In 2005, I prayed the words found in Philippians 3:10, to God: “That I may know him (Christ), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” It was a heartfelt prayer, prayed sincerely, but quite naively because that prayer ushered in a year containing unparalleled levels of suffering and general havoc. It was crazy. I told myself to never pray for such things again, but I forgot and 2012 was the most intense, inane year of my life! It was the year that all of my prayers caught up with me and words that once seemed like idyllic requests (praying that I would love God more than I could ever love any man and praying that my external success would never exceed my internal character) suddenly seemed like very, very bad thought-out prayer requests.
Yes, I prayed to love God more than I could ever love anyone else, but I didn’t foresee having to deal with a painful break-up with one of the most wonderful, godly, frabjous people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and then going through the process of becoming truly grateful to God for the break-up.
And yes I prayed for both success in the arts/entertainment plus the internal fortitude to handle it, but I didn’t realize that shooting five national commercials, conducting red carpet interviews, and taking on new writing assignments with print and online publications would be preceded by:
· Incessant crying (crying during sermons, crying while praying, crying while driving, crying on my way to set. It got so bad I stopped wearing mascara.)
· Unprecedented levels of pain and confusion that made me decide to stop thinking so that I could stay sane.
· Feeling like the rudder on my internal ship was in the repair shop and couldn’t be used, leaving me feeling like a ship without a rudder.
· Letting go of EVERYTHING.
Also, I didn’t anticipate that in 2012 I would book the two most amazing gigs of my career (including an international project that would shoot in another country and a national talk show pilot) only to lose both within the time span of eight days.
The pain of loss, the pain of almost gaining and losing, and even the pain and cost that come with gaining pushed me not just to my knees, but to a place of trying to learn why God does the things that He does. A new theology formed (and is forming), and I have been pressed to a place where I’m asking God “Teach me how to pray.” That’s my prayer as I enter 2013, but this time I pray with my eyes wide open. I know that it won’t be all roses, although the Tournament of Roses Parade suggests that it should be, but I also know that the joy birthed from pain is the most wonderful kind of joy there is.
What’s your prayer for this year? Know that God doesn’t just hear prayers. He answers them!
Happy New Year!