It was Monday, September 15th.

The Title in the subject line was “Courtship”.  The sender was unknown to me, but still I knew immediately that this email was going to change our lives.  I was right.

“Dear Mr. Forstrom,” it began.  And it ended just as simply,  “-Tim Pierce”.

The rest of what Tim wrote was so impressive that I’m going to blog about it as a model for how to impress a girl’s dad.  I can’t speak for all dads, but it sure impressed this dad!  Perhaps other guys could learn from his example. He gave me permission to share his letter, so here are 8 things that impressed me…

1. How he described himself.   “Please allow me to briefly introduce myself. My name is Timothy Pierce, saved by the grace of God, raised in a large Christian family, and now a senior at SEMO in Engineering Physics. I grew up in southeast Missouri and now live in Cape and attend Cape Bible Chapel where God has allowed me to be involved in several different ministry opportunities.”  I liked that his identity was first defined by his faith and church and ministry involvement.

2. His purpose for writing. “The reason why I am contacting you is to begin a dialogue with you in pursuit of permission to begin courting your daughter Brenda.”  There was no presumptuousness in his statement.  He wasn’t telling me what he was going to do, rather he was requesting to dialogue with me about the topic of him potentially courting Brenda.  I felt very honored by this.

3. His description of how he knows Brenda. “We met in our very first class of our very first semester. However, it was not really until last semester via Perspectives, music at church, small groups, etc. that we really became friends and got to know each other very well at all.”

4. His description of what attracted him to Brenda.  “I deeply respect her relationship with Jesus and commitment to the Word as being very strong and real.She exhibits a high level of maturity and humility that I find rare among young Christian women. Her testimony among other believers and leaders in this area is very God-honoring. I have very much enjoyed getting to know her and have already found myself personally challenged by her example.”  I’ve said before — and even blogged about it — that I always hoped a boy would be attracted to my daughters’ character above all else.  This is the kind of boy I’d always hoped my daughters would attract.

5. His direction in life.  “We also have a lot of common ground in terms of [overseas service].”   Knowing that Brenda has become convinced that she’s supposed to serve God overseas, it was important for me to hear that he is interested in the same thing.  Had he not said this, he would have seemed to be a diversion to her overseas commitments.  I would later learn that they both independently developed a heart for northwest Africa.

6. His description of how he decided to pursue her.  “Now, through much prayer, scripture, consideration, fasting, and counsel of others I feel that God is leading me to move forward.”  This may have been the most impressive thing in the whole letter.  He was taking this very seriously.  I don’t know of very many young men who would go to so much effort to discern God’s leading.  Fasting particularly stood apart.  That’s serious!

7. His coming to me before even telling Brenda he wanted a relationship with her.  “Brenda does not know that I am contacting you. I have never said anything to her about a relationship, and I have never taken her out on a date (or anyone else for that matter).”   Wait, so you’re telling me before even telling her?  Wow.  Never heard of anything like this, but I can’t think of a better way to impress this dad!   This statement also told me that his writing me was genuine, in other words, Brenda didn’t put him up to this (“If you really want to impress my dad, do this…”) Obviously he’s naturally impressive!   He continued, “God laid it on my heart to obtain your permission and blessing, and to come to a mutual understanding of the meaning and boundaries of the relationship before pursuing her.”  Wow.  I am being invited to help them define their relationship and help them set boundaries.  It’s like I just won the lottery.

8. His waiting upon me to respond.  “I look forward to hearing from you as you feel led to respond, and until then I will be waiting and praying!”

How impressed was I?  Very.  Part of me wanted to reply, “No, you may NOT court her….let’s dispense with those formalities….just go ahead and marry her please.”