'Winter theme' photo (c) 2009, Ilya - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The wind is howling today, and yet I am cuddled up in my housecoat, beside a fire, going through last night’s emails and pondering my ministry.

I’ve had a lot of “big” posts lately–on conflict, submission, porn, etc. And I thought it might be time to give you a little more of a window into my life, and share some things on my heart.

This morning I’ve just been reflecting on what it means to be in marriage ministry. I started writing this blog in 2008, and it grew slowly but steadily until around a year ago, when I really started to get noticed. I think it was during the whole 29 Days to Great Sex series that more and more people starting arriving here–and, to my surprise, more men. I had always thought of myself as a woman’s blogger, but I’ve realized that about 1/4 of my commenters are male. I’m happy for that–welcome! I’m thinking that perhaps I should change the pink in the blog, though, and make it more friendly to the men who show up. So that’s on my to do list!

It’s difficult to come up with a new post almost everyday, especially when I’ve already written on so many. Often I get commenters saying, “You used to say X a lot more, but I haven’t seen any posts on X in a while.” I know that can seem like I’m changing my emphasis or my mind, but often it’s simply because I feel like I’ve said a TON on X, and I don’t want to rehash it all. So if you feel like I don’t say enough about something I’ve said in the past, please realize that it’s probably because I don’t feel that I can write the same post over and over again, especially if those posts have already been pinned and shared a lot. Trust me–they are being read. I just want to write new stuff, as well!

Another issue that plenty of people have brought up is the comment section. Sometimes I’ll comment a ton on a post–I happen to be sitting at my computer writing all day, so when comments appear, I’ll often respond. I’m very active in the comments section.

But other times I don’t. That doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring you or that I don’t like you; it simply means that sometimes I have to go grocery shopping, or I have to chauffeur my kids places, or I’ve got a packed schedule, and I’m not at my computer. I know last week there was a lot of consternation that I wasn’t responding to the debate in the comments section, but I was on vacation with very little internet access. So I’d just ask you to show me grace there. If I’m home, at the computer, I usually respond to comments. If I don’t, it’s probably because I’m not there. If I need to chime in, and I’m able to, I always do. If I don’t chime in, it’s because I’m on a plane going to a speaking engagement, or I’m spending time with my family.

Blogging is a weird relationship; in many ways I feel like I know many of my commenters, and many of you feel like you know me, and to a large extent you do. But let me just give you a little glimpse into what it’s like blogging like this.

I have to delete about 10 comments a day of links coming from really negative sites making fun of what I write.

I have to delete about 60 comments a day of disgusting people saying totally rude things. It can wear on you.

Other marriage bloggers that I know (we email each other) actually get disgusting pictures emailed to them.

This is a rough ministry!

I also get emails–quite a few–from people looking for advice. I would honestly love to help you, but I just don’t have time to answer all the emails that come in, and I also feel a little unequipped to do so. I’m not a counselor; I’m an author. So usually I just pray over them and then direct them to posts I’ve written on the subject. So please forgive me if you’ve written an email and I haven’t responded yet. I have another backlog, and it’s really difficult.

I spend about 3 hours on this blog and my newsletters and emails, etc., everyday. And this honestly is a ministry–I don’t get paid. I do sell ads from time to time, but these ads basically allow me to hire an assistant to do some of the work for me, so I don’t really see that money.

So why do I do it? Because I honestly do want to help marriages, and I really do enjoy getting to know all of you.

And so, on this blog, I will always offer good information for free. I really will. I love this community, and I think this is the best way to talk to people who are hurting.

But at the same time, for those who want to go deeper, there is more available. I’ve got the books I’ve already written, and I’m working on some more ebooks. And I’ll be bringing a webinar series to you soon, I hope! I’ve teamed up with someone who will do all the organizing and administration, so I’ll be able to do some in-depth teaching.

I will be charging for that, simply because I can’t do this totally free, because it has costs associated with it. I get a lot of emails from people saying that I shouldn’t be selling my ebooks, or that anything I do should be for free, because people shouldn’t charge for talking about God’s word. I just want you all to understand is how much time this takes. It really is a full-time job for me. The blog is three hours; then I have writing and speaking on top of that. I’m looking at a 6 or 7 hour day now. And I’m not looking to get rich–I just want to be able to have the time and freedom to create more in-depth products, and that means charging for them. I can’t work 7 hours a day for free, and I have to make my costs back. Even missionaries get paid!

I hope you all understand, because I’m so excited about the webinar that’s coming!

31 Days to Great SexOne last thing–I know a ton of you have bought 31 Days to Great Sex, and you’ve loved it. Thank you so much, and especially to those who sent words of encouragement to me afterwards!

But I know a lot of you read this blog everyday, but you haven’t bought it.

Look, if you like the blog, you will LOVE it! It’s like it combines all my themes–how to experience spiritual intimacy, emotional intimacy, and physical intimacy in marriage, altogether. And that’s what makes sex stupendous! Yes, I did the 29 Days to Great Sex, but I rewrote almost the whole thing for this ebook to make it more cohesive and more useful.

And so I’m talking to those of you who haven’t bought it yet. Valentine’s Day is coming. And it will make a GREAT gift for your spouse! You’re committing to talk and to be intimate for 31 days straight. That doesn’t mean you have sex everyday; it does mean that you work on your relationship and you feel closer and you get a chance to talk about some of the things that you’ve been scared to bring up. It’s so freeing!

both booksAnd if you buy it now, before Valentine’s Day, I’m also including two EXTRA ebooks from Scott from Surrendered Marriage–a guide to intimacy for her and a guide to intimacy for him–absolutely free.

You get everything for just $4.99–and they’re so good!

Buy it in .pdf form (that you can read on a computer, ereader, or print out)
Buy it on Kindle
Buy on Nook

Many of you have been tempted, but you’ve never bought it. There will never be a better time!

So thanks, everyone, for sticking with me on this blog. I’ve got lots more coming! And I hope you all understand my heart a little bit better now. I will always be here to blog. I really do appreciate all of you. And I pray that my words will help strengthen marriages.

And please pray for me, because honestly, the emails I get are heartbreaking, and the comments that I delete are awfully discouraging. Many days this feels like a slog. I find the hardest part just reading through the struggles that so many of you have, both in the comments and on Facebook and email. My heart breaks for so many of you. I wish I could help more. So please, if you think of it, pray for me, that God will strengthen me and give me JOY in the ministry. Thank you.

UPDATE: I just realized I should have explained the special bonuses better! If you buy the .pdf of 31 Days from me, I’ll send them to you automatically. If you buy it on Nook or Kobo or Kindle, just email me the receipt and I’ll get them to you!

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