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Josh & Christina

 
 
     
Testimonies of fathers and others using the material  

The Story of Josh & Christina
Key: regular type=Josh; italics=Christina

Committing myself to courtship has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. As a rather shy young person, choosing to set aside dating wasn't hard at all. It just made sense. Why should I be giving my heart to a girl before I was old enough to get married? Being a young man, I had enough struggles with lust and wrong thoughts as it was. Looking back, I don't know how I could have kept from falling into sin had I involved myself in close boyfriend/girlfriend relationships as a teenager. When I finally got to a place in my life where marriage was a possibility, I asked the Lord to bring the right girl into my life the first time. This isn't to say that I wasn't willing to end a courtship if needed. I just didn't want to go through the trials of a breakup if I did not have to.

J&CShortly after we moved to Colorado in 1996, I began to feel God's call on my life to be in full time ministry or Christian work. My parents and I began pursuing various opportunities all over the country and the Lord used those times to teach me many things. By the time I was 17, I was confident that I was ready for marriage and had only to wait for the right man. It was during this year of my life that the Lord asked me to set aside marriage for a time. Marriage is a good thing, but my focus on it was keeping me from being able to serve the Lord without distraction. As I surrendered this area to the Lord and agreed to allow Him to control this aspect of my life, I had no idea how hard it would be to keep surrendered in this area. The daily act of surrendering my desires for marriage began to draw me closer and closer to the Lord. My relationship with Him became very real and personal as I looked to the Lord to meet my emotional needs rather than to a young man. I had chosen long ago to set aside dating, which meant I was not out looking for a life partner. This did not mean I could not associate with guys, but rather it meant that I treated all boys as brothers and not as potential boyfriends. I was confident God would do a much better job of picking my husband than I ever could, so I chose not to be out “hunting.”

As I was being commissioned to go to Moscow, Russia at a meeting in 1992, I wondered if just maybe my future life partner was in the group gathered there. Little did I know that was actually the case! At this meeting my sister became pen pals with Christina's sister and our families kept in distant contact over the years. It wasn't until 1999 that we actually got to know the Dickeys well. For a long time I felt that the Lord would move the family of the girl He had for me into our area and one day they would show up at our church. When the Dickey family visited our church it immediately caught my attention that they had an older daughter, and I began to wonder if Christina might be the one for me. From that point Christina's name frequently came up in our household! Our families began to occasionally get together for various activities and we found our families had much in common.

In the spring of 2001 the Dickey family had us over to celebrate a traditional Jewish Sedar. Christina's grandfather was living with their family at the time, and I enjoyed conversing with him about genealogy and Russia. As we talked I knew I was scoring points with Christina's grandpa! Not that I was trying to, but I was very pleased with myself nonetheless! Little did I know he would tease Christina about me regularly from that day on.

Last summer I served with a ministry in the upper peninsula of Michigan. During that time, the Lord began to ask me if I would completely surrender my desires for marriage to Him. Instead of purposing to be content until God brought a partner for me, would I also be content if God never gave me a husband? I wrestled with that question for a long time because I knew it was not a surrender to be lightly entered into. In November I finally came to the place of being able to tell the Lord I would be content if He asked me to remain single the rest of my life. Now I can see that this was a test, similar to Abraham's, to see if I would give everything to God and hold nothing back. The result was that I experienced a profound intimacy with God that I had never known before. Although I didn't know it at the time, Josh asked my dad for permission to court me within a week of this monumental decision.

The more I grew to know Christina the more impressed I was with her commitments and beliefs. My parents were also very impressed and gave their blessing for me to court her. I fasted and prayed, asking the Lord if I should pursue a courtship with Christina. He confirmed to me from several Scriptures that now was the time to move forward in this way. After several failed attempts to catch Mr. Dickey alone, I called and set up an appointment to meet with him. To my surprise Mr. Dickey actually considered me as a possible candidate for his daughter after we met together! For a couple of months we kept up active discussions about my beliefs, goals, and purpose. During this time Christina did not know of our activities. When Mr. Dickey gave me permission to begin a relationship with Christina, I was scared to death because I had never done this kind of thing before!

About four years ago I put together a list of qualifications the man I married must have (e.g. salvation, similar beliefs, strong character, etc.). This list provided a basis for both my dad and I to evaluate Josh. When Dad shared with me in January that Josh had asked to court me, I was shocked beyond words. I had no clue anything of this sort was going on. After much prayer and fasting, I gave my consent to allow Josh to court me. For me this decision stated that unless the Lord directed otherwise, I was willing to marry this man. This was no mere casual friendship just for a good time. We both knew that the purpose for this relationship was to determine whether God would have us to marry and serve Him together.

Again I was very surprised when Christina was open to the idea of getting to know me better. On February 5, 2002 I sent my first e-mail to Christina after several hours of laboring over each word. When I received her reply I was very encouraged with her warm response. We spent the next six months getting to know each other. Our conversations centered around our beliefs, our goals, our convictions, and our purpose in life. Incredibly, no other person has shared my beliefs and standards as closely as Christina does. We began to realize God had shaped our lives so that they blended together beautifully! Although we are definitely two different people, our goals and purposes mesh in such a way that they easily become one. This time of courting caused both of us to spend a lot of time seeking the Lord because the purpose of courtship is to determine God's will. We sought to build our relationship on the solid foundation of seeking the Lord, common beliefs, trust, and honesty rather than basing it on emotion and physical pleasure. We enjoyed this time immensely as we worked on various projects and spent time together. Having our sisters and brothers along with us on these outings served to strengthen our family relationships as well.

As our friendship deepened and Josh began to win my heart, the Lord gave a profound peace that we were walking in His will. On August 11, 2002, Joshua Ramey asked me to marry him. It was with great joy I agreed to spend the rest of my life with him. God had shown me that this was a man I could trust and look to as a spiritual leader.

On our wedding day we will establish a life-long covenant that cannot be broken except by death. Divorce is not an option. On that day, I will kiss Christina for the first time after our vows. We have chosen to save many aspects of physical affection until we are married, and I believe this has been very valuable in allowing us to love each other on a deeper level than a physical one. In addition, choosing to wait will make these signs of affection all the more special because they will not be mixed with a violation of our conscience. God promises that when we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts, and we have seen Him abundantly fulfill that promise to us.