Posts tagged love
A Love That Lasts a Lifetime

I was 19 when I married Phil. Nineteen! Polished and responsible on the outside, idealistic and immature on the inside. Phil was my knight in shining armor, promising to sweep me into a happily-ever-after life of romance and passion, castles and crowns. For the rest of my days I would be loved, feel loved, overflow with loved-ness.

We would be different than my parents— or his. Or anyone else we knew for that matter. Fight? Argue? Bicker? Grow apart? Not a chance! We were better than that; we loved each other better than that. Our love would set a new precedent, we would be the ones to lead the way for others to follow.

Ha! My resolve lasted all the way till the first time he hurt my feelings. The moment he alluded to the idea that maybe I had some growing up to do.

The first time I didn’t quite measure up to his mom. 

He never said those words. But I knew— I knew he was thinking it. Ruth Comer was gentle, submissive, hard working, kind. She cooked a delicious dinner every night—every single night— without fail. She never cried or sulked or argued or needed. Ever.

I, on the other hand, could hardly get a decent batch of food on the table.  I cried at Hallmark commercials, at off-hand comments that sounded like criticisms, at things he said and things he didn’t say.

Lurking just beneath the surface of my try-hard-to-be-the-perfect-wife façade was a little girl who couldn’t quite measure up to her own ideals. No matter how hard I tried. I wanted to be better than I was, different, the Perfect Woman: productive, efficient, organized, logical.

At the tender age of nineteen I didn’t know I had hurts inside that needed healing. I didn’t know that my husband couldn’t fix my brokenness— that he wasn’t supposed to.

Somehow I thought his love would cure all that was wrong with me.

All I knew for sure was that I needed more love than he could give, and I assumed that meant we were doomed. Doomed to disappointment. Doomed to failure. Doomed to late night sessions trying to “resolve” hurts that didn’t make sense.

On a sure track towards everything I didn’t want my marriage to become.

What I didn’t know, couldn’t yet grasp, was the truth I know now. The truth that romance novels and movies and little girls’ dreams are not made of. The truth that has given us over 38 years of real love…

A love that lasts a lifetime involves two imperfect, flawed, deeply broken people finding all their voracious need for intimacy not in each other, but in the with-ness of God. 

When both of us press in to God in such a way that we sense that He is present, He is working, redeeming all those broken pieces that create havoc on our insides.

When all that love and respect and satisfaction and romance we want from each other isn’t enough and we let go of expecting what our spouses will never be able to give us— that’s when true love grows and thrives and becomes something beautiful.

True love doesn’t fit neatly on the inside of a pink card. Real romance looks more like two people with gnarled hands and lined faces who’ve learned to receive love from the One who loves them like no other and then found ways to pour that love on each other.

And that kind of love lasts a lifetime.

From my heart,


P.S. As I write these words, Phil and I are on our way to Scotland. We’ll be teaching an Intentional: Raising Passionate Jesus Followers conference in Glasgow this weekend. On Sunday, Phil will be preaching on marriage at RE:Hope, Glasgow. Then we travel to the Lake District in England for a little romance, relaxation, and time to dream about the days ahead. I’ll also be sharing my story at a women’s event while we’re there in Windemere, England.

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God Has Things He Wants To Say To You

"I still have many things to say to you..."

John 16:13

Di, I have many things to say to you.

The words jump off the page of my Bible and straight into my heart. His words take my breath away.

Me? You have many things to say to me?

I burrow deeper into my big white chair, curling my legs under me. I pour a cup of tea, I’m listening now. On my lap my journal jockeys for position with my Bible. I hold a pen, poised and ready. If God actually has many things to say to me isn’t it best that I write down what He says?

And then I go back and read the whole of what John wrote. I want to know exactly what Jesus said. I want to make sure that His words are for me, for us, for every one of His followers. And I want to make sure I’m listening to Him—for what He has to say, not for what I want to hear. I need His words this morning, not my own, not anyone else’s— His.

I have the audacity to believe God speaks to those who lean in to listen.

I still have many things to say to you,

But you cannot bear them now.

When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all truth;

For He will speak whatever He hears, and He will declare it to you.

All that the Father has is Mine.

For this reason I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.

John 16:13-15

I’ve been reading the words penned by John for months now; both John's Gospel and his letters. Every time I sink my soul into his stories about Jesus and his long, rambling tangents (commentators call these discourses), something seems to stir inside me.

His words stir a longing, delight, awe.

I’m smitten, enamored by the picture John paints of Jesus. And just a little envious too. How did John come to be full of such confidence that Jesus not only loved him passionately, but actually liked him too? How is it that he referred to himself with such convincing conviction as the apostle Jesus loved? Not once or twice, but again, and again, and again as if he really believed it.

For years, decades, I have known the astounding truth that God loves me. And every year that I walk in His steps, learning to follow as close as I can, I have known that love a little more.

But to call myself “the one Jesus loved”— as in specifically? As in, Jesus loves the me-that-I-am? The possibity that Jesus not only loves me because He loves the whole world, but also because He loves me specifically, especially, particularly?

I’m afraid to let myself believe that God's love for me is specific to me.

That kind of love is a little too personal. Not at all like what I’ve absorbed from the depravity-of-man preachers who want to make sure I know I’m unworthy of God’s love. And I know they’re right, but this?

The idea that maybe Jesus’ love for me is not just general, but personal? That’s harder to swallow. Because I know me. I’m well acquainted with the depravity part. And, like everyone else, I’ve had plenty of people point out those parts of me that Jesus cannot possibly fail to see.

And if I do believe that He loves me like that, then I have to also believe that He talks to me, that He has things He wants to say to me, His girl, Di.

Selah. Pause and think about that.

That’s what I did this morning. I paused and thought long and wondrously about these words in John. That He still has many things He wants to say to me. That He knows there are things I’m not yet ready to hear and that doesn’t annoy Him. He’s okay with going at my pace. He’s more than okay, He’s adapting the pace of His speaking, guiding, declaring because He knows me, loves me, and wants me to hear. In fact, He left His Spirit when He returned to the Father for the express purpose of speaking truth to me.

And that’s all I’m going to say because it’s enough for today.

Now it’s time for me to go on my walk with Him. Time to silence myself so that I can hear the whispers of truth He wants me to know. Time for me to listen to the real, actual, touchable and feel-able love He has for me. As in the me He likes. The me that is becoming, in His presence, the me He had in mind when He made me.

But before I go, I would like to invite you to leave your name in the comments— with anything you want to add about why God loving you is something you’re struggling to grasp. Or even just your initials if you’re not ready for anyone else to know why Jesus’ love is so hard for you to actually feel. I’ll take you with me on my walks and I’ll talk to Jesus about your need to know, to experience His love— specifically.

And I’ll be back next week to write more of what I am discovering about this One who speaks, who guides, who loves the way He made you.

From a heart so full I just had to write it down,



Dear Husbands, Fiancees, Boyfriends, and "Just Friends",  The women you love want you to know what it is they really want-- more than beautiful clothes or sparkling jewelry, more than fancy dates or exotic vacations. These are real things every man can give... if only he will. 

I posted this two years ago. We haven't changed, this is still what every woman really wants for Christmas:


We’ve browsed through magazines, linked onto websites, and made our wish lists. Clothing sizes, shoe preferences, colors and particulars. Everything we think our men need to know in order to give us a Christmas to remember.

Now, armed with ideas, men are heading to the mall, determined to get that one thing they hope will make a woman happy.

And so, I have a list of my own to give the men who love the women I care about. It won’t break the bank or your back, but it will give her exactly what she really wants from you this Christmas.

Ten Things To Give The Woman You Love For Christmas:

1.  Your Attention- full and undivided.

Uninterrupted by cell phone rings and texting dings. She knows you can’t give it all the tim e, but for Christmas won’t you try? Do it on purpose.

2. Your Eyes- it’s the stuff of romance.

When a man looks into a woman’s eyes she knows he sees her. But it doesn’t have to be Hollywood mush. Just a moment of linking up, of homing in on the window to her soul. Dive deep. There's a person of unique value in there. Look for what she cannot say.

3.  Your Touch- purposeful and affectionate.

A way of showing her you connect with her. Women crave those brushes of love against their skin. To run your fingers across her heart, you'll need to step into her space and bring her into yours.

4.  Your Stories- give her a memory, a picture in your mind that you’ve tucked away somewhere of her being who she is and you loving that part of her. Tell it well and she’ll know for a moment that you really do know her.

5.  Your Hope- she sees everything not right with the world she’s trying to create for those she loves.  Tell her it’s okay, that perfection isn’t perfect, that love is messy and so is real life and you love her no matter what.

6.  Your Honor- What is the thing she does remarkably well? Have you told her? Have you told her in front of others? It’s not a woman’s way to brag about herself. Can you be her trumpeter?

7.  Your Depths- Give her those hidden hopes and dreams and thoughts and observations that will never be part of a quick phone call. She wants to know you way deep down inside.

8.  Your Help- Christmas can be overwhelming for a woman. So much to do and so many glossy pictures of others doing it better. Get up and help her. Lend a hand. Make life a little easier for her so she can be who she really is. And jump in before she gets crabby about all the work, she hates herself for being like that.

9.  Your Generosity- Can you choose in the midst of the pressures of real life to give a little more extravagantly than anyone would expect? Add a flourish. Make her coffee and cover it with whipped cream. Buy her something she doesn’t need. Bless her.

10.  Your Love- That’s what she really wants.

Every woman I know wants to be loved. To be considered better than average in a world that measures our success by means we’ll never attain.

To be  held in a place so uniquely special to you that you’re willing to give your attention, your eyes, your touch, your stories, your hope and honor and depths and help and generosity just to be sure she knows how much you love her.

We want to feel loved.

You have it in your power to give that kind of love this Christmas to your wife or your girlfriend, your good friend, your mom.

Will you?

From my heart,


P.S. Women, do you have anything to add to this list?


OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #4 Dear Matt and Simo,

I used to think that communication was the key to a happy marriage. Isn’t that, after all, what the experts say? And so I set about to communicate with a capital C. Every grievance, each oversight, any hint of bump up against my ever wary feelings— all very carefully communicated lest we miss out on the kind of marriage we both wanted.

It didn’t work.

Instead of bringing us closer, my determination to tell all drove a wedge between us. My constant “nicely said” rebuke left Phil feeling defensive and brittle around me. I was building a wall between us and for the life of me, I didn’t know why or what to do about it.

Until I noticed a pattern.

Every time we made love, the wall fell down… at least for a while. My feelings stayed temporarily safe from that tendency to make a big deal out of everything, and your dad just got nicer, with a certain sweetness that made him easy to live with.


And I began to wonder if maybe communication might not be the only key to a happy marriage. In fact, I began to suspect that intimacy— safe, satisfying, sexuality at it’s best— might be at least as important as all that talking I’d thought we needed.

Years and decades later, I’m sure of it. And because I now believe that the quantity and quality of your lovemaking bears a direct reflection on the quantity and quality of your communication, I have some advice for those just figuring it out.

For the men:

Respect the role beauty plays in her sexuality. If you can help her know her own beauty, see herself through your eyes, and shield her from the biting criticism she sees in the mirror, she will respond with the passion you know is in there.

How To Respect Your Wife’s Need For Sensual Beauty:

  • Tell her she’s beautiful. Often. More than you think is necessary. Be specific.
  • Smile at her, admire the way she swings her hips when she knows you’re looking, tell her what that does to you.
  • Shower her with the feminine beauty that she craves. Bubble bath, perfume, lotions, candles.
  • Make room in your budget for pretty things: underwear, lingerie, fresh sheets. Beauty matters— to her.
  • Keep your office out of your bedroom and your clothes off the floor. Help her create a haven in your room- a place not for work but for play.
  • Give her time to cultivate beauty. A woman who works all the time and doesn’t take time for beauty is not a woman who is thinking about her sensuality.
  • Beware of crass humor, it’s a sure turn off for women. Instead, lighten the tone of your romance by laughing with her.
  • Clean yourself up so that she wants to be near you. Take stock of what you look like and smell like from your teeth to your toes. It matters.

For Women: 

How To Respect Your Husband’s Need For Sex:

  • This is not some sort of base animalist urge, but a God given need for intimate physical expression.
  • Tell your husband that you are always available, that you always want him even when sometimes you don’t feel like you do.
  • Determine to partner with your husband in his fight for purity, it’s your battle too. Let him know you want all of him, always.
  • Be the willing, eager recipient of all he has to give while you guide him in giving you pleasure too. No man wants to make love to a martyr. His pleasure increases exponentially with yours.
  • Save your energy for sex. Budget your time, your day, your availability so that he knows you’re willing and waiting and eager.
  • Seduce him on a regular basis. A phone call, an invitation, a note.
  • Fill his memory with sensual pictures of your sensuality for when he doesn’t have you near.
  • Cultivate your own sensuality. You are made for this, biologically and emotionally. Own that. Enjoy it.

And remember this: When all is well and vibrant and satisfying in the bedroom, all those annoyances and bumps that happen in real life just don’t seem to matter as much.

And this: If it’s not working, don’t give up or pull away. Get help.

From my heart,


P.S. Thoughts? How can your husband bring beauty into your sensuality? And how can your wife respect your sexuality? It’s high time we started talking about this area of intimacy.

(image by Hillary Kupish)


OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #1

Eat friends;

drink and imbibe deeply,

O lovers.

Song of Songs 5v1


 …drink your fill of love


Dear Matt and Simona,

God likes sex.

He approves, He smiles, He delights in seeing His created ones drinking deeply of this gift from Him.

In fact, He likes what He made so much that He dares use it as a metaphor for the intimacy He invites each of us into with Himself.[1]

But here’s what worries me:

Lots of married couples act as if sex is really not that big of a deal.

They don’t talk about it much, don’t try that hard, don’t wonder why they’ve settled into a less-than-terrific routine of barely enough and barely good enough sex to satisfy either of them.

And I think that makes God sad.

Because He makes a big deal about sex. Good sex (the married, mutually satisfying kind) and bad sex (the adulterous or manipulative or enslaving kind) are woven throughout the narrative of God’s story.

In fact, mid-way through the Bible, He stops and writes a whole book about sex. (The Song of Solomon) As if to say, “Really, you guys, this is what you need!” Yet sadly, throughout history, people have blushed their way through the Song of Solomon, trying to pretend that He didn’t mean sex… surely!

And of course, the two of you know this. You are imbibing deeply, the honeymoon isn’t over, you’re delighting in each other and learning the language of a love you hardly knew possible.

But just in case… just to store away for another day down the road when you’re tempted to minimize intimacy because life gets in the way… I want to remind you…

Why Sex Is Really A Very Big Deal

1.  Sex creates intimacy. Sex creates a mystical moment of intimacy so intense, so momentarily out of control— that your hearts burst with the wonder of it. Together.

2.  Sex releases hormones. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, all of which flood your bodies with feelings of love during and immediately after sex. Which means that frequent, passionate sex actually keeps you feeling in love with each other.

 3.  Sex makes you nice. The vulnerability, the satisfaction, the ecstasy of sex, all combine to leave the both of you feeling… nice: full of grace, uncritical and kind.

 4.  Sex keeps you loyal. Two, now forged into one can take on the world! A woman who gives that kind of passion, a man who gives that kind of pleasure— there’s no stopping them.

 5.  Sex is thrilling. That unrestrained passion between a man and a woman who have pledged to be with each other forever is better than any other rush life has to offer.

If someone could market a pill that created intimacy, released mood enhancing hormones, made people nice, kept couples loyal, and guaranteed a rush of out-of-control but not-life-threatening thrill… they’d be rich!

And Someone has.

So please, my dear son and beautiful daughter, make sex a big deal.

A really big deal.

When it’s less than great, get help. Take someone you feel comfortable with aside and ask questions. Read books. Keep at it. Don’t stop. And whatever you do, never, ever let life get in the way of this gift God has given the two of you together, forever.

From a heart that wants your love to last and thrive over a lifetime,


For those who are reading: I will be writing about sexuality and intimacy for the next several weeks. If you have questions that you think I may be able to answer, please email me at

Some great books:

1. Sheet Music by Kevin Leman

2. Intimacy Ignited by Dr. Joseph & Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter and Lorraine Pintus

3. Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus (for women)

4. Intended For Pleasure by Dr. Ed Wheat


Do you know of others? 

(Image by Hillary Kupish)




[1] see Ephesians 5v21-33


(image by hillary kupish)

Our house is a very, very, very fine house

With two cats in the yard,

Life used to be so hard,

Now everything is easy cause of you…

I’ll light the fire,

You place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.[1]

(still my favorite love song…)

 Dear Matt and Simona,

Saturday was your wedding day. A beautiful, romantic day you have both dreamed of for many months. Today the two of you are flying across oceans and mountains, glaciers and jungles… to a place just for the two of you. Alone.

And I sit here in my tiny cottage in the woods trying to condense all that I want to say into these few words on a screen. I type and I delete. I walk around the block and think of too many things I want to say. I try again.

And there is only this:

A love that lasts a lifetime doesn’t happen by accident.

It is not a romantic ending to a good story. It is not in the stars, not because you found the One. The kind of love you hope for isn’t because of good luck or good personalities or good timing. It does not wear out or go away. No one falls out of this kind of love.

A love that lasts a lifetime is a love that is lived on purpose.

It is a love that is gone after. A love that is done daily. A love that is thought about, sacrificed for, worked towards.

Even on bad days. Especially on bad days.

Yes, love is a gift. But perhaps more, real love, the kind of love that all of us long for, is a skill. A vocation. A calling.

And that is why I am writing these letters. Because I dare to believe that this is a kind of love that is possible. I believe that you two and anyone else can have a love that lasts for a lifetime. I believe that any of us— all of us— can become excellent lovers.

And more, I believe we are called to do this kind of love.


For the rest of forever.

That is what these letters will be about. The doing of real love. The craft, the skill, the expertise it takes to navigate real life and cultivate true love. I want to pass on what I am learning about how to “walk in the way of love” (Ephesians 5:2) so that when you are both old… with all the inherent greying and sagging and wrinkling and slowing that old age brings… you will still be in love.

Because I believe it’s possible, this whole-life love. Maybe not normal, but possible. And I don’t believe it has much to do with luck, though no doubt about it, some people have an easier time at it than others. And though I may have started off life as a dreamer, a romantic, a head-in-the-clouds innocent… I now have three plus decades of church ministry under my belt and all the inherent sad, tragic, disgusting, horrifying real-life-marriage stories to off-set my fairy tale take on life.

And I believe more than ever in the theory of redemption:  that our God is a fixer of broken things. That your mess-ups and mistakes do not define you.

Nor is all that messiness a predilection for future failure. I read it in God’s Word and I see it in real life.

I have seen people tuck their broken, repentant, honest selves right into Jesus. I have seen Him exchange their sorry state with His glory, with His beauty. I have seen—close up—two people collide and fall on their faces and call out to God. I have seen the beauty He brings out of the ashes of fire-ravaged lives. How He melds two people into one.

And I am one of those: broken, selfish, spoiled, self-indulgent, and… redeemed. And so is your dad. You know that.

God doesn’t automatically make repentant, dependent people good, instead He fills them with God. With Himself. And then He slowly begins that painstaking process of smoothing off the ugliness. Something like the way He used glaciers to craft great swaths of smooth tundra, so slowly the movement is almost imperceptible.

The key, I have come to see, is patience. Patience with each other first, but also patience with yourself. We learn to love well. God Himself trains us in the way of love. Scripture is filled with wisdom to get us started and then to stretch us further until His way becomes, if not natural, at least a whole lot easier.

So, before the letters even officially begin, let me leave you with just a couple of things to tuck away.

  1. A love that lasts a lifetime is possible.
  2. A love that lasts a lifetime is not natural or easy or automatic.
  3. A love that lasts a lifetime requires the humility of daily brokenness before God.
  4. A love that lasts a lifetime involves skills that can be learned.
  5. A love that lasts a lifetime takes a lifetime.

And this...

A love that lasts a lifetime is worth it.

From my heart,


P.S. While I am writing these letters to my son and new daughter, they have agreed to let you read along. What I am hoping, is that you will bring your stories and wisdom and questions and comments with you. I get tired of talking all by myself. So please, let the conversation begin.

[1] Published and recorded in 1970, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I’ve been whistling this one under my breathe for longer than you’ve been alive!

DAD STORIES: memories from a man who got it right

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

(my daughter, Rebekah and my dad)

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

How He loves…

How He welcomes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

My fear teetered towards terror.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I prayed, of course. 

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

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

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

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

Instead of shame: Where’s your faith?

Instead of platitudes: Angels are watching over you…

He reminded me of my dad.

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

Making the rounds like a night watchman.

Making sure I was safe.

Making me feel safe.

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


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

God, I realized, is just like my dad!

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

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

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

Just like Dad.

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

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

I drifted off to sleep that night whispering thanks.

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

He loved me… just like Dad.

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

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

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

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

But that didn’t stop him.

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

From my heart,



1.    He watched over me.

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

3.    He didn’t mock my fears.

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

5.    He showed me what the Father is like.


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

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

DAD STORIES: memories of a man who got it right

(photo by Bethany Small)

Back when I was high school during the now-vintage era of the 70’s, computers were monstrous machines. They were housed in massive buildings, attended by men in white lab coats and thick glasses. No home computers, no laptops.

As students, we wrote our essays and term papers on typewriters— the electric kind if we were lucky.  Usually by hand first, then plucked out laboriously on the machine, slow and careful lest we hit the wrong key, leaving a permanent imprint on the perfect white paper.  Most teachers allowed no more than 3 errors per page.

My dad allowed no errors. A typo was a mistake. Why wouldn’t I aim for perfection?

Dad was not normally a tyrant, but he knew me well. Papers were my ticket to the grades he knew I could get but wouldn’t if I didn’t use my strengths. And tests were not my strength. My befuddled mind just wouldn’t grasp such unimportant details as dates— Was that signed in 1776? Or was it 1667?

But assign me to write a story about what life may have been like back whenever-it-was, and I’d bump those grades back up to where they belonged.

How many hormonal implosions did I unleash on poor dad when he red-marked my papers? And believe me, I could implode with the best of them! Drama and you-don’t-love-me and no-one-else’s-parents-torment-their-kids-like-this!

But nothing moved the man.  Instead, he calmly waited out the storm and told me, Good job, you’re getting it. Now do it again. 

And so I did. Until I got it right. Until it was good-grade worthy and I could hand it back to my dad to see his smile and that slightest nod that meant more than my name in lights.

Stretch back a few more years. We lived in Germany, in a small hamlet surrounded by fields and forests. A magical place. Dreamer that I was (and am) I remember all the wild and wonderful imaginings as I stared out my bedroom window at the castle one town away.

But on Saturdays I had to unstick my head from the clouds and do chores. Dusting, emptying garbage, wiping windows and cleaning the car— a tiny Opel sedan that carted our family of five all over Europe during the days we lived there.

Back then cars had windows that locked by pushing a small lever that looked like a golf ball tee. But when ten-year-old hands washed the inside of the Opel’s windows, that tee inevitably got in the way, leaving fingerprints unwiped. And Dad just marched me back to do it again. After all, he’d paid a whole dime for the job!

And do you know what? I still get in the corners. And I still proofread and correct over and over again, wanting to get it right, all the way right.

Because my dad taught me that details make the difference. Whether writing a paper or a book, or washing windows or making friends— details matter.

Was Dad picky? Yeah, a little.

Was Dad unreasonable? Never.

Did I respond well to his insistence on doing things well and right? Uh… hardly ever.

Am I glad he did? Absolutely! So very thankful that he instilled in me a sense of honor about work and pride in doing it well.

And do you know what? I really don’t think that Dad cared all that much about finger smudges on windows. I doubt he enjoyed reading my clunky papers about dinosaurs or the history of the printing press.

I think he just cared about me. He loved me enough to uproot my natural laziness and make me uncomfortable with less-than.

He wanted me to know the satisfaction of a job well done, of life done well.

And he was willing to do what he needed to until I got it right all on my own.

Thank-you Dad, I’m so glad you did.

From my heart,


Six Things My Dad Got Right:

  1. He had values of his own that he determined to instill in me.
  2. He was nice (mostly) about it.
  3. He didn’t let my whining and wailing cause him to slack off.
  4. He taught me to focus on my strengths.
  5. He told me what my strengths were— out loud and often.
  6. He kept at it even when his job demanded his attention.

P.S. Right now my dad is very, very ill. Would you pray with me for him? I leave in a few days to go to be with my parents at their home in the Sierras. Knowing you're praying would make all the difference to me. And if these Dad Stories have helped, will you leave a comment? It would bring me great  joy to bring him stories of how his own story is influencing yours.Thank you.

You can see previous DAD STORIES here.


(image by Hillary Kupish)

Tomorrow my son’s long anticipated book, Loveology, will appear on the shelves of bookstores.

Today I sit at a coffee shop in Portland with my own copy in my lap and marvel.

This is my son— the one I taught to form letters and read words. The same boy who, in ninth grade, agonized to meet his page quota for a paper on Silas Marner. Not because he couldn’t do it, but because he fought his teacher’s insistence that papers must be long and wordy.

This book isn’t wordy.

Instead, John Mark has broken the worn-out publishing paradigm that insists that more is better. He has written a treatise on marriage for a generation that reads fast—to the point, crystal clear, wise, and raw.

For the first chapter of my reading, I did what I always do. I got out my pen to underline the most important points; my way of remembering what I, as a way-too-fast reader, need to take with me.

I underlined nearly every sentence.

Then I started taking notes. Along the margins, in my notebook. Arrows and circles, numbers to follow along more closely… I found myself treating Lovelogy like a workbook.

Pretty soon I stopped reading it for a review and started reading it for me.

For my marriage.

For my understanding of the Father’s intent when he made Adam one way and Eve another and then told them to go and do their task to change the world.

And then, about half way through this book, I had to stop and close it tight for a while.  Because through these words my own son put on paper, the Father began to speak deep into my heart about things I thought I knew but didn’t.

About men. About marriage. About God. About me.

And also…

About purpose, about pleasure, about the point of it all.

And then I had to grieve, just for an honest little while.

Because I didn’t know this plan for marriage 35 years ago when I married Phil. I knew some, but not nearly enough. And if I had known, really understood what marriage was all about and what marriage was for, I would have done those first years differently.

Why didn’t anybody ever tell me?

That marriage is for more than my own happiness.

That my success as a wife is not measured by my success at making my husband happy.

That marriage is about achieving something far beyond ourselves, something that can and should and will, if we let it, change the world.

And that is what my son’s book is about— a plan from God to change the world.

I’ve gushed more texts to John Mark as I’ve read his book than is seemly— I can imagine the rolling of his eyes as he dismisses his mom as slightly manic.

But I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to fully understand how fairy tales shape a woman’s heart. And how crushingly sad a woman feels when she realizes she didn’t marry Prince Charming after all. Or how embarrassingly bad a woman can behave when those dreams don’t carry her away on the white steed of her imaginary world.

My first years of marriage were not what they should have been because my view of marriage was not what it needed to be. I married a good and godly man and still managed to shame him for being less than I needed.


Because I thought about marriage mostly wrong and so I did marriage mostly wrong.

Loveology is the right way to think about marriage. God’s way.

Steeped in Scripture, filled with background and history and explanations and word studies, this book fully explains. John Mark makes sense of the mystery Paul talked about while exploding the myths most of us believe.

I needed this book.

You need this book if…

  • you hope to get married some day
  • you are afraid to get married
  • you want your sons and daughters to go into dating and marriage with God’s wisdom to guide them
  • your marriage failed and you want to understand why
  • you’re unhappy in your marriage and want to know what to do
  • you want hope
  • you want truth

And most especially, read this book if you’ve been following these He’s Not Your Prince Charming posts.  Because John Mark explains all the why’s and what’s and how come’s that keep haunting your misplaced dreams.

From a heart

… bursting with pride in my son,

… humbled by my own brokenness,

… thankful for the faithfulness of my husband,

… and hopeful for the next generation,


PS. Who’s going to the Loveology event in downtown Portland this weekend? Let us know in the comments and look for me, I’ll be there!


HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what women really want #1

Last week I asked women to write and tell us what they really want from their men. I’d anticipated your answers, made a list of things I thought you’d say, outlined what I wanted to write about. But you surprised me by both what you did and didn’t say. Every one of you included somewhere on your list, this one thing… What every woman really wants…. Spiritual Leadership

Dear sons,

I have been writing to the women in your life for a long time now.

Words about their need to find all their hope and soul-satisfaction from Jesus.  About how to then turn around and pour the love they find in Him back into you, with skill and on purpose.

I hope you’ve noticed the effort your women are making to love you well, to love you the way you want to be loved— with respect and friendliness and with an awareness of who you are.

Now it’s your turn to listen.

Because the imperfect-but-trying women in your life have needs too. And because sometimes we women talk too long and too much about things even we don’t understand.

I think we’ve made something simple sound impossible.

And I’m hoping you catch a glimpse of a way to be who your are meant to be in a way that works for you.

Three Ways To Be A Spiritual Leader:

1.  Initiate

What your women are hoping for more than anything else, is so simple it’s almost laughable. They want you to understand their need to be led. Not dominated. Not preached at. Just gently and consistently led back to centering their hearts on Jesus. They’ve grown weary from feeling like they’re always the ones to lead the way back to God.

They want you to say:

“Let’s go to church tomorrow…”

“This morning I was reading in my Bible…”

“That message really spoke to me about…”

To a woman, that is spiritual leadership. When you take the initiative, when you make the suggestion, when you say it first… something inside of her falls more deeply in love with you. A woman admires a man who alerts her to focus on God. Respect grows, not because you’re perfect, but because you recognize who is and you love her enough to point her back to Jesus.

2.  Remind

Your women are smart. They know better than to think you can meet their every need and want and expectation. They know what you sense- that they’re needy, achingly so. It is the plague of every woman. And your women know that only Jesus can fill that emptiness.

Still, we forget... every day we forget.

And that’s when a woman becomes crabby or whiny or short-tempered or demanding.

What a woman really needs from you is simply a reminder. Bring the conversation back to Jesus. Remind her that He is taking care of her. Point out His faithfulness in her past. That He will not fail her now. That He loves her more than she can possibly know.

If you do this, and you’re nice about it, you will see immediate relief. She’ll sigh. Her shoulders will relax. She’ll nod her head and look up to you and be filled with gratitude. Because she knows… and agrees… and forgot. Again.

 3.  Pray

This is the big one. The hard one. Yet the one thing every woman will recognize as the ultimate spiritual leadership. You don’t have to pray long. You don’t have to pray first thing every morning or last thing every night. All you really need to do is grab her hand when she’s worried or frightened or feeling something she shouldn’t. Just hold her close and bring her to the Father. Out loud. By doing that you are showing your wife or girlfriend that you love her enough to bring her to the One who can fix everything. Yes, you are strong, yes you can solve most things… but by leading her into the presence of the One who is fully in charge, she sees you as the ultimate loving leader. Her relief and peace of heart will be palpable.

That, my dear sons, is what spiritual leadership looks like.

You don’t have to be eloquent or perfect. No theology degree required. All you need is an awareness of Jesus and the boldness to bring the woman you love to Him.

So simple. So very hard to actually do.

But I guarantee you this- if you will do these three things:

If you will initiate and remind and pray with her… she will respond.

She can’t help it. A woman’s feelings of love and attraction are so tied to her feelings of respect that she cannot separate the two. And nothing elicits the respect of a Jesus-following woman like a man who is bold enough to grab her hand and say, with Paul,

“Follow me, as I follow Christ.”

(1Cor 11:1)

May God give you the boldness to lead her closer to Himself.

From my heart,


P.S. Girls, your comments are fueling these posts. Can you tell me how your husband or boyfriend leads you spiritually?

And men, is there something we should know? Can you help us learn how to approach this often intimidating subject with grace? We're learning... all of us. To hear directly from you men would be an incredible help.

HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: a story and a secret

Once upon a time much, much different than ours, there lived a beautiful young woman. Her home was nestled in the hills of a land filled with scented cedar forests, rolling meadows, and dancing streams. Cave-like caverns had been carved into rock outcroppings where artisan wells offered cool respite on hot summer afternoons.

Every day Rebekah gathered at the well with other women of the region to fill jars full of refreshing water. These friends laughed and splashed and dreamed out loud of the love and adventure they hoped would come their way.

And every day Rebekah left those fleeting magical moments just a little more lonely.

What is wrong with me? She wondered.

Why do my insides ache with need?

Why can’t I be content like the other girls?

They seem so satisfied with all the same dreams— to catch the eye of one of the boys we have always known, to marry and bear his babies and stay right here.

To stay the same, always the same.

Why can’t I want that too?

Why do my dreams leave me bereft of hope?

Often she would cry in the lap of the nurse who had cared for her since infancy.  An old woman now, she was full of that fiercely loyal love that pulses through the veins of a lifetime caretaker. And she was the only one who understood.

One sweltering evening as the scorching desert sun finally inched its way behind the sacred mountains, Rebekah hurried to the well to fill the earthen jars with fresh water. She loved this time of day, a chance to leave the stifling tents, to splash refreshing liquid over her dusty face, to get away from the monotony of reality.

As Rebekah emerged from the hallowed out cave entry to the well, her water jars sloshing, feet slipping in the red mud, she spotted a strange man waiting. He looked old, wizened, and very, very hot.

Please, he said in a sand choked voice, will you give me a drink?

Certainly, sir, and she lowered her jug for him to drink.

Sympathizing with his obvious exhaustion, Rebekah offered to fetch water for his camels as well. Their plaintive moans making their need obvious.

Down she ran to the bubbling water, then up again with the heavy jar.  The camels drank deeply, forcing Rebekah back again and again for more of the desert treasure. When the camels were finally satiated, the servant silently held out a gift.

In his hand, lay a glittering nose ring and two intricately carved gold bracelets. Their beauty took her breath away.

For me? But, but, why?

All the man would tell her was that he came from far away and needed a place to rest for the night. Hurrying to her brother’s house, Rebekah showed him the treasures and recounted the story of the strange traveler.

Laban saw the opportunity for what it was— a chance to earn some much needed gold. He welcomed the man in, eager to know his business.

To Rebekah’s utter surprise, the strange servant told a mystical story of an enormously wealthy father from far away who had sent his servant to find a worthy wife for his son and heir. The servant seemed certain that Rebekah met all criteria his master had requested.

Would she pack her things and mount his camels and come away with him?

A home of her own to care for, a man of her own to love, a life away from the dreariness of her daily life— she practically ran for the camel train.

Was this it? A fleeting chance to embrace adventure? To break away from the everyday? Dare she link her life to a man she’d never met? A man different than all the boys who’d filled her charmed childhood?

Everything in Rebekah’s soul cried yes!

In a flurry of planning and packing, Rebekah, with her much loved nurse beside her, faced her future with all the courage of a beautiful woman awaiting her prince.

On the dusty camel ride to her unknown home, Rebekah had plenty of time to regret her impulsivity. Yet the sheer newness of her ever-changing surroundings kept her looking forward, searching for the future she’d only dreamed of.

What little she knew about this man who would be her husband intrigued her. He was an only child, coddled by both his mother and his father.  With a rich heritage of faith and wealth beyond her wildest imaginings, Isaac was certainly the most eligible bachelor she’d ever heard of.

This was a fantasy way beyond what she had dreamed. A love story so delicious it read like a fairy tale. She was on her way to meet her Prince Charming and to live happily ever after.

By the time the caravan’s journey was drawing near to her new husband’s home, Rebekah could barely sit upright in the saddle. Every bone ached, her hair felt like a ratted mess of dust and sweat. Covered head to toe, Rebekah felt more like an ancient mummy than the beautiful bride of a rich prince.

Her frequent groanings and persistent complaints finally induced the servant to stop short of their goal. Their camp that night edged the graveled banks of a shallow river. With her nurse providing cover, Rebekah slipped into the cool water with a sigh of relief. Luxurating in the moon lit moment of privacy, she allowed herself just a moment to imagine what lay ahead.

Would her husband approve of the servant’s choice? Would he be kind? Gentle?

Looking at the whiteness of her skin she wondered what he would think of her?  Would her body please him? Would he want her? No man had ever glimpsed so much as a hint of the form of her womanhood, encased in great swathes of cloth as she always was.

What would it be like to unveil herself to this stranger?

Thinking about the story the servant had told her of Isaac’s deep grieving for his mother who had so recently died, Rebekah’s sympathetic nature longed to love the pain away— to ease the ache by wrapping him in her arms and drawing him close.

The next day brought hope on the horizon. Her new family’s fields lay everywhere she looked. Lush and growing, straight rows pushed out of the tilled earth, bursting with promise. Here was a heritage of hard work, evidence of men who went after their own dreams. Rebekah’s respect for her soon-to-be-husband grew with each step of her weary camel.

Who was that in the distance? Why was her heart pounding so? Could it be him?

Quickly, she slid off the side of the lumbering giant, straightening her garment. Rummaging through her bag, she hurriedly threw off the yards of dusty linen, replacing her covering with a delicately woven veil. Her wedding veil.

She would walk on her own two feet to meet her prince. No hiding for her! She would face this man who held her future in his hands. Mustering all the grace she could manage, Rebekah met Isaac as he came across the field in the waning light.

What she saw nearly took her breath away. Isaac was nothing like the boys who had her filled her childhood with laughter and annoyance. Before her stood a man with the callused hands and broad shoulders of one whose life was spent working.

But what caught her heart were those eyes that barely looked her way. Sad eyes, brimming with deep grief. Every part of her being longed to reach out and soothe that sadness away.

But first the servant must tell his story. Every agonizing detail. When would he ever stop? Isaac kept glancing her way. Catching her staring at him. The slightest smile. Was that a dimple?

On and on the servant droned until Rebekah thought she’d burst. When Isaac cleared his throat, sitting up straight as if to speak, the servant fell silent. Ah! The ceremony. Of course.

Hurriedly, as if to get it over with as quickly as possible, the servant recited the words that would bind Isaac and Rebekah together for the rest of their lives. The timbre of his voice intrigued her as he recited the ancient promises.

Hidden behind her veil, Rebekah could only wish for a chance to know the kind of love she dreamed of. What would he think of her? Could he be as full of fear and wonder and hope as she?

Leading her to his tent, his hand barely brushing her back, Rebekah’s knees nearly gave way. So soon! Before she could fall, Isaac reached for her, holding her to himself. He stopped.

Rebekah, are you afraid? 

Yes, yes— no! No, of course not.

Isaac’s whole being stilled. Gently, firmly, he turned her towards another tent, one set aside from the cluster of the camp.

Let’s go in here instead. This was my mother’s tent, you’ll feel safe here. 

Brushing aside the heavily draped opening, Isaac ushered his bride into a place of wonder and beauty. Her breath caught as she unwrapped the lacy fabric that hid her face— a palace in the middle of this manly camp! Rich tapestries lined the walls, piles of soft furs beckoned. Rebekah’s soul responded to the invitation of warmth and welcome.

Turning to Isaac, Rebekah knew without words that his giving of this gift was as unexpected to her husband as it was to her. An offering of tenderness, of protection, of understanding... of love.

Now it was her turn to give. To offer him her beauty. To bring her whole self to her husband, without borders or boundaries or inhibition or fear.

This man who grieved— yet gave that grief to her in a moment of unselfish intimacy. She would give herself fully to him. She would ease his pain. She would invite him into the depths of herself with joy and abandon.

And so Isaac loved Rebekah there. And Rebekah brought him the comfort only she could offer. A comfort that healed the brokenness of his hurting and brought hope again.

Genesis 24

(my version)

From my heart,


Girls, I hope you enjoyed my imaginings. And I hope you will read the real story for yourselves— especially that last benediction, verse 67. Because tucked into that last phrase lies a secret every woman should know.

Do you see it?

Have you grasped the immeasurable power of a woman to be a beautiful hiding place for her husband?  A refuge and relief from all the hurts and pressures and fears and worries that dog their steps?

Have you understood, at last, the deepest need of your man? To be embraced and loved in the way only you can love him?

Will you be that safe place for the man God gave you?

More on this next week… and please, your vulnerable words of comment are compelling me to dive deeper into expressing the words of what we all want— the way to a richer and fuller intimacy and joy.

From my heart,




Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Two)

(Click here to listen to the next Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

Joshua 2

Joshua 6v21-27

Hebrews 11v30-40

James 2v20-26

1 Peter 3v4-6



From my Heart

What is it You Want?

Rahab was a woman who knew how to get what she wanted. And what she wanted was what we all want: security, wealth, recognition, family, influence, health, and safety. One thing was missing from her list, though - love. Rahab was willing to sacrifice love in order to get her grasp around every opportunity that came her way. And she had that rare inborn entrepreneurial ability to recognize opportunity which can make certain men and women wildly successful. In our day, I have no doubt Rahab would have been heralded among the rich and famous. Paparazzi would have hounded her while People magazine splashed her face and figure on the cover page.


Yet reading her story, I can’t help but wonder - What happened to Rahab that propelled her into prostitution? Why would this woman give up on the dream of being pursued and sought and valued? How could Rahab choose wealth over love? Security over romance?


And why would I?


Why would I sell my soul for cheap trinkets?


I want everything that Rahab wanted. I want security. I want to feel safe. I want to know that I will have all I need and maybe a little more all the way up until its time for me to go home to heaven. And I want wealth too, sure I do. Be honest with yourself, you do too! I am far from content with the bare basics. I want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise - surrounded by a family who adores me. Is that so bad?




If those wants and wishes drive me to pursue them at the cost of love. If, instead of surrendering my life’s circumstances to the One who loves me like no other, I strive and connive to get what I want no matter what.


How about you? What have you sacrificed to get what you want? What you think you need? Have you lost a little of your passion for your Redeemer along the way?


If you have, then this story is your story.


Somewhere deep inside, Rahab held on to a tiny spark of hope for something more. When she heard about the Israelites camped down the road, and about their God who had such power, that spark leapt into a raging fire. The moment she got her chance to come under the protection of this God, Rahab risked everything she had. All her wealth, her home, her security, her reputation, and her safety. Even her family! How could she know if they would go along with her plan?


Rahab’s life was transformed by the power of faith. She thrust herself at God’s feet and got up to aggressively go after Him with every ounce of her being. And in so doing, Rahab’s life was rescued from all the ugliness and emptiness she had filled it with.


God is still in the habit of rescuing broken women. What He loved about Rahab - enough to put her into His son’s heritage - was her unerring trust in His goodness. Rahab risked everything of value to her in order to belong to Him. She proved her faith by her actions. She set aside her fear, her worries and her illicit patterns of self-protection in order to entrust herself to God.


I can’t help but admire this woman. And, strange as it may be to say it, I find myself wanting to be like this ex-prostitute (please don’t tell my kids I said that!). She is both bold and beautiful, courageous and crafty. Rahab, more than any woman I know, had the guts to go after God with her whole heart.


And that’s something to think about.

From my heart,





Rahab’s Story

Rahab was a successful woman. She ran a thriving hotel, entertained powerful men, had the attention of her city-state’s ruling monarch, invested in the growing commodity market of linen, and owned a house which was the envy of every woman in town.


How do I know all that? Well, read up on her in Joshua, chapter 2.


Two spies were sent by Israel’s new leader, Joshua, to spy out the city of Jericho. With the million-strong encampment of the Hebrews camped uncomfortably close to the walled city, security in Jericho was at level red. In order to slip in unobtrusively, these two spies made their way to the bustling hospitality business Rahab ran from her home.


In a day when there were no Comfort Inns, Rahab took advantage of her city’s strategic location at the only major ford between the Jabbok River and the Dead Sea. She regularly took in travelers, no doubt charging them exorbitant prices for her enviable location.


And sometimes she did more than give them a room. She gave herself – for a price. Rahab watched her nest egg grow at the expense of her soul. Somehow she managed to harden her heart against the inner loathing every woman feels when she sells her body in exchange for survival.


Rahab was ambitious. She wanted more. Seeing the rising trade in linen from far away Egypt, she figured out a way to obtain the stalks of flax from which fine linen was made. The flat roof of her house rising high above the city made a precipitous place to process the tough fibers. First soaking them in water, then dragging them to the rooftop to soak in the sun was not a task for the timid. But Rahab wasn’t afraid of hard work. She was driven by the insatiable thirst for more.


Protecting all those assets in a male dominated society kept Rahab’s stress level on alert at all times. When a rumor reached her ears that the march of the dreaded Hebrews was headed her way, she took inventory of all she owned and searched for a solution. The power of the Hebrew god was too great to stand against.


Never before had Rahab heard of one god who controlled the weather and the sea and all the natural world. The gods of her experience were puny, competitive deities who were easily appeased with rituals and sacrifice. Listening to the city leaders debate strategy, Rahab knew they didn’t stand a chance against such power. Let them talk all they want, she would do what she must to secure her future.


Rahab’s vigilance apparently paid off. The Hebrew spies sought lodging in her home.


As a logical location to blend in with other travelers. It didn’t take Rahab long to see through their disguise, nor did it take long for rumors of their whereabouts to reach the ears of the king of Jericho.


As Rahab hurried to hide the men amongst the flax on her roof, she must have weighed her options. Turn them over to the authorities and incur the king’s favor with its lucrative reward, or hide the men at great risk to her life in the hopes that they would be obligated to return the favor if and when the Hebrews attacked. She chose the latter.


Their hiding place would not have endeared her to these men. The stalks of flax were soggy, having been soaked in stagnant water to separate the fibers. It would have been a ripe incubator of all sorts of insects. The unbearable stench choked the men as they lay in the midst of the mess wondering if Rahab had led them into a trap.


But Rahab had made up her mind, and when she decided something, she didn’t back down. Downstairs, she used all her cunning and probably a few feminine wiles to convince the guards that she had seen the spies heading out the gate near her home, headed for the hills. The soldiers set out after the phantom men as the city gate was lowered behind them.


Before Rahab led the spies to safety, she gathered her years of business acumen to negotiate a contract which would ensure security for herself and her family. Letting the spies down the massive wall with a woven rope put Rahab in a position to bargain - her life in exchange for their safe escape. When the Israelites attacked the city, Rahab would set out an identifying strand of scarlet cord. This was to be the signal that her house and her entire family were to remain under the direct protection of the men whose lives she had saved.


Sure enough, on the day of the invasion, Joshua directed his men to “go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to them.” As her city was being ransacked, Rahab was led to safety, bringing not only her family with her, but also “all she had.”


What now? They couldn’t live alone on the outskirts of the ruins of Jericho. Once again, Rahab’s forward thinking saved the day. The family followed the Israelites, living at first on the outer edges of their encampment. At some point however, Rahab must have embraced the God of the Hebrews for whom she held such great respect. Though the men of Israel were not permitted to associate with the women of the foreign lands they were invading, they could marry one who converted to their faith. One of these men, a man by the name of Salmon, chose Rahab to be his bride. Elevated from her former reputation as a harlot, Rahab now had full legal and social protection as his wife.


A nice story, you might say. Indeed, but it gets even better.


Rahab and her family are absorbed into the wandering nation of Israel. She settles in a little town called Bethlehem, married to a man of standing. There, Rahab begins a family of her own, eventually bearing a son by the name of Boaz. When Boaz grows up, he follows in the footsteps of his father and finds a wife of somewhat shady heritage but stalwart character (that would be Ruth). She presents him with a son, whose name is Obed.


As Rahab’s physical beauty gives way to wrinkles and grey hair, the beauty of her life lived under the protection of Yahweh blossoms. Her grandson grows up to have a son of his own, whom he names Jesse. Around the family hearth, Jesse hears stories of his great-grandmother’s courage and his great-grandfather’s love for her. Jesse has seven sons of his own. The youngest, born long after Rahab has passed into the presence of God, grows up to be the king of Israel.


By this time, Rahab’s story is but a distant memory - her name left out of the patriarchal genealogies of Hebrew history. But God has a way of remembering His own. In the opening pages of the biography of His Son, God inserts Rahab’s name into Jesus’ biological line of descent. There it is, right in the forefront of Jesus’ family tree - Rahab. It’s almost as if God is proud of her!


Jump ahead a few decades, and her name pops up again. In that famous tribute to men and women of great faith, Hebrews, chapter 11, we see this inscription: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she welcomed the spies in peace.”


Flip over a few pages to the epistle of James and Rahab is once again used as a fine example of faith that works. This woman’s sordid story is told all over the pages of our Bibles! Why? Because Rahab was real. Like us, she struggled. Like us, Rahab’s life was all about choices - both good and bad. Some of those choices came back to haunt her. But in the end, she had the guts to follow her heartright to her Redeemer.


I can’t help but wonder, as I study her story, if Rahab had any idea that God would use her so? As she picked up the pieces of her shattered life after the fall of Jericho, did she ever despair? Did she think her usefulness was over?


And why did God give us her story? Why stretch it out, this history of harlotry and intrigue? Could He have had Rahab in mind when he wrote in 1 Peter 3 of His “precious” women from former times who put their hope in God?


And one last question:


Could it be that your story could end like hers?


Dear Girls, I’ve told you my story… 

And I’ve written endless letters to my son about what kind of woman to marry… though on that day I married Phil I wouldn’t have qualified!

But here I am nearly 35 years later…

Still married. Very much in love with my husband. Happy and thriving.

And honestly, I wonder why. So many of my friends and family have seen their marriages ripped apart. Or drift apart. Or generally disintegrate. Good people, godly men and women. People who started out in love and who ended up hating each other.


Is it because they married a jerk? Or that they themselves were hidden jerks and marriage unveiled their jerkisms? But that doesn’t make any sense because who does not have those moments of appalling jerkiness? I have often been that impossible-to-please-person in our marriage. And Phil has had his less-than-stellar moments too.

No, its not our goodness as people that has made our marriage work. Nor is it simply our commitment to keep working on it. Sometimes that very commitment brings out the ugliness in each of us. (We’ll talk about conflict later.)

I think Phil and I found a secret along the way that kept us from failure. Not so much a nobody-knows-but-us kind of secret, but more of a mystery-that-can-be-explained-but-is-not-logical kind of secret.

It’s simply this:

I have discovered that I am incapable of satisfying Phil

and Phil has discovered that he is incapable of fulfilling me.


I have discovered a deep satisfaction in Christ that has taken pressure off of Phil to spend his life attempting to satisfy me and

Phil has found a deep satisfaction in Christ that has taken the pressure off of me to be enough to satisfy him.


That deep down satisfaction has made us free to love each other well and skillfully because we are so well loved by God Himself.

Isn’t that the mysterious secret of Ephesians 5? That marriage is meant to be a picture of the way Christ loves His Bride and the way His Bride responds to that love?

Not a paradigm of Phil loving me so well that I respond in perfect love… but a picture of Phil being so well loved by Jesus that he cannot help but love me well… and me being so well nurtured and nourished by Jesus that I cannot help but apply those skills to lavishing the same kind of care on Phil.

So marriage becomes the place where the Gospel is lived out in our lives. Two imperfect people being loved so perfectly by God that they in turn love each other in a faltering attempt to demonstrate how well loved they are.

Or, as Tim Keller so brilliantly puts it:

The gospel is this:

We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe,

yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope…

the hard times of marriage drive us to experience more of this transforming love of God.

But a good marriage will also be a place where we experience more of this kind of transforming love at a human level.

(The Meaning of Marriage, pg 48)


And that’s the main purpose of this series: To remind you that the man you married is Not Your Prince Charming. And to point you to the One who is.

Because only then will you be free to love lavishly. Only when you are all caught up in a passionate love for Jesus will you be capable of passionately and persistently loving your husband over years and decades of real life living.

And so before I start in on the bits and pieces of gathered wisdom I’ve discovered in His Word over the 35 years we’ve been married, I want to urge you, my girls, to fully embrace this truth:

That the gospel is all about God’s all-consuming love lavishing all that He is on all that I am.

It is about me dying with Jesus on that Cross. Dying to my dreams and my must-have’s and my rights and my way. Dying even to my happiness.

And then it’s about staying hidden so tight in Him that He resurrects all those broken places and fills me with Himself.

And then I change. Slowly, imperceptively at first. Simply by being so near Him that His breath warms the skin of my soul and colors my world in a way I’d never thought possible.

Joy comes. Rest. Delight. And so much love that I cannot help but spill it somewhere, on someone…

And I become who I am meant to be. He makes me holy… which is really all about being wholly who I am.

The way I respond to my husband changes. The way I handle worry changes. The way I handle all those irritating, soul-stretching everyday-bumping-up-against-each-other interactions that happen in close proximity with another person… changes.

I change...


He changes me...

when I choose to die with Him...


May we fully grasp the reality of this Gospel— this news that is so good it changes everything, even and especially the way we love.

From my heart,


Three passages to sink your soul into this week:

  1. Romans 6- notice that word choose used over and over in the NLT
  2. John 6vs28-35- that word, believe, actually means to fully entrust yourself to God. That’s my “work”.
  3. John 15- to abide has to do with tucking myself into God.

Phil’s proposal took me entirely by surprise. I’d spent the week grieving over losing him, wondering how in the world to pick up the pieces, and finally getting to the point of complete and total surrender.

I knew he loved me. And I didn’t doubt for a minute that I loved him.  But I was powerless to take away the worries that nagged at him— his need

to know for sure... to dissipate all doubt... to have everything perfect.

And so I’d let him go. And in the loosening of my heart’s grip on Phil, I’d discovered a greater joy in Jesus than I’d ever experienced before. I knew He would take care of me and that knowing left me riding on a high of unexplainable peace.

So when Phil called and asked me if I’d go out with him on Friday night I was immediately confused. Why? Hadn’t we dragged this out long enough?  Never in a million years did I suspect he would ask me to marry him.

When Phil came to pick me up, my family started acting extremely strange— smirks and grins and giggles. I was embarrassed and not a little annoyed, suddenly wishing I lived on campus rather than commuting to college across town. Couldn’t they see how hard this was for me?  Closing the door behind us, I let out a sigh of relief.

And that’s when Phil asked me to marry him. Right there on the front porch of my family’s home— the home he was asking me to leave so that I could join my life to his.

I don’t remember more than a few snatches of the words he used, in fact, I’m still not sure I even answered with any sort of clear affirmative.  What I do remember is an overwhelming sense of being loved and the awkwardness of our first kiss that left us both laughing out loud with the joy of it.

Yes, yes, yes!

He wanted me. This man I admired more than any other was telling me that he wanted me forever. I could hardly believe it, and yet I knew without a doubt that this was right, that God was in this, that He had brought us together.

When finally we came down from the high of that moment, the planning began. How long till we could pull together a wedding? Could we do this quick now that we’d decided? Was four months long enough? Was there any reason to wait?

We settled on a July date and got to work. Or at least my mom got to work. I mostly walked around with my head in the clouds and let her do all the details.

But a funny thing happened in all the flurry of planning and doing and dreaming— Phil and I began to argue. We’d never argued before. Not once. Now it seemed that my feelings were hurt all the time and he was frustrated and we spent hours and hours working out what we couldn’t understand. What was wrong with us?

The pre-marriage counseling we got was minimal. Our pastor met with us a couple of times but we were so sure we knew how to do this that we weren’t listening much. There were no personality tests or workbooks to fill in, though I was reading everything I could get my hands on and tucking away a whole list of rules to follow for the perfect marriage.

And all that kissing was keeping us heated up so hot that I’m not sure our brains were registering much anyway. Tension was mounting as we counted down the days one at a time. To my mom’s frustration, we spent more time planning our honeymoon than our wedding!

I was certain we were going to have the Ideal Marriage. Of course we would— Phil was my Ideal Man, after all. And I was reading my way through a stack of books to learn how to be the Ideal Wife.

Clearly we were heading for a crash but just as clearly we couldn’t have seen it.

And that is why I want to write this series. Because we did crash and we didn’t see it coming. And there are things I learned in that crash that no book every mentioned.

Things about conflict and oneness and humility and honesty— about two strong-willed people attempting the impossible task of melding their lives into one without destroying each other in the process.

And perhaps most important, I want to write about why he’s not really your Prince Charming no matter how much you love him. And how I, as a woman, as a wife, could choose to spend the rest of my life honoring and loving him skillfully… or draining him of every ounce of dignity by trying to make him into my Ideal.

But I didn’t know any of that on my wedding day. I just knew I loved this man and I had lived for months in that uneasy fear that if he discovered who I really was he’d change his mind.

When July 15th dawned clear and bright and he stood in front of our church and family and pledged his faithfulness for the rest of forever, I breathed a great sigh of relief. The hard part, I was sure, was behind us. Now my Prince would rush me off into our Happily-Ever-After where we would be… happy forever!

And now, nearly 35 years later I can’t help but laugh… and shudder a little… at my fairytale take on life. I had so much growing up to do, so much learning about real life and real love and real happiness.

So come along with me and learn from the rest of my story. Learn what I wish I’d known then, what I want my girls to know now. Learn from my mistakes and learn from my discoveries. Listen better than I did and you’ll undoubtedly avoid many of my blunders.

Most of all, it is my hope and my prayer that you will discover your real Prince Charming. And he’s not the guy you’ve got your eye on.

He’s the One, the only One, who will make you all-the-way-to-your-bones happy.

And He’s the One who will give you the strength and the will and the wisdom and the skill to love your man well.

To all of my girls, with all of my heart,



On the Sunday after Phil broke up with me, I slipped into church reluctantly. I knew he’d be there, on the platform leading worship. I knew I would cry, unable to hold back the grief at the loss of the life I’d dare to dream of. 

I wanted to be strong but I wasn’t. Wanted to be cool and remote, but my red nose and swollen eyes wouldn’t fool anybody.  And so I tried to avoid anyone I might know by finding a seat in the back corner, as near the exit doors as possible.

All my fears and feelings of inadequacy and fakery and not-good-enough-ness kept my shoulders slumped and my head down. I wanted to believe what I’d been taught, that God had a wonderful plan for my life. But how was this wonderful?

What I hadn’t factored in was a redeeming Savior and His relentless pursuit of a woman who needed to know Him in a way that would fill up all those achingly empty places in my soul.

All I remember about that morning was the words of the hymn we sang:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Every word sank deep. Soothing, true, hope-filled. This was what I was longing for, what I needed. A hope built on One who would love me always, no matter what. 

Could it possibly be true? With all my less-thans, all my pretending to be better than I was, could I learn to wholly lean on Jesus’ name?

It was a theme that would echo over and over again in my life. That when dreams die and wishes don’t come true, when things happen that I don’t want and when I can’t make the hurt go away, Jesus is there...

Really there.

I went home elated. Fully surrendered, ready for whatever God had for me. I wanted more of Him. I wanted to be able to sing the last verse and mean it…

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found;

Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the Throne.

Something significant happened deep inside me that day. In losing something I wanted, I gained more of what I needed. 

A deeper trust.

A greater intimacy. 

A new sense of adequacy.

I was just beginning on my journey to finding Grace.

And even though I said I would finish our story today, I just can’t. Not yet. It would seem not right to tack a happily ever after ending right here.

I knew our break-up was final. Phil didn’t need space, he needed peace. And I was powerless to put that peace in his heart. It was over.

The real story is that God met me here in this broken place.

And so I’ll just have to tell you the rest next week…

And then we can get started on why I wanted to start this series in the first place.

Until then, thanks for listening,

From my heart,




A New Series To Start

For weeks and months now I’ve been writing Letters To My Son, a series of answers to his question, posed a year or so ago,  “Mom, what should I look for in a wife?”

Such a simple question.  Such a long and involved way of answering.

I think he assumed I’d answer by talking, the way mothers do, about beauty being more than skin deep and all the fine qualities a good woman should have.

And I suspect he thought all this talking would take an hour or so.  At the most.

And now I’m finally just about talked out.  Thirty-five letters and ten months later.

I’ve loved your responses, mulled over your questions, treasured your insights. What has emerged from my mail is a generation of men and women who want to do relationships right. Who’ve seen what happens when a man and a woman mess up.

And you want more for yourself.

You have astounded me by your willingness to read and learn and ask questions and gather wisdom and wait for the right time.  You have no idea how honored I’ve been to be a part of the conversation.

But now I think its time to talk about some other things.

Because, you see, I’m hoping all this talk about dating and marriage and falling in love and honoring God and each other will actually lead to some of you falling in love and getting married!

And so, at the urging of some of my advisors...

(part of our blog team: Elizabeth, Kristi, Abi and Fallon)

and my niece, Brittany...

I am embarking on a new series.

A series I’m calling He’s Not Your Prince Charming.

While the Letters were written for men about women,

this new series will be written for women about men.

I'll be attempting to explain what I’ve seen and to make sense of what the Bible says about how men work and what they’re called to and why its sometimes so hard to fit our lives with theirs.

Now I am certainly no expert on men or marriage or much of anything else. I’m just me- a woman,  a wife, a mom. You know my story, how God allowed my me to go deaf and in turn taught me what it means to listen.

And since that near failure of my faith and the subsequent failure of my hearing, I have focused on listening to God in the everyday messiness of life and relationships.

And in all that listening, I’ve gathered some things to pass on to you. About what love really looks like, about conflict and communication, about honesty and humility and intimacy. I want to tell you how I found  joy in the midst of tension and rest in spite of my perfectionism. I want you to know that marriage can be both a crucible for building character and a refuge from all that performance-based scrutiny that is real life.

But first, I want to tell you more of my story.

Because this will be a series of letters to my girls about things like finding satisfaction and dealing with disappointments and learning how to love the men in our lives with skill and wisdom.

A mixed bag of lessons learned along the way of listening with both my Bible and my heart wide open.

So for the next couple of weeks I’ll be inviting you into the intimacies of how I met and fell in love with Phil all those years ago. I’ll tell you what I saw in him, why I fell in love, and what I thought my life would be.

And I’ll let you know mistakes I made and lies I believed. I’ll tell you what I was thinking then and what I think now. How I’ve changed and what I wish I’d known.

Most of all I will remind you over and over again that fairy tales are not real life. That our stories include great beauty and dark disappointments.

That falling in love is not the end of the happily ever after, but the beginning of learning to love our neighbors as ourselves.

From my heart,


P.S. I’d love to hear your questions. Though I’ll not be able to answer every one (partly because I don’t know!), I will attempt to include answers in every post.

I promise to pray and ponder and listen in the hopes that we can mine for God’s wisdom together.



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,

Today I just want to tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden. She was the delight of her father and the joy of her mother.  She was extraordinarily intelligent, a voracious learner, a lover of God, a passionate follower of Jesus. And she loved people.

She really loved people.

Hurting souls flocked to her for warmth and care and she never failed to give. Sometimes she brought the broken ones to her father and mother and said, “Here’s one for you to fix, won’t you pour some wisdom into this failed one?”

One day this Beauty went away on a Grand Adventure. She left her love-filled home to seek her fortune and her calling in a place that cried out for all she had to offer.

Her parents prayed… and cried… and prayed yet more. To let their delight, their joy go into a world filled with so much bad frightened them.

While she was in that land away from home… the beautiful maiden met a boy.

Messages flew back and forth between the beloved girl and the mother and father way back home. Hers filled with descriptions and wonder and feelings and hope. Theirs weighted with dire warnings, lessons, reminders, and worry.

One day the father mounted on the wings of the wind and flew to where the daughter lived and loved. He brought a thick black Bible, an arsenal of words, and a fierce scowl.

The boy came trembling but true. He shook the hand of the father, looked him in the eye, and assured him of his faithful following after the King.

A pause…

They sat… They talked… They even laughed a time or two.

And then the father said this.

For more than two-score years I have protected my daughter in every way. I watched over her when she was just a babe in her mother’s arms. I provided for every need before she had it. I have loved her and taught her and poured the best years of my life into her. I have prayed over her and for her and with her.

I ask just one thing of you: Guard her purity.

With that warning, the father mounted his flying steed with a swish of his cloak, and returned home.

The boy did what the father commanded. He watched over the beloved daughter. He cared for her and loved her and won her heart.

And he protected her purity.

When the day came for the father to give the girl-turned-woman to the boy-turned-man in marriage, a great celebration took place in all the Kingdom.

With the greatest joy, the father and the mother who had loved their girl with so much hope, embraced the one who had honored the King by protecting their daughter.

And every day they thank the King for that mighty man. And they pray for him and they believe in him and they love him as their own.

May Steve and Rebekah live happily ever after.

The End.

And so my son, may you do the same when someday you see a daughter of the King you want for your own.

May you protect her purity with the fierceness of a warrior.

From my heart,







Dear Matthew, Today, instead of writing you a letter about who you should marry or how you should act,

I’m keeping it simple.

Because what I want to talk about today has nothing to do with her and a whole lot to do with who she will become...

if you will be this kind of man.

And you’ve watched this all your life. This being— this doing that leads to being.

Since 1975 your dad has made a choice every single day that has led him into a life rich with wisdom. Count that, son, 38 years!

I’ve posted this before, but am absolutely certain that this needs seeing again. You and your Jesus-following friends who have set your faces to honor God, to know Him and love Him and lead others to do the same—

you need this.

This is not just another rule to follow.

This is a decision your dad made and stuck to… for a long, long time.

It is why I trust him. Why my respect for him has grown over 34 ½ years of marriage.

Why that respect turned into love so great I can’t see the keyboard as I type these words to you…

And why you need to read this again.

I love you!




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,