If you want to read the beginning of the story, you can read it here.
So now you know that I lived out a Hallmark movie and got my first boyfriend for Christmas in 2012. Today’s part of the story, however, is about a mere seven days later on New Year’s Eve.
It started out just like every other New Year’s Eve had over the past few years. I was getting ready to go to a friend’s house to celebrate with the girls in our youth and college group. Of course, throughout the entirety of my readying, I was texting Brandon and trying to wrap my head around the fact that I, for the first time in my life, actually had a boyfriend. What a weird word! Boyfriend. My boyfriend. Weird. Of course, I hadn’t seen him or anything like that… We do happen to live a small distance away from each other; though the distance is great enough to limit our visits to one weekend each month, except for special occasions. However, on this particular New Year’s Eve, we had yet to see each other since our first encounter, six months earlier at summer camp.
It was our one week anniversary! (I know. Gross.) However, the conversation we were having was short and seemingly one-sided. I was suspicious. It turned out that I was right to be suspicious. The boy was acting upon a plan that had been in the works for quite some time…
You see, Brandon was a tricky little booger. Well, he still is if I’m being completely honest. Remember that whole boyfriend for Christmas over text message thing? That isn’t exactly how he had planned for that conversation to go. He had talked with a few people and had already planned to come up to visit me for New Year’s Eve and that is when he had planned to ask me to be his girlfriend in person rather than over text. Which, by the way, he has apologized for profusely since that day.
So, there I am. Almost finished with the daunting task of blow drying my insanely thick hair. My sister also happens to be in the room with me, though she is standing on the edge of the bathtub to better see herself in the mirror above the sink. We also just so happened to be singing at a not so quiet volume…
There was a knock at the door. I turned the blowdryer off, we stopped singing, and I opened the door to see my mother standing there with a big grin on her face. “You have a visitor,” she trilled as she walked away.
I was in shock! There was no way that the absolutely insane boy that I had just recently agreed to start “dating” (remember that previous discussion about the difference I hold between “talking” and “dating”) actually took the time and spent the money to drive 250 miles just to see me. I walked out of the bathroom mumbling, “It better not be…”
It was. I turned the corner and there he was. He was actually there! Standing in my living room and grinning from ear to ear was the boy I hadn’t seen in half a year. Needless to say, I rushed over to him and gave him a long awaited embrace followed by a few laughs. Apparently my face was priceless or something like that.
Standing there beside him for what felt like the first time, I realized something. He was tall! I mean, I knew he was 6’4, but seeing as I hadn’t really been around him, I had honestly forgotten how much taller he was than I.
As we walked out of the house and made our way to the New Year’s Eve party, I felt every bit like an awkward teenage girl going on her very first date. I mean, it wasn’t a date. It was an ambush. But that’s beside the point. The smiles were radiant and the laughter was genuine.
When we walked into our friend’s house, everyone laughed and started talking at the same time. Brandon had brought two of his friends from home and they were waiting there for us as well. Apparently everyone had been a part of the ambush except me. I was bitter at first, but that faded away rather quickly. I guess my joy at seeing him in person and actually being there with him overshadowed my bitterness.
Now, our New Year’s Eve parties aren’t really anything like, well anything. That night we sat around the room, watched Pitch Perfect, and talked about life. There was also a toast around midnight with some sparkling apple juice and perhaps a hand was held here and there, but that’s as close to a typical New Year’s Eve party as we get. I think it’s absolutely brilliant.
We left later on that night and I got another first for the New Year: my first kiss. It wasn’t anything super romantic. Actually it was rather awkward because he just so happened to miss the first time… Got me right on the side of my mouth! He’s a keeper, I know it! He redeemed himself a moment later and met his mark. Only for a short moment, but it marked the beginning of a new year with a new guy. Actually, it marked the first year with the first guy that will hopefully be the last guy. But I guess we will have to wait and see what God has planned for us.
Have you ever noticed that as soon as someone gets sick, everyone in the church starts praying for divine healing? It’s actually quite incredible. There is nothing that brings a congregation together more quickly than someone who is in need of prayer. There might be prayer warriors praying Bible verses that may sound a little something like this: “Almighty Father, Creator of the Heavens and Earth, You formed us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and you know every detail about us, even how many hairs are on our head (Luke 12:7). We praise You because You have given us another day to glorify You on this earth. We pray, in the name of Jesus, that You would be present here today, Lord. You said in Your Word that where 2 or more were gathered, You would be there also (Matthew 18:20). So be here with us today as we seek Your help. Lord, we know that You are our comforter and our healer (1 Corinthians 1:3-4). We pray, Father God, that You would find favor with us, Your servants, and heal this person of their affliction or disease, just as You did time and time again when Jesus walked the earth (Matthew 12:15, Matthew 9:35 and a ton more). We pray that Your almighty hand would reach down from Heaven and touch this person. Let Your healing power be made known to them and right every wrong in their body right now, in the name of Jesus Christ. You are the creator of our bodies and we know that You are more than able to heal us (Psalm 139:13, Psalm 103:3). You said that if we ask anything according to Your name, then the Father will hear us and answer (John 14:14). Lord, You said that all we have to do is ask and we will receive (John 14:14, Matthew 7:7). So, Holy Father, we’re asking. We’re praying healing over this person. Let the balm of Gilead fall on them from the top of their head to the soles of their feet and let Your power be made known to them (the balm of Gilead is mentioned in Jeremiah 8:22 as a balm for healing, but is never actually mentioned in the Bible being used in a prayer for healing over someone, which is what it is commonly used for). Father God, You are good and we know that You are in control (Psalm 107:1). So we ask that you would heal this person in the name of Jesus. We thank You for the healing that we know is already taking place, Lord, and we claim this victory in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Did you notice how pretty much all of that was based on scripture? It was incredible, wasn’t it? There was so much power in that prayer. And yet, if you read it again, then you will find that not once does it say, “But above all else, Father God, we want Your will to be done.” That’s how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before his Crucifixion (Matthew 26:42), so isn’t that how we should be praying too? We can pray all of the prayers we want to for healing or for prosperity or happiness or anything else that we want. And, yes, the Bible does say, “Delight Yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). But the first part is the key to that verse. If Christ isn’t first, then you’re doing it wrong. Yes, the Bible says, ” if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:15). But we are missing something. If we look back one verse in 1 John 5, we will see this is the precursor: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
I believe that is the key. Unless we are praying according to God’s will, then aren’t we kind of praying in vain? Don’t get me wrong. Please keep praying for healing and for miracles to happen, because they do happen all the time. I completely believe in the power of healing and the power that God has. He is able to do more than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and He is certainly able to heal me or anyone else of any disease and He has proven Himself faithful in that time and time again. I am not questioning God’s ability. I am questioning our prayer style. I believe that we can pray beautiful, Biblical prayers, but we also need to remember that God’s way is better and that He has a greater plan for us than what we can currently see (Jeremiah 29:11).
So why not pray something like this: “Holy Father, we pray that you would reach Your sovereign hand down from Heaven and heal this person. But, Lord, we pray that Your will would be done above all else. If this is a part of Your plan for them, give them grace and patience as they walk through this hard time. Give them joy and increase their steadfastness as You walk with them (James 1:2). If it is Your will to heal them, then let Your healing power rain down on them. But if it is not Your will, then let Your presence be known to them in a way that they cannot deny and cannot ignore as they walk through this hard time. You are good and we have faith that Your plan for our lives is better than anything that we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and we ask that You would take control. Send Your Holy Spirit to comfort them through the hard times as well as the joyous times. Let Your will be done Your way, in Your timing, and to Your glory. Amen.”
It’s a simple addition verbally or mentally to our prayers, however, it is a much more complex idea to believe and trust in our hearts and souls. But it can be done. Trust me. I’ve done it. I normally end my prayers with a little mantra that I’ve developed over the years: “Your will. Your way. In Your timing. And to Your glory. Not mine.” It’s that simple to say. It’s much harder to trust it and allow God to take your prayers and mold them into what He has planned; to align your will with His. But isn’t that what we should want? We should want His will to be done and for Him to be glorified above all else. So why not pray it? Why not live it?
God has a much better plan for me than I could ever imagine, so I choose to trust Him with all of the details of my life. Right now, His plan includes me having VEDS. However, I know that He can take this thing that was meant for death and turn it around for my good and His glory (Genesis 50:20). The thing is, I have to allow Him to do that. It’s my choice to make, and I have made it. No one else can make this decision for me. It was not easy and it takes constant work. I am no where near perfect and I am talking to myself just as much as I am talking to you. There are many things that I am still having to ask God to take over because I keep trying to control them myself. But I am trying.
Now it’s your turn. You get to decide who is in control of your life: you or the God who made you? Who will it be?