About the Author

Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, counselor, and life coach. Her newest release is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. She's also wife to Mark, Mom to Lovelle, and Nana to Eula and Clem.

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Holley,
    You’re right…it’s a pride thing. I think I know what my family needs, but I haven’t taken the time to ask them individually, “What do you want?” Asking this simple question, I believe, gives us a view into their hearts and desires. I may not be able to provide an answer to their request, but I know the One who can. Ask and you shall receive…sometimes the answer may be different than what we want, but it will always be what we need. Thanks for good food for thought…

  2. All I want is for my family/friends to listen to my problems not try to fix them!!!!!! Being a mom is hard work!!!; sometimes I just want someone else to be ears to listen and a hand to hold, trying to fight my every battle yes its comforting to know I have love and protection but god made me a strong, independent women and he will never give me more then I can handle

    • Sister Jasmine,

      Praise God for the love & protection you have. Being a mom maybe hard work, but truly it must be satisfying in ways a career cannot.
      Pls receive this in the spirit it is given. I am 51 years old, and single, having never married. I disobeyed God’s leading to marry and have my own family years ago when I was younger, because I was stubborn (though I was saved and walking with God all the time) and rebellious and rejected all of the Holy Spirit’s prompting in this area. The best of marriage proposals came to me from my Pastor, friends and families.
      The reason i was hardened in this area of my life was because of the brokennness i had seen in my parents marriage, when they separated after 35 years of married life. i was determined not to be treated by any man the way my Dad had treated my Mom. So i said to myself that all i will be is an independent, career woman. And i have had a career since over 2 decades now. But now i am tired of the daily commute and dealing with the boss daily and coming home to nothing except a sibling who, unfortunately, like myself has also remained single. My brother also had to look after my Mum after the separation and several other factors came in the way of his being married. Probably he also felt that if he married, i being single and living at home with him, would be neglected and so on
      But today when i see young mothers in church with their kids i look back at the life i could have had.
      I come back home from a tiring day commuting back from office, and all i can talk abt is my grumpy old boss who drives me nuts. I work as a Secretary.And employers who know you are single with no liabilities tend to treat you badly…a working mother can always get more opportunities for taking leave because of the kids, the husband’s career. But with a single woman, its like she has no other life apart from being an office worker!

      I am waiting on the Lord to open a door for me to work in a Company closer home. will be interviewing with another employer tomorrow evening So pray sister that God will bless me to work closer home.

      God Bless you and keep thanking God for the kids and the husband!

  3. This is a wonderful post!! The words about pride hit home. And the fact that Jesus asked about the want instead of just taking steps forward is something I never realized. So your challenge here is very appropriate and it’s something that I am excited about. I’m all in!!

  4. This is a really balanced post. I like how you pointed to James and John, and how Jesus didn’t say yes to everything. But asking the blind man what he wanted? You say the answer seemed so obvious, and that made me smile because it really isn’t. If Jesus said to me: “Choose one thing for Me to do for you; what would you like it to be?” it definitely wouldn’t be to get my sight; even though that is something I want, it’s not top of my list. For some it might be, but we’re all people with different desires and dreams, and I know I’ve said this before, but I’m so happy about Lovelle and how God gave you your dream in a way you weren’t expecting.

  5. Your post is PERFECT! I believe the best thing anyone can ever do to assist you in a challenging time is to just ‘listen’ and if someone wants to assist you more…he/she should ask you what you prefer and then follow thru on that request without giving their opinion into the matter. Each individual knows their own needs, desires and personal struggles the best. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  6. I’m afraid of the answer to that question when I ask those dearest and closest – maybe I’m not giving what they need (a pride thing) – maybe I won’t be able to give what they ask (a fear thing.) It’s much easier to ask a stranger. So, you’re right: it’s about a relationship, not a result. Grateful that God is all about relationship. (:

  7. okay, just emailed our three daughters (25, 22, 18) a link to your post and the question: What do you want – from me – (besides a pedicure appt when you get home?) /Users/suedonaldson/Desktop/IMG_2531.JPG

  8. By first asking the question, “What do you want?”- this requires mindfulness as to whether I am really being “helpful” to myself and others. Thanks for the reminder of slowing down, asking and listening, first. And especially, asking myself about me. Asking, may be the only action required! Happy Mother’s Day!

  9. Oh. OUCH! Guilty as charged.
    Yes. I’ll slow down. Listen. ASK questions and not assume I know what they want, or worse, that I know what they need.
    Good wisdom.
    Happy Mother’s Day Holley!!

  10. I don’t ask this question because I’m afraid it will be something I can’t or am unwilling to give. What came to mind first was I don’t know what I want. Jesus is asking me, what do you want?, and I don’t know the answer. I’ve spent so long doing for others, that I’ve lost sight of me and the dreams God has placed on my heart. God is walking me through a journey of battling depression, self worth and self identity. I think it’s time to be asking God again, what do you want, and as God asks me this question to begin to answer it. I want to be courageous and know what God wants, know what I want, and to ask others what do you want.

  11. Holley,

    What a powerful reminder. We are too caught up in us! Too focussed on our own agenda’s in situations. This hit me right where I needed it. Right in my own self-centeredness. I need to be reminded to walk and talk as Jesus did…leaving room for the Holy Spirit to do the work in my life as well as those I’m reaching out to. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” The magnitude of true love. The power of asking someone to truly search their own heart. Thank you sweet sister! Have a blessed weekend.

  12. Thanks so much for this reminder, Holley. As I am beginning ministry with homeless children and moms and girls who were trafficked and now rescued in my town, I really needed to read this. There is overwhelming amounts of need there, but this question Jesus always asked also helps the one being questioned to think about what matters most–the desire of their heart–which I can’t magically see. It feels like a question that deeply respects the one Jesus addresses it to…he didn’t push anything onto people, not even healing!

  13. Holley , I am so glad for you and your husband. It is wonderful to see how Go’s grace impacts our lives! A young woman who had been my daughter in Christ just passed away a month ago of melanoma. The hole in my heart is there, but the knowledge that she used all that she learned as a result of her experiences and growth in Christ while she was growing up among our own children, she became a blessing to everyone she met from then on. May God continue to bless your family in the weeks and months ahead! Love in Him!

  14. {Melinda} I pray every morning that I will want more and more of Jesus. I know that He is so worthy of that love and I know it is the only thing that truly brings peace — a peace that passes all understanding.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Holly! So happy for you! 🙂

  15. Hi Holly, that you for blessing me with your story. What a great and awesome God we serve! I believe He has given me encouragement through your story, to not lose hope and do not give up. Please keep me in pray. I too have a dream in my heart that I am trusting God with. His name is Mark.
    Happy Mother’s Day! Blessings to you and your family.

  16. I remember when my husband and I were pastoring our second church. I was only in my early twenties, and there wasn’t much money in the church when we first arrived. We usually got what was left of the tithes after bills of the church were paid. That was around 1979. One week I started craving steak, and I knew we didn’t have the money to buy it. I received a call from one of the ladies in the church. She said, “have you been wanting steak?” I said yes. She said, “I had a dream last night that I was buying you steaks in the grocery store.” Well, you know the rest of the story, she brought us some beautiful steaks. That is just one of the stories of God giving me something I wanted. After reading your article, I realized that I don’t tell God what I want as much as I did back when we didn’t receive a salary, as we do now. But I have cried after reading this, and I told God one of the things I really want, and it’s not selfish, but a need and a want. Thank you for writing this. It blessed me.

  17. Happy Mother’s Day Holly! Thanks for all your encouragement! You are a special lady. Yes, we want to fix instead of listen. Thankfully God does both!

  18. Never before have I thought about it that way. Only recently have I even truly come to terms with how God can do immeasurably more…but how often do I even ask that of Him? It seems like in times of great struggle or illness or during marital strife. However, I’ve always felt that I need to keep the true desires of my heart out of the picture because it might be asking too much.

    I know He can always say no, but He certainly isn’t going to say yes if I don’t ask…

    Thank you for this perspective, Holley. You always bring such incredible insight.

    …and Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

  19. Oh Holley,
    This was challenging, inspiring, encouraging and thougt-provoking all wrapped in a beautiful package! Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day and for “mothering” us for so many years! You truly are an inspiration and you are will reap the rewards not only on Mother’s Day but every day that it is not celebrated.. Because you truly deserve it! Blessings from Bermuda;-)

  20. Holley,

    Congratulations on becoming a mom! You will be the best mom for this girl and help her grow into a fine young Christian woman!!! 🙂

    Sometimes doing things for others is out of shear pride. I’m the kind of person who hears of something bad and wants to immediately walk in and “fix it”. Life isn’t always that simple. It help to ask “What do you want” and just sit and listen to people for a change. People need to be heard and thought of as important for a time–especially older people.

    I need to desperately ask myself “what do you want” and truly think about the answer. Oh, I have a few easy quick ones like fix up house, quit job/work part-time to be able to cook more. But really what do I want out of life?!

    Blessings 🙂

  21. Congratulations on becoming a mother. I am waiting on the Lord to open a door for me to work from home. To speak At a ladies day out.