Monday, June 30, 2008

06/30/08 - True Women

About a month ago I saw an ad for an upcoming conference called: True Women '08. The speaker line-up include: John Piper, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Joni Eareckson Tada and other amazing speakers. Not only we're there these amazing speakers, it was in my back yard...Chicago!

As soon as I saw the ad I thought, "I want to go!"

Since I got married my husband and I have swap yearly retreats, he goes one year, I go one year, and so on. Well, last year was my year to go and this year is his. I am excited about the men's retreat he is going on this August and the speaker Paul Coughlin.

I didn't even mention this other conference to him and I just began to pray. I knew if God wanted me there, He'd work out the details!

Well, this morning my mom e-mailed me and offered (as a birthday present, because the conference starts on my birthday) to cover registration and accommodations for me!

Then she told me it started Thursday and ended Saturday afternoon! I thought that was much more doable than to be gone over the weekend. Plus, John works Thursdays, Friday, and Saturday morning!

When I explained to John all of these details he said, "Well, as long as you find a sitter for the boys then I don't see why not."

YIPPEE!! God is so faithful and I am so excited to go and sit under the teaching of these amazing speakers!

Friday, June 27, 2008

07/27/08 - Pulled

I received this very honest question from a blog reader:

"What do I do in this season when I feel like I'm being pulled in opposite directions? I really want to remain emotionally pure, yet I feel like I'm absolutely dying for a guy to notice me and to like me."

Ah, yes, that natural desire to have the attention and affection of a young man and the deep desire to please the Lord and remain emotionally pure. I wish I could offer some easy, 1, 2, 3 solution, but I can't!

What I can offer is a reminder to think long term. As much as our society thinks in the moment, in order to make an attempt end this pulled feeling, think about the future. Know that the Lord is using this time in your life to grow you and to draw close to you.

Know that (chances are) someday you'll have all the attention from your husband and it will be very satisfying. Think about your husband: do you want some other girl longing for his attention? No, you want him to save all that for you! You want to know that his heart was kept pure for you and for you alone!

I know that there are moments in which you just want to throw in the towel and just satisfy your flesh a little ("I mean what harm is there in a little flirting, right?" one may justify), but stay the course. Focus on the Lord...moment by moment! Keep His eternal perspective ever mindful.

My one regret: not waiting more patiently for John! Just remember it's completely worth the wait!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

06/25/08 - Home again

Ah, vacation was wonderful!

We visited the zoo...three times, played at the park too many times to count, spent countless hours outside: walking, playing in water buckets, playing games, doing craft. We also enjoyed some great seminars from Steve Demme and Norm Wakefield (both of these godly men offer their seminars for free on their sites!)

God gave us PERFECT weather! Not too hot, not too humid, but perfect. Each day (beside a one hour rainfall on Sunday), we had beautiful blue sky with big, puffy white clouds. Wow...it was just amazing.

John and I were so grateful for a week away with our boys. To just relax and unwind. To have quiet moments to talk and bond as a family. We are thankful for the yearly family vacation God has allowed us to have.

Now back to real life!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

06/24/08 - Song of Solomon for Single People

My pastor finished a sermon series entitled: The Joy of Sex and the Glory of God. He did a sermon on the Song of Solomon for Single People. It was neat for me to hear the message of emotional purity from someone other than me!

Click HERE, then click on the sermon from June 1.

Monday, June 23, 2008

06/23/08 - Intentional

(This post was first posted in March 2007)

Do you life with intention?

In the fall of 2006 I heard a speaker talk at our MOPS group about raising godly children. When we had broken up into our discussion groups she came in and said, "I forgot to tell you to live with intentions. Be an intentional mom, wife, Christian."

That just stuck with me. To live with intention!

You know when God starts to impress something on your heart it pops up everywhere.I have been reading a book with the sub title: Being the Intentional Mom Your Family Needs. I have been doing a bible study with the main goal is to be a woman of intention. I just keep hearing the word intention!

How often do we passively live life? We just go with the flow and put no thought into our day beside: What should I wear? What do I have to get done today (school or work)? What am I doing this weekend?

To live with intention would be to set goals: daily goals, yearly goals and life long goals.

I have a list hanging in my kitchen of my daily goals. Each day I have different goals to get done: laundry, dishes, cleaning, time with my husband, kids and bible time. Those are my goals each day. (Which I still have to finish one today...laundry...I really don't like laundry!).

Then we, as a family, have yearly goals. Physically, emotional, mental, spiritual, family and misc. goals. These include things like: have company over once a month, go to one retreat, go away as a couple for a night or two and read at least three books this year on a certain topic. We go over these goals once a year and they just set a vision of where we are headed as a family and a couple.

Finally, there are your life long goals. Our list would include: raise God-honoring children, homeschool and disciple our children, always be working on having a happy, fun marriage, strive to live a life pleasing to God and serve our church in the ways the Lord leads.

These goals help me (us) live with intention. I don't want to get to the end of my life and just feel like I passively let life go past. I want to know that I walked the path that I was called to walk! And not just walk it, but run on it and find joy in the things the Lord has for me.

Living with purpose will be living with intention!

As a single your goals will look different and you may not need the book: Being the Intentional Mom your Family Needs...but your book title would be: Being the Intentional Single God Wants You to Be!

Friday, June 20, 2008

06/20/08 - DTR

(This was an old post)

What does it mean to DTR (define the relationship)?

As women we may feel that any form of DTR has to come from the guy.

But let's say you have a guy friend that is treating you special. You have observed that he picks you out of a crowd, he treats you different, he treats you special, he hugs you and no other girl, he tells you things he doesn't tell anyone else, he calls you a lot, he is always text messing you, or he has lot of playful nudges with you.

(Just as a side note, there are guys who treat a lot of girls like this and can even make a girl feel special, but that's just how they act.)

So, here you are wondering what his thoughts are about your relationship! This can be frustrating and annoying, especially if you are longing to maintain emotional purity. It can be easy to allow your mind to wander too far out of reality. Even if you are committed to emotional purity our minds can easily end at the alter in a friendship such as this!

So let's say that you have this "friendship", what are you to do?

First of all, pray about what steps God would want you to take. Make sure you don't DTR just because you want to push your agenda. If you DTR it should be done with God's approval.

Second, make sure you talk to your mentor before you DTR. For me this was my dad when I was single. Get their thoughts, ideas, and advice as to what to do.

Third and final, make sure you know, in your heart, that you are longing for clarity in this relationship because you simply want clarity. Make sure there are no hidden motives.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

06/19/08 - The Shack

It seemed that every where I turned I was reading about "The Shack" By William Young. I decided, although I don't normally read fiction, to check it out.

The first 80 pages grabbed my attention and lead me to keep on reading, however there were many concepts, ideas and imagery of God that left me feeling very uncomfortable.

I've come across a great review of the book and if you've heard of it or read this book, I'd recommend you check out Tim Chailles review!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

06/18/08 - Vacation

Today we are leaving for a week away! I am thrilled to have 8 full days with my husband and boys!

There will be posts, but some of them are older posts that I'll be re-posting. Other are posts that will be scheduled to post.

I plan on checking my mail only a couple of times, so if you do comment or if you have a question leave it, but I'll get around to it when we get home!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

06/17/08 - Laws in California

Today in California homosexual's are allowed to marry each other.

Today in California parents are not legally able to home educate their children!

Wow...that's backwards!!

EDIT: I just want to clarify that, as far as I can tell from articles I've read that homeschooling in California is under attack. Whether it is not legal for certified teachers to teach their children at home or not...the basic message is that homeschooling is being questioned when same sex marriage is being embraced by the courts.

Monday, June 16, 2008

06/16/08 - More Questions

How did you "make your thoughts obedient to Christ"? What kinds of strategies, techniques did you try and or would you recommend? Could you describe this process more, please?

I prayed and asked God to make me very aware of my thoughts. I began to take note of what I was thinking and as He began to make me aware I could stop the thought and pray.

Again, I memorized scripture and used it to fight the mental battle! I got into the Word and used it as a Sword to tear down those unhealthy thoughts.

It takes an honest look at your thought life. If you've never jotted down your thoughts through out the day, I'd suggest that. Just keep a notebook with you for a day or two. See what you think about. Once you are more aware, it does make it somewhat easier to stop thinking about it.

Hope that helps!

What about daydreams about your sweetheart when you are in a relationship? :) Are all of those "Safe" and "good" or is there a line that needs to be drawn there, too?

People ask me all the time what is "okay" within the boundaries of a committed relationship. But I believe that each couple has to look to the Holy Spirit to guide and lead during a relationship. Kissing, holding hands, conversations, daydreaming....all have to directed by the Holy Spirit.

Sorry to be so vague, I just don't believe I can give any list of do's and don'ts in a relationship!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

06/14/08 - Answers

It seems that my part 1 on manipulation brought on some great questions! I'll do my best to answer them!

"I know in some ways, it's good, because my emotions are still very pure, but is it possible to go too far the other way, as to develop a fear of a relationship?"

Yes, I believe it can be possible to go too far the other way. I believe that it can be a mix of pride and fear that keep some on the way other side!

We are prideful in thinking that we can fully control the purity. I believe that we have ask the Lord for the spirit of purity, God directs us, and guides us. As we seek to know Him more, purity falls into place. It's His working through our life.

We can be prideful in thinking that somehow we are in full control and then we're fearful in thinking that if we let down our guard for one second we're going to be off in "impurity land". It's a lack of trust that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide.

"So how do we, ladies, create the balance, Heather? I'd love your thoughts on this too. Or rather, what's the godly approach?"

I believe there should be a balance in how we interact with young men. I've met girls who can't even look a guy in the eye, even if she's completely, totally uninterested in him.

The brother/sister model is a good guideline. How do brothers and sisters treat each other? They care about each other, talk to each other, serve each other...BUT their motives are pure and the boundaries are CLEARLY set.

I've shared this before, but I used these plumbline questions in how I interacted with single men when I was single.

1) Would I think about him this way if he were married?
2) Would I talk to him about this if he were married?
3) Would I treat him this way if he were married?

So let's say I was at a party and there was a single guy there. I'd ask myself, "Would I go get my brother a pop?" Sure, I'd get my brother a pop. But then I ask myself, "Would I get him a pop if he (not my brother but any man) were married." Well, I might. But then I get to the heart of what I was doing. I ask myself, "What are my motives for getting him a pop? To serve him? Or to get some type of attention from him?" Is the answer were the latter, I'd just stay put!

(For you southerns Pop is also known as soda or coke! ;-) )

For you guys out there you may just think, "Wow, that Heather was whacked out when she was single." But I guarantee that I am not alone in how I thought about guys. I had to always be aware of my actions towards my single guy friends. I wanted to enjoy the friendship without over thinking, over analyzing, manipulating, or having unhealthy emotional fantasies!

"I am so guilty of this (manipulating), and I want to change, but it is how I think... it has become a habit almost...how do I change?"

I've been there and I remember thinking it was never going to go away! But the more you resit the pull of sin (manipulating) the less control it has over you!

I memorized scripture and I'd use it when I felt myself longing to manipulate a situation.

Verses like 2 Cor. 10:5: Take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.

or 1 Cor. 10:31: Whatever you do, do for the glory of God.

or Philippians 4:8: Think about whatever is pure, lovely, right, of good repute...

These verses helped me fight the mental battle with in.

Another big thing was learning how the Holy Spirit convicted me. I began to really know the "voice" of the Holy Spirit.

So I'd be talking or thinking about wanting to "do" something for attention and I'd hear in my head (no not literal voice) "Heather, you are trying to control, let Me be in control!" Or "Don't say that Heather, you're just saying it for attention or to appear different than who I've created you to be."

Knowing the Word and learning how God communicated with me helped me pull father and father away from that fleshly desire for attention or emotional strokes.

Hope these help!

Friday, June 13, 2008

06/13/08 - Single-mindedness

If you'd like to download the talk I gave at the ICHE convention titled: Single-Mindedness, click HERE! It's $7 for a CD and $3.50 for an MP3.

06/13/08 - What Women Do (Part 4)

The last area I want to look at, before I get to all your wonderful questions is the concept of emotional fantasies.

Now this is very close to the idea of over thinking or over analyzing, but it would be more along the idea of having daydreams about having that emotional tank filled.

Each of us desired to be filled emotionally. To feel that emotional closeness with someone. Now we all come with our own set of emotional filter (how we accept and give emotions) and this can skew our desire for emotional closeness.

The way that emotional fantasies would manifest themselves in my life when I was single, was in imagery conversations. I'd have long, he'd say, I'd say, then he'd say, then I'd make a joke, then he'd laugh conversations in my head. I go on and on with an entire conversation with a guy I liked.

In my life I feel most emotionally satisfied with my husband after we've had a nice conversation, I love quality time and that normally mean a good conversation. So when I was single I struggled with desiring this emotionally connection with a guy and because of this desire I'd have these conversations in my head, in some weird attempt to fill that tank. Make sense?

Anyway, when God began working on my heart I would take captive my thoughts and make them obedient to Christ! It took work, but it helped me save so much mental energy!

I hope you've enjoyed this weeks posts! Now on to the questions!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

06/12/08 - What Women Do (Part 3)

I know that a couple of you have had questions in this series of posts and I will answer them, but I want to cover two more things we women do: over analyze and have emotional fantasies!

Today will look at what does it mean to over analyze a situation. This was one of my metal mind wasters! Oh, a guy would do something and I'd begin to think, "Why did he do that? Does he like me? What does this mean? Could he be wanting to start a relationship with me?"...and on and on and on and on and on and on!

Then I ask my sisters or friends what they thought and I'd begin all over!

I wasted so much time thinking about what he did and I'd read into everything he was doing or saying. What I have found is guys general don't do this. But women can fall into this trap of spending way too much mental energy thinking about what a guy did or said.

There was a guy who heard me talk about women being a little obsessive with marriage, relationships, etc. And he asked, "Are all women so obsessed with this stuff?" I told him to take a poll! He came back a month or so later and said, "Yes, all women over think this marriage stuff!"

So what is it that makes us over think and over analyze?

Do we have a fear of not being married, so we think that by thinking about marriage and keeping it in the front of our thoughts it will happen? I believe that my main reason for over thinking was that I so desired the emotional affection of a young man I was looking for it outside of God's timing.

Why do you think women tend to over analyze a situation or an action by a young man?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

06/11/08 - What Women Do (Part 2)

Flirt! Yes, we flirt!

We flirt for attention. We flirt for our egos. We flirt with our eyes. We flirt with our bodies. We flirt by what we wear. We flirt to make sure the boys look at us than the other girls. We flirt to feel good about ourselves. We flirt to fill an emotional need. We flirt!

Flirting can be as simple as a glace. But when I think of a flirt, I think of a young woman laughing really loudly, as she grabs the arm of the young man, then during a moment of catching her breath she glaces up his way with this look in her eyes. Or I think of a girl flipping her hair or walking in a certian way in the presents of young men.

Flirting is fun, within God's boundaries. Flirting should be apart of a healthy, committed relationship. It's a fun way of expressing love and adoration. But flirting for selfish pleasures is, well...selfish. We're not looking out for the interest of the other person, but we're looking to satisfy some emotional need within us.

What does flirting mean to you? Do you think it is a healthy way of getting a young man's attention?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

06/10/08 - What Women Do (Part 1)

When God began to show me the importance of emotional purity in my life, He began to sift some of the ugly, sinful behavior out of my actions that were not helpful in finding and maintaining emotional purity.

The rest of this week we'll look at the behavior of us women and how we can shift those actions to help us stay fixed on the Lord.

The first thing the Lord began to reveal to me was my manipulative actions. When there was a guy that I liked I made sure I spent time with him, saw him, talked to him, or just found a way to be around him....yes, manipulation.

When I liked a guy in college I knew his schedule and I knew which hall he'd be down, on what days, and at what times. I tired my best to "accidentally" see him there each opportunity I had.

There would be the rearranging of seating in order to sit next to the guy I liked. Or making sure that if he was going to be eating dinner in the same cafeteria that we'd sit by each other.

I made sure that if I was going to be assigned to a work project, so was a guy I liked. Or if there was a chance to get together I'd make sure he knew about the activity.

I was the queen of manipulation! I had mastered it!

God pruned this from my life. I knew that when it was the guy I married was to come along I would not want to manipulate anything in order to get to know him, spend time with him, or be near him. This was on my radar. I knew what it felt like to manipulate and it was never satisfying because it was not coming from a guys desire to spend time with me, but from me forcing it to happen!

The core of this was a lack of trust and control. These can be subtle, but extremely active in our life.

Look at the way you "try" to make something happen. Do you control or manipulate to be near a guy you like? What are ways God has been pruning this from your life?

Please comment on this series of posts! I'd love to hear what you think!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

06/09/08 - Monday

This feels like a real Monday! I woke up Sunday with a sore throat and achy! No fun! I began feeling the tickle in my throat on the way home on Saturday. It felt like the big let down. My commitments ended with the convention and I could relax! And, of course, I got sick!

I am still coughing today, laying low, but feeling a wee bit better!

But this has felt like a real Monday: sick mom, cranky kids, messy house, five loads of laundry, and dishes to be done! When I was single, this would have been a day I would have crawled back in bed and stayed there till about 10!

But that's not possible!

Although, it's been a long day already (and it's only 1:30 pm) I have much to be thankful for (in no particular order):
  • My boys, who are both napping!
  • Beautiful weather (windows are wide open).
  • A husband who works hard to provide for us.
  • The love and support of my family.
  • Friends who encourage, love, and support me!
  • My amazing church family.
  • The ability to function without chronic pain.
  • All my basic needs met...actually above and beyond my basic needs.
  • The fellowship this past weekend at the convention!
  • The freedom to worship Christ openly in this nation.
  • The peace in my heart that only comes from knowing Christ.
  • My local library.
  • Vacation next week! YIPPEE!
  • High speed Internet
  • The health of my parents and in-laws...it's great to have grandparents around!!
  • A wonderful marriage.

Ah...that's what I needed! Just to write all that I have to be thankful for! Now I can move forward to having a better day.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

06/07/08 - Home again

This last weekend I was at the ICHE Convention and we just got home. I was able to share my heart on being single-minded during your single years.

I shared three times and what a blessing. Not only was I able to share, but I had the chance to meet and hear some other amazing speakers.

The next week I'll get back into some blogging. My mind has a lot on it and I am excited to share some of it!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

06/05/08 - Narelle Worboys (Part 3)

I tried to post this yesterday, but my small laptop would not allow me to open up the interview in Word! Oh well, I have a lot on my mind I hope to share in the next couple of days, but I am headed to a convention where I'll be speaking!

Here's the third part of my interview with Narelle from NZ!

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How would you like to encourage others to really enjoy being single?

What I didn’t have through my teens was practical vision and purpose (i.e. neither my parents nor I could produce a husband out of a hat, so getting married at 18 wasn’t a practical purpose). That’s what I have now, and I think it’s what has made the difference in being comfortable with myself and my situation.

Surprisingly, having this vision and purpose doesn’t mean I’ve got the next 2, 5, or 10 years mapped out. What it means is that I know why I’m here, I know what I’m getting up for in the morning, I know how to conduct myself through the day (or night – I have odd sleeping hours), and I can look back on my day and recognize what was worthwhile. As a lively perfectionist with dreams of changing the world, it was a long time before I understood that folding laundry and delivering it to my parents’ room was valuable and worth doing wholeheartedly! In a word, my raison d’ĂȘtre is to SERVE, something on which I scored very low as a teen. I loved God passionately then, but I didn’t know how to relax into Him. The practicals of ‘walk by faith’ eluded me. Figuring out these things before marriage is to your advantage.

We’re all familiar with the part of life called When Waiting. Jesus said, “Occupy till I come,” so I must be about my Father’s business, even while I wait. It is His path, and He leads me upon it, all the way to glory.

Any other thoughts you'd like to share!

I communicated to my friend early in our relationship that if he found a girl he wanted to pursue, could he please give me some warning. After a decade of friendship, there was no other girl, only a thing called Change. Time is a strange entity: it can seem significant and negligible and both in the same instant.

My mother married a month before she turned 30 after a short engagement to the first man she loved. At 16, even at 20, I thought that was ancient and she couldn’t possibly understand what it was like to desire marriage at 18. I assure you, 30 isn’t old. I’m glad for the maturity I’ve reached and what this allows me to share with other girls, but there’s still so much I don’t know and haven’t experienced. And I said this same thing when I was 20!

If I’d known at 16 that I would still be single at 32, I’d have been comatose with horror, but the truth is that I’ve had the freedom to do things that aren’t part of a wife-and-mother program. Surrender your all to the Lord Jesus Christ and His grace will be evident. He will smile on your life if you allow Him to have the controls.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

06/03/08 - Narelle Worboys (Part 2)

This is part two of my interview with Narelle Worboys from New Zealand!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How does emotional purity fit into your life?

It’s necessary for my sanity! I’ve seen emotional trauma messing up the lives of friends who date around without a clear path to marriage. I want to serve God with all my heart, and I’m very much aware that allowing an emotional titillation will deflect me from pursuing that effectively.

You are committed to remaining emotionally pure for your husband, what struggles do you find having during this season of waiting and being single?

Loneliness is a huge factor and always has been. I couldn’t fix it, so I had to befriend it. I have a lot to say on that subject! See [here] I’ve learned to recognize my danger signals and take preventive measures. Something that’s really helped has been getting on a chummier footing with my parents. They’re the only people I see on a day-to-day basis, so sitting in our separate chairs reading our separate books wasn’t exactly beneficial to me! Also, when I do have male correspondents (which hasn’t been infrequent), it’s a challenge keeping control of my thought life.

What encourages you on this path during this season of being single?

Finding myself in extraordinary situations I couldn’t have orchestrated. Seeing lives respond to God’s grace. Knowing I’m of value to those I’m serving. Meeting others like me. :-) And I’ve purchased a diamond ring which I had engraved with the phrase, “He is Faithful”. Having that reminder on my hand every day really helps.

1 Cor 7:35 states that the unmarried woman is to be fully devoted to the Lord during her season of singleness, how do you incorporate your faith in your line of work?

To most people my health challenge would seem a huge handicap to serving the Lord or simply being happy, but His ways are past finding out, and He’s worked a good deal of that mystery in my life. Everything I’m doing is something I enjoy, and it’s flexible which suits my fluctuating energy levels.

My focus as a playwright is to provide evangelism training tools through drama, and, because I believe in the importance of perpetuating missionary tales and accounts of God's involvement with His people, to produce dramatic expressions of powerful miracle or missionary stories.

As a novelist, my pitch begins, “Are you searching for a lasting true love? Did you know that God is vitally interested in your love life and He’s asking you to hand over the pen of your love story?” My stories aim to encourage and stimulate singles, without hiding the reality of the struggle, to live in a way that shows their commitment to a God-written existence.

My purpose as a fashion designer and columnist is to provide attractive modest options for women who wish to glorify God with their bodies as the Scriptures exhort.

When I sing, I’m extremely particular about what lyrics I feed into my life and into those who hear me. See [here] for my Tolkein challenge.

If I’m doing a secular program, I try to connect the audience with a theme by inserting comments between each song. However, it’s not unusual for a producer to be quite happy for me to use sacred songs in a secular program. I have also committed to not doing a Sunday program unless it’s church-related. I need my Sabbath.

Monday, June 2, 2008

06/02/08 - Narelle Worboys (Part 1)

I had a chance to "meet" Narelle through this blog. I've enjoyed getting to "know" her through her website and through e-mails. I asked her to complete the interview that Sarah Barlow and Rebekah Hall did. I do hope that you've been encouraged by these interviews of these wonderful single women!

Narelle comes to us all that way from New Zealand!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Name: Narelle Worboys
Age: 31
Occupation: Publisher, novelist, musician, fashion columnist and founder of Boutique Narelle [www.boutiquenarelle.blogspot.com], housekeeper /secretary/computer technician to my parents, freelance distributor of million $ note tracts, long-distance aunty, media studies, Operation Christmas Child regional co-coordinator with my Dad.

Share with us about these years of being single, what are you doing to fully enjoy them, to relish this season?

I love everything I’m doing! It amazes me that these endeavours, or the skills to do these endeavours, were barely visible in my teen years. I know so many teens vibrating with talent and purpose and I’ve watched them churn away into a world of productivity, but I wasn’t like that. I’m a slow burner. It took a while for the fires to get really going. I’m okay with that, because I can see how the Lord has steadily led me in His paths, preparing me for His purpose. How long it takes is in His hands, and I trust those Hands.

When did you make this commitment to remain emotionally pure for your husband?

I'm coming up 32, happy, heart-whole thanks to the Lord's tender mercies, and healthy in spirit if not in body.

Homeschooled, raised to be a wife and mother, I expected to marry as soon as I finished school, but our family never talked about how that should come about, the process of match-making. Having only a vague sense of the courtship model, I reached my 19th birthday in shock that I was still in limbo. I followed an employment track laid out by my father in his business of running an education service, happy to do his bidding but I had no personal vision, no physical direction, no guidance for my very active emotional and thought life.

Any business, social, or mission activities were dramatically cut off in my 20th summer by a sudden descent into what became a chronic illness. My friends describe me as bubbly and to most people outside my family (the few who actually see me) I look perfectly normal, but I'm quite a sick girl.

Somewhere around 1997, homeschooling friends introduced us to the newly published “Romance God’s Way” by Eric and Leslie Ludy (they were in NZ on the previous day and we hadn’t known it!). I avidly consumed this and the other materials in their early collection (I watched the seminar video so many times), and a little while later Joshua Harris’ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” followed. I welcomed what these taught, sharing them enthusiastically with my friends but never having a down-to-basics conversation with my parents about the personal application to our family.

A few years prior to this, I embarked on a long-distance friendship with a guy who shared my love of music, writing, and laughter. I saw him about once every 12-18 months, and from the start I was grateful he was 3 years younger than I, removing the pressure of possible romance.

I knew we were under scrutiny and I was determined for our relationship to be a positive testimony. But a friendship can’t be orchestrated. Like the spirit of a man, you cannot see it or take hold of it and order it to your will. I was writing fiction (a collection titled “When Waiting”) expressing the challenges of living with a Romance God’s Way outlook, but I couldn’t resolve my own story.

My mother and my aunt both expressed to me their opinion that platonic relationships never work and that I would be wise to separate myself from him. I told myself they thought that because their background was in dating. I was sure there was a Christ-honouring way for guys and girls to be friends without being romantic, but my own guy/girl friendship was turning sour as we slowly drifted apart.

I fought it, doing everything I knew to preserve it and my integrity at the same time. I was greedy – I wanted more, and I wanted our friendship the way it used to be. I didn't want him for a husband, but I cared very deeply for him. He'd been my closest friend, often my only friend, for more than a decade. The Lord made it clear to me that I needed to sever the relationship, but I didn't understand why.

I obeyed, and it was the hardest thing I've had to do next to holding my dog while she was put down. It felt like my friend had died, too, as though I'd attended his funeral, and yet I didn't have closure, because the 'deathbed' scene hadn't been scripted carefully enough and I made a mess of it. I grieved for nearly two years, fighting against the urge to contact him, to hear news of him (complicated by not having a friend to fill his place and the fact I was going through a Job's Testing with all the other things I most loved in life). And yet, oddly, I also felt a wonderful release, an invigorating freedom to let go of the past and get on with my life. I did wild things like cut my hair, curl my lashes, and start singing solo in public. I thank the Lord for introducing me to several girls with whom I correspond. I treasure the friendship they offer me.

"Emotional Purity" was brought to my attention in the southern spring of 2007 (heartfelt gratitude to Genevieve Smith for this!), and I think it's fair to say it was the most welcome and refreshing book I've ever read. I gasped with relief, I laughed for joy at the truths expressed, I cried for all the pain I'd gone through in my ignorance. I wished someone had shared it with me sooner. Years sooner.

Knowing myself, that I love quickly and deeply, in the severest sense I should not engage in any girl/guy friendship, and I'm hugely wary of that now, but his faithful friendship was a joy and stimulation in my quiet, difficult existence during a period when any friends I'd made as a teenager disappeared into thin air or their own busy work and social lives. My health moated me in an isolated castle, and to be without friends entirely...well, I can't say it was wrong for me to be friends with him. I do think that my family and I were ill-equipped for conducting such a friendship. Though sincere, I was naive and unprotected.

In the past couple of years the Lord has blessed me with improved health (some of the time!) and a host of activities into which I can pour my attention. After reading Heather's book, I started on “So Much More - the Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God” by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, which has worked further miracles of understanding, passion and vision, and contentment. My social life, outside of my family, is almost non-existent, but somehow the Lord has enabled me to be happy despite this. I can't say how I'd handle another bout of Job's Devastation, and I can’t figure out how when I was trying so hard I could have got something so wrong, but I know that stubborn faith does see us through and that the Lord is entirely faithful and worthy of my trust and adoration. That is enough.