|A few years ago I was invited to address over five thousand men at a conference. I was asked to express the heart of a woman and to show the men how to better love and understand their wives. The topic they requested was “What Women Want.”To be honest, this particular invitation seemed very strange to me since I am in women’s ministry and had been writing His Princess books.I remember sitting at my desk and just staring at the e-mail invitation, battling to believe God would open this door for me to address five thousand men. Even harder for me to believe was that I could ever convince these men to listen to me about what women want. I fell to my knees and cried out to God, “Who am I to speak into these men’s lives about loving their wives? What right do I have?” As I prayed, I felt my inward battle to believe being conquered by an overwhelming desire to make a difference. I dared to believe God would do something bigger than I could ever do on my own—birth a new beginning between men and women.
My heart began to break as I reflected on the countless women who had shared with me the painful places they had walked through with the men they loved. These good women of faith had wonderful hearts and believed in their marriages. Yet they had been left alone to defend themselves and their children after their marriages were destroyed by infidelity, neglect, or abuse. Even the women who were determined to remain married struggled to believe their marriages could ever be truly meaningful and reflect real love.
As I continued to pray about accepting this invitation, God brought back to my memory the painful night in my childhood when my dad stumbled into my room with tears in his eyes and fear on his face. He knelt at the foot of my bed and broke the news that he and my mom were divorcing. I realize now that he had lost his will to fight and had no idea how to save his marriage or our family. Next I thought about my own marital struggles and the years of tears and trials it took for my husband, Steve, and me to rebuild a solid foundation for our marriage.
In spite of my insecurities, passion and compassion compelled me to take a step of faith. I surrendered to this invitation in an effort to bring transformation to these men and their marriages. Once I committed to the speaking date, I became desperate for God to give me the words, kindness, courage, and wisdom I would need to stand before these men.
To my surprise, God gave me much more than that. He gave me a letter of repentance I was to deliver before my message. With that said, I invite you to read the opening letter on forgiveness I delivered with fear and trembling before these men, which I believe opened their hearts and ears to my message:
Dear Men of All Ages,
Now more than ever, we need you to rise up and fight for us, fight to remain faithful, and fight to finish strong! We need you to fight to leave a legacy of faith for the sake of our children and the foundation of marriage. I know this seems almost impossible in a society that screams, “You have failed us in every way!” so I stand here today on behalf of all women and girls and ask that you forgive us for the following:
Forgive us . . . for blaming you for all that has gone wrong in our lives and for making you pay the price for all the men who hurt us—even if it was not your fault.
Forgive us . . . for holding on to the past and making you feel like you don’t deserve to be forgiven or have a fresh start.
Forgive us . . . for trying to conquer and compete with you—when we were created to complete you.
Forgive us . . . for the way our words and our actions have publicly dishonored, discouraged, and disrespected you.
Forgive us . . . for using our beauty and our bodies to weaken your flesh and control you.
Forgive us . . . for all the mind games we have played with you and the manipulation we have used to get your love and attention.
Forgive us . . . for forgetting to make you feel like the heroic men we desire you to be in our lives!
The reaction of the men astonished me. As I shared these words, the room was completely silent; it was surreal and a little scary. I had one eye on the paper and one eye on the men. It was as if each sentence lowered their defenses, and by the time I said the last word, many of the men even had tears in their eyes. Their faces seemed to say, “Please unlock the hero inside me” and “Show me how to become the man I long to be for my wife and family.”
I took a deep breath and then respectfully asked their permission to speak into their lives about their relationships with their wives. I asked if I could help them understand the heart of a woman; to attempt to explain how we are wired and what we need from them to feel safe, secure, and loved.
I assured them my goal was to give them Christ-centered, creative ways they could rescue, romance, replenish, and repair the women they had possibly hurt. I was taken aback by their response: the men stood to their feet and gave me a standing ovation before I even began sharing my message.
For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.
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