“What’s that?” Grant asked as he looked down at the cream colored envelope I held in my hands.
Grant had just arrived at Pinckney Retreat, where my mom and I were staying the night on the eve of our wedding day.
Even though it was late, I had asked Grant to meet me there. I had something I wanted to give him.
I struggled to find words to answer Grant’s question. A flood of memories filled my mind as I thought about the envelope in my hand.
I thought about my college dorm room where I spent so much time praying and thinking. I thought about my runs around the Clemson campus where I thought about my future and prayed for God’s will to be done in my life. I thought about the bench on the small hill in the Botanical Gardens where I sat and cried when I felt like nothing was working out in my life like I had hoped and planned. These were memories that I knew would be difficult to ever explain to Grant.
These memories were interwoven into what I was about to give Grant. They were apart of who I was now.
I glanced down at the envelope in my hands. It looked thick, but in fact, there were only five letters inside. Five letters that I had written to my future husband over the span of my four years in college.
It was something I had started my freshman year after hearing about how my Bible study leader had started the practice.
I was hesitant to do it. I worried that my “future husband” might think it was silly. I worried that I might not ever get married and that the letters would become a testament to an unfulfilled desire.
But I had decided not to second-guess and over-analyze myself. I had decided in the Fall of 2004 to write a letter to the man that I hoped God had for me. Over the next three years I would write four more.
They weren’t long. And they were more like prayer letters than anything else.
Each time I had written one had been during a time when I was struggling with loneliness and the desire to get married.
Just a few minutes before Grant had arrived to meet me at Pinckney, I had pulled out the most recent letter I had written and read through it. It was dated September 2007.
One section of it read,
. . .I am praying for you tonight. I am praying you will find me! I want you to know that I will respect your leadership in my life. I will submit to you. I will encourage you. I will go with you wherever you feel God calling you. I can promise you these things because our God is able to give me the strength to do them. Waiting for you is hard, but also so good. God is growing me into the woman He desires me to be. . .When I write these letters, somehow its an expression of my faith in God for His best in my life. I never want to lose that trust. . .
As I scanned some of the other letters, it seemed that all along I had been writing to Grant.
In 2005 I wrote,
Be faithful, be bold, let Jesus Christ be glorified in you. I can’t wait to one day see all the great things God is doing in your life. Don’t worry, I’m not going to settle for anyone but you, even if it means I never meet you, even if it means that marriage isn’t God’s calling for me! Anyway, I am trusting God for His timing.
I had folded the letters up and put them back in the envelope as I had waited for Grant to arrive.
Now he was here.
He was my future husband. He was the one that God had put on my heart to pray for during college.
“Well, it’s actually some letters I wrote to you.” I finally responded to Grant’s question. “Letters I wrote to you before I knew you.”
Grant’s smile widened as he reached for the envelope.
I watched as he read each one. It felt kind of funny handing them over to him. What would he think?
As I watched Grant read them, I realized that the letters themselves weren’t really that important. For the most part, they were just a young woman’s ramblings of her future hopes and dreams.
But those five letters represented something. They represented an answered prayer. They represented to me a God who had placed a desire in my heart and fulfilled it.
“Thank you, GraceAnna.” Grant said as he closed the last letter and looked at me. “I will treasure these for as long as I live.”
I smiled. I was so glad that he didn’t think they were silly.
“You’re welcome.“I said.
We sat on the edge of the brick porch for a while, seeing only the stars and moon and hearing random noises from the salt marsh.
We were both tired, but we were so happy. We were on the cusp of something big.
We sat there until the clock passed midnight and our wedding day dawned.
“I better go,” Grant said with a smile on his face. “Can’t wait to see you at the alter.”
As he walked away into the darkness, I listened to the sound of his cowboy boots thud against the old stone walkway. I listened until I heard his car door slam and the sound of his engine pull out of the drive.
I sat there alone in the dark for a few more minutes.
“Thank you, God. Thank you for this.”
I went inside and climbed up the narrow wooden staircase that led upstairs. My mom was already in bed and I slid in next to her and tried to sleep.
But the sleep wouldn’t come.
“Mom, are you awake?”
“Yes,” she replied.
to be continued. . .