Jewels From Judy
Wednesday, February 25 2009
The Father's Love: A Time of Freedom
It was February 12, 1997, and from every angle my life looked fine; however, I was miserable. I had been trying to "be a good person" and live my life in a way that would please my fellow man, but my good community works did not fill the void in my soul. The more I looked to the world for solace, the more lost I became.
My sorrow began when I was ten and my father suddenly passed away. Then nine years later my mother succumbed to cancer. I blamed God for my terrible losses because I felt He could have stopped them in the first place. Confusion had set in when my dad died but as I watched my mother's life ebb away, my anger burned hot against God. No one taught me what Jesus said about such things:
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
Because I did not know this I held onto the lie that God had killed my parents. I heard God was kind and loving, but I saw Him as a big bully just looking for someone to pick on - like the Greek god, Zeus, who threw lightning bolts at people - and I was a target! Why would I go to God for help or comfort? In my anger I gave my affection to the world. Many years were spent subconsciously trying to escape the pain as I partied away the days hiding my heartache - mostly from myself. Then in 1982, I had a profound revelation of the personage of Jesus, and accepted Him as my Savior. He delivered me from the addictions that dulled my senses and He gave me the ability to walk in the light of His love.
Three years later, because of a spiritually shattering divorce, I slipped away from Jesus and fell back into a milder version of the lifestyle from which the Lord had freed me. The Holy Spirit was convicting me of sin and persistently worked to draw me to the Father, but because I ignored Him I suffered continual guilt, shame, depression and condemnation. When God delivers us from sin and we turn back to it, the penalty is far greater than we can imagine. It is not God's doing. Sin is its own punishment.
On the morning of February 12, 1997, I was nursing a hangover and happened to notice on the calendar that it was the first day of Lent. Lent is known throughout the Christian world as a time of reflection and often personal sacrifice prior to the commemoration of Jesus' death and subsequent celebration of His victorious resurrection. When I was a child I remembered adults giving up things for Lent - only to see them renege on their commitment a few days later. Consequently, I never saw the importance of participating myself.
However, something went off inside me! There was something very different about this Lent - it was the opportunity I needed to declare my heart's intentions to the Lord. I wanted to change, but honestly, I did not know how to initiate it. Deep down I knew that God was the only One who could help me. He had done it in 1982 and I could only hope He would be merciful to me again. The Lord had been drawing me to Himself and I could ignore Him no longer.
Wanting a new beginning I looked up to heaven and said, "God, I am going to give up alcohol for Lent." In that moment I knew this was a serious vow to God. When I said this to the Lord, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, "And you will fast the last three days." This startled me! It was as if someone had been standing right next to me and spoke into my ear! I knew it was the Lord because it would never occur to me to do such a thing! I had never fasted a meal let alone three whole days! In my disbelief I let out an fearful retort, "We'll see about that!" God's love surrounded me and calmed my fears. It was amazing. His love amazed and still amazes me!
Ten days into my vow my resolve weakened. Unsure I could make it the full length of Lent, I called a friend for moral support. This Christian woman had recently befriended me, and though I did feel a sense of conviction around her, she never once used any condemning words or actions towards me. She knew how close to extinction my faith had wandered over the years. She asked me point blank, "Judy, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" In the face of this direct question I could deny Him no longer, "Yes." I answered. She asked if I had accepted Jesus as my Savior. "Yes." Well then," she continued, "Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?" Again I gave an affirmative, "Yes." She asked if I had a Bible. I told her I did, but gave her the excuse that all my books were still packed away somewhere in my garage. She said, "Well ~ you better go find it." With that she hung up! I knew she was right, so I went out to the garage and found it at the top of the first box I opened!!! I had to laugh because those boxes had been shuffled around and moved numerous times. God can be so funny at times.
Taking my Bible inside I asked, "What do I need, Lord?" The word, "Healed" came to mind. I looked in the concordance and one Scripture stood out to me in Psalm 107. As I read it I was amazed. I was reading my testimony!
Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So He subjected them to bitter labor [worry]; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and He saved this from their distress. He sent forth His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy. Psalm 107:10-16; 19-22 (Emphasis mine)
I understood in that moment that Jesus was there to set me free. He was not there to condemn me. The Holy Spirit opened up the eyes of my understanding and I understood exactly how I had gotten trapped and exactly what I needed to do to be set free. I cried to the Lord! A great turning took place in my heart at that moment. I repented of sinning against God Almighty and being disobedient to His Word. A great freedom and peace flooded my soul! About a week later I wrote a song to testify to God's mercy in my life. It can be found at:
The last three days I did fast. This was a powerful time for me and at the end of that fast I enjoyed a sense of love and belonging like I had never known. I knew I had been adopted by God! I was now a child of the King of kings! I also knew that I need not ever be chained by addictions. God made His love known and if He did it for me, He will do it for you! Experiencing the Father's love is what so many people in the world are missing; it is the revelation of this love that He has given me to share.
Jesus met me in my kitchen that day and swooped down and rescued me. Perhaps the Lord is speaking to you right now about an addiction you have been fighting. It is time for freedom!!! The Lord awaits you to turn to Him in your trouble so He can save you from your distress. He will cut through your iron bars! As we enter into the Lenten season, I believe the power of God is available for you to be set free from the things that have kept you bound. His is willing to meet your right where you are. Jesus died to deliver us from the evil one! He loves you and there is nothing you have done that His perfect love cannot cover. There is no amount of sin that exceeds the power of the Father's love!
It is important to note that Jesus is approachable anytime - not just at certain times or seasons, so if you are reading this at a time other than Lent, please do not let that stop you from coming to Him right now. We can come to Jesus anytime. He stands watching and waiting for us to turn our eyes upward so that He can deliver us from destruction. He died so that we could be free. He stands at the door of our heart and waits for us to open it to Him. If you have not already done it, I encourage you to open it to Him. Then watch as the adventure with Him unfolds before you!
In the Father's abiding love,
Scriptures to ponder:
Subscribe to our Email