Last weekend, I visited IHOP-KC to attend a friend’s wedding. I decided that it would be good to spend a few extra days there to catch up with many. My time there ended up being very revealing and telling. Here are some of the things that I realized:
1. Stability, Settling, and Belonging takes TIME
As soon as I departed the plane, I immediately felt a sense of settling. This definitely caught me off guard. But this helped me gauge that even in the midst of responsibilities, roles, and business in VA, I still have room to grow. It takes time for a place to feel like home on the inside. It would be easy to try to push blame on others as the reason for this lack and to shut my heart down. Instead, I must give myself and others grace in the process. This causes me to think of the nature of family. We know that God is forever a father and that the church is a family(Eph. 1:5, 3:15). A characteristic of family is that it’s consistent, long-term, intimate and should provide stability for children. In this same way, the church can do this for all no matter their earthly experience.
2. I’m Enjoyed and Loved
Moving to a new location alone, new house of prayer context, new life schedule(off of the NightWatch after almost 5 years)and new community is a lot! The relational difficulties were something I wasn’t prepared for. As a result, I’ve struggled with many accusations concerning my worth and place here. My trip though helped bring perspective and the affirmation of the truth that I am enjoyed and loved. Where my heart has been closed, I felt an openness to receive love in order to give it more generously.
3. God’s Worth to Stand
IHOP-KC understands the value and priority of the glory and worth of Jesus. This is one of the main reasons why they embrace 24/7 Worship and Prayer wholeheartedly. My heart was reminded in a fresh way of this reality. This fueled me to resolve to continue apprehending grace to stand for purity and holiness as it pertains to my sexuality. No matter what the world or even church says, what I know is that we are all called to be the holy spotless Bride of Christ. On that truth, I will stand.
4. The Father’s Pursuit
Throughout my trip, I was blown away how God orchestrated masterfully the slightest details. This reminded me that He really knows me and my heart. He knows what I need and I can trust Him to provide it. It also testified to His intricate involvement in my life, in every detail. He really is at work…even when it’s hard to see it at times.
5. People are Just People
No one is perfect and some things may never change(and I must be OK with that). I was confronted on putting unsaid standards or expectations on others. This isn’t fair because it will quickly lead to bitterness, disappointment, and offense. Instead, I’m reminded that if a friendship isn’t that deep, I then have a lot of grace to extend in my responses. People may say or ask things out of ignorance; I can’t let that offend me or initiate a judgmental attitude.
6. Be Thankful NOW
We usually don’t realize what we have until we don’t have it anymore. There are many things about IHOP-KC that I now miss and that I realize I took for granted when I was there. I’m challenged to be thankful in the present for all things. Though things may be difficult or challenging, there is always something to be found to be grateful for.
7. Grace to Pray with No Distraction
Immediately, within the prayer room, I felt a heart-level engagement and grace for prayer. It was easy to dialogue with and hear the Lord. This was a great refreshment to my soul. The testimony and product of the years and years of 24/7 prayer and worship are tangible. This in itself brought breakthrough in my spiritual life which I will carry with me forever.