peony

HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: so who is?

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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

Dear girls,

Last week I ended my letter to you with a sort of wish… a prayer… a benediction:

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 what it really means to find all that emptiness filled up with Him.

And one wistful comment, left by a woman willing to be honest, caught my heart:

Oh if I could have internalized this lesson years ago… I hear it over and over and over, from so many women. Jesus is enough and should be enough, so why isn’t he enough for me? I want him to be enough, but the flesh screams more.

And then another one, from a woman named Anna, in response to a post I wrote about my dad last week:

Diane, this is a beautiful story. Almost one a child dreams about. But what about us who didn’t have this kind of Father?

I so desire to be this kind of woman but have failed over and over and that has left me defeated. The word “Father” also has never set right with me. I know we are to see God as our Father, but I have never known what a real Father looks like.

How do I get to this similar place as you or do I just accept that this is not the woman that I am?

And here is what I wrote in response…

Oh Anna, do not swallow the lie that you are not this woman! Because it’s not about you… or me… or even my dad.

Meeting God early and with delight-filled expectation is about Him!


And I’ve been wondering what to say to all the Annas of the world ever since.

How do I describe the rest my uptight-self receives every morning when I wake to His presence?

What words do I choose to open my heart wide enough for real women to peek into this mystery? That He comes to meet with me in a garden so rich, so beautiful, so home, that I cannot stay away.

Because that is why I wake up early. And that is why all throughout the day I run back into Him, relishing quiet moments to hear. That is why the silence is my friend.

Because He is there, bidding me to come, to listen, to know.

And I want all the Annas of the world— wounded, shame-filled, wishing for more— to see the way back to that garden.

To Him.

And so, for the next little while, for however long it takes for me to stumble out the words, I want to write about the how. Because even though I don’t believe in formulas, and even though 10-steps have not gotten me anywhere but frustrated, I know you need more than theory.

You need to know how.

How to find so much peace in His presence that you no longer demand life all lined up just so.

How to stop trying so hard to be more than you are, and instead losing yourself in who He is and finding to your own surprise that just being with Him begins to make all your ugliness beautiful.

How to fill so full of Jesus that you no longer crave the attention of a man who would devour you with his own need. And how to then overflow the love you find there onto a man who doesn’t deserve it any more than you do.

And so, if you will allow me to, I’d like to take you by the hand, as a woman older and maybe a little further along the path, and lead you to that place where I have found the satisfaction and rest my soul— your soul longs for. We’ll keep talking about relationships- about loving a man well and about being well-loved, but I think we need to talk more about the how of finding all of your enough in God.

So please come on over next Monday. Bring your friends, your honesty, your wide-open heart. Brew a cup of tea, settle in for a good, long conversation for the next few weeks. Let’s find this thing we’re craving together.

But before then, here is what I told Anna about how to begin every day relishing the presence of the One who satisfies every need:

Here’s what I suggest (way too simplistic, but all that will fit here)

1. First ask God to make you want to… really, deeply want to experience intimacy with Him.

2. Ask Him to begin to wake you. Really! He will, I know by experience. But you’ve got to be ready to listen, to do that hard choice of getting up on the faith that there’s something for you.

3. Thank Him over and over again when He does. Fill your mind with recognition of how great He is and how much He loves you, reminding yourself how much you want Him.

4. Go to bed every night with Him on your mind and in your heart. (a short Psalm works wonders to put you to sleep with Him tucked all around you.

5. Then… start all over again.

I know that, given time, mixed with many failures, and more time, you will someday LOVE your mornings with Him.

That’s a strong way to start, girls. But there’s more, so much more to talk about.

And remember, your stories really are giving the rest of us hope. I keep hearing it— that by sharing your brokenness and your wantings and the ways God has met you with His amazing grace, more and more women are finding hope. Keep those comments coming!

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. Want some really great Scriptures to ponder while you wait for next week? I love this one:

Hosea 6:3  

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.


He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn 
or the coming of rains in early spring.

And this is worth pondering long:

Hebrews 10:22,23

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.

For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean,

and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,

for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

Posted
April 21, 2014
In
Charming, Features
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23 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Julie

    Thank you so much for going in this direction with these posts. I was just having a conversation with someone about this very thing…the need for silence and stillness and rest in the Lord.

    • diane

      Julie,
      And we all want to keep learning about how this really looks, with all our different personalities and stories. Thanks for affirming this direction.

  2. Sukhee

    I’d like to know more about “next Monday” you mentioned :)

    • diane

      Sukhee,
      By that I mean that I will post this mini-series within our Monday postings called He’s Not Your Prince Charming.

  3. Cassidy

    Thank you. I need this. So much.

  4. Cyndi

    Looking so forward to this! Love where God leads you….and how blessed we are by Anna’s transparency!

  5. Learning to Listen

    Diane:

    I would like to know how you relate to God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit differently in your times of seeking and renewal?

    How much of your time is spent dying to self, and how much is spent learning how to live? Has this changed over the years?

    Do you feel that our church is on the brink of a spiritual awakening?!

    I do!

    May we truly find our EVERYTHING in Him.

    Thank you, Diane, for your open heart.

    • diane

      Dear Learning,
      I think we have a church full of eager and open people who honestly want greater intimacy and fuller dependency on Jesus. And I so love being a part of that!
      Thanks for your questions… that helps me so much in my own listening for what I should focus on in writing.

  6. Kim Nye

    Oh Diane!

    GREAT response to these ladies – THANK YOU for this – each Monday morning I await this email – thank you for sending so early! I usually am just finishing my quiet time with the person I am WHOLE with…My God and Father, trusted friend and partner. If I place him above anyone or anything, I know I am safe, secure and loved. For the first time in my life at almost 53 I can honestly say he reigns over every relationship – the one with my fiance included! Which is a first when it comes to reigning over a man in my life…it has changed me for sure!

    I learned in the darkest moments of my life, 6 years ago how vital mornings are to be alone and quiet with my Father (how I wish I had learned this earlier in life) – I love what I have learned – that our Father knows our needs over our wants….if we ASK and submit daily to his supply. He will lead us to the right scripture (any place is the right place) that a Proverbs and a Psalm are my lifeline along with whatever else I am reading…and that literature I crave has to do with Him …My favorite author … AW Tozer….all it really takes is a humble heart — how He loves that!

    Just a few thoughts to keep you posting, and reposting…..Our Father is truly using his daughter in you!

    Thank you!!!

  7. Amanda

    This is exactly – EXACTLY – what I’ve been longing to know. Thrilled. Cannot wait to learn!

  8. Kristen

    Thank you Diane, for offering to take us by the hand in this journey toward rest and being filled to overflowing! I so long to be awakened each morning with that desire and longing to be near our God, when in reality I usually find myself exhausted and annoyed by the alarm clock.

    Looking forward to trying out your above suggestions and reading more of your wise words!

  9. Diane, this is so good. Thank you for a much needed reminder of how perfectly God can fulfill us. I second what you said about living a life of love, overflowing love. It is so easy to be selfish and look for what I can get out of my relationships or even from God. My prayer is to not let myself live like that anymore but let God and His love consume my heart and busy/distracted mind. That is one of my biggest goals this year! One that can only succeed by the grace of God. Now, I know that I am writing this on a good day, so do you have any pointers on how to stay focused on the real prize of Jesus’ love when my mind starts to run wild?

    • diane

      Christine,
      This is why I love these comments- you girls make me think! I’m going to save your question for a post. Good days and bad days are what make up the every days of our lives. How do we stay closely intimate with God on both… and all?

  10. Taylor Rae

    Diane,

    I cannot tell you how intricately The Lord has used your blog to speak to many, many places in my life over the past few years. I’m not even someone who reads blogs regularly at all…but your writing speaks the words of my heart, and, again, has been continually used by The Lord to shape and mold me. Thank you, so genuinely.

    In regards to this particular post, I just wanted to write to let you know:

    After reading this and craving that intimacy with my Father, yet often struggling to wake up early before classes in the mornings, I prayed that he would wake me up with a vibrancy in my heart today. I set my alarm and went to sleep with anticipation.

    Much to my surprise, He woke me up bright and early–5 am :) I couldn’t even go back to sleep I was so excited. And what a beautiful morning it was.

    Thank you for sharing these sweet, life-giving words!

    • diane

      Taylor Rae,
      You made my day! Honestly, hearing how God actually met you in my simple, overly simplistic way… I am delighted. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me.

  11. May you be full of wisdom and knowledge as you seek to guide women into a greater understanding of the process of walking closely with Him. He is faithful to reveal truth to all who call on Him in humility for revelation. Thank you for sharing with us what He is showing you.

    • diane

      Debbie,
      Thank you- I need that prayer as I listen and edit myself out of the story when it’s more about me than about Him. So incredibly grace-filled that He will use us in all our imperfections… a bunch of broken vessels wanting to leak Him to thirsty people.

  12. Shannon

    Diane,

    I stumbled upon your blog while on facebook because one of my friends posted it and I’m always intrigued when people post blogs that have to do with dating as a Christian.

    I’m 20 years old and attend the University of Texas where I am in a sorority and a Younglife leader.

    Your post reminded me of a sermon I heard at Austin Stone, my church in Austin. It was about the hole in our heart that can never be fulfilled because we can’t see God and we can’t literally feel him embrace us. That hole is a space for God to fill and we all feel the ache of it and try to fill it. Many try and fill it with a man or woman, someone who can literally embrace you.

    I’m dating a guy that I met when I was placed on my Younglife team (Younglife is huge in Austin, there’s 9 areas and roughly 4 schools within each area so placement night is a big deal, because there is no telling what team you will end up on!) I could talk about Younglife forever, but that’s another story! So, I’ve known my boyfriend since I was placed in March and we’ve officially been dating for over 2 months now.

    My Mom asked me last night whether I believed he was my last boyfriend. To which I replied, I hope so. Since I had been in college I knew that I wouldn’t want to enter into a relationship with a boy if I wasn’t sure there was a possible future with him.

    With him, there definitely is. He plans romantic dates catered to my heart (everyone that hears about these dates tells him he sets the bar too high). They are always perfect! Although, no matter what we end up doing it is always an adventure and we get to end up acting like little kids, which we both are at heart. He’s asked me before what my favorite date has been and honestly I don’t have one, because I know that every moment I spend with him is my favorite. I just love being with him.

    Being on a team that’s mission is reaching out to kids and showing them Jesus meant that our relationship already had him there, and Jesus has been our focus as we’ve moved forward. We know we want to glorify God with our relationship. Before the first couple of dates, I would have one of my friends come and pray for me. I knew I wanted Jesus to be there for all we did.

    We did have a couple slip ups in the beginning, though. We liked each other a lot and sometimes kissing went a little too far. After that point, I told him that I trusted him as a man of God to lead me especially in that area. He got really excited when I gave him that trust and told me he wanted to think of a way to make God a more stable part of our relationship, besides just going to church and talking about it afterwards. He didn’t know what that would look like though. Eventually, I had the idea to get us a journal. I love to journal because writing down my thoughts is easier to me than speaking them. Also, during quiet time it helps me to slow down my thoughts and really process my conversation with God. So I got us a journal that we hand back and forth with things God has been teaching us recently through scripture, quotes, songs and we build off what the other says or write our own or both. It has helped give our relationship a firm understanding that we are both living for God. Also, it has helped us with our conversation about him as well, because before we were slightly intimidated by each other and too afraid to just bring it up. Now when God inspires me, I get excited to share it with him!

    This has also helped in the sense that I know there is a line that I didn’t want to cross with him. I know my intimate relationship with God isn’t something I would want to share until farther down the road (maybe closer to marriage). So, this allows us to share God without fear that we will reveal too much of our own time with God.

    I know he’s not my prince charming, but I’m very happy God put him in my life! His relationship with God is an inspiration to my own relationship and vis versa.

    My hope is to keep growing in my relationship with Jesus until he returns or until I go home to Heaven. I love that I get to do this alongside my boyfriend, for as long as God wills it.

    There’s more to our story, but I kind of just started typing and let the Lord put something on my computer screen! I loved your blog post and love the words God inspired you to write!

    Thank you again for allowing God to use you to write something that has impacted many woman!

    • diane

      Shannon,
      I’m so glad you posted this. It is heartening for all of us to hear stories of men and women getting it right- not perfect maybe, but right and good and Godward. Keep me updated! A relationship between two people honestly finding all their hope in God will go well- whether to an agreed on friendship, or marriage. You two have been wise and intentional in your dating. I love it!

  13. Elizabeth

    This is exactly what I am longing for right now. I’m anticipating Monday. Thank you!

  14. Laura Karina

    Hi Diane,
    I am writing from Colombia, I was in Portland last year and i lived there for about 18 months. I gotta say that i love your churche and i am so thankful because thanks to churches like solid rock i could stay in a different country without be disconected from the God who loves me.
    This is a long story, I met Jesus when i was 22 and i was living a realy hard situation. before i met Jesus i had a realtionship with a guy that destroy my heart but after i met Jesus i decided to stay alone until the day God show me the man he had for me. So in the next years God gave me lot of promises and things, like my 18 months in the US, time when i had a pact with with God about have my eyes always in him. I came back to Colombia the last July and this guy was looking for me with friends and everybody who could gave him infotmation about me. Finally one day he called me, and that day i thought i was really strong and nothing were going to happen if we had a coffee together, so we met in a coffee shop and after some days of meetings we started a relationship again. He is a guy who didnt know God, so i invited him to my church here and he started to go, the relationship was so pretty but with the time it was so difficult, i lost 6 pounds in one month because i cried night and day, he hitted me and my relationship with God was so poor, i thought a lot why this situation if i love God if in the time of my pact with him i stayed really compromised and i was hopping for a man who loves him over everything. the last time i was in the floor just because he was mad and what is happening with my heart, with my dreams and with my promises. I know anybody forced me to started that relationship but now i feel alone, i dont want to stay in this country anymore, i was really good in Portland and i feel i made a mistake coming back here.
    About a month ago and a month before a travel he had for ten months to another country, and lot of days praying God to make me strong and say NO MORE, i did it. and i felt it was God there with me, saying in ny hear, i am with you, I am also tired to see tou sad, and i did it, but now i am not sure about what is happening and what about me? I love Jesus, ive been obedient saying NO MORE, because i said NO MORE trying to be obedient in my capability i couldnt say it.
    Now i just want to be free, i dont want to remember that guy, i never had bad intentions, i just loved him.

    I am writing you, because i know you can give me hope, and i want to go out of this moment and i looking for help.

    I apologize too because my english is not perfect.

    Thanks.

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