LETTERS TO MY SON: two kinds of women





Dear Matthew,

There are, I have come to see, two kinds of women: God-needing women and man-needing women.

God-needing women are women who are learning and growing and practicing what it looks like in everyday life to “hope in God” (see I Peter 3:5). They’re not perfect, not by a long shot. But they’ve figured out that only God can satisfy the craving in their hearts for more. And they’re pursuing Him actively and purposefully, gaining wisdom and knowledge and intimacy with God.

These women intentionally reject the notion that a man will make them happy. Instead, they look to God for all that He has to say about happiness and joy and serving and giving out of the overflow of a heart that belongs wholly to Him.

That’s the kind of woman I pray you find when the time is right.

Man-needing women are pursuing men.

They’re sure that a man will quench their raging thirst for affirmation and affection. The right man, they dream, will sweep them off their feet and carry them away to a world of beauty and romance and love, love, love.

And they’ll drain you of every last drop of your hayil in their frantic attempt to find what they crave.

Now, let me tell you the real truth about me.

When I married your dad I was just 19 years old. I had grand dreams of being a godly women, wanted with all my heart to serve Him and honor Him. I knew I was marrying a godly man and I loved everything about the life he offered me. With my head in the clouds, I imagined that being married to a leader would offer me security and a place in this world. It would be like being at church 24/7. All happiness and singing praises and satisfaction at the deepest level.

I was wrong.

In reality it felt like the church wanted everything from Phil and I was supposed to be chipper and happy and smiling and nice all the time.

But I was lonely.

And needy.

And not happy.

Somehow we survived that tumultuous first year of adjustments and my unrealistic expectations and I began to realize that my good and godly and loving and romantic leader of a husband would never fulfill me.

In fact, the deeper I delved into Scripture, the more it dawned on me that it was not his job to fulfill me!

Yet that yawning hole inside my soul beckoned to be filled. With your dad’s wise guidance and many hours spent with godly older women, I began to understand that my desperate neediness was meant to drive me into an intimate and satisfying relationship with Jesus. And that He alone could fill those empty places.

But, Matt, it wasn’t a pretty process.

And that’s why I want to warn you away from women who erroneously believe that a man— any man— even you, will make them happy.

With Lemuel’s mom, I want to warn you away from such a woman- a woman like I once was. Because the truth is, I was sucking the life out of my husband, trying to grab all his strength and vitality and attention for me.

And you know the rest of my story.

How God let me get to a place of deep surrender and how He has been filling me and feeding me and satisfying me all these years— not by my good and godly husband, nor through my super-smart-absolutely-perfect children, but just in Himself.

Lemuel's mother cries out for her son to listen! listen! listen!

She knows that the wrong woman will ruin the king. The word there in Hebrew means to “wipe out”. And that is exactly what can happen if a leader marries a man-needing woman.

And it is almost what happened to your father— because of me.

Next week, I’m going to write out another one of those lists for you. I know how men think in tangible, identifiable terms. But for now, just listen, my son.

Don’t be fooled by the giddy idealism of a girl who thinks you will sweep into her life and carry her away on your gleaming white horse and make life perfect.

You can’t.

What you can do is invite a woman whose heart is filled with God to join you in serving Him. You can offer her the breathtaking adventure of following at whatever the cost. You can point her to the security that can only be found in Him. You can point her to the Cross, and all the life that dying to self offers to everyone who chooses His way.

I love you, son. And I’m praying that you will have the discernment to know the difference between a woman who needs God and a woman who needs a man.

From my heart,


To the women who are reading this:

Can you offer some practical pictures of what a God-needing woman does with all that desire for more?

Would you help me explain what it looks like when a well-meaning woman thinks a man might fill that emptiness?

 After all, I’m thinking there must be a whole lot of women like me who are learning the hard way how to find all our hope in God.