A WORK IN PROGRESS

 This is really a story of yesteryears that 
was published in the Edmonton Journal - 
maybe it can help someone today!


Every time I look at this pin
I'm reminded of the work in progress ----
from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly!
I'm not finished yet either!

Many years ago I had always seen God as a punishing parent, purposely poised to trip me up. I was insecure, fearful and self-doubting. For years I lived behind walls of my own choosing. What an amazing, unexpected breakthrough when I found out that the love of God is the cure for the insecure, that his perfect love casts out all fear and his gift of faith gets rid of doubts.

I was desperate for God to reveal his love to me. I needed a lot of healing. I was conscious of his awesome power as creator of the universe, as the righteous judge of all mankind, as the mighty God, who sacrificed his only begotten Son on Calvary for the salvation of the world, but I was not conscious of his love as my heavenly Father.

There were many people who loved me and I loved them. However, I allowed no one to get too close emotionally, always keeping a safe distance. Occasionally I wondered if I should stay walled in my fear and deny myself loving relationships, or if could I dare to open up and allow God to reveal his love to me through people. I knew I needed to develop good relationships, ones not built on fear and apprehension. Staying behind the walls seemed secure, especially with my deep, dark secret locked inside. I was sure my world would fall apart if I would ever accidentally let it slip. How was God supposed to reveal his love to me, if I was insecure and fearful of coming out of my hiding place? How much did he really love me?

When I wasn’t even looking, he surprised me with love in so many different ways I had never noticed before. One day I began writing down all the things he did. That showed me how my past perception of him was inadequate and woefully incomplete. His love for me did find a way to help dismantle my wall brick by brick. When someone said a kind word, if someone gave me a thoughtful gift, I made a note. When I received a hug, a word of praise for work well done, I recorded it. When I was shown favour, when someone cheered me up, when someone prayed with me, when God answered prayer, when I saw his beauty all around me, I tucked it away in my memory, to be recalled in a flash when insecurity, fear or self-doubt surfaced. To me, these were now not things I needed from people, 
but gifts and affirmation from my Father.

I am his child forever. The child within who had been traumatized finally basks and relaxes in her Father’s love. This child trusts, loves and depends completely on her Father. Gradually, I have learned to be truly conscious of his wonderful expressions of love every day. I finally stopped being suspect of people’s motives. Little by little, I have allowed those who want to, to come closer than I ever dared before. I have learned that I, too, could handle trusting, accepting and loving imperfect people.

Exposing my dark, distant shadows was the most impulsive thing I've ever done. After it happened I KNEW that the Holy Spirit had led the very circumstances. However, later it caused unforeseen awkwardness with someone I loved, respected and appreciated. But  now I was secure in the love of my heavenly Father! I took a few deep breaths,  relaxed and knew nothing could harm me. The taste of freedom, security and acceptance in God’s love 
was a newfound treasure 
that prevented my building up the walls again!
 I survived - totally!

The Apostle Paul prayed for the church, God’s people, to be rooted deeply in His marvellous love. “Live in love, as Christ loved us,” he admonished his people. Not as the world loves, of course, but as God loves! I learned that I could love and release those who have hurt me, 
because I have his love within. 
Oh, the amazing freedom that brings with it.
 
These days I may send someone a note of encouragement or drop off a little gift when least expected. Or maybe I’ll volunteer to do a friend a favour, or say a prayer of intercession and blessing, or give someone a loving smile and a warm handshake when I see them. Maybe I’ll make time for a meaningful conversation or do an impulsive, outrageous act of kindness. Or I may simply call them, and say, “You are special and I love you.” 

I know how I saw God’s love revealed to me, and I’m still learning how best to let his love flow through me to the people whose walls he also wants to tear down! I can never know just how my life will be used to influence, bless and honor another. 

How will you show God’s love to others today?

3 comments:

Evi said...

I love you Mom! What a beautiful testimony.

Maple Lane said...

What a powerful testimony. I find that most everyone I meet has a burden/need, if we just take the time to listen and respond with compassion.

George said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts with us. You've left us with a challenge we should think about every day.