Grace was ready to throw the plant away. It had become nothing more than a stick in a pot; not a sign of life to be seen. As she prepared to throw it away, her husband, Marty, came out and asked what she was doing.
“The plant is dead,” Grace replied. “I’m going to throw it out.”
Marty protested. “It’s not dead – it just needs some TLC. A little TLC and it’ll come back to life. Just like you when we first met.”
Grace’s first two marriages ended in disaster. Broken-hearted and discouraged, Grace decided marriage wasn’t something she wanted to attempt again. She built a wall around her heart, protecting it from any type of vulnerability. And the wall might have remained if God hadn’t sent in a man to demolish it.
Running late for class at church, Grace tried to sneak into the back to grab a seat. The chair she pulled up, however, had no interest in being sneaky. It was noisy, catching the attention of people in the room, including Marty. He looked over his shoulder, saw Grace, and instantly knew that she was the woman he was going to marry. He called his mother and sister both that night, announcing that even though he didn’t know her name, he knew she was his future bride.
Marty then started his footwork. He asked church members who Grace was. He found out her name, and that she was a divorced woman with a two year old son. Passing by the nursery one day, he saw the boy and he fell in love with the child just as instantly as he had fallen in love with Grace.
His feelings, however, were not reciprocated. Grace found Marty irritating. She rejected his pursuit, and even threw other women at him. Whenever a lovely young lady would cross her path, she would point to Marty and say, “See that guy over there? He’s looking for a girlfriend. You should go talk to him.” And they did. But Marty had all ready decided, and Grace’s efforts to set him up with someone else became futile.
To make things even harder on Grace, Marty soon became close friends with her family. Grace lived with her brother at the time, and Marty would appear at the door playfully stating he was there to see her nieces and nephews, not her. But his pursuit never ceased. Despite her attempts to avoid him, they would often cross in the hallway where Marty would smile and sing an old Hank Williams song, “…I’m going to melt your cold, cold heart.”
Grace was able to resist it. For awhile.
After five months of pursuit, Marty informed Grace that he would be taking a golf trip with his buddies and that he would be gone for a week.
“Why are you telling me this?” Grace replied. “I don’t care.”
But by this time, Grace had become accustomed to Marty’s persistent daily attention. As the first two days passed, Grace felt content with Marty’s silence. But by the third day, Grace became anxious. In the most non-nonchalant way possible, she asked her family members if they had heard from him. They hadn’t. The fourth day, she asked again. By the fifth day, she was completely frustrated by the fact that he had not spoken a word to anyone.
On the evening of the fifth day, she received a call from him.
“Where have you been!” she demanded, skipping past casual greetings.
He laughed. “You missed me!”
Reluctantly, she admitted that she had.
She could hear the phone drop at that point, but could hear Marty chanting in the background, “You missed me! You love me! You missed me! You love me!”
“I did NOT say I love you! I simply said I missed you!”
Her denial didn’t faze him. On the day he came home, he rushed from his car and ran to embrace her.
Looking back on the event, Grace describes it this way: “When he came home that day, I could just see the love pouring out of his eyes. I have never seen love like that before. It made the wall around my heart crack.”
Marty’s intentions to spend his life with Grace were true. His fearless pursuit and tender care helped raze the wall around Grace’s heart. He was aware of the task he had in front of him. Before he left on his week-long golfing trip, Marty had come to Grace and said, “Obviously you have been hurt before. But I want you to know that even though you and I know it was not me, I’m willing to pay for it and wait.”
They were married five months later. This year marks their 20th anniversary.
“The most important message I would want to relay,” Grace says, “is the fact that Marty and I have the relationship we have thanks to the fact that we love God more than we love each other. Therefore, our source of love, peace, joy, contentment and so on, is not each other but God; giving us the freedom to be who we are with each other without fear. When we give God our dreams, our sorrows, our fears, our will, He can turn beautiful things into manifest!”