Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Heart of a Man, The Heart of a Woman

Today I'd like to share some things I learned at the Break Forth Conference last weekend. Specifically, from John and Stasi Eldredge. I've read their companion books, "Wild at Heart" and "Captivating," and they really changed the way I thought about men and women. When I heard them speak on these topics on the weekend, their words resonated for my children.

The foundation of their message rested in "male and female He created them" in His own image (Gen 1:27). The deep down heart of a man, his passions and desires, the things that drive him - those are given by God. The very spirit of a woman, her longings and loves, the things that bring her to tears - given by that same God. We were both created in God's image, and both are good (Gen 1:31).

The Heart of a Man (and Boy):

Eldredge shares three longings of the heart of a man... Man longs for a an adventure to live. An adventure is the man's answer to the question of his soul, "do I have what it takes?" Living the adventure brings him alive. He desires a battle to fight (Exodus 15:3 says the Lord is a warrior). For some the longing for battle is not obvious (for example, the man who doesn't love paintball), but shows itself loud and clear in other situations (such as when a "stupid person" is driving ahead of him. The third cry of a man's heart is for a beauty to rescue.

If these desires are not filled, a man (or boy) will go underground to fulfill them. (This statement rocked my world.)

For my sons, I understood this to mean that they need to be allowed to experience adventure. Even when my mother's heart may want to keep them close and safe, I need to encourage them to try new things, to challenge themselves and push their personal limits. I need to send the message, "you have what it takes."

The Heart of a Woman (and Girl):

Stasi E. tells us that there are three core passions straight from a woman's heart... She wants to be wooed and won, pursued and fought for, wanted, seen and delighted in. Isn't that the truth?! I found myself nodding a lot during her talk. A woman longs to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure. The key here is not the adventure (as it is for the man), but the irreplaceable role - a woman does not want to be merely "useful" in her role, but vital. A woman's heart cry is to unveil beauty and bring it to the world. Every little girl puts on a dress, twirls in a circle, and says, "Do you see me? Don't I look beautiful?"

If these desires are not filled, a woman (or girl) will turn to the men/boys around her to fulfill them.

For my daughters, this tells me that when they are asking for my attention it is because they need me to look at them - they need to be seen and admired. Their hearts long for affection. Even in the midst of the busy life, I need to stop, turn around, look, and answer the question, "Yes, I do see you. You are so beautiful."

As much as I can do to foster my children's hearts, though, the role of their father will be what changes their lives. He is the one who teaches our sons to go to battle in the face of injustice, he is the one who's affection brings our girls delight. He is the one who shows them who the Father is. I can direct them in the way of the Father, I can encourage them and cheer them on, but he can actually show them who the Father is.

What does this mean for the fatherless among us? (I was one of them...) For me, it brings home the importance of the role a man plays in the development of our children. It means that if their father is gone, we need to pray and seek a "surrogate" father for them. What about Grandpa, or an uncle? Maybe a friend's husband?

All I know for sure is this - men and women, boys and girls have these built-in desires, given by God. Somehow, we need to find a way to direct them to Christ for their hearts' fulfillment. Because if their desires are not met in Christ, they will seek to fill up through the filth of this world.


  1. You are such a good mommy Tyler. Although those lessons seem so basic and simple, they are hard to learn unless someone tells you. Thank you for sharing the lesson.

  2. Hi there . . . I am not sure if you know - you are going to receive a free Yankee Candle for participating in the Mr. Wilson contest. All I need is your mailing address . . .

    please send it to:



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