Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Transformation of Love

The more I learn about the butterfly, the more captivated I become. I love the picture it paints. I love the story it tells. It speaks to a deep place in my soul.

When it’s time for a caterpillar to shed it’s final skin it finds an isolated place where it can metamorphose. The outer skin of the pupa then hardens forming a chrysalis which protects and hides it while it transforms.


When I moved to this small rural town almost three years ago now I came sporting my credentials. I had just finished teaching a 12 week class on the book “Captivating” at a former church. I had seen a gifting that I had not known was inside me. It exhilarated me. I was chomping at the bit to be used for God. Truth be told I was chomping at the bit to be of value.


His words came to me clearly one day. “Stop promoting yourself. I will promote you if I want you to be used.” It became clear He was up to something.


Relationships that I thought would take off didn’t. Ministry opportunities that I volunteered for were filled by others. I’d been here before. I knew it was an “invitation of God”. I knew He was calling me away to the stillness, where the gentle whispers could become loud in my ears. For the busyness of ministry often drowned out that still small voice.


These last 2 years have been filled with something I never saw coming. God began to teach me how to find my value in Him alone. He began to change me from the inside out. He invited me to live as one who is loved. He guided me into loving myself as He loves me.


This week He pulled back the curtains and revealed more of the masterpiece He’s been sculpting with my heart. Given an unexpected invitation to speak at a women’s tea exposed the work of His hands.


Instead of jumping at the opportunity, I tried to run. It was the opposite of what I had done before.


He wouldn’t let me run. It was His door opened for me. So I went, I spoke.


As I sat down in my seat after speaking I realized something. I’ve changed. The desire to promote myself has vanished. I no longer need to speak to have value. I have no desire to seek to have a ministry or a gifting. I have found my place in His heart. I am absolutely and completely content living as one who is loved.


I stand amazed as I look at where I once was and where I now stand. A woman who for a time found great value in striving, performance, busyness, and knowledge no longer has a desire for those things. The heart of the father has won my heart... I have been transformed.


Our reality is we are fused with Christ. God cannot tell where one life ends and the other begins. When we get that, really get that, there will be no need to find value anywhere else.


The God of the universe chose to tabernacle in us. Would that we could see the value He places on us. That He would choose to dwell within us. It’s astounding when you consider it.


He wants you to know and live in your reality, so He comes. He invites you to enter into the metamorphose of the life of Christ which dwells within. In the shelter of grace He will love away your insecurities and teach you how to love yourself. For He's known you for a long time. He's loved you forever.


As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. John 15: 9

©copyrighted:2009 Julie L. Todd

20 comments:

Sita said... Reply to comment

Julie, this speaks so much to me..."I have no desire to seek to have a ministry or a gifting. I have found my place in His heart. I am absolutely and completely content living as one who is loved..."
Thank you.
Love, Sita

Andrea said... Reply to comment

Isn't it amazing how GOD works. We are most usable when we have fully surrendered every aspect of ourselves to HIM.
He has prepared you, now and HE will shine through you like never before.
GOD BLESS you on your continued journey with HIM,
andrea

Shirley said... Reply to comment

Oh my! There is soooo much in this that I can relate to, understand, desire to chew on...I can't even formulate a proper comment right now. This speaks to the depths of my soul!

I have a favorite butterfly quote I want to share, but I've got to find it again. I can never quote it exactly right.

And then I want to read this post again. You've said something special to me tonight!

Shirley said... Reply to comment

Just when the caterpillar thought his world had ended, he became a butterfly.

This or something very close to it was on a mug at Starbucks.

My memorial tattoo for our deceased daughter is a butterfly, carefully and thoughtfully chosen for all its meaning. Later, I found this quote, and I think the tat is even more significant to me.

Joan said... Reply to comment

Julie, once again your post speaks to my heart. I recently stepped down from serving in two areas of ministry. First, in order to spend more time getting to know my Savior. Second, although I was willing to serve where needed, I realize part of my reason was the need to be recognized. But I realize now my identity is in Christ. I don't need to be recognized by man, just be willing to be a servent of Christ.

Blessings and Joy!

Joan

Amy said... Reply to comment

As one of the women in your Captivating class in 2006, it's been amazing to watch your "Metamorphosis."

God's BEAUTY was in you before, but you radiate His BEAUTY even more now that you're a BUTTERFLY ready to fly FREELY!

Angie said... Reply to comment

Julie--I see much more than the butterfly. I see His creation---blooming wherever HE decides to plant.

You are a blessing--and I LOVE reading your writings. Every time, God reveals a secret to my soul that He's been trying to get me to SEE.

And He did it again.

I hope to see you in February 2010. We'll be there for a few days.

Much love to you girl!

Alece said... Reply to comment

i can't wait till He busts my cocoon wide open. it's getting dark and cold and musty in here...

but knowing that wings are coming... what a difference that makes.

Karen said... Reply to comment

Loved this...especially... " I am absolutely and completely content living as one who is loved"...amen!

Marsha said... Reply to comment

Oh the bliss of contentment, of basking in the warmth of our Father's heart.

What an inspiration it is to see you in this place of peace.

God's work within you is evident. He will continue to reveal more and more.

Blessings my sweet mountain friend.

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Wow, I need to tuck this one into my heart, Jewels. Your writing is so precious. He's gently convicting me regarding that which I haven't yet let go, and He's transforming this caterpillar bit by bit. Wish I could take a bible study from you sometime. But then again...I sort of am. xxxooo

Miss G said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie! I am so glad for you! Kelly

Lindsey @ A New Life said... Reply to comment

Julie, this is so beautiful. I love that God pulled you back from the ministry you were in to teach you about pride...a lesson I've had to learn recently.

And I love the peace you are experiencing; it is truly an inspiration to me to keep striving.

Thank you so much for your continued wisdom on my posts. It means the world to me to have the prayer and encouragement of so many women who have walked through the fire and know where I am at.

Blessings,
Lindsey

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

I rejoice in your transformation dear Julie.

What a tribute to the redeeming power of our Lord!

How beautifully you have written this post. How beautiful the work that our Creator is doing in you.

Thank you for sharing this journey. It fills my heart with so much hope and joy!

Love
Lidj

Pamela (His maidservant) said... Reply to comment

This so reflects my own life. Thank you for posting this. Beautiful! I am a Metamorphosis of His grace..I am so humbled but through it all I do feel like the butterfly!!

Have a blessed CHRISTmas!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Pamela (His maidservant) said... Reply to comment

This so reflects my own life. Thank you for posting this. Beautiful! I am a Metamorphosis of His grace..I am so humbled but through it all I do feel like the butterfly!!

Have a blessed CHRISTmas!!

In His Graces~Pamela

elaine @ peace for the journey said... Reply to comment

Sounds like a similar shaping season I've known. Sounds like the truth of "anonymous." Sounds like freedom!

Thanks for stopping by again; it's good to "see" you.

peace~elaine

christy rose said... Reply to comment

Just Beautiful Julie! I wish I would have been able to be at the tea that you spoke at too. I would love to hear you speak of the lovelife between you and God and how the revelation of His thoughts toward you have changed you. Isn't it amazing how the message that you share has changed so dramatically since it has become about unveiling His heart instead of unveiling you. I know. I know it so very well. I always love your posts. They bless me so much.
Merry Christmas,
Christy

Jo Princess Warrior said... Reply to comment

"Truth be told I was chomping at the bit to be of value."

Yep! That's me. God has been speaking to me over the past 12 months about the same thing. I'm afraid I'm a slow learner :)

Lydia said... Reply to comment

Mom I envy you! You are intact with the heart of God it amazes me! I am so glad to have you as a mother! You have inspired me so much in the 12 years I have been alive! You have helped me understand God's heart and the love that he has for me! Part of my desire to teach to people about how there is someone who loves them more then they can comprehend is because you have helped me understand that when I felt alone and unloved..... you helped me realize that..... There is someone who cares and loves you know matter what! I love you mom!