Friday, February 5, 2010

A Journey of Grace: Glimpses Of The Wilderness©

In the wilderness the facade is exposed for what it is. All that you have relied on no longer holds any value. Amidst the barrenness the oasis of God meets you and in the process you are changed.

You can ask anyone who knew me, I was not known for being still. It didn’t seem to be in my dna. As a child I couldn’t sit still for the life of me. As an adult stillness was not a place that I volunteered to go. As I entered into the wilderness the call became clear. “Be still and know me as God.” I didn’t have a clue what that meant.

Soon after I heard a woman speak of how she had asked God what He wanted to say to her about a particular subject. She mentioned how she waited and listened until He spoke. Truth is I’d never considered such a thing. Most often the times I spent with God focused on my telling Him what I was thinking or what I wanted or needed from Him.

After 22 years of walking with God I decided to give it a shot.

I so desperately wanted it to work, yet at the same time, I was so accustomed to getting into the mix of things. What if somehow I manipulated His words? It came down to this. Could I trust Him to overcome me?

At 44 years of age, blank notebook in hand, I stepped into uncharted territory. I asked, “Is there anything you would like to say to me?”

What happened next was ‘otherworldly’. God began to speak so fast that I struggled to write it all down. I had never experienced anything like it before. The words He spoke took my breath away. They were so tender, so intimate. I became aware of patient love. It’s the love that does not force, but waits until the recipient is ready to receive.

When I was ready to receive, I discovered He had much to tell me. It all began with receiving and receiving begins with trust. For the truth is, until I trust, I will never receive.

It’s easy to trust God with the big things in life, like keeping the earth rotating, but trusting Him with me was a whole other matter. What if He didn’t show up? What if He let me down? What if I couldn’t make it? There were many seeds of control planted in my life and the root of control is fear.

God began to expose what I feared. With each one He asked “will you trust me with this?” Until I released my grip on my life, His would never be realized.

He spoke to me often about trust. Would I trust Him with my life and the plans He had for me? Would I trust Him with my husband? Would I leave David to Him? And what about my children?

I’d spent many years trusting in myself. He wanted me to trust in who He was. He is unpredictable in what He does, yet consistent in who He is. It was time to learn that. To do so meant to step out in unknown waters, believing He would be there. Would I trust in what I knew about Him verses what I could or could not see Him doing?

As I learned to trust, the doorway of grace opened for me. It was there all along, I just couldn’t find my way in. As I found that perfect love, fear began to dissipate taking with it the need to control, releasing my hands to His.

In the stillness He came to restore His image to me. He began to teach me who He really was. It has changed my world forever.

The desert has been what He promised it would be. He has tenderly spoken words that have freed me to know Him as my One true love. They’ve revealed to me the heart of the One I’m learning to trust.

When I entered the wilderness I didn’t have a clue what it looked like to be still. I do now. In fact I’ve come to love this place called stillness. For it is the place where His voice has been loudest to my soul. It’s the place where He has become my God.

©copyrighted: 2010; Julie L. Todd

Next up: Part Eight: Walking Without Crutches

To read previous posts, click on link:

Part One: In The Beginning:

Part Two: My Fig Leaves:

Part Three: Lost In Translation:

Part Four: Let Freedom Ring:

Part Five: My Deliverer Is Coming:

Part Six: Alone In The Wilderness:


Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Oh this is good stuff. Among other things that spoke to me, our grandson popped into my mind when you spoke of trusting different ones to God. I felt like I should do the him to God. And immediately my mind was arguing with it, and then it hit me... I want to trust ME to somehow get him into the Kingdom. Well, just how do ~I~ think I have the power to do that!!! It was humbling! I really have no option but to trust him to God.

Andrea said... Reply to comment

It really is all about what "HE" wants!
Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

Kathy S. said... Reply to comment

"All that you have relied on no longer holds any value"

The Lord lets us go all the way on the faltering rope we hold until it lets loose, and we have nothing left but Him. When that happened to me it was very painful, but I am so glad He loved me enough to let me fall that hard!

Beautifully expressed Julie!

Now I like to picture myself laying flat on my face with my arms out in fulfillment of Galatians 2:20 whenever I am tempted to control...or fear.

It is so much more peaceful to be dead isn't it?

Laura said... Reply to comment

Oh, Jewelzie! I am so enjoying this walk with you.

This jumped out at me tonight:

Most often the times I spent with God focused on my telling Him what I was thinking or what I wanted or needed from Him.

Have I ever been there! But when I too learned to! He blew me away.

I've been through different seasons since. Some where He seems silent. But now the silence turns my head. He speaks to me through that too.

You are beautiful, inside and out!

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Are you in my head? I am just learning to trust Him and it's hard!!!! I have trouble staying still also. I am a slow learner, but I am getting there. Thank you once again for sharing your beautiful journey. xo

Katie said... Reply to comment

This is marvelous, Jewel! I love reading these kinds of stories!

You much of my own walk with God and growth has been centered on trust as well. I, too, finally learned to begin hearing Him when I took out a pen and paper. And yet... I still struggle with those same questions. You asked, "What if somehow I manipulated His words?" I have that question still, along with "Am I even hearing Him right?"

But somehow I never realized that I what I must do is "trust God to overcome me."

Thank you!! I needed those words, for that makes it so simple! Yes, yes, yes!!!

I'd hug you, Jewel, if I could, for you have blessed me today.

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

I've come to love this place called stillness.

Love those words... being still means trusting, and you spoke about this part of your life journey so beautifully again.

I am finding out that after learning to trust God in many areas of my life, there are new areas or new concerns that keep coming up, requiring me to trust Him all over again.

Your journey is real, and indeed, it was only when you were willing to be still that your heart began to hear Him!

Love this post.


Amy said... Reply to comment

My heart rejoices over how you have entered into such a beautiful place with God!

There's nothing more GLORIOUS we can experience in this life...than what you have described here. I pray that your words will lead others into stillness with Jesus.

Terra said... Reply to comment

I think most of us spend more time telling God what we want and what we think we need and asking him for help, and he does love all prayers. But like you, I want to take time to listen to God. I read that this makes prayer a two way conversation, which makes great sense.
Thanks for sharing this here, and reminding me to listen more!

Paula said... Reply to comment

I have just read all your posts in this series back to back and I have been blessed. He SO wants me and I've shut Him out. I am in my wilderness still but will soon be exiting it! He still has lessons for me to learn in the meantime, with your posts delivering some insights into my learning. Thank you Julie.

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said... Reply to comment

oh Julie... so good... I never have waited or stood still.. call it what we may... wrap a bow on it... or whatever... Label it...

But come to a place of total abandonment... with broken wings... and I have no where to fly... Crumbled up in my Papa's hands... waiting...

God Bless...

christy rose said... Reply to comment

I thought it was kind of funny when you said that you took a pen and paper and asked God, "Is there anything that you would like to say to me" And all of a sudden, after you quieted yourself and began to listen, He began to speak quicker than you could write. He really does have a lot to say if we are willing to listen, HUH? :)

Christina said... Reply to comment

this is kinda crazy and exactly what i needed. as you know, im going through my own trust experience. even now He is challenging me to trust Him to go somewhere and the outcome is uncertain. im really struggling right now to trust when everything isnt guaranteed and my loose ends arent tied. i need to trust that He'll be there when i jump out and follow Him. He needs to be my security and nothing else. thanks for the reminder of the peace that comes with trusting God. ^_^

Aine Willis said... Reply to comment

I'm loving getting to know you through your testimony. Thank you for sharing it. God Bless, Aine

Paula said... Reply to comment

I love this post, Julie. I was especially drawn to asking God if there was anything He'd like to say and journaling His responses. I've done this off and on over the last few years. Sometimes He answers, sometimes there is silence. I find I'm ALWAYS a little fearful that I will get in the way, manipulate what He's saying, or that He just won't speak to me. I loved the line that said, something like, "I had to trust Him to overcome me." I really like that.

Angie said... Reply to comment

I can SEE I've got to start at the beginning.

Julie--this is the most powerful --life altering post I've read! I am THERE.

Tracy said... Reply to comment

Hey there's been a long time...way too long! I've really missed your writing. There were many years where stillness made me very uneasy, even restless. I find as I get older, I've not only grown accustomed to the stillness, I love and welcome it. He often speaks prominently there.

I loved what you said about trusting Him to overcome you...I've often thought that very thing myself.

I think of you often (even though my schedule doesn't allow for as much blogging as it used to), and thank God for crossing our paths and making us friends.


Terra said... Reply to comment

Julie, I apologize.
By accident I chose reject, rather than publish, when you commented on my blog today.
For a chance to win the book Thin Places, please post again.
I accidentally rejected 3 comments!
This happens because of 9 comments this morning, 5 were spam, so I needed to delete a bunch.
I am sorry!
Please post again dear lady :)

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

A beautiful series, dear lady.

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

I love to listen to His voice and pen what I hear. I find such joy in listening. He speaks tenderly. Sometimes He sweetly corrects me, but it's not like the enemy's condemnation. It's because of love. I so get your heart here. Thank you for writing your story.

Karen said... Reply to comment

"Could I trust Him to overcome me? "...oh, yes...I know this....