Friday, January 29, 2010

A Journey of Grace: Alone in the Wilderness©

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:


Christina said... Reply to comment

this is beautiful. it reminds me of what im reading in grace is for sinners. its kinda mind altering to know that there is nothing we can do to earn God's love. i think im still letting that truth sink in. thanks for sharing :-)

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

wow! Beautiful post. I am looking forward to my DNA to be more fused with His. This explains my experience over the last few years also. Friends dropped out of my life and I felt so alone. But in that time, my Jesus wooed me and a new intimacy was born. I am still in the wilderness, the cacoon amd am looking forward to emerging changed, beautiful and more like Him.

Mary said... Reply to comment

I totally get this. I was the older brother too! Isn't it awesome how God patiently waits for us to 'get it?'

Great post. I'm enjoying reading about your journey.

Laura said... Reply to comment

Walking this journey with you has been amazing. I have followed each step, though not able to comment (at work--big brother doesn't let me!). Isn't it amazing how we fall for the lie that living a "good life" is all it takes? When He wants all of us, wants deep intimacy, longs to be the Lover of our Souls.

You are beautiful.

Amy said... Reply to comment

Beautiful story, Julie!

There's nothing more awesome than being swept away by Jesus...into the wilderness...into intimacy.

christy rose said... Reply to comment

Wow! Julie, I am just truly amazed at your story. I love reading how God is wooing the hearts of his kids and winning them into intimacy with Him. It is a beautiful story!

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

It is another chapter of your life well worth reading, dearest Julie.

Isn't God amazing? I have read all of Eldredge's books, he is quite an anointed man of God, isn't he? We all need to benefit from the gifts God has poured into men and women these last days as they are being used of Him to open prison doors that have kept many of God's own children captive and in darkness.

I love what you have written about laying down your plowshares of striving and oxcarts of performance, and that you were moving away from the older mentality that you had embraced! So much like my own experience, Julie!

Even though I came to know Christ when I was 20 years old, there was still much of the old performance oriented mindset that had crept into my new found faith. And God also had to remove layers of my blindness and bring me to freedom stage by stage, revealing to me my true identity and kingdom purpose!

Thank you once again for sharing you story!


Andrea said... Reply to comment

Hope you don't mind. I added a link to your blog on arise 2 write.

Paula said... Reply to comment

You know I'm loving this series, my sweet Internet friend. Though we've never met I feel such a unity with you. We've been through a lot of the same process. Thank God.

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

"Inside of me is the DNA of Jesus."

That's pretty huge, right there. I can hardly wrap my mind around it. And I'm so grateful.

Michelle said... Reply to comment

I know this story well.

Thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

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. Oh my! This is thought-provoking for sure!

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

Hey, I have had this same type of experience. I've written about my desert experience. That's where God really grabbed my heart. That was in late 2001 or early 2002, I'd have to peek at old journals. Something in new woke up and I started seeing and hearing God in everything I did. I was wowed by the presence of God. He came near. The desert is the sweetest of places. What a gift we have in knowing Him and letting Him love us so..

Karen said... Reply to comment

"I had never lived as a daughter to a Father. I had lived as a slave to a Master."

May I say, Amen! Beautifully written....