Here is the link to my first 'article' on NLQ.
If you're not ATI, you may not understand the quotation before each article I plan to do. I'll try to explain. Bill Gothard promotes an educational series in which he defines forty-nine "operational qualities" of character. These are the "character traits" you hear the Duggars go on about. Each week, as an ATIer, you are supposed to audit yourself against these character traits. "Are you orderly or disorganized?", in concordance with biblical principle and scripture. For my "tale", I plan to incorporate one of these principles into each part.
Attempting to write about my life is difficult. It took some weeks for me to organize my thoughts and prepare myself to write. To achieve the greatest efficiency, I decided to start from the beginning.
"Orderliness v Disorganization” – Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40) - (Source: http://billgothard.com/bill/teaching/characterqualities/)
I’ve heard that my mom was stunnning. Raised with southern grace and charm by a debutante mother and large animal vet father, she had everything a young girl in the seventies needed to marry well and have a career. She wanted that career. She graduated from a private high school two years early because of her profound intelligence. My grandmother always reminded us that my mother had begun reading Thoureau at the age that most of us were thumbing through Little House on the Prairie. After high school, my mother attended university and finished her undergraduate program in three years – an unheard of thing in the seventies. She began teaching mathematics at a local junior high school, where she was beloved by her students.
With all of that going for her, you would never have guessed that she had deep insecurities. She did. She was terribly shy with men. As a result of her shyness, my mom rarely dated, though she was sought after by many men (if you believe my grandfather).
She met my father in a hospital. I’ve always wondered if such an auspicious beginning shouldn’t have given her pause. A female friend of my mother’s had gone into labor with her second child. My mom drove her to the hospital and stayed with her until her husband arrived. When the proud daddy-to-be arrived, my father was with him, having driven him to the hospital. As my mother and father waited with the proud papa in the waiting room, they became attracted to one another and ended up arranging to meet for lunch the next afternoon.
At lunch the next day, my father told my mother of his religious conversion from Methodist to “evangelical”. He had been saved. Mom, not having grown up in a religious household, was fascinated by this man who spoke so lovingly of a personal relationship with Jesus. He also began telling her of a man he’d met who had started a ministry for youth, teaching them to resolve conflicts and adolescent issues. As a middle school teacher, she found the goals of the mission admirable. She decided to accept his proposal for a second date.
A second date became a third. Dating became courting. Courtship led to marriage with six months. My mother said she never questioned allowing my father to be the spiritual leader of their marriage. I have asked her how much she knew about my father’s role in the ministry and when she knew it but she’s always said that it wasn’t important – she loved my father.
When my eldest brother was born, the head of the organization came to my parents and asked them to consider “an idea”. “How much do you trust in the Lord?”, he asked. “Have you given every aspect of your life to Him?” After providing them with scriptural references and some food for thought, he departed. Family lore has it that, after two days of prayer and fasting, my parents committed to having as many children as the Lord would bless them with and that they would allow the Lord to open and close my mother’s womb. They never looked back.