“I love you, Patrick, with all of my heart.
You taught me what real love is—with your kindness, your caring …
your commitment. From the day I became your wife,
I have felt nothing but safe and cherished and whole.”
—A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman,
People say you should write what you know …
So I write about great marriages that go through trials. Then come out on the other side even better. Like Marcy and Patrick O’Connor in A Passion Denied, where an awful argument separates them emotionally for a time, but when they came back together, the union is stronger, wiser, brimming with more gratitude than ever before.
Trust me, I know—after 36 years of marriage, Keith and I have been there and back more times than we can count. But when the smoke finally clears and God’s precepts of forgiveness and respect have done their job, we are bonded more closely than ever before, which is the stuff true love is made of. Two fallible human beings, cemented together by the grace of God, a spiritual epoxy that no man can put asunder.
What therefore God hath joined together,
let not man put asunder. — Mark 10:9
Whenever I get a letter or email from a reader, telling me they would like to have a marriage like Marcy and Patrick’s someday, I always get tickled. Why? Because I know that not only is it possible, but it’s exactly what God wants for those He’s called to be married. How do I know? Well, because as I mentioned in my Journal Jot a few weeks back, Marcy and Patrick’s marriage in the O’Connor family saga is based on my husband’s and mine, so not only do I know it’s possible, but I also know how it’s possible.
Through prayer and precepts.
It starts off with asking God to shape and mold your marriage the way He wants it to be, then following it up with application of His precepts in that marriage. And if you’re not married yet, then it means praying for God to bring the godly man He wants you to have.
So … in a world where divorce is rampant, I thought it might be fun to highlight another couple who, based on what I know about them, have what I like to refer to as “a marriage made in heaven” (aka … God is in the center and His precepts are applied).
Allow me to introduce you to Mike and Beth Miller.
Beth is a sweet reader friend of mine (I’m not fond of the word “fan”) who is apparently madly devoted to my books. Which is cool because Mike, Beth’s husband, is madly devoted to her! I discovered this when I received an email last year, not from Beth, but from Mike, telling me he wanted to make Beth’s birthday special with a signed copy of my upcoming release. I was completely touched that a husband would take the time to do this for his wife, so Mike and I became fast friends … and fast co-conspirators! Here’s the first email I received from him:
I am writing you on behalf of my wife Beth. She absolutely loves your books and I have bought them all for her to read (which is her favorite past-time). Do you have any upcoming book signings or perhaps a list of appearances you'll be making near Alabama where I might be able to surprise her with a chance to meet you in person or get one of her books signed by you? Please let me know. Look forward to hearing from you. God Bless!
Unfortunately I had no plans to be in Alabama when Mike wrote this email, so I sent him a signed spiral-bound copy (used to enter contests) of A Light in the Window (it was not in paperback yet, but is now, and it was the only book of mine Beth didn’t own) along with bookmarks and bookplates for all of my books. Here’s his response:
“Thank you for doing this for Beth, once you meet her, you'll understand truly why I love her so much. She was made by God just for me ... we're soul mates. You've made one very happy husband, and when she finds out what she's getting from you, a very happy wife and die-hard fan of yours!”
So for Beth’s birthday this year, Mike had preordered Surprised by Love and requested a signed bookplate via the following adorable email:
Our Dear Friend Julie,
Hey it's Mike and Beth. How are you? I am fine, but Beth is suffering from withdrawals after completing your last novel and is in therapy until October, anxiously awaiting your next book.
Isn’t that cute? Well, in addition to the signed bookplate I sent him for the copy of Surprised by Love he preordered, Mike arranged a secret 2nd honeymoon of sorts to the Wyndham Bay Point Resort in Panama City Beach to celebrate Beth’s birthday, where the picture above was taken. It was SO fun to see a photo of this truly special couple, and to go along with it, I asked Beth a little bit about Mike, so here are her words:
“Mike is about 6'7", and I love how tall he is. His hugs are the best. Mike is absolutely wonderful. I could not ask for a better man. He was 40 and I was 30 when we got married. It is both of our first marriage. We are both so thankful that we waited for each other. I always read Christian romance books thinking that I wanted that, but I thought that it would never happen. I never dreamed God had a man as wonderful as Mike for me.”
And for those singles out there who may be reading this blog, I asked Beth for a word of encouragement for you, too, and here’s what she said:
“I did pray for God to show me the man he had for me. I probably started praying in about 5th grade for my future husband. I know my parents and grandparents have also prayed for my future husband.
We met at church. Mike was born in Chicago and lived there until he joined the Army after 9/11. He was stationed at the base close to where I lived in Alabama. My church had a military ministry, and Mike started coming to our church because of that. I was away at Bible college at the time and was only home during holidays and summers.
Mike asked me out 8 years before we started dating. I could not go out with him when he asked and then I moved away, so we did not really see each other for a while. After I moved back, my parents were still going to that church and I requested Mike's friendship on Facebook. We started chatting on there and before long, we were dating. We dated for about a year before we got engaged. Sometimes I wish that we had gotten together 8 years sooner, because now I know what a great man he is. But I know that God got us together in His time. I definitely would not have had the appreciation I do for him if we had gotten married 8 years sooner.” (Author note here: Yes, Yes, Yes!! God’s timing is best!)
Beth continues: “I thought that I was never going to get married. The funny thing is that I really wanted to get married, but I was tired of dating and it not working out. It just seemed like so much work. I decided that God maybe wanted me to be single. I was not interested in dating anyone, at least for a while. I just had such peace in my life. Then God sent Mike a few months later. It was like God needed me to get to that point before He sent me someone. It is truly worth waiting on the one God has for you.”
I totally agree and am praying right now for those of you who have not met your “Mike” yet or those of you whose husband is not quite a “Mike” or “Keith” yet. I know it’s hard, but the most important thing is to keep your eyes on God and make Him #1 in your life. I have found that by praising Him no matter what and applying His precepts in my life and marriage, good things follow. I pray they do for you as well!
Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
WHOO-HOO ... I'M ON THE RADIO NOVEMBER 22-23, 2014!!
Join me on the radio with a fun interview with Ivy Donavan of "Dottin' the I" radio show. Listen and leave a comment, and you're automatically entered into my giveaway for a signed copy of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love. Here's the link, and hope to see you there Saturday from 7-8 PM or Sunday from 2-3 PM, OR on the pre-recorded link on the website after the interviews.
NOVEMBER 24-30, 2014:
Join me on the Artist Librarian blog for a fun article on my books covers and giveaway of winner's choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
DECEMBER 1-7, 2014:
Join me on the Carole Jarvis' blog for an interview and giveaway of winner's choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
MITCH & CHARITY CHRISTMAS NOVELLA RELEASES NOVEMBER 10 FOR ONLY $2.99! WHOO-HOO … I am very excited to announce that I am part of a Seeker Historical Christmas novella collection called Hope for the Holidays that not only features a story on Mitch and Charity, but novellas by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Myra Johnson.
In addition to this historical collection, The Seekers are also releasing a contemporary Hope for the Holidays collection as well, so be sure to check both out on Amazon November 10.
Here’s the blurb for Mitch and Charity’s story, which is called A Whisper of Hope:
Christmas is the season of hope, which is exactly what Charity O’Connor Dennehy is counting on. Since the birth of her twins twelve years ago, she's prayed and hoped for a houseful of babies to love, but it wasn’t meant to be. With a husband dead-set against adoption, there’s barely a whisper of hope to change his mind, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … could it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?
FREEBIES & SALES:
FREE Download of
A Passion Most Pure!
ACFW Debut Book of the Year & almost 300 5-star reviews can't be wrong! See why some have read it 20 times!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW IS FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!! My Irish Christmas love story, A Light in the Window—winner of three awards—is ABSOLUTELY FREE on Kindle Unlimited, so do check it out. Here's the video my hubby did for A Light in the Window with my daughter as the model for both the book and video, so take a peek to get you in the Christmas spirit. ALITW Video.