Friday, September 5, 2008

The Flight of Freedom

     I have this fascination with butterflies.  I especially love the Monarch. Papa God has talked to me about them.  He knows how much I love them.  I think He put that love in me because He knew He would use them to speak to me.

     A couple of weeks ago we were visiting the Tennessee Aquarium’s butterfly room.  As I walked in and moved about, my eye caught different types of butterflies.  Instantly I began snapping pictures.  They are so exquisite and individual in their beauty.  Beautiful blue morph’s, swallowtails, painted ladies and buckeyes flitted around me.  Though mesmerized by these beauties what I really wanted to see and capture was my Monarch.

     I perused the room as I walked around, straining to catch a glimpse.  Suddenly a beautiful Monarch flew above me.  I began to follow it.   As if to tantalize me, it would fly down, catch my eye, then disappear, soaring above the flowers.  It was not to be captured.  It was free.  After several minutes of waiting, I realized there would be no picture.  Disappointed, I had no idea that there was a purpose in my not capturing the photograph, but Jesus did.

     As I read another chapter of Alicia Britt Chole’s book, “Anonymous” her words hit me yet again.  She said, *“Jesus’ hidden years empowered Him to live a fruitful life.”   As I sat with Jesus journaling my heart, tears of gratitude poured down my cheeks.  It was then that my eyes were opened and I could see.  In these years of winters, deserts and wildernesses a transformation had come. 

     All of a sudden I could see what these hidden years have done for me.  Once a woman who sought value in what I could do, I realized that I have come to a place of rest in who I am.  Sobs of joy engulfed my body as I came to the awareness of what Jesus had done in me.  I am at rest.  I am free.  The bondage of performance has been stripped away and now I just want to be.  I understand now that I am not made to imitate Jesus.  I am made for His life to be lived through me.  I can rest.  It is His work in me.  This realization that I have moved from striving to rest, is indescribable.

      The butterfly that could not be captured surfaces in my mind again. It’s clear to me now the picture Papa God wanted me to capture that day.  It wasn’t of His beautiful Monarch in a photograph.  It was the flight of this exquisite creature’s freedom.  Lighting on a flower, flitting down to dance in front of my eyes, soaring to the top again, just being a butterfly, was a picture of what Jesus had done in me.

     It was then I heard His voice, “You delight me, Jewel.”  “Just as you were delighted when you saw that Monarch, I delight in seeing you.”  “The way you chased it down to see it; that’s me with You.”  “You loved watching it fly about and got so excited when it came close to you.”  “That’s me with you Jewel.”  “I love watching you fly free in your beauty.”  “I delight in watching you just be who you were created to be.” “Enjoy what you see, and where you are.”  “Spread your wings and fly above.”  “You are free to be.”

     Had I captured that butterfly in the photograph that day I would not have this picture seared into my heart.  His purposes show up everywhere.  With gratitude I thank Him for not allowing me to catch the Monarch down close. He has allowed me see through His eyes and capture His picture.  What was once a disappointment has now turned into precious delight.  I see His heart.  I see His new creation in me, a picture worth more than a thousand words.

     What about you?  Do you see His delight in you?  Do you see Him chasing you down, watching you fly in all your beauty?  Do you see yourself through His eyes?

     Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.


*Quote from: Alicia Britt Chole, "Anonymous"

©copyrighted 2008 by Julie L. Todd


Tiffany Stuart said... Reply to comment


Julie, you are definitely my soul sister. Butterflies and their freedom captures my heart. And I so relate to your rest. I too lives and strived and never felt like I was enough. It wasn't until God's love soaked into my soul that I believed I am His delight. I believe that now and I must say it's a peaceful and amazing feeling. A feeling of free flight. We are His delight.

You are singing it, sister. Never stop speaking the truth. So many are stuck trying to do rather than be. Out of the rest, we are free to fly and live out His purpose.

God speaks to me just like He does in your life. Through nature. And with words of healing and truth and love. There's nothing more beautiful...

Thank you. You are His jewel, shining brightly. I'm so glad I know you.


Shanda said... Reply to comment

I appreciate so much being able to read about your experience and relationship with God. It gives me hope in what's to come. I so desperately want to be where you are and realizing that I've got a LOT of molding left.
"In these years of winters, deserts and wildernesses a transformation had come." Thank you for the encouragement to keep wandering.

Joyful said... Reply to comment

Your post has made me think of two songs I have on CD. One is titled, "It's time for you to fly" (Sheila Walsh), and the other is, "I'm Gonna Fly" (Amy Grant).

Posting the words to the second one below and rejoicing that God has set us free to be!

All of my friends are happy to stay
Here in this yard day after day
But something inside me has called me away
I don't understand but I know I can't stay

I'm gonna fly
No one knows where
But I'm gonna fly
I'm lighter than air

Cause I have felt for the first time
I can be myself
No more faces to hide behind
Just a smile and a dream that's mine
Even if I am the only one who wants to fly

I'm gonna fly
No one knows where
But I'm gonna fly
I'll soar thru the air

All of my life seems I've waited
For the time to start
Being the person inside of me
Unafraid of being me
No more faces to hide behind
Just a smile and a dream that's mine
Even if I am the only one who wants to fly

If I had my life to live over again
I'd run barefoot, relax a bit more
And I'd talk to my children
And I'd learn how they laugh
And I'd teach them how I've learned to fly

Cause all my life seems I've waited
For the time to start
Being this person inside of me
Unafraid of being me
Even if I am the only one who wants to fly
I'm gonna fly

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Julie, this post is an incredible visual of God's love for you and for all of us who are free to love Him and be loved--just because of whose and who we are.

What amazing words He gave you to share. THank you, my friend.

Marsha said... Reply to comment

Julie, this is beautiful and so spot on! I, too, learn from nature, it's how He speaks to me and teaches me. Several years ago I came to that same point of being released, like a butterfly out of its chrysallis. There's so many comparisons between butterflies and our new life. There's just as many comparisons between their chrysallis stage and our being in bondage and in need of being set free.

I praise God for what He is doing in and through you as you plum the depths of His riches.


Laura said... Reply to comment

Oh, Jewelzie! this is so beautiful. I cannot wait to get this book! It sounds so wonderful. What a lovely Word Papa gave you through your Monarch. They are beautiful, aren't they? Thank you for sharing your heart.

Becoming Me said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie:

Tears are stinging my eyes as I type and I am at a loss for words....

"I understand now that I am not made to imitate Jesus. I am made for His life to be lived through me. I can rest. It is His work in me. This realization that I have moved from striving to rest, is indescribable."

Such beautiful, beautiful truth that touched one who is still emerging from her cocoon.

Speaking Thru Me Ministries said... Reply to comment

Hi there!!! These words here are so piercing in such a great way... Wow - I am at a loss for words. THank you for taking me to the throne tongiht!! I have so much to talk with Him about. AND - thank you for the comment you left on my blog!!! I am there with you!!! I mean in agreement, but I am not sure I am where your heart has landed... just yet. Oh I pray this comes to me as well in a deeper fashion as He has done for you. Love you sister!!!

Cindy said... Reply to comment

I am definately not a crier anymore but tonight tears attempt to fill my eyes.
This post is absolutely beautiful.
You really have captured what God has been working in me. To just be and allow HIM to shine forth.
Blessings, Cindy

Amy said... Reply to comment


It's an awesome thing to read about how Christ freed your heart, and to watch you grow in His beauty.

Thank you for sharing another beautiful story.

Love you,

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said... Reply to comment

Thank you for your prayes. I too am using Alicia's book in my morning quiet time. Amazing stuff. I think I will have to read through this one several times to take it all in. With god in our life we are beautiful butterflies!!!

Again-thank you for your prayers!

In His Graces~Pamela

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said... Reply to comment
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Amy said... Reply to comment

God bless you, Julie, for this beautiful post. God has truly gifted you to be an encouragement to others. I needed a lift and a word from Him today. My day was one that went from one "catasthophe" to another. Everyday life was closing around me. Thank you for listening to Papa. Blessings.

Darnelle said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie,
I've been out of touch since the hurricane but I've got power and internet now so I'm trying to catch up! I'm so excited about your reading "Anonymous"! My copy is so marked up and underlined. I was blessed to hear Alicia speak back in July at a women's conf. nearby. I have to say that some of her thoughts about Father God and the Kingdom remind me of yours. I guess I'm just drawn to Sisters who are just not content with a mediocre relationship with Almighty God!
Blessings to you Girl!
(I'm still praying for that traveling Girl of yours :)

Miss G said... Reply to comment

Thank you! Kelly

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie, things have gone much better today. Thank you for your comment and all the prayers. Blessings.

Irritable Mother said... Reply to comment

Ahhh, 2 Corinthians 5:17. My life verse!!!
What a beautiful picture He has given you. How about that? A picture WITHOUT a picture! That's just like Him, isn't it - the backwards and upside down way He does so many things. *grin*
Yes - to fly free as He lives in me; to be who He wants me to be - by His grace and power. This is where I want to be!
Thanks for these wonderful words.