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Posted
October 13
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THE HONEYMOON #2

 (image by Hillary)

Naked

And the man and his wife were both

Naked

and unashamed.

Genesis 2:25

Dear Son,

The most invaluable, unforgettable, intimate gift a woman can give a man is her body. To unveil herself, to strip away her coverings, to allow the man she loves to see her as she is— this is an act of intimate trust.

When Adam first saw Eve standing naked before him, he broke out in a song of endearing enthusiasm:

This…

is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!

she shall be called woman

for she was taken out of man.

Genesis 2:23

niv

He was enthralled with this one who was so like him… and so intriguingly different. He loved her, he wanted her, he responded to her beauty.

When your wife reveals herself to you… for the first time, for the second, and for the thousandth time, she will be asking a question. Always. No, she won’t write it down. She won’t ask it out loud. She might not even realize what she’s asking. But somewhere deep inside, her soul is crying out,

Am I beautiful?

And you, my dear son, have the power to answer that question in a way that will be forever inked on the skin of her soul.

Answer well… and you will be propelled into a lifetime of unparalleled passion. Of beauty. Of love.

Hesitate…or evaluate… or send any sort of signal of not enough-ness… and you will miss out on the greatest treasure a woman has to give— herself.

And so, my son, I have a list. This is my list for men who want to experience the thrill of a wife who gives herself to him with abandon, with such confidence in her own appeal that she bathes her husband in her beauty.

How To Make A Woman Beautiful:

1.  Tell her she’s beautiful.

Tell her every day. Every. Single. Day. When she’s sweaty from working out, when she’s sleepy and unadorned, when she’s got a pimple on her nose, and when she’s seducing you in the glow of candlelight. Tell her that you see her beauty, get specific, be prolific.

2.  Show her she’s beautiful.

Let your face express your awe. Don’t be covert- that was fine for dating days but now that she’s fully yours she needs you to be fully aware. Look at her. Follow her with your eyes. Let her catch you looking. She needs to know that her beauty excites you.

3.  Remember she’s beautiful.

In the everyday-ness of life, it is easy to forget about beauty. There is work to be done, bills to pay, conflicts to work through. But you have the power to remind yourself that your wife is a treasured gift of beauty from God. Be purposeful about remembering.

4.  Remind her she’s beautiful.

Do not allow your wife to swallow the lie that she is not beautiful. Ever. Use all your man-like warrior skills to combat Satan’s deceptive ploy to steal your wife’s beauty. She may never model for a glossy magazine but she is hand-crafted by God to mirror His beauty in a way that only she can. Your job is to show her. To tell her. To remind her. To insist that she see her own beauty the way you do.

5.  Let her stay beautiful.

Beauty in the mirror costs bucks in the wallet. It pains me to hear men complain about the cost of make-up and hair cuts and all those shoes that crowd a woman’s closet… and then to secretly wish their wife looked better. All that effort a woman makes into being as attractive as possible is for you—really!

Do not begrudge her the joy of adorning herself with girly beauty. Budget for it. Sacrifice for it. She will repay you with the swaggering confidence of a feel-good-about-herself woman.

6.  Thank her for being beautiful.

No woman stays beautiful without effort. It takes time, discipline, self-denial, money, creativity, and determination. When your wife takes the time to clean herself up, to spray on some scented loveliness, to coax her feet into high heels and in any way bring her beauty to your attention, let her know you love it. Leave off with that male bluster that makes it sound like you don’t care— because you do care about her beauty and so does she.

7.  Tell others she’s beautiful.

There is something about being praised in public that means more to a woman than most men realize. Loosen those barriers that hold you back from saying it— in front of her friends and yours, in the presence of men and women, do the unorthodox— tell the world that you find your wife incredibly, classically, intrinsically beautiful.

8.  Thank God for her beauty.

The surest way to keep on seeing her beauty even when wrinkles line her face, babies distort her body, and age greys her hair, is to thank God every day that He entrusted you with this beauty. She is a gift. Her beauty is a gift. Make it your habit to thank God for her, to bless Him for the blessing her beauty brings into your life.

When I walked into the hospital room of my friend, Isabel Moore, who lay dying at the age of 92, I was struck by her stunning beauty.  Her normally coifed hair was brushed back from her face, no make-up covered her wrinkled skin, her stylish clothes had been exchanged for a hospital gown. Yet she glowed.

As her friends and family took their turns to whisper good-bye, she took each person by the hand and pulled them close…  spilling one last dose of beauty onto each of us.

I walked out of her room knowing I had experienced beauty in its truest form. I saw a woman whose beauty had, over months and years and decades, been nurtured and magnified, loved and celebrated. With the insistence of her husband, Tom, over a span of 69 years, Isabel’s beauty had made it’s way from her skin, down deep into her soul. She knew her own beauty intimately— and that knowing compelled her to give it away.

Make that your goal, Matt. To find and notice and cultivate Simona’s God-created beauty. When she’s 22, when she’s 52, when she’s 92.

And then watch as she spills that beauty back onto every one who touches her life, and especially on you.

From my heart,

Mom

P.S. For those who are reading:

Girls, can you chime in? Has your husband/ friend/ boyfriend/ fiancé helped you to see your unique beauty? How?

Men, do you need help with this? I know it’s not easy, but I also know that a man’s courage can be daunting when he’s on the warpath to protect someone he loves. I applaud you for trying t

Posted
April 21
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HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: so who is?

(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

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 14
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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 7
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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
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 24
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Charming, Features
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HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: The Truth about Sex

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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

 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.

Posted
March 17
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HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: how to forgive the little stuff

(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 09/13

Dear girls,

Last week I said: I think its time we all moved past the resentment that makes us crabby and cranky and cold to our men.” 

We talked about the need to forgive, to let go of the anger that controls our spirits and contorts our view of conflict.  And I’m not just talking about those horrendous offenses that leave women mortally wounded. Because it is often those less-than –earth-shattering irritations that we forget need to acknowledge and forgive in order to heal up properly. Kind of like paper cuts that render our fingers hot and throbbing but don’t actually send us to the emergency room.

The little stuff.

This week I promised I’d show you how to forgive, but first I need to tell you what forgiveness is not. Because if we lump forgiveness in with all the other ingredients of conflict resolution we end up with a messy goop of impossible expectations.

Here’s what I don’t mean by forgiveness:

1.  Reconciliation:

Some relationships cannot be immediately reconciled by simply pardoning the person who hurt you. Abuse, for example. Or unfaithfulness. There are wounds that go so deep that only major surgery can heal them.

2.  Condoning:

Forgiveness is not the same as making excuses. Last week I wrote:

Make believe doesn’t work here girls. You can’t pretend he didn’t mean it or it doesn’t hurt or you’re not mad… That’s just stuffing it and as we all know, that ugliness has a way of either seeping out of our pores or blowing up in our faces… And making excuses isn’t effective in the long run. He’s tired, pressured, stressed… but that can only go on for so long and then what?”

3.  Forgetting:

“The only way for the ‘forgive-and forget mentality’ to be practiced is through radical denial, deception, or pretense.”[1] It is not possible for us to forget, only to choose to “not remember” over and over again.

So, now that we’ve cleared away some of the debris attached to the concept of forgiveness, what do I do with all those bitter feelings that crop up when that husband or boyfriend or parent or friend wrongs me?

Here’s where to start:

 

1.  Be honest with God. No playing pretend games or shaming yourself for feeling the way you do. Tell Him all about it. Be specific. What exactly happened, what exactly do you need to choose to forgive? Say it out loud.

2.  Ask God for help. Only He can wrestle my immensely dominating will into sweet submission. Forgiveness goes against the grain of every base instinct we have.

3.  Trust God with the outcome. Anger is a means of control and of protection. To release this weapon requires that I entrust myself (my feelings, my heart, my future) into the hands of the only One who can keep me safe in the midst of all the hurt this life entails.

4.  Untwist the lies. You have an enemy who works with the offenses of others to smother us with untruth. Satan cannot stand our reflection of God’s beauty. He will use the hurts of others to try to convince us that we are ugly and awful and less-than. We need to separate those enemy-fed lies from what actually happened.

5.  Repent of my reaction. No one can make me angry. Anger is always, always, always a choice. What I do with that anger is my responsibility. We mess up relationships by getting on that roller coaster ride of you-hurt-me, so I-hurt-you-back, but you-started-it! The only way off is through recognizing my wrong response and repenting.

6.  Choose to forgive with my will. My long time mentor, Muriel Cook writes:

The world says, “If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it, because it’s not honest.” I’ve learned a secret: if I operate with my will, my emotions will eventually follow. But if I follow my feelings, my will goes along.[2]

7.  Act out forgiveness with my actions. Then Muriel illustrates her point with a story I’ve told my own daughters over and over again:

Let me show you what I mean. Every morning when the alarm goes off, my will and my emotions have an argument. My will says, “You’ve got to get up. You have to go to work today.” My emotions respond, “Oh, no, I can’t. I don’t feel good.” I never feel well in the morning. Now I have a decision to make. Am I going to stay in bed or get up? If I stay in bed, my will stays in bed too. So I get up with my will, go to the bathroom, and brush my teeth. My emotions still protest. It is only after I take a shower, drink a cup of tea, and start moving around that my emotions catch up with my will and I’m a whole person.

We do something similar when we forgive. We use our will, for Jesus’ sake, because He asks us to, and sooner or later our emotions follow.

That’s it girls. Forgiveness does not require years and years of professional counseling. It is not a process as much as it is a heroic act of our wills. The process part is the sluggish following of our feelings to catch up with what we choose to do with our wills.

If you’re finding yourself reacting to your man in unfriendly ways— snapping and snarling or withdrawing and colding him out, might the real cause be an unforgiving spirit?

Take this list with you and go on a long walk with the Father. Pour it out to Him. Let Him clean off the grunginess of unforgiveness. Let Him renew your love for your husband or your boyfriend or that guy who hurts your feelings. Let Him wash all those hurts away and leave you sparkling with the joy of your freedom.

From my heart,

Diane

PS: Here’s what we need: How do you act when you’re mad at something minor? Or have your feelings hurt. Can you tell us stories, even laugh at yourself? You might help us to be a little more honest with ourselves…

 

 



[1] Dan Allender, Tremper Longmann, Bold Love

[2] Muriel Cook, Shelly Cook Volkhardt, Kitchen Table Counseling