I Still Believe in Romance

Sometimes I want to curse the fantasy of romance and happily-ever-after. Starry-eyed brides and flowers and first kisses and passionate sex between a husband and wife.

Is this stuff for real?

It’s not my reality. I wanted to be cherished and loved but my family of origin (FOO) led me to believe that no one would ever love me (guess that included them?) and that I was unworthy of such affection and care.

Don’t feel too sorry for me. I’m not stating that for pity.

When I was fifteen, after years of yearning for God and wondering if I should become a nun  so I could pursue that elusive deity (I was Catholic then), I found out that Jesus wanted a personal relationship with me. ME? The girl who was too heavy, wore glasses and whose hair was uncontrollably curly. The ugly one? The one boys only wanted as a “friend” but never to date? The one no-one would love?

Yup. Me. Jesus wanted a relationship with me – because HE loved me.

He may not open car doors or take me to dinner –but he opened up the door to heaven and intimacy with the Almighty Holy God.

The God who created a universe and makes flowers bloom. To show His beauty. To show His love – to me.


I still ended up getting the short end of the stick when it came to a human relationship with a man. I thought I was getting a godly man but I was deceived by accepting some of the behaviors that were “normal” in my FOO. Like insults and withholding love and emotional, financial and verbal abuse. I didn’t know it could be different or that I deserved better.

I know others who have good marriages. Love. A husband who pursues God and seeks to try to love their wives and serve them. It makes me want to cry. Cry because of the beauty of that kind of love. Cry because I don’t have that. Cry because my heart still so longs to be the recipient of a man’s adoration, affection, encouragement and partnership in this life. Cry because my successes get shared with friends who cannot be there daily. Cry because what I have is not what I was created for.

Men, if you read this, realize that for a woman like me, looks are not everything.  A man who has a heart for God is far more attractive than the buffest model. A man of godly character who treats a woman right – is worth gold.

At times I’ve blamed God my lack of human, romantic love. Yet I made choices, the best I could at the time. God has always been there, faithful and loving me through my good and bad days and somehow still uses me for HIS glory and plan here on earth.

I write under the name Lilly Grace Brown so I can be as brutally honest with you about my struggle so you can find someone who understands and “gets” how hard it is to be in a difficult marriage. To maybe be abused, lonely and wanting more. So much more. But denied that reality in the human realm.

Under another name I write inspirational romances because I still believe it exists and the only way I can experience that – is through my characters as they struggle and overcome their challenges by the grace of God. And find love.

I’ve not come to that kind of ending but someday I will. I will have eternity with Jesus. He did lay His life down for me. He inscribed me on the palm of his hand – better than a tattoo with my name somewhere on a man’s body! He woos me gently and never condemns me. He gives me flowers. He gave me children (a mixed blessing some days!).

I’ve gone through times where I could not read romances because I felt so bad with longing for what I couldn’t have. Now I find comfort in them knowing that God is the lover of my soul.

How about you? Do you still believe in romance?




Blessed Inconvenience

I’ve had a few days this past week where my daughter was home sick from school. I don’t work a “regular” job so I was home with her.  Normally I am gone during the day so I thought this would be a great time to do those things that always need to be done: dishes, laundry, sweeping the floor. . .

I tried. Then my husband said, “I think you should sit with your daughter and read to her.”

Big beautiful grey eyes peered up at me with hope. So I set aside the dishcloths and closed my laptop and sat down to snuggle with my daughter. And read out loud to her. A lot.

My preference would have been to be on my computer, writing.  Or doing social networking, or reading an adult book “in my head.” Or at least accomplishing chores.

But then I seriously had to take myself in hand and set all of that aside to simply be with a little girl who wanted her Mommy for more than just some pain relief or to help her plug in a video. In the three days she was sick, my little girl did not want to be on-line or watching anything electronic. She simply wanted to be – with me.

I thought I had killed off the energizer bunny years ago when Hashimoto’s disease claimed my energy and ability to do things. I thought I had put to death my need to accomplish something to feel good about myself.

No. It might have gotten shoved under the bed with my winter boots – but it came out of hiding this week.

I hate to say this. I am an author. I love to write books. I love to read books. I desire for my children to love to read books. In our home, books are to be treated with respect and honor (not left on the floor). They are treasures. Here’s the confession: I do not like to read out loud.

Why? I don’t know! I start to yawn. I get tired. I can do it. I can give voices to the characters and make a story fun. I used to do this for forensics in high school and I was good at it! I would win awards for it.

So I’m struggling with guilt inside because it takes supreme effort for me to set aside other things for that which is more important, a precious little girl that God has given to me to raise and love. And read.

My daughter adores me. She loves to snuggle and be kissed and tells me over and over and over “I love you” and she loves to hear it too. She’s a pretty independent little miss at six years of age now. So why was it hard to set aside my chores, or simply what I enjoy, to meet her deepest need to simply be with me and a book?

My mom read to me as a kid. I don’t remember that, but I’ve been told that was why I was such an early – and prolific – talker. What I remember of my experience as a child though was that as more kids came along, my mom did not have time for me. I was an inconvenience. At some level I fight against the inclination to act the way I remember most of my childhood as being. An inconvenience.

I don’t ever want my little girl to feel like she is less than important to me. Yes, there will be times when other things simply have to be done. But overall, my central goal as a mom, is to be there, to help her grow and be confident in who God has made her to be. How else can that happen but by spending time with her? Talking with her. Snuggling her when she is sick and yes – reading books to her for hours.

My little girl is feeling better and is back in school – and still, I struggle inside with these ugly truths. I am far from the mother I want to be. I know I am the best mother for my little girl. God has gifted her to me. Yet confronting my family of origin yuck and my own sinful and selfish behaviors leave me feeling less than adequate for the task.

I’m too responsible sometimes, and need to lighten up and simply relax and play. The blogs will get written. The book will eventually get done. My greatest work however lies in the heart and soul of three children God has given to me. Not just to meet their physical needs for food, shelter and safety – but for unconditional love as well, which is sometimes best shown in: time, touch, and the reading of a good book.

Praying you can slow down during these holidays and treasure those moments with those you love as well.