This last week I had the AMAZING opportunity to go to Kansas City with two of my favorite women.
We went to IHOP, and no, not the pancake place. We went to the International House of Prayer. And let me tell you, it was off the freaking chain. In fact, there is no more chain, that's how amazing it was.
One thing that hit me hard over the week was the massive amount of truth packed into John 17. As a woman who has gone to Bible college, gotten a degree in Biblical/Theological Studies, and started Seminary, you would THINK I understood God's love for me.
Nope. Not even close.
I felt like I had never even READ John 17 after hearing some of the speakers teach on it. It was insane. I was hit hard by the reality that God PUT His love for HIMSELF in us. IN us. There is no need to conjure up anything, HE GAVE IT TO US. And, when reading the passage further, it's so clear how the whole point of everything is KNOWING the LOVE of God.
Basic, right? Wrong. For whatever reason, I never got this. I never understood that God loved me first and that by having the Holy Spirit living in me, I has access to God's own heart which intrinsically loves itself. That means, all I need to do is ALLOW God to love and then love FOR God will come naturally.
They challenged us to pray a simple yet life altering prayer, "Holy Spirit, what do you FEEL about me? Holy Spirit, what do you THINK about me?" The Psalms say God's thoughts about us are more numerous than there are grains of sand. Just simply praying that prayer and opening myself up before God put me in a position to be FLOODED with words and images from God's heart to my own. Things like: I am not ashamed of you , Kate; you've done a good job (um, what, G?!); thank you for loving me, Kate (again, WHAT?!); you look like me, Kate (okay, God, you're nuts) and so on.
I don't think I need to go into great detail to explain how one's heart jumps at the sound of God's voice saying He's not ashamed of you, even proud of you. Those who know me know I battle with shame...I am not some little prim and proper Christian. To hear God say He's not ashamed of me astounded me. It freed me. To hear Him say that I look like Him, that I resemble the LOVE of God, well, let's just say I needed several tissues.
I have so much to share about my time at IHOP, but I just had to share that prayer before I went to bed.
Pray it. Ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what He thinks about you. Ask Him what He feels about you. Guaranteed it will blow your perception of yourself out of the water, and loving God, well, it will become....different.
Can't wait to share more,