Journey of the Heart: The Story of Janet McLean by Jeannie Castleberry
This is the fourth book in the Courtship Series by the Castleberry family, and the first by Jeannie. After reading this book, I must say that it is as good, or maybe even better, than the other three courtship books. The reason I say this, is because Janet’s story is different than the others. It is not a story of courtship, but rather a story of waiting, and of purity.
Just like lots of other young women, Janet spends a lot of her time thinking of marriage and motherhood. When a “possible possibility” for courtship comes along, Janet can’t stop thinking about him. Then one day, this young man and his family come over to the McLean’s house for a visit. As Janet observes his behavior, her attraction for him slowly dies away. But trouble always has a way of sneaking up on us… the young man asks Janet’s parents for permission to court her. After many agonized prayers for wisdom and heart to heart talks with her parents, Janet realizes that – at this point in her life – it is not God’s will for her to marry this young man. This whole process of initial attraction and then in the end having to turn him down, revealed to Janet the need to guard her heart more closely.
At one point toward the end of the book, Janet surrenders her desire to get married to the Lord and wants to put “the idea of marriage completely out of her mind.” But the very next day, Janet finds herself longing for marriage just as much as before. What Janet learns is that even if you surrender something it doesn’t mean that you will never deal with it again, but that you accept God’s will unconditionally – even if He chooses not to remove your longing. You must rise above accepting singleness and embrace what God wants you to do with this time in your life.
Janet realized that her pain, loneliness, and longing was a form of suffering. She was learning the same lessons that everyone learns in the school of suffering – that God is always with her, that His strength is made perfect in weakness, and His grace is sufficient in every situation.
At age 14 this book had quite an impact on me. It helped me to be content and to see God’s wisdom in His timing. After I read the book I looked up verses on desire and found that in each verse it talked about the Lord fulfilling the desires of man. But most of the time they said to trust in the Lord, or to delight in Him, or something very close to those, and then we should have our desires or then we would be satisfied. We must understand though, that this doesn’t mean we can always have what we want. But I do believe if we trust and delight ourselves in the Lord than we will at least be content and at peace.