I wrote this several years ago during a time when I felt God was stripping me bare of so many things that I was clinging too. As I look around I see so many women trapped in the same prison that I was once in. A prison we made for ourselves. But christ has set us free...we just need to understand and believe the truth of that.
A young girl started her life as many girls do. She was born to parents who loved and cherished her. God above smiled for He knew even then what a beloved daughter she would some day become. As time passed this beloved daughter grew fearful of all that was around her. She soon realized that life or at least her life was like living in a prison. One by one the bars went up around her. The first bar was the death of her father. A bar went up when she felt abandoned by her mother. Abuse would cause the creation of several of the bars like fear, anger, and the lack of trust. Her tormented soul would cause more bars to surround her, protecting her, creating a prison. She would work diligently to create a world were she felt safe and protected. She learned early in life that no one could be trusted; she would need to rely on herself if she was to survive.
Life inside the cell was not so bad, she felt safe. As the years passed by the pain and fear in her life continued, chains on the door would reinforce the stronghold. She began to decorate the walls of her prison; making it a place of warmth and safety. It was a place that became her refuge. It was a retreat that she could run to when the circumstances of her life became unbearable. She didn’t realize it was a prison for her tormented soul. It didn’t keep anything out, the pain of abuse, of her life, still continued. She wasn’t really protected, but somehow it gave her the illusion of being safe.
A day came when Jesus would pass by her prison walls. He stopped at the door and called to the young girl. For some reason she was not fearful of him the way she was of every other man. He reached for her through the bars. He gently touched her face with his hand. It was soft and tender, unlike any touch she had ever known. A touch that had the power to heal even the most damaged of souls. She recoiled in shame; this kind of healing was not for her. With tears in His eyes He said, “My beloved daughter I have come that you might be free of the prison that you have created.” He reached out and unlocked all the chains that held the door shut. He opened the door and beckoned the girl to walk to freedom.
Fear paralyzed her. She could not move. What was out there? Would it be safe? Could this Jesus really be trusted? Instead of walking through the door the young girl would curl up in the corner and just stare at the open door. She knew all to well that outside these walls there was nothing good, only pain. With tears in His eyes Jesus stood there at the door, he saw her lack of trust; He knew the fear in her heart. He also knew that He offered her freedom but she would have to choose to walk through the door. Until the time came that she could trust Him he would stay with her, even if it meant living with her inside her prison.
Jesus and the girl would spend many years growing together. They would laugh, cry and just talk together. The young girl would grow to love Jesus deeply. As time passed she would even forget about the bars that surrounded her. They had become hidden behind all the lies that she had come to believe. Jesus could not forget the bars that separated Him from His beloved daughter. His heart desired a deep relationship with His daughter, one that would be beautiful and everlasting. He would patiently teach her the truth of his Word. But the young girl could no longer see the prison she was in. Oh she was aware of the sadness in Jesus’ eyes, she sensed that something held Him back. She felt in her heart that there was something missing between her and her Lord. But to her the bars had become invisible.
As she grew in the knowledge of Jesus her awareness of this “thing” between them grew. For the life of her she could (or would not) see the prison she lived in. Jesus knew and as she was ready he began to strip away all that hid the bars that trapped her inside the cell. He revealed the bars of anger, pride, selfishness, abandonment and He would continue until her prison of fear was exposed. As she stood there looking at the prison bars she understood what kept her from her Jesus. She also became fully aware of those who walked freely outside. “Excuse me sir,” she asked a man walking by “how do you walk in such freedom?” He smiled, pointed to the door and said “Dear girl, just walk through, they are open. What keeps you inside?”
The young girl looked at the open door, then at Jesus. She remembered that years ago He had opened the door. Tears fell down her face for she realized then that the door had always been open. Once again fear paralyzed her. How could she walk out of this prison of fear into a world of trust? Every part of her wanted to run through the door, but there was such agonizing fear. She just stood there looking into His eyes. What wonderful, loving eyes, eyes that were filled with compassion. How He has longed for his daughter to walk through those doors, He has waited patiently for so long. There was so much He had in store for her. He could show her no more though until she trusted Him completely. It was her choice now. Jesus would stay with her, loving and guiding her. He knew the day was soon coming when she would trust him completely.
The girl desperately wanted the freedom Jesus offered her. She knew that Jesus could see her heart and it terrified her. She knew that He loved her, she believed all that He so faithfully taught her. But the shame of her whole life was too much to bear. How could one so pure and holy love her? Just then Jesus looked at her and held out his hand. When the girl looked down she saw a nail pierced hand, and remembered the cross. How could she forget? Had it been so long ago that she had forgotten? Or had the shame of her past clouded the truth? Jesus came that she might be freed from all sin and shame. The girl knew this and yet she didn’t feel free. She looked around her and once again saw the bars of her prison. She was her own prison guard; she kept herself here even when Jesus offered freedom.
Jesus continued to hold out his hand. The girl stood trembling but reached for his hand anyway. She did not know where he might lead her but she knew that she had to trust him. He gave his life for her; he wanted only the best for her. Besides, she was growing very tired of living in this self-created prison. As they stood there holding hands tears began to fall from her face. Jesus took her in his arms and spoke words of love and compassion. He reminded her of the cross and what it meant to her, that she no longer had to live under the condemnation of her sin and shame. She could be a new creation; the things of her past have all been nailed to the cross. It’s what he willingly did so that she might walk in newness of life. The girl cried for she knew the truth of what he said to her. She knew she had to walk in obedience and accept the truth of his love.
When Jesus dried her eyes she looked around at each of the bars that kept her in this place. Her fear had kept her here but it was her acceptance of Jesus and all he offered that would free her. She did not walk alone and for the first time she totally understood that. Fear, shame and sin kept her from a pure and holy relationship with Jesus. He had tenderly yet at times painfully worked in her until she could see the truth of her heart. Once she accepted the truth, even though painful, Jesus could begin to heal her. In the process of the healing she learned to accept his forgiveness. In the acceptance of the forgiveness that Jesus offered she realized that sin and shame no longer had power over her. Her life, all of it, would be used to glorify the Father. Jesus would walk along beside her. He would help her see what a beautiful, beloved daughter she truly was. He would help her see herself as her heavenly Father sees her. She was a pure and holy bride, being prepared for the bridegroom.
One by one the bars begin to disappear. She begins to understand and accept her Redeemer’s love. As she allows Jesus to renew her mind, replacing lies with truth, her prison no longer has any power. Soon her prison will be completely gone and a cross will stand in its place. She will no longer run back to her prison in fear, instead she will run to the cross and the power her risen Lord offers her.
Copyright© 2003 by Sharon S. Brobst. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without written permission from author.