*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
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