The Rules of the Road

Rank in order how much you like/appreciate/abide by the following road rules (1 being your least favorite and 5 being your most favorite)

  • Wear your seatbelt (click it or ticket)
  • Stay in your own lane
  • Stop at the stop sign
  • Drive on the road
  • Indicate a turn by using your turn signal

Why even bother? Do these elements of driving really keep us that safe? While in a foreign country, if there is one thing that I noticed, it is that what we Americans consider road “rules” are merely suggestions. A 4-lane highway? Just a recommendation, but if you think 6 works better, then drive safely! Drive on the road? Well…unless the sidewalk or train tracks work better for your bike. Speed limits? As one of my new friends said it, “Shut up your mouth and drive your own car.”

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Read my Mind.

Though a woman can be difficult to understand, she is certainly a reflection of God’s character. However, this does not excuse sinful behavior on our part. So please know that I will just state the “way it is” in my list, not the way it should be. This may help you be an agent of sanctification in a woman’s life!

  • Women cry. It’s okay. It doesn’t phase us and we don’t expect you to cry too. We want you to take time to understand and ask…and maybe just supply something along the lines of dark chocolate and Kleenex. Sometimes a hug makes the crying more intense-just remember that if you are trying to console her in a public place…
  • When we answer “nothing,” it’s either code for “I don’t want to talk about it,” or “I want you to ask more questions.” Yeah, sometimes, you might just have to enter the proverbial minefield to find out the difference.
  • Women like men to be men. This will take on the following forms:
    • A woman doesn’t want a man who is more emotional than she is. She will have a different emotional makeup and is fearful that her husband will not be a safe harbor for her ship.
    • A woman doesn’t want a man who is prettier than she is. Your legs should not be smoother and your eyebrows should not be more meticulously preened. You should probably not be tanner than she is.
    • A woman doesn’t want a man who takes longer in the bathroom than she does.
    • A woman wants to feel safe, small, protected. Therefore (in part) she does not want someone skinnier or smaller than she is. Yipes.
  • We multitask. God made us to have 3 times the memory chunking capabilities that you have. We also get stressed when our multitasking limits are maxed out. On occasion, we may not be able to give you undivided attention. In those cases, the biggest ministry to our worn hearts is to jump in and help us with what we are doing so it gets done quicker and then we can look into your eyes! We want to!
  • Take into account all that she does. Once home from work (if she has a job) she’ll want to make sure your home is a beautiful sanctuary for you. That takes a lot of work. Like, hours each day.
  • Don’t make fun of her if she tries to meet your needs and fails! It may take a long time for her to open up and try again if you do.
  • A woman is like a flower-she appreciates beauty, needs to drink deeply of the Word of God, and, under the right circumstances will bloom for you. Nurture her.
  • Cooking is a learning experience. Just be patient and she’ll grow!
  • There’s nothing more dashing than a man in a suit. Give her a reason to get dressed up then do so yourself. She appreciates you keeping yourself nicely just as you’d appreciate her to.
  • Some chores need to be give and take. Some women hate making the bed.
  • Give her time to workout-she wants to look nice for you, so develop a schedule and take the kids during that time so that she can keep in shape (or get in shape)
  • She’ll probably need to diet. She probably knows it. A very versatile question to this touchy topic is “how can I help you?”
  • A woman’s body will be different after having children and it may never be the same again. It scares us, but it’s a sacrifice we make in order to minister Christ to our own children.
  • Dark chocolate, coffee, and loving go a long way.
  • There’s no slick way around the “weight question.” Weight matters to a woman the way money matters to a man. It never leaves our minds. Ever. It’s just always lurking in the background.
  • A woman wants to be sought after. If you can’t pursue us, can you protect us?
  • Woman’s intuition is legit. When she says “I don’t know, I just have a bad feeling about this,” consider it a cause to at least stop and think.
  • A woman wants you to lead and is fearful that you will not. She is prepared at any moment to step up to the plate and usurp your rightful authority out of fear. This, I believe, is a sad but true element of the curse of Satan on the gender roles.
  • All women are bilingual and the two languages must translate cohesively. We are fluent in verbal communication and paralanguage, which is body language (aka the “signals” or “vibes”). This explains our “reading into things.” When you say “I’m fine,” with a frown and a sigh, we may be apt to second guess you because the two languages did not send the same message. Or when you say “yeah, I’ll help you.” but sit in the chair and flip channels for several more minutes, we may think that you forgot or that you were trying to evade our request…even if you are thinking “I never said when I’d help you!”
  • A woman doesn’t want to be heard, she wants to be listened to. There is a stark difference between listening and hearing. Listening is interactive-a good listener asks questions and engages physically (posture, eye contact, nodding.etc.) We’ll be able to tell the difference.
  • A woman will value having her emotional needs met the way a man will value the way a woman looks.
  • Dark chocolate. Good dark chocolate. Hershey’s and Nestle do not fall into this category.
  • She is relational. She’ll feel the most connected to you when she gets to spend time with you. Keep dating her!
  • She wants to be your biggest cheerleader. She wants to pour courage into you when you need it. And if you fail, she fails.
  • Love her more than your children. The kids will feel more secure at home if they know Mom and Dad love each other than if they are loved themselves. Everyone else’s family is falling apart because of Mom and Dad. If they see that you are different, that’s more reassuring to them.

Wha…? Pt 3 of 3

As I sat in my living room with one of my room leaders, we laughed, shared stories, and planned ministry direction. I always love my time with this room leader for a couple of reasons: she loves God and it shows, she loves her roommates and it shows, and she loves me and it shows!

She had been telling me a funny story (she always has the best stories!) when my landline rang.

“Excuse me for a minute-can I grab this call?” I interrupted, “The only calls I get on this phone are from the dean’s office or welcome center!”  and I hurriedly answered the phone half expecting an emergency situation. My room leader sat awkwardly trying to determine whether to leave or wait out the call and finish our meeting.

“Hi, is this Stephanie?” a man’s cheerful voice asked. He sounded too cheerful. Like a…salesman…wait!

“This is. How can I help you?” I asked in a businesslike voice. After double-checking my identity, the chirpy voice went on, “This is Steve…from church. Do you remember me? We met a few weeks ago during an evening service.”
Oh junk, he found me after at least another month. Why are the wrong ones always incredibly tenacious? This might get ugly. When my room leader heard the conversation take on a more personal tone she began to excuse herself and mouth her goodbye. I clenched her knee with a death grip and mouthed a “DON’T LEAVE ME!!” to which she fell back into her seat with a startled look. All she heard next was a terse:

“You know, thank you, but I’m not interested in going out with you. Ever.” Her eyebrows nearly shot off of her forehead in shock. Our conversation concluded with some congenial but stilted parting statements and when I hung up the phone, I had a minor meltdown.

This is when you really know who your best friends are. One of my dearest friends scurried over to my apartment with dark chocolate, coffee, and a few minutes to listen to me try to sort out why. Why I’m not dating. Why I’m being asked out by someone older than my father. Why only the weirdies. Why I’m freaking out about it instead of being grateful for an opportunity. You know, the questions best friends field during bff freak-outs and still tell you that you are wonderful, and God is still good. I love those friends. They just know!

And I haven’t seen or heard from Steve since then.

Wha…? pt 2 of 3

After a fairly uncomfortable introduction to my two middle-aged friends, I thought that excitement was over.

Wrong.

About ten days after meeting these two gentlemen, I was walking briskly to my mailbox before a meeting and passed my former student teaching supervisor. I appreciate this man’s influence on my teaching and usually take the time to tell him so. Today, however, I threw a quick “Hello!” over my shoulder and kept trucking.

“Oh, Stephanie!” He gasped and put a hand to his head. I could almost see a lightbulb clicking on.

“Are you seeing someone?” he asked with an amused smirk on his face.

“Nope,” I responded. Where is this headed? I wondered.

“Well, I think a gentleman called requesting a lunch date with…YOU!” I’m pretty sure my face turned pink as I stared at him blankly. I had no clue who he was talking about and asked him to explain himself.

“The other day, our secretary, Bethany, took a call from a man who asked her if she remembered him from church. She kept telling him that she simply couldn’t recall him until he said the name of the church. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she told him, ‘you must have the wrong person. I don’t attend that church.’ ”

Recognition was setting in, but not completely.

“After she said that, the gentleman repeated your name and asked if that was her name. She denied it, but he kept going to ask ‘well anyway, I wanted to drive over to Watertown and take you out to lunch. Whaddya think?’ ‘Sir, you definitely have the wrong woman. My name is Bethany, not Daisy, I do NOT go to that church, and I’m married.”

Lightbulb clickage.

“Mr. H, do you know this man’s name?” I waited with baited breath.

“You know, I don’t, but my wife has a better memory. Let’s go ask her.”

We walked up to their office, and my earlier confusion and blushing highly amused this professor and he began to ask a myriad of questions about the possibilities of who this gentleman could be. Once in the office, I reiterated my question to his wife and waited with this growing sense of horror in my gut.

“Well, Daisy, I really can’t be positive and Bethany is gone, but if I heard his name, I’m positive I’d recognize it.” Well, I thought, let’s go for the better of the two options.

“Was his name “Joshua?” I asked kind of hopefully only to see a blank expression. Nope. “How about…..steve.” I asked reluctantly.

“YES! STEVE! I’m 95% sure that was his name. Ooooh, was he calling for you?!” She cooed with interest.

My stomach wrenched and I tried not to lose my lunch. “Yes. He was.”

And call, he did.

Work Ethic

work_in_progressI just had this “Eureka!” moment that I simply had to share with my blog readers.

Genesis 2:15 shares that God created work in the garden before man sinned. Work was an original part of God’ plan for mankind-not a punishment for sin! In Genesis 3:17-19, sin cursed work by making it painful, difficult, and draining (using words such as “pain,” “thorns, thistles,” “sweat,” etc.) So God intends for us to be productive as a part of His plan for our completeness.

Though it may shade my character to those who think me perfect…ahem…I’ll be frank and say that I struggle with this ridiculous conundrum:

There are times that I have this paralyzing fear of work. If someone presents me with an idea, job, or need, I’ll shy away from it if I think it will take too much work. “That wears me out just thinking about it!” I’ll joke. Now fear in general can be paralyzing, but this is something I have no right to be fearful of!

The flipside of this conundrum is that, as I’m growing up, I have this innate desire to be productive and nurture. I want my apartment to be known as a place where people will be well taken care of-they will be warm and cozy, surrounded by nostalgic fragrance, given appealing food, listen to interesting music, and their soul will be tended to. Earlier this year I wanted to test out my green thumb as gardening has never been a part of my life. I bought some potted plants, transferred them, and, believe it or not, they are still thriving! I then wondered how challenging it would be to grow herbs for my own cooking. I haven’t started that, but it’s on my list.

So, to be unclear, I desire to be productive BUT I desire to avoid work. And realistically, people who avoid work, kill life.

God’s plan has always been for us to work and be productive. The temptation to be lazy is not where I live in Christ!

Wha…? pt 1 of 3

grandpa and granddaughter in field 2

‘I wish they’d hurry up.’ I thought and rocked my foot back and forth in the chair I was sitting in. I stared at my friends with a tired gaze. They’d been talking with these people for a long time and my stomach was eating itself. ‘I wonder where we’re going to eat. I’m thinking Moe’s. I could totally go for chips and queso.’

“Hi there!” I looked up to see the wife of our senior ministries pastor standing next to me holding Samantha. She was standing unusually close-I had to crank my neck uncomfortably to look at her. She smiled congenially.

“Do you know Samantha?”

“Yeah, of course I do! Hi Samantha, I think your dress is pretty. How many ladybugs are on it?”

Samantha responded and then the conversation died. ‘Hmm…I don’t get it. This is really uncomfortable!’ I’d never actually met this pastor’s wife, and she stood next to me-very close to me. Not facing me, which would invite conversation. Then she just slowly walked away.

“Hi there, do you go to church here?” I turned around to see two grinning middle-aged men closing in. They were wearing polo shirts-unbuttoned, with a handful of white chest hair tufting over the top and tucked into ironed jeans. Loafers and leather jackets completed the look of a retired country clubber. The one man had the grin of a car salesman complete with white hair he’d died brown about six months earlier. He was the one who initiated most of the conversation.

Someone walked up, trying to initiate conversation with both men, but the car salesman would not be distracted. He physically moved people who were in his way, so that he could come sit by me and continue our fascinating conversation about my workplace and ministry. He asked some pretty direct questions about the college, and I thought ‘surely he’s asking on behalf of a granddaughter.’

“Wow, this college sounds amazing-especially if people like you come from there. Do you have a business card?”

Red flag. “No, I do not.” I said decisively. I’d long ago stopped smiling during the conversation, and had positioned my body away from him so he didn’t think I was interested. He was giving me a weird vibe.

“Okay, so what did I miss?” the other car salesman inquired. He clapped and rubbed his hands together in anticipation, crouched to hear, and then looked at me. “Wow, you sure are a beautiful lady!”

Red Flag.

“Well, Steve, why don’t you say it right out loud?” the car salesman blushed on Steve’s behalf.

“Well she is, isn’t she? I can say it. You may be too shy to say it, but I’ll just say it. She’s pretty.”

They bantered back and forth on this for a minute and I didn’t know what to do. Finally they resumed conversation with me, and, as they peppered me with questions, Nate and company sauntered past, still gabbing, and completely oblivious to me.

“Nate. NATE!” I hissed and waved at him. No use. I was trapped with the weird old men asking me personal questions. Finally they closed the interrogation and the car salesman patted me on the shoulder.

Red Flag.

“Well, Daisy, we’re going out for ice cream if you’d like to join us.”

RED FLAG!

“I’ll see what my group is doing.” I curtly responded and turned around in my seat. Immediately upon their departure, a young couple surrounded me and clearly stated that they were there to rescue me. The men were circling in the aisle behind me, so we put our heads together, found a singly guy friend, and made him walk me to my car. He was such a great sport!

More to come…

Clinging to the Rock

PeetersBonaventuraShipInStormySeaGreenwichNMMwThis week has ran past me at full speed and I’m still reeling, trying to get everything done. Sometimes shouldering someone else’s burdens takes a toll on my own heart and I don’t know it until I cry at something very mundane. Then I know that my heart needs a little time away with my Savior. That was last night.

This week has been full of opportunities-ones I would never trade for anything, but required sacrifice on my part. Unusual medical situations came up that I had to help provide for, girls with burdens who I could listen to and walk with toward hope, or just needs for quiet places to do homework. The girl coming in in tears because she just needed to talk with her boyfriend and hadn’t been able to. The girl wanting a backrub or a bubblebath. The late-night planning meetings for society. The girl wanting to bake cookies in my kitchen, grab ice from my freezer, store food in my fridge, borrow a cup, go to the bathroom in my bathroom because theirs is closed for cleaning. And on top of that, my normal one on one meetings with my leadership team, dean’s staff, etc.

My bedroom became a solace for girls needing the quiet place to study, talk on the phone, or just chill out. My couch became a bed for myself or others as needs arose and sacrifices were made. The Lord showed me how to die to myself a number of times, and for that, I’m really grateful! Yeah, I could have done more. But I’m doing more now than I did last year at this time and that’s what keeps me going-seeing change in myself as well as the girls I minister with.

Last night was probably the breaking point. I have been feeling “blah” all week-very tired, achy, stomach stuff, etc. I really wanted to go to sleep, but was on-call. I really wanted to stay awake to hang out with my girls, but kept falling asleep. Finally, I closed my bedroom door, checked my email one last time, and went to bed. There it was. The last straw. I’d just gotten an email from someone arguing a decision I’d made. I understood where she was coming from, but her unkind words really shot arrows at my heart when I normally would have shrugged them off. I knew I was being overly sensitive, but the tears came nonetheless. And sob I did.

The sleep helped. I have to plan a children’s program for tonight, and children’s church for two services tomorrow without any helpers. I need to be in the dorm and available for the girls I love so much. But above all, I need to trust the Lord for His provision. I don’t have strength-I need His. This song has been my mainstay this week:

Stil, My Soul, Be Still

Still my soul be still
And do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread
The fires of unexpected sorrow

God You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Still my soul be still
Do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways
With shield of faith
Against temptations flaming arrows

Still my soul be still
Do not forsake
The Truth you learned in the beginning
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise
As stars appear when day is dimming

Words and Music by Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

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