by Vanessa (NJ)
St Jude I ask for love to blossom between two people that deserve each other. They both have put guards up to just be friends but their love for one another and need for one another shows more than just a friendship that has blossomed. They say you should marry your best friend, because that is the one person you cant lie, show off or impress, theyve seen you in your happiest and in your darkest moments. These two people do love each other and instead of telling each other how they feel they hide and think by being with others those feelings will fade or change, but they dont, if anything those feelings grow. True love was meant for these two people when they first meet in the parking lot of that mall and although it was not love at first sight it defenitely was the beginning of thier love for each other. Hopefully you will be able to guide them to each other once again and this time for good.
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It’s just lunch, I told myself. Not a real date. I slid the hangers across the bar of my closet as I rated each outfit. Too stuffy. Out-of-style. A date? I hadn’t had one of those for two years. I’d sworn off dating after my last marriage fell apart—my second marriage to fail. I just didn’t trust myself. Things had gone so terribly wrong I didn’t think I could even make a choice anymore. One afternoon two years later I confided my disillusionment to a friend.
“Write down on a sheet of paper all of the qualities you want in a husband. Pray over it and put it in a special box. Then trust God to choose someone for you,” she suggested. So I did. I made my list, folded it up, put it in my cedar jewelry box and prayed without much hope. I’d always seen myself happily married, chasing kids around a backyard. Here I was, 39, alone and about to meet a guy I barely knew, for lunch.
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Friends said I was a “young-looking” 39, but your age is your age. I stepped back from my closet with a dark-olive top and silk pants, brushed my hair, freshened my lipstick and wondered, What am I doing?
As I drove to the restaurant, I thought about the guy I was meeting. We’d been introduced a few weeks before at a friend’s place. We only chatted briefly, but he seemed nice, with dark eyes and an easygoing manner. I didn’t think much of it until a week later when the phone rang. “It’s Michael,” he said. I was a little surprised to hear from him, but his friendly manner quickly put me at ease.
A few calls later, he suggested we get together. “I don’t date,” I said. I took a breath and laughed nervously. “I’ve had some bad experiences. I want to build a friendship first.”
“Then let’s be friends,” he replied.
We talked every other day. He seemed too good to be true: He had a promising career in counseling. He sang in the choir at his country church. He didn’t drink. All the qualities I’d put on the list. But I tried not to get my hopes up. There was an unknown: I’d only seen Michael that one time, but I remembered he looked younger than I was.
I pulled into the parking lot and glimpsed him standing in front of the restaurant, with a boyish grin. Yep, I thought as I walked toward the breezeway, definitely younger. “Good to see you,” he said. He held the door for me. “I’m glad you suggested Bellini’s. It’s my favorite.”
“Mine too,” I agreed. “Let’s go dutch.”
“Out of the question,” he said. “Since I invited you, it’s on me.”
His manners impressed me, but I still wasn’t sure what I was doing there. I picked at my shrimp piccata. We talked about a lot of things—music, books we loved, even spiritual stuff. I’d never met a man who was so comfortable talking about his faith. I felt relaxed around him. When we finished, he paid the tab and left a generous tip.
“Let’s do this again,” he said, walking me to my car. “My 10-year reunion’s coming up this weekend, but maybe we could do something next weekend?”
I did the math. Ten-year COLLEGE reunion? That would make him 32. Maybe 35, if he got a graduate degree. Or 10-year HIGH SCHOOL reunion? He’d only be 28. I ran the numbers over and over in my head. Best case scenario, he’s only a few years younger. Worst case, 12. I could’ve been his babysitter!
“Call me,” I said. “Thanks for a great lunch.”
I sighed deeply as I slid behind the wheel of my car. How could he be the one? He would want a younger woman he could start a family with. Not me.
That evening I slipped on my pajamas, curled up on the couch and flipped channels aimlessly. After the news, I padded into my bedroom and dug into my closet for my cedar jewelry box.
Nestled inside under a silver band my grandfather had given me was a sheet of paper. The list. I unfolded it and reread the qualities I’d chosen for a mate two years earlier: “honest, loyal, sober, happy, enjoys singing, shares readily, generous, educated, financially secure, emotionally open, churchgoing, laid back, interested in building a family, and within three years of my age.” Michael had all the traits—but one. And that would end up being the deal breaker.
He called a few times the next week, but I made excuses to avoid him. Finally, he caught me on my cell Thursday afternoon. “Meet me at the movies tonight? The new Shrek is playing.”
I tried to make myself say “no,” but the truth was that I really wanted to see him. We got tickets, got some popcorn and found seats. “So, was it fun to be back on your college campus?” I tried to sound nonchalant as I sipped my diet soda.
“Nah. I decided not to go,” he confessed. “And it was my high school reunion.” The lights dimmed and the previews began. I couldn’t concentrate. The calculator whirred in my mind. In the dimness I could see him laughing at the screen, that nice easy laugh I liked, but the confirmation of our age difference soured my mood. Besides, it was a cartoon. Movies I liked had human actors.
“I always catch the new Simpsons episode on Sunday evenings,” he said as we walked out of the theater, stunned that I wasn’t into animation.
“Everyone likes The Simpsons.”
I wanted to shout at him. “Next time, you pick the movie,” he offered as we walked to my car. Next time? What was I doing?
Everyone your age!
That night I reread the list, again. For two years, I’d prayed for God to send me the man of my dreams. No, not even the man of my dreams. Just a man who made sense for me.
And now that he’d answered that prayer, there was something terribly wrong, not about the guy but about me. I was a much older woman. Michael seemed to be everything I wanted. But what would he think when he found out the truth about my age?
We talked nearly every day. He was a good companion, a friend. I could feel myself falling in love with him and he seemed to care about me. He suggested having a picnic and watching Fourth of July fireworks together. I knew I’d have to clear the air. I punched in Michael’s number that morning and paced around the kitchen as I waited for him to pick up.
“Michael,” I took a deep breath, “do you know how old I am?”
“No,” he answered. “Not really.” I heard a hint of confusion in his voice.
“I’m going to be 40.” Silence. “How old are you?”
“Twenty-eighy,” he replied, almost nonchalantly. “Where’s this going, Stephanie?”
“I just think you should be clear on our age difference before it goes any farther.”
“O-kay.…” Michael said. “We’re still going to see the fireworks, right? Pick you up at five?”
At sunset, Michael and I drove to the church parking lot. We found a spot on a hill, spread out a blanket and unpacked the picnic basket. “I know you’re concerned about our age difference,” he said, putting his hand on my arm, “but I’m not. I’ve prayed for a wife. I don’t want to be too bold, but I think you might be just that someone.”
The first fireworks popped in the night sky. My heart leaped. Michael had been praying for me while I prayed for him? He wrapped his fingers around mine as we watched the brilliant colors burst across the darkened canvas of sky.
You know what? I still think cartoons are for kids, but I’ve come to appreciate the chance to curl up on the couch every Sunday night with Michael to watch The Simpsons.
My husband, Michael. Our 5-year-old daughter, Micah, has been put to bed and if I doze off it’s usually with a smile on my face, because I’m happier than I’ve ever been, happier than I knew was possible.
The man I married is everything I prayed for—with only one slight difference that turned out to matter, but not in the way I’d thought. Our age difference was an issue, not between Michael and me, but between God and me. It was a challenge to my trust in him to answer my prayers perfectly.
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A Prayer for True Love
By Marjorie Jackson
“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NASB)
God’s love for you and me is passionate, pure and beyond anything we’ve ever experienced, accepting us as we are. Our good, our sins, our past and our flaws are all bare before His eyes, yet being the perfect Gentleman and Father He is, He washes, changes, teaches and grows us tenderly. He reminds us of our worth and beauty as His daughters. He wants to forgive, bless and take care of us. He loves us with unconditional agape love.
Good news: His love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8) We can love like that, too — not in our own strength or willpower, but by the Holy Spirit perfecting God’s love in our hearts. (1 John 4:12) The deeper we know God and His arduous, purposeful love for us and for others, the easier we can love others as an act of loving obedience to God.
1 John 4:20 tells it like it is: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (NASB)
Of course. How can we defy God’s command to love the people He has placed in our lives and still claim to love Him? Our obedience to God’s Word comes from our love and reverence for Him who gave His all so we could keep on giving and loving like He has done for us.
It is only when we love God first and foremost that we can reach our full potential in loving others as friends, sisters, daughters, wives and mothers. As we grow in our love for God and in our knowledge of His love, we begin to change. We begin to see and love others differently.
In reality, true love happens when the stars don’t align, sparks dim and butterflies fly away. Love happens when we sacrifice, knowing we’ll get nothing in return. We are patient, kind, never envious or boastful, modeling 1 Corinthians 13 in our hearts and with our behavior without expecting payback or accolade. We lay down our lives in love.
Today’s key verse, 1 John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I hope you find true love. I hope you and I grow so close to God that we naturally begin to “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5b, NASB). May you and I so overflow with God’s love that it runs up and over onto everyone we meet. His love will never fail, because God Himself is true love, and God never fails.
Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me long before I ever loved You. Affirm Your love to me so I may know it well and pour it out on those around me. You are good, and Your love is perfect. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Encouragement for Today devotional, “True Love Does Exist,” written by Marjorie Jackson. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.
If you clicked this article, there’s a good chance you’re looking for a prayer for love. You may have been praying about love for a while, or maybe you don’t know here to begin.
It took me a while to grasp how to pray for love.
Because I’ve always had a tendency to think about love, rather than pray about it.
There’s been a series of events occurring in my life, and I find that I’m quick to analyze, figure out, and try to put the pieces together. But it takes me a while to turn to prayer. I guess what it comes down to is that I am somewhat of a control freak. For me, if I can’t have control, I fool myself into thinking that I’ve got some sort of ability to “figure it out” in my head.
But as I’ve been weeding through Scripture lately, I’m realizing that my tendency to over-analyze is so antithesis to what God’s word says. All through Scripture Jesus is challenging us: Don’t just dwell on things, pray about them. Prayer is the act by which we mentally hand over our problems, concerns, fears, desires, and dreams to someone who actually has the power to control. And it makes so much sense, because if we’re going to allow these things to fill our brain, we are better off doing it in a way that has the power to impact the things that are weighing us down, rather than simply allowing them to consume us.
So for those of you who may find yourself consumed by your love life- or lackthereof, here are some ways to mentally and prayerfully hand those things to the One who can actually do something about it:
Your prayer for love could look something like this:
That God would give you a relationship (Matthew 7:7)!
God’s word challenges us to ask and bring our needs before God. As long as our hearts are aligned with His, there are no limits on what we can ask. What are your deepest needs and desires when it comes to a relationship? Let Him know.
That He would grant you patience and insight to wait for a good one (Isaiah 40:31).
Waiting on God is never easy, because once again, it is a reminder that we are not in control. But through the time of waiting, ask God to change you, nourish you, and fill you so that you are empowered and prepared to take the next steps when the timing is right.
That He would be working out anything unhealthy in your life (Jeremiah 33:8).
Some of our baggage and sin we can recognize, and some we can’t. As you seek to enhance your love life, be sure to ask God to help you recognize and heal all the things in your life that aren’t lining up with His best. Seek to get to the bottom of your sins, and ask for His healing power to be at work in your life.
That He would shape your heart for nourishing interactions with others (Colossians 3:12-14).
It’s important to learn how to love, rather than simply longing to be loved. When your heart is open to loving and edifying others the way it was meant to, your relationships will be enriched and empowered.
That He would bring healing into your past so that you are free to embrace the present (Philippians 3:13-14).
We are called to move forward, and forget what is behind. Sometimes, it’s easy to get stuck on our past and be paralyzed from living in the present. No matter what kinds of things your past may hold, ask God to be at work in your past so that you are free to live in the moment and embrace your present.
That He would protect your emotional world and give you wisdom of how to set healthy boundaries (Proverbs 4:23).
I talk a lot about guarding our hearts and how to practically do that, but how often do we actually pray about our hearts and emotional worlds? God longs to be a part of our emotions just as much as our spiritual life. He is a holistic God, who longs to interact with our mind, body, and soul. Give Him a chance by opening your emotional life to Him through prayer.
That He would open your eyes to the joy of doing sex His way (Hebrews 13:4).
It’s so easy to focus on what we can’t do before marriage, and end up harboring bitterness and resentment. But what if we were to ask God to open our eyes to doing life His way? What if we were to plead with Him to download His heart onto ours, so that we could truly understand what is best for our lives? Rather than struggling with His plan, let’s ask Him to reveal His heart to ours, particularly in the area of sex and sexuality, so that we can be freed to trust Him without bitterness or regret. (More on this in Chapter 8 of True Love Dates)
That God would be the focus of your life now and forever (Psalm 37:4).
At the end of the day, no matter how we view it, there is no gift that is greater than the Giver. Whether we feel that or not, it doesn’t cease to be true. May we continue to bring this request before God, so that He can turn our hearts to Him as our greatest delight and desire, because perspective has the power to change everything.
This week, rather than focus on your problems, worries, or what you don’t yet have…focus on what you do have– A direct line to the One who controls all things, including your precious heart. It’s time to actually do some real work in the area of our love life and relationships instead of wasting our mental energy away. It’s time to pray.
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Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
**For much more on finding true love and creating a healthy dating relationship- be sure to snag your copy of my new book, True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life!