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This is one of my best friends’ babies. In her hands is a custom order from someone who’s friend lost her son to suicide last week. A son who was this age once. A son who was fiercely loved and valued and squeezed tight. A son who will always be their baby. My heart cannot fathom the overwhelming grief. Our only hope? To lift our eyes to the One who is our help in every season and situation. Jesus, come quickly.
It seems the Lord is teaching me a deeper (more experiential) meaning of what Paul talks about when he describes servants of God as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10a). • You see, there is so much good happening. So much joy, provision, and depth of community. So many doors opening. So many opportunities to minister and be ministered to. So much love and humility and grace and kindness and care that it has made me—quite literally—cry into a plate of chicken and waffles from the mercy of it all. • These scattered beams can only be explained by the Lord, who is dropping joy bombs and grace explosions all around. • But it’s not all chicken and waffles. • (Link to blog post in profile ❤️)
“All in all, it was a never-to-be forgotten summer—one of those summers which comes seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going—one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends, and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” -L.M. Montgomery
“[It is] as if [David] had said, Separated from God I am nothing, and all that I attempt to do ends in nothing; but when I come to Him, I find an abundant supply of strength. It is highly necessary for us to consider what we are without God; for no man will cast himself wholly upon God, but he who feels himself in a fainting condition, and who despairs of the sufficiency of his own powers. We will seek nothing from God but what we are conscious of wanting in ourselves. ...the reason why God is represented as a portion is, because He alone is abundantly sufficient for us, and because in Him the perfection of our happiness consists.” -John Calvin, on Psalm 73:26

Follow me as I follow Jesus

Why we love Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley and Gabriel Oak


This blog could also be titled: For the love of British period films and their leading men.

There’s Mr. Darcy:


Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Knightly:



And then there’s Gabriel Oak:


Far From the Madding Crowd

Bless the Lord, oh my soul.

Now is a good time to say if you haven’t read or seen Far From the Madding Crowd, 1) you’re ridiculous and should go repent and watch this stellar period film immediately and 2) there are some intense spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

Gabriel Oak. What a man. He’s honest, pulls no punches, speaks with wisdom, is humble and gentle, protective and kind, generous and blunt. 

These are some of the reasons so many females love the likes of him and Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley.

They fight. They’re real. They’re valiant. They’re flawed. They’re characterized by words like genuine and authentic and noble. They push their female counterparts to be better than they are, to “do what is right,” and to go further than they dreamed possible for themselves.

They’re courageous, unafraid of women, masculine, dependable, hardworking, sacrificial and self-aware.

I love them for all of those reasons but especially because they see the flaws in the women they love, call them out, but still lean in and commit to them. Regardless of the fiery and independent spirits of the female, the men put themselves out there and fight for good and their woman’s heart.


Bathsheba Everdene to Mr. Oak: I’m too independent for you. If I ever were to marry I’d want someone to tame me, and you’d never be able to do it. You’d grow to despise me.     Mr. Oak: I would not. Ever.

Just listen to Gabriel Oak talk to Bathsheba:

“I will not tell stories just to please you.”
“Leading on a man you do not care for is beneath you.”
“Your actions were unworthy of you.”
“I believe in you entirely. I don’t believe there is anything you can’t do.”
“I’m not such a fool as to imagine that I might still stand a chance now that you are so above me, but don’t suppose I’m content to stay a nobody all my life. One day I will leave you, you can be sure of that. But for now, I care for you too much to see you go to ruin because of him, so if you don’t mind, I’ll stay by your side.”

Actual swoon. Oh my heart. What excellent character.

He knows Bathsheba’s flaws and insecurities and how fiercely independent she is, and yet he loves her, protects her, fights with and for her, and doesn’t run.

We love these men because we want to believe they exist.

Somewhere in us we want to know we can’t manipulate our way into or out of love. And we want to know somewhere out there is a man who will see our real self and choose us anyway. We crave to be known and loved but doubt the reality of it happening because, well, it’s fiction.


Could authenticity be lived, accepted and chosen by someone we “most ardently admire” and respect?

Could Mr. Darcy exist in real life? Could there be someone who will argue and retort, rebuttal and rebuke, and go to the ends of the earth to protect your propriety and that of your family? Could someone argue like this: “So this is your opinion of me. Thank you for explaining so fully. Perhaps these offences might have been overlooked had not your pride been hurt by my honesty (Elizabeth: My pride?!) in admitting scruples about our relationship…” and still want to marry the woman who rejected, insulted and mocked him?

Could a human like the gentle Mr. Knightley actually be real, call selfish Emma out on her rude behavior (“Badly done, Emma. Badly done.”) and still love her? (One could argue it’s because he loves her he calls her out. He loves her too much to let her hurt others and herself.)

The same is true for Gabriel and Bathsheba (“Leading on a man you do not care for is beneath you.” “Your actions were unworthy of you.”). He refuses to be anything but real with her, making her confront her own authenticity issues and pride, because as great as Bathsheba is, in Mr. Oak we find someone who will not tell her what she wants to hear simply because she wants to hear it. No, that wouldn’t be genuine and Gabriel Oak is too much of a man to allow anything but genuineness.


Bathsheba: Why are you leaving?     Gabriel: I told you I would someday. It’s time for you to fight your own battles. And win them.

Authenticity breeds trust and as a byproduct Gabriel becomes Bathsheba’s dependable advisor and steadfast friend. Despite her weaknesses, pride and self-reliance, he doesn’t run.

Even when Bathsheba yells at him, fires (and rehires) him and marries someone else, Gabriel stays. Loyal and trustworthy. Faithful and true. Kind and exhorting. Tender and firm. He sacrificially works and lives and stays by her side “even when the rest of the world was against [her].”

I suppose the qualities we love in Gabriel and the likes of these men are the ones that exemplify the True and Better Husband.


In these heroes we find glimpses of Jesus and our hearts swell because we know.

We know, deep down, we were made for love that is full and deep and rich and raw and real. A love that sacrifices and commits, honors and protects, pushes and prods, knows all and doesn’t run. We long for it.

The undercurrent of all our longings is for all God offers us in Jesus.

Only in Him do we taste the fullness of the love for which we long, the love we so admire in Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy and Knightley and in Thomas Hardy’s fictional Mr. Oak.

Oh, how we love these men. But, oh, how we’re loved by the One who makes them pale in comparison. In Gabriel and Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley and the others, we find but shadows of Jesus’ undefiled love.

May our hearts be redirected to Him, the most manly and tender man who ever lived.

6 comments on “Why we love Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley and Gabriel Oak

  1. You are so so right. Thanks for articulating this. It’s something to despise the cliche-filled mainstream romcoms, but one has to appreciate some deep truths in these particular movies. I had never heard of Far from the madding crowd, will definitely save it for some movie night with my sisters!

    1. Thank you for those kind words! I do want to warn you that there is one uncomfortable/inappropriate part that airlines gloriously leave out of the movie, just so you’re aware (, but what I think is so great is that you see the consequences of rebelling against wise counsel and those who have your best interest at heart (versus those who are in it for selfish gain). I fully recommend the movie, but you need to know that part upfront. ❤

      1. That’s good to know, thank you!

  2. Tamara says:

    I would give anything to really understand what His love looks like. It’s so easy to put a higher priority on human love, and it’s such a mistake.

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