Posts tagged Letters to my son


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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,


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? 



Dear Matt,

Last week I posted the first part of Dad’s letter to you. He packed so much wisdom into his letter that I decided to give it to you in smaller bites so you would be able to absorb it all.  Here is the rest of what he wrote about dating and pursuing a woman and listening to God in the midst of it all.

I know you know this, but I’ve just got to say it again— you have a rich heritage of faith gifted to you by a father who has pursued God single-mindedly for all of your life and many years before. And for all those who are listening in, may you grow to be this kind of man by keeping your eyes on the finish line.



Dear son,

After thanking God for His peace and His promise to guide you, here is my “practical” advice:

This is what dating is for!

1. Take it slow

2. Have fun

3. Become friends…

  • Can you be yourself with her?
  • Do you like just being with her?
  • Do you like talking to her?
  • Can you share your dreams with her?
  • Does she listen as you share your heart with her?
  • Does she really like who your are?
  • As your generation says it: is she "into you"?
  • Do you look forward to the next time you get to be with her?
  • Is that growing or diminishing the more you get to know her?

4. Stay pure 

  • I know I’ve told you this again and again and that you’ve made that commitment already— but remember what 1Timothy 5v2 says.  You are to treat young women “as sisters, in all purity”. You wouldn’t make out with your sister!

5. Does it ‘click'? 

  • I believe God has made us three-part, body, soul, and spirit. When God brings the woman to you that He has for you, it should ‘click’ in all of these three areas.
    • You should be physically attracted to her; you should think she’s beautiful! Your wife will need to know this and will want to hear you tell her often!
    • You should click in the area of the soul. Do your personalities, your goals, your dreams fit together well? You won’t be the same but you must be a good match, i.e. if you want to have three kids soon after getting married, and she wants to wait ten years and maybe not have any, it’s not a good fit.
    • You should fit well in the spiritual area. You both need to know Jesus, love Jesus, and be walking with Jesus.

6. Spend a lot of time with her around people you respect.

  • Most should be older and wiser than you.
  • Let them observe the two of you together.
  • Let them speak into whether or not this relationship should proceed to marriage.
  • Although it sounds self-serving, I believe your parents will be a huge part of this.

7. Do you have peace?

  • Is God giving you continued peace as you proceed in the relationship? Granted peace is a bit subjective but here’s what I have discovered about peace. You know when you don’t have it!  And if you don’t have it, as your Mom said: “Wait! No peace? Don’t move!”
  • Because it is either: 
    • Wrong girl, wrong time.
    • Right girl, wrong time; God is saying, “She’s the one, but not yet” or “first finish school”, or “you’re not ready” or “she’s not ready”.
    • OR...Right girl, right time!
  • And if it is right girl, right time -- Go for it!
  • Keep praying, keep seeking counsel, enjoy her company...and when you are ready and able to both support her and spend the rest of your life with her just say…

8. “Will you marry me?”





Dear Matthew,

Christmas is just a few short days away. Presents lie wrapped and waiting under the tree. Cookies on platters, lights and bows and boughs tucked into every available space.

Our home is radiating anticipation.

And that’s why I want to talk to you about this unique need of every woman.

Dare I say it? Dare I mention the religiously political incorrectness of a woman wanting what she does not have? Of wanting presents? Pretty things? Thoughtfulness?

Isn’t she supposed to be sort of self-denying and esoteric? A modern day monk-like creature who recycles and reuses and wants nothing?

But these letters are about loving and truth and knowing, not about pretending.  And one thing I know...

all women love to be given gifts.

Even the Apostle Paul got this. The man who once went after Believers, squelching passion, persecuting a faith that threatened his rightness. A warrior kind of man.

Paul wrote this:

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives,

exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.

His words evoke her beauty.

Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her,

dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.

And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.

They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

Ephesians 5:25-33      

The Message

A man who wants to make a woman feel loved gives.  

A lot.  


Here's how:

Uniquely Study her, know her, notice who she is. Your dad buys me books, especially old books. He knows I love stories and biographies and poetry and flowers and silver and anything shiny.

Surprisingly -  A single rose for no reason at all, something you just saw that made you think of her, a gift certificate to a favorite place because you know she’ll “have nothing to wear”. Just the idea that you were thinking of her is enough to melt a woman’s heart. We know how busy life gets, we understand that you’re caught up in the rush to achieve and advance and provide— so when you stop for a moment and just give something for no reason, something melts inside our hearts. We respond.

Extravagantly - Every Christmas I watch your normally frugal brother lavish gifts on Tammy. He blows his budget, empties his wallet, and gives all he can to shout love to his wife. Don’t you think Tammy lives for those moments? And remembers when times are tight and there’s not enough left for extras? And feels cherished? Affectionately - Sometimes your dad gives me something that makes no sense to him. He just knows I light up when he gives me Marco Polo tea, or another book by my hard-to-find favorite author who died so long ago nobody reads her books anymore. Who goes ballistic over a used paperback about a missionary in China?Yet I know that he knows that I will. And so he gives me what he knows that I want. And I love that he does. Willingly - If a man is loving on and giving to his girlfriend/fiancé/wife  because he wants to, she’ll sense it. Women know things by watching and sniffing and filling in the gaps and picking up clues men don’t even realize they give. A man who gives because he wants to is showing a rare from-the-heart kind of love that sweeps a woman right off her proverbial feet. Irresistible! 

So give!   Uniquely,    surprisingly,    extravagantly,    affectionately,    willingly.

It’s a godly and bold and beautiful way to love a woman.

From my heart,


LETTERS: the drama queen vs. the kind wife

Strength and dignity

 are her clothing,

and she smiles at the future. 

She opens her mouth in wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

Proverbs 31:25


Dear son,

Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up next to a woman every morning for the rest of your life who “smiles at the future”? A woman who so fully trusts God that even when life is hard and not what she wants, she could find hope and rest? And then spill that bright vision of possibility all over you… and your children… and everyone who steps into her circle of relationship?

Can you imagine what it would be like to live with a woman who is fascinated by you? Who knows who you are with all your flaws and failures, and focuses on the good? Who watches when you mess up and instead of condemning or correcting or sighing or exploding, wraps her arms around you and loves you as you are right then and there?

Can you imagine?

Is that even possible?

Yes, Matt, I believe it is. I believe that a woman can choose to be kind. She’ll mess up sometimes, no doubt, but I believe that God has given every woman who fully gives her life to Him “everything pertaining to life and godliness”. (2 Peter 1:3)

Which means, no woman has to give into all those surging emotions we are born with. We can choose, instead, to bring those wild feelings to the Cross and let God help us work through to wisdom.

It’s not easy. But it’s doable because we serve a Redeemer who never stops redeeming all those raw, wounded, stubborn, self-willed parts of us as long as we let Him.

That said, my dear son, watch out for any woman who has not chosen that path of full surrender. She may be nice and charming and alluring and compelling, but if she’s not fully submitted her will to Him she has the capacity to make your life miserable.

How will you know?

A woman who is still determined to protect herself will be all about herself.

A woman who is determined to submit herself to God will be all about others.

It’s that simple.

Now here are my lists…


  1. The Drama Queen always brings the conversation back to herself, her stories, her accomplishments, her feelings.
  2. The Drama Queen decides how much attention she needs from you and lets you know in no uncertain terms if you’ve failed to give her what she needs.
  3. The Drama Queen is thrilled with your successes because it makes her look good, but she’s intolerant of any areas of your life that she deems less than worthy of her approval.
  4. The Drama Queen justifies explosions or sulking as a means of punishing you or others.
  5. The Drama Queen thinks the world revolves around her needs and therefore your life must revolve around her needs.
  6. The Drama Queen can be incredibly generous, but in the end, all her giving is with the expectation of attention and recognition.


  1. The Kind Woman is all about you. Whoever she’s with gets the full focus of her attention and interest.
  2. The Kind Woman does not demand more than you are able to give, though she may gently and honestly bring her needs to your attention.
  3. The Kind Woman waits a while before she acts on how she feels. She is distrustful of her own emotions and hesitant to make judgments based on how she feels. Instead she brings her feelings before the Father and asks for wisdom.
  4. The Kind Woman is not critical. She sees you in the best possible light, openly admiring the man you are.
  5. The Kind Woman adapts herself to you while remaining fully who she is. She brings her beauty to your vision and enhances your life while delighting in her own.

I do believe such women exist, Matthew, and here’s why: I know these kinds of women. They’re not perfect, but my goodness, they’re wonderful to be around. They are women like your Grandma Ruth. They can often be found serving somewhere behind the scenes— stroll through the children’s area at church and you’ll find a whole bevy of Kind Women. Women who are willing to wipe bottoms and corral kids with a smile on their face. Sometimes you can spot a kind woman loving on “the least of these”, people who are different or annoying or less than ideal.

May I respectfully offer one more word of caution?

Kind women are not always beauty queens. They are inclined to be understated rather than flashy. Their beauty may take a second look to discover. I have seen so many of these kind women emerge into breathtaking beauty by the love of their good husbands. There is something about a man finding you worth pursuing that often causes a woman to do more to enhance her beauty, to do her own version of a makeover in recognition of a man’s love of beauty.

You know I am praying for you, Matt, and for the other men who are in this process of preparing for a wife. Be wise. Be kind yourself. Pay attention. Don’t be passive. There is a woman out there just waiting to join her future to yours.

From my heart,


LETTERS TO MY SON: the shamer

Strength and dignityare her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:25 NASB

Dear son,

Last week I wrote about four common flaws every woman leans towards when she relies on herself rather than on her Father in the realities of relationships.

These are ways of getting our way.

And I know this because I am a woman and I have utilized every one of these methods to try to get what I want. And it’s not pretty, I know. I’d much rather pretend it isn’t so and talk about beauty and helping and all those wonderful things a woman brings into a man’s life.

But I love you too much for that. And I see a certain naiveté that worries me sometimes. And maybe all men are that way, innocent to the way women are and the way women can be. And so today I want to tell you about another kind of woman: The Shamer.

The Shamer:

Women are idealists. Dreamers. Happily-ever-after believers. Inside these active brains of ours, we plan and project and imagine. And in the process of all that story writing, we create a value system that we believe is absolutely right and good. A way things ought to be.

And mostly that’s good.

But sometimes, when a woman marries a man with somewhat different values, instead of accepting or even embracing that different set of values, the woman works to change the man.

She believes that she is right. And he is wrong. Very wrong.

Let me give you an example I watched unfold:

A woman I know held firmly to a strong work ethic. She had goals and ambitions and dreams about a financially secure future and successful kids and a perfectly ordered life. This woman threw herself all-in to this ideal dream, willing to work hard to make it happen. 

But her husband had different values. He had ideas about a bohemian lifestyle, of following Jesus here and there and wherever. Savings and future and success were nowhere on his radar screen. He wanted to see the world and stay in youth hostels and pick up a little work here and there.

Both of these people were right.

Good ideas, admirable values.

Over time a deep animosity developed between these two wonderful people. The women grew bitter about her “lazy husband” with no ambition and few goals. The husband grew resentful of a wife who always seemed to push too much and to want too much and could never just relax and enjoy the moment.

And over time, this woman got tired of pushing her husband where he didn’t want to go.

So she began to subtly shame him.

At the root of her shaming were two things: a lack of respect and a determination to have her way.

Did she love him? Yes.

Did she respect him? No.

And so, my son, I want you to know what this shaming method looks like in a woman.

  1. A shaming woman is always right.
  2. A shaming woman is often deeply spiritual, drawing ideals from teachings she has heard and seminars she has attended and books she has read and people she admires.
  3. A shaming woman lives what she believes and expects her husband to live what she believes as well.
  4. A shaming woman is quick with “ought-to’s”.
  5. A shaming woman starts by prodding a man along.
  6. A shaming woman draws others into her circle of idealists, using words like “everybody” or “most people” to add weight to her arguments.
  7. A shaming woman jabs subtly in public.
  8. A shaming woman sets up a man for failure so she can say, “I told you so.”
  9. A shaming woman withholds praise and admiration.

Just writing these words makes me shudder, Matthew. No mother wants this for her son. And yet here I am, recognizing some of these very ugliness’s in myself.

I want better for my son, I want better for my husband.

There is no perfect woman. But if a woman will be honest enough to allow the Spirit of God to convict her of wrong doing and wrong thinking and wrong speaking, and if she will then be brave enough to confess her wrong, humbly and without excuse— that is a truly godly woman. Not perfect. But a woman after God’s own heart. One worth pursuing and loving, one who is safe to bring close to your heart.

And so Matt, three questions to ask yourself while you are getting to know her:

  1. Does she speak openly and comfortably about her own imperfections?
  2. Do your values match up? I’m not talking just about the really huge things here like integrity and purity. I mean the everyday values we all have... How we wish to live our lives and what we hope to have in our future.
  3. Is she generous with her admiration and words of affirmation to you?

I love you, Matt. I am so proud of the man you are and stand on tippy toes of anticipation to see the man you will be. Hold out for a woman who sees you as you really are and is delighted with the direction you are choosing for your life.

From my heart,





LETTERS TO MY SON: the manipulator

 Strength and dignityare her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:25 NASB

Dear son,

These words of advice from King Lemuel’s mother to her son hold a wealth of wisdom. She is painting a picture of a wife who “will not hinder him but help him all her life”. In fact, this kind of woman “will greatly enrich his life”. (Proverbs 31:10,11 NLT)

And that is what I want for you, Matthew— a wife who will greatly enrich and bring help and delight into your life.

But there are other kinds of women, dear son. Women who hinder. Women who bite. Women who cannot be depended upon because of hidden ugliness.

For the next few weeks I want to help you learn how to spot some of the subtle attitudes common in women who hurt rather than help their men.

And I know these things, dear son of mine, because I recognize them in me.

These uglinesses I am about to describe are common to every woman. But we each have choices to make— will I give in to my urge to control and manipulate and demand and punish, justifying my sin and blaming others? Or will I fall on my face in deep repentance and beg the Father to take my brokenness and make me beautiful?

Here are the four most common ways women “hinder” (NLT) or “do evil” (NASB) to men:

  1. Manipulation
  2. Neediness
  3. Drama
  4. Shame

The Manipulator:

Every woman falls into this trap, Matthew. It is our default mode when we don’t get what we want, or when we suspect we might not get what we want, or when we want to make absolutely sure we will get what we want when we want it and then some.

And honestly, it works!

We do this so subtly that most men have no clue what’s really going on. They just feel a vaguely uncomfortable sense that something is not right. It’s confusing, I know, but if you will pay attention, the patterns are not hard to spot. Here are my own observations:

How to know when you’re being manipulated:

  1. Manipulation almost always involves extreme temperatures. Hot, volatile anger or cold, rigid bitterness.
  2. A manipulator leaves the targeted person confused. He knows something is wrong but he cannot for the life of him figure out what.
  3. The manipulator focuses on one flaw in order to justify her anger.
  4. She’ll often make a big deal out of a minor mistake in order to get what she wants.
  5. The manipulator does not understand you. She does not give grace to cover over your less-than-idealness. She wants you to change, to be who she wants you to be.
  6. Sometimes the manipulator will crumble in a heap of feminine despair. “I’m so bad nobody loves me…” But she wants your sympathy, your encouragement, not your honest evaluation and certainly not true repentance.
  7. The manipulator will use her sexual allure to get you and keep you before you are married.
  8. Then she’ll use your sexual hungers to control you by requiring you to jump through her hoops before she’ll give herself to you.
  9. The manipulator is not straightforward. She cannot tell you exactly what is wrong, nor will she accept her own responsibility in conflict.
  10. 10.  The manipulator often tries to separate you from your friends. But sometimes she will try to endear herself to your friends. Confusing, I know.

Matthew, it takes time to identify manipulation. It is a subtle sin. If you are alert and you give yourself time to live life together, to walk through conflict, to experience ups and downs, to be less than perfect, you will be able to spot it.

Trust your own warning signals. If you often feel guilty and confused after a conflict listen to that caution. Ask the Spirit of God to give you insight below the surface.

And ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does she like you exactly as you are? Or does she like the general idea of you but wish you would change?
  2. Can you be fully you in her presence? Or do you find yourself quieting down, being careful, withdrawing a little?
  3. Does she get mad at you a lot? Does she withdraw into a cold shell of indifference? Does she rage?
  4. Does she entice you and then push you away?
  5. Do you feel subtly pushed by her? Is she trying to move the relationship forward faster than you are comfortable with?

Part of me wishes I didn’t even have to talk about this. Like I am unveiling ugliness and exposing you to what I wish I could ignore. But I love you too much for that, Matt. And I want so much more for you. I want for you a wife who will be your helper, your partner, your friend and your joyous lover.

Be wise, my son. Listen to your heart. Listen to the Spirit. Ask for wisdom and then wait for God’s clear answer. He promises to give generously to those who trust in Him.

From my heart,


PS: Dear girls who are listening in,

I laid awake last night worrying about the two young women who wrote to me yesterday with sadness lacing their words. They felt defeated and discouraged by my description of the manipulative woman, seeing far too much of themselves in that list. I vascilated in those middle of the night hours between feeling a heavy ache for their shame and a holy anger at the evil one who would twist my words to tempt these precious women to defeat.

How dare that enemy of ours suggest to these girls that they are incapable of redemption! How dare he shame them into hiding, suggesting that no godly man will want a woman who is struggling her way out of this sinful pattern!

But he did and he does and that makes me so angry!

So here’s what I want you to hear:

In no way do I mean to imply that if you fall into this common trap of manipulative control, your boyfriends should dump you! We’d all be single if they did that! Is there a woman alive who does not see herself somewhere on this list? I’m still, after 4 decades of walking with Jesus, seeing my patterns of manipulation come back and bite me. And yet my godly husband loves me and leads me and often times calls me on my not-so-subtle attempt to control.

At the same time, may I gently advise you to take your fears to the foot of the Cross, allow Jesus to cover those patterns of sinful manipulation, and confess those doings as wrong? That’s the only way to freedom. Then lets gather our closest friends around to help us be women of truth. We have got to be honest with each other and with ourselves.

And dear girls, please don’t let the enemy shame you any further. His grace is able to change even the most deeply rooted tendencies. Isn’t that the whole point of His death for us? He is a Redeemer!

I love you dear seekers of His heart,



Welcome to Letters

Several months ago, my son Matthew asked me a question: Would I do for him what I had done for his older brother many years ago? Would I write down specific advice as to what to look for in a wife?  These letters are my answer.

As I write these letters to my son I invite you to listen in. To think, to ponder, to question. We’ve started a conversation here, one of those intimate talks between people who believe the best for each other, whose lives are intimately intertwined in hope.

From my heart,

Diane (aka Mom)

Join us on every Monday for a fresh Letter to My Son.


8 Scary Things We Women Do…

when we think we need a man to make us happy.

Dear son,

A couple of letters back, I began to warn you to be alert and aware of the kind of woman who has the potential to sap you of your God-given and much needed strength. I let you know how close I came to being that kind of wife to your dad. And how he took me by the hand and helped me to know that only in utter dependence on God would I ever have the hole in my soul filled full.

Because even though I was honestly seeking God with all my heart, I still thought that being married to a godly man would make me feel forever loved and happy and fulfilled.

I think most women think that deep down. And it’s wrong.  It doesn’t work that way, not even a little. And it’s not supposed to. No man can satisfy a woman in those deepest places of her restless heart. Only God can do that— and for most of us women it takes a lifetime to figure out how that really works.

Now that I’ve scared you half to death, let me offer just a couple of words of practical description to help you recognize and avoid a needy woman. Remember, I’m describing who I once was, who I fight not to be even now.

#1  A man-needing woman will need more of you than you have to give.

#2  A man-needing woman will insinuate that you are not “there for her enough”.

#3  A man-needing woman will put you on the defensive- a lot.

#4  A man-needing woman will use her sensuality to bind you to her.

#5  A man-needing woman will often give in to intense expressions of emotion, requiring excessive      amounts of assurance from you.

#6  A man-needing woman will want you all to herself all of the time.

#7  A man-needing woman will generate a great deal of conflict.

#8  A man-needing woman will argue that you need to help her more rather than seeing her calling to be your help.

Please notice, my son, that a man-needing woman is not a bad woman. She may be beautiful and gentle and sweet and sitting in the front row with her Bible open at every gathering.

But until a woman figures out for herself that men are not meant to fulfill her craving need for more, and that only a close and intimate and dependent connection with God can fill that craving, she’ll be a strength sapper.

And you, my dear son, need every ounce of your hayil to do what God is calling you to do and to do it with the “vigor” (vs. 3) of a king.

From my heart,


Dear girls,

Don’t hate me! I get it, I really do. Yet I also know that the truth is what sets us free from ourselves.

So let’s be honest with each other, confess our weaknesses to each other, and go after all that God has waiting for us if we’ll only ask.

So… comments anyone? Do you see this in yourself?

Go ahead and make up a “pen name” for this one if you want… no need to completely terrify our guys!

Somehow I think if you’ll be honest here you’ll give all of us the courage to keep learning.

From my heart for you,


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.


LETTERS TO MY SON: guarding your hayil

“What, O my son?

And What, O son of my womb?

And what O son of my vows?

Do not give your strength to women,

Or your ways to that which destroys kings.”

Proverbs 31:2,30

 Dear Matthew,

Before I launch in to a list of qualities to look for in a good and godly wife, I want to take a moment to reiterate the warning King Lemuel’s mom gives at the beginning of her own letter to her son.

First of all, her son is a man, not a boy when she pours out her heart to him. Like you, Lemuel was a leader of men. He had authority and influence. And with that position of leadership, he had obligations.

And so do you.

Years and years ago, while you were just a boy, you sensed God’s calling to spiritual leadership. With ironclad determination you have pursued the preparations necessary to equip you for that kind of leadership. You know where you are going and what you need to get there.

You are a rarity.

So many men your age have no idea where they are going or why they are doing what they got up this morning to do. Few are the men who have listened to God’s voice and direction for their lives. Fewer still are the men who have mapped out how to get where God is directing them to go.

As your mom, I have watched and pondered and wondered at this rare and wonderful guidance from God.

And, as your mom, it scares me to my knees.

I have labored for you in prayer. Like the writer of this letter, I have seen God intervene and answer my prayers in the midst of battles and distractions and temptations. And yet I know that you are a threat to the Satan, that enemy whose sole aim is to destroy what God wants to do.

And so, with Mama Lemuel, I want to pause to warn you to keep a strong guard around yourself lest you forfeit your right to a position of leadership in this Kingdom of God on earth.

Because it doesn’t take much to be knocked out of the race. 

Lemuel’s mother used a fascinating word to warn her son about a wasted life.

Hayil, translated strength in the NIV, is a vastly important word that has to do with physical strength as well as wealth and ability and dignity. It is a word that encompasses noble character and special abilities.

Do not spend or use up or waste your hayil on women, she warns— and this from a woman! She’s warning her son that we, of the tribe of Eve, can and often are voracious eaters of men!

And Matt, I just want to chime in and agree. When you’re reading these letters over the next few months, please listen with the realization that the wrong kind of woman can sap your strength, steal your hayil, and rob you of your God-given calling.

The stakes are high, my son. And the temptation is great.

May God give you the wisdom and the patience to wait for a woman who will add to your strength rather than take more than you have.

From my heart,


Come back tomorrow to learn about… Two Kinds Of Women.

To the women who are reading this:

Please be patient with me as I attempt to describe to my son (and all the sons who read these words) what a godly woman looks like. And if you have any pieces of wisdom to add, please do! I welcome your input into Matt’s learning.



Several months ago, my son Matthew wrote me an email asking one simple question… would I do for him what I had done for his older brother many years ago... would I write a series of letters giving him specific advice as to what to look for in a wife?

Matt was seven when I first started writing those letters. His big brother was away at school in the days before email and Facebook and Twitter. For over a year I wrote letters, folded the paper, licked the envelope, and dropped those missives in the mail.

I tried to explain to him how women differ and what I saw as his greatest need. I painted a picture for my firstborn son of a woman whose life would mesh with his— of a helper, a partner, a lover, a friend for the rest of his life. I knew, in that way that mothers know, that John Mark would be a leader.

And I knew John Mark.

I called those letters, “In Search of Eve” – I know, I know, it does sound incredibly corny now, but this was back in 1998 when baggy jeans and white-bleached-sticking-in-every-direction hair was in style too.

It made sense back then.

And it sure seemed to work for John Mark. Those letters mystically coincided with his discovery of Tammy. There in black and white was a handwritten description of the woman who had captured his attention. As he read those letters from his mom he was astounded at how accurately I was describing a girl I had never met.

Well, you know the rest of the story. John Mark and Tammy have been married for ten years now. They have two of the most intelligent, amazing, engaging, handsome boys in the world (okay, maybe I’m just a tiny bit biased) and have just adopted a beautiful African daughter into the Comer heritage. There is no doubt in my mind that Tammy is God’s gift not only to my son, but also to me. I love her like my own daughters and she fit my son in ways I could never have envisioned while laboring at my desk over those letters.

And now Matthew wants letters of his own.

And so, over the next few weeks and months, I will be sharing with all of you what I write to my son. He’s agreed to forego his privacy just a bit in order to allow his friends and people neither of us know— but both of care about, to learn alongside him. I’ll be using the last chapter of the book of Proverbs to guide my advice to my son.

Proverbs 31 has long been studied by women hoping to learn how to be the perfect woman and the “ideal wife”. But that was never the purpose of this oft-maligned chapter of God’s Word.

It is simply a letter from a mother to her son.

Now, granted, included in the middle of that letter is a description of woman of such beauty it fairly takes our breath away.  And leaves us lowly less-than-perfect women more than a little intimidated.

But that, I would argue, is not what this mother intended. She was writing to her son, not to women. And she knew her boy. She’d studied him and prayed for him and watched over him since before he emerged from her womb.

Now he is a man, a leader, a king. His vocation as ruler/politician/warrior puts Lemuel under intense pressure to perform and provide. And his mother knows he needs a godly woman to come alongside him and bring balance and wisdom and grace to his leadership. A woman who will fill the empty places of his heart, while bringing him honor and immeasurable help.

And so she writes her letter to her son. And I write to my own son.

And both of us beckon you to read along. To think and ponder and imagine what a truly good wife can do alongside a truly good man. And what a truly good man should know about women. And what women should know about what it means to be truly good.

But while you’re reading, will you do one thing? Will you forget the idea of “ideal”? Will you set aside the fairy tale notion of “perfect”? Instead, will you look with me at what God has to say about the value of a good woman?

And will you give me lots of grace in these next series of posts? I’m writing to my son, not studying for a commentary.

I’m the mom of a man-boy who is preparing for his future of leadership and mission.

And I’m the wife of a leader— a truly good man who has taught me and corrected and protected me for just shy of 34 years.

I’ve learned most of what I know the hard way. By making mistakes and coming up short and being disappointed in my self-centered self. And then by turning to the Scriptures to find a better way of being.

This is my answer to my son’s question—

Mom, what should I look for in a wife?

From my heart,

Diane (aka Mom)

P.S. Why don’t you take some time this week to slowly read through Proverbs, chapter 31? Allow yourself to think through the wisdom in God’s words to you. Go ahead and jot down a few notes and send me any questions that come to your mind.