My little starry-eyed boy was struggling with his zipper. Well, it wasn't actually his zipper so much as it was getting his legs out of his footed pajamas. He just couldn't do it! I watched him grow frustrated from my place across the room. He kept losing his balance as he tried to free himself from his beloved fleece clothes. I stopped what I was doing, knelt down, met him where he was and with complete ease, I freed him. He let out a little squealing chuckle of relief and then scampered down the hall.
I was left holding his breakfast-soiled pajamas. He was free to move on to his next task. He couldn't free himself from them, so he cried to me for help. It seemed impossible to him and he was frustrated. It was no trouble at all for me. He asked. I answered. He was freed. I was happy to see his joy in response.
As I watched the hair on the back of his little head bounce as he left my sight, I startled myself when I said the words aloud, fighting back tears: "I know. I know you did."
Deep in my heart, the Lord spoke the truth to me and there was no denying it.
"I set you free, too, you know."
Long ago, I cried out to my Father in my frustration. I had struggled and tried to set myself free, but the job was simply too difficult for me. It was nothing for Him. It was His joy to answer my cry. He knelt down, met me right where I was, and with complete ease, He set me free. I left my old self there with Him and I was free to move on. I never had to be bound by that old, soiled thing again. When I rose from my knees, there was a grin no one could wipe away and a bounce in my step for all to see. He set me free.
That was over twenty-one years ago, but there in my living room floor, he was reminding me. He let me know He could see me there, from where He was, struggling again. I'm so forgetful and stubborn.
As silly as it sounds, sometimes I still trip myself up trying to climb back in those clothes. It's laughable really. The good Lord knows I don't fit in them anymore. I do, too, but sometimes my memory gets a little foggy and I think I remember them feeling safer than the clothes I have to wear now. That punk enemy starts lying to me and I start thinking he's right. Sometimes, he even tricks me into believing life in those old grave clothes were more comfortable and I'd have been better off if I had never taken them off in the first place.
Ever believed that?
Ever tried that?
Ever fallen on your face in the process?
Your Father has something to say about that. He inspired the apostle Paul with these words:
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:12-17)
Sister, maybe you're struggling today... suffering even. Maybe you feel more like a fearful slave than a beloved child. Don't believe that lie. You have been adopted by the Most High King. This struggle lasts but a moment. His love is for all of eternity. When we put on Christ, we left the grave clothes with our Father. We have no obligation to ever fit in those again and it's a waste of our time when we try. We struggle when we turn back because those places cannot hold all we've learned; the women God has purposed us to be were never meant to find comfort in those places.
We suffer a little while now, but glory will be ours forever then.
He kneels. He meets us where we are. All we have to do is ask.
It is His joy to set us free.
Ask, sister. Be free. Drop the shame and RUN toward the glory.
In Christ alone,