Like other girls, I longed to go to the Prom, but didnít have the money to buy a dress. At least a dress the ďinĒ crowd wouldnít look at before they fell on the floor, laughing and pointing fingers at the nerdís attempt at high fashion. So, I didnít go.
Instead, I bought a couple of bottles of cheap, strawberry wine and got pregnant on Prom Night. Me, the straight-A geek with a promising future, was with child. One nightís passion, sparked by the pain of not fitting in, left an imprint on my life forever.
Am I sorry? Yes. But mostly, no.
Yes, because the subsequent marriage ended in divorce. I was an immature Christian lacking self-control and full of the need to control everyone else. I couldnít hear the voice of God and deprived my daughter of her right to live in an unbroken home. If only I knew then . . .
But like I said, mostly I wasnít sorry, because I was given a little girl. God had used my bad decision and turned it into years of joy, and pain. . . and more joy. He had heard me, even though I didnít hear Him.
Iíve only had one child, my Prom Baby who is now 22-years old. She is the most precious gift Iíve ever been given. She is my living example of how God can turn our worst mistakes into our greatest triumphs.
Some things stay the same. There are still too many girls who are like the lonely misfit I was. Poor and embarrassed by their poverty. No self-esteem. Canít fit in. Looking for love. Perhaps while wearing glasses on a pimply face with fine, dishwater-blonde, straight-as-a-poker hair that has to be electrified to hold a curl.
They will fill those hurtful places inside of them with drugs, alcohol and sex. And God will long for them to hear Him on Prom Night, and other nights when the heaviness of this world pushes them towards bad decisions. I picture Him hovering, wringing His hands, heartbroken for His daughters who canít hear Him, no matter how loud He shouts His love. I can see His face awash with tears, while His hand reaches out, desperate for His children to grab on.
I find myself in agony at times, watching the same thing happen over and over with girl after girl. Why canít they hear God? Why canít they feel His love? Itís simple, really. They donít know how.
They donít know how, because they arenít being taught to hear God, just as my parents didnít teach me about God. Some of todayís parents donít realize how much danger their children are in. And sadly, some churches are guilty as well. Pastors are afraid to preach the truth and risk alienating their congregations. We have a shortage of witnesses who are willing to reach out to a girl who is looking for her substitute Prom Dance.
Without earthly guidance, it took me many years to realize the dynamics necessary to hear God. I was deaf to His voice and loud with my requests. I remained deaf until marriage number two was over, 15 years after the Prom.
I cringe at the thought of how long it will take other young girls to hear God, and I pray for them to hear Him, to feel His love, to reach for His hand. Now.
I regret all the wasted years of being a Christian who prayed for forgiveness along with a poof of magic from God to take away all the bad things in my life Ė and while Heís at it, I needed Him to change all the people I knew.
Today? I can hear God clearly now, and He talks to me all the time. All I had to do was start listening and let the magic of a two-way conversation take place.
As for change, Iíve stopped asking for people and situations to change, but for God to change me, instead.
Twenty-two years and nine months later, I bet if I could have heard God then, He would have said, ďCan I have this dance? You look beautiful in that dress, and your hair is glorious.Ē His light on Prom Night would have lit the path where my feet belonged, making it easy to follow His lead.
And when I get to Heaven? Iím saving the first dance for Him.