Posts tagged wisdom

My child, listen to what I say…tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight, 
and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.


Then you will understand what is right… and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart,
 and knowledge will fill you with joy…

Proverbs 2:1-11 NLT

My dear girls,

Once upon a time… I thought loving a man was simple.

I was so sure of myself— certain I knew what to do, how to be. I’d read the fairy tales; admired Rapunzel’s allure, seen the Beauty love the Beast back to himself, watched in wonder as Snow White came fully alive.

I could do this too. I could love a man and keep on loving him for a lifetime. Our love would be so full and so generous and so beautiful as to wrap us up in romance forever and ever.

And I was wrong. I fumbled from the get-go. A month into our marriage I knew my methods weren’t working the way I’d thought they would. My formulas were falling apart and I didn’t know what to do... so I just did the best I could. And it wasn’t enough.

Now, thirty-five years of loving later…  I know why my loving fell short.

And it wasn’t because of lack of effort— I tried hard. I read books and watched people and did all the things I thought I ought to do.

Plain and simple, my loving fell short because of it was mostly about me. About me being loving and loveable and alluring. About me loving him so fiercely that he couldn’t help but return my love with passion and loyalty forever.

And when Phil failed to respond to all my ferocious loving the way I’d been so sure he would…

I got mean.

I got defeated.

I got mad.

I got hurt.

A lot of I messing up the romance I'd imagined. 

Here is the amazing beauty of our Redeemer in the midst of our messiness…

He let’s us fail.

He let me fail. And in that failure, He began to teach me the first lessons of brokenness, of what it means to find my hope and delight and joy in my real Prince Charming.

In Jesus.

In those days of defeated loving, I stumbled upon a jewel of a book. It’s still one of my treasured favorites, written by a man who knew what he was talking about- Roy Hession. In The Calvary Road, he wrote:

The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self is broken.  This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights,  and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God’s will, admits its wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory— that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all.

In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes.

As this stubborn, perfectionist, idealist, determined woman began to yield and break and die, something strange occurred in my soul.

A desire began to grow; a pulsing, driving desire to love my husband for the sake of my Savior. Not for me and what I expected to receive in return— but just for the One who was so tenderly drawing me close to Himself.

Rather than renew my self-efforts of trying so hard to love the way I thought I should, He began to teach me how to love my husband His way.

And that led me to understand why my loving had not produced the response I’d expected.

In one word: ignorance.

I didn’t have a clue how to love a man— my man— the way God had designed him to be loved. All that work and I was missing it!

And I think I’m not alone in my ignorance. I think most women are missing it— not by a mile, but by just a few millimeters of mis-done loving. We’re loving in the ways we know how and wondering why it’s not enough. Why our men don’t act and feel lavishly loved by us.

And then, as women are prone to do, we think there must be something wrong with him.

Of course.

And all this defeat over not quite getting it right, and wondering why and what’s wrong with him and with me and with us, led me to that age-old invitation imbedded in the book of James:

If any of you is deficient in wisdom,

let him ask of the giving God (who gives) to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding,

and it will be given to him.

James 1v5 Amplified Bible

That’s me!

Deficient in wisdom.

Ignorant and knowing it.

Falling far short of the kind of love I’d always imagined would wrap my man’s heart up tight.

And so I went searching. I asked this giving-God for wisdom.  I asked Him how to love my man for His sake.

And do you know, my dear girls, He just started pouring it on! Words and phrases, verses and stories, snatches of insight here and there that are opening my eyes to see the way to loving a man well. To loving my man well.

But the best discovery of all has been the simplicity of God’s way. Not as in easy to do— but as in easy to know.

Going back over and over to the Scriptures, asking Him for wisdom, searching for the treasures there, I’d hoped to find a whole long list of ways to love a man well.

I found only four.  Four ways the Creator of men specifically directs women to love their husbands.  Not 101— just four. Yet within those four ways He designed our men to be loved, are hundreds and thousands of possibilities.

And so, over the next several weeks- all summer, probably— that’s what we’ll be talking about here on Mondays. And for just a hint of what’s ahead… here are the four:

Sexuality and friendliness and help and respect…

Be his lover, be his friend, be his partner, be his admirer.

I can hardly wait to get this conversation started...because, after all these years, I’m finally understanding how my husband needs to be loved by me. And guess what? He’s eating it up! As in responding like… well, like a well-loved man.

From my heart,


Okay girls, whether you're married or still waiting for the right one and the right time, now is the time to learn how to love a man God's way. Can you tell us what you know? Or who you've seen do this well? I'm hoping for some guest posts from women who've become experts in the art of loving wisely.

LETTERS TO MY SON: the shamer

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

Proverbs 31:25 NASB

Dear son,

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

These are ways of getting our way.

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

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

The Shamer:

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

And mostly that’s good.

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

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

Let me give you an example I watched unfold:

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

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

Both of these people were right.

Good ideas, admirable values.

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

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

So she began to subtly shame him.

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

Did she love him? Yes.

Did she respect him? No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my heart,





LETTERS TO MY SON: the manipulator

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

Proverbs 31:25 NASB

Dear son,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Manipulator:

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

And honestly, it works!

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

How to know when you’re being manipulated:

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

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

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

And ask yourself these questions:

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

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

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

From my heart,


PS: Dear girls who are listening in,

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

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

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

So here’s what I want you to hear:

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

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

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

I love you dear seekers of His heart,



GENERATIONS... what every woman ought to know

More than three decades ago a family of six moved into a home around the corner from our tiny house on Trevor Drive in San Jose.  They were just back from the mission field with four teenagers, each of whom quickly rose to leadership in our church’s youth group simply because they were so compelling and cheerful and genuinely godly.

I was pregnant with our first son, reading books and studying methods and just generally terrified that neither of us had any idea how to do this whole parenting/raising children/ life of faith task. This family waltzed into our lives at just the right time to give me courage and hope that maybe we could someday have what they had so beautifully built in their family— an honest-to-goodness Jesus centered home filled with passionate-about-Jesus people.

Bill and Laurie Keyes showed us the way ahead. They inspired us and taught us and encouraged and trained us. They met with us and answered questions, allowed us to poke into their lives, opened up their hearts to us to show us that they were real.

And they poured wisdom into us.

Our four kids grew up on “the Keyes say…” Their words became cornerstones for the way we arranged our lives. Validation for why we did what we did and why we didn’t do things a different way.

Their wisdom made sense to us.

So you can imagine my deep-down delight when they agreed to come and share some of that wisdom with you!

On Saturday morning, September 29th, Bill and Laurie Keyes will speak at Generations… what every woman ought to know.

If you are like I was all those years ago, a woman seeking wisdom, hope, encouragement, courage. If you long to build a house on the Rock and need the keys to know howyou will not want to miss this!

The Details

When? September 29th

What time? 9-11 am

Who? Women of any and every age

Childcare? No

What? A lovely light bit of food and drink

Where? Solid Rock Westside

Why? Because there is just so much we women need to know… and Bill and Laurie Keyes have so much wisdom to bring into our questions.

Come! Bring your mom, your sister, your best friend. Bring any woman you know who needs real life wisdom. Because that is exactly what Bill and Laurie do best. They show how to do life wisely.

Really, girls, this is one you absolutely do not want to miss!

From my heart,