2005 at 9:34 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
In keeping with our theme of courtship, our good friend Carolyn McCulley offers some sound advice to single women on “The Danger of Dating in Your Mind.” Be sure to read this wise and insightful article!
2005 at 2:28 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Hey all, I trust you had a great weekend. Maryland has been enjoying gorgeous fall weather!
After writing my courtship story on Thursday, I remembered that we had shown a video of our courtship and engagement story at our wedding. You see, our wedding was slightly unusual in that we had a surprise wedding. That’s right, our wedding was a secret until the day we got married! Obviously, we told all of our family and close friends ahead of time—they were in on the secret. However, we really wanted our wedding to be a surprise as a way to bless Covenant Life Church.
So the morning of our wedding day, which was a Sunday, my dad officially announced our engagement to the church. Almost everyone knew we were engaged, so that was not a surprise. However, in the very next sentence, he invited them ALL to attend our wedding which was to be held that afternoon!
It was so much fun! Nothing brought us more joy than to celebrate our marriage with the church that we love so much. Our wedding was more like a party for all the kids—young and old. There was face painting, a moonbounce, and ice cream sundaes. It was a day that Mike and I will treasure forever!
All of that to say—I found the little intro video that we showed at our wedding and thought you might like to watch it. It fills in the details that I probably missed in Thursday’s post.
(This video requires QuickTime. Download it free here for Macintosh or here for Windows.)
You can download the video by clicking here.
For broadband/high speed internet users, this may take several minutes.
For dial-up users this may take much longer.
2005 at 5:22 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Resource Recommendations Singleness Courtship
We decided to briefly interrupt the courtship stories with some recommended reading. If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know that one of the things we love to do most is encourage you to read good books. Why? John Piper captures our enthusiasm:
“God has appointed for us to be helped in our understanding and enjoyment of Scripture by human teachers—living and dead….Some of these write down their teachings. This is why we have books.…None of us is so free from sin or bias or blindness that we can see the infallible Scriptures infallibly. We need help. We need correction. We need guidance and encouragement. Oh, the wonders that others have seen in the Bible that we have not seen! What a folly and what a blow to joy if we neglect these books!”
John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 128.
It’s not only a “blow to joy” to neglect good books. We are also missing out on valuable wisdom that godly men and women have gleaned from Scripture. And there are few areas where we find ourselves more desperately in need of guidance and counsel than when it comes to choosing a spouse.
In God’s kindness, there are several books available today that offer biblical principles and wise counsel for anyone considering marriage. Here are several of the books my daughters found most helpful.
No doubt most of you are familiar with them, but the list must start with Joshua Harris’ two books:
I Kissed Dating Goodbye
Boy Meets Girl
Originally taken from an article in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, the booklet entitled Pre-Engagement: 5 Questions to Ask Yourselves by David Powlison and John Yenchko is available from CCEF. Priceless counsel packed into a very short space for under $2.
Discovering God’s Will by Sinclair Ferguson will serve you if you are facing any major life decision. But the chapter on considering marriage is worth the price of the book if you are in a courtship.
So, now you have your weekend reading list! We’ll continue with courtship sagas on Monday. Friday Funnies coming your way before too long.
2005 at 8:32 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
I met Michael Bradshaw (the handsomest guy ever!!!) when I was a freshman in high school. Mike’s family had recently joined our church and we participated in the same youth small group. Our four years of high school found us as friends, but nothing more. Unbeknownst to either of us, we each began to feel more than friendship during our first year of college. We did not tell one another how we felt, but began watching and noticing one another in a different way. When I communicated my interest in Mike to my mom, she quickly informed me that now was not the time for a relationship (Mike had no means of supporting me). She challenged me to guard my heart and trust the Lord for my future. Growing up, my mom always told my sisters and me that, "until a young man has come and specifically expressed his interest in you, he should be viewed as another woman’s husband." I had no claim on Mike. He wasn’t mine. And so the battle within my heart began.
A year went by and Mike was asked by our pastor to lead a small group for our singles ministry. I was asked to assist him in caring for the ladies in the group. We were more than happy to be placed in this position. We began to see each other more frequently and our affection for one another only grew. Mike has never been known as the subtle type…he began to show up at my house to watch a baseball game with my dad or go fishing with my little brother. To say the least, my dad’s suspicions were aroused. After a few months of Mike "just stopping by the house to say hi," my dad gave him a call. Dad got right to the point, injecting his characteristic humor into what could have been an awkward moment for Mike: "You have been coming over to our house quite a bit lately. Now, either you want to move in with us, you like my daughter, or there is something you aren’t telling me!" Mike immediately fessed up that his true feelings were for me and not fishing with my little brother.
To say the least, I was more than a little excited to hear that Mike returned my feelings. I was ready to marry him the next day. I’m so grateful to the Lord for my wise parents and their leadership. My dad did not know Mike very well and he began a series of meetings with Mike to learn more about him and to discern if this was a man with whom he was comfortable with his daughter pursuing a relationship. My dad took Mike through materials on four specific topics: the gospel, the doctrines of grace, biblical manhood and womanhood, and the local church. My Dad also used this time to get to know him better. After a series of weeks my Dad informed me that he was very encouraged by his many conversations with Mike and that he would be comfortable with us beginning a courtship—with the understanding that things would move slowly. Mike and I were far from marriage at this time. Mike had 3 years left in school and was unsure about his future after that.
We began hanging out with each other in a structured way. Mike would come over to my house once a week and we would talk on the phone a few times weekly. We also saw each other in lots of church contexts. We were having fun, but a certain unrest began to grow in my heart. I began to question whether or not I was "sure" that I wanted to continue in this relationship. Fear about the future began to creep in. I was confused. My affections were only growing towards Mike, but the unrest seemed to be growing at the same rate. I will never be able to thank my parents enough for the way that they led me through this challenging time. They continually listened to my thoughts and fears and directed me to the truth of God’s Word. After much praying and counsel from my parents, I decided to end my relationship with Mike. It was the hardest thing I have ever walked through, but the Lord had much work that He wanted to do in both our hearts.
The next nine months were full of much seeking the Lord and many conversations with my parents. With the pressure of the relationship removed, I began to see more clearly all that was taking place in my heart. I saw that there was a fear of marriage and a fear of leaving all that I had ever known. I saw how my unbelief towards the Lord and His faithfulness bore bad fruit in my life. As I began to see the issues more clearly, I was able to repent and receive the Lord’s abundant grace in the form of forgiveness and help to change. As I gained clarity, my feelings for Mike only continued to grow despite the status of our relationship. I knew that if Mike ever came back to my dad again, I would give a decided YES.
He came back! Mike had been waiting for me those nine months and he wanted to try again. He went to my dad and received permission. One cold night in January of 2003, Chad yelled at me from upstairs to come quick as there was some kind of strange noise in my bedroom. That strange noise was Mike throwing skittles at my bedroom window (yes, people throw food—not rocks—to get my attention.) I opened my window and Mike asked again, if I would court him. Things moved quickly after this. We were engaged in April and very happily married in June (both stories for future posts).
What a process! Mike and I look back often and marvel at the grace and sovereignty of the Lord. He led us each and every step of the way. He used our courtship to strengthen our relationship with Him.
This post also gives me a fresh opportunity to thank three people…
Dad and Mom, does this bring back memories? Thank you for the countless hours you spent caring for my soul and seeking to lead me in the ways of the Lord. You never once complained even in the midst of my many tears. You showed me true love and patience (more tears are coming as I write this). As my own parenting adventure soon approaches, I only hope that I can emulate your example in some small way. I love you both so much.
Mike, thanks for waiting for me. After my salvation, you are the greatest gift that I have been given. Thank you for pressing into the Lord even when it wasn’t your desire to end our relationship. Your demonstration of faith and humble submission to God’s will has never ceased to provoke me. Your patient love for me won my heart and it is yours forever. Love you tons!
2005 at 8:10 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
One of our readers wrote Nicole to ask:
“I’d love to hear how your parents counseled you all through your various relationships and into engagement. Specifically, how did they guide you in guarding your hearts? What did they tell you to look for in a husband? And how—with three different men and three varying courtships did they counsel each of you differently about the actual process of those courtships?”
Over the next several days, each of the girls will recount her personal journey of falling in love with the man who is now her husband. In the process they hope to answer some of these questions. But first we thought it would be helpful to talk briefly about courtship; specifically, I want to answer the question of what we taught our daughters to look for in a husband and then elaborate on that a little bit.
To consider this topic, I want to draw from the chapter entitled “When It Comes To Courtship” from our book, Girl Talk. Now, by no means will this post contain a thorough study of God’s Word on the subject. I will merely attempt to offer a few points of biblical guidance that I hope will be helpful.
C.J. and I sought to provide our daughters with a “list” from Scripture of essential qualities that should characterize any man desirous of pursuing them. These qualities included:
“1. Genuine passion for God. The greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matt. 22:37). A mere profession of faith is insufficient. A godly man will consistently display love, obedience, and increasing passion for the Savior.
2. Authentic humility. ‘This is the one to whom I will look,’ says the Lord, ‘he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word’ (Isa. 66:2). Your daughter will marry a sinner—that is certain. But if he is a humble and teachable sinner who is quick to repent, then he will be sure to grow in godliness. This humility will also be evident in his love for and submission to God’s Word.
3. Love for the local church. At the center of God’s plan on earth is His church. A young man must be pursuing fellowship and serving faithfully in a local church if he is to make a good candidate for a husband.
4. Biblical convictions about manhood and womanhood. A successful marriage is due in large part to a couple’s grasp of their respective roles and responsibilities. A potential husband must be committed to complementary roles found in Scripture. He must be ready to embrace his responsibility to love and lead his wife. (Eph. 5:22-25).
In addition to comparing the young man to this list of essentials, we also helped our daughters evaluate God’s commands to wives. From Scripture we asked our daughters the following questions regarding the young man each was considering:
-Do you fully respect this man the way a wife is called to respect her husband?
-Can you eagerly submit to him as the church submits to Christ?
-Do you have faith to follow this man no matter where he may lead?
-Can you love this man with a tender, affectionate love?
(1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22, 33; Col. 3:8; Titus 2:4-5)
Again, this list of qualities and questions is not exhaustive. However, it provided clear, objective, and biblical criteria to assist our daughters in determining God’s will—whether or not they were meant to join their lives with a certain young man.
The conclusion to this chapter appropriately sets up the courtship stories to follow: “Each courtship, whether or not it ends in marriage, is its own unique journey. But God has provided all the wisdom that we need in His Word.”