About three years ago, in response to requests from various people, Kelsie and I endeavored to publish our courtship story here on our blog. We were writing together, and posting as we went along. Unfortunately, the busyness of life and ministry at that time proved to be too much, and our posts slowly tapered off to nothing.
Ever since then, I've wanted to restart that project and finish it out. This summer, the opportunity presented itself. Debi Pearl wrote me and asked if I would document our story to be published as part of Mike's new book, In Search of a Help Meet. It took me longer than I expected, but I finally got the whole thing written and sent in.
The book is due to come out in January, but we'd like to give you a preview of our story right here. And trust me: this time you'll get the complete story. The entire account is already written down and waiting to be published. We'll post a new section every week or so until it's all out.
And now, without further ado…
Part 1 – Three Strikes and You’re Out?
As the year 2003 was drawing to a close, I had reached the grim conclusion that God probably did not want me to be married any time soon. I was 24, and while my life heretofore had seen many successes, romance had not been among them. Onlookers, perhaps, suspected that I just was not trying hard enough, but this was far from true.
Like any normal young man, I wanted to be married. Badly. I had wanted it since I was eight. My difficulties were of a more practical nature. Did a girl exist who would want to marry a missionary, and, if so, how was I to find her? Already I had made three attempts at courtship that had fizzled before they ever got off the ground. I’ll not provide details here, but don’t worry: my stories were devoid of drama. Mostly, they came down to the fact that the girl in question simply did not like me.
This string of failures was a relatively new experience for me. Since my early teenage years I had committed my life wholly to God, and I had seen Him graciously bless and advance me in many miraculous ways. I had learned to discern His provision and guidance, usually proceeding with confidence in the knowledge that He was with me.
Thus, after my third strike at beginning a relationship, I began to suspect that I was missing some sort of divine memo. My utter failure to progress in my attempts at finding a life partner led me to a growing fear that God did not want me to get married. At least not now. But if not now, when? For some reason, the ten-year figure popped into my head and was subsequently expelled as quickly as it had arrived. Surely God did not intend for me to press on alone! Yet seemingly, the handwriting had appeared on the wall, and there was not much I could do to remove it.
At last I gave up trying. I was tired. I was distracted from my work. The emotional ups and downs of courtship-on/courtship-off had left me discouraged. At this point I made a decision which I believe the Lord is looking for in all His children, especially the single ones who are seeking a mate: I decided to wait on God. And by waiting, I don’t mean that lethargic inactivity wherein the proverbial farmer prays for potatoes without the willingness to pick up the hoe. Folks, I had hoed my very best. I had fulfilled every requirement I knew of. And after praying, searching, talking to fathers, seeking counsel, praying more, and wishing desperately to find a wife, all I got from God was silence. But I had learned that divine silence is itself an answer. “Wait. My time is not yet. Trust me.” And so I waited.
In a way, I felt that I had fewer answers than when I had begun. There were many things I did not understand, many courtship and marriage questions that remained a mystery. But I did know one thing: God is faithful. Marriage or no marriage, I had committed my life to following Him, and that was not about to change.
A few weeks later, I received an email from my sister Jennifer, who wrote, “I recently shared a room with a wonderful young lady named Kelsie…”