“He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces.” (Ps 107:14)

Once held captive
Now stand free
His saving power
Is all I see

Precious to my Savior
He cares so much for me
That He freed me from my prison
Free of shackles I will always be

Mellette: My junior year of college I started asking questions. I knew their was more to life than living for “worldly success” so I was forced to ask: What was the purpose of life? Why am I here? What do I want to live for?  I started digging in my Bible. I had read Stephanie’s blog for about year and in October of 2008 she offered a conference call Bible study that would cover the fundamentals of Christianity. Perfect timing. It was through that study I understood that God’s word was Truth. For the first time in my life I really understood the gospel. That I deserved death, but that Jesus Christ loved me so much that he sent his son to die in my place. I then knew my entire life was about to change. Over the next year I wrestled with the Lord. I knew the truth but it look me almost a year to fully surrender my life to the Lord. Fall of my senior year, alone in my apartment I said ok Lord, I’ll do it your way. I’ll obey. You can have all of me. You’re worth it. Surrendering my life gave me the most freedom I had ever felt. In the following months the Lord blessed my obedience, and although it was crazy having my world turn upside down senior year of college, the Lord directed my footsteps according to His Word. He gave me sweet friends that discipled me, held me accountable, went to church with me, and that helped me figure out how to plant my post college life around community and a great church. In December of my senior year Steph opened her house to complete strangers to come and be washed by the Word. She talked about desiring the King more than the prince. She taught us about holiness, purity, and how to study the Word. I learned through God’s word what kind of guy the Lord wanted me to marry, and how to date in a way that honored the Lord. It was that weekend I shared my testimony for the first time. It was that weekend where my knees buckled at the Love of Christ and I knew and understood that God loved me with an unconditional relentless life changing love. That he not only loved me but that he liked me as well. I learned he had great plans for me and that he wanted to use me for his glory. It clicked that weekend. Before me and my sister left Saturday night, Steph looked at me and said “Mellette, you’re ready to step out in ministry.” It was the push I needed. My final semester in college the Lord opened the door for me to do ministry as I kept falling more and more in love with Christ. The Lord has been so faithful over the last 4 years. When I look back at that weekend I am overwhelmingly thankful for Stephanie and her willingness to open her home and teach younger women Truth from the pure Word of God. If you’re considering coming to His Proposal 2013 I beg you to come. Come and be fed, come and rest, come be encouraged, come and experience the love of Christ that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. You will be blessed.

Melanie: When I was first asked if I was going to the His Proposal conference by my friends, I was hesitant. I had grown up in church and been to a few single women conferences. I had never really had good experiences at these types of things. I felt the need to go regardless. I was determined I would only go to the Friday night part of the conference and make up some reason on how I was too busy to go on Saturday. As the conference began, it was like they were speaking a foreign language. The God they were talking about a loving God who is actively pursuing me. I never saw God as loving, only very angry and judgmental. I spent most of my life self-abusive and suicidal. I didn’t see myself as worthy of anyone’s love. The first night of the conference had stirred something inside of me and I didn’t know what it was. I felt that I had to go to the Saturday as well. So I stayed up very very very late and didn’t set my alarm. I determined that if I was supposed to go on Saturday I would wake up on time. I woke up at 5:30 unable to go back to sleep. As I listened to Steph, Jen and Mellette talk I began to see this loving God they were talking about. It was as if someone had turned on the lights. Although I wasn’t sad I could help but weep. I spent my whole life scared to live because if I stepped out of line God would smite me. Now, I felt God loved me and wanted me to live. He wanted me to have joy and be happy. I felt free! This conference turned my world upside down and I love it!!!!

Sheldon: I accepted our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, into my life on Easter, April 4, 2010. Before this, the Lord had rocked my world; my boyfriend of two years ended our relationship (a worldly, selfish relationship) and I had just graduated college, was on my own and felt alone, with no direction. I began searching for answers in all the wrong places, of course, until I began to actually read my Bible for the first time. I began reaching out to a few friends, one being Mellette (Johnson) Chatham who is a part of the His Proposal ministry, asking question about faith and salvation. Mellette and I had a few mutual friends in college, so we knew each other somewhat well.

On April 4th, I realized a needed a Savior and asked the Lord to be a part of my life. I told him I could not do anything, had no idea what I was doing and needed his help. I realized it was dirty, filthy in sin. I knew something happened, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it or how to explain it, but I knew something was different. A few months later, Mellette asked me to go with her to a conference in Chattanooga, Tn., called His Proposal. She told me her friend Stephanie was speaking and so was she. Of course, I wanted to go and support my friend, so a few of us hopped in the car and made the 4 1/2 hour trip to Chattanooga. It was here, at His Proposal, that everything clicked for me. All the questions and all the uncertainty made sense. What hooked me was the dissection of the verse below:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Everyone had heard this verse, so I almost disconnected and quit paying attention until the definition of agape love caught me. The word for “loved” in John 3:16 is “agapeo” (agape) and it means: to esteem, to love, and indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in. It is the unconditional cognitive decision to care about the needs of another. This is a love that only gives, expecting nothing in return. It is a love not based on the worthiness of the object but on the character of the one loving.

Again, it is a love not based on the worthiness of the object but on the character of the one loving.

Our Father, my Father, knew me, formed my inner parts (Ps 139:13) and knew all my sin. He knew the sin I was going to commit before the start of time and he still called me by name. His love is based on His character alone, not because I deserve it, but because He is a loving, forgiving God, but one who also hates sin. And although I had sinned, He still asked me to be a part of Him.

Since then, the Lord has worked. He has redeemed my life and many relationships. One relationship in particular, is that relationship with the boyfriend of two years, who I had dated before I became a believer. In those two years, the Lord brought him back to life as well and we were married on June 29, 2012. Our God is good, things that are unthinkable to us are merely predictable to Him.

“However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love him…”. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Jessie Beth: So much of my college experience has been spent chasing after my prince. I had been so caught up in finding a Godly man that I was inching further and further away from being the Godly woman I know I am called to be. This weekend was a joy to meet new friends, an encouragement to learn more about my Creator from Steph, Tim, and others, and, above all- this weekend has set me free. God has revealed Himself to me in ways I’ve never known Him. This is the first time in a very long time that I feel at peace knowing God has the future under control, as I chase after him with relentless passion. His love is my PORTION, His grace is my HOPE, and His word is my LIFE. I truly feel like He has taken the shackles off of my feet so I can dance. I know struggles will still come my way, but I’m so excited to get closer to the One who will fight my battles for me.

Christine: I came to the conference last year as a recent college graduate with a job of about a month.  I also came being in a relationship of about three weeks.  In the relationship we talked about God, what we had learned from our devotions that day, and we even prayed together.  But it was all initiated by me.  I wanted to read the bible and talk about it-talk about what we learned, study it, and he wanted to talk to me about…me.  I was hungry for the word and he was content just listening to me.  My thought process was, “He’ll change; I’ll just lead us for now.”  I thought I was a crazy person for not liking being in a relationship with a guy who really liked me-who was constantly seeking me.  My thought process was, “you just want what you don’t have. If he wasn’t obsessed with you, you’d be insecure.”  From what God had already taught me in my last relationship, I knew I needed God to be the smack center of my life.  I knew my boyfriend was a believer and I knew he loved Jesus-I mean when I first met him he was planning a mission trip around the world, but I didn’t know what a Godly man looked like in a God-centered relationship, so I continued to date him even when more red flags went up.  A week before the conference we were watching TV at my parents house late one night when everyone was asleep.  We had a kiss that lingered and he touched me inappropriately.  I pushed his hand away and just sat there for a minute.  Hadn’t I told him how I felt about that?  That I didn’t want to do anything like that?  That I had a lot of shame and hurt from my past and I wanted to be new?  I knew now that I was a “temple of the Holy Spirit who is in me.”  I asked him why he did that and his response was, :”I thought you were putting my hand there.”  I was furious and heartbroken.  Betrayed and wanted to throw up.  But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and I knew I needed to forgive.  I could tell he was sorry so I told him I forgave him but that he needed to leave.  The next day we went to church and I tried to not be upset with him.  Soo many emotions were going on in me.  I decided to forgive and forget and stay with him. 

On my way to the conference I asked God to speak to me at the conference.  I asked him to please show me if this relationship was His plan for me.  On the very first night of the conference I remember Stephanie saying something along the lines of, “Girls, if he’s not leading you spiritually in the relationship now you aren’t going to be able to change him when you get married.”  My insides dropped.  Wow, I already had my answer.  I wanted to text him under the table right then and tell him it wasn’t going to work out.  My flesh spoke and said,” Nobody else will want you.”  But then my Beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”  I heard these women speak about God like he was their husband and I WANTED to know God like that.  “For your maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is his name.”(Isaiah 54:5)  I heard, “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you, “(Isaiah 62:5) and the words gave me butterflies.  I started seeing God’s love for me in a new way-Jesus as my knight in shining armor! “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS.”(Romans 5:8)  My deepest, darkest sin God knew I would do and He still made a way for me to be right with him.  I wanted to abandon EVERYTHING-all MY desires, MY selfishness, MY pride and live for him-“whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)  I didn’t see my boyfriend on Friday night and after the conference was over on Saturday I drove to his apartment and told him we didn’t feel the same way about each other and that it wasn’t fair to us to be in this relationship. I decided not to tell him I had a better view of what I was looking for in a husband and he wasn’t it. 

I clung to God’s love, a love that would NEVER fail me or forsake me, a love that would never let me down.  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  I had felt for some time God had given me a heart for young girls to teach them the things God had taught me-to find their confidence is in being fearfully and wonderfully made set apart for his purpose to be used by Him. To tell others “their body is not their own, they are a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in them, whom they have received from God.”  To tell the girls “God set them apart from birth” to do the “good works he prepared in advance for them to do” that can only be done when living in Christ!  I learned from the conference, “my life is worth nothing to me unless it is about finishing the work God gave me, the work of telling others the good news, about the wonderful grace of God.”  Everything I heard at the conference stoked the small flame inside me into fire.  I began praying for God to use me as his instrument here on earth to bring glory to his name.  The next week I got asked to help with our church youth group.  Talk about answered prayer.  There is where I come alive-telling others what God shows me-telling others HIS words-HIS truth.  This is true joy.  I pray I continue to receive His grace by being able to hear his words and humbly give it to my girls.

I do desire a husband BUT only if being married draws me closer to my maker.  Only if being married glorifies God’s name more than it does in my singleness.  Because I know, “Unless the Lord builds her house, its builders labor in vain.”  So for now I will pray I can, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”  God is so good.  He made me new.  “Therefore, if anyone is IN Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” I do not want my newness of life to be in vain. ”Whoever claims to live IN him, must walk as Jesus did.”  1 John 2:6.  I am trying to walk like him in the waiting….praying the walking only grows stronger in marriage.  This conference pointed me to all these truths along with seeds that were planted.  AMAZING what God is using you all for in my life and others.


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