At the beginning of March, David and I were gifted two nights stay in a beautiful mountain town. The occasion was our 27th anniversary. The timing couldn’t have been better.
God had been calling new things into our lives more intently since the beginning of the year. A deeper excavation of our hearts has been His agenda. Things that have been hidden away are being brought into our eyes’ sight. He’s faithfully exposing those places where we continue to live by our own efforts. It’s a painful process sometimes seeing the flesh up close and personal. But the fruit that comes makes it worth the pruner’s shears.
The more we embrace this unbelievable grace the more the shame we've lived under is being made known. In the process the expectations and requirements we have placed on each other are slowly beginning to fade away. It's a domino effect, after all. When we begin to find what we need in Jesus, we don't put the pressure on another to deliver.
For most of our years together we have not lived that. Paths of destruction have been sown in our lives trickling into our marriage as we have lived under our blankets of shame. There are ruins from the years of trying to cover ourselves to protect our broken places. There is wreckage from the years of trying to be good enough to attain righteousness.
As we headed to our getaway we chose to leave the past and all it’s expectations and requirements behind. There was no agenda. We took our masks off. As we lived in the moments we followed our hearts, giving and receiving love. Something deeper began to happen in that place. We were reminded afresh of the beauty of our lives joined together as one. It happens when the heart leads the way. It happens when we come as we are, leaving our facades behind.
So much of this life parallels between the physical and spiritual that oftentimes I am stunned when the pictures begin to connect in my mind.
I said "I do" to Jesus 30 years ago.
Jesus invited me into a love relationship. I was His bride, He was my groom. I pledged my life to His. But because of my own shame, I put on my masks. I couldn't see what He saw. I tried to make who I was better. Instead of receiving love I began to try and fulfill assumed expectations. I embraced self-effort instead of grace. My felt insecurities became imposed on relationships around me. Things became desperately lost from where they were meant to be; and then He came for me.
Jesus allured me away with Him. He began to invite me to leave the past with all it’s expectations behind. He invited me to come as I am to live in the moments with Him. He told me He would live His life through me, that we would face my broken places together.
He is removing the rags of shame that I have covered myself with. He is wooing me to live as one who is loved. As a result my masks are finding their way into the fire that burns away the chaff. They are no longer needed. I am known, seen, adored just as I am.
The ruins that were created are being rebuilt right before my eyes as I dare to believe what God says is the truest thing about me. I am the righteousness of Christ. There is no need to prove anything ever again. It was proven the day Jesus conquered death. Shame has been removed forever.
He invites me to walk in the moments with Him trusting that He will show me what it looks like to live in this new nature.
This love, this relentless love is allowing me to see that grace covered all the bases so that I would not need to. The beauty of my heart is being released as I embrace myself as He knows me to be. And in that place, that amazing place I am beginning to believe that I am adored by the One who is love.
©copyrighted: 2010 Julie L. Todd
As I was editing this post, this song came on, how appropriate. Enjoy!