My memoir, I Was Blind (Dating), but Now I See, is having its first birthday, and I want to give YOU presents to mark the occasion! See the end of this blog for the free giveaways.
This book is my story, but I hope you will find that it’s your story too. On one level, it’s an account of my misadventures in dating and some of my more embarrassing moments, but on another level, it’s the story of a human being who is longing for something and praying for something when it seems like God is being silent. How do you keep hoping and praying when year after year it seems like God is saying no?
Here’s an excerpt from the book about prayer and a pair of Keds.
In many ways my dad was old school when it came to raising us kids. He had high standards, and we were expected to work hard and pull our weight. He could be firm with us, giving us what he called “sensitivity training”—as in making us less sensitive. Most nights at dinner he’d try to toughen us up through spirited banter and debate, playing the role of devil’s advocate so we’d be ready for the real world.
But I knew without a doubt that he loved me. My mind wandered back to a scene with the twelve-year-old me. My family was on a cross-country trip to visit my grandparents, and I was decked out in my favorite outfit: Wardrobe and accessory coordination was not something to be taken lightly in the early ’90s. I was sporting a black-and-white polka-dot shirt, black stirrup pants, polka-dot earrings, and a hair bow to match. Then there was the pièce de résistance of the outfit: my brand-new knockoff Keds in—you guessed it—black and white. I was sure of it: Those kids in Washington State had never seen anyone as cool as me.
But before we arrived at my grandparents’ house, Dad spotted a sign for a state park just off the highway. It would do us good to get out of the car and stretch our legs for a bit, he declared, brushing off our protests that it was raining.
“Oh, you guys are babies. That’s not rain—it’s just mist.”
And so we set out on a hiking trail, despite the ever-thickening “mist.”
I flipped up the hood of my coat, hoping to salvage what was left of my mile-high, amply hair-sprayed bangs, and trudged on. But then we hit the bridge. At least I thought it was a bridge. It was hard to tell because at the moment it looked like one giant mudslide.
There was no way I was going to let my beautiful new shoes touch slop of that caliber.
“Can we head back?” I pleaded. “Or at least go another way?”
But one by one, my family members crossed the bridge ahead of me. I stood rooted to the spot, sure they’d turn back once they saw I was serious. I will not budge, I steamed silently, arms akimbo. But they didn’t throw so much as a backward glance in my direction.
I had melodramatic visions of being found several days later by a forest ranger, having survived on grubs and rainwater, black-and-white shoes still more or less intact. But despite my efforts to be brave in the face of abandonment, I felt my eyes starting to sting, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t the rain. I didn’t want to be separated from my family, but there was no way I could change my mind now. I’d made my stand.
Then, through a curtain of tears and rain, I saw my dad heading back over the bridge. Wait . . . why is he coming this way? I wondered. Would I get a lecture? Would he tell me he was disappointed I was being a wimp?
But as he got closer, I saw the twinkle in his eye. “Hop on my back,” he said, crouching down. I couldn’t believe it. I was way too old to be getting piggyback rides. But the rest of my family was on the other side, waiting, and I knew this was the only way. So my dad carried me across that muddy bridge, knockoff Keds and all.
I supposed if I was looking for a model of how a father responds to persistent prayer, this moment when my dad came to the rescue of a daughter whose outfit was in jeopardy was as good a model as any.
I read that familiar passage from Matthew 7:
You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
It struck me that nowhere did it say the father was compelled to give his child precisely what she asked for, that the child could special order what she wanted from a gift catalog. It just said a good father would give good gifts to his children. What if the gift God wanted to give me was different from the one I’d been asking for? What if the thing I thought was good was merely a snake dressed up as Mr. Right?
A good dad will fulfill his daughter’s request—but only if it’s the right gift, at the right time. Sometimes he may give the gracious gift of saying no. But always—always—he cares about his child’s request.
In his classic book on prayer, C. S. Lewis puts it this way: “Someone said, ‘A suitor wants his suit to be heard as well as granted.’ . . . We can bear to be refused but not to be ignored. . . . The apparent stone will be bread to us if we believe that a Father’s hand put it into ours.”2
Perhaps God wasn’t a stern father after all, with a snake in one hand and a stone in the other. Maybe he was more like a good dad—with a twinkle in his eye and his child on his back.
Gift #1: 20 Days of Prayers
Have you ever felt stuck in your prayer life . . . like your prayers keep bouncing off the ceiling or you’ve just run out of words somewhere along the way? I’ve collected some of my favorite prayers over the years—for times when you’re lonely, for times when the future seems uncertain, for times when God seems far away. You can download this free pdf (beautifully designed by my friend Sarah) on the right side of this website.
Gift #2: Blind date with a book
After all the flopped blind dates I’ve been on, I’m still pro blind date (be sure to read the epilogue!). So in honor of blind dates, I’m hosting a “Blind date with a book” raffle this month. Share this post (or any post about my book) in the month of February, and I’ll enter you for the chance to win a free book. I’ll match you up based on a series of reading-preference questions.
Gift #3: Tyndale offer
Tyndale.com is offering 25% off I Was Blind (Dating) but Now I See for the month of February. If you buy a copy for you or a friend, I’d be happy to sign a nameplate and mail it to you.
Whether you find yourself with a date or not this Valentine’s Day, please know that you are loved—without limit and without condition.
I have loved you . . . with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.