Count your blessings! Do you know how special you are? Do you know that just by having a magazine like this in your hands, that your Father in Heaven desires amazing things for you? As if that isn’t fantastic all by itself, look at the people He has placed in your life that enabled you to have a magazine like this in your hands. These folks desire for you to grow in purity and godly wisdom, and to be as well-prepared as possible for your role as a wife, a mother, and a daughter of the King!
For me, I didn’t know encouragement and instruction like this even existed when I was younger. However, as I look back I can see how my Abba shielded me from many things in spite of my ignorance.
I grew up in a church-going family, however church and Bible- minded things seemed to fit neatly into its box, generally from 9:45 AM to noon on Sundays. As I grew into high school years, that box extended into Sunday nights and sometimes even Wednesdays! I attended public high school and I assure you that academics were not the main focus. Life pretty much revolved around who was dating who and for how long until they got bored or angry or jealous and moved on to the next object of affection. Not exactly a great training environment for marital bliss! During this time, I was very involved in playing tennis which, to my parents’ delight, occupied most of my time and energy. Although a little later than most of my peers, I did succumb to the environment and “got myself a boyfriend” at the age of sixteen. Where were the adults warning me of such foolishness? Where were the friends telling me to guard my heart until marriage? It was quite the opposite. This fellow and I grew up in the same church, same school, even the same tennis team. To the world’s eyes (including everyone in our church), it just made sense.
To make a VERY long story shortER, that season of foolishness (as I like to call it) lasted 4 years. Half of that time was spent two states apart which I later realized was part of Abba’s protection over me. Nonetheless, I followed this individual out of state for my first two years of college. Now we were both 10 hours from our parents’ oversight and the seeds of temptation are so easily planted on that kind of fertile soil. Still, we were considered “good” compared to the behavior so rampant in the college scene around us. But I knew my Father in Heaven saw everything, every deed and even to the depths of my unspoken words and thoughts. I tried not to let it bother me too much, after all everyone around us joked like I was already married. It wasn’t until the middle of my sophomore year of college, when I went on a weekend retreat with a college ministry, that I heard my first teaching on purity. Hard to believe I know! This young wife in her twenties said things that blew my mind. Granted, the idea of modesty as you probably know it was a foreign concept at this event. She told a story of how she discovered that the way she dressed and even the way she propped up her feet while traveling with her intended caused such problems for him in terms of emotional purity. The thought had never crossed her mind and it was clear it had never crossed the minds of the 150 college girls in her audience. What little I learned in that short retreat stayed with me and I was excited as my inner circle of friends vowed to be accountability partners with each other in regards to our behavior with our boyfriends. Sisters, do you have any idea how terrible it is to think back that I put myself in a position to have to have accountability partners for such a thing?!?! Before I go on, PLEASE believe me that the lure of excitement that might make it seem worthwhile to spend time alone with a man who you are not married to doesn’t hold a candle to the years of regret and shame that come from such choices.
I know that my Abba is merciful and forgiving so please don’t think that I allow the enemy to torment me about my past choices. I definitely do not but there are consequences to our choices that follow us through life. I am so excited that there are so many of you out there who will choose wisely and learn from those of us who have made mistakes in this delicate area of relationships.
Let me fast-forward to my junior year of college and a transfer to my home state to a large university. This took me 6 or 7 hours from you-know-who but we continued to pursue a long- distance relationship. Now I come to the crux of the matter—all those years were spent giving attention and affection to the man that Adonai had NOT chosen to be my husband!!! It wasn’t my first year at Southern, not my first quarter, not my first month; it was during my first week there that I met the man who Abba had chosen for me! Actually I think it was the day after I moved into my apartment! Let’s just say that “things got complicated” is an understatement. It was several months before I developed a friendship with Jeff and another half of a year before I could acknowledge the turmoil within me. Guess what it took to bring it all to a head? The other guy proposing, that’s what! I’ve heard people talk about hearing the audible voice of the Father and I can’t say I’m one of those who can claim that….but I did on this occasion! And what I heard was a resounding “NOOOOOO”. But what did I hear come out of my mouth? Believe it or not, I said yes. And I sat there in shock with two thoughts in my head: “What have I done?” and “What about Jeff?” The second thought took me by surprise. Let’s just say that it was one of the shortest engagements on record as I came to my senses. I hurt someone very badly in the process. I know all of that could’ve been avoided had I had more wisdom at age sixteen. I’m fairly certain I would’ve listened to some exhortation. Maybe I would’ve been stubborn and done it my way anyway…only Abba knows.
I would love to tell you that as Jeff and I decided to pursue our future together that we never even held hands until I walked down the aisle. I’m sorry I can’t say that. After spending most of my teenage years with a boyfriend, I had no trouble jumping head first into dating Jeff. He spoke of marriage in the first week and the concept frightened the stew out of me! After all, I had broken off an engagement far too recently. Still, I could tell things were different with him and while it was a time of growing closer to Abba and learning from this man who He had chosen for me, Jeff and I struggled with physical purity. Still, in the world’s eyes we were good kids but we knew our Abba knew better. I’m telling you, this writing can attest not only to the dangers of dating, but the dangers of sending kids off to college, away from accountability and the supervision of parents! But our story has a happy ending. After “dating” for a year and a half, and having a ridiculously long engagement of 10 months (primarily due to the Marine Corps), we were finally wed in October of 1999.
Ten years later, I can tell you that I am married to my best friend and I am much more in love with him now than during our silly college years. He has given me a wonderful life and enabled me to stay home and teach our children. If any of you have read “Created to be His Help Meet” then you’ll know what I mean when I say I am married to the classic Mr. Steady. I wouldn’t have it any other way! His wise and methodical approach to decisions balances out my spontaneous and not always well thought-out plans. He loves to see me succeed in my endeavors as a wife, mother, and individual.
He is my go-to guy with any question regarding the Scriptures. I am nowhere near his league when it comes to deep matters of Biblical thought. So when he is with his spiritual brothers in Messiah discussing and debating the nuances of the Word, I watch and listen in awe at what he knows. But in the same way that there are both male and female aspects to the nature of our Heavenly Father, I can see how perfect Abba’s plan is for our life together. Jeff is the deep thinker and student of the Word and I look for the practical application; how do we apply this as parents, how do we teach our children right from wrong?
I still have so much to learn! If there is such a thing as righteous envy, that is what I have for you young ladies who are growing up in the wisdom of guarding your hearts and preparing yourselves to be the best women possible.
It would be remiss of me not to point out that possibly the single greatest encouragement Abba has given us in regards to raising our family is the family of this magazine’s creator. Their example hasn’t been in the words they have spoken as much as it has been in simply watching them live! We are blessed to call them our dear friends and so thankful for the wisdom we’ve gleaned over the last 5 years.
Like I said before, I still have so much to learn as I overcome my years of ignorance but this magazine is helping me in that quest! I am amazed at what I learn from young ladies who contribute to SSM—they study the Word and have gleaned so much understanding at such young ages. It excites me that I can teach my children not to settle for the world’s standards and that their Father in Heaven has such amazing plans for them.
My husband and I often point out how glad we are that our children are growing up in a very different way than we did. It’s not a pat on our back—we know our righteousness is a filthy rag. But through our Father’s grace and love poured out through Messiah, I can confidently say that Jeff and I are enjoying each day of our journey as “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).