It is that time of the year when in many high schools across the USA there are girls freaking out about what dress to wear to the Prom, who is asking whom to go to the Prom, and guys getting their courage up to ask that special someone for a date to the Prom. Flower shops are gearing up for all the flower corsage and boutonnieres that will be bought and sold and worn. Gyms across the nation are being decorated for the special dance after a delicious banquet meal is served. Bands are practicing hoping they will be hired for the evening and DJ’s are dusting off the latest hit tunes to prepare for dancing. Beauty shops and nail salons are booked for the Saturday of the Prom! Tuxedo rental shops are gearing up for a rush season as are those who rent limousines. Parents and some communities are planning all night activities for the after-Prom parties to keep the Prom-going youth of America safe and so it goes. It is Prom season in America!
Recently I ran across this photo taken of me at my senior Prom. Yes I went to the Prom…three times…and all three times I went alone. I never dated in High School not because I didn’t want to date but because I was one of the unlucky few who never got asked on a date. I can remember praying that some shy guy would gain enough courage to ask me to the Prom, but alas, no Prince Charming ever called for this Princess-in-waiting! Yes I can remember praying to God that He would provide me a date for the Prom! But one never came. However that isn’t the ending of this story. Some people say that you can never go back and relive your Prom experience, in fact I used to say that, but not anymore. I have lived a life of such excitement that I can hardly believe when I look back in my life just how good and gracious God has been to me. There’s a scripture promise that will help explain what I mean.
Then the LORD will be zealous for His land And will have pity on His people. The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. “But I will remove the northern army far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things.” Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the LORD has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, For the tree has borne its fruit, The fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. “Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame. “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the LORD your God, And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame, Joel 2:18-27, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
I know that this promise was made by God to the nation of Israel and not to me personally, however, I also believe that God has restored to me the lost Proms of High School in so many different ways. Now I realize just how trivial that really sounds but God cares about trivial things and if you don’t believe me then take a look at bugs and flowers and birds and all of creation! God is the master of details! There are trivial details everywhere!
Let me explain something. You see I was born and reared in a country environment. China and crystal and evening gowns were just not a part of my growing up years. We had Tupperware and Corelleware as the dishes for our dinner table! The expectation that I grew up with was to have a practical home where more than ten-people-entertaining was with paper plates and paper napkins. Dress-up clothes was what you wore to church, simply a nicer version of your everyday clothes. The house was rented or came with the job and the car was used when you got it! It was a good life, one of honesty and integrity and one I am happy to have experienced.
I must admit, however, that I longed for more than a practical home. You see, I am a Princess at heart and I wanted to have the Princess experiences. Prom was longed for and looked forward to by me as well as most of the young people with whom I grew up. It was a big deal and the only other day that could be better to plan and dream about would be your wedding day. As I have already stated my three Proms that I attended were dateless and as for marriage, well, I eloped at nine o’clock in the morning and said “I do” in front of a judge. I never got to have the Princess Experience, well, not until later in life. God proved to me that you can relive that Prom experience!
Years after I was married my now ex-husband joined the United States Army. He was enlisted for the first eighteen months and then he went to Officer’s Candidate School and became an officer and that was the beginning of this little country girl’s Princess experiences! There is nothing more formal than a military banquet. As an officer’s wife I attended many formal functions that required evening gowns and cocktail dresses. For about ten years I attended formal Dining-Out’s with seating charts, foreign officers and dignitaries, toasts of champagne, fine dining, and wonderful dances. I learned how to navigate receptions lines as well as dancing in an evening gown. I had a blast! I loved dressing up and fixing my hair and doing my nails and feeling like a big girl Princess! Oh how handsome the soldiers looked in their dress-blues which is the military equivalent of a tuxedo. I wined and dined in many places, Georgia, Alabama, Washington, as well as Heidelberg and Budingen, Germany. I can’t begin to describe the wonderful meals and fun that I had as a military spouse and all the trimmings that went with this experience.
These years prepared me for civilian experiences as well. As a board member on a symphony guild I also got to wear evening gowns and cocktail dresses as I attended several formal functions. Not only did I attend such functions but I actually helped plan some and oh how fun it was to be a part of such society for a country girl like me!
As I look back on these memories I realize just how gracious God has been to me in giving me such a variety of life experiences. Each place I went I took Jesus. Each person I met I showed them the love of Jesus. Each guest I entertained I cared for them as I would have if they had been Jesus. I made many friends and encouraged many down hearted or homesick people as I trotted the globe as a military spouse. Yes, God restored this young girl’s dream of going to the Prom!
As I take this walk through the past I am reminded once again of just how our God works in our lives. The Creator of the beautiful details of our life wants us to have a wonderful life. For me that meant that I wanted to experience the life I saw on television and read about in books. I wanted to have those special Princess experiences that I longed for as a young girl. I wanted to feel special and pretty and God came through for me. My life so far has been an adventure and I have enjoyed the ride! Jesus has given me an abundant life thus far, just as He promises for me and for you too.
So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly, John 10:7-10, (NASB).
So if the past sixty years of my life have been an adventure filled with excitement and an abundance of many wonderful things I can only imagine what the next sixty years will be like. And then at the end of my days and as I draw my last breath I will know that this life pales in comparison to spending eternity with God! Oh what a day that will be!