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A Letter Long Overdue

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Dear God,
I wanted to send You a letter.
Some may call this a prayer,
And that’s okay,
Either way,
Its the content, not the title.

First, thanks because I see better.
Visibility improved so quick its rare.
At the break of day,
I must say,
Thank You for the things I take for granted.

Second, there’s You and Your gift at Calvary,
It floods my life with grace,
Seeps through cracks,
Front and back,
Continuous and flowing.

Second, my husband, all he is and his bravery,
Love for You and us on his face,
Intertwined and strong,
That can’t be wrong,
For it too is overwhelming.

Third, our heart and our joy,
Our daughter, half child, half grown,
Each time she says Mama or Dad,
Cause for joy, not sad,
Even when our patience is tried.

Fourth, we’re among the free, not toys,
We’ve accepted we’re not pawns.
You’ve been patient so long,
We hear the sweetest song,
To it our life and hearts are tied.

Fifth, for our homes, what was and is,
Our meals, someone prepared them,
Clean water to drink and bathe,
More though, to us time You gave,
All the little stuff I take for granted.

Sixth, last but not in priority is the ease,
With which You blessed my day,
For this morning I woke,
To hear what You’ve spoke,
And counted my blessings again.
                    dfav 2/8/16
—Donna

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Why Aren’t We Talking About ?

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Across the United States’ population of 318.9 million there are a professed 73% professed Christians. Of that number, 40% say they attend church regularly. Statically only 20% actually do. (73% of 319 million is 232.797 million, of that 47 million are in a church for services.)

What percentage of those Christians are also counted among the 12 million with a sexual addiction? A lot more than we want to address.  Why not?

This addiction destroys marriages, families and individuals. It adds chronic dishonesty to the mix and poor stewardship of one’s resources. More than that, it shreds the addicts relationship with God, until treatment is sought and healing begins. We’re talking about an addiction, it’s never going away. Like someone who finds a way out of substance abuse, it’s a day-to-day battle to remain “clean”.

Christians aren’t immune to sexual, substance, food, gambling and any other addiction. These individuals sit in church pews, are church leaders and clergy. Their marriages are failing. Parts of their lives are lies already. All of it will be without intervention.

We are hypocritical to deny it exists among us. We are equally hypocritical to deny these individuals and families a safe place to recover.

Chances are you know someone, or you yourself, have felt the impact of sexual addiction. You might not know it or be willing to admit it but you have.  The truth doesn’t change.

Why aren’t we talking about it? In church, out in the open, bringing the Son’s light into a horrific darkness?

Shame. Embarrassment. Panic. Fear of being turned upon, never seen as worthy or respectable again.

Instead, like ticking bombs among us, the time is quickly running out. It’s harder and harder for John Doe to keep a secret these days and near impossible for anyone in the public eye. Ask Josh and Anna Duggar.

Why aren’t we talking about sexual addiction among Christians? We should be.

—Donna

Marriage Secret Success

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Woman says to man,
We can’t be in love.
But why not? He insisted to know.
Because we both always
Want to be the spotlighted hero.
Both always want control.
That’s automatic power struggles.
It just will never work.

Man says to woman,
It’s too late, I already love you.
We can take turns.
Set limits and boundaries that stay.
We can win at this, I know it.
Just give it a try, success our goal.
Grow old together enjoying the cuddles,
We can be great if hard work we don’t shirk.

She wanted to just say forget it.
It would be easiest, she thought.
Yet she had a flash of insight,
Does God ever say this to me?
It’s not working my Daughter
Because you want to be number one,
Let go of this burden, give me the reigns,
Communicate with me, let me do this through you.

Right then, she surrendered.
Her wants, her will, her ways.
God loved her, would do His best.
Let His will resolve this trouble she could see?
God loved her enough to move mountains.
Even ones in her own character?
Would following this man in his place in three
Be greater than anything she could do?

Now she stood there seeing possibilities,
And love stood beside her
Covering her weaknesses, lighting up her strengths.
God held them both in His hands.
The man too would learn
To do things God’s way.
To cherish his helpmeet, together be linked,
The three of them bound could truly stand.
                d.f.a.v. 6/22/15
—Donna

We All Face Goliath

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)When David faced off with Goliath,
No one thought he could win,
He declined all of Saul’s fancy armour,
Saying His God would settle it all.
So he picked up his sling and five river stones,
And went to face Goliath built like a human wall.
Then in the end, David, the little guy wins,
Goliath’s mouth no longer can spin.

When Job lost everything that he owned,
Even his sons and daughters lay dead,
His cattle, his barns and his servants,
Destroyed like dust in the wind.
When even his own health was taken,
Job trusted God to reveal they were still friends.
Though his wife said curse God and die
Job proved he was wise and kept God first in his eyes.

Peter, waited around in the shadows,
Knowing just who He’d denied,
Three times before the trial was over,
Just as Jesus had prophesied.
Lower than he’d ever felt before,
Peter thought he’d never again walk by Christ’s side.
But with the preparation of Our Father,
Peter was restored and forgiven like no other.

I’ve faced difficult situations in my life, Lord.
Goliath’s, destitution and betrayal my struggles too.
You’ve always been loyal and forgiving,
Always had my back though I’m undeserving.
Those witnesses of Your glory and might,
Even I in my poor attempts to imitate You,
Know beyond this life’s misery and woes,
We’ll celebrate our arrival in ways our hearts don’t yet know.
                   d.f.a.v.  3/23/15
– – – Donna

I am Us. She is Us. We are Us.

We have a guest blogger today Readers. Be kind. I asked my friend Richard Reid to allow me to use a post he wrote on Facebook as my “Valentine’s” blog. I’ve known Richard way back to our high school days. His career calling has taken him into the pulpits/pastoral role of Cumberland Presbyterian churches, today near Memphis, Tennessee. This is the first guest blog I’ve invited on fvbf written by a man. (It is a blog from a woman’s point of view living a Christian life.) Richard is my “go to friend/minister” when I have questions about the Scripture and/or it’s application to my life. He speaks, and I try to listen. (Well, most of the time. I learned in the 10th grade his advice on dissecting earthworms or paying attention in Biology might not be successful.) I listen now because he can back up what he’s saying with God’s word. He never did claim to be great at biology. And FYI his wife’s name is Donna too.

…Donna and I were talking about the nature of marriage and divorce. We have been married going on 28 of the 30 years we have been a couple. We’ve successfully raised three kids. Our marriage has weathered some low points and enjoyed some awesome high points. Our family has had plenty of laughter and good times. And our share of sorrows too.

The conversation’s emphasis went to divorce. We’d just learned that another long time couple we know have chosen to go their separate ways. People divorce for many reasons. Some of those reasons we can understand and cannot imagine people remaining in such marriages: infidelity, emotional or physical abuse, or substance abuse. Sudden catastrophic changes in family dynamics – the death of one of their parents or the death of one of their children, can lead to divorce. Sometimes it is because of financial instability.

Yet, while these causes can lead to divorce and do; couples can and do choose to work through issues of finance and infidelity; issues we think would be immediate deal breakers in a marriage. It remains tragic; but there are women and men, who refuse to get out of abusive relationships. Their reasons range from “fear” to acceptance of “that’s just how things are”. But also to “I still love him/her” accompanied with, “I hope I can keep trying and change him/her”.

And we interrupt this conversation with a public service announcement:
YOU WILL NOT CHANGE AN ABUSER AND GOD NEVER INTENDED FOR YOU TO BE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP. God didn’t put His blessings on a poorly conceived relationship in which the person or persons would be an abuser; or be abused. It is a form of infidelity. Abuse means that the marriage vows are broken and the relationship is adulterous emotionally. An abusive spouse is not being ONE FLESH. No one, except one who is having serious mental health issues, abuses their own bodies in anger. GET OUT OF IT….. GET OUT OF THERE AND IF YOU HAVE KIDS – TAKE THEM WITH YOU!

Now we return to the conversation I’m having with my wife:

Donna pointed to empty nest once again as one of the causes it seems for so many of these couples to divorce. The kids, more or less are grown. The role of being a child rearing parent is past. We’re left with two middle-aged people who have been being parents for sometimes more than 25 years. Parents/people who because of life and work sit there and ask themselves:

  • Who am I?
  • Who is this person that I am living with?
  • Is this what I was expecting?
  • Is this what I signed up for?
  • Do I love this person?
  • Does this person love me?
  • Do we even LIKE each other?

At this point those couples who have stayed together to raise their children find there’s nothing else to stay together for. They don’t even like one another anymore.


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During my 30 years in ministry and in counseling with couples and individuals I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know who I am. I need to find me and find out who I am.” They don’t think they have a personal identity anymore; and our society and culture in the United States seems to prize individuality above anything.

They have invested themselves into raising and/or providing for their family. Before they helped raise those kids they invested themselves into the person they married, which often led to reproduction and the kids that they have raised. Now, all these years later when very often the passion has died down and there are no more kids to put our energies into couples ask, “Who am I?” Or perhaps more importantly, “Who are WE?”

I think that is where Donna and I strike the chord of a lasting relationship we seem to KNOW who we are. When we signed up for this life gig, we signed up for each other. We took seriously the vow that the two become one flesh. This is not a euphemism for only having sex or having offspring. We really did become one.

“WE” became OUR identity. “WE” became “US”.

We signed up to spend life together. To raise a family. To love each other. And we do.


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In the course of this conversation we laughingly admit, we don’t always LIKE each other, but we do LOVE each other without question. Sure, the excited and energetically passionate young couple of 28 years ago has long gone. Life and age and health and kids have seen to that; but what remains with the more or less sort of empty nest is “US”.

By that I mean I don’t have to go find out who I am. I know who I am; and I know that Donna is a part of “who I am” just as I am a part of “who she is”. That’s what we signed up for that the two would become one. We are ONE. We never needed a lot of getting out and doing the solo thing… hanging out with our girls or our buddies.

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When we had down time or took some time away from being “parents” to have a date; or a couples vacation or trip; we got a babysitter if needed; and when they were big enough to handle themselves; they stayed home. (Actually they usually went and stayed with a friend for a couple of days and I don’t really want to know, you know, because they were teenagers. And teenagers are teenagers if you know what I mean. LOL).

That is not to say we do not give each other breathing room. We have never expected the other to be right under the other doing what we do. I do things without her. She does things without me. We share some hobbies like antique and vintage glass collecting, but she never cared too much to go fishing with me. I never cared much to sit and watch her cross stitch. That is okay.

We go to separate parts of the house for things. We don’t care about the same kind of television and not always the same kind of music. But we both always know the other is there when we do need each other or want to spend time together; and we do spend time together often.

We chose a long time ago to make US our identity. We have laughed and argued. We have grown apart at times and still came back together. We chose to make things work when not doing so would have been much easier. We have always loved US even if at times we did not like the individual parts of US.

I am US. She is US. We are US. And for US; that is okay. It is who we are. We refuse to give up on each other; or let the other one give up on US; because US is who WE are.

—Richard

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Be the One You Are

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Be the woman strong enough to say,
“God says I’m more valuable than this and I believe Him.”

Be the friend to yourself loving enough to say,
“Let me reach for help and be my own at the same time.”

Be the mother aware enough to say,
“Not my children. No they won’t grow up with these memories.”

Be the wife wise enough to say,
“I love you but not your anger, your punishment, your abuse of me.”

Be the partner determined to say,
“I am ending this before I hate you.”

Be the woman I know you are deep inside.
The four – year – old child who protected her brother.

Who fell asleep in my arms assured
I would keep my promise to not let you get hurt..

Please be this woman.
For you.
For your kids.
For your future.
For your family.
For me.

But most of all..
Please be this woman I know you are…
For you…
For your sons…
For your daughters.
             d.f.a.v. 10/20/14

Abusive relationships of any kind aren’t right according to the God I know.   If you are the one being abused, the strength to leave is within you.  If you need help ask.
If you are the abuser, let go, get help, STOP.  Love is not being hurt or hurting someone like this…with physical fists or emotional, mental or spiritual ones.
—Donna

Who Do We Really KNOW?

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Can you love someone without knowing them?
Like the –
Person on the computer far away?
How many hours, video chats, emails are logged?
But, do you KNOW them?
Like the –
Person you vow to love forever as you marry?
The one you agree to love through better or worse,
Richer or poorer?
On that wedding day
Do you KNOW them?
Even if you’ve lived with them?
Do you KNOW them?
Like your. ..
Pleasant and helpful neighbor?
Who ends up on the evening news?
For some horrendous crime?
And when asked you’re shocked?
They seemed like such a nice person?
Do you KNOW them?
Truth is…
We see and know what people want us to.
Sometimes their good and bad.
Some of us lay to sleep each night
Beside our partner, our husband, wife?
And we don’t have a clue to who they really are.
Same with our children.
Sometimes sadly,
NO, we don’t KNOW them.
It takes…
Time invested in learning and understanding them.
Hours of talking and sorting,
Hours of questions and answers,
Through the glorious times
The dregs of life times
And the grind of daily life times
Loving through better and worse
Through plenty and great need
In good health and poor,
Then we have at least begun
To KNOW them.
Do you know God?
Really KNOW Him?
Have you consumed His Word?
Prayed without ceasing?
Allowed Him to change you inside and out?
Do you live by His words?
Are you His hands and feet In this world?
Does His Spirit reside in you?
Not knowing Him intellectually,
The history, the words in His Word,
The theology and doctrine but…
Do you KNOW Him?
Is He the first you think of each morning?
The one You invite every day to work in and through you?
Is He the third person in your marriage?
The partner in your parenting?
The foundation of ALL your life?
Do you KNOW Him?
If not…
Would you like to?
If you do…
Will you continue?
Do you KNOW Him?
Do you WANT to?
               d.f.a.v. 10/19/14
—Donna

From the Cottage by the Sea

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Abba Father;
You are the God Jehovah
The Lord of all that is
In the woven plaits of all time
You are their God and You’re mine.
Your will is done in Heaven
Without question or concern
That’s how it should be here
If this truth we held so dear.
I’ve come again to the Sea
Where our cottage waits for hope
l stare out over sand and high tide
The ocean dark a forbidding ride,
I long to push myself right in
Feel the waves pull me fast
Until I mount the largest wave
Do You understand what I need You to save?
Rescue me from my own self
The good I know and do not do
The times pride stands in my way
From truly trusting You each day.
So far from perfect I truly am,
How can I trust my heart to know?
When God is good for I am not
But trust in Him is all I’ve got.
The waves crash in foam and spray
I’ll stand by You Lord night and day.
Forgive me Lord for failing along the way.
d.f.a.v. 9/28/14
–Donna

Cottage by the Sea at 1:56 a.m.

Dear Abba!
Can we sit here?  Together.
Do You ever feel this way?
Plain ole’ washed out and tired.
Once every million days?

This body of mine?  Hurting.
I know You know that.
I just need to say it anyway.
A need to state the fact.

My heart burdened.  Needless.
I have You and prayer.
No other resource works so well.
I need sweet, sweet prayer.
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But I also have Your Spirit.
It dwells with in me.  Thank you.
Can we just sit here?  Silent.
Can I lean on You?

Close my eyes, let go?
Will You bind up my wounds?
Restore my mournful soul?
Regive to me Your sound?

Ease my troubled mind
Takes much to bear this all
With me not understanding
I feel so really small.
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Here’s where I want to be.
Must be.  To be truly free
Quiet in Your presence
From our Cottage by the Sea.
         d.f.a.v. 3-7-14
Take time to have time with God,
Donna

Legacy of Forgiveness

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One has to go no further into the Holy Bible than the Lord’s Prayer to understand how our ability to forgive one another has a role in how God forgives us.  In the New International Version in Matthew 6:12, Jesus is recorded as instructing us to pray, “…forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”. In Luke 11:4, Jesus tells us to “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”.

When people hurt us, and we have alarmingly and amazingly deep capacities to scar and wound each others hearts, forgiving them feels impossible.  Forgiving someone who hurts us when that person is someone who loves us is often an action we feel we just can’t do

Our mother taught us the importance of forgiveness.  Sometimes by her example of what to do and sometimes what not to do.

Her marriage to our father was never without turmoil.  It took about 30 years for that relationship to cease hurting them both and doing that came only upon our mother’s death.  Mama went on to Heaven and our father enjoyed ten years and six months more of earthly life before he passed.  Dad had opportunity to find love again, and fit into a new family easily.  But when Mama died she and our father, and all her children were on good terms.  Because Mama taught us how to forgive.

Although a Christian since her childhood Mama had a difficult time with forgiveness.  Both in forgiving those who hurt her and acknowledging she hurt others.  It was this portion of her own journey where she discovered she needed to seek forgiveness too.  Sometimes from her children.

There was never any question, when our wonderful sweet mother called like that as to whether or not I’d forgive.  For she was humble about her mistakes, she didn’t excuse her behavior away and she didn’t throw anyone else under the millstone, even when she had every right to do so.  From the very minute of that first phone call healing change came into our relationship.

Mama was willing to learn, and then she put that education into work in her life.

Mama forgave even when those who hurt her wouldn’t, or no longer could, ask for her forgiveness.  Even when that person was me.

Mama never took forgiveness for granted.  Not from those she hurt and not from God. 

Our Mama would turn 69 today if she were still with us on earth.  She was 54 when she passed.  Although it will be 15 years on the anniversary of her death that we’ve been without her physical presence she is still a large part of my life.

I think about her often and I pass her onto our daughter, who never knew her, by telling her stories, passing along life wisdom I learned from Grams.  There are still days I want to pick up my phone and call her.  Still situations that arise in my life I wish I could have thought to ask her about.  Always times I wish she were here to simply be with me through hard times.

Today I still find myself trying to have a spirit and heart as humble as our mother’s.  Her humbleness, her capacity to forgive and her willingness to keep on learning are just a few of the legacies she passed on to us.  Ones well worth passing on to our own families.

Happy birthday Mama!
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Love always,
–Donna

Photos are property of writer, not to be used without permission.