A woman in love

April 30, 2013

KATY — Katie Hartfiel, currently from Katy, was a junior at Greeley West High School in Greenly, Colo., when she and a few of her friends began discussing their vocations and what God’s will was for their lives.

“If that path was marriage, then it made sense that He also knew the best person to help us get there. Furthermore, if that were true, then that person must be out there somewhere at that very moment,” she said.

Thinking that it was likely that the man God chose for her was dealing with the same temptations and struggles that she witnessed around her every day life, she began praying for her Husband-To-Be, referring to him as her HTB.

“I prayed specifically for his heart to be overtaken by the goodness of the Lord, and that he would triumph over temptation,” she said.
In the mean time, Mark Hartfield from Richmond was getting ready to play college basketball during the summer, just before his freshman year of college, when his life changed forever.

His story, as it is told in the book, “Woman In Love,” is: “In an instant, I felt the Holy Spirit rush into the room and into my heart. It was as if I was completely blind before and now I could see. The scales of blindness were removed from my eyes, and I could see with more clarity than any moment before. I experienced extreme sorrow and contrition, mixed with a supernatural joy. ...In that moment, I understood with clarity a simple reality: Jesus Christ died personally for my sins.”

Mark said the moment immediately changed his life, and he knew that someone, somewhere, was praying for him in a major way.
Years later, both Katie and Mark transferred to Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. They shared a Theology class and began to spend a lot of time studying together. “This led to socializing together, attending Mass together and sharing many cafeteria meals,” Katie said. “By the time we started dating; Mark was definitely my best friend on campus.”

Their relationship grew as Mark helped Katie through the grief of her parent’s divorce during the end of her high school years.

“The wounds of my broken family left me reluctant to let Mark in. He was such a witness of the Lord’s gentle and unfailing love for me, and God definitely used Mark to bring about healing in my life,” Katie said. “This was the first sign that there was something significant about our relationship.”

When the summer arrived, both of them traveled to their respective home states. One night, while on the phone, Mark and Katie were discussing his seemingly spontaneous conversion experience. Feeling a sense that the Holy Spirit was moving, Katie asked Mark if he knew the date of his conversion. Upon discovering this information, Katie researched through her prayer journals. Mark’s conversion happened the same week she began praying for her HTB. 

“As the months went on, it became increasingly even more evident that Mark was the man I wanted to walk to Heaven with,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want to live my life without Mark in it.”

In the book, “Woman In Love,” Katie not only recounts her personal love story in detail, she aims to help young women fall in love with the Lord as their First Love and strive to protect His heart as their Beloved. 

The book also gives journal and prayer prompts to help the reader take these topics to heart, and answers tough questions regarding today’s purity issues in a way that is both relevant and approachable.

Katie, who worked as a youth minister at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Houston for seven years, initially wrote the book expecting it would speak to an audience from teenagers to young adults in their 20s. However, the book has reached a much wider audience.

“I have heard from many married people, and even fathers, who have felt that ‘Woman in Love’ has a message for them both as parents and as individuals already living their vocation,” she said.

Katie left her position at St. Cecilia nearly a year ago to stay at home with her’s and Mark’s two daughters. The family currently lives in Katy. She is working on the release of another title to compliment “Woman In Love” called “A Mother’s Companion to Woman in Love: 12 Conversations Every Mother Should Have With Their Daughter.”

“Woman in Love” is available for purchase at www.womaninlove.org. It is also available in Houston locations, including Veritas and Theodore’s bookstores as well as Little Flower bookstore in Katy.