Tuesday, May 18, 2010

His hand is extended©

One of the things I love about God is the pictures He shares with me. It’s amazing to think that before I took my first breath I was made to be a visual person. I see pictures. They speak a message to me. It’s in the day to day living that most often He gives me deeper glimpses of His heart.

As a mother I watch my children walk through the situations of their lives with an ache and longing. I find myself wishing desperately that I could give them that next step that will take them to the truth that will set them free. I see His heart in me there.

All five of my children walked at different times. They had to get to that place on their own. I could always tell when they were getting ready to make that move. They started crawling up to a surface to pull themselves up to stand. I knew they were only days away from stepping out into a new path.

Arms outstretched beckoned them to come to me. At first they were afraid to make that first step. But eventually they would come. Finally they trusted enough to take a chance. It was the beginning of their freedom.

In the beginning it was baby steps, one, two, maybe three before falling down. Soon they discovered that grabbing hold of my outstretched hand allowed them to walk alongside me for an indefinite amount of time. I became the support that stabilized them as they stepped out into their freedom.

So many things I see in this picture of life that I’ve lived five times over. In this moment I find myself there again. I am learning to walk in new territory. I want to live in my reality, Jesus in Julie, but to tell you the truth, so much is still so hazy to me. I’ve lived the life of the “old Julie” for so long that sometimes I can’t see where or how to step.

I was reminded afresh the other day of a phrase that was repetitively brought to my mind in years past. “I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” It made me think about the times that I would hold my children’s hands while they learned to walk. It was then He spoke tenderly to my heart.

“Jewel, “I am your support.” “I will lead you on the unfamiliar path.” “Let my strong hand guide you.” “Walk with Me, Jewel.” “Hold onto me.”

He consistently stands there with arms outstretched beckoning me to come. He knows the ropes. He knows the path, the way to walk.

Just as my children trusted me to run into my awaiting arms, I trust Him. As my children grabbed hold of my hand to stabilize them I grab hold of Him. He will walk me to where my feet need to be planted. He is my strong arm that holds me upright. He knows the path that leads to life. He knows the path that leads to my freedom.

He will make them known to me.

It is His outstretched arm that brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. He parted the waters of the Red Sea and brought them to safety. He fed them, carried them, rescued them from their enemies. He brought them out of the wilderness into the promised land. It is that hand that is extended to me.

As I grab hold it is then I will find my way into my freedom. For in that place I let go of carrying myself to find I desperately need. I will never get there on my own. I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work. He invites me to walk into that resurrected life. It is His life in me. He knows what it looks like. He waits to show me.

He invites me to let go of all that I am able to do for myself and need Him alone to do for me. It’s an invitation to my freedom for He walks on the paths that lead to life.

I see Him there looking deeply into my eyes. His arms are outstretched, His hand is extended.

Do you see Him?

©copyrighted:2010 Julie L. Todd

Sunday, May 9, 2010

As A Mother Comforts©

The years of skinned knees are a distant memory. I wonder how many “boo-boo’s I’ve kissed through my 23 years of parenting. There’s something about the comfort of a mother that makes it all better.

I remember a time in my life many years ago when I had a boo-boo that needed to be kissed by God. It was unlike any other storm I had faced. With tears streaming down my face I pleaded with His mercy to give me something to hold onto. He spoke tenderly to me. “As a mother comforts her child, I will comfort you.”

As the days moved forward He began to show me in tangible ways how present He was. My daughter kept getting hurt. I would sweep her up in my arms, hold her tight, wipe away her tears until she was comforted. He spoke to my heart. “That’s me with you.” “I’m holding you tight, wiping away your tears.”

He knows when we sit down and when we rise up. Our thoughts are ever before Him. He knows the number of hair on our heads. He wove us together in our mother’s wombs. We are intimately and personally known. I get a small taste of it when I think of my own love for my children.

As mothers we kiss boo-boo’s, sometimes staying up into the wee hours of the night to nurse our children. We sweep them up into our arms to comfort them. As we hold them tight, sometimes we sing softly over them or whisper words of love until their pain is soothed.

I can hear my children’s cries above any other. In a crowd full of people my eye is searching to know where they are. I know their voice. They know mine.

I have carried them close to my heart while forming in my womb. They have felt my heartbeat. They are forever woven into the fiber of my being. They have left their mark on me, now part of me is carried in them. They are the apple of my eye, my greatest treasures on earth.

As I consider my heart towards my children, He invites me to see Him. As a mother comforts her child, so He comforts me. He dances over me with singing. He tenderly carries those who have young. I am the apple of His eye. He is woven into my very being and I am woven into Him.

The Mother heart of God tenderly carries me when life beats down. He sings to me His songs of love. He knows my voice. He hears me when I cry out. He runs to grab me up and kiss away my pain. He listens to me when I want to talk.

There’s a place upon His breast where I can nestle in. It’s a place where the storms around me subside. It is there I hear His heartbeat. I settle in close as the rhythm of His heart soothes me. It is then I realize. I am where I belong.

©copyrighted 2010, Julie L. Todd