pdf of Issacharian Daughters – ID064 – click on link below for correct layout and photos
The next newsletter is attached and the text from the newsletter (though not the photos) follows this note.
Many of you have asked me to share the “40 pages of questions” with you that Pete and I went through as we determined whether to enter into a courtship (refer to Issacharian Daughters newsletters #058 and #059 “Beautiful Words – My Engagement Story”). The questionsI referred to were notones I had written up (though I had written down plenty of my own questions to ask afuture suitor one day!) so I cannot share them with you. I’m encouraging the compiler of thequestions toput them into a booklet and sell it – though you never know, I might be able to share them with you in the future! They are simply fabulous questions and were very helpful to Pete and I.
In the meantime, I thought it would be a marvellous thing if we compiled our own list of questions! Sit down and think to yourself, “If a man was interested in marrying me, what would I want to know about him before I could consider marrying him?” Or, “What would I want a suitor to know about me?” The questions can be just as much used by him to get to know you as by you to get to know him! Or, “What convictions do I have and what could I ask a man to determine if he shared the same convictions?” Or, “What experiences has he had? What is his vision for the future? What likes and dislikes? What are his passions and interests? What direction is he going? What messages are on his heart?” And then compose questions to probe and find the answers to these sorts of questions and musings! These might be questions that you would want to ask or your father would want to ask. We can include them all in our Questions! They might be questions to simply get to know someone who is a stranger or questions to get to know someone at a deeper level or questions to discover areas of unity or disunity.
When Pete and I went through the questions we learned all sorts of wonderful and important things about one another such as our beliefs on various points of doctrine. This was great. After we started courting I realised that there where some really basic things I’d never learned about him, such as his middle name – which is Alexander – and how to pronouce his last name!
Naturally those points were quickly addressed! So our Questions can ask for information about simple and normal things such as his favouriteicecream flavour as much as heavier things such as how he has prepared to lead a family.
Sit down then and think about what questions you would want to ask a future suitor. Write them down and email them to me. You could discuss this with your father, mother, siblings or friends. Talk with them about what questions they think you might want to or may need to ask. They might have their own questions that they would want to ask someone themselves who was interested in pursuing you! Email all of the questions you come up with to me. Lord willing, I will be able to compile them all and send them out in a future newsletter.
Have a great week,Genevieve Smith
PS. Hasn’t this”Courting Chair” series been great? Many of you have asked to see a photo of the courting chair. I don’t have one in this final part, but there is a possiblity that I might be able to share one with you in the future – so stay tuned!
Monday, 12 November 2007
The Courting Chair?? Part 4?? Final
AmyAll summer long Dad had been talking about a trip to South Dakota to see the L’s. Finally a date was set for the middle of November. I left home in October, ahead of my family, to take part in a friend’s wedding. I visited a few other friends along the way before meeting my family in Iowa, where my grandparents live.
Before I left, Zach asked if he could call me on my cell phone to make sure I arrived safely at each of my stops. I was delighted that he asked. It would be nearly three weeks before we’d get to South Dakota, and I wouldn’t have an opportunity to keep up our usual e-correspondence. Fun as the trip promised to be in other respects, I was not happy about being??away ?? from Zach for so long.
True to his word, Zach called at every step along my journey. When I arrived at my grandparents’ house at the end of it, he called for one reason or other every day. Once it was to let me know how the South Dakota elections came out, another time to tell me it was snowing. I noticed that any reason sufficed, and I didn’t mind a bit. I knew Daddy didn’t mind if he called me. What I didn’t know was that he had my dad’s permission to court me.
My family joined me in Iowa, and we spent a few days together there before traveling to South Dakota. We arrived at the L’s mid afternoon on Saturday, November 11th. There was much excitement among the Bentley and Lautenschlager clans as we greeted each other and unloaded the van. After dinner we gave Zach a couple of late birthday presents. One of these, of course, was the flag I had made. This got rave reviews from all, though Zach himself said little?? just that he couldn’t tell me how much he liked it.The next day after church a winter picnic had been planned. We drove up into the Black Hills to beautiful Lake Sheridan, bringing hot dogs, bratwurst, baked beans and mocha to warm us up. Our immediate families were joined by a few extras?? Donna L’s folks, and her sister who was visiting with her daughters. We grilled our brats and dogs over a wood fire, and Zach found a tarp for some of us girls to sit on?? looking out over the lake. He joined us, but soon he and I found ourselves alone, as our siblings wandered off for one reason or another. He commented on the lovely view of the lake, and we chatted about this and that. Then the tone of the conversation changed. He began telling me how important my friendship was to him. He told me that he had my daddy’s permission to court me, and now he wanted to ask for mine. I told him that he had it.
We sat there awhile and talked about just what we meant by that word??courtship. ?? We both agreed that it was a relationship specifically looking towards marriage. We both saw things that made us believe God was leading us to marriage. This was the time when we would be looking for God’s continued confirmation, or for Him to clearly show us that this was not His will. We both agreed that our families, especially our parents were an important part of this process. We wanted their help. So, we got up and went over to our families to make the official announcement that we were??courting. ??
Before he asked to court me, Zach had written out his thoughts on the purpose, themes, and direction for our courtship. He chose Psalm 127 for our theme scripture, the Psalm which begins??Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. ?? As we sought marriage with all its blessings and fruit, it must always be in submission to Him. Zach set purity, honor, humility, and honesty as the theme for our courtship, and promised these things to me. And he began to pull together issues that we needed to address and discuss. These issues included things as diverse as diet, church authority, state authority, modesty, birth control, and on and on. If we were to be married, we needed to be in significant agreement on significant subjects.
Over the week of our visit Zach and I hardly stopped talking. It was so nice to be able to give him my time and attention, and to have it be right and appropriate to do so. We talked about the roles God designed us for?? he was the leader, I was to follow and help him. We talked about the blessings God had given us through faithful parents and grandparents?? of truths they strove to learn and live, and had taught to us. This treasure God had given to us, and we must protect it and pass it on to our children. We turned over every stone we could think of to find any possible show-stoppers. Neither of us wanted to find a reason we should not be married, but we both agreed it would be easier now than to discover something further down the road when our hearts were more involved.
During this week we also had more time to work together. What an important confirmation that was! One of the things I knew I needed to be to my husband was a helper, suited to his needs. We found as we worked together we made each other better. We also found the work more fun. We had both prayed for spouses with whom we could work. It was exciting to see potential even greater than what we had imagined. God was answering our prayers.
We both loved the official title of being a courting couple. There was so much more we could now say?? like Zach telling me in more detail how much he loved and appreciated the flag. (He took to showing it to everybody who walked into the house.) And our dear families were understanding, and encouraged us doing things together. When he sat down, I was guaranteed a seat beside him. Whichever vehicle he was riding in was the one I rode in too. When he worked in his office, I was his assistant by default. We were usually the first ones up in the mornings, and Zach would build a fire in the woodburning stove. Then we would sit in its warmth and read our Bibles, pray and talk together.
All summer long I’d heard from Zach about the Great American Adventure show for which I had designed the costumes. Before we left, he arranged one final performance for the season. He had invited friends and family to join the crowd. It was wonderful to hear the music in person?? very much like the music I’d loved the first time Zach and I met. And it was neat to meet more of the people who were special to my man.
We said our good-byes early in the morning of November 19?? just a week into this thing called courtship. There were no good-bye kisses, or??I love you’s. ?? We both wanted to save those things up for later. He did hug me, though, and tell me he would be working hard?? preparing a place for me.
˜ ??After that visit, phone calls were at least daily occurrences. We could talk for hours, and Zach’s papa teased that once we were married we would have nothing left to talk about. We talked about housing possibilities, big families, theology, politics?? you name it. We worked together on a newsletter for his gun rights organization and he made me his research director.
A courtship, as we see it, is not the same thing as an engagement. We were not promised to marry each other at this point. But because Zach had waited until he was pretty sure I was the one for him, and because I was also pretty sure, it was hard not to assume that marriage would be the outcome. Both of us agreed courtship was something we really wanted to do just once. Every day made us more sure this was indeed the way God was leading. Our parents and family continued to support us every step of the way.
Zach Amy played her part so very well. I was simply amazed at her brilliant ability to actively help and support me. After just a few weeks of official courtship, I knew beyond doubt I wanted to marry her. Now I needed to be sure it was what God wanted.
Throughout our courtship period, we had been actively looking for things to indicate that marriage was not His will, some fundamental thing that we couldn’t agree on, some incompatibility, or anything else to indicate God had not created us for each other. My father and grandfather were also seeking God in prayer, asking Him to show us if marriage was not His will. But rather than finding problems, all any of us could identify were deeper and deeper areas of agreement and compatibility.
I spent several days in fasting and prayer. Amy and her dad joined me on the last day. We wanted to be married more than just about anything else in the world, but by God’s grace we laid that desire at His feet. As I wrestled with the decision in prayer throughout the day, I only became more sure, more and more peaceful. When I got up the next morning, I was positive it was God’s will for us to be married. He had created us for each other.Not too long after that, I called Jack and officially asked him for his daughter’s hand in marriage. He graciously consented, and we began looking for ideas on how I would??pop the question. ?? Over the next several weeks I prepared to visit Mobile over Christmas, and a plan started to develop.˜ ??
Amy A month after I left South Dakota, Zach flew to Mobile. It was so good to see each other again. I’m amazed how much you can miss someone in a month! I didn’t know what to anticipate from this visit. I knew absolutely by this time that I wanted to marry Zach. I knew he was my perfect man?? not perfect in the moral sense, he was a sinner, but he was perfect for me. I knew God had formed us for each other. I could not but wonder about a Christmas engagement, but I wasn’t sure. The time period of three months had been batted around for our courtship. Three months wouldn’t be up until February 12th. I was praying I would not have to wait so long, but also praying for patience if I should have to. I knew I had the potential ability to sway Zach in his decision?? to press him to do what I wanted, but I did not want to be that kind of woman. God created men to lead, and so I asked grace to follow.Two days after Zach’s arrival, on Dec. 21st, we met with my pastor for pre-engagement counseling. That was really rather fun. It was great to sit and listen to my man talk with my pastor about his vision and prayer for his family. His wisdom and humility do not cease to amaze me. That evening our family was invited to dinner with the Fell family?? old, dear friends who simply had to meet Zach before they left town for Christmas. I was looking forward to introducing them, and also to showing Zach a fun old piece of furniture they had just finished restoring after Hurricane Katrina smashed it to pieces?? my old friend, the courting chair.Dinner with the Fells is usually casual?? plastic plates and order-out pizza, as often as not. Tonight it was grilled pork loin served on fine china?? an early Christmas celebration, I supposed. Mrs. Fell’s mother had picked the loveliest Camellia flowers to decorate the table. She pointed out two perfect, snowy blooms:??For the bride and groom. ?? I blushed and squirmed inwardly for what Zach must be thinking. No, I was not going around telling people we were as good as engaged! After dinner was cleared away, and everybody was busy talking here and there, Zach asked me if I’d like to go sit in the courting chair. We went into the quiet front room and sat down within the embrace of the old, polished wood. I so appreciated his making this chair special to him because he knew it was important to me. I looked into his eyes, and he began to tell me that I was precious to him, and then he was standing up and drawing something from his pocket?? and down on one knee in front of me asking me to be his wife. I paused, to savor the awe and beauty of a moment I had dreamed about for years. Then I gave the only answer I could imagine:??Yes. ??Now after finding so many ways to show me over the last months, Zach told me for the first time that he loved me. A waltz began to play in the background, and he asked me to dance. The old courting chair looked on in approval?? it had done its job once more.˜ ??
Our courtship was officially rather short?? five weeks, four days, three hours, fifteen minutes, seven seconds (approximately). But, we have found, the form isn’t really that important. What matters, and what makes courtship different from dating, has to do ultimately with the heart. Purity. Honor. Honesty. Humility. These themes that Zach chose for our courtship say it very well. Even before our courtship began, he was living these things towards me. From the beginning we sought to have a pure and wholesome friendship, and engage our minds before our hearts. Being in love is simply delightful, but we knew we had to think first. Because we did, we have a sweetness and security in our love. We don’t just feel that we will have a wonderful marriage; we have every reason to believe so because of the work God prompted us to do ahead of time. We worked to truly get to know each other?? not just to find out how the other person made us feel. We looked to see if God had suited us for each other, and when we began to see He had, we pursued marriage, not just a good time with no strings attached. We aren’t stoics. We have feelings, emotions, passions. But by God’s grace we tried to keep these in check until we knew that moving forward was not only fun, but wise.The path we walked is kind of an odd one. It wasn’t what I had expected my path would be. It isn’t like any other courtship story I’ve heard. But it is such a delight to look back and see God’s wise and faithful leading. It is such a blessing to be able to stand here and say??I have no doubts. I know I was created for Zach, and he for me. I know that the God who brought us to this place will continue to lead and guide and bless. I can trust Zach with my heart and my future because I trust God. ?? I can’t imagine a sweeter place to be. Zach and I are planning ninety-three years of married bliss, and praying for twenty-four children. Yes, we continue to be odd. It has worked well for us so far.
For the Greater Glory of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
Genevieve SmithIssacharian Daughter
Notes:I have sent this email to girls who have embraced a vision of victorious daughterhood as well as those who may be thinking about doing so (and even to some girls who may just like some encouragement regarding different areas of home life). Some of the girls are in the USA, UK, Australia and other parts of the world. Most are in New Zealand. You are welcome to forward this email on to others so long as you do so in its entirety. If you do not want to receive these emails please just send a return email to me stating that fact. If you know of other girls who would be encouraged by receiving these emails, feel free to forward the email to them or send me their email address.