Posts tagged real life
THE QUIET: the most important work

A man was attacked by robbers, stripped, beaten, left half dead by the side of the road.

A priest passed by on the other side of the road. A Levite passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan saw him, came where the man was, took pity on him, went to him, bandaged his wounds and took care of him.

Taken from Luke 10v30-36

Sometimes, in real life, we get beat up.

Stripped bare. Left by the side of a lonely road.

All our dreams and work and wishes lay scattered around us, mocking the hope we once held so lightly.

We blame others, we blame ourselves, we blame God.

Where were You?

In that place of brokenness, He comes quietly. In fact, in that hurting place, our groanings outshout His whispers. We cannot hear Him and so we think He is isn’t speaking, that He’s left us wounded and alone, that God is silent in our suffering.

And yet… somewhere in the quiet of our souls we know He is there, He must be there. There in our mess and in our mixed-upness, He waits.

And He sends Samaritans. Not the uber-holy, super successful, got-it-all-together saints. Just the plain ones. The ones who’ve been hurt and wondered why. The ones who’ve blown it and failed and been put back together. The ones without answers.

They come with their oil and wine, the medicine of welcome. They see us. They change course for us, coming to where we are. They tenderly bandage the wounds we cannot bring ourselves to look at lest we faint from the hurt.

They take care of us, for God.

 In the quiet this morning, I hear God telling me that this— more than anything else I might do— is Kingdom work. This is worth wearing myself out for, this being Jesus to one left wounded by the side of the road.

I hear Him whispering that bringing wine to refresh and oil to soothe is my calling.

Why me? Why can’t I be one of the priests, all holy and righteous, a shining example of perfectness? Why can’t I be one of those set aside Levites whose calling is all about order and doing things right and telling everyone how to be good?

He smiles.

I see the twinkle in His eye as He looks at me, and this is what I hear:

Your story, Di, is your beauty. The hurt, the brokenness, your failure, these are the tools I am using to carve you into who I want you to be— who I need you to be.

I know it’s true— the truest truth. That…

I am most useful to the Master when I am all His and all about Him.

Not when I am good.

Not when I excel.

Not when I am anything worth lauding or applauding.

I know, but I know, but I know that the Father needs a whole army of people who will speak for Him in the kindness of coming and seeing and feeling and bandaging and taking care of His broken ones.


Could that be your calling too? Might you, as you travel about your day, keep your eye scanning the side of the road just in case He’s wanting you to take care of one of His wounded ones for a while?

In the quiet of this morning, I say yes. I leave space on my list, a little extra room just in case. I tidy my home in anticipation of who might need the safety of this cottage in the woods. A friend? A stranger? A child?

I tell Him it’s okay to use my not-so-nice story even though I wish I’d been a better woman so I could say, “Just do life the way I do and you’ll be happy too.”

But I didn’t, so I can’t, and so I give Him who I am right now to use any way He wishes.

I wonder if your story is just the one He needs for someone laying beaten and robbed on the side of the road?

And I wonder what would happen if we all said, Okay, God, show me who and I’ll be there with bandages and hope.

From a willing heart,


P.S. Has someone taken care of you… for God? Or has God used your not-so-nice story to bring hope to a wounded one? I would love to hear how He is working.


OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us

and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Ephesian 5v1-3


Dear Matthew and Simona,

I sit in my tiny cabin in the woods and I wonder what you’re thinking as I write these words about intimacy and sexuality. Are you understanding the depth and beauty of intimacy? Do you get the need for purity?

You’ve both been so patient… and encouraging as I’ve stumbled my way through writing about The Bedroom. These are words I want to say, words I know need saying— but still… it feels awkward and just a little uncomfortable.

Matt, with your wide-open way of guileless transparency, you invited me into the fringes of your conversations with your dad about every man’s struggle. Listening to the two of you talk only increased my respect for you— for both of you.

I got to listen as you and your dad talked about…

why to stay pure and…

how to keep yourself pure and…

when that commitment to purity got hard and …

what to do then.

I think sometime last year when you and Simo were engaged we started talking about purity beyond virginity. About staying pure when you’re married and actively invited into a full expression of sexuality. I remember the look on your face that meant, What in the world are you talking about, Mom?

Somehow we get the idea stuck in our heads that purity and virginity are one and the same. That marriage solves the struggle. Not true.

Not even close.

In fact, I would argue that the giving away of one’s virginity opens the door to a life long struggle for purity. Because sex is just so great, so satisfying, so right and good and… okay, you know what I mean. And because of that something in us always wants more.

Yet God’s design for sexuality always requires intimacy. And intimacy takes work.

Intimacy is inconvenient.

Intimacy begs for humility and consideration and an extra shower and…

More effort than sometimes you’re up for.

And in creeps the temptation to take a short cut. To forego intimacy in favor of pornography… and masturbation… or fantasy… or to be in some subtle way less available to each other because all the giving implicit in the intimacy part of sexuality just seems exhausting sometimes.

What then?

What do you do when you want sex, need sex, crave sex… but things aren’t working for the two of you and you’ve not enough energy to solve it all right now.

That’s real life. Normal life. Less-than-ideal-life.

Here’s my list of…

What To Do When Real Life Interrupts Real Sex:

1.  Surrender your body to God, allowing Him full control over your sexuality— whether that means you want more from your spouse or you’d prefer less.

2.  Be careful not to hold back on sex as a sort of barometer of your relationship. In other words, be willing and warm even when the other is being a little… unlovable.

3.  Make a covenant with each other to be committed to fully meeting each other’s sexual needs. Which means masturbation is out. You’ve got each other for that now. Don’t be embarrassed— you love each other.

4.  Talk about that. Be honest. Be kind. Be welcoming. Laugh a little. It’s not the loving thing to do to be silent or subtle about your need and then try to meet it yourself.

5.  Be creative in sexually loving each other when real life makes real sex challenging or impossible. This is your way of honoring each other’s genuine need for sexual expression within the safety of just the two of you.

6.  Never, ever, ever, look at pornography. Ever. That’s not real. It will sicken your appetite for satisfying sexuality. It will destroy your confidence in each other’s ability to delight and satisfy.[1]

7.  Stay faithful. Don’t even let your mind go there— banish lustful imagination or fantasy. If you’re attracted to someone else, avoid them like the plague. Focus on each other. Flirt only with each other. Keep wooing and wanting and watching out for each other.

You both want that rare and beautiful treasure: a lifetime of love. Never give up on that. Do what it takes. Stay faithful.

Give and give and give and then give just a little more.

Keeping your selves pure and your bedroom vibrant is an investment in the future of your relationship, in the future of your family, in the writing of your story.

From a heart that wants so much for you,


P.S. For those who are reading:

What can your husband do to open up this area of your lives for an honest clearing of the air?

What can your wife do to show you she means it when she says she “wants all of you”?


[1] If you do get caught in that hard to avoid web of porn, get help. Seriously, don’t try to undo it on your own. At our church and at many others there are groups of men— and women, who meet together for accountability and freedom over the death lock of pornography. Be brave enough to join them.


(image by Hillary Kupish)



I wake up ready to write. Words are on the tips of my fingers as I rummage around for tea things and my Bible and all the pens and odds and ends that make up my morning time of listening.

I know what I want to say, where to go with this post about the how… how to really, honestly make Him— Jesus, the Redeemer, the Father, the Spirit, the I AM— my Prince.

How to find all my peace and satisfaction and balance and wisdom in Him.

How to love Him in real life.

And then something comes up. A conflict I can’t control. Two people I care about at odds. Both right, both wrong.

I want to fix it… I would if I could but clearly, I can’t.

And so I get mad. Furious inside. No one’s here to hear but none-the-less I’m silently ranting and raving and bashing heads.

So much for writing. So much for anything.

I sweep the floor, clean the sink, anything but write. All the while I’m talking to an invisible someone, no one, scolding and telling and setting them straight.

A crazy lady.

Tired of my own out-of-control emotions, I step into a hot, steaming shower intent on washing away the dirt and grime and product in my hair and on me.

That’s where I am when I hear His voice:

Di, are you really angry? Or is this fear? 

What are you afraid of that I cannot handle?

It takes another hour to let myself fully hear His words. Because…

The anger feels good… the fear feels real… letting go feels unsafe. Or untrue. Or something.

And then I remember one comment left with a question I couldn’t really answer and it’s been bothering me ever since.

I know that I am writing this on a good day, so do you have any pointers on how to stay focused on the real prize of Jesus’ love when my mind starts to run wild?

And here I am with my own mind running wild and my emotions drug along behind in a chaotic chase to nowhere. On this not-good day I wonder, where is that bone-deep peace? How do I get back to that place?

A friend texts me. She knows enough to be on the look out, to be listening for me.  And sometimes that’s just how God speaks His peace, through another who is in a better place to hear. 

Read John 6:30-43. I think there might be something in there for these guys…

I read these words and they’re for me, I know it. I need this. Peace begins to come before I even know why. I read again.

The story is about a group of honestly seeking people, asking what to do. Like me. Like you.

And Jesus cuts through all the mix of emotions and motivations and sides and says it simple:

 “This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the One He has sent.”

Just believe.

I know enough to know what His choice of words is about. I’ve studied this before.

Believe means trust. Or entrust.

And suddenly it’s all clear, His voice so loud it stops all my crazy-lady ranting.

He wants me to so fully and entirely entrust this conflict to Him that I let go of all need to control. To be right. To tell everyone what they-ought-to-do-and-think-and-say-and-feel because I said so and now let’s all be happy.

Because my way won’t work… and I know, after all these years of watching Him, that His way will.

Maybe not exactly the way I want it to, maybe not all neat and tidy and happily ever after, but somehow, someway, He will triumph.

Chaos and churning calms and I enter that oasis of quiet. Rest. Peace. A chest full of joy.

Nothing has changed. Everything has changed. I have changed.

Not because I followed ten steps or imagined what I wanted.

But just because He spoke.

And that, my dear girls, is the answer to the question I didn’t know. When bad days come and I am a mess, when I cannot or will not and don’t even want to cleave close because all my way seems safer… He speaks even then.

That, my dear ones, is grace. Amazing grace.

Being intimate with God, being close to Him, hearing from Him, isn’t about me following a certain set of steps or rules. It isn’t about me getting it right.

I shake my head in wonder. Who loves like that? Only one… only Him.

And yet, the truth is, I must obey. I must take at least one small step in the direction He says. I must choose. He won’t do it for me unless I take that tiniest step towards Him.

A pithy quote I retweeted this week becomes more than pith…

There are no "little obediences." Every opportunity to obey prepares us for greater challenges of faith in the future. -Dr Bruce Ware

Today’s messy story prepares me for tomorrow… and all these years of yesterdays prepared me for today.

I’d heard Him before and so I knew it was Him. I’d heard these same words from the Word before and delved deeper because I hadn’t understood and so when I needed them just now I knew what He meant.

Every single morning when you choose to get up earlier than you want, to deny yourself the warmth of bed and make room to hear by pushing your nose into His Book and staying there with wide open ears… those are the “little obediences” that prepare you for the greater challenges of faith that real life brings to every one of us.

Even when you feel nothing.

And now I’ve told you a story instead of giving a list. Instead of telling you how as an expert, I’ve shown you how in my own mess.  Because this is truth.

This is how He meets me, how He speaks. Right into my world where people do conflict imperfectly and I cry and rant even when no one’s here to hear.

Right here in my not-so-happily-ever-after life, the one I can’t seem to fix to my own satisfaction. He brings me in tight and let’s me be me… and makes me more than I am.

He is enough.

And that’s what I mean by he’s not your Prince Charming. No man can do this. Not even my godly, good man who has loved me so well all these years.

And truth be told, I’m glad he wasn’t there in my mess. I would have scared the guy half to death.

From my heart, still learning, still listening,


P.S. There’s more, so much more, but this is what comes first. Brokenness, obedience, daily-ness.

Will you help continue this conversation with your own stories… and keep the questions coming, I’m listening.





LETTERS TO MY SON: how to help your wife thrive

She considers a field and buys it;

From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31:16

Dear son,

I’m a little nervous about writing this letter. Because we’ve allowed these bits and pieces from my mother-heart to be made public, I run the risk of being misunderstood, of having people cut and paste and take my words to you out of context.

But you know me. You know my heart to help you and to lay a foundation for a strong and beautiful partnership with your wife of someday. God’s Word is infallible, perfect, right, true—but my words aren’t. And so, I ask you, and everyone who reads this to give me a little room. These are my thoughts, my take on what I believe the Scripture teaches, not a rigid box that every husband or every wife or every family must fit into in order to follow after God.

That said, as my son, I want you to know some things about women that many men seem to be unaware of.

We are strong, resilient, adventuresome, loyal, willing to take risks, persistent, and unafraid of great sacrifice for our families.

Who do you think really settled the West? While men most often led the adventure, it is the women who brought their families, their ingenuity, their perceptive skills and adaptivity to the wilderness. Women created homes, carved beauty, cared for fragile lives, and brought control to the chaos of an unsettled land. They work alongside their husbands to make their dreams come true.

And we haven’t really changed. We’re still pioneers at heart, willing to do whatever it takes to see our families thrive.

That’s the kind of woman you will marry someday, Matthew.

And yet, at the same time, we are fragile creatures. We feel deeply. Grief, rejection, pressure, stress, fear, anxiety. We have this capacity for relationship that makes us take responsibility for how everyone in our lives is doing. And sometimes we get lost in the process. Sometimes our men fail to see the vulnerability behind all that strength.

We are impressively capable and yet we are fragile from all that feeling that is inherent to who we are.

So… what has that got to do with this description of a wife who evaluates and plans for the buying of property and then develops it and works it and prospers?

Simply this: In the overarching story of your lives together, your first responsibility is to be the primary provider for the wife you want. Given the right circumstances and the protection and provision of her husband, your wife will thrive, and in that soul strengthening freedom, she will surprise you with her success. But it’s up to you to watch over her lovely, loyal, hard working drive to succeed for the benefit of her family.

First of all, here’s what I don’t mean: that wives should never work outside the home. And here’s what I do mean: that you must guard your own desire for nicer things from pressuring your wife to set aside her family priorities and work more and harder and longer than she should.

Now, life is messy and stuff happens. Men get sick, they lose their jobs, they need further education, they start businesses and need support. I get that. Life, real life, is full of seasons that demand every resource we can bring to the table in order to survive.

What I want to impress on you is the vision of a man who is looking at both the big picture of values and goals and provision for a lifetime, and at the care and nurture of a wife who will, at times, work harder than is good for her in order to make those goals happen. Just watch over her.

Be in charge.

Know your budget.

Stick to it.

Be thankful for what you do have.

Don’t always need more.

Lead your family well.

Let your wife flourish and thrive and think of creative ways to use her gifts to enhance your lives— not to provide for your needs.

Make it your goal to see your wife in her sweet spot. That place where she wakes up with a smile on her face because she gets to be both productive and creative, at the same time knowing that her family is growing and thriving under her care. Make that your goal, Matt, and you will be copying what Jesus does with us, the Church, His bride.

Husbands, love your wives,

just as Christ also loved the church and

gave Himself up for her,

so that He might sanctify her,

having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

that He might present to Himself the church

in all her glory,

having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;

but that she would be holy and blameless. 

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.

He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh,    but nourishes and cherishes it,

just as Christ also does the church,

Ephesians 5:25-29

I know this is a lot of weight to put on a man’s shoulders, my son. And yet I also know that God has given you what it takes to imitate Him in this kind of loving. Be strong and courageous. Be smart and responsible. Work hard and think ahead. Be willing to fight for your family’s well-being, to dream ahead of the way you want it to be, to plan a path to make it happen.

Above all, let God be your provider by laying your life before Him and asking Him to lead.

I love you!

From my heart,


P.S. Caution: Don’t read more into these words to my son than I mean.

Women have always worked- hard. Sometimes they even get paid. (!) The Proverbs 31 woman was a successful investor, she made money, lots of money. She was good at what she did. But there are years of a woman’s life when she needs the freedom to pour all that drive and intelligence and giftedness into her family. It is the wise man who does what he can to make that happen.~ Diane