Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Gift - Exchanged

This story starts here.

Daughter and Authentic began to meet together weekly. They both talked openly about the self discipline that had kept them out of the dating scene (Romans 13:10; Hebrews 12:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6; Titus 1:15&16). Both sets of parents were directly involved as these get-togethers were held in one of their homes.

Because Authentic had spent so much time with her dad, Daughter already knew that he met the standards she had previously set for any potential spouse:

1. Authentic was a growing, born-again Christian;
2. Authentic was already involved in church and seeking to glorify God in his service there, as well as within his own family;
3. He was stable in his employment, with clear goals for the future;
4. His leadership qualities were already proven through his work with younger men and in business;
5. He had shown an understanding and commitment to follow 2 Corinthians 10:31.

These were standards that Daughter had determined over the last several years and was unwilling to accept anything less in a husband. It was very exciting to find these characteristics in Authentic. But, she made it clear to him that the authority she afforded to her dad would not be given to another man until there was certainty and trust in that man as a husband(Ephesians 5:22-29 &33).

Authentic explained his commitment to treat the girls he had met in his life as sisters in Christ. He had repeatedly witnessed that it was always easier to get to know the true person through friendships rather than when emotions entered into a relationship and people began to "act" for each other. He saw his single years as a time to observe his sisters during Bible studies, group events, church functions - all in a safe arena for both genders to get to know each other. It was in this way he had discovered the character in Daughter that he was searching for in a wife.

When he approached Daughter's dad about Bible studies and then about pursuing marriage, it was because he believed himself to be emotionally and spiritually ready to be a husband and he believed that he saw Daughter was ready to be a wife. He was very pleased that Daughter and her dad had agreed to move forward. However, he also knew there was more to discuss with each other and it was important to continue to protect his heart, not to mention refrain from harming Daughter's heart until they were both prepared to make a commitment(Mark 14:38; Romans 13:14).

Sure enough, although their meetings went smoothly with great discoveries of being like-minded on many subjects, they did come across a situation after a few weeks that became a sticky subject. Although both of them confessed to believing in God's total sovereignty, Authentic stated he believed God gave a married couple the decision on the size of their family. Daughter believed that the number of children a couple received from God should be left in His hands. This gave cause for scriptural study and prayer on both sides and they agreed to put off meeting again until after a short trip Authentic was taking with his dad. This meant almost three weeks apart to consider where their discussions had lead.

Daughter was disappointed at the disagreement, but at the same time she treasured that her gift remained intact. Her heart had not been given away and both she and Authentic had been careful to avoid showing any emotional affection - they were sharing an intellectual and spiritual friendship. Still, the thought of this friendship ending at this time could have brought frustration to her. Instead, her friends and family commented on the contentment she showed day to day (Philippians 4:7).

During the time that Authentic was away, Daughter spoke often with her parents about her belief to leave the size of her future family completely in God's hands. With prayer and study she only confirmed this belief and prepared herself for ending the meetings with Authentic. A disappointment, but she was confident enough to maintain a friendship with him as a brother in Christ.

When Authentic returned several weeks later, his first meeting was with Daughter's dad alone. It was later the same day he asked to sit down with Daughter. Facing each other across the table, Authentic explained that he had spent time studying the whole doctrine surrounding the sovereignty of God. He expressed how he had truly believed in this doctrine, but had never considered some aspects of it in his life now and his life in the future.

"I wanted to thank you for showing me an area that, I believe, God wanted me to examine. After talking to my folks, studying and praying, I believe you were right. Not only about leaving the control of childbirth in God's hands, but several other areas of my life, as well."

Daughter could not help but smile openly at this honest testimony. It was always a blessing to realize how she had been used by God, even in a small way. She continued to listen to Authentic.

"After this amount of time together, I spoke to your dad this morning and he gave me his permission to propose to you." Authentic walked around the table and kneeled beside Daughter's chair. "I want you to know that I will forever seek out ways to be the best husband I can be for you. I will honour your opinions and will lead you and any future family that God gives us in the way He would have me lead. I promise to protect you, love you and serve you for the rest of my life. Will you marry me?"

Daughter was already crying as she felt the joy rise in her chest. The emotions that she had held safely within her were coming to the surface quickly as she simply answered, "Yes."

Now the true romance began as both Authentic and Daughter expressed the feelings they had for each other. They were safely in a committed relationship and they talked freely about their dreams of a life together (Ephesians 5:31-33).

On the day of their wedding, they committed their marriage to the Lord (Colossians 3:17) with all family and friends watching as the matching gifts were exchanged. When they were introduced as Husband and Wife, they smiled at each other with the final understanding of the blessing of God's plan for marriage, not to mention the value of the gift they were both given.

And, yes, they did live happily ever after!



Mrs. Parunak said...

:) :) :) What a wonderful, romantic ending to a delightful story! I loved the twist right before the proposal--so exciting!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for leading me to this wonderful story.
It seems too good to be true. Although, I can't say it's impossible. My husband and I have never come to disagree about God's Word. Although we didn't court, God had His hand in our relationship the whole time (still, I do not want that for my own children).

Even guiding my children down the "right" road leaves too many "what if's". What if they decide to follow their friends instead? What if they decide we're wrong? What if temptation over takes them?

Pray, pray, pray! That's all I can do while leading my children down God's path, right?

The challenging part is how do you teach self-control and emotional control? Especially during puberty when hormones are out of control?

I just keep praying for wisdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me. I know no other way.