Long, Overseas Engagements Will Give Sweet Victory

A lot of you know that I’m engaged while living here in South Africa.  Carly lives in Nebraska, and will finish up her degree at UNL  in three weeks.  I wouldn’t recommend long engagements to anyone, especially Christians, however when you are separated by God’s call to minister the gospel and 10,000 miles of ocean, you fight through it and endure.

St. Augustine offers a wonderful comfort for why longsuffering and pain usually always result in sweet victory.  He says:

The victorious general marches home in triumph, but there would have been no victory if he had not fought, and the greater the danger in the battle, the greater the joy of the triumph…There is no pleasure in eating and drinking unless it is preceded by the discomfort of hunger and thirst…It is customary, too, for girls who are engaged to be married to delay the wedding for fear that a husband who has not suffered the trials of a long courtship may think his bride too cheaply won (Confessions, p. 162).

Well, it wasn’t Carly’s decision to delay our wedding to make me suffer, but she did willingly and joyfully join me on this adventure knowing that would be our road to travel.  It has been hard and wonderful.  And I’m thankful that in God’s great wisdom and insight, he thought it good for both of us to endure this time apart to make sure that our life together would not be a cheap victory.


Happy Valentine’s Day, Carly Anne

Carly and I get to spend our first Valentine’s Day 10,000 miles apart.  I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but I do like celebrations and if you love Jesus, then everything is a celebration.  So, here’s 14 things (among thousands) I celebrate about you, Carly, my best friend, my love, and my bride-to-be.

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of our necklace.
– Song of Solomon 4:9

Happy Valentine’s Day, darling.

I love you!
james michael

  1. You love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and want others to love him too.
  2. Your desire to love, respect, and follow me is incredible.  I couldn’t ask for a better helper and (soon-to-be) life-partner.
  3. You are a constant encouragement to me in life, ministry, and everything.
  4. You want to have a big family and work at home with our (probably crazy) kids.
  5. You are excited about Papa John’s pizza and a rental movie for a romantic date night.
  6. You tend to laugh (or roll your eyes) at everything humorous I say even if no one else does.
  7. You read Spurgeon and Piper sermons.
  8. You get embarrassed when I compliment you, and then you are even cuter than what you did before to make me compliment you in the first place.
  9. You are super-talented at music.
  10. You are a wonderful writer and are just as gifted with words as you say I am.
  11. Your personality and communication techniques are so opposite from mine, yet I have learned (and continue to learn) to enjoy our diversity.
  12. You love my family despite their (our) quirks and eccentricities.
  13. You know and love the Bible and believe in its power, authority, and centrality.
  14. You are absolutely gorgeous, and I couldn’t imagine waking up next to anyone else for the rest of my life.

A New Year, Engagement, and South Africa

Happy New Year, everyone.  And oh what a year it has been.  In case you are wondering, I’ll be leaving for South Africa on Tuesday, January 6.  I’ll be gone for 11 months, but will have a much-needed 2-week break in late June/early July.  I’m so excited to go, but it is bittersweet.  I just got engaged to the most amazing woman in the world.  The Lord has been so gracious, merciful, and faithful to Carly and me.  We are so blessed.  I don’t want to leave her, but I cling to the Jesus’ promise in Luke 18:29-30:

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

It will be a challenging, hard, and painful at times to be gone.  However, I know that this year will bear so much fruit for me as a husband, father, friend, and minister of the gospel.  The Lord is faithful.  He has never let me down.  I don’t think he will now.

Happy New Year, everyone.  Oh, what a year it will be.


I’m Going to Marry an Amazing, Jesus-Loving Woman

As of Friday, December 26, I am engaged to be married to Carly Anne Forsman.  She loves Jesus, hates sin, is crazy enough to want to be a pastor’s wife, and reads Charles Spurgeon and John Piper.  Ah, what more could a man ask for?

Many of you know that I’ll be in South Africa for the next 11 months, so be praying for us as we plan and prepare for our wedding and marriage over Skype, emails, and letters.  It will be an awesome challenge to do this, but something we know that the Lord has prepared us for and will guide us through.  Our wedding day will be in early January 2010.

I love you, Carly, and I long for the day to come (and it will very soon!) when we start the rest of our lives together.  I’ve told you before that I don’t believe people can complete other people, but I believe that God made you to be the love of my life after Jesus.  You are beautiful.

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (Songs of Solomon 8:7).


Churches Are Meant to Be More Than Just Marriage Factories

I wonder what a couple communicates to their family, friends, and God when the only reason they use a church is for a wedding ceremony.  If they never attend church on Sunday morning, why get married there?