Letters to a son

A wonderful blogger I just found, Diane Comer, is writing a series of letters to her son, Matt, who asked her to write him letters describing what to look for in a woman. She has done very well and I’m eager to see what else she writes him! My favorite letters thus far are this one about leading a woman with words and this one about God-needing versus man-needing women. Here is the link to the letter series: http://www.hespeaksinthesilence.com/category/letters/ (These aren’t just “Oh, these are interesting, you should read them if you have time” kind of letters. These are “No, seriously. This is worth your time” kind of letters. Read ’em.)

Her letter about leading a woman with words was incredible, to say the least. 10 ways to lead a woman with words, whether she be a quiet, shy woman or a girl who can’t seem to stop the flow of words coming from her mouth. How to ask questions, how to affirm her, how important it is to give her the Word, to initiate conversation and guide it, to look in a girl’s eye and more. I would definitely say these letters are a must for anyone – man or woman.

I was especially intrigued by the God-needing vs. man-needing woman letter. Upon reading the title, I immediately categorized myself as a God-needing woman. But as I read on, I quickly realized that in the past few years, I have been leaning more and more towards the man-needing category.

A man-needing woman wants something good (fulfilled life and dreams), but she’s going about getting it in entirely the wrong way. She’s seeking a man because the world around her has told her that she will find enjoyment, happiness, love, fulfillment, and stability in a man. And it’s true – those things can be found in a man but only for a time. It may be for a few weeks, months, or even years. But a man is just that – a man. A man will try hard to please his woman and make her happy, but because he’s only human, eventually he will fail, leaving both of them sitting there wondering what happened. How are we supposed to find a fulfilled life in the creation when it’s only the Creator – the One who made us – who can show us our purpose? Men and women both were created to find fulfillment in God alone. We were made God-needing.

Too often, we women expect men to fill our craving for purpose, love, and more. We think that by getting married, giving ourselves to a man, starting a family – we think that if we care for, love those things enough, we will feel fulfilled, we’ll find our purpose.

Searching for the right man – that’s not a bad thing! God created marriage and it can be beautiful! Married, engaged, or single, how many times do we think a relationship, marriage or our husband will be the end-all, be-all, that all our insecurities and loneliness will evaporate into thin air. No matter what our situation is, we easily make the mistake of thinking a man can be everything for us.

So women- which are you: God-needing or man-needing? God created us and it’s only through Him that we can find our fulfillment. While a man will eventually fail us, God never disappoints. We may not understand what’s going on, what He has planned, what He’s trying to teach us, but God promises us:

“For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11)
and
“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11).

So sure, do I fall into the pit of thinking that a boyfriend or husband will fix things, get rid of my loneliness, be someone who will always make me happy? Duh. Of course I do. Which is why I need reminders like these letters to put me back on track. I don’t want to be the man-needing woman. Those kinds of women only tear down their husbands and set themselves up for more pain.

Instead, I want to be one of the God-needing women – “…women who are learning and growing and practicing what it looks like in everyday life to ‘hope in God’ (see I Peter 3:5). They’re not perfect, not by a long shot. But they’ve figured out that only God can satisfy the craving in their hearts for more…pursuing Him actively and purposefully, gaining wisdom and knowledge and intimacy with God…Instead, they look to God for all that He has to say about happiness and joy and serving and giving out of the overflow of a heart that belongs wholly to Him.”

It ain’t easy. But it will be worth it.


memories

A lot of thoughts running through my head tonight, so sorry if this post is a little scattered.
Tonight is my last night at our family cabin.  This was the first time I had been up here in two years and it was just wonderful being up here.  Our cabin is not the nicest – it doesn’t have a loft; there’s no hot tub; the lake water is gross; there is hardly any privacy; and one of the bathrooms smells like an old rubber mat.  But when you walk through the front door, you can tell that is is a place filled with memories…it is filled with love.

The first thing I think every time I walk into the cabin is how much I have missed the “cabin smell” – mothballs, pine, old life jackets, and pancakes.  (This being the one time that mothballs adds to the pleasantness of a place.)  This cabin has been in my family for over 50 years when my grandmother’s parents bought it looking for a place to go fishing and to get away for a while.  There are so many traditions that go along with this old “home in the woods”, as we like to call it: fishing, tubing, flea markets, swimming, turtle races, pancakes for breakfast, bonfires, always open windows, mosquito bites, Scrabble, and more.

Tonight being the last night I am here, I had to write in the book that everyone who visits here has to write in, another tradition.  You write a little entry saying what you did and how long you were here and who you were with.  It always seemed like a weird tradition and I sped through my thank you every year, but this year I was thankful for the book.  As I turned to the first page, I saw my grandmother’s handwriting and loved reading her notes.  While it reminded me of how long it has been since she’s really been with us, it also made me proud to be a part of her family.  She and Grandpa have the kindest hearts and were such a joy to be around.  God was always very evident in everything they did.  It seems sometimes that they are even in the very walls of the cabin so that even though they may never physically ever be present here again, their love and kind spirits will always remain.

It is so wonderful to be part of family that has had shared something so precious for so long (4 generations now!) Nearly every night I sat in the hammock and watched the sunset on the lake and read and it was worth getting the traditional 20+ bug bites.  This morning I got up early and did my devotions overlooking the lake and it was the best morning I have had in quite some time.  It is so wonderful to have an experience where God refreshes you and reminds you of how wonderful He is, especially when you are facing something new (for me it is beginning a new job and saying goodbye to my carefree college days).  Looking around at the cabin, looking at the pictures, hearing the stories, sharing the laughs, and watching the lake reminds me of just how awesome God is.  I was overcome with thankfulness today as I soaked up every last bit of Minnesota that I could.  It is always hard to leave this old cabin, but this time I am leaving with not only a greater appreciation for my family, but a renewed appreciation for God and His goodness to my family.

Psalm 33:5b – The earth is full of His unfailing love.

Blogworld.

Hello blog world.

I find myself at the beginning of a new chapter in life.  A bend in the road.  The edge of a cliff.  I’m entering into…THE REAL WORLD.  A world where friends are not constantly surrounding me, where home is not within walking distance of my day’s work, where I can’t always escape my thoughts by going to a coffee shop or another friend’s room.  In less than 2 weeks I begin to be a working woman.  An adult.

And as scary as this all seemed to me 4 months ago…I’m making it.  I’m finding ways to adjust to my new life.  New people to pour into, to be in communion with, with whom I can share my stories.  I’m finding out the joys and hardships of long distance friendships. I’m re-learning the joys of family.  But the important thing – I’m learning.  And best of all, God is teaching.

He’s teaching me in ways that I didn’t want to be taught and in ways I didn’t think I could be taught.  One lesson is finding ways to be happy for others, even when it seems like life isn’t fair.  I’m learning how to be Elizabeth.  In Luke 1, Mary and Elizabeth each find out that they are going to have a child. Elizabeth and her husband have been waiting for this for years and they are older.  Mary, on the other hand, is a teenage, unwed mother . But not just ANY mother – the mother of the Savior of the world!  Imagine how Elizabeth might have or at least could have felt.  “After all these years, MARY is the mother of Jesus?!”  None of us would have blamed her for feeling that way.  But Elizabeth did NOT react that way.  She met Mary with joy and excitement for what lie ahead.  She supported her and loved her even while few people were loving her.  Elizabeth was selfless, not selfish.

I want to be the one that is blessed in ways I can’t imagine or at least in ways that I’ve dreamed of.  But deep down…I know I would rather be known as an Elizabeth.  I to be known as someone who is full of joy, despite the circumstances.  I want to be known as an encourager.  I want to be known as someone who is always willing to listen, challenge, dig deeper.  God, make me an Elizabeth.  Help me to be there for others despite what is going on in my life.  Make my love more selfless.