I always believed and prayed that the Lord would lead through the direction and guidance of my parents as it regarded guys that I dated. That wasn’t always easy. Sometimes my dad would say “no” when I thought he should say “yes.” I remember one time in particular when I was in high school that I thought that he was way too strict. He just didn’t understand!
But, I was a Christian girl with Christian parents, so I knew deep-down, that if I rebelled against my dad’s leadership in my life, God would not be pleased. I knew that God had placed the guidance of my parents over me for my own protection.
Growing up in high school and later in college, I trusted them.
I know that was only evidence of God’s grace in my life.
When it came to Grant, I thought that they might be hesitant about him pursuing me since he was all the way on the other side of the world. I thought that they might say that he should wait to pursue me until he came back to the states. I thought that they might tell me that it would be strange for us not to spend time together and only to communicate long-distance. But I was wrong.
You see, they loved Grant. They thought him pursuing me was awesome. To them, he was a direct answer to their prayers. They knew his family background and they spoke with him on the phone and learned about what he’d been doing over the past few years, and they were sure that he was God’s answer to their prayers. (Now, they didn’t tell all this to me at the time).
And so, my dad gave Grant “official” permission to pursue me.
It wasn’t an immediate thing. As Grant says, “he played hardball” and made Grant wait several days before getting back with him. He had to “think about it” and “talk it over with GraceAnna.“
But my dad did say, “yes.” Which only made Grant pursue me harder and more intently.
That’s one of the things that was so different about Grant. He was so sure of himself. As Grant got to know me, he had no doubts about the fact that he wanted to have a relationship with me. He wasn’t playing with my emotions, or wavering back and forth with his feelings.
When we talked on the phone, he guided the conversation, not me.
He wasn’t afraid to call me and write me and put himself out there. And of course, he hadn’t been afraid to call my dad (well, he will admit now that he was nervous), but he wasn’t afraid. There’s a difference.
Because Grant was so sure, he made me feel sure. I wasn’t afraid to write him and respond to his interest in me.
It’s as if God was making His will for me so clear and gently telling me it was okay to step through this new doorway in my life. I had the people who were closest to me holding it open for me.
And so, from one end of the world to another, I began to fall in love with a guy that I’d only met once in my life.
Grant’s first letter to me arrived on September 20, 2008. I came home from a long day on campus and picked up my mail from my apartment postal box.
My heart jumped when I saw a yellow envelope with handwriting I’d never seen before. I forced myself to drive to my apartment with the letter in my lap and park my car. I sat there and stared at the envelope. Grant’s handwriting on the outside was in all caps and he had written out my entire name – GRACEANNA MAUDE BROGGI. I slowly opened it, my heart pounding.
The card had a Japanese structure on the outside and Fall leaves. I knew he had obviously picked the card out especially to send to me.
I read Grant’s writing for the first time. I loved it. It was cursive and a little hard to read. But for some reason, I’ve always liked it when guys don’t have perfect handwriting. I don’t know why I like this, it’s weird I know. I guess I relate it to a sign of masculinity.
His letter was long, but it wasn’t mushy or filled with meaningless idioms. Like always, Grant talked about real things – his thoughts, his feelings, and what he was doing.
I laughed aloud as the topic of football came into his first letter. It would.
But his letter was also spiritually encouraging.
There is one section of his letter that absolutely amazed me and it still does. Grant wrote,
“I remember you saying that John 7:37, where Jesus mentioned the water that eternally satisfies was one of your favorites. I don’t think I told you this, but it’s also one of mine, GraceAnna. Let’s always drink deeply of our Savior! His love will always be more than enough. Let us always pray that our souls will find our longing fulfilled in our Savior and not in each other (because we cannot satisfy the longings that each of us have in our heart). But if God is our portion forever, then we will be able to love each other with the love of Christ, because we know that we are not “completing” each other, but that the completion of our souls can only be found in the cross and in Christ. That being said, I can pursue your heart with the right intentions, because I have not placed you as number one in my heart. I have the freedom in Christ to pursue you with a righteous love for you (that I believe God has placed in my heart).”
I looked up from his letter, tears in my eyes, who was this guy? Was he angelic? Seriously, where had he been all my life?
But what surprised me most in his letter, was not that, but was what I read towards the end.
“GraceAnna, you once said, ‘love is trust,’ well, you have my complete trust and my heart. It has amazed me how God has filled my heart with love for you. I love you, GraceAnna Maude Broggi! I intend to pursue your heart all the days of my life.
1 Samuel 2:30
I sat there in my car in amazement and shock. WOW!
It was end of September, September...we had started talking at the beginning of August.
Even though it had only been such a short time, we had been talking A LOT – for hours every night and countless emails. There had been a ton of communication in two months, to say the least.
But still, how could he write that? How could he be so sure that he loved me? How could he say that he was always going to pursue me? Wasn’t he afraid to be so bold?
However, his letter confirmed what I had already been learning about Grant. He just was who he was. He just expressed what he felt. He didn’t beat around the bush. He didn’t over-analyze and hypothesize. Telling me that he loved me was just natural for him.
He told me the same thing on the phone later that day. It was just, “I love you, GraceAnna.” It was completely normal for him to say it. There was no hesitation in his voice. No preface. No ceremony or bells ringing.
I was amazed by this. I mean, I had read I Kissed Dating Good-bye* after all. Wasn’t he supposed to propose immediately if he said those words?
But Grant didn’t speak those words without meaning or thought behind them. He just already knew that he loved me and so he didn’t hold back. He already knew that he wanted to pursue me for the long-term.
And honestly, that’s one of the most amazing things about our “relationship.” It was like God had been preparing us each separately for so long, that when God finally had our paths cross, it was just so right. We both knew somehow that we were meant for one another. We recognized that God was bringing us together. It was different than anything else either one of us had ever experienced.
And so, just as if it was completely normal, I found those three words rolling off of my tongue, “I love you, too.”
And I realized it was because I actually did.
to be continued…
* I think that I Kissed Dating Good-bye is a good book, I was just making a point about Grant’s personality.