Friday, November 27, 2009

What's in the Doorway?

*Note: I wrote another post about the experience below a few months back. But as Papa is prone to do, He has given me another revelation of His heart through this experience.

It was 9:00AM on July 9th when I got the phone call. My daughter’s unintelligible words mixed with tears told me something bad had happened. “Mom, I think I just got bit by a poisonous snake”.

I tried to stay calm as I rushed to get my clothes on. Maybe she was wrong. Did she really know snakes that well? Moments later a conversation with her father confirmed it. My daughter had been bitten by a baby copperhead while walking through the doorway at work. It lay hidden between the thresh hold and the door.

It took several weeks of healing before she was back on her feet. From that point on, she watched where her feet were planted.

Months after her healing, I realized something profound. That is a picture of my story.

Jesus came to me and offered me salvation. I accepted. I had no clue what it all really meant. I knew that I had alot of sin and needed forgiveness. I knew I needed love. It was by grace that I was saved.

I walked through the door and was immediately bitten by the serpent that lay hidden in the doorway of religious activity.

I was loaded up with a list of things that good Christians do. If you want to love God well, you should spend at least 30 minutes a day in quiet time, preferably in the morning, like Jesus did. Every good Christian made prayer lists, volunteered to teach Sunday School, attended Bible study and every church service, evangelized, signed up for VBS. You get the idea.

I look back on it now and realize something astounding. Grace brought me to salvation. But I left grace behind once I walked through that door. The list of “should’s took over my life. I lost sight of the invitation to just be loved. In fact I didn't really know that being loved was the offer. The serpent had his bite into me and I didn’t even know it. With my imperfections he began to spread his poison of shame throughout the veins of my life. I never seemed to do enough to feel loved.

The serpent lurks about seeking who he might destroy. If he can keep me bound to a life of should’s he will keep me bound to shame, for I will surely fail. If you don’t believe that, think about how you feel when you miss your “quiet time” for several days or haven’t prayed for anyone. Guilt and shame rear their ugly heads.

Here’s my reality. For God so loved He sent Jesus to restore me back to love. I am an image bearer of the Most High God. I and all my old, dead flesh have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live. Christ now lives in me.

I didn’t get it back then, but I am starting to now. Jesus brought me to salvation to bring me back to living as one who is loved. The One who knew He was loved because of who He was to the Father says to me. “Just as the Father has loved me, I now love you.” It’s a love where there are no conditions, no expectations, no requirements because all was fulfilled by Him.

It’s the most stunning thing I’ve ever known. Words of invitation are extended, “Jewel, let me love you into who you are.” “Take off the shackles of slavery to the should’s”. “You are free.” “Live out of my love.” “Don’t return to a yoke of slavery.” “Not to sin.” “Not to works.” “It’s no longer about what you need to do.” “It’s now about Me and what I will do.” “Follow me, Jewel”.. “I will make.” “I made you to love you, it’s that simple.” “As you live in love, you will fulfill all the Father desires for you.”

I’ve been on this path for a few years now. He’s held true to His promise. My true identity is emerging as I receive His love. Guilt and shame have for the most part dropped away. They frequently try to visit, but have become unwelcome guests.

His Spirit has taken me to places I didn’t know existed, straight into the heart of deep intimacy with the Father. I've never known love like this before. As I’ve settled into His embrace, I’ve found the place of grace. It’s the doorway where love covers a multitude of sins. It’s where love covers me.

©copyright: 2009 Julie L. Todd

Also posted at the Internet Cafe:


Laurel@FromMyHeartToYours said... Reply to comment

So beautiful Julie. Thank you so much for all you do. I always feel totally wrapped in love when I come for coffee here...beautiful.

Blessings from Canada

Amy said... Reply to comment

You have captured the essence of the freedom and beauty found when walking in intimacy with Christ.

Love you!

Debbie said... Reply to comment

So well written and timely, especially as Christmas is fast approaching. It can be all too easy to fall into the activities and agree to so many good things but miss out on God's best.


Joan said... Reply to comment

I read your post on the Internet Cafe and just had to come to your blog to read more. I can so relate to what you are saying. For years, I was caught up in the "bondage" of religion and didn't have a clue what grace really meant. I recently wrote a post on one of my blogs about freedom, after visiting a prison where I go with a team to minister. So many Christians are still in bondage - just like those who are behind prison walls.

Thanks for your post!

Kathy S. said... Reply to comment

Ah Julie, the place of grace, where we are recipients of all He has to give, and conveyors of all He has to give to others. I love
Galatians 2:20, It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in and through me.

It goes w/ Romans 12:1,2...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God for this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...

Daily I am in need of grace to walk in the Spirit...a recipient of His power!

Karen said... Reply to comment

"Guilt and shame have for the most part dropped away. They frequently try to visit, but have become unwelcome guests."...loved this!

Sweet's so easy to forget how amazing grace really is when we are blindsided by the serpent...great message, Julie!

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

Dear JUlie,
I read the story of your daughter and the copperhead snake bite...reading this again and the new perspective you give it is quite amazing.

How true it is, we all get sucked into religious activity, and how effectively Satan steals our new found freedom.

And He is always the redeemer, making all things new for us. Redeeming us again and again, through the ins and outs of our Christian life.

Thanks for sharing this story again!


Terra said... Reply to comment

So good to hear your daughter was healed from the snake bite, that was a terrifying call for a mom to receive.
You are on the right path when you suggest we be released from "shoulds".
Actually, that word is hard to avoid when talking; I have tried to avoid saying it and it is difficult.
Thanks for the tips about baking asparagus; garlic and parmesan sound like tasty additions.

Jacquelyn said... Reply to comment

Oh I know all too well about living that life of "shoulds". As the oldest of 7, I took on a lot of responsibilities early on...and somehow that morphed into a lifestyle of trying to be all things to all people. I love your insight that God just wants to love us...not because of all the things we do but just because He is love. Wonderful!

Shanda said... Reply to comment

"on arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed." Acts 18:27b

This stood out as I read last night then I read your post this morning.

Thanks for sharing your revelation.

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

“Jewel, let me love you into who you are.”

Wow. I love this. It is such a beautiful essence of who God is... and what He wants for us...