Daddy, can I pleeeeaaaseee marry him??
It was like they wrote the book about her. My daughter, Savanna. She’s only four, but she has tapped into her God-given desires like no one I’ve ever known. In Stasi Eldgredge’s book, Captivating, she talks about three core things every woman desires… to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure, and to have beauty to unveil. Savanna is the epitome of captivating.
She is fascinated with the idea of being in love. Being pursued. Being romanced. Her favorite part of every movie is when the girl and the boy fall in love and share their first kiss. She gets all giddy about it. Recently, my husband and I noticed that she was walking around the house singing songs about love or being loved. Just a soft little voice, as she colored or played with her stuffed animals, singing sweetly about the romance she desires within her heart. Then one evening she came to my husband and began telling him all about her imaginary friend “Roger.” Roger has been around for a while, but only lately has he become more than a friend to her. She decided she’d like to marry Roger. Gavin explained to her the qualifications of a good husband (as best as you can to a four year old); her response? “He loves God. He loves me and treats me with kindness. He has a good job, he’s rich. And he takes good care of me. Daddy, can I pleeeeeaaase marry him??” I was giggly as I listened to this conversation while unloading the dishwasher. I wasn’t sure how Gavin would react. But what he did was so neat. He said yes. She invited Samuel and me to the wedding. We sat in the living room and I hummed the wedding march as Gavin walked her down the aisle (across the living room). Then Gavin stood in front of the fireplace, facing Savanna, and began the ceremony. Savanna stood there with her imaginary beau and just reveled in her daddy’s words. He talked to her about what it means to love someone, the sacrifices you make, the hard work you put into a marriage, what God intends for a husband and wife. I assumed she’d get bored quickly (remember, she’s four!) but she never took her eyes off him. She listened to every word with a big smile on her face. Then he “pronounced” them husband and wife and we all cheered. Now, you may think that’s strange. You may think we should have said “you’re too young to get married!” But to us, it was a perfect opportunity to teach her through her own desires for romance, what it means to be loved and cherished. What it means to be part of a marriage. It was a blessed and unforgettable moment.
She also wants to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure. Oh she can play the role of a princess quite well, but she also loves to be a warrior. To show her courage and bravery while rescuing others. One of her favorite games is to protect or save her “babies” (stuffed animals) from immediate peril. They’re always lost or falling off a cliff or being taken by “bad guys” or coming down with an awful illness. Then Savanna swoops in just in time to rescue and comfort them. It’s really sweet and tenderhearted, but at the same time so courageous. She takes on any danger in order to play the part of the hero. She is inspiring. I see how God has already put a great desire in her heart to be part of something big. He has gifted her with so much already. She is compassionate and strong. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for her life.
And then there’s the beauty to unveil. Every little girl wants to know you see her. She wants to know if she’s lovely. Has she captured your heart? And Savanna is no exception. She longs to know that others think she is beautiful, but none more so than her daddy. She truly wants to captivate him. She dresses for him in the morning. She wants to brush her hair, brush her teeth, put on a pretty dress, put on jewelry, and then stand before her daddy and wait in anticipation. She desires to be validated. To be seen. She twirls in delight with her flowing dresses, trying to catch his eye. And he takes great care to tell her, all the time, how beautiful she is inside and out. But he also takes great care in teaching her to look to Christ for these desires. While a good man should pursue her and romance her, he should help her be part of something significant, and he should make her feel beautiful, that’s not always what happens. But there is one man who does all these things and more. Jesus wants to romance her, to woo her. He delights in her good pleasure. God has given her an irreplaceable role and He has great plans for her life. She is beautiful because she was created in God’s image. God made her, as a woman, to be the most beautiful of all His creations. It’s vital that we teach her that these desires are good, God-given, desires and how to pursue them in a God-honoring way. So many little girls are ashamed of their desires, or look to the wrong person or place to have their desires met, and become greatly wounded. This was my experience.
Recently, I’ve been asked by several people why I found such healing from doing the Captivating study. It’s not really a book written specifically to help women find healing through the pain of sexual betrayal. But for me, it was the tool God used to open my eyes to my own woundedness and how I not only needed healing from choices Gavin had made, but also from my childhood, from choices I had made, from lies I had believed for nearly 30 years. I looked everywhere but God to find validation as a young girl. I thought I could get it from guys, but I was wrong. And I put all my hope in Gavin, who in the end disappointed me. I’ve come to the point where I’m starting to understand him more; he was very wounded as well. And we were two wounded people trying to find something in each other that neither of us was able to give. Even so, Gavin’s sexual sin ripped at the core of my desires as a woman. Being romanced and pursued? No. He was pursuing sexual satisfaction in pornography. He was attempting to romance another woman. I wasn’t being romanced. He wasn’t pursuing me. Being in an irreplaceable role? No. The one role that I knew was mine, the one thing I knew was significant, was a façade. I thought intimacy was ours. That this part of him was the one thing only I took part in. That no one could replace me. That I was the only one he wanted. But it turns out he was sharing this role with pornography. With another woman. Allowing other women to take my role and desecrate it. Having beauty to unveil? No. Any shred of beauty I thought I had was stomped out when I learned of his addiction to pornography. How could I feel beautiful, knowing that he was looking at thousands of naked women who didn’t look like me? I have stretch marks, they don’t. I’m overweight, they’re not. I have blemishes, they don’t. I’ve given birth twice, causing my body to be stretched and sagged in ways most of them haven’t. I felt no beauty at all.
My question, “Am I lovely?” was answered with a resounding NO. And I was crushed. I think that, if we’re honest, most women who’ve been betrayed sexually by their husband feel the same way. For me, the Captivating study helped me work through all these wounds and messages that I was believing about myself. Believing about my husband. Believing about God and what He thought of me. And I was able to find healing for myself as Gavin and I worked together to find healing in our marriage. I’m not saying Captivating is a cure all for any woman who has been wounded. Maybe it’s not for you. But for me, it was a tremendous blessing and through the study I came to a more intimate relationship with Christ that I had never experienced before. I came to a better understanding of my husband and what had kept him in bondage for 16 years. I came to a better understanding of who I am in Christ and what I have to offer this world. I came to a better understanding of my children, how easily they can be wounded, and how I can help nurture them to prepare them for the heartache of life. And for that, I am grateful.
Walking in Freedom,
Tags: ""stasi eldgredge"" captivating romance beauty ""heroic adventure"" healing
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