19 Aug 2009

Memories from a 17-Year-Old Wanna-Be Mystic

in IHOP–KC, Passion for Jesus, Wholeheartedness

The International House of Prayer in Kansas City is about to celebrate its ten year anniversary of 24/7 worship, and that's got me all nostalgic. I was in high school when the prayer room opened, and I was really bummed I had to keep going to school every day instead of joining staff. Every Friday night, my mom and I would make the 40 mile drive to Grandview just in time for Monty Poe's set, followed by Carol Hall. We came to every "Bridegroom Watch" and conference. I remember being at the Enjoying God worship conference in 1999 and hearing Julie Meyer singing and leading worship. It was at one of those conferences in the late 90's that I heard JoAnn McFatter prophetically singing, and I told my mom that's what I was supposed to do. She told me to consider being a lawyer.

When I finally graduated high school, I gave up scholarships to do an internship in 2002 with IHOP. I remember our first day; we were required to be in the prayer room for 12 hours and honestly when it was over, I didn't want to leave. My dream was to spend my life worshiping Jesus and crying my eyes out at His feet. I spent long hours pouring over John of the Cross' poems, and writing in my journal, praying and gazing on Jesus and waiting on Him, studying the Song of Solomon and being astonished as He unfolded mysteries about His heart and His affections. It was wonderful.  Lots of people now talk about how it didn't smell good in the prayer room, or it had bad carpet, but I never noticed that. I just remember being with Jesus.

17-Year-Old Wanna-Be Mystic

I ache, and strive and pray to be in that sweet place again. Where disappointment and frustration, and years of waiting and organization and structure and discipline and tarrying and dryness and disillusionment fade away, and I can find myself content to be in the place of simply loving Him. Not proving my leadership abilities, or being responsible with something, or building a Christian resume, just loving Him again unreservedly and unashamedly.

Through the years - I stretched and I grew, and I tried and I failed, and I waited and I served, and I compromised, and I strove for approval, then I ran from commitment, and I followed the Lord and I learned the hard way, and now what?

I know that prayer room is gone. I know that I can never again be that 17-year old girl with such simplicity and naivety. No matter how many time I sit reading...

Like a stag in the forest you charged me and fled
You vanished, I followed lamenting my loss

...it will never be the same. No matter how many times I sing the same choruses, it is a futile attempt to return to an earlier version of myself.  I can't unlearn and undo what 7 years has done.

I can only press on.

I know that things are changing for me. I feel it and know it. The Lord has been working in my heart with a determination that although I will never again be a 17-year-old Mary of Bethany, I can love Him extravagantly at 24, and I can love Him with all of me. I trust and hope that He has a purpose in my creativity and curiosity, that my insatiable apetite for mysteries and study has not thwarted the cry of my heart for presence and abiding.  That with every unique and creative and eccentric part of my being, I can love Him. Oh this is getting exciting again.

How can I love you extravagantly today Lord?

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