September 15th 2010, 10:57 AM #1
Our Own ApologiaNick's Awesome Story!
I have an area of my new website called "Portraits of God," which features the testimonies and stories of extraordinary people through whom we can see our Heavenly Father at work. I chose to feature Theologyweb's ApologiaNick and his new bride toodlesdoodles because I find their story heartwarming and encouraging. As well, Nick wrote one of the best poems I have ever read to his bride-to-be which, when I saw it published on Facebook, inspired the decision to lift this precious couple up as a testimony to the glory of God.
Now, I know not everyone here on TWeb is a Nick-lover. He has graciously granted permission to share these personal and intimate details of his personal life and his heart with the TWeb community. Respect that, please, as well as the Topics and Guidelines for participating in this sub-forum.
Here is the article I published on my website, in it's entirety. And, here is the article as it appears there.
Nick Peters is a Christian apologist living with Asperger’s Syndrome. Part of the spectrum of Autistic or Pervasive Developmental Disorders (“PDD”), Asperger’s affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. They may struggle with their articulation and gross motor behavior and usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests. For Nick, that area of interest was apologetics with a side of “Smallville” (his favorite tv show)…until he met Allie Licona. (More information on Asperger’s and the man who first described it (and after whom it is named) can be found in this translation of his original paper: Autism and Asperger Syndrome.)
Nick grew up in Corryton, Tennessee, and experienced a somewhat secluded, small town childhood. He didn’t interact much with other children, but had a natural talent for video games and a very vivid imagination. As a student he found his class work easy to accomplish with little or no studying. Nick faced some difficult challenges in his youth. He had had back surgery for Scoleosis just before turning 16 and as he moved into high school, he was often stricken with depression and panic attacks.
Nick’s original diagnosis was Autism, but as he sought greater understanding and the available medical information grew, it emerged that Asperger’s seemed more likely. With this new understanding, Nick found relief, as the Asperger’s diagnosis helped explain some behaviors he had struggled with, particularly his extreme hesitance to talk to others he did not know well. His self-esteem beginning to rebound, Nick decided to fulfill his passion to further his education.
Nick enrolled at Johnson Bible College where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Preaching and Bible. Then, he moved on to Southern Evangelical Seminary where he is currently working toward his Master’s degree in Philosophy. An avid bookworm, he voraciously reads everything he can get his hands on, finishing books with tremendous comprehension and retention at astonishing speed.
During his undergraduate years, Nick found TheolgyWeb.com, an active theology debate and discussion forum, where he got into a debate with a Jehovah’s Witness. He found the experience exhilarating and returned often. Eventually, he was invited to join the volunteer staff as a moderator because of his thoughtful and doctrinally sound contributions and frequent participation. He has moved through the ranks to an administrative level there and considers TheologyWeb (TWeb) his online home.
Adventurous in nature and eagerly desiring to find his own way in the world, it took some time for Nick to find the most appropriate way to approach his parents about moving out and taking responsibility for himself. Having protected him through so much, it was an emotional transition. Before moving to Charlotte, NC to attend seminary, he moved into a local apartment as a trial run, where his parents could keep a watchful eye and where he could prove his abilities. After a few bumps, the path smoothed out and Nick thrived.
In 2009, noted author and seminary professor Gary Habermas introduced Nick to the daughter of his colleague Mike Licona. Allie also lives with Asperger’s which helped them feel an affinity toward one another immediately. That affinity blossomed quickly into love, while the pair courted online as TheologyWeb regulars and regularly traveled between their North Carolina and Georgia homes.
Though Allie and her family didn’t know for certain that she had Asperger’s until her junior year of high shool, she always felt she was different from everyone else. She says, “Some people want to be different from everyone else, but often, when it’s not your own choice to be different, you wish you were like everyone else. I was bullied for many years. My friends rarely stuck around with me for long, and then you also have problems with dating. I always dreamed of getting married some day to a person who could really understand me and love me for me. For a long time though, I always believed I wouldn’t ever get married because I believed there wasn’t a single man out there who could love someone like me. Some guys I’ve dated have even dumped me because of my struggles with depression. Nick met me when my depression was at the lowest it had ever been, but he loved me and he understood me because he had been through so many of the same experiences!”
Both families were quick to see the match as a good one and, with the help of Allie’s mother Debbie, Nick prepared a Christmas Eve proposal, offering a family heirloom pink sapphire as an engagement ring. As the couple embarked on pre-marital counseling, the counselor confessed, “I don’t believe I have ever seen a match more clearly made in heaven than this one!” Nick and Allie were married on July 24, 2010 and are surrounded by supportive friends and family as they make their life together. They have a deep desire to minister together to the disabled community and particularly to others living with Asperger’s, offering their unique experience and growing expertise in honoring God through healthy marriage.
A few days before their wedding, Nick posted the following on his Facebook page: An auspicious beginning for a beautiful portrait of God’s love and grace:
A Prayer for My Princess
July 13, 2010
Each day, may I grow in my love for you and understand more and more what that means. I am to walk as Jesus walked and I want to love you as he would have me love you.
May I realize every day your great beauty more and more and seek after it every day.
May I honor you with my eyes so as not to look at another with desire.
May I be fixated on you alone and no matter what happens to you in any way, may I maintain that fixation.
May I further admonish you to righteousness.
May I help you see the need for godliness in your own life as well so that you will seek to grow to be more like Christ everyday.
May I realize some battles are worth fighting and some are not and to let the little things go.
If I am angry, may I remember who you are and let me control my anger instead of my anger controlling me.
May I be able to handle the emotion and if need be convey it in a way that does not hurt you.
If I have the urge to be critical, may I remember that if I must say something, let it be something with the goal of building you up instead of tearing you down.
There will be times when I do not have the desire to love. May I love anyway.
There will be times when I wonder why we married. May I love anyway.
There will be times I am upset with you. May I love anyway.
May I remember that I am to pursue God first and you second and never reverse those, as it would not be loving to either. You are my wife, but you are not to be an idol.
May I remember that I have a new family unit with you and while seeking counsel from our families will benefit, that ultimately my first commitment family wise is to you.
May I remember that you are my partner in ministry and not just another aide or someone else on staff. You are to be after God the first one I turn to and rely on.
May I remember that I am to defend you as much as I can from those who would seek to bring you harm, and that includes even intellectual and spiritual harm.
May I always remember that you would never do anything that would maliciously hurt me intentionally and that you always love me and see everything you do through that lens.
When the world seems too hard and too hurtful, while I will find comfort in the arms of my God, may I also remember that he’s given you to me to be a comfort as well.
May I, even after marriage, always take the time to honor your body and make sure that I do not treat you as just a body.
May I always be tuned in to your needs and the ways that I can better meet those needs.
May I never take you for granted.
May I remember that I have listed as a goal in life to get two PH.D.’s. I want a PH.D. in philosophy, and I want a PH.D. in you.
May I always know that I love you and you love me.
May I remember I am to act towards you based not on how I feel at the moment, but on how you really are.
May I also do these things as well even when I don’t feel like them or don’t even want to do them.
Yet whenever I fail at any of these things, as I will, may I remember that I am a fallen human being and am in the process of sanctification and realize that God has allowed me to be imperfect and loves me as I am, a work in progress.
All my love to my Princess.
"He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me. And he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." John 14:21
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September 21st 2010, 12:13 PM #2
Re: Our Own ApologiaNick's Awesome Story!Check the blog of Apologiaphoenix!
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