By Judy Maynard

I love learning and growing in my faith journey. I especially love it when I can share this walk with other women. The Captivating book and study by John & Staci Eldredge have challenged me in the deepest way I have ever experienced. Captivating has allowed me to have permission and to indulge all of the deepest feelings and emotions that every woman has but is often embarrassed to admit.  I am a true romantic, and I can watch a Hallmark show, relate to the woman, and desire the romances, new love, and dreams they share. The three core desires that the Captivating study focuses on is that every woman longs to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure, and to unveil beauty.  In my life, I can’t get enough romance.

My favorite date of all time was when my husband repeated three special times/experiences in one date. It was our 25th anniversary, I didn’t want to celebrate because it was one of the lowest moments in our 34-year marriage. That date made such a huge impact that has spilled over, making a difference in our lives that still plays out today. He repeated one of our first dates with romantic picnic in a park with wine and beautiful appetizers he had prepared. (FYI, he doesn’t even like wine, but he knows how much fun I have pairing new wine with different food.) So he scored 10 for 10. Then he took me to a German restaurant for the dinner course, in memory of the German Restaurant where he asked my dad for permission to marry me. He was so nervous that he ordered eggs and couldn’t even eat that. Another 10 for 10, and I am in awe, remembering those many years ago when we were so much in love. Then after a brief walk, so we could handle course number three, he took me to the most romantic spot where we had dessert and coffee several times over the years: Gandy Dancer. As we pulled up to the door, I was so overwhelmed with my husband’s amazing gesture of love with this amazing date filled with some of the most precious memories in our marriage that I was in tears.

As a woman, I love romance, and this was the truest romance I had felt in a long time. I longed to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure. Well, there is no doubt that even though our marriage was in a broken and desperate state, my husband showed me that not only was he still my hero, but I had played an irreplaceable role in the adventure of our lives. Then, with his final gesture pulling up to the train depot, Gandy Dancer, he showed me that despite all of the choices he had made, it was my beauty alone that he still desired. Before that evening, I wasn’t certain that our broken covenant could be restored even though I did not want to lose my marriage.

The Captivating study allowed me to recognize the wonderful plans that my husband had made for our anniversary. It helped to realize things about myself that I didn’t know or understand and how to put my feelings into words. Every woman longs to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a heroic adventure, and to unveil beauty.  Captivating helped God show me that not only was my marriage worth saving, but that He was going to redeem the years that the locust had eaten.

No matter where you are in life, where your marriage is, and no matter the traumas you have faced Captivating will help you understand that life is hard, but God is absolutely captivated with you. He chose you. He gave you all of the desires that are in your heart, and He wants desperately for you to experience the romance that only God has to offer. My marriage is still far from perfect, but because of Captivating I know that I can only find true, unwavering, romantic love through my Heavenly Father. Come enjoy the summer and journey with us in this romantic study called Captivating.

We will meet every other Wednesday, here at church, starting on June 20 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Please let me know if you plan to attend so I will have enough books.

Judy Maynard 734-262-3474 or