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A Bold Conversation with the Top U.S. Sex Worker (Part 2)

A Bold Conversation with the Top U.S. Sex Worker (Part 2)

The conversation you’re about to listen to is bold. Bulldog bold. Tenaciously truthful. 

As I listen to myself sharing the gospel with the most successful sex worker in the U.S., I think, Who is that talking?! (Communicating truth in love comes easily for me, but sharing boldly does not.)

You can listen to part 2 of our conversation here

You Can Be This Bold Too (Please Do!) 

I tell you this not to brag, but to make sure you understand that I was not this bold on my own. I’ve been reading the book of Acts recently, and part 2 of this podcast makes me think of Acts 4:13, 

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

What turns timid people like you and me into bold bulldogs for the faith? There is only One who can accomplish such a feat: the Spirit of Jesus in us. This is a regular theme in the books of Acts. Whenever Jesus’ disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit, this is the result: they speak the Word of God with boldness:

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). 

This boldness is not just for the twelve apostles who knew Jesus face-to-face and performed miracles in His name. It is also for all who are filled with Jesus’ Spirit in 2020. It is for you and for me.  

This boldness is not just for special occasions like podcast conversations. It is also for ordinary, everyday interactions with neighbors. 

The elders at my church often remind us that “whatever God is going to do, He will do through all His people.” Not only through those with a microphone, but through every man, woman, and child who is filled with the Spirit. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit wants to use your life and mouth to grow His Church? (He does!) 

Pray for Bold Lips 

In this interview, Alice mentions the need for consent before boldly sharing with someone, but the apostles had the opposite experience. They were commanded “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). So did they shut their lips? Nope, they opened them first in prayer: 

“. . . And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (v. 29). 

What was the result? 

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (v. 31). 

If the early church prayed for bold lips, how much more should we? Will you join me in praying that we will: 

  • Be bold witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:32),
  • Exhibit this boldness every day (Acts 5:42),
  • See many added to the church every day, including Alice (Acts 2:47). 

Please note: Boldness does not mean we are jerks. Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14), and the same is true of all of His followers who are filled with His Spirit (Acts 6:8). 

A Bold Conversation with the Top U.S. Sex Worker

In Part 2, here are the five statements Alice and I respond to: 

  1. “It is loving to warn someone who is seducing others to sin.” 
  2. “People should not feel shame for exploring their sexual desires.”
  3. “Intimacy is beautiful no matter the sexual expression.”
  4. “We are accountable to God for every thought, word, and action.” 
  5. “Sin can suppress people’s consciences so that they no longer experience guilt.” 

I’d love to hear from you after you listen to part 2. What stood out to you? Also, which comes easier for you in conversations with people who don’t know Jesus? Grace or truth? Love or boldness? 

PS: If you enjoyed this conversation, check out part 1 here. Also, to help the podcast get more exposure, would you leave a positive review of the podcast on Apple podcasts? Thanks for your support of this important gospel work!

My Conversation with a Sex Worker (Part 1)

My Conversation with a Sex Worker (Part 1)

You Want Me to Talk with a Sex Worker?

A few months ago, I received an email from Greg Sukert of Anchored North. He wanted to know if I would be willing to have a conversation with a sex worker on their new podcast, Honest Discourse, Why me? was literally my first question back to him. I’m no expert in the sex industry. 

He said their organization spent a good deal of time researching women who:

  • have written on the topic of biblical sexuality, 
  • can convey truth in love, 
  • have friendly, conversational characteristics in their spoken words. 

I was nervous, but I couldn’t say no to an opportunity to hear a sex worker’s perspective as well as to clearly articulate the gospel to her. And so I said yes, not realizing I would be speaking not just with any sex worker, but with the most successful sex worker in the U.S. (In the process, I learned that prostitutes are now called sex workers, and brothels are referred to as ranches.)

You can listen to the podcast here

My Four-Hour Conversation with Alice

My fears eased as I began to talk with Alice. While her views on intimacy are cheap and saddening, I genuinely like her. As you’ll hear in this podcast, she’s articulate and gracious. 

We spent a total of four hours together, because the audio for our first two-hour conversation was lost. Here’s what you’ll hear in our two-part conversation. In Part 1, we introduce ourselves and then respond to these five statements:

  1. Sex is the greatest pleasure in life.
  2. Sex creates a bond that is lasting and profound.
  3. Lonely singles have the right to companionship.
  4. God designed sex for marriage alone. 
  5. Sex work is good work.

Remember as you listen to this podcast that this is not a debate. If you get to the end of this podcast and ask, “Did Alice win or did Paula win,” you’ll be asking the wrong question. The whole point of this podcast was to have an authentic, loving, gospel conversation between two people with polarizing viewpoints. 

That is possible, by the way! And so needed. I pray our conversation emboldens you to get to know–and lovingly share truth–with people who seem scary because their worldview is so different from yours.

Part 2 Of “Sex Worker and Christian Author” Coming Soon

Our conversation really heats up (in a good way) in Part 2. To be sure you don’t miss it, type your email in the box to the right under “Don’t Miss a Post!” I’ll send Part 2 directly to your inbox when Anchored North releases it later this summer. 

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have talked not just with any sex worker, but specifically with Alice. Would you join me in praying for her? I sent her a note, chocolate bar, Bible, and book (The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs by Philip Ryken) after our conversations, as she told me she would read Jesus’ words. 

Also, to help the podcast get more exposure, would you leave a positive review of the podcast on Apple podcasts? Thanks for your support of this important gospel work! 

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out 10 Tips for Interacting with an Athiest

Divorce Is Not Altruistic, Christian Celebrity

Hands intertwined on shoulder on wedding dayDivorce Is Not Altruistic, Christian Celebrity

I saw it again this morning on social media. A “Christian celebrity” spinning their divorce announcement as a loving deed inspired by altruistic motivation for their “dear friend.” 

I don’t buy it. Divorce is not altruistic (“unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of [your spouse]).” This loving facade is nothing less than a lie straight from the pit of hell. 

It is never “healthier and more respectful for us to choose this as the end of our journey as a married couple.” It is not “with sincere love for one another and understanding of our unique story as a couple that we are moving forward with this decision.”

How can I be so sure? And who am I to judge? I only qualify to speak into their decision as a fellow follower of Jesus. As such, I recognize a major discrepancy between an “altruistic” social media announcement of this nature and God’s revelation of His design for marriage. 

Divorce Is Not Unselfish; It Is Self-Centered

Marriage is not a commodity. It’s not like an outfit you try on, parade in front of the mirror, and then say: “This one makes me look good; I’ll take him.” It’s not something you discard when it’s no longer “your style.” 

Marriage is about so much more than your self-expression. It doesn’t exist to spotlight you (“Oh, she likes jocks; she must be sporty too”); marriage was designed to spotlight another relationship entirely. 

Your marriage is a “miniature” designed by God to showcase to the world what His relationship with His church is like, 

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31—32, emphasis added).

What does a positive announcement about divorce say about Christ? God would never leave us out of His great love for us. We tell a lie about Him when we claim to do just that. 

I understand that this is hard for us to stomach in our materialistic, individualistic society. Our culture is one in which we choose a house, a career, a car because of how it allows us to express ourselves. “This yellow Volkswagon Beetle fits my personality,” so I purchase it as a means of self-expression. Several years later, I trade it in for another when I become more of a Hyundai Tucson type. 

Marriage isn’t like that. Marriage isn’t just another way we express ourselves, like choosing an outfit or buying a car that “fits” us. 

Divorce Is Not Altruistic . . . And Marriage Is Not Yours To Break

When Jesus walked this earth, the religious leaders of His day asked Him if He thought the law allowed a man to divorce his wife for any reason. Jesus responded with a question of His own, pointing them back to God’s inauguration of marriage in Genesis 2:24, 

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:3-6, emphasis added).

Marriage is an irreversible act. At least, that’s how God intended it from the beginning (Matt. 19:8). It is God’s doing, not ours. It is His creation and design. And as such, it is a union that is not ours to break, as John Piper points out in this interview.

Marriage is an indissoluble union intended only to be severed upon death (Rom. 7:2). As Genesis 2:24 clearly spells out, it is a call to a new:

  • Priority and family (“leave father and mother”)
  • Love (“hold fast”)  
  • Identity (“become one flesh”).

This mirrors Christ’s relationship with the church, as He calls us to a lasting:

  • Priority and family (the family of God)
  • Love (cherished by and cherishing Jesus)
  • Identity (“in Christ”).

Divorce Is Not Loving; It Is Tragic

Upon entering the marriage covenant, a man and a woman become “one.” That doesn’t mean she now likes heavy metal music and he now loves the beach. Both individuals maintain their personhood. But a fundamental change takes place in God’s eyes. They are no longer two, but one flesh. There is a “shared wholeness” (Jay Adams).  

When he hurts, she hurts, and when she succeeds, he succeeds. They complement and complete one another. God has joined them together and created “one flesh” where there used to be two. That doesn’t mean the process of working out this “one-flesh” relationship in everyday life won’t be hard. It doesn’t mean there won’t be need for counseling and possibly even separation for a time. 

But to divorce one’s spouse is not to love them; it is to tear one’s own flesh in pieces. It is barbaric and utterly opposed to the relationship between Christ and the church that it is designed to reflect. 

Divorce is to be mourned, not celebrated. It is to be repented of, not boasted of as a deed of honor. Divorce is for the hardhearted, not the follower of Christ (Matt. 19:8). 

So maybe, Christian celebrity, rather than spinning your divorce as an altruistic act, you can call it what it really is: tragic. I mourn for you, for your husband, for your children, and for your many followers who believe you when you imply that this act is altruism at its finest. My husband and I are praying that you will soon see this too and be reunited with your husband—something that would be a truly selfless act. 

Do You Think Divorce Can Be Altruistic?

Have you, too, noticed this trend of people claiming their divorce is an altruistic act? Do you think divorce can be loving? Why or why not? Please feel free to push back if you disagree with me; I want to hear your perspective. 

PS: To be sure you don’t miss my followup post on divorce, type your email in the box to the right under “Don’t Miss a Post!” and you’ll receive my blog posts in your inbox. (If you’re reading this on your phone, click on the menu button at the top and choose “Subscribe by Email.”) You can unsubscribe at any time.

Why Favoritism Is a Sin

favoritism is a sinIt can be a bit shocking to our ears to hear that favoritism is a sin. We tend to play favorites regularly and almost subconsciously:

  • Sizing others up
  • Comparing each other against worldly standards
  • Asking, “What’s in this relationship for me?”

While we might not think twice about the distinctions we make between people, God does. He says that when we show favoritism, we have “become judges with evil thoughts” (James 2:4). James exhorts us to “Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1). Favoritism is a sin. But why? What’s the big deal? 

Why Favoritism Is a Sin

Here are just a few reasons we are not to show favoritism:

  • Our God shows no favoritism. None. He chooses those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom (v. 5). He shares His glory and riches with us, not judging us based on outward appearance or “success,” but on whether or not we cling to Christ.
  • Our God is “the Lord of glory” (v. 1). We cloud His glory when we judge fellow believers on anything more or less than their precious faith in Jesus.
  • Our God is King, and He has a “royal law”: to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When we show favoritism, we break His law. And by failing in this way, we have become accountable for breaking all God’s law (vv. 8–10).

Favoritism is a sin, and the consequences are serious, even for believers. By forgetting God’s mercy toward us and withholding mercy from the poor, we will “be judged by the law of liberty” (vv. 12–13).

My Son’s Shining Example

There’s another way, though.

Our friends recently adopted a little boy from another country. When I shared the news with my son, Iren, he couldn’t wait to draw a card for “my friend.” Instantly this boy was “in.”

Iren’s response is a shining example to me of how I should be. He loved this other boy sight unseen. It didn’t matter to Iren that this boy has a different skin color, or that he doesn’t speak the same language. Iren didn’t care that this boy is from another culture. He didn’t ask if this boy was influential, rich, powerful, or stylish. Instantly, he was Iren’s “friend.”

Should I Only Be Friends with the Poor?

Does this mean we’re sinning if we build a close friendship with a popular girl? Not necessarily. (She, too, is your neighbor whom you’re commanded to love as yourself.)

Does this mean we’re super spiritual if we go out for coffee with a woman who doesn’t seem fit in at church? Not necessarily. (We could be doing it out of self-righteous self-love rather than out of love for God and for her.)

We can’t know another’s heart motives. But we can ask God to help us look past all this world values to what He values. We can rely on Him to love each person He places in our path in the same way as we love ourselves. 

Combating the Sin of Favoritism During Social Distancing

It may be a while before we gather with believers on a Sunday morning. But even in this period of social distancing, we can search our hearts for the sin of favoritism. For example:

  • Who do we text or call during this time, and who do we overlook or ignore? 
  • What social media accounts do we follow, and why? Do we feel better about ourselves by surrounding ourselves with “influential” people? 

Spend a minute confessing your sin of favoritism to God. Then, as you click off this post and move on with your day, turn these truths over and over in your mind, and interact with God about them: 

  • When you and I were poorly dressed in rags of self-righteousness, God covered us with His royal robes of perfect righteousness. 
  • He did not choose you and me based on anything that made us stand out above others. 
  • He welcomed us because of His great mercy.

Let’s go and do the same. 

If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll like A Hospitable Church Begins With Us.

(Versions of “Why Favoritism Is a Sin” were originally published on and 

Tears, Chasing the Sun, and All Things New

making all things new

I thought I was okay . . . until yesterday. The tears started falling and just wouldn’t stop. Apparently, even though I’m an introvert—and even though we’re all healthy—this lockdown is wearing on me more than I realized. 

When God Makes All Things New

I sat away from the computer for Skype “church service” so I wouldn’t distract others with my steady tears. We were studying Revelation 21, which gives a glimpse into our future hope: 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 

(I learned from our devotional guide that “The sea in the ancient world was a place of chaos, unrest, and dangers. The sea has no place in the new heaven and earth.”) 

The text continues, 

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem [a picture of the perfected people of God] coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 

In my weepy state, this next part captured my imagination most: 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 

Bernie Elliott wrote this in the devotional guide, 

Hospital beds, pharmacies, and caskets will be a thing of the past. It’s hard to imagine a life free of fear, a life without sorrow, an existence where death is no more. Yet this is what is prepared for God’s people. 


I wonder, do you and I long for things to return to “normal,” or is our hope in when God makes all things new?

Exercise, Chasing the Sun, and Limestone Fissures

When we finished our service, we chased the sun to Clark Reservation. We hiked across the limestone fissures and remembered that God will heal all the broken parts in our hearts and world.

We plan on continuing to chase the sun and to exercise harder after watching more videos from Virgil Tanner. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to his YouTube channel. He consistently ministers to my heart in the deepest of ways. Here’s a little coaching from him: 

“The most important thing you can do for your family is nurture a deep connection with Jesus. Find ways to withdraw, to engage Him with others, to obey the things He shows you . . . 

“The second most important thing you can do is work out. Because the third most important thing you can do is to create a way to find a healthy emotional space and to live from there. The other people in your house are going to draw their emotional tenor from you. And if you skip paying attention to your heart in order to pay special attention to their academics, they will come at their academics anxious. That will raise their affective filter, and they will learn less than they would have if you had put their school in the back seat and put your emotional wellness ahead of it.

“Remember that the best thing you can do for your emotions is exercise. Exercise is often prescribed as curative to things like low-grade depression or low-grade anxiety disorders. Take care of your body so it can take care of your heart. Also take care of your body so you can love your neighbor well, by not needing a hospital bed. As you take care of your body and it takes care of your heart, your heart can take care of their hearts, and their hearts will help their minds learn multiplication.” 

Here’s another short, excellent video I watched from Virgil yesterday that is really helping me. I highly recommend watching it. (Does Jesus’ favorite question surprise you? It did me.)

How We’re Doing Church + A Timely Word from Habakkuk

doing church over Zoom

How We’re “Doing Church” During This Health Crisis 

Yesterday was our third week worshiping with a small group of believers over Zoom. Our church is providing members with an order of service to follow in our own homes, and we’ve chosen to go through it with our small group each Sunday. While we can’t sing together (there’s a delay that doesn’t make that possible), I’ve loved discussing the passage together with personal application questions like,

What are some things in life you are tempted to believe God is entitled to give to you?” (Oh boy . . . where do I start?!) 

A Timely Word from Habakkuk 

Here was yesterday’s order of service if you want to use it yourself next Sunday. It was a timely word from Habakkuk 3:16-19. You’ve probably heard this part before:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

Sounds glorious, as long as you’re reading the words and not testing them in real life. But Habakkuk understood exactly what it would mean if the fig tree did not blossom, if the olive trees and fields did not yield food. In an agricultural society, this meant death by starvation. 

There were no backup plans. No restaurants, no grocery stores, no pantries. Our small group tried imagining such a dire situation, and we just couldn’t. Unfortunately, though, it’s reality right now for those in India. 

Habakkuk’s Realities True in India Right Now

The entire nation is in the midst of a complete, three-week lockdown. They only had four hours notice before everything was shut down. Many of the 1.3 billion people there barely survive as it was. Now, with twenty-one days of complete lockdown, this spells starvation and death for many. Please pray. 

Maybe this paragraph from yesterday’s order of service can help inform your prayers: 

“In an uncertain world, we can find joy in the certainty of God’s faithfulness and sustaining care. Even if we are stripped of all else—our comforts, our security, our very life—we can never be separated from the saving love of God in Christ Jesus our LORD. The lack that we sometimes experience, the hardships we face, the chaos we go through—it all focuses our eyes on the Gospel, because the gospel is not simply about God giving his people many blessings, but about God’s power to grant us the right to be reconciled to relationship with our Creator. God, in his strength, has granted to us the right to see Him and to rejoice in Him, no matter what may come.”

Sidewalk Chalk Theology 

Later in the day, our family took a walk. I was intrigued by how many signs we saw around the neighborhood. 

  • One family had painted a sign that said, “We are all together,” decorated with colorful handprints. 
  • Another used sidewalk chalk to mark off the distance of six feet and to encourage people to continue practicing social distancing. 
  • One home featured a sign in their window saying, “Things will get better.”  

That last one stood out to me in light of our focus on Habakkuk that morning. Things won’t get better for many. Hundreds of thousands will die. While I appreciated their desire to offer hope, it fell flat. 

After the kids were in bed, I realized we could write messages of true hope on our sidewalks. So Trevor and I hunkered down under the light of the moon and covered our sidewalks with Scripture. 

We live on a corner in the city, so we get a lot of foot traffic. Will you pray that many would receive comfort, hope, conviction—even eternal life in Jesus—through God’s Words? 

I’d Love to Hear From You

  • How are you worshiping God each Lord’s Day during this strange time when we’re unable to gather together corporately to do so? 
  • What are some things in life you’re tempted to believe God is required to give to you?
  • While you’re probably not facing starvation, what are you struggling with right now? Even if it’s “little” compared to what those in India are facing, how can I be praying for and supporting you? 

Jesus’ Response to Tragic Headline News

Jesus’ Response to Tragic Headline News

Dear reader, 

A friend told me she can’t bear to look at social media right now, because so many are posting about all the free time they have now. Ha! She was already over-extended as it was. Now, thanks to the current health crisis and school shutdowns she’s “a shell”: schooling her children, caring for her parents, continuing her job, and more. 

When I asked how I could practically help her, she asked if I could text her some Scripture regularly.

I wonder, could you, too, use some refreshment from God’s Word during this crisis? If so, follow along on Instagram and Facebook.  Today, I’ll include some brief thoughts from Luke 13 right here on the blog.

Jesus’ Response to Tragic, Headline News

In Luke 13, some people tell Jesus the tragic news of the day: Pilate has killed some Galileans, mixing their blood with the blood of their animal sacrifices. Rather than responding with something like, “That’s awful!” Jesus asks, Do you think these were worse sinners than other Galileans because they suffered this way? “No,” he answers his own question,” “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (v. 3).  

Jesus than takes a turn sharing another tragic headline news story with them. A tower in Siloam fell on eighteen people. Everyone died. Again, he asked, were they worse sinners than others because this happened to them? “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (v. 5). 

While you and I may (hopefully!) escape death by the current health crisis, we will all perish, unless we repent of our sin. Let Jesus’ response to tragedy serve as a wakeup call. Luke 13 goes on to share about the only two possible destinies for everyone on this planet:

1) For those who don’t repent, “…there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out” (v. 28). 

2) Those who do repent, though, will experience life beyond death: “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God” (v. 29). Imagine stretching out and talking and laughing and feasting with Jesus. If you are in Christ, THIS is your future. This is your hope. 

If this is not you, turn from your sin to Jesus, and He will welcome you to His table!

PS: I should explain this picture. Iren enjoys reading the paper with his grandma. While he’s reading the comics section in this photo rather than a tragic news story, may it serve as a reminder that you can still have joy because of the future Jesus has secured for you . . . with Him! 


When Date Night with Your Spouse Goes South . . . Again

My husband, Trevor, and I have a bad track record when it comes to our weekly date night. Often we return home unhappier than when we left.

A couple years ago, I surprised him with tickets to Cirque du Soleil. A friend told me she and her hubby loved the show, so I assumed we would too.

Ticket prices were steep, so I had to get creative with our budget. I depleted our date night category . . . discretionary category . . . garden category . . . and charged the rest to my personal spending category. (How did I think this was a good idea, being married to an accountant?!)

The evening began, lighthearted and fun, with Trevor guessing what we were doing and not getting even close. When we pulled up to the stadium, he was convinced it was a hockey game. It wasn’t until after we’d walked through security that he saw a sign advertising Cirque du Soleil.

Another Date Night Goes South . . . Again

We began our ascent up, up, up. My friend had told me there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, but apparently she hadn’t ventured this far up. Our seats were in the very last row at the tip-top of the stadium, and an arch was obstructing our view. And that’s when the whole tone changed. Trevor grew silent and sullen.

When the lights went down thirty minutes later, I moved to a better seat, Trevor trailing behind me. (He wasn’t thrilled with moving seats, as he’s more of a rule follower than I am.)

I didn’t feel I could enjoy the show, knowing that Trevor wasn’t thrilled. Even if he had been upbeat, though, the performers were speaking some gibberish language, and there didn’t seem to be a coherent storyline to follow.

To his credit, Trevor thanked me a couple times at the end, but it seemed forced. When we went to bed that night, he wasn’t looking me in the eyes. So much for my epic date night.

Many times I’ve just wanted to give up and say, If they’re gonna hurt this bad, let’s just forget date nights. Have you had a similar experience?

I always knew that wasn’t the answer, though. Here are a few problems we’ve bumped into on our date nights, as well as a few solutions we’ve found:

Date Night Problems . . . And Solutions

Problem #1: You don’t have a plan beforehand. 

Solution: When we realized that coming up with a plan “on the fly” wasn’t working for us, we tried surprising each other by planning a date night for the other (as I did with Cirque du Soleil). However, it didn’t take long for us to realize that was not a good idea for us.

So we compiled a Google document of date night ideas that we’d both enjoy. Give it a shot, and consider adding categories like:

  • Indoors
  • Outdoors
  • Winter
  • Summer
  • Cheap (ahem, Paula!)
  • In-home (for when you have kids)

Save yourself some heartache and don’t try to figure out what you’re doing as you’re climbing into the car. Be intentional in planning ahead.

Read the other four problems—and solutions—over at

I’d love to hear from you. Do you resonate with this struggle? Do you go on date nights? If you do, what has worked well for you?

If you do feel like you’re one of the only married couples who doesn’t have wonderful weekly date nights, know that you’re not alone. At the very least, the Marstellers are with you! We hope and pray that our struggles and attempted solutions help you to pursue deeper intimacy and enjoyment of one another.

My Long-Distance Relationship with Trevor (An Interview)

Good morning! I’m responding to a few questions about my long-distance relationship with Trevor at today. Questions like, How did you:

  • Grow in your relationship with God while you were in a long-distance relationship?
  • Make the decision to move to the city where Trevor lived before you were married?


  • How did the two of you manage conflict and communication?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting a long-distance relationship?

Here’s a short sample:

How did you grow in your relationship with God while you were in a long-distance relationship?

In the same ways I had while single. By digging into God’s Word daily and communicating with Him through prayer—though definitely in a more distracted state!

I was also challenged to search the Scriptures and reconsider some beliefs I’d always held. Trevor had differing views and more freedoms than I was used to—specifically when it came to drinking alcohol. Another biggie was his understanding of how to discern God’s will, which was quite different from mine. That has resulted in much greater freedom in my life. If you’d like to read more on this, here are some posts on decision making.

Trevor has also been such a tangible picture of God’s steadfast love for me, even when the ugliness of my sin has been laid bare.

Catch the rest of the interview at

Having a Spiritual Leader Doesn’t Mean…

husband and wife studying Bible

Today I’m over at exploring what it looks like that your husband is your spiritual leader–or rather, what it doesn’t look like. Below is a short sample of the post; catch the entire version of “Your Husband Isn’t Your Connection to God” here. Mostly, though, I’d love to hear from you:

  • Have you taken a more passive role in your relationship with God since marrying? How so?
  • If you’re still single, what are your expectations for what it will mean for your husband to be your spiritual leader?


Taking a Back Seat in My Relationship with God

You may have heard—or believe—that your husband is your spiritual leader. But I wonder what that means to you.

Based on this belief, when I entered marriage, I subconsciously unbuckled my seatbelt, got out of the driver’s seat in my relationship with God, and moved to the back. I looked to the front seat where my new husband, Trevor, sat and waited for him to lead us in daily time in God’s Word and prayer. . . .

Somehow, my complementarian ideals had led me to live as if I was in pre-Reformation days when only an elite few had access to God’s Word. I looked to my husband to lead me to God, rather than enjoying the direct access Christ purchased for me. But 1 Timothy 2:5 is clear. There is only one mediator between God and humanity, and it is not my husband. It is Jesus.

What Are Your Expectations of Having a Spiritual Leader?

What are your expectations of your husband being your “spiritual leader”? When you’re together, do you:

  • Leave all the praying up to him, or do you pray too?
  • Invite him to read and pray with you, or do you believe he is the only one who can initiate that?
  • Stay home with him because he doesn’t want to go to church, or are you faithfully frequenting its doors whether he comes with you or not (Heb. 10:19–25)?

Are you afraid:

  • To confront your husband in love about unrepentant sin in his life (Heb. 3:12–15)?
  • That you can’t pursue intimacy with God too fervently, because you might intimidate your husband and keep him from stepping up?

If you have children, do you teach them God’s Word, even if your husband doesn’t (Deut. 6:5–8)?

Dear Christian wife, I hope you aren’t tempted to “quit” your relationship with God in order to be a good, “submissive” wife. These two things are not mutually exclusive!

Yes, God has given your husband the role of “head” in your relationship. But rather than this limiting you, this should propel and empower you. Think about it. Do truly great leaders do all the work themselves, or do they empower those under their care to thrive, initiate, and lead? . . .