In March 2002 David and I attended one of the last Sacred Romance conferences put on by John Eldredge. When I walked out of that building I knew that I had been awakened in a way I’d never known before. For the first time I could see, God had been loving me for a long, long time. I realized that His pursuit of me had been and would always be, relentless. Little did I know it was the beginning of the end of an era.
At that moment in time I had no idea what God was inviting me into. I had no idea that my life was about to change forever.
Life around me began to be altered. God began to pull me away from the busyness. Friendships either changed or were shut down. All of a sudden I just didn’t have it in me to keep pressing forward. I found myself alone with God, my family and myself. It wasn’t a place that I would have volunteered to go, after all I’m quite the people person. It was by invitation only.
No longer able to strive or perform my way through life opened my eyes to a sad reality. I had become the older brother in the prodigal son story. I’d worked hard to receive the Father’s blessing when all along it had been there waiting for me. I’d been so busy striving “out in the fields” that I had never entered in as one who was loved. I had never lived as a daughter to a Father. I had lived as a slave to a Master.
I had read the passage before, but for the first time I heard the heart of the Father in the words of Hosea 2: 14-16. “Therefore I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and will make the Valley of Achor (suffering) a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the days she came out of Egypt. In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’”.
In an instant I knew. God was calling me to be alone with Him in the wilderness. He had some things He wanted to tell me. He wanted to break the yoke of slavery so that He might reveal to me the intimacy of His love. It was an invitation into my transformation. The wilderness would become my cocoon.
I had spent so many years living in my own abilities and performances that I didn’t have a clue how to live in the finished work of Christ in me. Truth is I didn’t really know the heart of the one I called Father.
Life as I had known had to be shut down. The grave clothes waited to be removed. They held me back in the land of Egypt, captive to their commands. It was imperative that I know who I truly was, so imperative that God was willing to clear my day timer. He wanted me to know who He saw me to be. That had been stolen from me years before. It was time for it to be restored.
I have been there now with Him for seven years. The change that has come is nothing less than miraculous as I have come to realize who I was made to be.
A caterpillar is already a butterfly it just doesn’t know it. Woven into the body of the caterpillar is the dna of a butterfly. It matures into what is already true about it.
Inside of me is the dna of Jesus. I am fused with Him. God does not see where one starts and the other ends. He and I are woven together as one. The thought of it all continues to leave me undone; that He would choose to dwell in me.
The Creator of the Universe waited to love me into my reality. Once I laid down the plowshares of striving and the oxcarts of performance I opened myself up to receive true, genuine love. It is a freely given, unconditional, unearned love. I can’t do one thing to get it. I can’t do one thing to lose it.
When I unlatched the door of my heart to receive, my ordinary, busy world was overcome by an extraordinary God. I have discovered a love that takes my breath away. Alone, in this wilderness, I have found grace.
©copyrighted: 2010; Julie L. Todd
Next up: Part Seven: Glimpses of the Wilderness
To read the previous parts of my story, click on the link:
Part One: In The Beginning:
Part Two: My Fig Leaves:
Part Three: Lost in Translation:
Part Four: Let Freedom Ring:
Part Five: My Deliver Is Coming: