Today is my daughter Rebecca’s 29th birthday.
And I want to take an opportunity to do something I don’t do nearly enough: tell you all how instrumental she is in everything that we do.
But first, a story.
She was around nine years old, and we were away on holiday at a resort, our first big holiday as a family in a number of years. One night there was a big show out by the pool, and Keith and I eagerly took the girls to see it.
Before we even sat down, and before the show even started, Rebecca started looking panicky–something she very rarely did. She kept saying, “Mommy, we need to leave. Something isn’t right.”
I tried to calm her down. I told her that she’d enjoy it. I tried to distract her.
But as the action started, it had a lot of demonic imagery and stuff that was super creepy and grotesque, and we immediately got up and left.
She discerned it before it even started.
Over the years, this has happened repeatedly. Rebecca picks up on stuff before other people do. I’m usually not too far behind, but Rebecca tends to be first. She’s able to articulate what’s wrong with things before I am. She can pinpoint the problem. Once she has, my role is often to fine tune the arguments, but she tends to see things faster, and more clearly.
Over the last little while, a few incidents have come up on the blog and with our team behind the scenes where she was adamant, “Mom, you can’t do that,” or “Mom, that just isn’t the right approach.” And I’ve told her she’s wrong. She’s not seeing the whole picture.
And within a few days, she’s invariably proven right.
The first podcast we did of 2024–Let Men Be Men–was a real hit. Over and over again, people told us that Rebecca was hilarious, that it was the best podcast that we had ever done.
What you didn’t see was the 35 minutes of footage that we deleted, because we had to restart recording twice. I couldn’t get the vision of what Rebecca wanted for the podcast, and I was seriously frustrating her because I kept trying to go in a different direction.
“Trust me, Mom. This is better.”
And it was.
I need to start listening more quickly to my little girl.
From the time she was small, I always thought she had the gift of discernment. I always thought I did too–but if gifts can be measured, hers is greater.
And I do better when I listen to her. I mean, I always end up listening to her eventually anyway; it would be better if I jumped on board earlier instead of making her frustrated!
Rebecca is both the most overlooked and the most disparaged of our team.
And it really does bother me.
The other team members (including me!) have more clear cut roles and our jobs are neatly defined. Joanna designs the studies and runs the stats. Connor runs the website management. Tammy is our administrator extraordinaire. I write and am also the public face of Bare Marriage.
But Rebecca writes with me. She comes up with ideas with me. I bounce podcast ideas off of her. Without her, I’d be really lonely, and far less confident, and not nearly as creative.
It was Rebecca who taught me that the idea that women are better at multitasking is a myth disproven by several studies; that neuroscience now says that women are just as visual as men (though they experience it differently); that spanking has been shown definitively to either be neutral or negative, but never positive.
She is up on far more research than I am.
When Rebecca started writing our Friday emails that goes out to 45,000 subscribers, my open rate doubled. People love what she has to say (and you can sign up here!).
Yet Rebecca’s contribution is not always as obvious to those on the outside.
What people do see is her on the podcast, and she’s often the most animated, the most angry. People don’t like it when young women (especially young women with pink hair) get angry. Keith can say exactly the same thing as Rebecca, and people will call him firm and assertive. But she gets called much worse names.
We’ve had behind the scenes phone calls with some authors and people upset at us, and they always get the most angry at Rebecca. One time she tried to explain the gospel to an author/pastor we frequently critique, explaining that we have a responsibility to the sheep that are lost, not to protect the hired hands.
He didn’t like hearing that from a girl who was only 26 at the time.
She gets a lot of flak, but I couldn’t do this without her.
What we do is tiring, and if I couldn’t FaceTime her throughout the day, I’d be too lonely to keep doing this. Without her input, I wouldn’t do nearly as good a job.
Rebecca has a desire to branch out and have more nuanced conversations about faith, and not just marriage, likely on her own platform. She feels far more called to help people navigate healthy faith than healthy sex (though she’s here for us when we need her!). I’m excited to see where God may take her in the next decade (it may be a slow start since she still has two toddlers).
But I want to say today that she is so important to everything we do, and I’m not sure everybody always sees that.
So I wanted to honor that today, and tell you all that I love her, I’m proud of her, I’m so happy with who she has become.
She’s an amazing, amazing mother, and she’s a great friend.
I’m reminded of the closing words of the book Charlotte’s Web, as Wilbur reflects on Charlotte:
She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.
Rebecca is both too. And, yes, I will try to listen faster from now on, because she is usually right.