by Dave Franco | December 3, 2019

On a blistering August day, Julie was at a boat party on Lake Allatoona when she noticed a party across the way—one that looked a little more raging than hers. So, she dove in and swam toward the party to see what was what.

Arriving, she pulled herself out of the water where Brady, a 6’6” Navy sailor stood. When he got a glimpse of Julie coming out of the water, it was a scene from a movie if there ever was one. 

Over the next few months, Julie and Brady fell in love and began to talk of marriage. But something was about to happen that would threaten to destroy their dream of a life together. The story of Julie and Brady is one that proves that who you put first can change the course of a life. 


JULIE:
I was with him at his parents’ house just before his deployment when I get this sense that I should check his texts. Then I get another feeling that no matter what I found, everything was going to be okay.

I thought, Why would anything have to be okay?


BRADY:
The military culture is extraordinarily indulgent of every manner of sexual impurity and explicit talk.

I had grown up in a Christian home and had accepted Jesus as my Savior, but when I got into the military, I took on the culture. I’m not blaming them. I chose my path. But one night, I gave in to something I knew I shouldn’t do.


JULIE:
I found a text conversation between him and a woman that implied that they had had a sexual encounter.


BRADY:
I hear this CRACK. I looked to see that Julie had shattered my phone on the concrete. She looked at me like she was wanted to kill me. I knew right away that I had been caught.


JULIE:
There was only one thing that was a deal-breaker in my book, and this was it. If you did that while with me, it was over. No questions asked.


BRADY:
We were standing in my parents’ driveway, and she started walking barefoot down the street and crying out of control. She was crushed. I couldn’t believe what I had done to her.


JULIE:
I just walked in a straight line weeping uncontrollably—for three hours. Finally, Brady came running after me crying, and we were both emotionally spent. All of a sudden we end up at his parents’ driveway. I don’t even know how we got there.


BRADY
We went inside and cried together. I told her I was sorry a million times but I didn’t believe for a second that she would somehow take me back after what I had done. I knew I didn’t deserve it. I had crushed our relationship, and there was no coming back from this.


JULIE:
I was sitting there drained from crying and thinking how much I’d like to kill him when all of a sudden I turned to him, hugged him, and heard myself say, “I know how hard it must have been to carry that lie for so long. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”

I just sat there with my head on his shoulder, and I was thinking to myself, What did I just say? I was seething, and suddenly I’m saying I’m sorry for his pain? That’s impossible! 


BRADY:
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Did she just say she felt bad for me?


JULIE:
Three days later, we were together, and it was cold and stiff and horrible between us. That’s when I looked up at him and said the next thing, impossible thing #2.


BRADY:
She said, “I think God can use us more powerfully together than apart. I think we should fight through this.” I thought to myself, What’s going on here? I know how hurt she is. Why is she saying this?


JULIE:
I had received Christ as a little girl, but I was not living a very Christian life. And yet, it seemed like God was prompting me to say things I would normally never even consider.


BRADY:
I was completely confused. I kept thinking, Who is this woman?

As I was leaving on deployment, we took each other’s hands and we both knew that neither of us had the energy for the roller coaster that we were about to experience if we tried to patch things up from across the world. We agreed we would do it God’s way—we’d both pursue God first.


JULIE:
I read a book that presented marriage in a way I had never thought of before—that God should be the central character in our marriage. So I got this idea—which once again, I don’t know where it came from. I put stickies all over it and sent it to Brady. I told him he had to comment on everything I marked up and send it back.


BRADY:
I found myself growing in my relationship with God like never before. I was just so eager for change, and I couldn’t wait for the book so I could comment on it and learn more about God, marriage, and get Julie’s heart.


JULIE:
It started to become clear we were changing as people, and I was somehow falling in love with a new person. Best of all, he was loving me in a completely different way.


BRADY:
I came home six months later, and it was like we were two different people—completely different. It finally felt really right because we had achieved a new paradigm. God was the center person in our marriage.


JULIE:
We were married in 2010, and have been so happy ever since. We have four kids, a house, a dog, and an extremely happy life.


BRADY:
And I think it’s because when Julie had every reason to lash out, she somehow managed to put me first. She essentially said, "Your life is more important than mine." It’s the epitome of grace. It threw open the doors for change, growth, and the opportunity to love each other again. Had she kept up her anger—which she was entitled to, none of this would have happened. It was grace that brought me to my knees.


JULIE:
Most would say it’s impossible to come back from something like that. Even I used to say that. But when God is first, nothing is impossible.


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