Sunday, December 30, 2007

Which Son Are You?

I love Bible stories. It's not because of the story they tell. It's because of the message that is hidden within the story. God's story is written on the hearts of men and women. Though the Bible is chocked full of dysfunctional familes, each family narrative has a message of God. It's not just about how He came through for them and delivered them. It's about how they found Him in the midst of life.

Take the Prodigal Son story. How many pictures do you see in this story? It's all about love and receiving love. For years I only saw the Prodigal Son, the older brother and the Father, but now I see there is so much more hidden in the story line.

The Prodigal Son wants what he is to inherit when his father dies. He doesn't want to wait, he wants it now. After all he wants to leave the Father's house and go out and find life. So he goes to the Father, asks for his money and leaves. He doesn't need life with the Father, he only wants what the Father can give to him. Basically his father is only good for what he will inherit. Some of us want the inheritance of God without the relationship with the Father.

He goes out squanders all that he has and comes to the point where he realizes that the life he's living isn't cutting it. Something is missing. So he leaves the pigpen and heads home hoping that his father will just let him be a hired hand. Some of us think that what we have done is so bad that we can't consider coming to the Father to live in his house. We are happy just living as a slave to a master. God released us from the chains of slavery not to be enslaved any longer.

The Father sees the son returning, grabs his royal robes in His hands and runs out to meet him. He is delighted that His Son has returned and throws a party for him. The older brother has been there all along working hard for the Father in the fields. He is enraged with the treatment his brother receives. After all his brother considered his father as good as dead, left home, squandered his inheritance and now he has the gall to return home. He stands by and watches while His Father not only embraces him but throws a feast. All he can think about is why he has not had that kind of treatment. After all he has been there all along working hard for the Father. Some of us think that if we work hard for God it will earn us a place in His house and heart. Our value is tied up in the law and what we can do. The Father waits to welcome us into His house to be loved, just like the Father in the story. But somehow our identity is so tied up in what we can do, we don't know how to just "be" His.

The Prodigal embraces the Father, the Father puts robe on his back and a ring on his finger, symbolizing his place in the heart of the Father. And the Son is restored. The older brother confronts the Father and the Father tells him, "Son, all I have has always been yours." Some of us come to the end of our ability to find life and see the destitution and, like the Prodigal we enter in fully allowing the Father to wrap us up in His love and bring us into covenant with Him. Some of us like the older brother feel it is our work that makes us worthy and just can't seem to enter in and be wrapped up in love without doing something to earn it. We can't seem to stop "doing" and learn to just "be" in relationship with Him.

And then there is the Son that was telling the story, Jesus. He was perfect love. He knew the Father loved Him and He loved the Father. He embraced the love of the Father and His whole purpose was to show us what He was like. He didn't have to do anything to earn the Father's love. He knew he was loved because He was His Son. Some of us get that. We know that we are loved. It's not about what we do.. It's about who He is. He is perfect love who has created us to be loved.

For more years than I can remember I was the older brother. I remember my grandmother saying "you gotta earn your keep."
So I tried. I spent many years like the older brother working FOR God instead of just being WITH God. There is a difference, a HUGE difference. It is in the being with Him that I have entered into the feast. He says so brilliantly in the Psalms, "Be still and know I am God." One of the translations says, "Cease striving".... I read that as "stop your working for me and just know me as YOUR Papa." "Just enter into my embrace and let me love you, just because you are mine."

So, I ask you, which Son are you?

©copyrighted 2007 by Julie L. Todd

Friday, December 28, 2007


The ways of God are beyond all understanding. Who can fathom them? He has come to restore us and to set those who are captive free. Why does freedom have to hurt so much sometimes? Don't you wish that sometimes you didn't have to feel
the pruning shears cutting away the dead branches?

This week something came to the light. I saw a place of wounding that still held me captive. For two days I sat numb, somewhat afraid to open the door to see what was behind it. It wasn't that I was afraid of what I would see, but more that I was afraid of what I might not see. You see, I knew this was a huge place that was woven into so many places of my life. What if I didn't see it all? Like a patient with cancer, under the knife of a surgeon hoping that they will find it all, I wondered. Would we find it all? Would I be one of those patients that would be opened to find the cancer so spread throughout my body that all that could be done was to close me back up and send me off to live as much life as possible? Would it be woven so deeply that I could not see to replace the old with the new...the truth? God did come to set captives free, right? Can He free me from this wound? After all I know it is woven deeply into so many areas, like the roots of violets in a garden. They entertwine and spread throughout the flowerbed. Would this wound be like that? How could I possibly see all the areas of my life that had been affected by this?

As I sat with God and started to "feel" I found myself not even knowing where to begin. So I started at the beginning. I invited Him to come into this wounded place and reveal what was hidden underneath. I thought of the verse in Hebrews 4: where it speaks of the Word of God being sharper than a double-edged sword, cutting through bones and marrow, dividing the soul and the spirit. I began to ask God to take His scalpel and cut down deep, dividing the flesh from the Spirit, opening my eyes to see what was the lie embedded in.

The road to freedom involves seeing the lies that have taken root in our hearts and pulling them up, and planting truth in their place, the truth of God. That is where God took me today. He took me to those wounded places and the little girl that was hiding inside. He called out my name and told me of the things that were true, those things that the little girl didn't see, couldn't see or process due to having the mind of a child.

It is for freedom that He came. He came for my freedom today. The old is gone, the new has come.

©copyrighted 2007 by Julie L. Todd

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Where Has The Time Gone?

I came back here today to view a friend's blog. Has it been over a year since I have been here and written anything? What a year it has been. I think the hardest thing to me about blogging is that I really don't know what to even write. And who is it I am writing to? Does anyone really read what I write anyways?

I see that so many of you have written to each other and have found friendships here. How does that happen? How do you find each other? How does anyone find me? If I knew someone might actually be reading I might  just write something, but if I am doing this just to write to myself, well with 5 kids and home schooling I would just not even attempt it. After all, life is pretty full as it is.

So, someone out there in blogging world help me out. How do you find each other? How do I connect with other people out in "blog world"?

It's early Christmas morning and we are setting the presents out around the tree. How did the year pass so quickly? It seems the older I get the faster they go.

Before you know it Christmas will have come and gone. 2008 is just around the corner.

If you are reading this my wish for you is that you will be blessed beyond measure as you spend time with family and friends in this next day. But my greatest wish for you is that you will bask in the goodness of a Savior who would leave His kingly throne and come to live amongst us, suffer and die for us, and then restore us to new life.

May you see the new life that He has birthed in you. The old has gone, the new has come.

A new year approaches, the last year will be but a memory. 

May this year be the year that new beginnings into a greater understanding of what this day Christmas was really all about.

Merry Christmas,
©copyrighted 2007 by Julie L. Todd

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Older They Get The Faster It Goes

Christmas came in a whirlwind as usual. As my kids grow I see it happening....the older the get the faster it goes. The oldest is 20 and the youngest is 10. 

I remember the days of Fisher Price doll house and Legos. Hours of fun and entertainment. Now we have moved  into Old Navy Gift Cards, X-box & Game Cube games, clothes, Ipod paraphenalia.

It seems like it was just yesterday when the boys were gathered around the tree, enjoying a fire in the fireplace, putting together their Legos warships. Was it really 15 years ago when the girls were playing with the Little Tikes ironing board and Fisher Price doll house?

Where has the time gone? It seems to pass more quickly with each year that is added.

Savor the moments. Though the years of toddlers and school age children seem to last forever they will be gone in but a second. So savor the moments.

In 22 days my first born child will leave for 5 months to go overseas on a mission trip. Life as I have known it will change.

Savor the moments....they are fleeting......

What would it look like if I were to go back for a "do over"? Would I sit with them longer? Would I get on the  floor and play? Would I put aside the household chores to just sit and play a game? Yes, I would. I would do it all over again. I would give them more of ME!

Savor the moments....
©copyrighted 2007 by Julie L. Todd