Throughout my life, time and time again, I've heard the age-old adage, "Experience is the best teacher." As I grew and matured, I remember owning those words as a personal truth because I'd seen, first hand, how the pain from a bad decision kept me from repeating whatever it was that caused the pain. Experiencing it caused it to be planted in my memory, and anything that I'd later encounter that resembled it in any way would throw up caution signs and likely trigger thoughts of the pain. And who wants to experience the same pain over and over?
So as it was designed to do, and like it does so well, the experience taught me to stay away...to change...to choose differently. And thank God for that! I wholeheartedly agree that experience is a mighty fine teacher. And it doesn't have to be my personal experience that teaches the lesson; it can be someone else's experience, and THAT is the BEST teacher--learning from others' mistakes. Why go through it when I don't have to?
With complete assuredness, I can declare that I don't have to burn my hand in the fire to know that it can happen. All I need is to see that fire burn something or someone and I'm good. There's no need for me to travel down that road to test the theory. The same goes for me learning from others' mistakes and pitfalls. If they've told me what to do to stay out of the line of fire, or they've told me what not to do, I've learned that that's just as good a teacher as my own experience. I DO NOT have to learn the hard way. And thank God for the Karolyne Robertses of the world who take what they've learned from experience, couple it with God's truth, and share it with the world so we don't have to get burned.
Women, especially single women, take heed!
"The One" Revealed: A Woman's Hopeful and Helpful Guide In Knowing Who Her Husband Is should be considered nothing less than a jewel. Karolyne Roberts, ebonically speaking, if I may, PUT HER FOOT ALL UP IN THIS BOOK!
The subtitle, A Woman's Hopeful and Helpful Guide In Knowing Who Her Husband Is, could have very well stood alone as the title of the book because Karolyne guides readers in not only knowing how to know who their husbands are, but also in knowing who they are not. She guides readers in knowing how to be in position for their husbands and how not to get out of position prematurely. She teaches how not to manipulate situations to make it fit one's own desires to have a husband. She instructs readers on how to allow God to make all the moves in orchestrating the meeting of, and eventually the joining with that husband. And she so eloquently does this with Testimony, Truth, and Tough Love as she stresses the importance of Timing and Trust.
Naturally, most women (likely, all) who will purchase the book will be drawn in by the title. Isn't that how we decide what we want to read, for the most part? Readers see a title like that and they want to know how to know who their husbands are. And if the author is married and willing to share how she knew who her husband was, BINGO! There's just nothing like learning from someone who's walked it out. Karolyne opens the book with her story, and it was the perfect way to start! I devoured that first chapter in minutes; it was hard to put down. The details of how she met her husband, Chris, were candid and transparent. From them meeting and dating, to them taking a break to grow individually, to the God-orchestrated reunion, to courtship, to engagement and finally to marriage...it's all there. The emotions that she felt at each stage were literally jumping from the page. Love. It was there. Shame. It was there. Pain. It was there. Doubt. It was there. Fear. It was there. But then there was this overwhelming excitement that was laced through all of it because she was learning at each stage--from their initial meeting to the day they were married--to trust God more and more with handling the husband he had for her, regardless of what it looked like. Karolyne doesn't falter in telling readers that no one could have written her love story more perfectly than the God who knew her and knew Chris and knew exactly what each of them were destined to do, together, for His glory. If she would have written it herself, it wouldn't have been that good! Inside her testimony, she guides readers and tells them where she went wrong and what she did right. She talked about times that she was led by the Lord, and times that she was led by lust. After hearing her personal play-by-play, it's evident that she has a lot to share and that she can offer wisdom in the area of knowing who one's husband is. And it's almost impossible to stop reading after that!
I was SO glad Karolyne didn't paint ribbons in the sky or hang a fairytale curtain to cover the window of truth. She didn't say "you'll meet him on a perfect Spring day, you'll both fall in love after your first conversation, and you'll live happily ever after." She was real in telling readers that everyone's story is different; everyone's situation is different; people are different. She explained that God is God and can very well cause someone's story to go that exact way, but He can also cause it not to. She encouraged readers to not even look to anyone else's stories, but to allow God to write their story His way specifically for them. And how does one do that? She must first know God and know His voice, and she can't know His voice without knowing His word.
One of my favorite excerpts from the book reads, "When God is speaking, it's either directly from His word or in line with His word. You will have peace about it. When the enemy is speaking, it's contrary to God's word or it's a twisted version of God's word. If you don't know God's word, how will you be able to decipher whether or not what you're hearing is a twisted version of it?"
So can I believe that the Lord said Mr. Man is my husband and be completely wrong about it? Absolutely! The truth is this: The enemy is a master deceiver. If your hope is built on simply knowing who your husband is and being found by Him rather than knowing "The One" who knows your husband and being known by HIM, the enemy can play on your emotions and your hope and have quite a field day! The only way to prevent that is to be so closely in tune with God's voice that you'll know when you're hearing Him. If you know His voice, God's word tells us that another voice you will not follow. And Karolyne keeps God's word flowing, scripture upon scripture of truth, throughout every chapter so readers will understand that THE "KNOWING" DOESN'T HAPPEN APART FROM GOD! Relationship with "The One" is everything in knowing who one's husband is. That's the ultimate truth.
Single women everywhere can be honest and say that there are moments when being single gets tough. When a single woman's friends are married or in relationships, but she's alone, and when her family gathers on holidays with their spouses and she's alone, it can be down right hard. We were created for relationship (first, with God), so the desire to be in relationship is as natural as it gets, but relationship must be purposeful. Someone might say, "If we were made for relationship, and I desire to be in a relationship, why can't I just marry someone I love and who loves me?" That might work if we weren't created with individual purpose and if God didn't design for our individual purposes to come together and work as one in a marriage unit. Karolyne explains this very well in the book. Marrying just anyone will do more damage than good because when two people are joined in marriage, it's not just for being together. It's for working together to fulfill the purposes of God in the earth. It's to make Jesus known and to draw others to Him.
The single season can be even harder for the one who knows she's heard from the Lord about who her husband will be but doesn't see any progress. It could even seem like any hint of a relationship between the two of them is actually headed in the opposite direction. Karolyne addresses this with specific scenarios in the chapter titled, Knowing Who Your Husband Will Be..." The scenarios are so eye opening and definitely help readers see what it means to simply let God be God. In one scenario, a woman who believes God has told her who her husband is takes matters into her own hands. Rather than allowing God to speak to the man, and rather than patiently and quietly waiting for the man to pursue her, she makes moves to try and "help God" out with the process. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. It paints such a clear picture of what it looks like to get in God's way, somewhere we should never want to be.
Karolyne explains, "What we sometimes fail to realize is that God does not need our help in keeping His word. He will keep His word all by Himself, whether we are involved or not and whether we have knowledge of the future or not. You can sabotage God's plans for you when you are disobedient and step outside of His will by trying to take matters into your own hands."
It's tough to hear, but Karolyne says it in love. We just can't do it our way. It has to be God's way.
He knows the plans He has for us. He knows what we need when we need it. And the truth is this: If the Lord wanted us to have something right now, we'd have it right now. Who knows what He's trying to develop in us in our waiting? Karolyne uses the example of when she became pregnant with her first child and how she and her husband wanted, and hoped that the pregnancy would've been sooner. They both saw later that they needed that time together to grow in marriage first. They needed time with just them to figure out their new oneness. The same goes for individual development. God knows you. He created you. He knows if you're ready to handle sharing your space. He's still working compromise in you. He knows if you're ready to handle sharing your time. He's still working patience in you. He knows if you're ready to endure trials and miscommunication and hardship. He's still working perseverance in you. You have to trust God with the timing. He sees our end from our beginning. He knows what's best for us. He knows the plan. And no matter if you have to wait 6 months or 6 years before even meeting your husband, you have to know that God's timing is what's best, no matter what it looks like. Karolyne knows a thing or two about that too. She knows about timing. 7 months. You have to read to learn about the 7 months that took place in her and Chris' story. Just know that He has the plan...He has the plan... He has the plan...
Trust is evident in Karolyne's testimony. She had to trust what she heard from the Lord when she heard Him say that Chris was her husband. She had to trust when it didn't seem like it was him. She had to trust when she thought back to another relationship that hadn't worked like she'd hoped. She had to trust Him because if He said it, then it must be. And it proved to be so when she heard Chris say that the Lord told him that she was his wife. You've just got to read her story!
There were so many powerful nuggets of wisdom throughout this short, very well-written book. And like I said, it was so good that I couldn't put it down. I read it in pretty much one sitting. This guide is rich with truth. It's rich with openness and a genuine desire to see women not have to travel a road that's unfruitful. Karolyne shared her experience, the highs and the lows, to keep us out of the fire. Will we take heed?
Get a taste of some of the titles of the chapters in the book...
- I Keep Having Dreams - What Do They Mean?
- He Doesn't Even Know Me. Am I Crazy?
- How To Hear God's Voice
- I Think I Married the Wrong Person