Issacharian Daughters – ID062

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Monday, 29 October 2007Dear Girls,

The Courting Chair?? Part 2

Zach When people ask how I met my bride-to-be, I sometimes explain that it was all because of a Trojan RV. That week we spent repairing a string of broken-down parts was the week I discovered Miss Amy Ruth Bentley.

When we met a few days before at that Independence Day picnic near Mt. Rushmore, my family felt like we could have known the Bentleys all our lives. My mom and dad chatted with hers like old friends and our siblings were fast becoming buddies. I noticed Amy throughout the day as she cheerfully played games of tag with her younger brothers and sisters and joined her family in entertaining us all with a Psalm sung in 4-part harmony. She also visited with me briefly, but seemed very shy.It was in the week that followed that I began to see what Amy was like. We enjoyed many more discussions, and I learned that she feels strongly about many of the things I believe in. We worked and played together, and she was always ready to help or join in the fun. What impressed me most was that Amy loved being a woman. She radiated femininity.

When the day arrived for the Bentleys to depart, we stood in the yard and waved till they were gone. Then my brother Daniel turned to me and said,??Well, God’s not strapped for girls, is He? ?? I had to agree, the Bentley family was full of delightful girls who shared our worldview, and I considered Amy a definite possibility.

Amy After our departure, Katie and I wrote to each other. Daddy kept in touch on the phone?? talking to Mr. Ray sometimes, more often, to Zach.

About 4 months later, Anna and I were??playing mommy ?? to five children whose parents were out of town. It was the end of October, and my mom called me with surprising news. Zach and Daniel Lautenschlager were coming for a visit. They had been in Texas and were heading to Florida. We lived in the middle, and right on their way.

The way God arranges things is so perfect. Dad was between jobs at this point, and able to spend lots of time with our guests. Anna and I wouldn’t be home until a few days into the visit, but we invited everybody up to??our ?? temporary home for dinner the evening after Zach and Dan arrived. We found out that the day they came to Mobile was Zach’s birthday, and made him a pumpkin pie??birthday cake. ??

Anna and I came home for the last part of the visit. In the next few days I was able to get to know Zach further. I was impressed by his humility and love of truth. In a discussion he was always willing to see another side, willing to be proven wrong if he was wrong. Yet he was strong and thoughtful?? not a push-over to anyone else’s ideas. He was chivalrous too. At church on Sunday someone asked me about myself, and seemed surprised that I was not in college, had no job, and lived with my parents. Zach came quickly to my aid, defending the choices I had made and the worth of my position and work as a daughter in my father’s house.

After Zach and Danny left, my dad asked for my thoughts on both men. Danny, I told him, was fun and kind, and I liked him. But Zach ??in him I saw the kind of man I could follow. My interest was growing.

Zach Our time in Mobile was very precious. I got to spend much of the week with Amy’s father, Jack, and I was impressed by his deep love for Christ and visionary leadership of his family. This was the kind of man I wanted as a father-in-law. At that point, none of us knew whether our relationship would ever go that direction, but the friendship that grew up between Jack and me and the things we learned about each other became foundational in future decisions.

I was also further impressed by Amy’s deep understanding of biblical womanhood. There was nothing Amy wanted to do more than to be a keeper-at-home, and she was skilled at her craft. As a daughter in her father’s house, she had spent her time learning the multiple skills she would need to be wife and help-meet. When Dan and I arrived in Mobile, Amy was busy helping a family in the church. These folks had made adoption their ministry, though others would see some of their precious special-needs kids as only candidates for abortion. Amy was spending two weeks in their home, running the household and caring for five of the children while their parents were with the youngest who was recovering from surgery. We got to go to??Amy’s house ?? for supper one night, and I truly enjoyed seeing how she managed that home.

By the time we left Mobile, I could see Amy had many of the qualities I wanted in a wife, but there was still one major question unanswered for me. I knew I wanted a wife who thinks deeply and is willing and able to share her thoughts with me. In my conversations with Amy, she would very willingly listen to everything I had to say, but she still seemed somewhat distant and reserved. I know now that, from her perspective, she was actually being quite friendly with me, but at that time I didn’t see it. So we parted, and the waiting continued.

Amy Now we were back to sixteen hundred miles apart. Katie and I wrote each other. Dad and Zach talked on the phone. Daddy had become interested in purchasing a few firearms and often called Zach with gun questions. They talked about theology quite a bit too.

Time passed. Over the winter we planned Anna and Peter’s wedding. In early March they were married. They planned another summer of dinosaur digging in South Dakota, and asked if I could come out for a week or two. About this time Dad was talking with Ray Lautenschlager to see if Katie could come pay us Bentley girls a visit. It seemed, though, that she was very busy helping with family projects. One of these was a sewing project??stage costumes for The Fiddlers Three. They had contracted to play five nights a week at a dinner theatre over the summer, and needed historical American costumes to go with the music show they would call The Great American Adventure. Katie had mentioned it would be nice to have my help with the costumes, and my dad liked the idea. He had his eye on Zach, and I was going to South Dakota to see Anna and Peter anyway. The plan for the trip was that I would spend the first half at the L’s, costuming, and the second half with Anna and Peter digging bones?? three weeks in all.

Zach Over the winter, Amy’s dad and I had conversed fairly regularly via phone and email. It had become evident he was at least interested in allowing Amy and me to get better acquainted. It wasn’t anything he or I had said, but was simply the general tone of our correspondence.

Amy had also come up in conversations with my folks. Dad asked me what I thought about her not too long after Dan and I returned from our trip through Mobile. I told him that she was the kind of girl I was looking for, but that I didn’t know if there was any mutual interest; she seemed distant when we talked together. Both Mom and Dad suggested that I take another look. They both had their eye on her, and I see now that they saw many things I had missed.

When Amy volunteered to spend a couple of weeks at our house while she was in South Dakota, giving much-needed help on the costume project, it sounded very good. Maybe she was interested in becoming better acquainted after all. I knew this time would be significant. I determined to keep my eyes and ears open, and to strive to be myself.

Amy My twenty-fourth birthday fell a few days before my departure. Dear friends of mine came for dinner?? a family with several young children that has been a very important part of my life. Their little ones have helped to fill my season of waiting, and also the hole in my heart that longs to be a mommy. The wife and mother in this family gave me a very special birthday gift. It was a letter in which she told me she wanted to give me something more than a gift card or the kind of gift I could unwrap. What she really wanted was to give me the desire of my heart. She knew me well, and knew how I wanted to be married and have a home of my own. So, she told me that for the next month, she would pray daily for me and for my future husband. She would pray that he would be ready, that he would pursue me, that the months would be few until I was married. Five days later I was in South Dakota being picked up at the airport by the Lautenschlagers. Zach, who had a meeting that afternoon, was calling his folks on their cell phone to make sure they pointed out to me Harney Peak?? the highest point between the Rockies and Alps, and his own personal favorite mountain. I’ll always love Harney. Every day I was in South Dakota, my friend back home was praying for me and my future husband.

The costume work began almost at once, fabric shopping, pattern design, mock-ups in muslin, and alterations. I greatly enjoyed the company of all the L’s. They accepted me as one of the family, and it was grand fun. Again, I talked a lot with Zach, and enjoyed it. I got to work with him quite a bit, too. He had the clearest idea of anybody as to what the costumes should look like. I found as we worked on them that he expected excellence from me, and because he expected it, I worked until I achieved it. I loved earning his admiration for my work.

Some of the fabric we needed had to be ordered online. It got delayed, and we finally realized it could not arrive before I went to stay with Peter and Anna. We re-arranged so they would bring me back to the L’s a few days before I had to fly home. While I was away, The Fiddlers Three had an out of town gig. As it happened, I got??home’ before they did, and spent a day-and-a-half with Donna L’s parents, who were pet-sitting.??Grandpa ?? and??Grandma ?? Daniels are dear, and I really enjoyed getting to know them and hear from them some of the history that has made the L’s who they are.

The family returned, and the costume saga continued. As days became fewer, nights became later as we stayed up talking. The last day I was there, Mrs. Donna made all my favorite food for me, and, while Mr. Ray took the rest of us out to a quaint spot for pictures of the new costumes, she decorated the table for a lovely candlelight dinner. Zach told me I was the guest of honor ??like on a birthday ??and so he could ask me the kind of questions that are traditionally (L family tradition) asked to the birthday person. What was my favorite book? What would I do with a million dollars? What was my favorite time of day? Fun questions to discuss, dreadfully hard to answer.

Most of the family took me to the airport in the morning. This time Zach was one of the party. They waved me off from the other side of??security ?? until I could see them no longer.

˜ ??On the flight home I worked on journaling my thoughts. By this time I was beginning to know Zach well. I had come to Rapid City interested, and with eyes open, to see more of who this man was. I left only more interested. I could see in Zach so many qualities I admired. The things he was passionate about were things I loved, they were things that mattered?? like raising faithful children, defending life and liberty, advancing the kingdom of God, and living and telling God’s great gospel story. On a less vital level we had lots of similarities too?? we both liked dogs and not cats. We enjoyed the same music, the same authors, the same heroes. Oh, I knew I was interested?? but I didn’t know if he was. I talked with my parents about what I saw, and they prayed with me for God’s guidance, and His will.

Zach When Amy arrived at the airport we were acquaintances. When she left we were friends. We had spent many hours visiting, and she seemed to open up to me as time progressed. She began sharing her thoughts on different subjects and I was very pleased to discover she thought about things on a very deep level.

I also enjoyed working with her as I have enjoyed working with few others. She strove to achieve the desired look for each costume and was so pleased to please me. I found myself drawn to her gentle and quiet spirit. I could tell she had definite opinions about the way things should be done, but she was ever ready to yield her ideas and do them some other way.

During her stay, I had begun to develop the content of the show we were to perform that summer. My family and I viewed this show as an opportunity to tell the providences of God seen all throughout the story of America. As I started assembling my thoughts, Amy was very interested. We discussed the themes and elements several times, and I always found I could see things more clearly after talking with her.

I believe God designed husband and wife to co-labor in advancing His Kingdom. That’s what Biblical marriage is all about. The husband must act as servant leader, the wife must help, counsel and follow. By the end of the visit, it was beginning to dawn on me that Amy knew how to do this. I wasn’t sure I was seeing her accurately yet, but I was interested in finding out more. (…To be continued! ??)

For the Greater Glory of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Genevieve SmithIssacharian Daughter

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