Two years ago today I was in a stadium in downtown Kansas City ringing in the New Year with roughly 30,000 other people. I was at a conference/celebration put on by the organization known as IHOP (International House of Prayer). A group of young adults from Fourth Avenue Bible Church, Maranatha, and The Drop-In made the 18 hour drive down to Kansas to attend ‘One Thing’.
For some time I had been feeling drained, yucky, empty, slightly depressed. I was in my first trimester with baby Ammie and I had just gotten over the whole ‘morning sickness’ deal. My emotions were out-of-whack and my body was seriously exhausted. My relationship with God had become second, then third, then fifty-seventh on my list of things to do and people to care for; it can be easy to let this happen when you are a pastor’s wife. Anywho, back to the conference in Kansas. ‘One Thing’ had a prayer room that you could go to to…well, pray. I snuck in there a few times to listen to the live worship band, relax and…well, pray. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip; there were a number of singers and they would sing scripture and then turn it into a song right then and there. A very wonderful way to worship, at least it was for me. During one of my visits I was praying and I asked God to show me the state of my ‘heart’…an odd request, but one that I felt might help me on my path to restoration. Well, God did show me my heart and it was awful. The best way that I could describe it would be the burnt/charred remains of a cardboard box (a many many layered box). It basically looked dead to me, but upon closer inspection, way way way down inside, in the very middle of the heart I saw a little bright red speck…something living! Tiny, but living. The speck was so insignificant in size that one would wonder if it even made a difference. I was overwhelmed by how charred my heart looked. What hurt even more was that I felt it was me, well, I knew it was me who lit the thing on fire. I wondered how God could see anything in that, if He could even love that. I was then guided to Song of Songs 4:9, which reads, “You have stolen my heart, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes”. I knew that God was speaking directly to me through this passage and through the vision of my heart. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was saying to me, “Bria, you might be a mess, but you are the apple of my eye”. It didn’t fix everything in my life but I heard it loud and clear.
In thinking about this past year and this coming year I can’t help but think of that vision that I had two years ago. To be honest, I don’t feel like much has changed in my heart or in my relationship with God. I thought that I would have had more worked-out by now, but I don’t. Everyday seems to be a struggle trying to understand what God has for me. I feel as though I am constantly wrestling with Him over everything; I try to figure things out, but at the end of the day, I’m back at square one…I’m back at that tiny little red speck of a heart and trying to listen to the Lord say to me, “with one glance of your eyes Bria”. After being a ‘Christian’ my entire life and feeling like I should be growing in wisdom year after year it turns out that this year I’ve been holding onto the basics (clinging, actually). So, my prayer for 2009 is that I will continue to wrestle with God and maybe, just maybe, I will be changed, renewed, and refined.
“Take my heart-and form it,
Take my mind-transform it,
Take my will-conform it,
To yours, to yours,