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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Puzzle

Let me tell you why puzzles are so important in our house.
You see, years ago when our girls were young, we shared with them our heart on the subject of dating. We really didn't want our girls to "try out" guys and give pieces of their hearts and emotions away to different boys here and there.  We were leaning more towards "courtship" for our girls.

I've come to realize that the term courtship means different things to different people.
We believe, according to God's Word,  He has created each of our daughters to be a help mate for a specific young man and that in His timing, He would reveal who that was to her and us. So for us courtship meant no "casual dating"...before any time was invested in a young man, we wanted our girls to discern if they could spend the rest of their lives with this person. Now don't misunderstand, we weren't trying to get our daughters married off or having them on the look out for a husband...  we just didn't want them to feel depended on the need to be in a relationship and doing activities just for the sake of having something to do that is the "normal" thing for teenagers in our culture.  

We have always taught our girls about their gift of purity and saving themselves physically for the man the Lord has created for them until they are married.  We've taught  them about doing things the way God designed and what a blessing it will be for them to walk in God's best in this area... But we also desired for them to save themselves emotionally for their husband and we believed casual dating would jeopardize that. 

So with that understanding in our house, we shared with our girls our vision of  the puzzle.
When a young man began to show interest in them and they discerned that he may be worthy of their time and they desired to get to know him better, it was made known to him that  he was required to purchase a puzzle and bring it to our house and then have a talk with their daddy.  If their daddy felt like the young man was worthy to spend the time needed getting to know our daughter, then he would have to prove his devotion by making the commitment to put together a 1000 piece puzzle with us before he was allowed to take our daughter anywhere apart from hanging out with us.

The whole intent of this was for us to be able spend time with him ourselves in the weeks ahead as we put the puzzle together as a family.  

Well...we've had three young men show up at our door with puzzles in hand.
  • One married our oldest daughter three years later and they celebrated their 4th year of marriage in November.
  • One will be marrying our middle daughter this June,  three years after showing up with his puzzle.
  • And one hopes to marry our baby daughter in the future one day.

Today is the anniversary of when Lydia and Marcus completed their puzzle three  years ago and could officially go on their first "date".  
February 27, 2009.  
I think they ended up at Taco Bell.  :)
Here is their puzzle journey....

"The Puzzle"
 We thought the name of the puzzle was so ironic!
Reaching their "destination"  seemed like it was gonna take forever and a day at this stage....

They were still smiling though :)

Making some progress....

This is his "Lydia, you better be worth this" look....

Puzzle delirium...

There were many a nights spent at this table..
Many conversations were had....

We were really getting to know who this Marcus Linton was who had won our daughters heart.

It was a family event...

Marcus got encouragement from Chris...who had already faced Bro Nick and survived.  lol
Some good moral support from the son-n-law section.

I jumped in and helped too.
i even helped them out when they weren't there....shhh..that's our secret ;)

Lots of fun memories were made around this table.
I believe Rosalyn even  learned the Macarena during one night of puzzle time.

SO close....

Determined to finish it...this night! The end is NEAR!

Lydia is getting giddy!

Just a few pieces left!...

Here they are at the end...just one piece left and they begin to get worried....

If you notice the bottom left of the puzzle...after all that work, they are missing a piece!!

Unbeknownst to even me, her daddy had hidden a piece of the puzzle all along.
He let them sweat it out a little bit and then brought out this little box.

It had the last piece in it and he shared with Marcus, how just like that last piece of puzzle was so precious to was Lydia precious to us. And he needed to treasure her and value her and take care of her when she was in his care. .....
Then he gave Marcus the last piece.

I love their faces!

And the last piece goes in!

Whew!...Marcus survived.
He answered all our questions over the puzzle.
He had bible studies with Bro Nick over the puzzle.
....I think they discussed the entire book of Romans.
We giggled. We laughed. And we learned a lot about Marcus Aaron Linton.
And Marcus learned a lot about the Holdens and the things we value.

Which was exactly what was supposed to happen.

February 27, 2009
Happy Puzzle Anniversary to the soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Linton.

That night was just the beginning :)
I'll tell y'all about their engagement one of these days...I promise. ;)

Stephanie :)

ps.  i forgot to mention I dropped the puzzle transporting it upstairs before we glued it together.
Yeah.  I did that. 
It wasn't a good day for me.

bits of splendor monday


  1. This is beautiful! :) What a fabulous idea.... will be putting this one to memory. Our daughter is 19months old and our second daugther, Lord willing, is due in June! :) Congratulations to them.

  2. I love this. This is one of the most precious things I've ever heard of, so much I almost cried when reading it. What a great way to teach them the treasure that awaits them. Congrats to the couple!

  3. so so so so precious! i love your family! can i be a holden too?

  4. I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing parts of your life such as this one. I will be marrying in June as well after having a courtship of sorts with my husband-to-be, and I think that is THE way to go about discerning what the Lord's will is for us in the area of love. Thanks to you, I now have a new idea on how to teach our future children the value of courtship! Blessings to you and your family!

  5. Thank you do much for sharing this. What a blessing & encouragement!!! This totally encourages me as I have little girls. May God continue to richly bless you & your family as you steadfastly walk in Him! All glory to God =)

  6. Oh I love this idea!! I used to teach a small group with Jr. High Girls the basis was purity...I feel so heavy on my heart that there is so much in society telling them to do the opposite of this post! Thanks for sharing!

  7. praise the Lord for parents who use such discretion and care when helping their children find the mate that the Lord as for them!
    i adore this, because it is so very rare that young girls and their parents work together in this, and so many hearts are unguarded these days.
    my oldest just turned 13, and we are already{my husband and I} talking about how we are going to deal with courtship. i have a feeling time is going to fly by!
    of course, we have a few years, because there's not even a chance that she'll be dating before she's 18! :)
    we call it dating for a mate. as in, he's not even an option unless he's is serving the Lord and Godly husband material! Lord, help us! we need to protect our precious children.
    thank you for your faithful example and for honoring Him!
    this is a really sweet idea.

  8. Hubby and I have decided on courtship too! We are still nailing down exactly what that will look like for our family but I LOVE this idea. May steal it.
    Love you, seriously.

  9. oh my goodness, i just love this idea. i will definitely be sharing it with my husband later today. our girls are too precious to let their hearts get broken so early and often. my husband and i dated each other all of high school and we definitely do NOT want the same for our girls- what a roller coaster! and so many of the issues and hardships that we dealt with then, still creep back into our marriage as adults- not healthy! we don't want that for our babies, not at all. thank you for leading the way for us younger mamas :)

  10. that's such a great idea. seems like so much fun :]
    can't believe you dropped it! haha

  11. Wow, one of the best ideas I have ever seen! May be stealing it in the (waaaay) future!
    I also wrote on the topic of waiting for the right man today: Would love to have you read it and let me know what you think!

  12. oh my stephanie I LOVE THIS!!!!

  13. Oh, Stephanie, I love this idea! We love puzzles in our family, so we may have to use this idea!

  14. I love this! I never dated in high school, but I didn't make the wisest choices once I graduated and gained a bit of freedom. I defiantly do not want my daughter to go through the same things I did. I was just talking with my husband about how any guy who's interested in our daughter has to get to know our family first & spend time with us. I'm going to have him read this post when he gets home!

    I found your blog through the Monday Bits of Splendor link-up. Love your blog!

    God Bless!

  15. Love this sweet! :0)

  16. What a great idea! Like others have stated, I will be borrowing this idea. I love the intentionality you and your husband took in this area of your family. Great, great, great job!!

  17. Also, I pinned this to Pinterest, so I'm really sorry if you get any hate mail or comments from people who don't understand your love for Jesus and your love for your family. :)

  18. I have to tell you I LOVE this idea beyond words. From the pure thought of it to the missing piece with a little story behind it...LOVE!

  19. Man that looks like some true hardwork and determination!

    xo Shane

  20. Yes, it is work. Always for anything good. Unfortunately some jump in with no work and then try to find a way out, which is too much work fraught with danger and sometimes eternal consequences.

  21. looovvee it!

    pinning it.

    doing this (some day).

  22. I absolutely love this. I am so thankful for families like you who are a perfect testimony and witness to a close family bond. This is what we are striving for with our kids. I am so down with this puzzle about 15 years ;)...speaking of, was there a certain age you started letting the girls court?

  23. This was such a lovely story I had to tweet and G+ it!

  24. did you guys "modge podge" that puzzle together and keep it?!

  25. Hi Stephanie,

    I follow you on Instagram. I am falling in love with your cuteness and your heart. This post made me laugh and smile. I love your blog. I have three girls too but they are a bit younger. I have twin boys who are 11 and my girls are 7, 2, and nine months. We hope to instill the value of courtship when they are old enough. This is a beautiful post and the puzzle is the icing on the cake!


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