Saturday, August 13, 2011

To My New Subscribers

Hello to the my new subscribers, first let me thank you for coming here and joining me. I am grateful to have you along on my journey. Second, I wanted to let you know that I recently felt led to start afresh on a new blog. I spend most of my time there writing these days. I hope you will join me as my journey continues on at: "My Long And Winding Road"

If you'd like to subscribe at the new blog you can find the link on the home page,(right hand side) where you will enter your email address. Once you enter your email address you will find a confirmation email sent to your inbox. Click on the link provided in that email to confirm you subscription and you will be all set. Every time I put up a new post you will receive an email with the post in it.

Thank you again for being here.

Here's a taste of my most recent post at the new blog:
Tempered By Love ©

The personality profile test the church used was supposed to help me understand myself. Everyone seemed to buy into it. I was told it was helpful in knowing how to work in relationships in ministry together. I bought into it too. I wanted to know who I was. I wanted to understand the lingo everyone was using. Little did I know that it would end up being something used to shut me down.

I attended the seminars where the pastor presented the information. I received my label. “D”, Direct, Decisive, High Ego Strength, Problem Solver, Risk Taker, Self Starter. As he described the weaknesses of my new-found diagnosis I felt the shame wash over me. Really, is this who I am? It didn’t look good for a southern woman in the church. I didn’t want to be her. I wanted to be someone else. I didn’t want to anyone to know.

I will never forget the Sunday I was asked by one woman in particular about my profile. As I spoke I heard the groan escape her lips, confirming what I had come to believe. No one wants to have a personality like mine.

*You can finish this post here:

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Dead Man's Float"

I am loving my new blog at Wordpress. If you want to check out my latest post, here's an exerpt:

Sometimes it feels like the blind leading the blind here. This is the first time we’ve embarked on territory like this. Brennan Manning said it well. “The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future.”

That pretty much sums up the road we find ourselves on. In 11 days it will be 5 months since David lost his job. It was not something we chose, it was what we were given. Once we got over the initial shock we began to ask God, “what now”.. We agreed that it was time to do something different. It was time to not allow the bills to dictate the job. It was time to walk a more narrow path than we’ve known, stepping out into the unknown, trusting God with the results.

There is no rational explanation to justify the decision we’ve made, nor is there a guarantee of our future. We walk by faith, not by sight, for honestly there’s not much to see right now. Applications and resumes are out there. No one’s biting. Crickets are chirping getting louder with every day that passes, yet we wait, we choose trust. What else is there after all?

If I were being honest I would have to say that it would be easier to handle things the way we were accustomed to using a lot of striving and self effort. It feels much harder walking by faith, trusting the Spirit inside to guide us into what needs to be done, believing we are hearing well, and following rightly.

To continue reading, click here

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Changes, a new home....

Dear friends,
After much prayer and consideration I've decided to start afresh in a new blog home. I've posted my first post in my new home. I'd love for you to join me there. If you are a subscriber to my blog, look for an email from me in your inbox. The new blog address is: My Long and Winding Road:

Some of you have been with me for a long time here. If you would like to continue to follow me and my writing you will find a link where you can subscribe. You will receive emails every time I put up a new post. It is on the right hand side of the new blog. Once you put in your email address you will receive a confirmation email. You will need to respond by clicking on the confirmation link to validate your subscription. If you do not confirm, you will not be subscribed.

I have not activated the blog on Facebook yet. I'm still praying about that one. So if you are a Facebook fan I'd encourage you to sign up under the email subscription until I determine what to do about Facebook.

Thank you all for being with me here. It has been a gift to my heart. Here is an exerpt from my first post in my new home...
The Doors Are Open, please come in....
I was counting it out today. I’ve moved 7 times since I married 28 years ago. Every single time there was something better that waited. We always knew when it was time to pack it all up and leave. Things closed down around us as a stirring made it’s way in, inviting us to leave the familiar to experience something new. Whether a new town, fenced yard or more living space it was always worth pulling up the stakes.

The hardest relocation for us all was moving to a new town. Everything familiar we had known was left behind. Not only did we leave a house full of wonderful memories, we left relationships with good friends. What would happen to the bonds we had formed? It’s always in the back of your mind when you step out into fresh territory. Will the connections stay through life’s horizons? To continue reading, click..... The doors Are Open, please come in....

I hope to see you there. I've loved having you here!

Thank you!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I've been stuck lately.

I feel the words inside my mind. I want to write, I need to write, yet I am stuck. My brain is constipated with words jammed inside unable to move or be moved. The question plagues my mind; what do I write about?

I've been in a wilderness of sorts these last 4 years. Sequestered by God, I've been given time alone unlike any other time in my life. I've wrestled until I nestled. I've found my way into discoveries about who I am and who God is. I feel the piles of words stacked up in my brain yet I feel like a deer immobilized by head lights.

It reminds me of our backyard at a house we once rented. The owners had moved of town, therefore the yard had not been tended well. One glance out the back door would send my husband's mind to a place of overwhelm. Accumulation of overgrowth was everywhere. Where does one begin? It was enough to send him away from the piles to some quiet place of retreat.

It's what happens to me these days when I draw away to write.

Having been a self-effort performer who is learning to live in dependence sometimes it gets tricky stepping out. You tend to second guess your every move. Is this me or is this God? Sometimes the fear of stepping out on my own efforts restrains me from making a step at all.

Little did I know 4 years ago when I started this little blog that I would be blessed with so many dear people who have come to follow along. Beautiful responses from dear hearts encourage me that words written are touching a place in them, sometimes awakening them to things they'd never considered. I feel the weight of this sacred place of my heart written down. What if I step out and do this thing on my own? What if I let people down? Do people really want to hear about my day in and day out struggles? What if I don't have anything profound to say?

Something has gotten distorted in the union of this gift of writing that I love. I find my mind lodged, unable to move forward, yet longing for the exhilaration of words written down. I need to be rescued from this dark, cold shaft.

Years ago there was a little girl named Jessica McClure who became entrapped in an abandoned well shaft. She was playing in the yard of her day care center when suddenly her little 18 month old body fell and became lodged. It took rescue workers 58 hours to pull her out of that shaft. I remember sitting by the television watching as they brought her up to her release. Tears of celebration of a life saved filled the faces of those who had been diligently working to set her free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set me free. I don't want to be stuck anymore.

So dear friends who have blessed me with your presence, I am asking God to free me from the shaft that has held me captive. I am asking Him to set me free to write whenever and whatever crosses my heart knowing that I cannot leave Him behind, for He lives in me. I leave the weight of responsibility of all this on His shoulders. May He bless you with His heart in me as my life is lived before you.

I am considering starting afresh with a new blog. I'm not sure yet what God is saying about all that, but I am asking. If He says yes, I will let you all know where to find me.

I would be grateful for your prayers.

With gratitude....

Friday, June 10, 2011

What's Love Got to Do With It? ©

The year was 2005. I'd been asking God to awaken me to my true identity. I wanted so desperately to know who He saw me to be. I knew the things I believed about myself. I truly hoped that He didn't see me that way too. I frequently asked Him for pictures that would reveal His heart to me. On this particular day I asked again. Suddenly a vision flashed into my mind.

I saw a woman dressed in a beautiful free flowing skirt. She was in the parking lot outside the church we were attending. I couldn't see her face. I didn't know who she was. With arms raised she twirled around in dance. There was freedom and beauty in the way she moved. She didn't care who saw her. She only cared about the One who watched. As the vision left I began to ask God what it all meant. Who is that? "It's you!" What is that? "It's the dance of freedom." How do I get there, God? "I will take you there." "It is for freedom that I came."

I remember a piece of furniture my mother restored. Layers of paint hid it's raw beauty. It wasn't a quick or easy process. One coat of paint was stripped away at a time. I remember the steel wool, the sharp tools, the strong smelling solvent. Underneath the years of history the beautiful, original wood found it's way out. Sandpaper was used to smooth off any remaining rough edges. Afterwards stain was rubbed in bringing the piece to life. The grand finale was the top coat applied protecting the work that had just been completed.

I am like that piece of furniture.

For God so loved me He sent Jesus to restore me back to my true identity. Layers of lies brought on by my own sins and the sins done against me are being stripped away. Their coatings of shame cover me no more. Religious mandates are falling by the wayside, no longer holding me captive. He is peeling away the layers allowing me to receive what's been there all along. Love... just love.

The finished work of Christ now sets me free. The beauty of the original is making it's way out. I am free to live as one who is loved because I am.

No longer is there need to dance the exhausting dance to be acceptable. I no longer have to strive to be holy. I can believe that I am. He will never use the words, "after all I've done for you, what will you do for Me?" The lists are over, the plates can stop spinning. It's not about getting everything right or being enough. It is no longer imperative that I keep watch on my behavior for it does not prove my godliness. I now see His arm wrapped around me as we look at my sin together. It's not about the sin. It's about living in who I am.

He's known me for a lifetime. All that was has been removed. He sees me free from the layers, dancing in liberation. He invites me to see that too. Embracing love freely given brings me to an abandon unlike I've ever known. I am free to be just as I am knowing He will show me who He knows me to be. To the extent I trust I am loved, I will be loved.

The vision makes sense to me these days. It's breathtaking. I find myself dancing in the beautiful freedom of the free flowing life of Christ in me.

What's love got to do with it? Everything.
©copyrighted 2011: Julie L. Todd

Friday, April 22, 2011

On the Mat Again©

A memory floods my mind today. It was June 2002. It had never happened to me before, nor has it happened to me since. I was awakened from a deep sleep with a sharp pain in my hip. I didn't think much about it. It wasn't enough to disturb my return to a solid sleep. I don't know how much time passed. Suddenly I was re-awakened with the same sharp pain. This time my mind was flooded with a story I'd heard dozens of times. Jacob wrestled with God until God dislocated Jacob's hip overcoming him.

There must be some meaning to it all, I remember thinking. After all I'm not one to wake in the middle of the night with a Bible story on my mind. I put it aside to contemplate the next day. I visited the story in the pages of Genesis and discovered something.

I wrestle with God, frequently.

Sometimes life takes over. Things look much different then I expected them to. Longings I thought would be fulfilled aren't. Doors I believed would open slam shut. Some days life feels more like a constant battlefield than a valley of life. Lost jobs, family struggles, uncertainties, dead-end relationships find their way into my everyday life. The question lurks in the corridors of my mind. Do I really believe God is good?

I find myself there frequently these days. It doesn't take much with all that's going on in my world. Walking out into my garden to assess the growth of the seeds I had planted exposed the battle this time. What could be so wrong in having the garden I desired?

I was so excited to start a spring garden. It was my first time growing things like lettuce, carrots, beets, and spinach. With each seed I planted I prayed for God's bountiful blessing. Why is it now a month later I'm looking at empty soil? Was it too much to ask?

My faith is being challenged in mammoth proportions these days. What will I believe? Does God really have something good on the other side of this job loss? It's hard to reconcile it all when little things like prayed over gardens don't grow.

I find myself back on that mat with God. What does it mean that you long to give us the desires of our heart? Can you explain what you meant when you said that you love to give your children good gifts? Can I have any desires fulfilled? What's real here? What's true? When I don't understand these "unexplainable" things , can I really call good what God calls good?

It's a life or death question for me at a time like this.

I wrestled. I cried. I exposed the rants of my heart.... disappointment, fears and pain made their way up and out. The job David just lost had brought us to this little town. We had such high hopes for deep community and friendship here. Sadly, It didn't happen. I had continued to believe that somehow good was going on behind the scenes... But now, this.. Do I have to give up having a garden too? Lurking behind it all was the age old culprit with the age old question. I am afraid. Can I really trust the heart of God? Will I call good what He calls good even when it does not feel good?

There is no other question to be answered by my soul. Would I allow the things happening around me to tell me the story of God's heart, His love, His care?

He wrestled with me until my mind could grasp my reality.

As much as I long for these desires to be fulfilled they can never prove His goodness to me. It is proven in His character, His life. He is unpredictable in what He does, yet consistent in who He is. I will never be able to put my trust in what I see Him doing. My only salvation is to trust in who He is. In that moment, the power of the Spirit overcame the power of my flesh. In that vital moment a choice was made as a cry erupted from within the walls of my heart.

"I will call good what He calls good, so help me God."

Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold. And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
©copyrighted: 2011; Julie L. Todd

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Lessons of a Tricycle©

It was my very first tricycle. Christmas Day brought it to me. I couldn't wait to get on it and ride; so I did, all throughout the house. I've been told that I was unstoppable. I was determined to ride it no matter what obstacles lay in my path. I would start out, hit a piece of furniture, back up, turn around and push forward.
It was a clear revealer of the spirit inside the young child.

I've been known to set my face like a flint when going after the things I wanted. In my quest toward the goal, giving up was not an option. The words of my mother to this day still ring in my ears, "If you get your will going in the right direction, everything will be all right." I didn't really know what it meant then. I am beginning to now.

I remember early on in my years of parenting being given the advice, "you have to break the will of the child." I look back now and see the absurdity of those words. You cannot break the will of a child, it has to be given up. It cannot be forced. It must be chosen.

Life often feels as if it asks more than it gives. Difficult days find their way into our lives. Aren't I supposed to set my face like a flint to keep walking? Aren't I supposed to persevere? Yes, but somehow, somewhere in the mix of it all something can get so cunningly twisted. It's a subtle thing you know. I had been told to hang tough, keep at it, fight the good fight. Life often requires that to some degree. But what about God?

How does all this balance out? Christ is the hope within me. He is the lifeline extended to me every single day. Where do my self-willed efforts hinder His?

It's so easy to find myself much like that young girl on her tricycle. Push forward, hit the obstacles, turn around, and keep going. I find myself now questioning where does that leave me to look for the strength of the One who is my strength? Whose strength does that leave me enduring in, really? Where is it me instead of Him?

In some hidden, subtle way it's easy to find myself living in the old way of the self-willed life.

Barriers fill our road these days making it difficult to maneuver around. My husband just lost his job. There is no income coming regularly into our home. We have no clue what to do next. What now God? Will we choose to endure for the sake of endurance, setting our faces like a flint or will we cling to the One who endured it all needing His perseverance to come in us? There's a subtle difference there. One requires my efforts and disciplines. The other requires His.

Life often comes around full circle for me. Need suddenly opens the door for humility extending an invitation that readies my heart to receive. I cannot, nor do I want to do this life alone. It's starting to make some sense to me now. I'm understanding more and more the words my mother once spoke.

Life's obstacles are awakening a place within me, allowing my will to be placed in the right direction. I'm learning to receive what Christ waits to give to me; all that He accomplished for me when He walked out of that grave. He, is my perseverance. It's not up to me. He perseveres in me, through me, into life around me. He is my hope, my endurance, my strength, the one who keeps me hanging on.

I see Him there. He rides on the heavens to help us and underneath are His everlasting arms. He invites me to fall into them allowing their strength to move me forward. I need Him, oh how I need Him. I am convinced it's the invitation He's been waiting for.
©copyrighted: 2011; Julie L. Todd