to the men and women of new hope church

Dear Friends at New Hope Minnesota,

I’ll warn you. I’m tired, I’m emotional, and I’ve already cried once tonight because of you. I’m also super hesitant to take something as sacred as what happened this weekend and risk cheapening it by trying to put it into words. But I promised you a post, so I’d better follow through.

Ladies, can I say a word to you first? For starters, you girls rocked my world Thursday night. Do you have any idea how encouraging and affirming all your laughs and head-nods and questions and comments were to me? I’ve given that sex talk a lot a lot a lot of times, but I don’t know that I’ve EVER been so overwhelmed by a group’s enthusiastic response. THANK YOU for letting me be so honest and for loving me for who I am.

And girls? You know how you promised to pray for me as I spoke to your husbands? Because of YOU, God showed up and filled me with his Spirit and poured out his power and love and grace all over me and over your precious husbands. And I do mean precious. And while I’m sure that’s the last word they’d want me to use to describe them, it fits.

Wives, oh how I wish you could’ve been there. I wish each of you could’ve experienced just for 15 minutes what I got to be a part of this weekend. Your husbands love you, friends. And they desperately want to know and love you better. Some of them are having a really tough time being the husbands they know they need to be, but they want it so badly. And they left the camp this afternoon with renewed determination to be the husband you’ve always dreamed of having.

Thank you, friends, for trusting me with your men. They treated me with kindness and respect and encouraged me over and over and over again with their willingness to be candid and vulnerable about their struggles and weaknesses. And I learned a lot about so many of YOU, because your husbands like to talk about you. In the very best, edifying and uplifting kind of way.

THANK YOU.

Your turn, guys. Wow. What can I even say? My stomach gets all twisted up in knots every time I think about what God did this weekend. I feel so humbled and honored that it almost hurts. I’m hoping you already know this, but anything good or helpful that came out of my mouth was ALL GOD and anything not-so-great? I take all the blame.

In all honesty, I’m not really sure who that girl was that got up in front of all 170 of you and talked about sex and stuff four different times for an hour. And like I told you, it had nothing to do with being brave. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and he filled me up good. Praise him.

You will never know how you touched my heart with your hearts for God and your deep love for your wives and your willingness to admit that you need help when it comes to loving them like Christ loves the church. And you were such perfect gentlemen and so, so kind to let me intrude on your man space. The fact that my tough, strong husband got choked up when he tried to thank you speaks volumes to your awesomeness.

It’s going to take us awhile to get over you guys. You made God and Minnesota proud.

I could write for another hour, but it’s probably a miracle that you’ve even made it this far, so I’ll close with this:

Father God, I ask you tonight to bless the men and women of New Hope Church. I can never hope to repay them for the blessings they gushed all over me and Gabe this weekend, so will you do it? Will you bless them with strength and wisdom and patience and courage and the kind of love for their husbands and wives that can only come from you? Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus! I love you. Amen.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Marla (for Gabe)

p.s. Here are some Discussion Starters (aka, Mandatory Homework) for you to chat about as a couple (pick one, two, all, add your own…):

1. What is one thing I do that makes you feel loved?
2. What is something I’ve done that was hurtful to you?
3. What was your biggest take-away from your weekend (or Thursday night)?
4. What is one way you think we could grow closer to God as a couple?
5. What do you think your primary love language is? What do you think mine is?
6. Why are the Vikings so terrible?
7. What 3 things do you love most about me?
8. What’s one thing I could do to show you I’m dead serious about loving you well?
9. How many pairs of underwear should I take to the cabin next weekend?
10. Can we pray together?

5 thoughts on “to the men and women of new hope church

  1. Deidre

    Marla, just found your blog thru Nester’s 31 days series. I’m having a blast reading all your stuff. You are inspiring me to declutter as never before. Oh, and we go to New Hope Church here in Lubbock, TX. How awesome is that??? Looking forward to more great posts!!!

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