Andy and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and I shared the story of how God brought us together in the post, Then, Now and For Always. So many people stopped here, and on Facebook, to wish us a Happy Anniversary. I would like to share one of those messages with you.
The message was from Ellen Gable Hrkach. Ellen asked: Did I have a copy of her newly released book, Come My Beloved? If not, Ellen wanted to send me a Kindle copy as an anniversary gift.
Now I’d been anticipating the release of Ellen’s latest book. I’d read extracts from it on her blog Plot, Line and Sinker. But I hadn’t realised there was a Kindle edition.
I sent back a reply:
“Ellen, I would LOVE a Kindle copy of your new book. Please! Thank you so much for offering me this gift.  I am so excited, jumping up and down, thinking about reading your book! I hope it is a huge success for you.”
I knew I would enjoy Come My Beloved. I’d already read Ellen’s previous books, Emily’s Hope and In Name Only. I was expecting something good and I wasn’t disappointed.
In the preface to the book, Ellen explains how it came to be written. On Valentine’s Day two years ago, Ellen was chatting with her friends, while their children played together. The women started to share how they met their husbands. It soon became evident that it was God who brought each couple together. One mother remarked, “It’s too bad there isn’t a book available with Catholic courtship stories.” Ellen’s response was, “Well if there isn’t, there should be.” And here it is: Come My Beloved, a collection of inspiring Catholic courtship stories.
When I wrote Then, Now and For Always I was consumed with the feeling that God had picked Andy out just for me. Even though I hadn’t asked for God’s help in the choice of a husband, He ensured that I met the one person who was meant for me. And likewise, the couples who tell their stories in Ellen’s book are convinced that it was God’s hand that brought them together. God is the perfect matchmaker.
Every story in the book is individual. But in every story two people were brought together by God, they fell in love and now share their lives together, accepting the highs and lows. It is in the giving of themselves that they show their love for each other. I really like Posie Douthwright’s definition of falling in love: “I think of falling in love as more like falling into God together and allowing His love to be manifest between us.” Falling in love in this manner is much more than the typical fairy tale romantic kind of falling in love. This sort of love survives the difficult times as well as the good.
I have many favourite parts of Come My Beloved:
Not all the stories involved instant attraction. An annoying laugh, the choice of clothes… sometimes an irritation involving superficial things had to be overcome. It took some of the couples time to really get to know the other person and see past little personality or physical quirks. And then love blossomed. Just as it did when I caught sight of the kind, generous and loving man behind Andy’s John Lennon glasses and baggy jumpers.
Not all the couples were marrying for the first time. David and Posie both suffered the deaths of their first spouses. They both hoped to marry again, and God in His goodness brought them together. I think of God bringing love and companionship into their lives after their great losses. What an unexpected gift after such sorrow. My thoughts turn to Andy. If anything happened to either of us, would we want to remarry? It seems such an alien thought. Andy is so much a part of me. Could I live without him, let alone fall in love with someone else? But would I want Andy to live alone if I was to die sooner than expected? Love says no.
 I also loved how one couple celebrated their wedding with hotdogs in the school cafeteria. They invited everyone and there was a huge joyful gathering. What does it matter what is served for the wedding feast as long as the married couple are surrounded by those who love them on their special day? My own daughter will be getting married in October. Should I suggest hotdogs at the parish hall?
Ellen’s story of her marriage to James is also in the book. I already knew a little about Ellen. I’ve read her novel Emily’s Hope which contains more than a hint of the author’s life. If you had a long distance courtship, if you wrote a million letters or stayed up late to make phone calls at the cheap midnight hour so you could hear your beloved’s voice, if you had to wait impatiently until you could get married, you will identify with Ellen and James’ story. I think of the three years Andy and I had to wait while we both finished university. We wrote to each other practically every day and Andy clocked up many miles as he travelled between our two universities so we could see each other. Yes, we know about waiting impatiently.
I won’t tell you any more about Come My Beloved. I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the book when you can discover its delights for yourself. But if you would like to know more, there are some excerpts on Ellen’s blog.
So thanks to Ellen, I have a copy of her latest book. Perhaps it is my turn to surprise someone, perhaps even make them jump up and down with excitement. Should I buy Come My Beloved for my own soon-to-be-married daughter? Perhaps you could surprise someone too: maybe someone who is getting engaged or married or celebrating an anniversary with their beloved.
And don’t forget to buy a copy for yourself at the same time. You will enjoy it.

How did you meet your spouse? Do you have a good courtship story?

Come My Beloved is available both as a paperback and as a Kindle ebook.
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Post a Comment

  1. sounds like an awesome book. i love stories like that.

    my own husband and i have a pretty cool story too. I do think we were meant for each other. too many weird coincidences in our own story to not see the hand of God in our marriage.

  2. It's a good read, Kim. I saw that Ellen is offering a free copy to a couple of readers. I think you need to visit her blog and make a comment if you are interested.

    I wonder if you would be willing to share your own courtship story. I know Ellen is looking for more stories for a second book. Maybe yours would be suitable!

    God bless!

  3. Thanks so much, Sue! I appreciate your review! Kim, I would love to hear your courtship/dating story...feel free to email me at info(at)


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