Back to the spring of my senior year in college. Two years had passed since God had miraculously healed my writing problem. My prayers of being able to graduate college were about to be answered. I desperately longed for my heart to feel like celebrating. There was so much in my life to be joyous about, but instead my heart bled with pain.
Still I awoke every morning to my coffee and my Bible. Yet, every morning it seemed that I was just going through the motions in a way I had never done before in my life. The Words of Life found in my Bible that usually gave me strength to face each day had become just words on a page. My prayer every morning was that God would give me joy and hope. I would spend hours searching for verses in the Bible that I could cling to each day. Still it seemed that the pain put a shadow on my future, and I could not look ahead with peace. There was only worry and fear.
That April, as I got on my dress to go to my fourth and final college athletic banquet, I honestly tried to figure out a way to not go. My heart just was not in the banqueting mood that April. The only thing that lured me to that banquet was the knowledge that my roommate Christa was going to be singing. Since I thought I would only have a few more times to hear her sing, I dragged myself to the banquet.
There was the usual Chicken Cordon Bleu and dry humor by coaches. I was honored with an award for my Christian character on and off the court during my four years at OBU. But something else happened that night that was the beginning of a miracle in my life.
As Christa got up to sing, the words of the song “Adonai” flowed beautifully out of her mouth. Tears began to flow. I could not stop them. At first I thought they were just tears for Christa, because I would miss her so much in the coming years. But as the song went on I realized that it was much more than that.
You see Christa had been going through a rough time herself. She was an amazingly talented young girl, who was desperate to find healing herself. Since my broken engagement, Christa and I spent many hours in our room talking about our struggles. The two of us approach our spiritual life from the opposite ends of the spectrum. I’m analytical and tend to approach God from the depths of my mind. Christa approaches God from the depths of her emotions. Over the years I have come to realize that neither is right and neither is wrong. God tells us to love him with all our heart, soul, and mind…I needed someone that spring who could model for me how to love with all my heart. That is what Christa was sent to me to do.
One of the things you do not hear much about in the Baptist church is fasting. Yes, in traditional Baptist churches there might be a call to fast for an upcoming revival. I remember those as I child. Honestly the only thing I remember about them was that people were debating as to whether or not a milkshake was allowed on a day of fasting. Baptists tend to approach their spiritual lives with their minds. That is why I make a great Baptist. When people begin bringing emotion into their spiritual lives, most Baptists get a little uncomfortable.
That spring God had been teaching Christa about fasting. I had read all about fasting in the Bible, but had really never considered that it was something missing in my own spiritual life. Christa had begun on a 40 day fast…WHOA!!! I know. To be honest, there were a couple of people on campus doing fasts that spring. I was a little skeptical about it all because from my understanding of what I read about fasting in the Bible, when you fast you really aren’t supposed to announce to the world that you are doing it. And some of the people on campus really wanted everyone to know what they were doing. You get that a lot on Christian campuses….peer pressure to do ‘spiritual’ things. Which sounds great, but it tends to create followers of other people and not followers of Christ. I have seen many Christians crash and burn spiritually trying to ‘do’ for the church instead of learning to ‘be’ for Jesus. I never was one to follow other people so I was skeptical of what was happening on campus.
A few days before the athletic banquet I was in the campus bookstore and as I was checking out I noticed a new book displayed at the counter. It was a book by Ronnie Floyd. Though I wasn’t exactly sure who he was, the title was intriguing to me “The Power of Prayer and Fasting.” I decided to add the book to my purchase, and I locked myself in a study room that night and read the book from cover to cover. The book is about a pastor (a Baptist pastor) whose wife got cancer and during that time the Lord taught him to fast for healing. Over the next few days, I intentionally skipped a few meals to spend in prayer and began asking the Lord to teach me about fasting.
As I listened to Christa sing that night at the athletic banquet, it was as if I heard that same voice that I heard two years ago in the science lab when God healed my hand. “Holly, it is time. Stop worrying about what others will say. Yes, some will think you have gone off your rocker and some will think you are not thinking clearly. But listen to Me, Your Father, and not them. I am calling you to fast. Trust me.”
That night I walked home from the banquet alone and sat down in the middle of campus and tried to think of all the reasons I should not do an extended fast. Then, Christa came walking by and we sat and talked about what I had heard from God. We prayed together and from that point it was settled. God was calling me on a 40 day fast. I took a couple of days to further research for health reasons and then the journey began. I wanted to make sure I was not being “emotional” in my decision (like I couldn’t use a good dose of emotionalism!) .
Thus began the miracle. The miracle that healed my heart and allowed me to be ready to be married the very next year to the man I have now been married to almost 10 years (10 years this Friday!!!).
The nine months that followed were nothing short of miracle after miracle that led me to the moment where I would meet Joe….