Friday, February 29, 2008

02/29/08 - Friday

Did you all notice the new link bar on my blog? I am making some slight changes to my blog (Thanks to my friend Anne). Hope you enjoy the easier layout!

I received a question in my Motives post. Alex asked: "What if God has placed the desire to marry in your heart, but you aren't "old enough" according to society? — i.e. can't support a family yet, still in school, not "independent. As a tangent to that question, what if, just suppose, God shows you who your wife will be during that time? What then??"

A lot of young people feel the desire to get married and they feel that God has placed this desire on their heart. Yet, have to wait a few years before they awaken this love or desire.

Song of Songs (2:7, 3:5, 8:4) says, "Do not awaken love until it so desires."

If God clearly shows you your wife, then my advice would be to seek out counseling/mentoring from a parent, elder, pastor, older married couple and seek for them to help you remain patient as you wait for you to get your life in order so that you can support a wife.

If you begin to "date with the purpose of marriage" even at a young age, you are putting yourself in years of waiting, which bring a host of temptations.

Now in saying that, I have a young friend who met his wife very young, they were married this past December and they both are 20. One smart thing they did was save their first kiss for their engagement. The long you date and are physical, the longer you put your place in temptations path.

Just because God shows you who your wife is, doesn't mean you have to tell her, start dating, or become emotional. If she is your wife, God will keep her for you!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

02/28/08 - Revelation 3:16

Yesterday I received a note about the verse I quote, which I appreciate!

It stated:
"I read the blog you posted, and I was thinking about the verse in Rev. 3:16 that you provided.

The verse you cited was written to a church that was neither hot nor cold. Water at that time coming to the landlocked area that the church was in was carried or brought in by livestock. Water that was cold was valued for its refreshing quality and warm water was considered more medicinal and highly valued as well.

When John writes about God spitting them out of His mouth, he is speaking about the jars that contained water that typically were not of the freshest quality to begin with, and usually tasted like the clay it was held in. the parallel for this application is a delicate one, and its applicability to individuals who are struggling to find who they are, showing one side of themselves on one day, and showing another side of themselves on another day, does not directly correlate.

I appreciate your heart to minister to people who are in need of searching, but God spitting them out of His mouth I don't think is the correct application of the verse. This verse standing alone as an admonishment to the searching/lost person is more of a proof text than a verse that speaks right to the heart of the matter"

I thought it was worth posted. My response was as follows:

"I appreciate any insight. I am not a biblical scholar, but this I know. When I was struggling with my faith in college, when I had a Sunday Heather and a Monday through Sat. Heather, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to be either hot or cold for the Lord. To decide to walk in a way that was completely for the Lord.

It was in that moment that I knew the Lord wanted me, He had a purpose for me and walking with half of my life in the world, was not what He had called me to do.

I am tired of people who claim to be Christians yet live their lives in a matter that totally destroys the message of Christ. I am sick of people who live double lives. I'd rather them just flat out say they are not Christians, instead of using the status Christian, yet not living their life TOTALLY sold out for Christ."

Hope that helps with anyone else who may have had the same issue with me using that verse!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

02/27/08 - No Shame

I first posted this last August, but thought it was worth sharing again!

Have we no shame in sin these days?I scan pictures on personal blogs, MySpace or Facebook and I think, “Have you no shame in your sin!?!”

Sure there’s plenty of pictures of cute babies, vacations, and summer fun; but then I come across pictures of “drunk” fests, inappropriate gestures and parties.

I think to myself, “Why would anyone WILLING put pictures of their blatant sin on the computer for anyone to see??” What breaks my heart even more is many of these people, putting pictures on their sites, are young adults I know from church or kids who have a Christian background.

Why do so many walk away from their faith during college? The pull of the world is so strong and one must fight the good fight when they feel this pull to be conformed to the world.

Are you are struggling with your faith? Maybe you have the Sunday you and the Monday through Saturday you, and they are not the same person. Are you happy with the person you have become?

My answers for what I think you should do will sound like Christian pat answers…so I’ll just leave you with this verse: Revelation 3:16

"So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

02/26/08 - Prayer

In part one of Our Story I shared how God asked me to stop praying for a husband but my husband. Some left a question over the weekend: What did you pray about when you stopped praying for a husband, but for your husband?

Each year I had a different prayer. I remember in 1996 it was that he would be getting his finances ready to support a wife and family (John graduated Chiropractic College this year).

Now I used to remember what each year was, but I can't remember specifics now, however some of my yearly prayers were:

That he'd be lonely for a wife.
That he'd have a year of blessings.
That he'd have a tough year spiritual.

Boy, I can't remember the other two or three I had. It was fun to compare notes with John when we knew we were getting married. I can see how God did do different things in his life in the years I prayed certain things!

I kept a journal to John and we took it on our honeymoon. It sure was fun to read it to him.

Praying for my husband helped my heart stay pure for him alone!

Monday, February 25, 2008

02/25/08 - Wedding

This weekend I coordinated a wedding for my friends Gretchen and Kyle. What a joy! Gretchen saved her heart fully for Kyle. Gretchen never flirted, she guarded her heart very intensely and knew that it was in God's hands.

It was a joy to watch her fall in love with Kyle. To allow her heart to open up to him through their courtship and engagement. Then to be his wife and love on him at their wedding.

One thing that she did that I loved, was have a break-away toss bouquet. It looks like one big bouquet, but 7 young ladies went home with a little bouquet.



I know that Gretchen's faithfulness in waiting for Kyle is an encouragement to all these young women!

For more pictures you can visit my personal blog.

Friday, February 22, 2008

02/22/08 - Where do I get my help?

This past week has been a bit of a long week. With two sick kids, thankfully on the mend, and now a sick husband up in bed with the same thing...I have had to lay aside any of my desires this week and focus on the needs of my family. (Beside Wednesday when my husband watched the sick boys so I could throw a surprise shower for my friend who's getting married tomorrow!)

It's been long, yet through it all, I've had great peace. I started reading a book that has blessed me with peace for this week. I know that my family is my number one priority and they need all of me.

Beside the support of my mom, I've gotten my greatest source of strength from looking upward.

This morning the song/verse that was going through my head: I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from You, maker of heaven. (Ps. 121: 1-2)

This is where I've gotten my strength this week.

Actually, I've had some tender moments with my boys. It may have been at 2 am, but having Luke asleep on me, I've been able to pray for him, his cough, his future, his walk with the Lord. God is good and I am thankful for your prayers!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

02/21/08 - Sick Kids

If you think of me today, please pray for me and my boys. Both Miles and Luke have coughs, Miles has been sick since Monday night, but Luke was up half the night coughing and just misrable!

This weekend I am coordinating a wedding for some very dear friends and I'd like to know I am leaving healthy kids with my sister-in-law and friend!

Thanks!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

02/20/08 - Drawing

Each of my boys (Miles, Luke and John) drew the names for me!! I had three people leave messages on my facebook account, so there were 24 total!

RMS won!

Alyshia won!

Rebekah S. won!

Congradulations!

Will the three of you please send me a mailing address to my email address: emotionalpurity@yahoo.com

Also, today my blog will hit 10,000 hits! Amazing! I know for some of you well seasoned bloggers may see 10,000 hits as a drop in the bucket. But, I praise God for using me in this way. As a stay at home mom I am so blessed to be able to minister to God's people this way!

A couple of other misc. notes:

Bloom Blog is doing a review of my book over the next few weeks.

I was recently interviewed. You can read it here: Interview

Also, if your a facebook fan, come on over join the Emotional Purity Group.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

02/19/08 - Messy

Yesterday I decided it was time to change the boys bedroom. I've wanted to do it for awhile, but knew it would be a lot of work. We all headed up stairs and began the process of rearranging the beds, moving toys, and organizing.

What a mess! Have you ever cleaned out a dresser or closet? I don't know about you, but I make such a mess as I am cleaning...it has to get really messy before it's organized.

Sometimes don't our lives feel like that? We start working on a spiritual issue and it feels like we have to get really messy before we get things in order.

What areas of your life need a good cleaning?

Monday, February 18, 2008

02/18/08 - Questions

I still have some questions to answer from my 6 part dating story!

In an email someone asked me about those times that I'd emotionally pull away from John. Here's how the question was asked: "I read something on your blog about pulling back from John during certain periods in order to protect your heart. How might this look? "

Here was my responce:

"Well, there would be times that we be together, talking, hanging out, and I feel the need to share emotionally with John and I knew I couldn't, so I'd stop talking, leave the room, go home. It was totally opposite of my personality.

Or there'd be times we'd be really having a good time and I'd start to over think about John and knew I was investing too much, so again I'd back way."

The questioner wrote back:

"I can see the value in backing off, but it seems so hard to just up and leave in the middle of a conversation or when having a good time. What would you say and how would you say it tactfully?"

I said:

"Well, we were hardly alone, so it would be easy to get up and leave because we'd be with a group of people. I don't think I ever said anything, I'd just get quiet."

Many of you ask me about this time, these 6 months. It was/is totally opposite of my personality to be quiet and back away. It was hard for me to do this, but I knew it was needed to help us both stay emotionally pure.

Don't forget to leave a comment for the book give away. Leave a comment: Here!

Friday, February 15, 2008

02/15/08 - Questions & Book Give Away

First of all, thank you to all of you who read my story and left comments! I am so thankful that you were encouraged on your walk in the Lord. I received lots of comments and questions so I will try to answer them.

Also, I was always so excited to see how many hits my blog received. This week, I've received more hits than ever before...so you all were enjoying Our Story!

Questions:

The questions started in my Dating (Part 2) post:

"How do you know when you are "ready to get married"? Is is just the legal age, and then you can start thinking about who?" "Is that different for a guy than for a girl?"

I don't think that being ready for marriage is a legal age or a date on the calendar. I guess I would say a person is ready to be married when they can take a wife, provide for her, and sustain a household.

Now this is from a guy's perspective. Could the age be different for a girl? Sure, she's not biblically responsible for providing for her family.

I do however believe that one should seek guidance to see if they are mentally and emotionally ready for marriage.

The next question came in: Our Story (Part 1): "You said'When I began to write God put His hand on me and made me invisable to all guys!' Did that hurt? Or did you feel a shield of protection from God in that?"

I think it was a mixture of both. Somedays I'd praise God for allowing me to be so distraction-free! Other days I'd cry out to God to help me make sense of all of it.

As I look back I completly see this as God's protection of my marriage and I am so thankful for that!

BOOK GIVEAWAY:

I'll get to more questions I received in e-mails and comments in future blogs! But I want to announce my first book give away!

Leave a comment on this post and your name will be entered to win one of three autographed books: Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart. The drawing will be on Wednesday, so get your name entered!

Tell your friends and pass along this contest!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Name

Someone commented about my name and I want to clear things up. My legal name is Heather Patenaude. When we met with Crossway Publishers about my book contract, the discussion came up about my name, should we keep Paulsen or change it to Patenaude.

Since the book was first published with Paulsen my publisher, my husband and I agreed to keep Paulsen. I clearly asked my husband in that meeting if he was okay with me using Paulsen. He was fine with that. Since my blog is assoicated with my book I use the name Heather Paulsen, but my name is Heather Patenaude!

I just wanted to clear that up!!

P.S. If your on facebook, make sure you join the Emotional Purity Group!

02/14/08 -Our Story (Part 6)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Did you think it would take five days to get to us even meeting? Hope you're still enjoying our story!

After John and I met, God gave us lots of opportunity to get to know each other. Mostly it was at his brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Connie's, house. We hung out a lot with them and with my family. The more I actually got to know John, the more I liked him. He was/is so much fun and our personalities clicked.

Our frienship revolved around time with family. We'd see each other a couple of times a week and we finally started talking at church!

Of course, there were plenty of times I had to just back away from him. After we started dating, he told me that during this six months he felt like there were times I'd just emotionally shut down. I told him that it was to protect my own heart, if he wasn't my husband, which he completely understood.

There were some very hard moments during those six months. God had confirmed to me this path and waiting on Him was tough. Also, I had to find the balance of enjoying this friendship and respecting his future wife, if she wasn't me! God taught me a lot and I fully leaned on His wisdom during this time.

During these six months John began seeking out ways to spend time with me. He said when he'd get home from work he'd turn off his kitchen light and then peek through the blinds in back kitchen window to see if my car was in his brother's driveway. When he'd see my car, he make his way over there to see what was up.

One night we were at Mike and Connie's house and I thought I'd test him a bit. So when I heard him come in, I went to the kitchen. I could hear him in the livingroom and then he came into the kitchen. Their house has a large circle, so I went out of the kitchen the other way so he couldn't see me.

After his investigation in the kitchen he came back to the livingroom, where I was sitting and he said, "Oh there you are!" and came to sit next to me! This was very much out of his normal operating mode! Yes, we were both beginning to know this was something more than just a friendship.

You have to know something about John. He never dated before me. He was pure both emotionally and physically. He had always said he'd marry the 'girl he couldn't live with out'. Acutally, he never thought he would get married. So for him to begin to treat me different was a sign that he was moving in a different direction.

I knew that March 11th would be the date that I had prayed about. I knew that would be the 6 month mark. The Passion Play season was in full swing. John was playing Peter and I was playing, Sarah, the woman with blood issues who was healed by Jesus.

Being involved in the play gave us lots of opprotunities to contiune to get to know each other.

One Saturday we both had practice late and a group of friend had gone to dinner, so we were going to join them later. The car ride there and home was one of the few times we were alone.

Another, Sunday he asked me to grab lunch. So we got Subway and went back to my house to eat. Then he said he wanted to run by his house and change out of his Sunday clothes before practice. At his place, I just stood in the kitchen waiting for him to get ready, when there was a knock on the kitchen door. It was his renter giving him a rent check.

Then the phone rang and since he was in the bathroom he yelled for me to grab the phone. After I told him who it was (his office managers son) he said to me, "Well, since you got the door and answered my phone we might at as well get married." He said this to me as he was walking back to his bedroom, so of course no eye contact was made. I couldn't believe John Patenaude just said we should get married!

March 11th fell on a Tuesday night and wouldn't you know that we had rehersal that night, together, the only Tuesday night we had rehersals together that entire practice season! I was a crowd person in the Peter denial scene...the same scene I had seen John in years before!

The Saturday before I had asked John if he wanted to get dinner after rehersal that night...little did he know that I was going to DTR (define the relationship) with him that night. But that's just what I did.

We grabbed Taco Bell, headed back to my house and started talking small talk. We weren't totally comfortable being alone, but that was about to change.

After I mustered up enough courage, I told him that he was treating me different and that we needed to clarify our relationship. It was then he confessed a growing intrest in me. We both expressed that we would enter this relationship with marriage in mind. I said, "So what are we then?" He said, "I guess we're boyfriend and girlfriend". Then we actually shook hands on the deal!

Our actually courtship was totally opposite of the years leading up to meeting. Five days after we started to date we pulled out our summer calendars to find a wedding date. We knew what God had brought us together and when I finally share all these details with John it just blew his mind!


God's timing was perfect. John told me that even two weeks before then, he would not have been ready to commit his life to mine. So although, I wanted to meet John a year before we actually did..God knew he wasn't ready!

That was March 11th...we were married on July 12th, just four months and one day later!

We've been together almost 5 years! Amazing! There are still times I tell John, "Pinch me! You picked me!" I love being married to John. It was so worth waiting for him.


We were very, very, excited to be getting married! Actually this photo is blown up and framed in our dining room. Our oldest son Miles, will come up and say, "Mommy and daddy's wedding." as he throws his arms and leg in the air...it's so cute!

I do hope you've been blessed this week by Our Story! I pray that you've seen God as the center of it all. Knowing God and knowing how God spoke to me was essential in this story. Even still I lean on the personal, intimate relationship, I have with God to show me His will for my life.

God can write the most beautiful love story, we just have to let Him! Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

02/13/08 -Our Story (Part 5)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

The first Sunday we went to CCC, as new members and not just visitors, my sisters had to use the restroom, so they went to find a bathroom and I nerverously walked into the foyer of the church. This nice, older gentleman, walked up to me, shook my hand, and said, "Are you new here? My name is Paul Patenaude."

Yes, the first person who spoke to me at CCC was John's dad! I about died right then and there! I could just see my extended family watching this all unfold and think, "She went right for the dad, I mean in her book she talks about dads being involved!"

I quickly explained who I was and who I was related to. The town of Zion has a lot of circles of families. Everyone is related to everyone in our town. John's aunt and my grandma grew up together. John's dad coached my uncle in basketball in highschool. John's brother and my uncle went to high school together and he was my extended family's chiropractor, so by sharing with John's dad who I was related to gave him a point of reference.

When my sisters found me, I shared with them who I talked to and we just laughed. We found a seat and began this new chapter of our life. John was at church that Sunday and I remember him sitting with his family, but there was no meeting.

I figured because everyone was talking to me about John, that they were all talking to John about me, but they weren't!

The next Sunday my parents were back from vacation and all five of us went to church. John sang in the choir and this was the choir's first Sunday singing after taking the summer off. John said that Sunday he remembered seeing me for the first time. He said that he looked at this family with three single women and thought, "They must be on vacation."

After a few Sunday's attending he realized we were not on vacation and had begun attending CCC. Each Sunday we'd face each other, him in the choir loft and me with my family. It wasn't long before he started hearing, "Have you met Heather Paulsen!?"

Throughout the first year we were at CCC, John and I NEVER met each other!

We sang in a Christmas concert together where he spoke to me the first time! He said, "Thank you." After I gave his entire row breath mints.

We began to just avoid each other. We knew there was a lot of "talk" about us meeting, so I guess we just avoided meeting. Of course our paths crossed and there were many near meetings, but it wasn't God's timing. (Remember I had prayed that it would be six months from when I first met my husband till we knew, so I knew that if John was my husband we'd know in 6 months of meeting!)

One day in March I was at church helping with a fundraiser for Camp Zion and I was asked to go to the office to find some tape. As I came around the corner I literally ran into John. I looked at him, he looked at me (both of us were deer in headlight look mind you!), we quickly said, "Hi" and went out seperate ways! We both laugh at how silly we were, but there was just so much pressure to meet each other.

Also, our church is rather large, 500 plus people, so it is easy to not see people week after week. Plus, John was in the habit of exiting out the side door, so we rarely saw each other after church service.

Here are some of our other near misses: We were both invited to a mutual friend's 30th birthday party. Turned out he had a surprise family party that day and he didn't show up!

We had a paint ball trip and he had signed up to come. Turns out he forgot about it and didn't come!

One time a group of people asked me to join them for lunch, but I had to go do something...I can't remember, later I found out John went!

We went mini-golfing with a group of people. We never spoke all night!

I had become involved in the youth group and decided to go to senior high camp that summer. However, in May I found out that John's sister-in-law was also going to camp. I told my family that I couldn't go if she was going. I really just wanted to avoid all of them ;-) But that was silly, so I just figured I'd go.

Well, at camp Connie (John's sister-in-law) and I got to know each other as she struck up a conversation with me at the docks one day. We had fun that week getting to know each other and she invited me to a bible study at her house on Wednesday nights.

I figured I was safe going to her house (although John lived next door) because John went to choir practice on Wednesday nights.

Before I went to bible study, at the end of August, God answered another prayer. Remember, I had prayed that my dad would tell me clear as day when I'd get married.

Well, let me back up. My dad said that the as he got to observe John at church dad knew that he'd be my husband (Plus John is 5' 10 1/2" remember my dad said my husband would be between 5'10" and 5'11"...Crazy I know!).

Just a couple weeks before I met John my dad and I were talking. Dad said, "You'll be married to John Patenaude before Christmas next year."

I nearly feel off my chair. No one, and I mean, no one knew I had prayed this! WOW! God was confirming this relationship left and right, I just had to meet John!

On September 11, 2002 I went to bible study, I kept watch of the clock because I knew in order to avoid John I'd have to leave before choir was over. About 8:30, the door opened and I heard in the other room, "JOHNNY P!" John was there! GULP!

I was frozen on the couch, I didn't want to move! John was there! He came over, sat in a chair by the couch and Connie said, "John have you met Heather Paulsen?" John said, "No, I guess we should offically meet." So we shook hand and introduced ourselves to each other! 2 1/2 years after the first time I had ever seen him as Peter

Now those 6 months I had prayed for...well the timer began to tick!

PART SIX

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

02/12/08 -Our Story (Part 4)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

"You have to meet John Patenaude!" Became a common phrase from about everyone I knew! Now, although, I had seen him as Peter in the Passion Play, I had not seen him again. The following December we decided to visit my great-aunt's church, also John's church, Christ Community Church (CCC).

At that time were home churching, and searching for what God wanted us, as a family, to do as far as church involvement. I was speaking and traveling with my book, and God was keeping me busy!

Anyway, that Christmas Eve my aunt suggested that the three of us girls go and cook at the church's camp: Camp Zion. We thought that would be fun and that night at the Christmas Eve service we talked to the camp director about volunteering. (John was at that service, but I had no idea what he looked like, so I don't remember seeing him.)

For the next few months we'd head up to Door Co., WI and cook at the camp. It was always so much fun to go there! Us three girls love the community of the church and became close to many of the church members.

Sometime in all of this I did see a picture of John. My grandpa and his wife were in Florida for a visit and they asked us to watch their house. One day, me and my two sisters went to check on things and saw a photo church directory. We all three grabbed it and flipped to the P section. I'll never forget seeing his picture, my thought, "Well, he's not ugly (I mean why would a 29 year old Chiropractor be single, right?) actually, he's kinda cute!" I laugh as I think about me and my sisters looking at his picture that day in my grandpa's dining room! Fun memories!

I also, saw him at a Michael Card Concert at CCC. I was with my cousin who knew him and of all places to sit, John sat two rows ahead of me. So, I saw the back of his head all night. My cousin was going to introduce us, but the timing did not work out!

During this year of hearing about John, my heart struggled. It seemed that everything everyone said about him was just what I wanted in a husband. He also fit the discription of what my dad had told me about my husband. My head and heart where in a constant battle. I would cry out to God to help me respect his future wife and my future husband. There were some tough battles.

In the summer we were cooking for one of the church's camp periods and us three had so much fun. On the way home we all three agreed that we'd love to attend CCC, but we figured it would look like we were going there just to get to know John (and Kevin, who Lesli did meet at camp that summer)!

When we got home us three shared with my parents what an amazing time we had at camp and how much we loved the people of CCC. My dad inturrputed the three of us and said, "Since you girls were gone this week mom and I had a lot of time to talk. We've decided three thing: 1) I am going to get a new job 2) We're going to start attending CCC and 3) we're moving to Zion!"

We were all shocked! God was at work! In the matter of 10 days my dad got a new job, we bought a house in Zion, and sold a house! God was moving fast!

As a side note, during this time (these 10 days) John turned 30! One of his patients at work told him that it was time for him to go to a new church because there were no single women at CCC. He told this patient, "I don't really go to church to find a wife, but for worship." Good thing he never took her advice!

Some of you have asked questions in previous posts. On Friday I'll answer all questions from this week!

PART FIVE

Monday, February 11, 2008

02/11/08 -Our Story (Part 3)

Part One
Part Two

In the spring of 2001 my first edition of Emotional Purity was released. I was thrilled! I knew that God has lead me to write the book and I was excited to see what He was going to do with this message of emotional purity!

One night I felt that I needed to read Proverbs 24. I flipped open and began to read. Now, I've made it a practice to read the chapter of the day in Proverbs for a long time, so this was not new to me. I got to verse 27 and stopped dead in my tracks:

"Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house"

At that moment I knew I was to do what God had called me to do: share the message of emotional purity. THEN, I'd get married. I knew in that moment I would get married! This was the first time I ever felt God confirm that I'd marry.



As you can see I wrote in my bible that day: Do what God call has called then marry. 4-25-01 Book will be done next Monday 4-30-01

Up till then I had never heard of John, but I had seen him, I just didn't know that I had seen him!

John was in the Zion Passion Play that Easter season (which he is also in this year as Pilate!). He was playing Peter and I remember during the Peter Denial scene I thought, "He must be married, his wife is in the audience, and his two kids are at home with the babysitter." I have no idea why I had this entire story about him in my head, but this is what I thought of him the first time I ever saw him! Strange!

About a week later some of my relatives, that went to church with John, mentioned him to me. They said, "You need to meet this guy at our church, he is playing Peter in the Passion Play."

"What, that guy is married!" was my private thought! after hearing that the guy who played Peter was not only single, but a "good catch", I went searching for the Passion Play program to find out his name: John Patenaude.

Huh, John...how do you say that last name!?!

PART FOUR

Sunday, February 10, 2008

02/10/08 -Our Story (Part 2)

Part One

After our year at the motel, I realized I was on to something with this book. People began asking me about it and wanted to read it when I was done. My thought was to go to Kinko's and just print up 25 copies for friends and family.

But, God had bigger plans! He opened doors and in 2000 I went to a writers conference where I met my first publisher: WinePress Publishers. On my birthday in 2000 I signed my book contract!

As I worked on editing the book and working though all the details of self-publishing, guys were far from my mind. I was so focused on what God was doing, I knew I need to keep my focus. There literally no guys anywhere!

However, my dad was having different thoughts! A lady at his office randomly said to him one day: "There are these two really nice, single, young men that attend this church. They are high quality guys."

Of course, my dad never told me or my sisters about this, but the two guys she was referring to were: John, my husband and Kevin, my brother-in-law ;-) That's another story!!

Also, one summer day in 2000 we were sitting on our large porch. I asked my dad to describe our husbands to us. I told him that he knew us well enough and knew what type of men we could marry. After some humming dad began to describe our husbands, starting with my oldest sister.

When he got to me he told me that my husband would be emotional in his walk with the Lord and passionate about God. He also said that he'd be the life of the party, but need his alone, quiet time. He told me that he'd be about 5'10" or 5'11". He said other things, but these were the qualities that stuck out to me the most.

God had also put something in my heart about my husband. I always loved visiting the town of Zion. I had LOTS of family in Zion and it always felt like I was coming home. Actually when ever I turn down this certian street I always felt home (that street was the street John lived on!!) I had wanted to marry someone from Zion and raise my family in this community. Again this was years before I knew John or anything about him!

During this pre-John time I had also prayed that 1) from the time I met my husband till I knew we were going to get married would be 6 months and 2) that my dad would just tell me as plain as day when I'd get married.


On my blog I encourage many of you privately to seek God with all your heart. When you make it your goal to know God, He will begin to show you peeks of your future! It's great to watch God at work!!

PART THREE

Saturday, February 9, 2008

02/09/08 -Our Story (Part 1)

In honor of Valentine's Day I have decided to spend this week sharing with you about how John and I met, fell in love, and got married.

Let me make a disclaimer before I begin!

If you are TIRED of courtship/dating stories, then simply avoid my blog this week. My hope is to encourage and if you are just plain ol' tired of the courtship story not including you, then I will pray for you and I'll see you next week!

I need to go back a bit to help give some perspective.

New Year's Eve 1995 (age 21) I was in Indiana attending a Campus Crusade Christmas Conference. I went to bed shortly after midnight and as I laid alone in that hotel room I began thinking about MY husband. Not just being married, but MY husband. God convicted me to stop praying for a husband, but pray for MY husband. It was there, that night, I had my first thought about John!

I began to faithfully pray for him from that point forward!

1996-1997 I worked in a ministry where I experienced an undefinded, emotionally intimate relationship that left me heart broken. I moved back in to my parents house at 23 to see where the Lord was leading. I spent a year doing ministry and also worked as a sub teacher at the local high school.

Also, during this time I was involved in a singles group and saw first hand some of the emotional craziness that occurred!

In 1998 my sisters and I had an opportunity to operate a motel in a quaint little town in southern Wisconsin. We lived and worked at the motel for a year. It was there that I began writing my "journal to my children".

At this point, God had given me a great deal of peace about being single. When I began to write God put His hand on me and made me invisable to all guys!

But He was beging to stir my heart towards John, without me even knowing it!

One of the guests at the hotel was a sweet young gal, who was visiting on business. She loved the hotel so much, two weekends later she brought her husband. She had told me her husband was in Chiropractic College. I'll never forget shaking his hand, it was so firm and strong. I told him, "Now that's a chirporactor's handshake!" In my mind I thought, "I want to marry a chiropractor!" Also, on her key ring she had this mini spine...yes, she was the wife of a chiropractor!

Friday, February 8, 2008

02/08/08 - Dating (part 2)

Rachel asked: "How do you define dating? How can you know from first meeting someone if he is your future husband? I know I'm still in the "praying and searching" stage, and wonder how I can meet my future husband without "dating"(in the sense of hanging out with someone, trying to get to know him both individually and in groups) before that in search of him. "

I define dating as becoming emotionally involved with someone with no clear guidelines, direction or intentions with the relationship.

This can look different for different people. Dating is not just going out to dinner and a movie. Often times dating is very ambigous! No one clearly talks about the relationship and both are enjoying the self satisfying aspect of the relationship and don't want that to end...so they continue in this limbo, undefinded stage.

I've talked to young women who are heart broken over a relationship that has changed its dynamics. They'll say, "Well, we never really dated." Just because a guy doesn't say, "We're dating!" Doesn't mean those are not dating relationships. Often times it's in these relationships that one finds themselves more emotionally hurt.

Dating should have a goal and a purpose. Getting to know someone can come in all different ways. Also, that "praying and searching" stage should come when both people are ready to get married, which completly eliminates dating too young.

Rachel, does this help?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

02/07/08 - Dating

I really enjoy e-mails and questions. Yesterday I received this question: Is it ok to date before you meet the one? What do you think?

I believe dating to just date, to just have fun and have someone to be emotionally, physically, and spiritually intimate with is, at the most basic form, selfishness. When two people date with NO intention of making a future out of the relationship, they are being selfish.

This may sound harsh, but let's break it down.

Dating to just date is saying that you want to use someone to fulfill an emotional or physical need. I, personally, can't see any other reason that someone dates to just date.

When I was in high school I wanted a boyfriend because of what it would fulfill in me. It would help my self-esteem, help me fit in to the crowd, and make me feel worthy of effection from a boy. All self focused. There was no thought that this was to glorify God.

I will tell my boys that they are not ready to date, until they are ready to get married. I want them to not tap into the emotions (or physical intimacy) until they are ready to take a relationship to marriage.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

02/06/08 - Living Life

Are you living life? I mean are you enjoy life as a single, living to your fullest?

Last night we were watching the weather channel to find out more about the 12 inches of snow we're expected to receive today! (We've gotten about five so far!)

They showed Taos, NM and I was telling my husband about a trip I took there when I was single. I told him about the women's retreat I spoke at and how BEAUTIFUL Taos, NM is!

Then we went on to share about some of our adventures when we were single. Neither one of us sat around waiting for "life to being" at marriage. We both travelled, enjoyed friendships, deepened our walk with the Lord, and basically enjoyed that season of our life.

Now that we're married, have kids, and a WHOLE lot more responsibility, we can't just pick up and fly to Taos for a weekend.

So, I ask you, are you enjoying your life as a single? Or do you feel like life won't really begin till you're married?

Monday, February 4, 2008

02/04/08 - Motives

Thanks to all of you who posted a comment in the "Getting to know you" blog! It has been fun for me to see who's out there in blogland!

I received these questions and thought I'd just blog my answers.

What should be a single Christian's motive/s for wanting to be married?

There are many different motives for wanting to be married, but I believe you must sift your heart's motives through God's filter. What is the purpose of marriage in the bible? I believe there are two main reasons: procreation and to mirror the relationship of Christ and the church to an unbelieving world.

I also firmly believe that God can place the desire to be married on a person's heart. There was a season in my life where I really didn't long for marriage (it was short, but there was a time)!

After awhile God started stirring in me a desire to get married. I knew my motives were pure. I knew my longing for marriage was from God because I truly wanted it to a) it would point people to Him and b) if being married I could become more Christlike.

Say you're single, of marriagable age & maturity, but with no "prospect" on the horizon. What should be our reason for wanting to be married? Is it for loneliness, or self-esteem (emotional neediness), or even purely physical?

All three of those reasons are reasons people long for marriage. However we must look to God to satisfy all our need first. A mate will never be an all in all. We must be careful to not make marriage an idol.

What is it that stops these motions driving us to desperation? If the Lord is our source of contentment (and, as many books have said, our husband, prince, etc) then why would we still desire to be with someone?

Psalms 37:4 states: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

In the greek the word: give, has two means: 1) to place 2) to bestow

I believe God can place the desire to be married on your heart and then bestow that to you in His perfect timing. We must examine our heart to know if our motives are selfish or from God.

And, is it right to pray for God to send you a husband/wife? Again, what would be one's motive in this?

New Year's Eve 1995 God convicted me to not pray for a husband, but to pray for MY husband. So I did! Each year I had a certian prayer request that would come to my heart and I'd faithfully pray for him! I knew praying for a husband was coming from a selfish place in my heart.

Hope this helped!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

02/02/08 - "Later sweetheart"

Today my, almost 3 year old, son wanted some candy. I told him, "You can have that later, Miles."

"I need it now, mommy." He replied in a very sweet voice.

"Later sweetheart, after lunch." I said.

"Please, I need it mommy. I need it now." He said trying to convince me this was a life or death matter.

"Mommy said, 'After lunch' Miles, you need to be patient." I said in more of a firm voice.

"PLLEEEAAASSEEE mommy, can I have it now?" he said back.

At this point I thought to myself: just ignore him, I gave him my answer and he can just wait till after lunch. (Which after lunch we both forgot about the candy ;-) )

"Mommy did you hear me? I need candy." He said, realizing I was not saying anything back.

I continued with my long to do list today and thought to myself: Is this how God feels about us when we continue to nag about something? Maybe God gives us the answer: wait or later. But that's not good, so we keep on asking, "Lord, PLEASE! I need this!"

Maybe He has said wait and then He is silent. He gave His answer and He sees no need in trying to make us see why waiting is the best thing for us.

I am not comparing my mothering style to God, but it's amazing how often God shows Himself to me through my own children!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

02/01/08 - Getting to know you

Yes, I'd like to know you!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, leave a comment and say, "Hello!" I'd love to know more about my readers!

I look forward to getting to know you!