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Meet My Love Coach

I’d planned a special day out for my mom’s birthday. We’d tour the Billy Graham Museum, bike the Prairie Path, and sample the food at Manhattan’s.

Only problem was I’d been sick for weeks now, and this past weekend was no exception.

Mom called the morning of her birthday outing to encourage me to stay home and get better. That’s right, the birthday girl—on the day of her party—encouraged me to do what was best for me, not her!

Over the years Mom has modeled that love always chooses what’s best for the other—and not just with words but with her life. It’s 1 Corinthians 13:5 lived out before my very eyes:

[Love] does not insist on its own way.

A couple of days later, I did make it home, still under the weather. Mom met me at the door with a hug, put on a pot of soup, and told me she’d had my brother get the VCR all ready so I could watch The Jungle Book.

How had she remembered? I’d mentioned in passing, months ago, that I wanted to watch this movie again.

Over the years, Mom has demonstrated that love remembers the little things. It’s 1 Corinthians 13:4 in action:

[Love] is kind.

These aren’t a couple of isolated incidents. I could tell you the same story with slightly different details over and over again, because this is the pattern of my mom’s life.

Paula and her momI guess you could call her my “love coach.” I’m watching her, learning from her, making clumsy attempts to love others the way she loves me. The way Jesus loves me.

‘Cause while mom is my “love coach,” I know the One loving me through her is really Jesus. Without Him, she couldn’t love like she does.

But because my mom has first been loved by Jesus, she is now free to love without requiring anything in return.

Because Jesus’ Spirit lives in my mom, she now has the power to choose what’s best for others rather than for herself.

And because Jesus laid down His life for my mom, His is the model she seeks to follow.

For His love, and for her love, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Happy birthday, Momma! I want to be like you when I grow up.

Who’s your love coach? How have they modeled Jesus’ way of love to you? I’d love to hear.

And if you don’t mind, I think I’ll stretch out and watch The Jungle Book while I’m waiting for your reply . . .

Meet My Love Coach” was originally posted on

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Is It Wrong to Ask God for a Husband?

Is It Wrong to Ask God for a Husband?

I’m a words girl—not a numbers girl—so I almost never look at the True Woman blog stats. But that changed a couple months ago when I was asked to give a presentation about the blog. Our web director pulled some stats for me, and while the numbers didn’t stick for long, one piece of surprising information did.

The most searched for phrase that leads women to this site (after “True Woman”) is “praying for a husband.” The fifth most searched for phrase is . . . “how to pray for a husband.” The sixth is “31 days of prayer for my husband” (a helpful prayer guide by Nancy Leigh DeMoss).

It’s more than okay to get honest with God about my desires.

This finding is just confirmed by the fact that one of our most popular blog posts from the archives continues to be one written over three years ago titled “How to Pray for a Future Husband.”

Turns out I’m not the only woman out there who’s honed in on relationships—and particularly male relationships.

But I wonder if any of you are stuck where I was a couple years ago. It may sound silly, but I found myself wondering, Is it sinful to keep asking God for a husband? After all, I’d been seeking that—asking for that—for years, and the door appeared to be sealed shut. God seemed to thwart my plan for marriage at every turn.

Three Takeaways from Jesus’ Prayer

So I began to ask God if it was okay to continue to ask Him for a husband. A few days later, while reading about the night of Jesus’ arrest, I found my answer—tucked right there in the olive groves of Gethsemane. Let’s take a look:

He . . . began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” . . . Going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:33–36)

I left God’s Word that morning with my answer:

1. It’s more than okay to get honest with God about my desires.

I was taken back as I read this passage. Really? Jesus prayed that He might not have to die? But He was God. He knew He had to face the cross—that’s the whole reason He came to earth! Still, Jesus was also fully man. And in His humanity, He asked the Father for a way out.

2. It’s not against the rules to be a broken record.

In Matthew 26:44 we learn that Jesus prayed this prayer three times in a row: “He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.” Jesus didn’t let up. Three times He repeated the same request. That encourages me that I can ask, and ask, and ask God again for my heart’s desire.

3. I can keep asking as long as I don’t demand my way.

“Nevertheless,” Jesus always added, “not as I will, but as you will. Your will be done.”
This tells me I can keep asking as long as I don’t demand my way but surrender to God’s plan for my life. That’s what Paul Miller points out in A Praying Life:

“Jesus neither suppresses his feelings nor lets them master him. . . . Desire and surrender are the perfect balance to praying.”

After that I began praying, asking boldly, for God to send an amazing husband my way in His perfect timing. I even recruited others to pray with me. I’ve slacked off recently, but that’s another story for a different day. (Actually, you can hear my reason for that on today’s Revive Our Hearts program.)

I’m curious about you, though. Have you wrestled with this dilemma? If so, what has God shown you? Whether it’s asking God for a husband—or something else entirely—are you demanding your desires, or are you bringing them to your Father?

Is It Wrong to Ask God for a Husband?” was originally posted on

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When You Break Up . . . And The Shame Floods In

In just over three weeks you’ll get the inside scoop on my relationships with guys in Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There’s one story you won’t read in it, though, because it’s super fresh.

After I wrote Confessions, I began to date an incredibly godly man . . . and then I broke up with him about a month ago. Since then, I’ve experienced a whole lot of shame and guilt for not being more “spiritual,” for woman with bouquetnot having been satisfied with a godly man. What more could a girl ask for?

The messages I’ve picked up from the Christian world have taunted me. Find a godly man and marry him is the message I’ve heard loud and clear. He won’t be perfect; you’re not perfect; just get married. I’ve nodded my head and begged God to help me value the things He values.

But at the end of the day there was no peace, no joy in moving forward—only heaviness and tears. And so I said goodbye, and then the shame came.

Last week I realized why, at least in part. I’ve grown up knowing that Jeremiah 17:9 is true:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

If I can’t trust my heart, if I can’t know my heart, how can I make good decisions?

At the same time . . . hasn’t God given me a new heart? Removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh? Hasn’t He made all things new, including my heart? Doesn’t Jesus Christ now live in my heart through faith?

And if God can turn the king’s heart—the most powerful man in the land—wherever He wants, can’t He turn my heart too? Won’t He do the same for me, His daughter, who longs to know and do His will?

So I will continue to ask and trust God to turn my heart wherever He wants. And when the guilt and shame and self-loathing threaten to beat me up, I will rest in 1 John 3:20:

Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

It’s true that left to myself, I can’t trust my heart. But I can trust the God who is greater than my heart . . . and I can trust Him with my heart.

How is God asking you to trust Him with your heart today?

When You Break Up . . . And The Shame Floods In” was originally posted on

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