men are admired and promoted. No one ever wrote a biography about a man because he was fun. I think we women need to change that up a bit. To stop shaming him and start affirming the productivity that results from a restful day of fun.

3.  Budget for fun. What if, at Christmas, instead of giving him clothes or books or something he needs, we decided to give him a fun experience? Wouldn’t that say wonders about our recognition that a man is still a boy and needs some hours to play?

4.  Choose to dive into his way of doing fun whether it feels fun to you or not.

This summer Phil and I went to Victoria, B.C. for a romantic week together. He spent most of an afternoon wandering the Butchart Gardens with me, trying to act interested, masking his aversion to yard work. Then we had high tea at the Empress Hotel. Not exactly the stuff he’d spent dreaming of.

On our way into the hotel he spotted a float plane taking a nosedive towards the bay. Landing on the wild waves, I thought for sure that thing would tip over, drowning all it’s risk-taking passengers.

Phil turned to me and said, “Di, let’s do it!”

No way. Not me. Feeling magnanimous, I suggested he sign up and I’d sit and sip tea. In fact, I’d even pay for his ticket out of my small stash of money meant for clothes and all things girlish.

But he wanted me to go with him- to be his friend and partner in adventure. I think I shocked us both when I agreed.

What followed was one of the most thrilling evenings we’d ever spent together. Once I got over my racing nerves, I felt like I was a princess flying over my kingdom. Enthralled with the countryside, the islands, even a small castle surrounded by the sea, I loved it! And most of all, Phil loved that I did something I didn’t want to do in order to be his companion in fun.

5.  Keep trying until you find a way to have fun together. One friend of mine rides bikes with her husband. Another hikes. My grandmother became an avid baseball fan, shouting down the refs when her favorite team stumbled. And she fished- clad in waders up to her chin, she shared my grandfather’s fun on the edges of the Snake River.

6.  Act fun— like you’re having a blast. Tell yourself you’re having fun. Decide to have fun. Free your mind to have fun even if your work isn’t done and the circumstances aren’t just right. I know that sounds insincere, but I firmly believe that we have a great deal of control over what we decide to enjoy. And being a fun woman may just lighten the flavor of your presence for the  man you love.

Now, I told you this is an area of deficiency for me. I need the born-fun women to fill in the blanks for those of us fun-challenged women so that our fun-needing men will have fun with us.

Please, please, please, give us fun ideas…

From my heart,

Diane

 

 

Posted
April 3
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worried

WORRIED… for a while

(photo by Abi Porter)

repost/5.2012

This morning I woke up with tight shoulders, jaw clenched, an anxious knot in my gut…

worried.

Tossing my hair in a pony tail, I fed the dog, started the water for my tea, lit a candle, gathered my Bible and books, cuddled into my big chair and…

worried.

Stirring milk and sugar into my steaming mug, I reached for the yellow pad of paper that serves as my journal/planner/thought catcher and…

worried.

I scribbled down all angst about being too busy…

and not having time to do the important things…

and when will I ever accomplish what I want when I have to clean the basement… and the garage is a mess…

and I’m clean out of veggies…

and how in the world can I eat a plant-based diet…

when I don’t even have time to go buy the plants we’re supposed to eat?

No wonder I woke up worried.

By now you’re laughing at me… I can hear it… or maybe that’s my Father chuckling way off where I’ve been ignoring Him in the midst of my fussing.

Because all I have to worry about is not worry-worthy.

No catastrophes, no fearful awfulness invading my world.

Unlike so many women I care about, I’m not awaiting tests to determine if something terrible is wrong. The bills are paid on time. My husband still loves me despite my glaring deficiencies…

John Mark and Tammy and Jude and Moses and Sunday and Rebekah and Steve and Brook and Elizabeth and Duke and Scarlet and Matthew are all learning and growing and tucked into the Father.

And yet… I am worried.

And my Father knows all about that. With gentleness He pries my eyes from my worries to the pages of His Word.

Romans 12 is His feeding for me today:

“And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God.

Let them be a living and holy sacrifice— the kind He will accept.

When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,

 but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Then you will know what God wants you to do,

and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.”

Bingo!

Lights flashing! Load rolling off my uptight back!

God wants to change the way I think.

To take this roiling, messy, time wasting worry away from me and show me what to do.

Something good and pleasing and perfect in every way.

And He does. He did.

Speaking in tones so calm and firm and sure and just a little bit stern,

I hear His Voice over all my worry and I listen to His way for my day.

So simple. So right.

Why didn’t I think of that?

I smile and sip my tea and the rain outside seems soft and good, my day lined up all pleasing and perfect in every way.

His way.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. How about you? Have you heard His words to you today? Have you listened? Can you tell us how He’s met you in the midst of your worry and shown you His way? Your story just might be His way of transforming us by changing the way we think…

Posted
March 31
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HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: every woman wants more

(source)

For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.

In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls! 

From my heart,

Diane

repost 01/14

Dear girls,

Yesterday I listened at length to three stories. Three women needing a moment to be heard. Good women, normal women, seeking-after-God women.

The first story was beautiful. Over and over she said it, her face radiant with joy, tears welling up, I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe it’s real.

Just the day before her boyfriend had asked her to marry him in one of the most romantic proposals I’ve ever heard. There was music and dancing on the beach and candles and a photographer. A ring just like she wanted but the diamond switched out— bigger and brighter, a startling declaration of his love.

Perfect.

The second woman’s crystal blue eyes brimmed with a different kind of tears.  Her husband of just a few years isn’t romancing her at all anymore. No dates or surprises or declarations of perfect love.

He goes to work, comes home, takes her to church on the weekend and starts all over again on Monday.

And she’s more than a little disappointed— she’s mad. She wants more, needs more, hoped for more from this man she pledged her life to.

The third woman grabbed my arm just as I was leaving church. “Can we talk?” More tears pooling in huge blue eyes. When we settled into two black plastic chairs, her angst came pouring out.

Haunted by a not-so-good relationship in her past, she’d grabbed hold of redemption and risked her heart on one particular good and godly man in the church. They’d become friends, then wondered if there might be more. When he’d made it clear that friendship was all this would ever be, she was devastated. Rejected. Remorseful. Months later, she just cannot let it go.

Three very different stories from three women so much alike. 

And aren’t we all really alike?

Every woman I know wants the same thing: To be known and loved and valued and cherished and wanted… forever. 

We’ll do just about anything to get it.

How many of us have embarrassed ourselves? Given away our bodies? Worked too hard to impress? Ranted and raved and insisted? Sulked and withdrawn and simpered?

Our wanting wears us out.

And our wanting pushes him away. It scares the boldness out of brave men, shutting them down and making good women the butt of backroom jokes between harried husbands and ex’s of every age.

Three stories, three good men.

And three women who honestly, really hope that a good man will fill that aching, endless hole in their hearts.

And he won’t.

Because he can’t.

And he doesn’t actually want to anyway.

Because way back at the Beginning, God did not design a woman to be the object of a man’s attention.

She’s not supposed to be his everything. He’s not supposed to spend his every waking moment thinking about her, dreaming about her, planning the next romantic date or making her feel loved.

I know, shocking, isn’t it?

And of course you know that, girls. But we forget. Everyday I forget. All of us forget. And we shame each other for our forgetting. We gossip and giggle about another woman’s ridiculousness. When all the while we’re all the same. Needing, wanting, wishing for more.

In the Song of Solomon there is another story. This one is of a woman getting what every one of us want:  romance, passion, attention, friendship, commitment, ecstasy and intimacy.

But she wants more. Seriously!

One night he comes to her and she can’t be bothered. She turns him away and pretends she’s sleeping, then she changes her mind and calls him to come back.

She wants him now. Right now. And she’s kind of miffed that he isn’t there where she wants him, when she wants him, because she wants him.

Every time I read that part of the story, I know I am that woman. Because, you see, I’ve been well loved for 35 years.

My husband has showered me with gifts every Christmas. He’s worked when he hasn’t wanted to. He’s listened endlessly to my confusing swirls of struggling emotions, pretending to understand when I can’t even figure myself out.

He thinks I’m beautiful, wrinkles and aging and all. He’s a strong spiritual leader, a selfless lover, a good friend, a committed provider. He gives me romance and attention and time.

And it’s not enough. Seriously.

I want more, I always want more. I am a bottomless pit of more.

And so are you. So is every woman.

But there is this one man…

He is rich, compelling, fascinating, so alluring I cannot stay away. And he claims to be enough, promises to satisfy that endless craving. He claims to love me with a love that will never lessen, never let go.

He says… he says he will never, ever leave me. No matter what.

This is a story I want to be fully my own, always. To be that woman whose eyes shine with the love of one who is enough.  Because my good and godly husband cannot be that one. If I try to force him there I’ll bury him under my own endless need.

I know that, and so do you, my dear ones.

May this be the year we learn what it really means to find all that emptiness filled up with Him.

May this be the time of our lives to tell a different story, a story of a love so great we overflow it onto that man who cannot be enough.

May this be the year we learn who our Prince Charming really is… living happily ever after… forever and ever… in His arms.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. And you? Are you getting it? This message of He’s Not Your Prince Charming? If He is and if you are… will you email me your story? I’d love to collect stories and post them here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your stories give the rest of us courage.

Posted
March 27
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mountain

DAD STORIES: memories from a man who got it right


I’ve told you about my dad— how, without actually meaning to, he’s shaped my faith in God.

(my daughter, Rebekah and my dad)

My dad has shown me in his own way— in his way with me, how the Father is.

How He loves…

How He welcomes…

How He wants to be with me on those early, intimate mornings.

Because of Dad, trusting God has been, if not exactly easy, at least simple for me.

One night, many years ago, when my old nemesis, Fear, started to choke the joy out of my daily life, the memories of my dad’s way with me broke those chains…

It was late and I lay in bed wide-awake. Alone and afraid.

My husband traveled as a part of his job in those days, sometimes for weeks at a time. On this night he was an ocean way, unavailable, unreachable, unable to calm me down or cheer me up. I’d suffered the insomnia of fear every night he was gone.

Too exhausted to sleep, too afraid to allow myself to rest, my façade of courage was crumbling.

My fear teetered towards terror.

A deaf woman alone at night with three children sleeping blithely in their bedrooms— every possibility presenting itself in colored array as I desperately prayed those demons away.

What if someone breaks in the house? Would I hear them? No.

What if there’s a fire? Would I hear the alarm? No.

What if someone big and mean and bad comes barging in the front door… no, no, no!

I can’t hear! I can’t protect my children! I can’t be safe!

I sat awake, hearing aids at full volume, baseball bat at hand.

I prayed, of course. 

Desperate liturgies for protection: for angels, for hedges, for walls and warriors to watch over me.

And I laugh a little now, but at the time, that helplessness felt immensely more real than any assurances of the safety of my neighborhood or the ridiculousness of my fears.

Yet still…in spite of the unreasonableness of my angst, God brought Himself into my runaway fears.

Instead of scoffing: You’re a grown-up, Di, get over it!

Instead of shame: Where’s your faith?

Instead of platitudes: Angels are watching over you…

He reminded me of my dad.

Every night when I was growing up, my dad walked through our house just before going to bed. He checked doors, turned down the heater, closed windows, peeked in on each of us kids.

Making the rounds like a night watchman.

Making sure I was safe.

Making me feel safe.

Never once, in all my years at home did I beg Dad to take care of me. I didn’t plead for protection from the invisible bad guys. Didn’t remind him to lock up. Didn’t keep a baseball bat close just in case.

Why?

I didn’t need to ask for protection because I slept close to my protector.

God, I realized, is just like my dad!

In fact, I began to suspect that all my begging might be an insult to Him. Of course He’s watching over me! 

Instead of desperate rituals of praying for angels to surround me, instead of walking through every worry, and making sure He knew all about how He should handle it, and why, and what I wanted Him to do…

Maybe I should just thank Him for all the nights He’d watched over me.

Just like Dad.

Years and years and decades of nights. No bad guys, no break-ins, no monsters under the bed.

Just my great big God watching over me while I slept.

I drifted off to sleep that night whispering thanks.

And every night after that, whenever the reality of being a deaf woman alone started to feel unsafe, whenever fear threated to keep me up, I felt that grip of safe assurance— of my Father being just like my dad—steady, dependable, present.

He loved me… just like Dad.

He was up to the task of taking care of me… just like Dad.

I could practically feel Him locking up tight, making the rounds, checking in to be sure I was okay… just like my Dad.

My dad spent all my growing up years watching over me. Sometimes in simple ways like locking up at night. Sometimes in harder-to-swallow ways like restricting my freedom lest my naivete leave me unprotected.

I wasn’t always grateful. I didn’t always understand. I wasn’t always nice about not understanding. In fact, he could tell you stories about me not being nice or grateful or understanding…

But that didn’t stop him.

Because my dad cared enough to take care of me… and so does my Father.

From my heart,

Diane

THINGS MY DAD GOT RIGHT:

1.    He watched over me.

2.    He was there— down the hall, next to mom, no matter what.

3.    He didn’t mock my fears.

4.    He kept watching over me even when I didn’t think I needed him.

5.    He showed me what the Father is like.

 

P.S. Have you learned some things about the Father from your dad? Can you tell us what?

Or are you just now learning that the Father is different than the way your dad was to you? That He loves in a way your dad was not able to love?

Posted
March 24
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Charming, Features
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Charminglightswitch2

HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: The Truth about Sex

(source)

For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.

In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls! 

From my heart,

Diane

 repost 06/13

Dear girls,

I sit, this morning, in my “summer office” on the back deck. Surrounded by books and bits and pieces of notes I’ve jotted on scraps of paper, my Bible open and your comments ringing in my ears, I linger over a delicious pot of Singaporean tea as I ponder what to write.

How do I answer your cries of grief and longing, shame and wishes?

“… it seems that we have approached from all angles and I still don’t enjoy or desire sex, at all. I know I’m not the only one!”

“… my husband’s needs are being turned down by me because I am just so tired!”

“… I can be really tough/resentful of my hubby when he fails to live up to my expectations of him being my knight in shining armor who saves me from our kids, which then leads to zero sex drive on my half.”

Oh my daughters! Surrounded as we are by messages and images and lyrics wrapping our womanly worth in our sexual allure, your honesty gives me an agonizing glimpse into your soul.

So many of you are haunted by a sense of loss, of being less-than, of inadequacy.

Just a few generations ago women were fed a different sort of lie:

“To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and the most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself; on the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must “pay the piper”, so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.

At this point, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.”

(written by a “pious” Pastor’s wife to young women in The Maddison Institute Newsletter, Fall 1894)

Note the date- barely over a century ago!

And now?

Aren’t we living in the age of sexual enlightenment? Didn’t your parents fight the sexual revolution and win?

Aren’t we living free? Throwing our inhibitions to the wind as we indulge ourselves in sensual pleasure?

I don’t think so.

In fact, your letters tell me a different story. No less heartbreaking than the young brides a hundred years ago who viewed the wedding night ordeal as paying the piper in the terrible experience of sex.

Now ‘pious’ women believe a different lie: That sex just isn’t all that great most of the time.

In fact, a survey by the National Opinion Research Center seems to confirm that conclusion:

“Nearly one-quarter of American women never achieve orgasm and another half only climax occasionally. This means that almost three-quarters… go without orgasms either some or all of the time.”

(Intimate Issues, Dillow, Pintus)

How in the world do I line that up with the Song of Songs?

One hundred and sixteen verses smack dab in the middle of our Bibles so filled with erotic passion and unabashed pleasure between a young bride and her husband that unmarried Jewish men were banned from reading it!

Everything’s there- technique, adventure, disguise, fantasy, teasing, vivid description… all inspired by God!

Which leads me to conclude that the truth about sex is far different than the lie perpetuated in the nineteen century-

Lie #1: That sex is a terrible ordeal, and thus should be given grudgingly and seldom in order to have a “proper marriage”.

Or the lie of the twenty-first century

Lie #2: That sex is not all that great, and thus can be given grudgingly and seldom because its not all that necessary to a great and lasting and satisfying marriage.

Here, my dear girls, is the truth about sex:

  • Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be great. Amazing. A mystical and magical intertwining of hearts and bodies in a powerful explosion of pleasure that creates intense feelings of love for a lifetime.
  • Sex between a husband and wife is meant to happen often. Not as a special occasion when all the moods line up and kids stay away and there’s plenty of energy left over at the end of the day.
  • Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be an act of intimate worship. Together. God is in that room! Watching, pleased, waiting for your expression of gratitude for such a surprising and soul-satisfying gift.
  • Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be protected. It is fragile. Vulnerable. A target of all three of our enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. When sex is rare or gets perverted or causes pain or incites dread, something is wrong!
  • Sex between a husband and wife is meant to be for you. Yes, you! You need sex. Your soul needs sex. Your emotions and moods are modified by sex. Sex is meant to make you happy, relaxed, free— to realize your own beauty, to relish your own body as you give yourself in abandon.

One of my favorite comments said this: I need to see this topic with fresh eyes…”

Yes. We do. We must.

As women who are learning to listen to God, who are longing to be close to God, who are craving what He wants for our lives… we need to see the topic of our sexuality in marriage through the freshly washed eyes of Scripture.

Yes, we wish to be godly, giving mothers.

Yes, we wish to use our gifts and talents to honor God.

Yes, we wish to bring justice to far away places and hope to our neighbors.

But I think its time we audibly add another wish—

We wish to fully and frequently embrace our husbands in the intimacy of sexual passion— for our sakes and for his.

For God. For glory. For joy.  

And because this is so vital to the health of our souls as well as our marriages, I’ll be covering all five of these truths in coming posts. If you have any questions, please send them either via the comments (anonymous is just fine on private topics like this) or to hespeaks@ajesuschurch.org. I’ll try to answer in future posts.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. Can you help me with this conversation? Sitting here all alone I feel awfully vulnerable. Your comments- whether the words are about your story or your longings or your questions… help me to know that I can keep talking to “my girls” about intimate issues.