Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "The Divine Matchmaker" (Joel Johnson, Casey Johnson)

Hook, line and sinker. I *so dig* how this dude went through all of this *just to court her*...

"It took Joel months of prayer to wade through the ocean of intense feelings that he had for Casey. But he did not falter in keeping his vow to God; he was resolute in his decision not to pursue Casey until God clearly guided him to do so.

After four months of mitigating his heart's overwhelming sentiment towards her, Joel, with the grace of God, finally subdued his will. For the first time in months, Joel's will, concerning this subject, was deeply and truly ready to do whatever God wanted without waver. Two weeks later, in January, he heard God speak to him and the Holy Spirit guided him to pursue Casey. Joel eagerly responded by following God's leading with a brave heart!

A few weeks later in Houston, Joel asked Casey out to lunch. Casey accepted. Lunch lasted seven hours. Two days later, January 27th, after traversing through a whole day of prayer and a sleepless night, Joel invited Casey out to coffee at Barnes & Noble. They walked around the store pursuing various portrait and photography books, but most of the time they spent talking and, more than they ever had before, laughing. Joel invited Casey to sit. They sat on the floor side-by-side, leaning against a tall, oak bookshelf. As Casey and Joel looked through one particular book, which was filled with various pictures of lions and their cubs, Joel, finally, built up enough courage to ask Casey the question that he knew would lead him to defining his feelings for her. And so he asked, 'What do you think the process of leading up to a wholesome and godly courtship looks like?'

She said, 'Oh?' and then thought for a second or two. She then answered, 'Well, it would have to be a friendship that is centered around God.'

Joel agreed and then asked her if she would like to enter into that kind of friendship with him. He nervously waited for a reply. She said, 'Yes.' Joel spent the next two days in a state of chemical imbalance.

Joel and Casey's friendship grew. They become closer...and closer...and closer...until they become best friends. Joel's heart grew more and more fond of Casey. And who could blame him? He had discovered the most wonderful, beautiful and enchanting woman in the entire world. Once again, Joel sought God for his direction and guidance concerning Casey's and his relationship. One day, as he was praying in a field, he asked the Holy Spirit, 'Do you want me to court Casey?'

The Spirit replied, 'What do you want?'

Joel was momentarily stunned by the Holy Spirit's lively retort, but Joel began to thoughtfully and earnestly search the depths of his heart. What he discovered in his exploration was that there was nothing in the world that he desired to do more. He exclaimed, 'Yes! Yes, I want to court her!" He felt a great peace run over his heart like a strong and steady stream. That very day, Joel planned where and how he was going to ask Casey to court him.

On the morning of May 17th, Joel surprised Casey by cooking breakfast at her apartment and then whisking her off to Dallas for the day. They walked and talked for hours through what seemed like endless gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. In the center of the estate, Joel spotted a very curious-looking tree. It had an unbelievably thick branch that jutted, nearly horizontal, out from its lower trunk. The branch was only about two feet from the ground and had two drooping bows in it. Joel thought it seemed like a perfect place to sit. So, he asked Casey if she would like to join him. She did and they talked some more and laughed much, much more.

In the midst of their conversation, Joel asked Casey what she thought the definition of a courtship was. After some thinking, she defined it to be a relationship with the possibility of marriage. Joel agreed and then, trying not to show his over-enthusiasm, asked her if she would like to enter into a courtship with him. She said, 'I would very much like that.'

They embraced and then prayed, dedicating their courtship to God. Throughout the ensuing weeks and months, Joel and Casey grew incredibly close. They began to care for each other more and more and more and more...until they feel deeply in love. One year and two months after Joel discovered the flames of a heart wholly devoted to Christ, flickering in Casey's eyes, he got down on one knee, and for the very first time, he told Casey that he loved her. He then asked her to marry him. Casey replied...

Joel had stopped reading. My eyes were filled with tears as he tenderly asked me to stand. Joel then got down on one knee and pulled a little black box from his back pocket. (This was the kind of black box that houses a very particular piece of jewelry, one that I had dreamt of receiving since I was a little girl!)

My mind could not help but wonder what the ring looked like. It was an astonishing feeling, the anticipation I felt in my heart, waiting for that little black box to open. The words I had longed to hear my entire life were now coming out of Joel's mouth, 'Casey, will you marry me?'

I must have drifted into a different world because I stood there lost in his deep blue eyes. I was soaking up the moment when I detected a hint of concern in his gaze. I then realized I had neglected to answer him! While I was engrossed in the moment, with my head in the clouds, I had just left him there on his knee in suspense as to what I would say...I think he got a little nervous!

After realizing this, I shouted, 'YES...YES, YES, YES, I will marry you!'

He quickly jumped from his knee, whisked me into his arms and spun me around. We danced one last time on the beach as we told each other over and over again how much we loved each other. After all, it was our very first time saying it.

Sorry to cut into the romantic flow of the story ladies, but I (Joel) felt it necessary to interject a thought here.  Some people are shocked to hear that the first time I ever told Casey that I loved her was after I proposed to her. The reason I never said it before was I didn't want to say those words to any woman I was romantically interested in without a commitment attached to it. I had seen too many relationships move too fast and then end in heartbreak. I had also seen the words 'I love you' used to manipulate other people's feelings. Usually it's the girl who feels the man is making a commitment, but he is really only using the words to get what he wants from the relationship. When I said the words 'I love you' I wanted them to have weight and to really mean something. I wanted them to be attached to the commitment that I would spend the rest of my life with the woman who heard me say them. I wouldn't, and couldn't, use those words unless I truly meant them."---"The Proposal", pgs.22-24

It's a *really good story* complete with tuxedos, white dresses, plane flights, etc. *And that's just the proposal!*. I just don't have the time, today, to type out any more of it out. I'll just leave it at this: A godly man is a good man. He simply loves...*differently*. AND our choices speak to the kind of love that we *truly* desire. Much more than our words. Because when we really want a godly man, we will love *ourselves*...differently.

You can cop this gem here.

Don't settle. *You don't have to*.


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