A Love Story Retold: Letting God Write Your Love Story {Part 3/4}

Our Love Story, continued from yesterday….

The time line is a bit blurred in my mind, but somewhere along the way, close to the Holiday’s, the Lord asked me to let go of it all.  My dreams, my plans, my hopes, all of it.  He needed me to let go so He could take over. And when He takes over, AMAZING things occur!

He began to speak to me about Courtship instead of dating.  I finally had a name for what He had been asking me to do in High school.  He was asking me to be friends with a guy, hanging out with my family and his, until the Lord told me “Yes, this is the man I have for you, Tonya.”  Courtship is dating with the intent of marriage.  He was asking me to wait to date, UNTIL I found my spouse.  Interesting.

Then He brought me “THE BOOK”.  The book that forever changed my life and altered my course….

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“When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy.

By the second page in the book words were LEAPING off the page and grabbing my heart…..

“…….You have searched for true love in your own way.  But my ways are not your ways.  I want to script a beautiful tale just for you, but first you must trust Me with the pen of this precious area of your life.  Will you let Me write your love story?”

“God is longing to write your love story.  A love story far beyond the most incredible fairy tale ever written. Will you give Him the pen today?”

  What a thought!  God was longing to compose MY love story, my very own fairy tale?  WOW!   He cares about all the areas of our lives, even this one, what a thought!   He was asking me to hand Him the pen, stop worrying, stop planning….and just sit back and hang on for the ride of my life.

Book-WDCT-2I  was so excited about what I was reading, that I bought this book and the next one for 7 of my friends (including Dale). I knew it was going to change their lives!  It’s called “When Dreams Come True” and tells the true love story of the couple, Eric and Leslie, who handed over the pen and let God script them a beautiful story.

More of Eric and Leslie’s AMAAAZING books are found here at http://ellerslie.com/Books.html  I highly recommend them for pre-teens and teens, and their parents as well!

Some of their popular titles include:

Authentic Beauty

Teaching True Love to A Sex-At-13 Generation

When God Writes Your LIFE Story

God’s Gift to Women

This couple has started an incredible ministry working towards raising youth to be a light to a dark world, to be IN the world but not OF the world. Play around on their website when you get a chance!!!!

Ok, so that was a major bunny trail, but an important one.  Back to the story:

After months apart, Dale & I decided to start spending time together again, we missed each other so much!  We were determined to just “Be Friends”, but we felt so much more.  Not long after this, we decided to take a week, not see each other or talk, but fast and pray, seeking God on our knees as to whether this could be turned into a courtship or not. Once again, the Lord began speaking to me immediately about forgiveness. As in, Dale prayed with me about our week apart and left, and before he had even left the neighborhood, I opened a book and there in front of me lay a 12 Steps To Forgiveness page. No doubt, the Lord was asking me to forgive as He had forgiven me, I knew this by now. He spoke to Dale too that week, about making things right with his past relationships.  That amazing man called each girl he had been in a relationship with, and asked their forgiveness for not respecting them as he should have.  Some were tearful and thankful, some called him crazy.

But as far as our Courtship?

The Lord was silent.

{SIGH} Fine. Friends it is.

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That Christmas Eve, during the candlelight service at church, 1 year later almost to the day that my world fell apart, I forgave my dad and walked away from the ugly bitterness I had been carrying!  Praise God for the freedom that comes from forgiving, my relationship with my dad is a close one, and I had missed him!  I also forgave Dale for his past that night and let it go, to be stewed about no more.  Jesus’ blood was strong enough to cover any and every sin, why was I worried it wasn’t strong enough to cover Dale’s indescrestions of the past? 

  What a load off! I tearfully rejoiced, feeling light and free!!!  I was SO thankful my relationship with my dad was restored to better than ever, and that I could enjoy my time around Dale without always thinking of his past!

It was the next night, at a Christmas celebration with family and friends that the Lord gave us the green light to pursue a courtship, dating with the intent of marriage, and we were thrilled!  He had been waiting for my forgiveness of the 2 men in my life all along!

Family and friends had been teasing us that we basically were like a couple anyways, and it was obvious we loved each other, why didn’t we make it official already?  We were hesitant to “slap a label on it”, but mostly, scared the Lord would take us away from each other again if we acted outside His will.

We were sitting at the piano, shoulder to shoulder, dinking around and talking about our relationship.  I told him what my mom had told me just the other day that maybe God was asking us to take a step of faith before He answered us.  Hmm, what a thought!   Dale thought for a minute then turned to me and says something like, “What if I ask you to be my girl right now?”  I hesitated, made and face and was like, “Welllll…”.

“See,” he says,”it’s so scary. I can’t do this alone, tell me what you are thinking in here (points to heart) rather than here (points to head).”

“Well, in my heart I’d say yes in a second, but then all those doubts creep in my mind.”  I just couldn’t lose Dale again!

We go on for about 10 more minutes trying to decide what God was asking us.  Finally,  he turns to me and says…

“So, do you want to be together?”

Me: “More than anything!”

Dale: “Ok then, let’s do this, let’s take the next step.”

Me: “Ok.” Big smile.

Silence.

Dale: “So are we together?”

Me: “I think so.”

Dale: “Do you feel any different?”

Me: “No.”

Dale: “Me neither.”

Me: “Is that a bad thing?”

Dale: “No, I don’t think so.”

Me: “Ok.”

Dale: “Ok.”

{BIG SMILES ALL AROUND}

In that moment, we realized nothing was different, we had been a couple all along, just without the label! I am sure the Lord was happy we were finally “getting it”!  Sometimes He speaks in a whisper, other times Neon flashing lights.  We heard His whisper that Christmas night, what a beautiful gift!  🙂

Now that the “label” issue was out the way, we fully embraced our Courtship and began to spend time together once again, with me going to his family functions and he coming to mine.  My family adored him!  How could they not?  There was never a dull moment when he was around!!!!

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Soon after this, the Lord called Dale to travel with the ministry team“Souled Out” again.  This time for 6 months!  I was SO sad he was leaving, but knew the Lord needed him.  He walked away from his job knowing it may not be waiting for him when he returned.  (It wouldn’t be.) What a test this long distance relationship was for us, but through the ups and downs of it, our love just grew stronger, and Dale (who DOESN’T write) filled a journal FULL of love letters to me while he was gone. What a special gift.

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Dale came home for a visit the first week in June, around our 6 month anniversary, and we went ring shopping. HOW EXCITING! I had been waiting to do this my whole life.  Sadly, Dale told me since he left his job to travel with the ministry team, he had no money, and it’d probably be another year until he could save up for it.  I was totally ok with that, floating on my happy love bubble.  No worries, for him I could wait!

The very next morning, as we worshiped in church, my Pastor called me up on stage.  I was worried what kind of sermon analogy I was going to be!  He told me to close my eyes……and when I opened them, there was Dale, on his knee in front of me, with tears in his eyes and a ring in his hand.  My heart was pounding, my palms were sweating…..this was IT!

THE MOMENT I had been dreaming of!

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Dale looked me in the eyes and spoke, voice thick with emotions:

“Tonya, I could list a million reasons why I love you, but it boils down to this…..God let me love you.  You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  I’m going to ask you one question…….

WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

I wiped my tears and THREW my arms around him!  I had found my Mr. Wonderful, I was going to be his bride, THIS was my happily ever after!  All those months of heartache and doubt, all those times of questioning what God was asking me to do…..all of it built up to this life changing, dream making moment.  The moment I said YES!

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That August, as I turned 19, I sat to write my Future Husband a love letter, as I had since I was 13, but this time I got to write on top….My Dearest Dale.  What a tear-filled, joyful letter it was!  I tucked it away in my shoebox, knowing that by my next birthday, I’d be a happily married woman!

Dale and I were engaged for a whole year, something our children will NOT be allowed to do. It’s so hard to remain pure, plus it’s just waaaay too long to plan a wedding.  It gave OCD me, more than enough time to comb through the details of the big day, organizing and reorganizing each detail!

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As the year-long engagement finally came to an end, I could scarcely believe it, May 24th, 2002 was here.  I was about to marry my best friend and become Mrs. Tonya Ferguson!!!!!!!!!!!!

Conclusion tomorrow…..

~T

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8 thoughts on “A Love Story Retold: Letting God Write Your Love Story {Part 3/4}

  1. My husband I did the “courtship” thing. But ours was way to complicated! Our parents were a BIG part of our relationship.(Which is nice but…within reason ya know!?:) ) There was no hand holding.My poor sister had to go EVERYWHERE with us! Thankfully we only courted for a month and then got engaged!:) We were engaged for 7 months. We agree TOTALLY with a very SHORT engagement! My hubby was building our home in that time so we had to wait but,we totally would do it different. It is so hard to stay pure when you have to wait.

    I love to look at pictures from back when! I was looking at some of my hubby and I before we were married and It is amazing how much we have filled out since then. We looked SOOO skinny and well…I am not sure what the word for it is. 🙂

    Thanks for share a glimpse into your life. It is fun reliving it with you.:)You two are so cute together.I hope your weekend is filled with God’s love. I will be thinking of you and sending my love also!:) Hugs,Kristina

    • OH wow! I just hardly ever find someone else who courted. How cool! We are really encouraging our kids to be thinking of dating that way, even now at a young age as we talk about “someday”. I want it hard wired in them! lol 🙂 I emailed Raymond, my info. Is that your hubby?

      • yeah, thats him!:) We don’t mind the courtship part. I kinda like that part where that guy comes and askes the Dad for permission to date/court! I think that is sweet. But as far as how we did it. My hubby doesn’t like it. He always tells me,We did NOT court we dated! hehe! But,I know what you mean about hard wiring it into your kids now. We want to too! Well I will get a letter out to you in a few days. I just like to get snail mail once in a while! Our buisness is our address so most all that time it is work mail. Nothing for me!:)

  2. What a great story!! I so wish I had waited back in the day to get married. But, I really hadn’t started my Christian walk then or really understood the difference between dating and courtship. I have been divorced now for over 10 years now and I truly understand now at 48 what God’s plan for me is. To wait for Him. I was fairly strong willed and always wanting to be in control back in my early years so instead of sitting back and letting God work I, like a bull in a china shop pushed head long into disaster. Details and heartache aside I have learned much about myself in this time. I am hopeful God is working behind the scenes and has the right man out there for me to someday be my husband. Thanks for your candid story.
    Kristal

  3. God broke up the relationship between me and my fiance about two months ago exactly today. We were engaged for about a year when it happened, there are so many factors that say that this relationship may not be from God, but while we were into our 3 month period of just courting God spoke to us from a friend of ours saying that we are to be married. Before we first got together we both prayed to see if this is what God wants for us, and he told the both of us to “Be Still” i took that meaning wait for further instructions, really now i knew what that meant and that was not to get into a relationship, but we did anyway and then a couple of months later God told us that we are for each other. I just wonder why God would say don’t get into a relationship just wait, he didn’t say no or yes just wait, then say later on after we got into a relationship tell us that we are for each other. When i read your story about when you guys broke up, it made me think of when me and my ex broke up, i do know there are things she needs to work on and me to, ever since this break up i have been seeing different signs that encourage me not to give up on the prophecy that God told our friend to tell us. And God said through a pastor that he will restore my broken relationship.

  4. One thing i forgot to mention was that when i said that there were so many factors to say that my relationship was not from God, i meant that this is what a group of people were saying.

I adore hearing from you, comment away! :)

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