I hate to admit it: I need romance

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I’ve been longing lately, this deep, passionate longing that wants to be wooed.

No, I’m not complaining about my husband. Not in any sense. I’m wanting to experience the romantic life. Having camped in the campground of realism all my life, these longings surprise me.

A desire for surprise, whimsy, newness.

I remember once my friend Stacey asking me to do something when I was walking through a particularly dark time in my life. I stayed at her home for a respite. I allowed myself to buy perfume (I still have it). I let myself indulge a bit. She said, “Mary, I want you to ask God specifically to show you that He loves you this week. Pray He’ll surprise you with it.” I prayed that prayer, and it changed my life. I now pray that prayer over people, that Jesus would show up in a new, exciting, loving way.

I’m in that place again with that same deep longing, wanting more of Jesus, not satisfied for knowing Him from afar, as if He were a player on a field, and I a spectator. I don’t want to be His cheerleader either. (He doesn’t need that, and, even though it’s closer, it’s not close enough.) I’m afraid I’ve tried to be His coach at times, telling Him how to run my life, or just running my life without Him. I want to be in the huddle with Him, to hear His exasperation, joy, thrill. To just be next to Him. To know He loves being near me too.

I leave next week for Cape Town 2010, the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism. In a way it feels like I’m praying that prayer again. “Dear, dear Jesus, surprise me with Your love.” It’s my way of dirtying my knees, jumping into the game, to labor alongside, to be nearer to Jesus–the One I’ve sometimes held at arm’s distance.

Oh the joy of loving a God who woos, who beckons, who loves, loves, loves. I pray that over you. I pray you’ll experience that love in extravagant measure. You may have not experienced over the top romance in your life from other people. You may be broken right now, broken in two. But He sees. And He knows what it’s like to be broken beyond repair. Which is why His love for you is so complete, so perfect. Because in His brokenness, He completes you. I pray you sense that today, in all that is best about romance. I pray you’ll take a step onto the playing field, circle up in the huddle, listen to His calls, and experience His camaraderie. Oh how I pray it.