that special place...

this is an article I wrote for a girls' magazine once a long time ago that I never got published. I own the copyright.  Hope it is something you can pass on to your daughters.

I woke to soft, pleasurable music, though I hadn't a clue of its origin. Propping myself on a pile of fluffy white-cased pillows, I scanned the old Victorian room and marveled that someone had painstakingly restored it—so well that I was momentarily lost in its era. A shaft of morning sunlight fell softly on clean, crisp white curtains that hung in folds on floor to ceiling windows recessed across the end of the room that faced the front of the old inn, pompous drapes framing them on two sides.

The music stopped and the world around me was silent except for the steady smacking against the casement. Snow melted on the twigs and bare branches of the giant oak outside my window. Plop. plop. It was cold. I could see evidence when I breathed in and out. Ashes from a fire that had popped and sparked cheerfully last evening lay in a dead heap on the lovely old hearth. Thoughts of putting my feet on a cold wood floor delayed the inevitable. Besides, I couldn't remember when I had been this peaceful. No talking. No intrusion of a television. Even the music had gone away. I needed to bask in the solitude. These moments are few and far between. 

I lay still. Not reading. Not praying. Just pondering in my heart of hearts how much God loves me, loves me with that intense love, knowing that I could never love him as intensely. Oh, how I wanted to! I thought about the question Jesus asked Peter, "Lovest thou me?" Peter, though he declared his love (phileo) for the Lord three times, was never able to give that "agape" answer.

I pulled the quilts to my neck, then in one big swoosh, I flung them aside. Shivering, I took my robe from the foot of the massive mahogany bed, slid to the floor, and searched my bag for a pair of heavy wool socks. I slipped them on and floated to the windows. Something about a majestic room requires a waltz and a twirl. I pulled the cord on the curtains which, like a stage set for Snowbound, opened to a splendid sight. The world beyond was white except for the brown of the naked trees and the green of the pines and the holly bushes all garnished with crimson berries. It was almost Christmas, but in my little secret world, I was already there. And yes, I knew why I was in this beautiful place and why I had come alone.

I ordered room service, grabbed my clothes for the day, and hurried to the shower down the hall, knocking before entering. Turning the creaky knobs on the shower, I let the hot water run until steam puffed over the curtain like the stack on a midnight train to Georgia. And I thanked God for letting me live in this present generation, thanked him for things as lovely as showers with hot water. I wondered how the first lady of this lovely old home had managed. I visualized a splendid claw-foot bathing tub with lavender soap in a pink porcelain bowl and a servant who gently rubbed her back and brought towels warmed by the fire. And I thought—divine!

All finished, dry and warm in my comfy gray and white warm-ups, I hastened back to my room, greeted by the pop and spark of yet another fire and a lovely breakfast of oatmeal with brown sugar and bananas and a mammoth blueberry muffin, still warm and buttery. I thanked the Lord for delightful food prepared by pleasant people and while I munched, I began to turn the pages of my book. It was empty. Not a word was written on its pages. Clean. White. Just like the driven snow outside my windows.

I'm certain you have in your possession a beautiful book with blank pages. I have a plethora of those, each with different and lovely covers. To describe them all would take a page of paper. I'll not try then. The point is they are books with blank pages. I get to write the stories, the devotions, the notes, the journal, the lists, the answers to life's questions.

I took the last bite of muffin, finishing off the breakfast I had ordered. It suited me, gave me warmth and energy. Now I was ready for the purpose of being here in this lovely place.

I looked around the first lady's room and suddenly I wanted to know her. Wanted to know how she had coped in a world where she had everything? But wait, her water closet had no hot or cold running water, no facility. Her days must have been filled with mundane duties. Those wifely expectations. Taking care of the baby and her husband who ran the plantation. How did she do it all? What could I glean from her experience that I might pass to my grandchildren, that they might pass to their children at the proper time? Dare we be called old fashioned? Virtuous?

The intimacy of life, of marriage, of raising children. And you out there... how will you know if we, who go before you, fail to tell it? How will you find out except we be faithful? 

However, those are not my three questions. Those are for you to ponder and to pray that you will be able to face and answer as you move in a journey through your own generation. You do have decisions to make, you know.

My three questions are instructional.


Psalm 45 is a Shoshannim song, Shoshannim meaning lilies. You know—lilies that burst through the cool ground and bloom in the springtime, a time of resurrection from the dead of winter, a reminder of redemption by the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Verse nine of this Psalm says this: "Kings' daughters were among thy honorable women . . ." Now my first question.

1. Are you the King's daughter?

It all begins right here in this question. You alone can answer truthfully before we can move to the next one. Okay? So either you are, or you are pausing this moment to think this through. You may want to fold the story and walk away. So glad you stayed! Becoming or being the King's daughter is a one-time, never ending experience that will take you all the way to Heaven.

2. Are you honorable?

Well, here's what that means in one-word definitions...


Oh, you're working on it? That's good, because it is something you will work on the rest of your life. It does not come easy, and you may have tendency toward throwing in the towel from time to time. Proverbs 31 will help get you there. In fact, someone once said a Proverb a day will open up the wound (giving instruction) and a Psalm a day will pour in the oil of healing. I like that. I so like that.

In Proverbs 31, Solomon has King Lemuel give testimony of what his mother taught him.  Read the first nine verses. We usually skip right over to the famous "virtuous woman" part beginning with verse ten. But don't miss this part, for herein lies secrets to success for any young woman seeking fellowship with the opposite sex. This is a view over the fence, if you will, of the kind of man you don't want. Lemuel's mother said, "Look, son . . ." In essence, she was picking for you, if you back into these verses and get my drift.

You can easily see why choosing the right guy is important. You don't want anything to spoil what you have going on as a proper and precise young woman by making a bad decision. You know as well as I that sometimes it is difficult to break an undesirable friendship, friendship being precisely what you are looking for to begin with, though you're never too young to consider choosing the proper life mate. Sometimes that first choice is the lasting one. You want to get it right.
Now, for my third question.

3. Will you fall into the trap?

Many young women take off with great intentions. Gonna stay pure at all costs, wear the ring, do the promising. And then, on one dark night, in one back seat of a car or a cheap hotel, it's gone forever, without ever getting to own the Proverbs 31 experience.

Someone once saw a tag on a garment that had been marked for quick sale. It read like this: Slightly damaged, greatly reduced in value. You might wonder if there is any sure way to prevent this. If you took to the street corner and interviewed a hundred women passing on any given day, if they were honest, such a high percentage would have to say, "Yes, I've already had sex and I'm not married." Truth be known, if they could call it back, they would change it all. They would say, "not worth it, the sleepless nights, the struggle to repent, the feelings that it is useless, for how could God forgive such?"

Maybe that has already happened to you. Dear friend, it is never too late to ask God to forgive. In fact, he is the forgiving One who said, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). So, just go ahead and take care of that right now and get on with the business of living, all forgiven!

The next step would be to read Lemuel's Momma's instructions from Proverbs 31, beginning with verse ten. "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." Oh, that's exciting enough right there. Far above rubies, huh? Much better than "slightly damaged—greatly reduced in value."

Now, time to use your book and paraphrase each verse from ten to thirty-one. This will be an invaluable exercise for you, instructions from the Word of God that will carry you through your entire proper and precise life.

One more question. Why did I choose the winter setting in a lovely bed and breakfast? Because as my husband of fifty-three years says, "Atmosphere dictates attitude, and attitude dictates atmosphere." Enough said? Before I asked you the questions and attempted to guide you toward the answers, I wanted to be in a comfortable place. I want you to always be in a comfortable place as you take your personal stroll through life—life is difficult enough. So when you are faced with questions of your own as a young woman seeking to do the right things, run to your comfortable place. Write your own story, face your own problems and decisions from that special place. Enjoy the presence of the Lord from that place.
The answers will come.

Jane Bennett Gaddy