Religion had brought me so many wrong views. I didn’t know a Father God who loved. I knew one who expected. I often felt as if I fell short of fulfilling those expectations becoming a disappointment at best. How do you ever know if you’ve done enough? Instead of finding my fulfillment I was tired and empty.
God continued to peel away the layers of my self-protective coverings. He began to restore His image to me. He began to talk to me about love. He invited me to trust.
Everything comes back to trust. If I could not trust Him, I couldn’t find the truth that would set me free. I found that I trusted God with the big things, like having air to breathe or my heart continuing to beat. But I didn’t trust Him with me. I found it easier to trust myself.
As a result I found myself turning to other things to find fulfillment, the most prominent being my husband. If he showed me love well I would know I was wanted. It was a tall order that would never be fulfilled.
I’ll never forget how Jesus came to rescue me.
I was attending a women’s retreat. It was the last day. We were invited to go to the cross set up in the room and lay down what God had asked us to give up that weekend. I approached the cross knowing it was time. I had to lay down my expectations for David to give me value. As I paused to talk to Jesus the tears began to lightly fall down my cheeks. “Jesus, I release David from having to give me value.” Within seconds I heard His response, “I’ve always wanted you.”
The soft tears became sobs at the realization that Jesus had always wanted me. Why hadn’t I known that? He spoke again. “I gave my life to love you. Is it not enough?”
In that moment I realized I had looked to another lover for value when the One who loved me perfectly waited and watched. My heart ached as I considered how many times I had walked right past Him, allowing my heart to seek it’s value in someone who could never give it. What must I have put on my husband in the process?
My Deliverer came for me that day. I’ve not been the same since. It was the beginning of a romance that had been waiting to happen. Jesus would continue to woo me as a bridegroom pursuing the one He loves. He would not stop until I knew that I was not only loved but wanted.
I love the story of Lazarus’ defining moment. Dead for days in the tomb, the One who came to deliver all mankind appears on the scene. Those around think it’s all over. But not Jesus. He knows that it’s just beginning. He tells those standing around the grave to remove the stone. The family was concerned about the stench of death that would fill the air, but not Jesus. He knew the glory of God had come to set Lazarus free.
With a loud voice Jesus declares “Lazarus come out”. Out walked Lazarus, his hands and feet still bound by strips of linen and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to those standing around, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Those placed in his path began to remove the cloths that held Lazarus body bound in death.
That moment at that retreat God called me out of the tomb. Finally someone had convinced me that I was wanted. I walked out that day, grave clothes still wrapped around me, yet alive.
In the years that followed Jesus would begin to peel away the cloths of “religious works” that had covered my body bound in death. He would exchange their ashes for beauty. For my deliverer had come to set me free.
©copyrighted: 2010 Julie L. Todd
Next Up: Part Six: Alone in the Wilderness
Part One: In the Beginning:
Part Two: My Fig Leaves:
Part Three: Lost In Translation:
Part Four: Let Freedom Ring: