Marriage

Love is a Pursuit

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Love is a pursuit. The ultimate example of love comes from our Heavenly Father and His daily pursuit of us. Christ never gives up on us, and He never stops loving us. His love is diligent, intentional, and eternal.

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Love is a pursuit. The ultimate example of love comes from our Heavenly Father and His daily pursuit of us. Christ never gives up on us, and He never stops loving us. His love is diligent, intentional, and eternal.

This story of love rings true to Dan Shafer and Katie Moore in more ways than one. Dan and Katie met at Wright State University in 2012 while taking accounting classes. Dan is from Cleveland and came to Wright State to run track. He was also involved in the Campus Crusade ministry on campus. Katie is originally from Dayton and was involved in Younglife throughout college. Today they are a part of the Brooklyn and Queens house church in Kettering.

Dan and Katie started studying together during their sophomore year at Wright State. Throughout the year Dan prayed intentionally about his feelings for Katie and what their relationship looked like to him. Dan knew how he felt about Katie, but deep down Katie struggled with trust. Dan continued to pursue her and love her as a  sister in Christ, and they finally started dating in the spring of 2013.

That summer Katie and Dan graduated from Wright State. Katie stayed in Dayton and Dan went home to Cleveland knowing that he would be back in the fall for graduate school. Dan and Katie struggled with distance and ultimately decided to break up. Through that summer Dan continued to trust God.

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When Dan came back to Dayton in the fall, the couple started talking again. One night after getting together to study, Katie finally opened up to Dan about her past and her struggle to trust in relationships. Dan came alongside Katie in some of her deepest pain and showed her that she could trust him and let him in.

Both Dan and Katie agree that God used the time they spent apart that summer to refine them and teach them about themselves before he brought them together again. They learned that God’s timing is always best. Even though Dan and Katie know they are different in certain ways, they have one important thing in common - their commitment to Christ, their vision for community, and their vision for their relationship.

After feeling God’s calling on their hearts leading them to take the next step in their relationship, Dan and Katie got engaged in the fall of 2014. Katie admits it took some time for her to get to the point where she was open and ready to think about marriage. She still struggled with trust, but she knew God had brought her and Dan together and that Dan was the perfect provision of a husband for her.

Since their engagement, Dan has continued to pursue Katie in new ways. In this new chapter of their lives, they have learned how to compromise, handle conflict, and be patient with one another, even with big decisions on the horizon. Katie says that Dan continues to point them back to Christ and that he loves her well, even in times of conflict.

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After meeting with Dan and Katie and hearing all about their story and how God brought them together in His perfect timing, I asked them a few additional questions. Here is what they said.

What does a healthy, godly pursuit of a relationship look like from a man’s perspective?

Dan: After experiencing a bad relationship freshman to sophomore year, I learned what it looked like to be genuinely intentional in a relationship. I knew the next time I dated I wanted to do things right - I wanted to pursue well and love like Christ loves. With Katie that meant being patient and trusting God’s timing. It also meant I had to continue pursuing her when she would try and push me away. I loved doing small things for her like bringing her Starbucks. Anything to make her day special!

What advice would you give single guys (and gals) who are thinking about dating?

Dan: You cannot be in a relationship for selfish reasons - it just won’t work. You need to love like God loves, be intentional, ask tough questions, invest in them and be patient with them. You need to love with grace and forgiveness. Katie and I took a love language test when we were dating so that we knew how to show each other love in the best way possible. You also need to be in the relationship with the intent of marrying at the end.

Katie: I think the most important thing to remember in a dating relationship is that the person you are dating should not be the one to make you happy. If that is how you go into a relationship you will have high expectations that will not be met. Also, I think it’s important to learn what it looks like to pursue a guy as a girl. With Dan I looked for areas where I could intentionally encourage and support him.

 

Author: Jacqueline Brown

Engagement photos taken by Sara Creason

Up from the Valley, through Christ Alone

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They long-struggled with the notion that as long as someone else was acting on their sin more or “sinning bigger” they felt that they could just carry on. Though they were Christians, they had trusted the things of this world for so long, that their every day walk with the Lord was marred.

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Mike and Lena Ferdelman have been married nearly 30 years. And, in that time, the Lord took their best-laid plans, which included hopes of traveling to China with a missionary organization, and sent them to the darkest and deepest valley of their lives instead. Their peers once knew Mike and Lena as a dynamic Christian duo. They were even labeled by some as “the perfect Christian couple.” On the outside, they appeared to have it all together. However, for decades of their marriage, the Ferdelmans existed in a deep dark valley filled with incredible challenges, spiritual bondage and bruising. A valley populated by  feelings of resentment, shame and remorse. It was only from the depths of that unknown valley, though, that they could learn to see Christ on high. Thus changing their hearts forever and sending them on a new and unforeseen journey.

Though believers for many years, both Mike and Lena were lost in the depths of their sin never willing to acknowledge their heart issues at more than just the surface level and often comparing their sin to others. They long-struggled with the notion that as long as someone else was acting on their sin more or “sinning bigger” they felt that they could just carry on. Though they were Christians, they had trusted the things of this world for so long, that their every day walk with the Lord was marred. They found themselves trusting in their own ideals, instead of Christ’s. They found themselves in a vicious pit of lies and deceit. Lustful behavior, control issues and self-servitude played a huge role in their marriage and ruled their hearts for many years as well. All of these things took precedence over the everlasting Grace of Jesus in their lives; living in this deep pit of long-term unrepentant sin made them wonder if they would be living in the trenches forever and wondering if this was just “it” for them.

As Mike and Lena struggled to sort out their issues, they suffered. Their five children suffered. Their finances suffered. Their jobs suffered. Their relationships with other believers suffered. Their marriage suffered, even resulting in separation on a couple occasions. Of utmost significance, though, their walk with the Lord greatly suffered. Finding themselves on the brink of divorce and absolutely at the end of themselves, the Ferdelmans decided to go full steam ahead with an expensive marital counseling program that did little else besides introduce more ways of the world to their marriage, and totally empty their bank account in the process. Just when they tried to rescue the very union that once seemed so ideal…they were even further into the depths of the valley.

Some time later, the Ferdelmans found Dr. Harry Schaumberg’s downloadable course that coincided with his book, Undefiled. The course cost them just $30 and instead of focusing on changing behavior alone it sent the Ferdelmans into the Lord’s Word, together. From the deep dark valley they’d existed in for so many years, they began reading and praying; ultimately, their hearts were changed and their marriage was restored. They were able to finally trust and see Christ as high Lord and Ruler of their lives.

Now that the Ferdelmans have fully submitted their lives unto the Lord, they are once again where they started. They now feel, without hesitation, that they are equipped and ready to serve the Lord through missions. The Ferdelmans hope to soon relocate to the city of Dayton. Together, they’ve felt the Lord calling for them to leave the comfort of their suburban home and reach out to the Sudanese refugees settling in the heart of Dayton. It will be another unforeseen journey, but this time they do it linked-arms in the name of Jesus, instead of for their own merit. They have begun reaching out to these people; working with them, sharing with them, interacting with them and showing them the TRUE love of Jesus. It’s a love that the Ferdelmans can freely share, a love that grew within them, as they were proverbial refugees from the Kingdom of God, wallowing in the valleys. Praise the Lord that He can be seen, even from those valleys and from uncharted territory.

Psalm 66: 16-20 sums it all up well:

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!”

 

Author: Tess Augustine

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