When Jesus called me out of religious activity, life began anew for me. I began to realize things I’d never known before. When at Calvary Jesus said, “It is finished”, He meant it. When He walked out of the tomb His completed life was made available to me. I could now lay mine down. I’m still learning what that looks like. I guess I’ll be learning until He takes me home.
All the years of trying to be something for God had left me empty. I was ripe and ready to need, though I didn’t have a clue what that looked like. I didn’t know how to be different I just knew I wanted to be. I entered into a road where dependence would be the key that would unlock the doors to my freedom. I would never be able to figure it all out. It would be up to Jesus. I needed and I needed badly.
Everything around me was affected by that one choice, especially my children. For the first time they were given the opportunity to be seen in who they really are, apart from their performance. It’s a domino affect after all. What the parent experiences trickles down to the children. If we don’t live in our true identity, our children won’t be allowed to either. I won't ever be able to give something that I, myself am not experiencing.
One of the hardest parts of it all has been seeing the affects that my captivity cost my children. My performance-driven lifestyle had spoken to them in so many negative ways. I wish it weren’t true, but it is.
When I do not live in the finished work of Christ in me, I will hurt those I love the most. I have passed along messages that were far from the truth. Words and actions really do affect children. I’ve seen it. I know. My love for them is not based on what they do or don’t do, I love them because they are mine. They haven’t seen that. They have a chance to now.
I can often feel the regrets of the years that have gone by. Sometimes it's hard to understand why it took so long for me to get to this place. The damage could have been much less had I gotten this sooner. But even that His grace covers. I was reminded of that this past weekend when my oldest came home with her boyfriend for a visit.
As I shared some of my story with Nathan, I verbalized that I wished things had been different for my children. Immediately my daughter responded, “It’s OK, Mom, things are different now. I see a difference.”
Such tender words remind me that God paints a picture in the midst of the mess that opens eyes of those around us to see, “there’s a difference.” He even uses my blunderings to show His character. The mess of my flesh allowed my girl to see that God really does make a difference.
It’s that mysterious thing that God does with His grace, as He makes all things work together for good. My children see what life lived in one's own strength looks like. It never works, it never will. It puts expectations on people. It hurts.
But best of all they now get to see that God really does make a difference.
I've often contemplated what it was that catapulted me into this newfound change? What was it that finally made things begin to click? It's simple, really. My point of reference changed. Instead of seeing myself in all my broken places I began to ask God what He saw in me. I started learning to love myself the way God loves me. In the process I’ve discovered something. Who He tells me I am is so much better than who I've thought myself to be.
Learning to believe what He said was true has allowed me to learn to trust Him. It has opened me up to be a lover. Now it’s trickling down affecting those I love deeply.
The rebuilding continues as layers of flesh are being exposed and peeled away. He has come for me. He won't stop until I see Him face to face. He has changed my heart. I will never be the same again.
The Restorer is rebuilding the ancient ruins of my life. This time it's built on a firm foundation. He is the builder, not me. My regrets are turned to joy as I see that nothing is wasted in His economy. He really does make all things good. His grace covers everything, even the ruins of my past.
©copyright: 2010, Julie L. Todd
Thank you to all who have taken the time to read my journey into grace. From time to time I've had people ask me questions about things I've shared in my story. I would love to open my blog up for that. If you have a question, or would like to know more about a specific thing I've written about, simply write a response to the post and ask away, or you can email me if you prefer. You can find my email address on my profile page.
To read previous posts, click on the titles below.
A Journey of Grace:
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:
Part Seven: Glimpses Of The Wilderness:
Part Eight: Walking Without Crutches:
Part Nine: Assessing The Damage: