When the Courtship Crashes

2 May 2013, 06:00




“Lindsey? Do you miss them?” 
The swing creaked as I pushed a blonde boy who attended our church.We came from different families, backgrounds, and were far apart in age, but today I’d been drawn to play with him by one thing in common.
Our friends were gone.
“Did you tell them not to come to our church anymore?” 
Oh, God. I can’t take this anymore. The tree blurred as I gave him another shove, blinking away tears that were all too common now. 
“No. I didn’t know they weren’t coming.”
“Do you think they’ll come back?”
“I don’t know.”

It was a repeat of the strains I’d heard all morning. Our tightly knit little church — made up of a few wounded survivors of the last split — was missing nine members. The adults had given me awkward smiles or sympathetic hugs. They were kind enough to refrain from speculating on whether or not the family would ever return to church. The children were more honest. Their friends were gone. They missed them. They didn’t understand why. And it was my fault. For just a few days before I, the daughter, had called off the courtship.

The talk coming from the nursery was the first clue indicating how widespread the effects of my choice would spread. At the weekly homeschool support classes my former boyfriend and I taught at, my best friend was now forced to choose — did she go with his family for lunch as was our tradition, or stay behind with me and eat lunch alone on the sidewalk? More and more often she chose his family, and I encouraged her to go. There was no use making everyone suffer along with me. “After all,” she said, “you did lead us all on.”

Had I?

I had tried so hard to do everything right. I had never kissed — even on the playground. I had carefully squashed out every hint of interest in a boy, telling myself I was young and silly and needed to be at least twenty before I began a romantic relationship. I had worn skirts and evaluated my clothing choices so I wouldn’t cause my brothers-in-Christ to sin. If I found myself alone with a boy, I left or suggested we move to a more populated area. I had listened to the wishes of my parents.

The day after my 20th birthday, I waited on the steps of my kitchen for three hours wondering what in the world my father and he could be talking about for so long. My parents had already checked for my wishes. They had already given their blessing. The boy was everything a good suitor should be — with the exception that he was nine months younger than myself and I’d always imagined someone older. But God’s will was God’s will, and age shouldn’t matter that much. He was smart, already CLEPing out of college. He had goals, held a lot of the same standards, was clean-cut and even handsome.

My father finally came out. “He has asked to court you. I give you permission. If y’all want to meet up or drive out to a movie or dinner or something, that’s fine with me. Just don’t linger alone in the car or in dark places for too long. Don’t stay in the parking lot — go ahead and go inside.” Then we were left alone to clear up the last few questions. Was I okay with this? Yes, I was. Because he was unclear, if we were to marry was I okay with children and how many? My heart began to pound. I was the youngest of three children — all of whom had come into the world far earlier than normal. My mother’s pregnancies hadn’t been easy. He was the eldest of a family of eight with siblings still under school age. And I had a secret. Sometimes I thought I couldn’t have children. Sometimes I wished I couldn’t have children. The idea of pregnancy terrified me to an unnatural extent. But surely that would change. Everyone told me it would change. And if I was going to stay home and homeschool, I may as well do it right and have a bunch of kids. So I gave the “good girl” answer. “As many as God leads.” After all, if being a mother was God’s will and plan for me, he would change my heart when the time came.

And so began our courtship. There were compromises in our families’ standards. His mother vetoed my idea to teach him to swing dance — something I had learned in a class with my brother after years of being told dancing was evil, and we didn’t do it because we didn’t want to be stumbling blocks for others. She even vetoed the 1830’s dance I was hoping he’d help me teach at a local reenactment. Though my parents allowed us to meet up for a movie or dinner, his were not comfortable with the idea, so we honored that. No dances. No movies. No holding hands. I introduced him to the world of theater. He introduced me to Star Wars and classic rock. We had both come from a strict background, but in recent years our families had begun to loosen the reins and lighten up on some of the nit-picky standards.

In my mind, courtship meant that you were careful to choose your friends and guard your heart. That your families spent large amounts of time together as you got to know a young man. That to agree to a courtship meant, “Yes. I think you might be the person God has for me, and I’d like to get to know you better.” So I was a bit surprised when soon after we announced our courtship, people asked when the wedding date was. His younger siblings presented me with drawings of our future house, complete with separate beds for us. Just after that, they teasingly pulled out a list of our first ten children and what their names would be. It was all in fun, so I played along. We were the only courting (or dating) couple in our church, so we were somewhat of a novelty. Mothers in my homeschool group informed me how happy they were that their daughters got to witness my courtship and two young people “doing it right.” However, from the beginning, things felt mixed. I was treated as though I were an engaged woman, praised for my godliness, maturity, and purity — then regulated and monitored like a seductive child who lacked the self-control to keep herself and her boyfriend pure. The night my boyfriend’s mother made him back my car up for me all the way to the end of their dirt road, was the first I seriously began to question the setup of this courtship. I was perfectly capable of driving my car out myself. And then the family stayed on the porch watching me while I walked all the way to my car. What did she think I was going to do? Steal a kiss? If she didn’t think we were mature enough to ride in a car together to the end of the driveway, how in the world did she expect us to feel like adults and move into an adult world? It angered and embarrassed me, but I let it pass. Parents were just trying to protect their children, though I didn’t understand why they were convinced that two people couldn’t be alone for five minutes without falling into temptation and throwing common sense and a lifetime of commitment to the wayside. Maybe some people couldn’t resist — but at this point, I wasn’t sure I even liked the idea of kissing. Touch, even casual and friendly, was something that I longed for, but felt repulsed by at the same time. And it concerned me. I told my mother I hoped some of the rules changed, and that I could hold his hand before we married, because I couldn’t go straight from no touching to a honeymoon.

During this time I auditioned for a play. Theater was my lifeline. In a world where I felt judged at church, I felt accepted without questions at my theater. They giggled at my quaint ways and moved on. In this show, I had a good chance of getting the lead — a romantic lead — and one of my friends whom I’d grown up with was auditioning as well for the opposite role. I knew my boyfriend had been concerned about our past friendship, so I checked with him before I auditioned, in the event that we both got our wished-for roles. There would be no kissing between us. He said to follow my dreams, and I auditioned, landing a role in the chorus. One night after rehearsal, I discovered that my car wouldn’t start. I was forty-five minutes from home, so my childhood friend offered me a ride. We’d never ridden alone before, but I couldn’t stay in the parking lot so I accepted his offer of a ride. He was telling me about his girlfriend when his phone rang. After a brief conversation with his girlfriend, he hung up, frowning that he thought she might be upset we were alone. My hands shook. Would my boyfriend be upset? By the time we got home, I had debated not telling him — but if he found out, secrecy would make it worse. I was nearly sick, and I could hardly stop shaking enough to dial his number. To my surprise, he assured me he was okay with it. He was glad the friend was there to help, and of course I couldn’t stay alone in the parking lot while my father drove all the way over to pick me up. I hung up, relieved, but a little concerned. We weren’t married. We weren’t engaged. And should I be this terrified of telling my boyfriend I had to do something practical? It had always bothered me that I was discouraged from friendship with boys as a child and youth, then expected to marry one and not maintain any friendships with men afterwards. Was I really meant to spend my life only really getting to know one guy?

On opening night, a dozen white roses showed up on my table, creating quite a stir backstage. That was my boyfriend, and I loved his support. He congratulated me after the show for being the best actress in the world — I didn’t believe him, but happily gave the quick hug we were allowed on special occasions. I discovered later from a friend, that he had missed most of my main scene, and later still my mother confessed that he had actually left during every dance scene I was in — which I realized was every time I was onstage. I thought things were fine, until he wrote me, explaining that it really bothered him when other men touched me — to the point of physical illness. It crushed me. I had dreamed of being a film actress since I was four years old — even though my parents threw out the television. I had dreamed of acting across from my husband since I was a teen and was finally allowed to venture into the world of community theater on a few select shows. I wanted to make good films, and I loved being on stage. But eight bars of music dancing with a fellow actor’s hand on my waist, and I was making my boyfriend ill. It was probably because we weren’t allowed to touch. I could hug all my theater friends with a side-hug goodbye, then had to shake hands with the guy I was considering marrying.

He came the next day and we talked for three hours. I had been battling the question — what do I want? To follow my dream of being an actress, to move to music that was so beautiful it captured my soul and made it soar, to act in Christian films and write novels? To marry a man who held my passion for inspiring people through stories? Or to be the elusive Proverbs 31 woman? To marry, have ten kids and homeschool them while working in the kitchen to make nutritious meals? That was God’s will. That’s what I was supposed to want. The reason I didn’t squeal and run across the room when someone carried a baby in was because I was a defect. I didn’t mind cooking. I was good at it. I liked kids and wanted kids — I just wanted them to be dropped off by a stork at my door. I had given my rights to God many times. I had given Him my dreams over and over again. And here I was in the activity that I loved best in the world — compromising, not my standards, but those of the man who loved me. And there was no easy way out. I could continue giving my hand to other men, allowing their touch — and make my boyfriend ill while he watching, knowing that he had kept all forms of touch for me. Or I could give it up. No more dancing. No more theater — for the idea that I could do a show without any sort of touch was just not possible. I had already lost possible roles over my commitment not to kiss.

When I tried to explain, I watched the hurt fill his eyes. This was why I wanted another actor — someone who understood that you could pretend without being emotionally attached. I didn’t want a man who watched with a queasy stomach from the aisles.

So what do we do?
“I don’t know.”
We both sat. He didn’t want me to give up my dreams. I didn’t want to hurt him.
I broached a subject I had once or twice before. “What if this isn’t God’s will?”
He broke and kept whispering, “It has to be God’s will. It has to be.”
We cried together.

My journal became a war zone where I tried to grow up. I tried to put to death the little girl dreams — I wasn’t that good of an actress anyway. I couldn’t act without giving up my morals, and once we married, I’d be raising a family and too busy anyway. I tried to put to death my fleshly desires as I had been taught. I begged God to take away these desires and help me be sweet and good and not afraid to be a mother or wife. I tried learning more about politics and government so I could support him in his dream. I knew what I needed to be. I just didn’t know how to change my desires to match. I felt like a fraud, but I wanted to serve God and fulfill my life-purpose, instead of demanding my own way. So why was I still having doubts? Like God was telling me to call off the courtship? When I mentioned it to my parents, they encouraged me to pray about it and said they would support me either way. When I mentioned it to my boyfriend, he responded that I was simply scared, and that Satan was scaring me. After all, if it wasn’t right, wouldn’t God have told him, too?

I prayed so.

It was almost Christmas when I sat alone on a dock. Praying that God would speak to both of us with the same thing. Praying I would lose this fear. Then praying, “Why?” Why wouldn’t God tell my boyfriend what he was telling me? If he wanted me to obey, He should make this splitting mutual. If my boyfriend was seeking God’s will, he should realize it wasn’t right either. Or was it me? I’d assumed it was my selfishness ruining the relationship. Refusing to give up worldly desires and step into my God-given role as a woman. Then the answer came: “You must obey whether or not anyone agrees that this is My will.” I consented with tears, but it was the first time in a long time that I had peace. I stopped beating myself up for not being the woman that we spent so much time reading about, discussing, and glorifying. I would never be one of those girls. I was a defect.

The next time I saw my boyfriend was Christmas Eve when he presented me with a violin — the very one I had seen and fallen in love with in a store while with his sisters. It represented yet another suppressed childhood dream. I felt horrible. I couldn’t break up with him on Christmas Eve. The doubts crept in again. What if I was wrong? What if I had imagined the voice? How could I possibly be doing God’s will if I was running from being a wife and mother?

In February, right before Valentine’s Day, my mother spoke to his. They agreed that if I thought it ought to be broken off, it should not be drawn out. I’d wanted to tell him myself — to meet up somewhere, but the very day my mother broached the breakup with his, she made him call me on the phone when he got home from work. He didn’t understand. He wanted to know why. I spent an hour trying to explain what wasn’t clear in my head. I didn’t know how to explain that I felt stifled. That I felt controlled. That I felt marrying and having children and giving up theater and dancing and my dreams was killing my soul. The bottom line was, I could only marry one man — and he wasn’t the one. Nor was I someone who would fulfill his needs and emotions. It wasn’t God’s will that I marry him.

I can’t do that. I can’t just go back to being friends.”
“I know.” I began to cry, clutching the phone to my ear.
He asked me to change my mind. He asked me to keep him in mind. Then he said he loved me.
He loved me, and I felt like a monster.
I loved him too. I just couldn’t marry him.
He hung up, and I went to my mother and cried for an hour.

So here I was, days later, eating the fruits of my choice and explaining to the children at church that I had never meant to run off their little friends. I was scolded for breaking up with him over the phone — that was something only cowards did. But my mother said she could tell I made the right decision. When I asked why, she answered, “When you were courting, you stopped singing.”

Our church disintegrated soon after that as my father announced that it was time we moved on and began finding real church homes and stopped meeting in a house church. I spent the next two years feeling as though I had a plague.

Forming new friendships was hard. I stepped away from every man who expressed any interest whatsoever, warded off attempts by my family and well-meaning friends to introduce me to another “godly man who is perfect for you,” and spent altogether too much time trying to sort out where I had gone wrong, and how I was to blame for the ruining of so many friendships and lives. I didn’t get over my fear of children. I didn’t find Mr. Right. When I was 23, my parents took a job at a foster home and informed me that I needed to find a place to live. My last vestige of “the good Christian girl” died. I couldn’t honor them by staying home until I married, if they were moving out before I got married. I was completely broken, disillusioned, and questioning who God was and what He wanted from me because I had done everything I thought He wanted.

My close friend began adopting a Calvinistic worldview and though God never let me completely fall away without assuring me that He had freely offered me and anyone else salvation, I was thrown into another world of confusion. If she was right, maybe I just wasn’t one of the chosen ones. Surely if I had been chosen, I would have been able to please Him. But if I wasn’t chosen, how was it that there were times I could hear Him so clearly? That he loved me, even though I was no longer sure of who He was anymore. I completely gave up the idea of being the Proverbs 31 woman stereotype. After all, if you read the passage, it starts with a question, almost sounding as though the mother is lamenting “Who can find a virtuous woman?” I bitterly pointed it out to my sister, telling her I didn’t think they existed. But in Proverbs the picture drawn for me wasn’t a woman with a kid hanging on her apron while she whisked batter in a pan and looked over children writing papers at the table. She was so much more — a woman who made her own decision to buy a field, who observed her merchandise, whose husband and children praised her. She was a woman of strength who were fine (and beautiful) clothing. Silk and purple was much more appealing to me than denim skirts and closed-toed shoes. She was a woman of skill, of wisdom and knowledge who was in authority of others. She was a jewel — not a doormat. She made goals and oversaw their completion, not slaved to put everyone’s happiness and needs in front of her own suppressed feelings. It says she has children but it doesn’t specify how many, and they don’t seem to be a huge part of her job-description. Maybe God didn’t want me to give up these desires as selfish desires of the flesh. Maybe the desires were from Him. Again on that same dock, I sat four years later, praying. And a promise flashed into my mind. Not a Bible verse, not a biblical formula, but a promise from God to me. It started out, “If you are willing to wait for a man…

And I said yes.

So a man was not to be in my immediate future. What was? A complete revamping of my faith and view of God. The very things I had spent my entire life trying to suppress. A promise that if I wrote a specific script, God would produce that film. Dreams of publishing my novels and creating a publishing company which would help support the fight against human-trafficking. Freedom in struggles I had fought since I was a child. Opportunities to act in theater and even see some of my plays performed. Permission to learn and grow. To make mistakes. To admit my flaws and reach out for help. To deal with deep-seated issues I had hidden from everyone — some that were rooted in sin, but others that developed from a misplaced guilt and fear. From the preconditioning to assume that everything bad that happened to me must be my fault in some way because I was too selfish, or hadn’t given something to God, or had somehow encouraged actions toward myself — without considering that some things in my childhood happened to me because other people were acting out of their own hurts and sin, and I was simply the recipient of human failings.

Most of all, I received a chance to become the woman God wants me to be — not the woman I’ve been told the Bible dictates I should be — and she’s really the woman I wanted to be all along.

All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. For our official statement of beliefs, click here.


  1. Lynn May 2, 2013 Reply

    Beautifully written. I have a daughter who also writes novels and scripts. She is majoring in commercial writing and looks forward to an internship next year. I would love to read some of your work. good luck.

  2. Chris Symonds May 2, 2013 Reply

    God bless you Lindsey follow your dream

  3. David May 2, 2013 Reply

    Well written Lindsay!

    I remember my wife and I going through our courtship; worse time of our lives. There was so much fear and anxiety surrounding all that. We wished we had called it off multiple times. Eventually I did. (And for 24 hours I experienced the apocalypse) When my wife-to-be called and asked for help with the fall out "as a friend", I immediately knew, it was the process that was wrong, not the person. I remember standing at the alter thinking "I don't know about all this, but I do know about her."

    My sister was not as bold as you. She married the guy because it was what everybody thought she should do and she wanted to "honor" her authorities. They divorced 7 years later hurt and disillusioned.

    You did the right thing. You heard correctly. You made the right decision. No doubt you were spared so much pain and hardship by pursuing the Spirit of a God who created you to express his glory in such a unique and artistic way.

  4. Mel May 2, 2013 Reply

    I am so proud of you for following your dreams. I was terrified of marriage and children in my early 20's. Thankfully, I didn't meet my husband until my late 20's and married him at 30 last year. You've done the right thing and will be much happier working at producing your art. Life brings many surprises and your openness will help you enjoy all of them.

    May God bless you and all your endeavors.

  5. Anonymous May 2, 2013 Reply

    That was some crazy stuff what you wrote about courtship rules.

    Maybe people believe too easily what they should do, or are supposed to do, and then it's plainly wrong and hurting.

  6. Michelle May 2, 2013 Reply

    Beautiful. "A promise that if I wrote a specific script, God would produce that film." Wow that spoke to me. That's what I was told too, but that is not reality.

  7. dreamer May 2, 2013 Reply

    This article is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. esbee May 2, 2013 Reply

    Very touching account of freedom regained. I was especially touched when she said that God spoke to her directly- having experienced this myself it is an experience most humbling AND reassuring, that we can have that personal one on one relationship with God that so many preachers pulpitize. But then like the fine print in a congressional bill, they add the man-made rules that nullify the promises.

    I remember in church the preacher saying how you had to put all your desires, etc on the altar so God could burn them and give you the "right" desires- they quoted the passage where God tells Abraham to put Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him....but after reading this story and other RG stories- it occured to me that the story of Abraham was not a command to the rest of us. It is the story of what God asked one man to do to achieve a certain outcome for the history of Israel and ultimately the Christ. In the end, a ram was provided by God, so Abraham still had his son anyway...... the real point of the story is that God will provide the perfect sacrifice (Jesus) because nothing we put on the altar is good enough. Living a christian life is not about putting all of our stuff, personality, desires to be burned and buried. God does not want nor need our stuff and He gave us our personality and desires, even our faults, to begin with so he could use those things in His plan for our life. So instead of getting rid of what others tell us is a fault or not of God, we need to dedicate those things to Him.

    • dreamer May 7, 2013 Reply

      Wow, what a wonderful post. I had never considered the story of Abraham and Isaac that way. Thank you. I needed to hear that. :)

    • Kathryn B. June 4, 2013 Reply

      Beautifully said. What a difference the Truth makes!

  9. Louise May 2, 2013 Reply

    I was never the teenager that ran over to babies either. All the other girls at my church were and I thought they were a bit weird.

    I always thought I would marry late but ended up meeting my husband young and marrying just weeks before our 21st birthdays. However, since we were not ATI we believed in contraception! After a few years of marriage and the arrival of friends' babies, I realised God needed to deal with the fear in my heart regarding babies. I let him and after we moved town a few years later and I couldn't find a new job right away, we decided we might as well do the baby thing.

    Now, I am still not a big baby person but I absolutely adore my kids. Someone else's baby is nothing compared to your own. Also fear is a natural part of pregnancy - I believe that is why it is nine months long - so you can get your head in the right place. Even women who plan pregnancies freak out and think 'what have I done?' So from a teenager who wanted nothing to do with kids (or ministry to them), I do get immense satisfaction from being a mother. I just wanted to encourage you not to write children completely out of your life. Let God deal with the fear in his timing.

    • A.Roddy May 4, 2013 Reply

      It seems like you weren't 100% on board with having children.You can't have children in hopes you will warm up to them. What you felt was caution not fear. Children are human beings. They aren't here to fulfill a societal expectation. Anyone who isn't 100% on board with having them should think twice. Sometimes we let society and religion dictate our lives instead of our own desires. If we did maybe people wouldn't drown their kids(Andrea Yates)or be stuck in loveless marriages. If the author wants children , it is her choice and no one else's.

      • StaceyM May 6, 2013 Reply

        Wow, A.Roddy, you seemed to miss the point of what Louise was saying. As a mother of four, i did not want children, and each time i got pregnant, i was not excited right away. I conceived all of my children while on birth control, and my last i was ANGRY i got pregnant, since i had an IUD and i was in no way at a place in my life where *I* thought i should be having a baby. God knows. We do not. My children are so special to me, and i am SO grateful, now, for them. I think Lindsey will make an amazing mother if and when that time comes because she puts Christ first in her life. I don't have to know her personally to see that even though she feels a certain way now, the Lord can and will change her heart if children is what He has planned for her. I'm not sure how many people are 100% sure they want children when they get pregnant, but i know a ton who are so in love with their kids now that they have been blessed with them.

        Lindsey, love your story! Such inspiration to follow your dreams, because the Lord does give us desires, and wants us to be happy, and to glorify Him! So glad you were able to free yourself from a relationship that would not have been the greatest love story ever told, and that's what everyone deserves!!

      • dreamer May 7, 2013 Reply

        Why the condemnation, A. Roddy? How do you know what she was feeling? I agree people should not take having children lightly, but feeling fear while pregnant is perfectly normal! And not everyone is totally sure about becoming a parent, even when they have a baby on the way. It's just hard to process that big of a life change until you go through the experience yourself. I totally understand what the poster was saying, as I felt the same way myself when I got pregnant.

      • saoirsewoman May 12, 2013 Reply

        I don't find your reply judgemental at all A. Roddy. This: "Sometimes we let society and religion dictate our lives instead of our own desires". It's all very well to fob off Lindsay's concerns with a pat, "oh you'll feel different when it's your OWN" and "fear is a normal part of pregnancy" but that is beside the point. The point is, what of this legalistic doctrine that has caused bondage for millions of women, that teaches that duties confined to the home, being a wife and mother of as many as possible, is the *only* thing so-called "godly" women can do? For Lindsay and millions of others, why is *not* getting married (as Paul suggested) and remaining childless, not a perfectly valid option? Or why is not delaying either marriage or children also not an option? Lindsay does not need patronising comments to assure her that this legalistic, sexist, patriarchal doctrine will be just fine for her once she gets used to it. She needs to know she has options and that there is more than one way to serve the Lord and fulfil His destiny for you. More than child-bearing, marriage and "home work". And that women who don't conform and obey the doctrines of the Pharisees are no less "godly" than women who have no choice but to Stay Home, marry young, use no family planning, homeschool, wear skirts and make sure they never direct men or work outside the home. If Lindsay should choose to never have children, or perhaps to have just one or two, if and when she chooses, this does not mean that she is failing to "put Christ first in her life". What you do with your sexuality and your reproductive life is not the only way you can "put Christ first". Not marrying and going into all the world to preach and Gospel and plant churches and carry Bibles, for example. The Lord "can and will change your heart" about following the dictates of the Christian patriarchy movement in order to walk away from the limited role they proscribe for women to take up your cross and follow Jesus - to all the places they say women can't go, to be all the things they say women can't be.

      • Tangent October 10, 2013 Reply

        Are you a potential mother? Or are you of the male gender who will never have to face the reality of preganacy and childbirth? It is an awesome situation to face. I never was a baby-lover, but when I held my own child, the love was incredible. God put that love there.
        Also, the Yates woman was terribly confused and emotionally disturbed. Not a normal situation.

  10. Aadel May 2, 2013 Reply

    This was sad, moving, and glorious all at the same time.

  11. Shana May 2, 2013 Reply

    The book "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" by Rachel Held Evans, offers a refreshing take on the Proverbs 31 woman. She describes it not of a list that we are all supposed to live up to, but a list given by a mother to her son on how he can praise his wife. Maybe being a proverbs 31 woman isn't about fitting into someone else's mold for us, but rather about appreciating all the talents and skills God has given each one of us.
    Thank God you had the strength to value the woman God made you to be, and did not attempt to fit into someone else's mold.

    • Cricket May 6, 2013 Reply

      Speaking of the Proverbs 31 woman, I am doing a study of Greek "Foreigners and Dangerous Women" this semester and the instructor started telling us about how certain words were only used to define men, never women. Guess what one was? Virtuous. Now, I know the OT was written in Hebrew not Greek, but you know that some of the culture of the Greeks rubbed off on those around them and vise versa. Maybe Solomon was really saying, "Who can find a woman who thinks like a man? Her price is above rubies." (-;

  12. Tim Nichols May 3, 2013 Reply

    Well, dear sister, you're clearly a skilled writer. God's rich blessings on your life and your efforts. If your calling ever brings you through Denver, give us a shout.

  13. Sonia May 3, 2013 Reply

    I am sorry for the pain you went through. Our relationship with God and each other isn't a playbook. You will be stronger for realizing that. Having said that, my husband broke up with me right after we'd sent out the invitations. Had to send out letters of "we regret to inform you". We dated and didn't do courtship, yet 25 years later, and 23 years of happy marriage we have 3 children and are a loving family. God writes our story in so many different ways...keep your chin up and eyes on only Him.

  14. StuartB May 3, 2013 Reply

    Heartbreaking. I can relate in so many ways...Thank you for writing this, and may God bless you and your creative endeavors.

  15. Sad May 5, 2013 Reply

    Lindsey, thanks for sharing your story. I too was burned by the courtship model of interacting with the opposite sex and it took me many years to recover from it. I applaud you heartily for your conclusion and encourage you to stand firm with it. Don't let others make you do otherwise.

    I am now in my 40's, single still, but very, very happily doing what I know to be God's will for my life. And that is priceless.

  16. beth May 7, 2013 Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this. I cried while reading.

    "I would never be one of those girls. I was a defect."

    Unfortunately, those words really hit home with me. Praise God we've discovered the true freedom of His grace; and of becoming what he wants us to be, not what someone else wants us to be.

  17. Becky May 7, 2013 Reply

    I am 35, have been married for 12 years, and still don't get the baby thing. I personally don't think we are all made the same way, and just because we are married doesn't mean we have to have children. There is no fear in it for me, but I am not going to have kids just to see if my heart will be changed by the experience or if I will enjoy my own offspring more than I do others'. The Bible says that children are a blessing and that we should have them, but that means the human race in general and not that every single woman or man will have the desire to have them, IMO. Every human is unique and special. God put the desire in enough womens' hearts to safely populate the earth, I believe.

    • Heather May 7, 2013 Reply

      I personally feel that especially if you are a woman and you do not want children, you are MUCH better off not having them. It's probably better for all parties involved, you would not want to end up resenting your children. (Not saying that you would, but some people do, and that's not fair to anyone involved.) If God wants you to have children, I guess He'd put it in your heart to want them. Bringing another life into this world is far to serious to take it lightly. :)

  18. Gaolee May 8, 2013 Reply

    I am a 20 year old college student, and I have passions and dreams that I believe will come into fruition one day. However, I battled long and hard to even imagine what my dreams could become. I read this as if I wrote it myself. I can't stop crying. This tells so clearly of my struggle with human relationships and in trusting the Lord, even though this is its own story. I found God speaking so much life into me through this. Thank you so much, Lindsey, for being so honest and transparent. I have a lot to discuss with My Father now.

  19. Alisha Miller May 10, 2013 Reply

    I find that I disagree with a lot of the points of this article. The fact is, I feel sorry for both of these young people. I totally understand why the young man had to walk out when his girlfriend was doing the dances, because if that was my man up there handling a girl he was dancing with in that way, I would have a big problem. That guy is the kind of person I would want to marry - someone who values 'his girl' so much that his jealousy flares when someone else handles her in a way no one else should.
    I think she had the wrong idea of what she was 'meant to do'... I am not saying she was totally wrong, but I am saying if she thought she had to have the freedom to be able to do anything related to acting, and that God was for that, then her idea of what she created to do was flawed.

    • Valerie May 10, 2013 Reply

      He's still single. :)

      • Alisha June 17, 2013 Reply

        haha :)))

    • Heather May 11, 2013 Reply

      Hi Alisha,

      I am a professional actress myself, and am married to the best man a woman could ask for. My husband would never put up with any man 'handling' me in any way. He's not necessarily the jealous type (meaning that he freaks out if I have a conversation with another man, etc), but he's not cool with anyone mistreating me either.

      Onstage, or in front of the camera, is a completely different situation,(I know because I ask him all the time, just to be sure, and he always tells me what he thinks.) in fact, he's the one who encouraged me to be ok with having an onscreen kiss if such a role came my way, his words were, 'you're just doing your job.' So my point is, he is intelligent and man enough to know the difference between me allowing someone to 'touch' me inappropriately, vs playing a character in order to tell a story. I think the author did the right thing, and I believe this incident wasn't the only factor in her decision. Guys (and girls) like that tend to go crazy in unexpected ways later in life, from what I've seen. Besides, maybe they just weren't meant for each other. Obviously one or both would've been miserable if they'd married.

      Anyway, just throwing those thoughts out there.

      Disclaimer:(My hubs and I see eye to eye on what kind of roles I accept, we have hard, fast lines, and we're both pretty conservative when it comes to which roles to take, just so you know I'm not throwing caution to the wind and doing whatever I want just because I have 'freedom'.)

      • Alisha June 17, 2013 Reply

        Hi Heather,
        What you had to say was very good - though I still am not sure about all this stuff where men and women who are not married play those roles. Somehow I think it is inappropriate. But, I may be wrong. :)))

    • dreamer May 12, 2013 Reply

      Wow. It's amazing that, without even knowing Lindsay, you can know what she was truly created to do better than she can.

    • Jessica June 7, 2013 Reply

      Alisha, the kinds of men that are that "protective" are scary! Please don't look for that kind of man!! They are very often physically abusive and terribly controlling after they are married! Please take it from someone who has been thru this!! Its not romantic or heroic to be jealous and possessive! At first it feels like such a tight bond but before long it becomes a prison. Your husband is going through your text messages, checking the mileage on your car to see how far from home you have been, and not allowing you access to the money. Then he becomes enraged when you enjoy a movie with a male lead, assuming you must be "lusting" after him. And then he is beating you for leaving the house wearing a certain shirt or screaming at you for hours for going out without him. Jealousy is not cute or loving or secure. It is ABUSE!!

    • Laura September 27, 2013 Reply

      Thought I would throw in my testimony regarding the musical Lindsey performed in, the one in which she was "handled" . . . it was a stage production of "Beauty and the Beast" and during some of the numbers, she was dressed as a whisk broom (as one of the enchanted characters living in the Beast's castle). The dances were not seductive tango numbers, and the costume was far from seductive. They were chorus numbers and the male dancer did little more than put his hands at her waist.

      Unfortunately, some are determined to see perversion, lust and/or inappropriate behavior behind everything. I know this young woman and she is of good character, with a desire to please God. Fortunately she has finally found the courage to break free of those who would prefer she please legalistic man.

      • esbee September 29, 2013 Reply

        Once you are under the legalistic god you "see sin" EVERYWHERE!!!! Lindsey's boyfriend was probably feeling he was sinning or at least exposing himself to possible negative influences by even watching any part of the play because it was about characters under a "curse" brought on by evil doing, which is related to witchcraft which is something God says is a big no-no. And the reason I think this is because this is exactly how I reasoned under legalism.

        • GuyS September 30, 2013

          Once you are under the legalistic god you "see sin" EVERYWHERE!!!!

          What a great summery of the whole nightmare experience for many of us. Sure is hard to see when you are in the middle of it. God is able to redeem the years.

  20. Dee May 11, 2013 Reply

    My heart breaks for you. It seems to me that principles that were meant to guide and help were not separated from personal opinion. Having come from a somewhat dysfunctional family, I was greatly helped by Bill Gothard's seminars. I did not take to heart his personal opinions (courtship/dress/etc) - just the principles and application. I hope you have been/will be able to separate the guiding principles that God uses to help us understand His character from the personal opinion/specific application of those principles in the lives of others. Only the Holy Spirit can guide you as to God's purpose for your life. The bible says that men look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). From your article, I'd say your heart is seeking to understand how God chooses to express Himself through you - what a wonderful goal!

    • Heather May 11, 2013 Reply

      You know, it's been my observation both in and out of ATI, that the church in general is more scaredy-pants concerned with making sure people stay pure until marriage, than they're concerned with helping people make sure they're marrying the right one.

      • Chris Symonds May 12, 2013 Reply

        Heather I think whom we choose to marry is a personal choice. I am not sure that its up to anyone else except the Lord and the individuals concerned. You wouldn't believe the dirt my fiancee's father has tried to use to discredit me.

        The sad part is I am not given the opportunity to respond or defend myself against the inquisition I am being subjected to presently.

    • Lindsey B. May 13, 2013 Reply

      I wish that was true, Dee. Unfortuantly the picture of God that ATI formed for me was completely off from what I had before and after. My entire relationship with him was built out of fear and guilt. I gave up everything in my life that made me happy because I thought it was an idol. I pretended to be a person I wasn't because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. It wasn't until I got out and had a few years of utter confusion and had to start over understanding God that I really found out who he was. I have not carried away one thing from ATI that I would ever teach my child if I ever have one.

      • esbee September 29, 2013 Reply

        Hey, Lindsey, I hope you are doing well with your acting and authoring. I may have commented on your story before but came back to read it again because your story speaks to my heart. So here are some more meanderings .... I had the same problem with the things I loved (horses, cats, art, creativity)...according to legalism, they must be an idol because I liked them or wanted to interact with them. For people who are not artistic or creative, they usually accept and go with the status-quo, but had it not been for inventors who thought outside the box, a passion for doing something new and different, we would still be living in caves. Stuff got invented (cars, air conditioning, electricity, appliances, etc) because someone did something different from how it had been for hundreds of years! So, is God against all this stuff?

        When we went to church, I saw women wearing fashionable clothing and hair-do's, make-up, toting their babies and they did that because they WANTED TO...they loved fashion, doing their hair and make-up and babies, I did not see them struggling with "does God want me to dress this way or should I wear sackcloth because that blue dress and eye shadow might be an idol to me? Or perhaps I love having kids more than I love God." So taking that same rationale that they felt normal and not sinning within their urges, wants and desires, I applied it to my wants, urges and desires...horses, wearing jeans and cowboy hat, drawing and painting horses and other things, rescuing cats (we seemed to encounter more strays than most people). According to legalism and BG, I was to renounce all those things and become a female clone in man's image.....wear fashionable dresses, hair-do, high heels, make-up, have kids. At least, I would not feel guilty because I would be like LIKE EVERY OTHER WOMAN...And that is exactly how people feel safe and secure, is to do what everyone else is doing, whether in Christianity or secular society.

        • Lindsey B January 3, 2014

          It's true. At the end of the day, one of my biggest fears is ending up "normal." If I'm not allowed to be creative, there's nothing left of me. I have a few stray cats you can have if you want. ;)

  21. Vicka June 25, 2013 Reply

    Who are you??? It's like you reached into my head and wrote down my own life story. That was amazing! I'm going to print this out and keep it with me to reread when I am doubting God's calling on my life.

  22. Ashley September 18, 2013 Reply

    This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing, and for letting God (and not others!) lead you. Good luck!

  23. Puddling About April 2, 2014 Reply

    […] This is a first person account of courtship that worked, but was considered “gone bad.”   This piece was written by a good friend of my friend Laura.  […]

  24. Missy May 12, 2015 Reply

    I have a very similar story and a very similar outcome. Thank you for sharing!

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