one of the reasons i wanted to do this series of love stories again is because i have three daughters~
an absolutely wonderful and terrifying thought all at once!
and especially as i’ve watched kate face some tough choices in regards to boys
and dating and relationships as she entered high school -
which is, the hormonal cesspool of life!
it can be tough as teenager these days not to casually date when it seems everyone else in the world is doing it.
but i think kate has also seen firsthand as so many girls struggle through finding their self worth in a boy
and the hurt and pain that eventually brings.
it’s a tricky thing to wade through, this whole dating arena.
and all three of us, shayne, kate and i are very much playing it by ear..
or more like, a boy by boy basis! :)
not really a set age or plan of attack.
but when the interest comes up on a guy’s part we’re open to that,
willing to explore it with kate and see how God leads.
but i’m a firm believer in accessing the wisdom of the older generation!
those who’ve done this before us.
it’s one thing for me as a mom to tell kate my story. but to hear from others..
somehow with kids they listen with different ears!
and we all fall into the “older generation” category somewhere -
because we all have those younger, coming up behind us that we can turn and speak truth back into their lives.
it’s our responsibility.
the responsibility every older generation has for the younger.
and i think even more important in this day and age where our culture makes us afraid to say anything for fear of offending…
but what is happening is everyone ends up saying nothing at all.
which is just as damaging.
i want my kids to learn from others besides just their dad and i.
even those that might not share our same opinions but have valid points and thoughts nonetheless.
i’ve seen already how in allowing this, not being afraid of it as parents, but welcoming it..
it’s helped kate and ben both to sharpen what they truly believe.
to zero in on what they want. how they want to live out this part of their life -
the teen years. the dating years. are huge, huge! and will and do have lasting repercussions.
i’m not naive enough to think my kids will pass through them unscathed -
but i do believe the bigger their support group. the louder their cheering section.
the more stories and people we have to point them to and draw from…
the more prepared they will be to face whatever these years hold~
nina petty is one of those women i’m glad to have in my parenting cheering section.
i first “met” her probably 5 or 6 years ago now through our blogs.
and she has continued to be a source of wisdom and blessing in my life~
i know you’ll enjoy her story and if anything.. just the way she titled it, will make you smile…
Our “Petty” Love Story
When Amber asked me to write our love story as a part of her “Your Love Story” series, I was honored, and blessed. And excited, because I love telling how God brought Bill Petty into my life!!
So, here is our story – at least my half of it! ;-)
I thought I was approaching the “old maid” years – I was 20! (Ask my 29 year old single daughter what she thinks about my silly ideas back then!) In my mind, though, a girl graduated from high school, soon married her high school sweetheart, and began that longed-for family. I did not learn this from my parents, who were almost 28 and just past 36 when they married!
Perhaps I only thought it because I so longed to be married and have a family…
My problem was I never really had a high school sweetheart! I wasn’t taught from home or church that I should be dating only Christian men, and no one I knew had even heard the term “courtship” as it is used among Christians today, so I didn’t necessarily have that as a criterion. I had a very few dates, and then “went steady” (for a minute!) a time or two, but none of them ever STAYED.
I learned early what being “dumped” meant, and my circumstances compared to my ideals made clear to me that I just didn’t have what it took to keep a guy around!
After high school, things didn’t get much better. I seriously dated a boy for 9 months, dreaming of marriage and children… but he didn’t stay, either. As a matter of fact, he hurt me unbearably, and it almost killed me.
Just before my 20th birthday, in the midst of all the broken pieces of my heart, I finally gave it all to the Lord. I committed to going out only with Christian men, if I were asked at all. And if I weren’t, I was going to let that be God’s business! I had always wanted to become a school teacher just in case no one wanted to marry me so I could have lots of children in my life, but if I was to marry, God would simply have to work a miracle. I certainly wasn’t doing a very good job on my own!!
I casually dated a couple of men, but truly began praying for a Godly man, not just the typical suave, good-looking, rich man!! At this time, I actually had a couple of men pursuing me, but I knew they weren’t in love with Jesus, so I couldn’t trust whatever love they might have felt for me. I longed for a man who truly loved Jesus!
Enter Bill Petty!
Actually, I have always been able to see God’s hand all over our meeting and marriage, so perhaps I should say “Enter God Almighty,” although looking back I could see that He had always been right there!
You see, my family went to a little country church in our little country town (at that time, the population was right at 200 people). One day Bill Petty walked in the doors of that little church. He wasn’t a believer, but had had some pretty big bumps in the road of his life recently, which caused him to long for a better way. He didn’t live in our town, but his brother and sister-in-law did, and although I did not know them, they went to our church. They invited him to come, and he came… to our little Podunk church in our little Podunk town!
I didn’t see Bill the first Sunday he came, but every motherly old matchmaker in our church saw him! They all came up to me after the service, asking me if I’d seen him! I truly dismissed it at the time, but the very next Sunday, this quiet, sweet man showed up in my Sunday School class. I was the unofficial greeter of the class, so I introduced myself, and even shared my Bible with him.
I should insert here that while I didn’t see Bill that first Sunday, he did see me!
He tells me all the time that he saw me up in the choir, and I was the only one smiling! And, unbeknownst to me, that big smile won his heart!
He came back to the evening service, and joy of joys, he became a Believer in Jesus Christ that night!! In our church, at the end of the service we have an “invitation” to come forward to pray, to receive Christ, perhaps to rededicate your life to Him, whatever your need might be. As Bill was walking down the aisle of our church, my Mama leaned over to me and said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God was saving him just for YOU??” At the time, I just responded, “Oh, Mama!!”
But I admit that her words truly stuck in my head. Especially after church, when Bill asked me out for a date!
We were married 9 months later.
I kind of want to say, “And the rest is history!” But there has been so much wonder and grace in our 32+ years of marriage, I feel that would be cheating you out of our story. Because, you see, God saved more than one person on that night. Bill indeed became a Follower of Christ, but God saved ME that night, too. Yes, I was already a Believer – had been since I was 9 years old, and truly never remember a time when I didn’t love Jesus. But through bringing Bill into my life, God saved me from my SELF.
He showed me what true, long lasting, enduring LOVE is with skin on! You see, Bill STAYED. He never left me, he never thought of leaving me, and I never worried about him leaving me. And believe me, I’ve given him many reasons to storm out through my immaturity, selfishness, schoolgirl romantic ideals; but Bill’s love is deep, and it’s steady. As weird as this may sound, this love gave me the ability to look outside of my hurts, my fears, my SELF, so that I might truly see and minister to others! He truly does complete me.
My love story is not intended to say that every girl must have her “Prince Charming” in order to live a full life. No, I hope my story shows that God, who has such great love towards us that He knows our every need, gives just the right gift to each of us that will move us along to becoming more like Jesus. For me, Bill Petty was that gift. I didn’t seek him, but God knew just what I needed, when I needed it.
Bill and I have three wonderful children, two amazing children-in-law, and 5 precious grandchildren. Life hasn’t always been easy – we’ve had financial difficulties, lost 2 babies through miscarriage, dealt with the deaths of grandparents, my oldest brother, and my parents; all the things that life can throw at you when you least expect it.
I must say, though, that our marriage is FILLED with JOY! Joy in each other and our children, yes; but mostly joy in a
heavenly Father who brought us together, held us together, and continues to knit us together!!
1. How did you know Bill was the one for you?
This may sound trite, but the Lord simply spoke to my spirit, almost within the first moment of meeting Bill. I tried hard not to fall in love too quickly, but I knew. It was almost love at first sight for both of us, but not a sensual thing. Both of us just knew God had put us together, and meant for us to stay that way!!
2. What was something you never expected in marriage?
I had always heard “the two shall become one,” but I had no idea how literally true that is. I just never expected how much Bill truly completes me – even in a moment that we’re not getting along great, there is simply something binding us together! It’s just amazing!!
3. What do you think has been the most valuable thing in helping to strengthen your marriage?
To quote A Marriage Prayer – “Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough of failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough success to make them sure they belong to You.” God has been faithful to do exactly that!
4. Marriage is _______
JOY! I tell people all the time that I still can’t believe Bill comes home to me every day!! Bill is such a picture of Christ loving his Bride, and I am filled with JOY that he chose ME!
thanks so much, dear nina!
such a sweet and tender story.
i laughed when you mentioned the “motherly old matchmakers”
i’m afraid i’ve turned into one of those myself with all my single friends!!
always on the look out for a good match. ;)
for those of you joining in here today -
be sure to take some time to let nina know what part of her story you most appreciated.
you can learn more about her life and family here.
let’s continue building a community of encouraging, walk beside you kind of women here within these spaces of our blogs.
we need each other in this journey and this is one way we can all show up. through our words!
love you all. truly!
(¸.·´ (¸.·´ (¸.·¨¯`♥