Monday, May 16, 2011

your very own hero

As a historical fiction/romance author, I spend a lot of time thinking romantic thoughts. No surprise there;) And I get precious emails and notes from women who wish they could find a godly hero like the ones I (and other Christian writers) write about. I understand that yearning. Once - not so long ago - I was there myself. I married late. Had babies late. Published books late. Well, later than I wanted, but right on schedule according to the eternal timetable. And that's the only one that matters.

In today's culture, we have to walk the courtship path very carefully. We're bombarded with ungodly heroes on a daily basis. That's why it's such a joy to create godly men, even on paper! Fortunately, I have many, many heroes from history to help flesh out my characters.

I don't have a daughter but if I did, I'd get on my knees and pray for a George Whitefield for her. Seriously! Don't let the George fool you! I don't know if those of you who want to marry keep a list of qualities you desire in a man, but here, let me help you add to it...

*as a young man he began a lifelong practice of reading the Bible on his knees
*he chose godly friends (John and Charles Wesley, to name but two)
*he had a great sense of humor
*he had a heart for orphans and the poor
*he got up at 4 a.m. each morning
*he said holy things like, "I had rather wear out that rust out" when told he preached too much, and "We are immortal until our work is done."
*he had an amazing speaking voice - he preached in the open air to crowds of thirty to forty thousand people! If you don't believe it, ask Benjamin Franklin. He didn't believe it either till he went and heard for himself and emptied his pockets for his cause (and Franklin was so frugal he squeaked).
*he was so incredibly charismatic, that he (don't laugh) could reduce an audience to tears by simply pronouncing "Mesopotamia." So says historical sources!

Doesn't that sound like a real hero! Under inspiration, that is! If I wasn't smitten before I made that list (are you taking notes?), then this next comment finished me off...

"He lived. Other men seem to be only half alive; but Whitefield was all life, fire, wing, and force." ~Charles Spurgeon

Anyway, this post is from my heart to yours and far longer than I intended. I'm sure we all agree that no man, literary or otherwise, is worthy of worship. Just Jesus. Can you share a quality of Whitefield that speaks to you and you can add to your list? If you're married, does your real-life hero have a quality you love and can name here? Can you name a blessing of singleness?


  1. That he lived his faith on his knees. Wow, that is what I want. Truly and wonderfully, that is at the top of my list.

    This post is so perfect for me, Laura and something my best friend and I have been writing back and forth about lately. How we are willing to wait, for God to grow us and to provide the RIGHT man, because anything less just wouldn't be within His will.

    Many thanks for today's post!

  2. Hmmm not sure if I would add getting up at 4am to my list of good qualitites for a husband but otherwise I think all of those other qualities are something that we all should strive for, not just the men.

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  3. Great post, Laura! I've always been fascinated by the friendship between George Whitefield and Ben Franklin--both such influential guys in their own ways.

    For all the reasons you mentioned, I think young people today really need the prayers and guidance of their parents when it comes to choosing a mate. That way parents can help them see the pitfalls and the hidden potential in the guys/gals around them. They should all be making a list like this!

  4. Wow, George Whitefield sounds like an amazing man who was used by God in powerful ways! :)

    As much as I complain about wanting a man, the truth is that there is a lot to be thankful for about being single. :) I can focus more on schoolwork, put more time into reading/blogging/writing, spend more time with my family, and not be so distracted in general. (As for the blogging, my dad used to tease me that my blog was my "boyfriend" because I would never have enough time to blog if I actually had a boyfriend, LOL!)

    Anyway, I still have so far to go in focusing on God, but I think that would be even harder if I wasn't single right now. Whether I'm ever supposed to get married or not, He knows what is best for me, and I have a lot to be thankful for! And it helps having fictional heroes to fall in love with sometimes, too... ;)


  5. Casey,
    I wrote this post with you (and others) in mind. For some reason it's a topic that has been on my mind/heart a great deal lately. Maybe because you and bf have been buzzing about it;) Not to mention those notes from readers, etc.

    You've mentioned some critical things here - that not only are you looking for the one God has for you, you know He's growing you, too! Truly, timing is everything and the Lord is never late! Bless you so much for your thoughts here! I know they will be an encouragement for others, me included.

  6. LOL, Renee! I'm not much of a morning person either though my Randy does arise and shine at 5;) YES, these qualities and this list work both ways. We should strive to be the best we can be, with God's help, at the same time we're waiting for His best for us. Thx so much for that!

  7. Renee Ann, As closely as you work with teens, I'm sure you've seen lots of relationships, good or ill. Godly parents are so wise in helping steer us in the right direction. Plus parents leave their children a wonderful legacy when they have a happy marriage.

    I had a feeling you were a fan of George:) He and Ben are certainly interesting and very unlikely friends, both phenomenal men in their own right, as you mentioned. I'm going to order Whitefield's diaries as they're available. I've just finished a bio of him and keep running across him in my research. Maybe it's time to create a hero like him:)

    Thanks so much for being here! I'm still smiling over your Genesis final! Does this mean you'll be at ACFW in St. Loo? Or is that a silly question?!

  8. Amber,
    Love your dad's sense of humor;) He sounds like a wonderful man - I know he is, based on your blog alone! You're so wise to enjoy the time you have doing the things you have no time for when you're married. Hope that makes sense:) You lead such a busy, active life and seem to be enjoying every God-given minute of it. Truly, each stage of our life is a season and we should just embrace it like you do, knowing it will come to an end.

    One of the best things about being older than most of you here is that I get to watch where the Lord takes you. His tailor-made plans are always right - and worth waiting for. I so appreciate your thoughts! Hope you are home and starting summer with a bang:)

  9. Thanks again for your congrats, Laura! And yes, I'll be at the conference :) I'm in the process of trying to figure out how it all goes and what to sign up for . . . It's a little overwhelming!

  10. So glad you'll be there, Renee Ann! It's exciting to think we might meet after forming a friendship online:) I do hope to be there but won't know till July for certain. And I so understand the overwhelming aspect of choosing classes. Makes me feel I'm back in college again:) This is such an exceptional conference that you'll feel blessed and downright spoiled no matter which class you land in. Another thing, the options are not cast in concrete and if you decide you want to sit in on another, that's okay, too. Some things changed for me after registration and I needed to attend another couple of classes and was able to do that. I need to go peruse the options again myself...

  11. My DH loves that I am writing romantic historical, as my CPers like to call it vs. straight historical. It does seem to inspire romantic thoughts! A characteristic of my real life hero is that he is there for me through thick or thin, never bails on me, is right there (literally in some cases) through the hurricanes of life! I am so blessed!

  12. Ah Carrie, Well said:) You've described a steadfast hero, a quality I so admire. My Randy is like that, too, and I'm so blessed. Hurricanes come but they still stand beside us! Bless you for bringing that very important quality to mind.

    I like calling our genre romantic historicals so much more than what Randy calls it - hysterical fiction;)

  13. Laura, this post is beautiful and has blessed my heart so much :) I’d have been here a little sooner but today is my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary and I was helping my mom get ready for their special night out! They just left and looked so cute!!

    Gosh, George sounds like quite a hero! To find a man with such credits to his name today is a rare thing, but possible through Christ! Thank you for bringing this great man here to us. Like I said, I had heard of him but it’s nice to see his heart on a personal level. To hear men like him preach must have been a sight to behold and soul-changing in every way! Men like him, the Wesley’s, Jonathan Edwards, dear Charles Finney and others, brought fire down when they spoke and it was all a reflection of their personal relationship with their Saviour. They didn’t change for the public eye. When a man is constant and true he will be the same in his prayer closet as he is on a platform. And as world changing as these great men were I feel like in these last days God will raise up some of the mightiest overcomers church history has ever seen! Is there more against men today, temptations on every side wanting to draw their eyes away from the prize of the high calling of God in Christ, and horrible examples of what the world expects men to be? Yes. But like His Word says, where sin abounds grace doth much more abound. Such fire is possible again and even more so because it has never been needed like it is today. To stand beside and be one with a man like that would be the highest honor and I pray with all my heart I would be worthy of such a man of God :)

    Thanks again, my friend! You have such a sensitive heart to the Holy Spirit’s leading. We need to see such examples to strengthen our hearts and commitments to accept nothing less than God’s best for us. And, yes, sometimes His best for us is singleness – nothing to interfere with our love story with Him :) His ways are perfect and His timing is right, and it is so encouraging and inspiring to see what He has done in your life, my friend! Sometimes His blessings come when we least expect them… besides, surprises are sweeter anyway ;)


  14. I'm an early riser, but not 4 o'clock early. As for a husband, I try not to think too much about it. I know God's will always is and somehow that is comforting. If I'm single, I'm single. If I'm married, I'm married. I guess in a way, I have prepared for both. I read a little about George Whitefield and was impressed as well, especially about the large crowds. How does someone prepare themselves for that? I guess if it's for God and not oneself, it may seem less huge.

  15. My heart melts!!!
    I have my own George named Dave who is full of integrity, gets fired up when he teaches Sunday school, and loves playing on the floor with our foster daughter.
    We may not be as "romantic" as many movies and books portray romance, but he is everything I need in a spouse, and complements me perfectly!

  16. Wow, a man who spends time on his knees reading the Bible and with a great sense of humor is an awesome man! I'm blessed with a Godly husband and son who love God and His word. My son prays every night for the woman who one day will become his wife. Whoever she is, she will be blessed. :)

    Hugs and blessings to you, sweet Laura!

  17. The quality of Whitefield that speaks most to me that I can add to my list is "he has a heart for orphans and the poor" I want my future husband to have a heart for orphans, because adpoting a child or childern someday is on my heart. God has already laid on my heart to want to go to Africa after I finsh nursing school as a medical missonary to work with orphans.

    A few blessings of singleness for this season of my life is to be able to focus on school and growing in my faith. Plus the big one is to be able to go on a long time misson trip without worrying about leaving someone behind for a long period. I am trusitng God's will for my life it's His timming not mine.

    I want His best for me not what I think is best.

  18. He sounds like a great man indeed, aside from that waking up at 4 am silliness ;) if I'm up that early, the house better be on fire ;) or at least a royal wedding on tv!
    My husband and I often remark that its a bit of a miracle we found each other because we're both such home bodies. In fact, we met at a birthday party that each of us almost didnt go to ;) so you never know what you'll find if you just show up!
    That said, I think my (many longggg) single years were important. I think its important you know who you are and what you want before you drag anyone else along. I was a very picky girl and thus didn't go on many dates ;) then I met one special guy and was engaged in 3 months! Its been 8 years almost, haha, and so far so good! When you know what you want I guess its easy to spot when you find it ;)

  19. Loved this post, Laura. I found my own Mr. Whitefield when I met my husband,later in life like you. We were 28when we met, and were 29 when we married. But while I waited for my knight, I was a happy woman, serving God with passion, and trusting that He would send me his choice of a suitor. My mother used to say I was waiting for Jesus himself to descend from heaven on a white horse and propose to me. Well, not quite, that was almost true. Yet how glad I am that waited for my husband, now of 37 years this month, who winked at me at work in 1973!

  20. Wow, I really enjoyed reading these posts. Some were very inspiring.

  21. Amanda, HUGE, heartfelt congrats on your parents 30th! That makes me smile:) Randy and I are only on #17 but I can tell you, it does get sweeter as the years go by in many ways. He's my best friend. I have a feeling, from what I know of you and what you've shared of your parents, that they can probably say the same. Hope they had a wonderful dinner out and enjoyed he blessing of being together.

    Love your thoughts here. We do need a godly man to be raised up in our generation. I heard recently that Billy Graham was in the hospital with pneumonia. He was certainly God's man for the 20th-century. It will be so interesting to see who follows him at such a needy, dramatic time. I watch the events in the middle east and hold my breath. And all this wild weather and drama everywhere. We need a George Whitefield more than ever!

    Thanks so much for pointing out perhaps the greatest blessing of singleness - nothing to interfere with our love story with Him. So true! I doubt Whitefield would have accomplished as much had he been wed or had a family. He also had severe health issues, something I didn't go into here. All the more amazing considering what he did!

  22. Adge, Such a good question you've asked - how does one prepare themselves for that kind of ministry? Whitefield himself had an answer to that. His prayer, when his ministry began, was "Lord, keep me from climbing." His entire focus was on Christ glorified and His life was an unending tribute to that. Just reading about him gives me goosebumps!

    You're so wise to just wait and be accepting of whatever the Lord's will for you is in regards to a mate. I sense the peace you have about that in what you've written here - just a calm acceptance that all is well no matter what He chooses to bring to you. That's faith:)

  23. Kristen, OH, love that heart melting stuff! Mine sure did when I made the list of godly qualities. God is so good to give us Daves and Randys! I feel the same way - that a godly man complements you in so many ways. A sign of a blessed match! Thanks so much for blessing us with your words here!

  24. Lisa,
    Yes, to have a godly husband AND son! That is my heart's desire for my boys. What a blessing both must be to you! I'm so glad you've said that here as sometimes it seems that women do all the praying and hoping and this shows there are men out there with godly desires who are waiting for God's best in a wife. Very encouraging words. Thanks so much.

    Hugs and blessings to you, dear Lisa! I always smile SO BIG when you come round!

  25. Carissa,
    I'm so glad to know you are training to be a medical missionary:) And that you have long range goals of adoption, too. Africa is a country I'd love to visit. My brother's wife was raised in Africa on the mission field and her mother was a nurse like you. Wish we had a million more Carissas as that is so needy a country!!

    Love what you've shared about singleness. It just underscores why we need to be happy in the seasons of life God gives us and make the most of them. You're able to concentrate on your studies and work toward those worthy goals. Bless you for your thoughts as I know they'll bless others.

    BTW, I couldn't help but smile at the book by Debi Pearl on your to-read list on your blog:) I devoured that several years ago and it remains a favorite of mine. You are in for a real treat!

  26. Heather, LOL! I had to chuckle at the wisdom of knowing who you are before you "drag someone else along." SO TRUE! And so practical! When I look back at who I was at 21 I don't even know that girl;) By the time I'd married Randy at age 33, I was a totally different creature, too. He's also MUCH more grounded than he was back then. I have a feeling your Will is wonderfully supportive of your art. Like me, you're intuitive enough to know a good thing when you find it. Though I don't believe in love at first sight, I do believe in divine connections;)

  27. Niki, Happy anniversary to you both! I love hearing the details here - and the wink that started it all;) You've given me a wonderful laugh by sharing your mother's comments here. White horse and all! Aim high, I say, and you did! And I know you've been thanking Him ever since.

    It's such a blessing to see you here. Thanks for encouraging us with your timely words. You're a blessing!

  28. Adrienne (I go back and forth between that and Adge and hope you don't mind!) ~ Thanks for taking time to read the comments. Everyone offers such good insights, especially in matters of faith and the heart. You, included.

  29. I apologize to Ruth and Amanda for taking down the Unlikely Suitor post that appeared this morning! I will put it back up with your comments soon. Blogger is behaving badly and posted that ahead of time as I'd set it for next week. Either that or I'm having a blonde morning. Probably the latter;)

  30. I did want to name two books that may be of interest to those of you who want to learn more about George Whitefield.

    There's a 2-volume biography written by Arnold A. Dallimore and also Whitefield's journals published by Banner of Truth. You may be able to get these through inter-library loan. The former reads like the book of Acts, very historically rich. I'm getting a used copy of the journals as they are less expensive.

  31. I love that he read his Bible on his knees. Even the imagery of that is romantic. A man after God's own heart. What Spurgeon said about him is wonderful.
    My own huz hero has a heart like David.

  32. Carla,
    Spurgeon's quote has inspired me to infuse those qualities into every hero I write, or try to. And I think it's moving and romantic that your husband has a heart like David's. That says so much! There's a reason I listed that Whitefield read the Bible on his knees as I found that quite romantic myself:) Bless you for your comments here. I'm always so happy to see you.

  33. Great post, Laura. I love it! I do have a daughter, and I pray for her future spouse (and all of my sons future spouses) too! She is so precious, wish you could meet her...have a blessed day, friend.

  34. I'd love to read more about George Whitefield.
    I'm a sucker for a sense of humor.

    I'm also very happy with singleness now. Life can be full after the end of a marriage and I'm pleased with my 'bridegroom' who never disappoints or fails me but loves me with a perfect love!
    I know a lot of women, mostly young women can't imagine being happily single but believe me there are benefits!

  35. Thank you, my friend, for wishing my parents well :) They had a wonderful time last night and, yes, they are best friends! They're actually in the living room watching America's Funniest Home Videos right now sharing a piece of cheesecake, LOL! Too cute :)

    Yes, prayers for dear Billy. He was a blessing to hear preach as was the late David Wilkerson. Currently reading David's book The Cross & the Switchblade and it is so very powerful! Their ministries have touched thousands upon thousands of people, as they dedicated their all to Christ.

    I'm holding my breath with what shows up on the news too. Yes, George Whitefield's and men like him that are filled with the fire of God are desperately needed today. At the moment I think of a man like Eric Ludy and know God is using him mightily. There are more out there, being prepared to rise up, we just need to keep praying!

    And, I have been so blessed by others comments here! Thanks again for this post, Laura -- it was more popular than you thought it was gonna be ;)


  36. Colleen, So glad you're here:) I've often thought that you named your daughter well as I sense she brings you and others JOY! I would truly love to meet her as she's at one of my favorite ages and stages. Guess you can't stuff her into a suitcase and bring her to St. Loo?!

    Thanks for the thumbs up for this post. I am just George crazy lately which is good as it makes me more God-crazy and hungry for His word. Bless you bunches!

  37. Debra, So well said. I've often heard the old adage - "Tis better to be happily single than unhappily married" and I think it's so true!

    I think you and George are a pair as you both have a wonderful sense of humor, him posthumously, of course;) I'll never forget reading your review of Morrow and how I laughed. What a delight! Only you could take a sober book and give it a delicious twist. Plus those Kentucky pictures didn't hurt either. I owe you, dear friend:)

  38. Amanda, Randy and I share desserts, too:) Gotta love a man like that. It's really neat hearing about your parents. They've given you a great legacy with their happiness.

    I was shocked when I saw David Wilkerson died recently in that accident. The Cross and the Switchblade was something I'd read when I was your age and it's always stayed with me. Powerful, indeed. It's intriguing to think we'll spend eternity with these saints. When I grouse to myself about getting older, I now think it's one step nearer eternity;)

  39. Thank you for introducing me to George Whitefield, I admit I was not familiar with him. I keep coming back to the "reading the Bible on his knees," such a powerful image of surrender. One that I am truly drawn to, I think it's partially because I can't really go to my knees here on earth. With the shape my ankles are in, it's much too painful and difficult to try to get up. I very strongly feel that, in Heaven, one of the first things I will do is fall to my knees.

    I find myself mostly content in my singleness. Did I plan to be almost 34, and never have been kissed? No, definitely not. But if God's plans are to bring someone into my life, then I embrace that. And if His plans are for me to remain single, I embrace that as well.

    I do agree we need Godly men in this generation. And I'm another who watches the news, and just well wonders. So much going on in the world, the Middle East, the weather, all the chaos. The world is crying out, yet most people seem to be blind to it. Frankly, it's all very sad.

  40. Michelle,
    So glad you're here. Though I must admit, I wish I was there sipping iced tea with you and admiring your new place:)

    Love what you said you keep coming back to regarding this post - being on his knees. That says so much and you used just the right word. Surrender. That's exactly what it is. And something that we so need on a minute by minute basis. I look forward to reading more about him and sharing more here in future. I know his journals will teach me a lot.

    Honestly, I am shocked you are 34! I really thought, from pictures, you were in your 20's! I'm reminded of Kaye and one of her most powerful posts, surely one of her most popular, in which she blogged about never having been kissed. There is something beautiful and holy about celibacy. Love the word "embrace" you've used, no matter where you find yourself. There's a beautiful Scripture in which God promises to be both husband and father. I wish I could think of the reference but it's getting late and I'm losing my edge...

    Thanks so much for blessing me and others with your comments. I was hoping you'd appear:)

  41. Ah, Laura, always love your posts but I seem to be always late to the party :)

    I am blessed with a husband who has an incredible sense of humour (I am the straight girl to his funny guy!), who loves communication and is emotionally tapped in! Our three daughters are yet to realise what a unique dad/man he is!

    That said, like any couple we have our moments but it is never dull - LOL!

  42. @ Michelle - I just have to say I was so very touched by your comment. Like Laura said, you put it so beautifully! Gosh, you've really inspired me this morning :) And encouraged me too, seeing as how I'm almost 25 and never been kissed either! That takes a lot and a close relationship with Christ to say you embrace singleness should that be His will for you. I guess it all comes down to trusting Him and being so captured by and content in Him that nothing else matters. I always find, too, that most of the great Christians that have left such huge marks on Christianity were single! Not that being married or in love is a hindrance, goodness no! But I think of 1Corinthians 7:32-34 and it makes sense ;)

    Thank you for sharing you heart Michelle, it has blessed me so much :) Praying you have a beautiful rest of the week, falling more in love with Jesus!


  43. Never late, Rel! Never:) I always feel like the party begins anew when you check in, no kidding!

    Love what you said about your hero being "tapped in" and how he is a great counterpart to your more serious side. I think a sense of humor is so appealing, dare I say sexy?! He sounds wonderful on all levels. And I bet he dotes on his daughters!!

    Hoping your day is great as you've made mine:)

  44. Amanda,
    Oh, beautiful words. Hope Michelle pops back in and reads! I'm so glad there are kindred spirits on this blog...

  45. Oh Laura, thank you so much for this post!

  46. I love this post! I never knew George Whitefield & Ben Franklin were friends. Interesting.

    One thing that strikes me is having a man willing to cheer us on in reaching our own dreams. I never dreamed that I would start writing again last year and my husband has been my BEST support all the way along the way. And I hope I can be that for him. I think one of the best things is to be each other's cheerleaders.
    I must admit I think he is better at it than I am :).

    And I think there is hope for the next generation because the spirit is poured out stronger in these end days and I so see it. My daughter is 6 years old and she convicts us with her sense of serving others at times. The Lord is using her to move us into an area of ministry, its very interesting actually

  47. Thank you, dear Ruth, for reading. I think this is one of my favorite posts yet, thanks to George and you readers;)

  48. Julia, Your daughter sounds so precious. I remember she has a heart for missions and other things. You and Chris are training her well. I thought of you when I was writing this post and am so glad you came over. Given your interest in the heroes of history, Whitefield sure heads the list. I can hardlly wait to get my hands on his journals and letters. There might be a fictional hero in the making here...

    You've pointed out something that is crucial to a happy relationship - mutual support and encouragement and cheering for the other. I'm so glad you're writing and have his blessing. The possibilities are endless when that happens!

  49. Precious Laura....I loved your comments. When I think of my soulmate my eyes become misty and my heart still turns after 18 years of marriage. He is my second love and I am his second love since Jesus is our first.

    I married my knight in shining in armor. However, he was an atheist as we said "I Do". I knew I was walking into sin and God was NOT HAPPY with my CHOICE. HIS HAND WAS UPON ME. You see...there were people praying for my knight, my best friend, the man of my dreams. And after one year my beloved did come to Jesus. (Praise God!)

    Today - we are SOULMATES, I am his treasure,I am adored, cherished, loved, and protected by this man. Yes, I asked God to forgive me for sinning against Him and marrying an unbeliever,in His grace and mercy he restores and forgives.

    We have been married for 18 incredible years and have known each other for 31 years. Our life has been one of growing in Jesus everyday since his salvation. Yes - each day seems to many like a storybook and I treasure each day with him for he is my gift from God. I love and treasure him so very much!

  50. Karen, What a heartfelt, inspiring testimony of love and God's faithfulness! I am so moved reading it and thank you for sharing every word here. Truly, God never let go of you or your husband, bringing faith out of unbelief, and honoring your heart for Him and your husband. You're living proof of what I say about marraige - that a godly one improves with time! 17 years here and like you, I thank God for him ever day. He's a gift, just like you said, and I'm humbled by that.
    Bless you so much, Karen. Praying many more years of growing together in grace for the both of you!