I’ve tried to shorten this blog post or break it into two or three smaller segments. I just can’t do it. It needs to be all in one piece. So grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and get comfy.
Thanks to Paul and Lori Byerly (The Generous Husband and The Generous Wife), linking to some of my posts in their own blogs, I’ve had a huge bump in blog traffic over the past week. I’m startled, humbled, and not a little freaked out to think of how many people have looked into my life recently.
I started the blog mostly as an outlet for myself to explore some of the thinking I’ve been doing about marriage over the past months. Writing is how I’ve always processed my life best. I don’t have the knack for clever word construction that my grandmother and great-grandmother did (as evidenced by little scraps of poems left scattered throughout family memorabilia). I don’t like constructing arguments and engaging in debate. I do think I do a decent job of sharing my heart in the written word.
The first few days, I kept the blog private. I figured I’d write and post until I found my voice and figured out what I wanted this blog to be. I thought it would take me a few weeks to get to a point where I was ready to go public. Then I’d attach it to the various online profiles I use when I respond to others online. I figured I’d have maybe ten views of my blog within the first month, and at least three of those would be my husband (hi, honey!). Even then, I figured it would grow slowly—or it would never grow at all and would mostly serve as an online personal journal that I let other people read.
God had a different plan.
After three days of having the blog, I’d already written ten posts. I had a lot of stuff that I needed to get out. Most of it I’d already posted in an online forum and I was just pulling out the things I’d written that I liked best.
In my online posts about marriage and intimacy, I occasionally will have a man tell me, “Wow, you sound just like my wife. Maybe there’s hope for us after all.” Sometimes I’ll read a husband’s description of his wife and think, “Wow, that was me, just a few years ago.” There is one wife in particular I’ve been praying for—for several months, which is not typical for me to do so extensively for someone I don’t know.
After I’d been posting for three days, I made a two-hour drive to visit my parents. The entire drive, I found myself praying for this woman. I prayed constantly, sprinkled with praying about what I was supposed to do with this blog. It was one of those times when I palpably felt the presence of God, like He was just holding me in His arms. He must’ve been waiting for me to shut up. The words “stop talking” popped into my head. I closed the mouth in my head and knew that I needed to listen—and once I did, I heard the words, “Write to her.”(Her actual name was used here, but that isn’t mine to share.) “Write to her.” Over and over and over and over. For the last twenty minutes of my drive, God told me to write to this woman. I knew that meant two things: 1) I needed to write her a letter, and 2) I should write my blog as though I’m writing directly to her.
This was a very powerful experience. I’d never in my life heard God speak into my life so clearly. I was shaking as I pulled into my parents’ driveway. I wanted to gather myself together before I walked into their house, so I decided to check email and messages on my phone. And there was a message from this woman’s husband. The message asked me if I would please write to his wife. For the previous twenty minutes, I’d been hearing that I was supposed to write to this woman, and just in case I didn’t believe what I’d been hearing, there was confirmation, waiting in my messages.
So I opened up the blog, way before I was ready to. I wrote to his wife—a long letter that opened my heart and gave her link to this blog. I don’t know if I will hear from her again, and I have no idea if she has looked at this blog at all. Since then, I have heard God’s voice many times, telling me to keep going. Keep writing to her. Keep writing to women who are stuck where I was.
So I keep on. I don’t know where this will go. I know that my life’s ministry is to support women, and this blog seems an extension of that. But I’m terrified. It never occurred to me that my words, my selfishness, my mess, my marriage would reach into so many homes and, I hope, hearts. Who am I to guide anyone else in their marriage or faith? Who am I to write about a sexually joyful marriage after all the years I deprived my husband of one? I think about the women for whom I am writing and know that I’m barely a step or two ahead of them.
I have no idea what I’m doing, but God’s hands are guiding mine right now—just as I’ve come to realize they often do. If you’re so inclined, pray for me to open my heart in ways that accomplish God’s purpose.