My breakthrough to spiritual freedom was delivered in an most unexpected way. As promised, I’m sharing more of the missing words from my upcoming book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done.
In the past, a bully has taunted me as I fumble with soul rest: “You’re not doing it right. When will you ever learn? What’s wrong with you?” But that is not the voice of the Father. It’s my voice, scolding myself for not being flawless (and yes, Satan likes to hiss accusations in my ear too).
Salvation for our souls happens right away as we admit, believe, and receive what has been done for us by Jesus Christ. But walking out the reality of soul rest is something we get better at over time as we learn more about the Father and more fully understand what is true of us because of Him.
A wise friend of mine, Jan, encourages me to speak gently to myself as I learn to walk in grace and freedom—not to self-edit but to kindly coax as I learn to rise as a daughter. As babies learn to walk, we don’t get exasperated with them in the process. We offer cheers and encouragement as they become proficient walkers. We give them room and opportunities to practice. I think that’s how God views our resting attempts too.
Jan assures me that I’m okay and safe as I learn to toddle in the Promised Land of grace. And that’s just what this modern Martha needs to hear: that I’m going to be fine as I navigate this unpredictable, wild field of freedom.*
Jan’s comforting words trigger a powerful memory from a day of intense labor, not so long ago.
I find myself back in the delivery room, before spiritual freedom broke through:
The contractions are coming on strong, overpowering my 5’ 6” frame. My eyes dart around the delivery room, as I grasp for something to hold onto. What’s happening? Can’t anyone see how terrified I am. I’m in a women’s body but I feel like a little girl, calling out for her Daddy, whom she can’t seem to find.
“HELP!” I scream.
“Please, help me!”
A force beyond what I feel capable of handling, barrels through my body. Surges of pain threaten to take me under. It’s never been like this before. Something is different. It doesn’t feel right. All that I’ve leaned on in the past seems to give way as the pressure intensifies.
It all feels so out of control. Make. It. Stop.
“Help!” I make eye contact with the physician as he moves slower and more deliberately than I expect him too. I need help. Do something!
His calm and confident eyes meet my frantic ones.
“You’re safe” he says emphatically.
Is he just saying that? Is something wrong and he’s not letting on? Or is his assurance legitimate?
Each cry is met with this same, definitive answer, “You’re safe. You’re okay.”
I choose to believe him even though the pain points to a different reality. It’s like I’m at the mercy of an earthquake tremor, as my insides rumble and shift with each contraction. I can’t find my footing. My old go-to’s aren’t working. In this moment of deep need, I am dependent on another to point the way.
He tells me to breathe, rhythmically. Listening to his instructions helps me focus on something besides the fear and uncertainty.
“Don’t give up. Keep going. That’s it, that’s it! Hang on, we’re almost there.”
At last, spiritual freedom crowns! When I reach the end of myself, he pulls her out. Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. A gift of new life, from blood. Grace undeserved. A daughter, born.
She smells like heaven as I cradle her in my arms. What joy!
And she is called: Strength of God, Fierce, Spiritual Freedom. A miracle to lead the way home.
What relief! That which I longed for is reality. I was an active participant but the credit belongs to Him. I jogged on the dirt road, I asked for help, but He supplied the victory. He made good on His promise. And now I embrace that which I could not accomplish on my own.
And His name is: Immanuel, God with Us (see Matthew 1:23).
Through complete sacrifice, Jesus delivers us from spiritual orphanhood.
His death was excruciating, as if His insides were coming out with each moment of torture. The crown burned, piercing His brow; every drop of blood necessary to remove sin and usher in new life for us.
He sings over you. Listen to this lullaby of liquid gold as you settle into your rightful place, cradled by Wondrous Grace:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—all their whips and cudgels and curses—Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from this historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with far dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this (Isaiah 9:2-4, 6-7, The Message).
*Excerpt from Made like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done, published by WaterBrook.
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