Later that day, I laced up my running shoes for an afternoon run on the beach. I started out going against the wind, so that my return run back to the beach villa wouldn’t be so hard.
As I ran, I started thinking about the past year and all the things that had led me to move to N.C. to work for Campus Crusade for Christ at Duke that Fall.
My plan when I went to college was much like most non-feminist, southern girls. I hoped to meet a husband in college, and get married when I graduated.
I was not only raised to believe, but fully embrace myself, that there is no higher calling for a woman than to fulfill the feminine and God-given roles of wife and mother.
I know that’s not really popular to say. It certainly isn’t popular to tell your professor while you are in college that you are studying in their class because you hope to use what you are learning so that you can be a good wife and mom one day.
Certainly that couldn’t be ALL that one would aspire to do? Everyone knows that being a wife and mom is important, but not THAT important. And where’s the personal fulfillment in spending your time helping a man and changing diapers day in and day out? Surely, we are a more educated generation now. You should use your education for a higher calling.
Now of course, not every woman ends up being a wife and a mom. That’s not God’s plan for every woman. But there are plenty of single women that I know that exercise these godly traits (a supportive/mothering heart) even though they aren’t married. They pour into the lives of children and families around them, and wholeheartedly embrace their femininity in the realms that God has called them to work and serve. And they are amazing.
And that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be as educated as I possibly could be to be a wife and a mother. And if I didn’t get married or have children, I wanted to be able to support myself financially after college and be able to invest in the lives of those around me.
So, I chose Early Childhood Education as my major. There was a huge part of me that wanted to be an English major because I loved all my English courses in high school and I didn’t consider myself to be very “crafty.” Creating and decorating bulletin boards is just not my thing. Decorating and constructing crafts is what I often thought of when I thought of Early Childhood Education. But that’s not what it is at all. Though I did decorate a few bulletin boards before graduating. To my surprise, I kind of enjoyed it.
But I loved children. And I couldn’t think of a better way to invest my father’s money than to learn how they develop and grow. Surely that type of education would last a lifetime.
By the time I reached my senior year at Clemson, I was so glad I had chosen to study Education. I adored my class of five year olds that I taught my last semester of college. I can still hear their voices that would exclaim in the most southern of accents, “We love you Miss Broggi!”
I also began to realize as graduation approached, that getting married anytime soon was nowhere on my horizon. It wasn’t that there weren’t great Christian guys at Clemson, there were. Just nothing had worked out.
I can remember those early morning drives to school in the dawn light. My roommate and I were memorizing the book of Philippians together that year and I would recite it aloud on my drives to school.
I felt God’s presence in a new way on those drives. He used His word to draw me closer to Him.
One day, on my way home from school, it dawned on me that I was completely content in my relationship with the Lord. And what I mean by that, was that I realized I didn’t need a boyfriend, a fiancé, or a husband to complete me. The Lord was enough.
I didn’t know what my life would be like later on. I wasn’t presuming that I would always feel that way. I still wanted to get married, but I just knew that at that moment, He was enough. And that He promised that He always would be enough, no matter what.
I also realized that marriage and children are blessings – they aren’t guaranteed, and can never “complete” any woman on the deepest level. Only God can complete and fulfill the deepest longings of a woman’s heart.
Easy to say and yet difficult to live, but I understood it and I honestly felt that completion in the Lord. I was amazed that I could genuinely feel that way emotionally, not just intellectually. I knew that was something God was doing in me. I would never be at that point on my own.
It was during that time that I decided that working for Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru) would be the best way to invest my time as a single woman. I was really involved with the organization during my time in college. I loved leading a Bible study. It was one of the highlights of my time those four years.
While I wanted to teach, I knew that teaching would always be there for me. God had given me a heart for ministry, and I felt Him tugging at my heart to invest some time fully devoted to it. I couldn’t escape that pull.
I watched as God opened up the door for me to go to Duke. I decided that I would work there for a year, and then reevaluate whether or not to teach children or continue in ministry.
So, I came home that summer to raise support, since Cru is a non-profit organization. Asking people to invest financially in what I was doing was harder for me than I thought it would be. I realized I was stepping out on my own.
But God was faithful. I raised all my support fairly quickly and now I was spending a few days at the beach with my family before I made the big move to N.C.
I was thinking about these things on my run that day. It didn’t seem to take too long before I reached the rock jetty at the end of the beach. I turned around and felt the wind pushing me along instead of working against me. I picked up my pace as my run became easier.
I couldn’t believe I was done with college. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t even dating anyone. But I wasn’t sad about it. I was so excited about what God had in store for me.
My thoughts wandered back to Grant Castleberry.
That was an interesting last name – Castleberry. I’d never heard of that last name before. I liked the way it sounded.
Why did he add me on Facebook? I mean, did he suddenly think of me for some reason?
Wait, what am I doing? Why am I thinking about him again? I literally remember laughing aloud on my run.
Grant was not the first male human being to add me as a friend on Facebook. I never thought twice about something like this before. What was my problem?
It’s Facebook, come on! Not even the “real” world! And seriously, he hadn’t even sent me a message. All he had done was add me. If he had wanted to talk to me, he would have said something. For all I know, he clicked on my name by accident.
I decided that I would ask my mom to tell me the story of his family when I got back. It all seemed so random that I concluded that there must be more that I didn’t know.
I sped up again, turning up the volume on my iPod to drown out my own ridiculous thoughts.