I stood in front of the full-length mirror in my parents’ bedroom staring at my reflection. I was wearing a long dress. Not just any dress, it was the dress I had ordered to wear on my wedding day.
It was absolutely beautiful, but something didn’t seem quite right.
“What’s wrong?” my mom asked, “Don’t you like it?”
“Yes, I like it. . . I mean, it’s gorgeous. . . but . . .” and I paused trying to form my next words.
I didn’t really know what my hesitation or my thoughts were. It was a gorgeous gown. The fabric was Italian silk gazar and it had custom embroidered bands of floral applique on the bodice.
I thought the delicate applique gave the dress a vintage look, which I loved.
When it arrived and I stared at in the box, it took my breath away. I thought it was perfect. But when I tried it on in front of the full-length mirror, something wasn’t right.
It didn’t fit me like I had thought it would. It just didn’t seem like what I had imagined I would wear on my wedding day.
I kind of knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know where to find it. I imagined a dress that was slubbed-silk, that had maybe a v-neck or off the shoulder sleeves with a gentle ruffle. I had seen a dress like that on a movie once and had loved it. I didn’t really want anything with beads or bling.
I had ordered the gown from an online store because I was short on time. Grant and I would be getting married in just a few months, so I didn’t have a lot of time to dress shop.
Plus, I really didn’t have a desire to go try on a ton of gowns.
I know, that sounds kind of weird, but shopping for a wedding dress overwhelmed me a little bit.
Sometimes I can be very indecisive about the simplest of decisions. So, the thought of going to a bridal store where there were hundreds of dresses that cost hundreds of dollars just seemed daunting.
I knew I wanted a dress that was simple, different, yet very elegant.
And of course I wanted a dress that made me look beautiful on my wedding day – of course! But I also wanted to make sure the dress that I wore honored the God who had brought me the man with whom I would spend the rest of my life.
I wanted the focus of our wedding to be Christ, for people to feel blessed and encouraged and for them to say more about the meaning of the worship service and the vows spoken, rather than asking, “Did you see her dress?”
I think that was another reason that I didn’t want to try on a ton of dresses. I was almost worried that I would get distracted from what our wedding was really about. After all, I had seen “Say Yes to the Dress” and the countless girls who leave the bridal store spending way more than they had planned.
But as I stood in front of the mirror that day, I was feeling like I was forcing myself to say yes to the dress. I felt like I should absolutely love the dress. I wanted to be as beautiful as possible for Grant on our wedding day.
Though I didn’t understand why, I knew I didn’t love it on me.
“I do love it,” I told my mom, trying to convince myself that I was telling the truth, “I really do. It’ll be great.”
A few days later, my mom and I drove to Charleston to go shopping for a bridal veil and shoes. I had decided to keep the wedding dress and I just kept telling myself that it was the right one.
As I stared out at the marsh grass that runs alongside Highway 17, I finally blurted to my mom, “There’s just something about the dress. I don’t know what it is. It just doesn’t seem right. I don’t know if I’m just being indecisive because it’s such a big day and everyone always makes a big deal over the wedding dress. Maybe I’m just falling into that typical desire to want ‘the best.'”
“Well, GraceAnna, here’s the thing, it is the only dress that you’ve tried on,” my mom began, “It could be that if you tried on other dresses, you would know for sure. Or, you could find something else that you like better. But, the point is, we don’t have a lot of time. You are getting married in just a few months.”
“God led you to that dress and allowed you to order it, and your dad and I want to buy it for you. It is beautiful.”
“I know” I said again, starting to feel like the spoiled American girl that I am.
“However, you know that God cares about the dress that you wear on your wedding day. And your dad and I certainly want you to love your dress. Remember Matthew 6?” My mom then began to quote the words that I also had memorized:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
The passage brought perspective and refreshment to my heart as those words always have. It wasn’t the first time my mom had quoted it to me, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
“We just need to pray about it,” my mom continued. “Let’s pray that if God wants you to wear another dress, that it would literally ‘fall out of heaven’.” Let’s pray that we won’t have to go look through hundreds of dresses, but that if God has another dress for you, He would just put it right in front of us so that we wouldn’t have any doubts about it. In fact, let’s go ahead and pray right now.”
We bowed our heads on Hwy 17 and prayed about my wedding dress. Well I bowed my head, thankfully mom didn’t since she was driving.
I might have doubted that God could even care about something so insignificant had my parents not taught me to pray about everything since I was a young girl.
When I was 12 years old, I took piano lessons. The problem was, we didn’t own a piano for me to practice on during the week. Because of this, I had to either go to the church to practice on a piano there, or practice on my little electronic keyboard.
I had been taking lessons for several years and I wasn’t really progressing because of the practicing problem. In my mind, I needed to quit taking lessons if we weren’t able to purchase a piano, because my dad was just wasting money on the lessons.
One evening, while I was riding my bike with my mom while she ran in the neighborhood, I explained my dilemma to her.
“GraceAnna, have you asked God for a piano?” She asked.
“Well no, I haven’t” I responded honestly.
She started quoting Matthew 6 and then said, “Let’s ask God for a piano.”
“Okay, I’ll just pray that we could find some old piano that someone doesn’t want or need anymore.”
“Is that the kind of piano that you want?” Mom asked.
“Well, I mean, all I need is a piano, it doesn’t matter what I want, plus I’m not going to ask God to give me something nice.”
“Why? Don’t you think God is able to give you something nice?”
“Of course He can,” I said slowly, realizing where this was going.
“If you are going to ask God to give you a piano, why not ask him for a beautiful one? If God chooses to give you an old one, or none at all, then you need to be content in that. But ‘you have not because you ask not’.”
“Okay, I will then.”
So that evening as I rode my pink bike in the darkening light, I prayed not just for any piano, but a beautiful piano.
“Hey GraceAnna,” my mom said a few minutes later, “Let’s pray that the Lord would answer our prayer by Christmas. If He doesn’t give you a piano by then, let’s assume that it’s time for you to quit taking lessons, okay?”
“And I want you to do two things. One, I want you to write today’s date and our request in your journal. And second, I don’t want you to tell anyone about our prayer. No one. This is between you and me and God. Sometimes no one needs to know except the Lord.”
As September faded into October and October brought on November, there was no sign of a piano. Not even a hint.
One day, I said to my mom, “It’s almost Christmas,” knowing that she would know what I meant.
“But it’s not Christmas yet,” she replied.
A few days before Christmas, we were all in the kitchen eating lunch after church when my dad received a phone call.
“Who was that?” my mom asked my dad.
“Oh that was Ron and he told me about a piano over at a church. They want to sell it. Ron says its really nice. It’s an antique Baby Grand that has been restored. The church is getting a new one and they need to sell this one by Christmas.”
My dad had no idea what we had prayed. Ron had no idea what we had prayed.
One afternoon a few days later, my parents went to take a look at it. I wasn’t there, but my mom called me, “GraceAnna, you will not believe it, the piano is absolutely beautiful!”
My heart leapt and sunk all at the same time when I heard those words…a Baby Grand piano? from London? Completely refurbished? It definitely was a beautiful piano, more beautiful than I had imagined in my prayers . . . but a beautiful piano that was most definitely worth thousands.
My mom began to explain to me that the man who had donated the piano to the church had done so in honor of his mother who had died in a car accident the year before. The man had the piano restored so that it would play beautifully and be a fitting tribute to his mother. But now he needed to sell it because someone was giving a new full-size grand piano to the church at Christmas.
This man didn’t want to sell the piano to just anybody, so he had been praying for the right buyer.
When he met my dad, he said, “Dr. Broggi, I feel like I know you well. I listen to you everyday on the radio and I can’t tell you how much you have helped me grow in my Christian life.”
The man was very gracious and agreed upon an affordable price.
A few days later, I stood in shock and amazement in our living room at home and stared at not just any piano, but a beautiful piano.
I couldn’t believe it. I shouldn’t have been surprised that God had answered my prayers, but I was.
I smiled as I looked out the window of the car as the forgotten memories from over 10 years earlier flooded my mind. I had vowed as a young girl to never forget how God had answered my prayer, but so often I had. So often I doubted God’s love and care for the little things in my life.
My worries about having the perfect wedding dress disappeared as I remembered my childhood faith. God cared, so I didn’t need to worry.
An hour later, my mom and I arrived in Charleston. I had picked out several boutiques that I wanted to look at to find a wedding veil.
“I’m not completely sure this place sells veils or wedding gowns,” I told my mom as we approached the first place on my list, “but I know they sell bridesmaids dresses, so they might.”
As the front door of the little shop closed behind us and my eyes adjusted to the natural light in the boutique, I was unable to move because of what I saw displayed in the middle of the shop.
My mom had stopped too and I heard her whisper, “Oh, GraceAnna…”
to be continued…