Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Glance.

"Jesus says, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one and come away.' He asks you to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. Make no reserves. Come altogether away from selfishness - from anything which would divide your chaste and pure love to Christ - your soul's Husband. Come away from your old habits. Avoid the very appearance of evil. Come away from old friendships which may tempt you back to the flesh pots of Egypt. Leave all these things. Come away to private communion. Come away, shut the doors of your chamber and talk with your Lord Jesus and have close and intimate dealing with Him. Oh, take care that you begin aright by coming right away from the world, by making your dedication perfect, complete, unreserved, sincere, spotless." ~Charles Spurgeon

My sweet Jesus had called me away. He was drawing me close to Him. About this time in my life, my parents got separated and my mother, sister, (who was ten at the time) and I moved to Crozet, Virginia. We were there for two years before God brought my parents back together. The day after Christmas, 2004, our Cornerstone Church group drove seventeen hours out to Kansas City, Missouri, to the onething conference. The 'Green Olive Tree' (a nonprofit, Christian thrift shop in Crozet where my grandmother has been volunteering for the past thirty years and was one of the seven ladies that started the shop) gave me the opportunity to go on this trip. And I thank them for the opportunity! Thousands of people came together at the IHOP (International House of Prayer.) It was a truly beautiful thing to see so many people there, worshiping God and drawing close to His heart. The time I spent there is still so fresh and vivid in my mind because of how life-changing it was. Our trip was about a week: a couple days driving out, four days in Kansas City, and a couple days driving back. Our thirty-four hour round trip was fun, even being crammed into the back of a van, with barely any room to move! We got to see cool cities on the drive out, such as St. Louis, Missouri...We had lots of fun chatting, singing, telling stories, listening to music, and laughing. I cherish these memories. We were blessed to stay with a dear family that lived in the area.

This was not a normal conference. I had been to many before this and have been to many after. God's spirit was truly there. There is something very special about this place. I hope to be able to go back again sometime soon. And if you get the chance, definitely pray about going! The time there was intense. There was lots of prayer, teaching, and one on one time with the Lord, reading my Bible and journaling. Hours were spent in His presence through the night at the 24/7 house of prayer. Talented and Godly people were there leading worship, such as Misty Edwards and Sarah Kelly.

During the time we were there, God worked on my heart. The layers that were separating me from Him were removed and all that was left on earth were He and I. In a room with thousands, it truly seemed He was the only one there with me. My cold hard had been broken. The tears came. God was working. I felt like I could just reach out and touch Him. I was still before Him. And He was faithful to me. I never felt such peace and stillness. Nothing in the way. It didn't come easy at first. In fact, that's why I think it's so hard to see God work in our everyday lives. Because we let at the distractions of the world hinder intimacy with Him. After praying and seeking God with all my heart, I truly found Him. In a more real, supernatural, refreshing way than I ever had thought possible! I realize that God doesn't want this to be a sort of "mountaintop experience" we've all heard of. He wants to be intimately involved in every aspect of our life, everyday! We can have the God of the Universe loving on us, and directing us always!

On the trip back, we all encouraged each other and were so excited about the new and exciting challenges God had given us. I could barely wait to get home and share what had happened in my heart and life. We got home very late, but I was still so excited to share and I remember talking so much that night. This is a beautiful memory and I need to strive every day to have this same intimacy with the lover of my soul, Jesus.

~This is an excerpt of a poem I wrote to the Lord during my time at the 24/7 house of prayer:
Take me away to our secret place.
Where I can rest in Your sweet embrace.
And though I have never seen Your face.
You're more real to me than anything I have ever known.
Today, I choose to follow you.
May you be my shepherd and I Your lamb.

worshiping God at the conference

our group eating dinner at our host house on New Years Eve! 2004

our dear, hospitable hostess preparing a tasty meal!

the stage at the conference

drawing close to the heart of God

getting ready to eat

"First Glance" by Misty Edwards
I remember the first glance
I remember the first romance
I remember the first dance
When I fell in love with you
When I fell in love with you
When I fell in love

I thought that I would never know love
I thought that I would never know touch
Then you came and awakened me
Then you came unlocking me
I've never known a love like this
You've shown the truth behind the myth
The Mystery

When it's all been said
When it's all been done
When the race is run
And this life overcome
I will remember Your love
I will remember Your love
I will remember Your love
I will remember Your love.


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