Thursday, September 30, 2010
As far back as I can recall, swinging on the swings has always been my favorite thing to do on the playground. Not to take anything away from the curly slide, merry-go-round or monkey bars, but they really can't compare to the thrill of the swing. Pumping your legs and climbing higher and higher nearly touching the sky...they just can't compete.
When I was four, my dad was pushing me super high on a swing & I was delighted. The higher the better - I wanted to soar. Releasing my tight grip from the swing's chains & flinging my arms forward, I thrust myself from the swing fully expecting to fly into the sky and kiss the clouds. I did remain airborne - momentarily, but gravity being as it is, I crashed to the ground knocking the wind from my lungs & groggily looking up at my dad - who had tried to catch me but being caught off guard by my aeronautical attempt was unable to react quickly enough. After assessing me for injuries & finding none, Dad asked if I was ready to call it a day. Regaining my breath, without hesitation, I eagerly asked if he would push me on the swing one more time before heading home. I remember a huge smile crossing is face followed by a trace of strain (possibly due to the likelihood that I'd jump out again) - but he lifted me right back up in the swing and pushed me just as high as before. Though I briefly considered letting go of the swing chains, I held on tight & savored every moment of flight time.
This recollection made me ponder my bravery in current battles & struggles... Do I jump right back up? Do run home & hide? Do I give up completely? Do I push through the pain for the prize?
I'm determined to swing high, let go and fly. Regardless of whether I fall hard or kiss the clouds, I know my Father will smile & either pick me up, dust me off & put me back on the swing or watch me soar - relishing my joy.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Take a look and read verses 5-8, 12, 16, 18 & 23 out loud and slowly with me:
"You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence. Upon You have I leaned and relied from birth, You are He Who took me from my mother's womb and have been my benefactor from that day. My praise is continually of You. I am as a wonder and surprise to many, but You are my strong refuge. My mouth shall be filled with Your praise and with Your honor all the day. O God, be not far from me! O my God, make haste to help me! I will come in the strength and with the mighty acts of the Lord God; I will mention and praise Your righteousness, even Yours alone. ...keep me alive until I have declared Your mighty strength to this generation, and Your might and power to all that are to come. My lips shall shout for joy when I sing praises to You, and my inner being, which You have redeemed."
WOW! Does that do anything for anyone else? I mean - WOAH! (Flashback to Joey from Blossom)
*God is my hope.
*God is my trust.
*God is the source of my confidence.
*God is my benefactor.
*God has made me a wonder.
*God has made me a surprise.
*God is my strong refuge.
*God is not far from me.
*God makes haste to help me.
*God keeps me alive.
*God has redeemed me.
*I lean on God.
*I rely on God.
*My praise is continually of God.
*My mouth is filled with praise to God.
*My mouth is filled with honor to God.
* I will come in the strength of God.
*I will come with the mighty acts of God.
*I will mention the righteousness of God.
*I will praise the righteousness of God.
*I will declare to this generation the mighty strength of God.
*I will declare to all who are to come the might and power of God.
*My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to God.
*My inner being will shout for joy because I have been redeemed by God.
Yup! I'm owning this one and putting it into action! Every bit of it! Let me know whether or not the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do the same.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, etc. regarding these verses and the promises within them.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I've also realized that my identity is not in my job, my significant other, my family, where I worship, my friends and associates, my amazing Jeep, the house I live in, the things I have acquired or even my precious Golden Retriever. My identity is not in my physical appearance, my talents, my personality or my connections.
All I am and all I ever need/want/desire/aspire to be is wrapped up in Jesus. He is my identity...and I'm continuing to be transformed into His likeness. What a process! I'm so thankful He has that kind of patience!! :)
Where do you find your identity? Is your worth the sum total of all your earthly belongings? Do you see yourself as a construction worker, doctor, secretary, accountant, teacher, mom, dad, sibling? Do you long for acceptance and approval from those in your workplace, school, church?
Let me encourage you to ask Jesus to show you your true worth in Him. He has all the acceptance, approval and identity you could ever need!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Change is constant.
Life is short.
Generally, I'm not all that introspective. Recently, however, I've been doing a lot of soul searching - asking God a lot of questions and wanting to make something of this life I've been given. I'm cutting my losses, removing relationships that are not helpful, and pursuing those that are mutually beneficial and God-ordained.
It's my hope that anyone reading this blog post will do the same. Remind God of His words and promises to you. Read the prophetic words that have been spoken over your life. Move forward into all that God's called you to accomplish. Don't allow others to speak doubt and unbelief into your life. Refuse to allow others' opinions to sway you from the path God's called you to walk - regardless of whether they like it, understand it or support it.
You are a unique creation with a specific and special place in this world. You're important and needed. Don't give up on the dreams God's given you. Move forward!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Webster's defines dissonance as:
2 : a mingling of discordant sounds; especially : a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord
Since early last year, I have been in transition. There have been many moves and changes. Though I have grown in a multitude of ways, my deepest growth has been in my trust and reliance on God.
On June 1st I moved from Franklin, TN to Orlando, FL. I spent three months there before moving to the Denver, CO area. Needless to say, nothing has been easy. It's been sad to see that many people I have loved and considered family have seemingly forgotten about me - out of sight, out of mind. It's been frustrating to feel "homeless", "restless", "forgotten"...For the first time in my life I have battled nearly debilitating depression - feeling I'd rather go to heaven than remain here. It's difficult to even share this part of the journey I've had over the past nine months & I'm certainly not sharing it in an attempt to gain sympathy. I want to share what God has done and is doing through this journey.
I can't express the thankfulness I have for my family, friends and Magellan! People (and pets) who have prayed for me ceaselessly, loved me continually, & supported me constantly. They truly believe in me and my desire to follow God - regardless of what it looks like or requires - whether they understand it or not. One thing God has shown me through this journey is what a true friend looks like. He's shown me what love is & He's healed me from the depression I was being oppressed by. He's an amazing God.
We all need those who will pray, love and trust us unconditionally. My prayer is that I am a friend/family member who exemplifies those qualities to those in my life.
The journey continues & as I've written before, God gave me the word "transformational" for 2010. Things are changing - in my heart, in my mind, in my emotions, in the physical realm around me along with the spiritual realm. Things have been dissonant. However, I believe God is the ultimate conductor of my life & that "mingling of discordant sounds; especially : a clashing or unresolved intervals" will come to an amazing climax & surprisingly fantastical resolve...as I continue to pursue Him with all I am...He is faithful & He continues to transform me - from glory to glory!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Verse 4 is very familiar and sparked a question as I read it once again. It says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart." What popped out at me was the word "also". I looked back at the previous verses.
The third verse reads, "Trust (lean on, rely on and be confident) in the Lord, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed."
So, if we 1. Trust in the Lord 2. Do good 3. Delight ourselves in the Lord THEN we'll 1. Dwell in the Land 2. Feed on His faithfulness (and be fed) 3. Be given the desires and secret petitions of our hearts. Now, that's some good stuff right there!
Going on in verses 5-9 are a bunch more promises (dependent upon our obedience). "Commit your way to the Lord - roll and repose [each care of] your load on Him; trust (lean on, rely on and be confident) also in Him, and He will bring it to pass."
"And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday."
"Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him, and patiently stay yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass."
"Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself; it tends only to evil-doing."
"For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait and hope and look for the Lord, [in the end] shall inherit the earth."
I'm still chewing on all of this...
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In Matthew 21:21& 22, "Jesus said, 'If you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you'll tell, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it will jump. Absolutely everything ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God'."
Embrace Kingdom Life & Lay Hold of God
Matthew 25:26, 28-30 reads, "The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this 'play-it-safe' who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness'."
It's Criminal to live Cautiously & Risk = Reward
Jesus was living life, walking through a field with His disciples. Some of the guys pulled some grains off the stalks and ate them. The Pharisees were furious - always pointing to the letter of the law and finding ways to make the true believers and followers of Jesus look like irreverent blasphemers (while actually incriminating themselves as loveless hypocrites). They were overwrought by the idea that His disciples did "work" on the "Sabbath". Jesus is quoted in Mark 2:28 as saying, "The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren't made to serve the Sabbath. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath. He's in charge."
Serving Religion brings Condemnation & Serving Jesus brings Freedom
So...I'm embracing Kingdom life & laying hold of God. I refuse to live cautiously regarding any aspect of my life. I will risk anything and everything to fulfill all God destined for me. I will serve Jesus and live in His freedom, regardless of what anyone may say or think of my actions. No play-it-safe lackeys here!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
From there, Abraham and Sarah came to mind. In Romans 4:19-25 (from The Message) we read, "Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, 'It's hopeless. This hundred year old body could never father a child.' Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said. That's why it is said, 'Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.' but it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God."
God's been teaching me about the word "BELIEVE" for a couple of years now. And I must be a little slow in getting it! :) Weber's online defines it as, "to have a firm religious faith b : to accept as true, genuine, or real". So, I'm asking Him what His promises are for me (and where I've walked in assumption regarding what I thought His promises are for me). He's been taking me to passages about Him being my Shepherd, Shield, Refuge, Provider, etc. He's been reminding me of the desires of my heart and His promise to me to bring them to pass. He's been showing me where I walk in unbelief and I'm repenting.
What promises has God given you that you need to believe? Oh, what supernatural miracles, signs and wonders would follow us if we'd only believe?!
A very dear friend, who has known me for over 23 years, responded to an email that I sent and once again offered loving words of wisdom and encouragement. In my email I told him I was questioning a lot of things - but specifically, my purpose. Here is an excerpt from his reply:
I think we have to look at purpose two ways. First there is a common purpose that we all share. We are here to manifest Christ. What greater reason to wake up each morning than that? It doesn't matter what role we play (sister, daughter, mother, friend, student etc. our purpose is always the same. To live so that others may see God in us. This is the purpose that connects us to each other every day.
There is another purpose that is specific to each of us. I think there are three questions we have to ask ourself that will help us find our individual purpose.
then it is not
would we still
get up everyday and do what we are doing because we love it.) This does not mean
that we should not retire one day. It just means that we might not retire as soon as
I think God meant for us to wake up every day happy about what we do. We should not have to go to work. We should want to go. Max Lucado calls it living in our "sweet spot." This means "we do most what we do best."
I don't know if that's helpful to you or not, but it was and is helpful to me. That's why I wanted to pass it along.
May God continue to show you His path and give you the ears to hear, eyes to see and the will to choose obedience to Him in all things.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The museum includes two separate buildings connected by a bridge that spans across a busy downtown street. One building has 7 floors, the other 4. Since I didn't take time to work out yesterday, I took the stairs and covered every floor of each building. That's a lot of stairs. :)
There is much diversity in the various offerings at the museum. Different genres, different mediums, different perspectives, different stories - all creative. I was rather overwhelmed by the differences represented with the same commonality - creativity.
As humans, we have all been created in the image of God. God is obviously quite creative - as He created everything that is! Being created in His likeness, we have creativity in our DNA. We are creative beings and need to express our inherent creativity - whether it's singing, painting, writing, re-arranging the furniture, organizing the office filing cabinet or cooking yummy snacks for the Super Bowl party. Each one of us is creative. Find an outlet and let your creativity flow. You are the only one who can express your unique creativeness - and the world is missing out if you keep it all bottled up inside. So, be what you were created to be - creative - and let me know how it goes!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Life truly is an adventure & I always want to be open to the next one. Whether that means living in three states in one year or staying in one job for the rest of my life. Whatever God asks, I strive for my answer to be complete obedience to Him.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've messed up way more than once, but I also know that He knows my heart. I'm thankful for that! He sees beyond my faults and failures. He knows the intents and purposes of my heart and understands I'm human (even when I forget that sometimes). Of course, my goal is to be completely transformed into the image of Jesus - to be less and less Julie and more and more Jesus. I never want to go off path & always want to be smack dab in the center of His will - but when I fall short, I repent, He forgives and we move forward together. What an awesome God He is!
So, why am I here? What adventures do I need to embark upon to lead me closer to Him & lead others closer to Him, today? There's no pat answer for that...but I do know this...He loves me. He loves you. He has a wonderful plan & purpose & He'll bring it to fruition if you'll faithfully follow Him.
Right now, there's a skiff of show on the ground & the sky is gray. I'm getting ready to take Magellan and Bisbee for a walk/sniff/play/jog time & then I'll jog a few miles myself. After that, I'll spend the afternoon & evening working on the new business He gave me. Who knows what adventures will happen along the way?
What adventures are in store for you today? What is He saying and what is your heart yearning for? Ask Him questions, share your heart with Him. Listen and obey.
Friday, January 29, 2010
1. not occupied; vacant; not inhabited; deserted 2. containing nothing 3. idle, leisure 4. being without something specified; devoid; having no members or examples 5. vain, useless 6. of no legal force or effect; null
At almost the very beginning of the entire Bible it's used. Genesis 1:2 reads, "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep." Sounds rather foreboding - creepy even. If you read on, you hear the story of how God created the universe - He spoke. He spoke the stars, the planets, the sun, the moon, the plants, the animals...everything into being. What wasn't there previously, was there after He spoke. Wow!
The second verse it brought to mind is in Isaiah 55:11 where the Word says, "So shall My (God's) word be that goes forth from My mouth, It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." Basically, it's saying that whatever God says, IS.
You know, I've felt void at times in my life. I've felt vacant, deserted, useless and I have a hunch that maybe you've felt that way before, too. But...What has God said about you? What promises has He spoken over your life that have yet to be accomplished? What dreams, goals, desires has He spoken into your heart that need to come to fulfillment?
Take some time to think about those things. Pull out old journals and read about things He's spoken to you. Read the promises He has spoken over each of His children in His Word. They are all for you. Thank Him for those things He's already brought to pass and remind Him (and yourself) of those things that are yet to come.
At the end of one year and beginning of another, I ask God to give me a word for the year. One word that will encapsulate the year He has in store for me - a word that I can hang onto, look forward to, put faith in, take action toward. Last year, He gave me the word "transition" & boy-oh-boy I did not have a clue as to what that would entail! I lived in 3 different states, changed jobs multiple times, lost a close friend, made new friends...and all that was in only 4 of those 12 months!!
This year the word He's given me is "transformational". And - I'm really excited about what that could look like! :) So, I'm looking over old journal entries, prophetic words from trusted, Godly leaders and friends, praying, asking, and reading the Word - I'm expecting all His words about me to be accomplished - maybe not all this year - but His words do not return void - they accomplish what He sent them forth to accomplish. I know it's gonna be transformational for me - and it can be for you, too!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The fact is, I woke up with a really bad headache and didn't sleep well last night. But I got up and started praising Jesus anyway. I looked outside and saw we finally got those flurries we were supposed to get yesterday morning and that made me smile - and Magellan was pretty happy about them, too!
A couple of years ago, I re-injured a vertebra in my neck - the C-4 - if I recall correctly. I had been hiking on a trail at the Natchez Trace outside of Leaper's Fork, TN. One of my favorites! I slid on some fallen leaves but caught myself before falling completely. The next day, I happened to be on a ladder that started to fall, so I jerked it back the opposite direction in order to steady it. All that to say that those two incidents in combination exacerbated an injury to my neck about 15 years earlier when a friend and I were rear-ended by a drunk driver. This time, however, the pain was much worse. Pain radiated from my neck and down my arm. I like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but this had me crying and being sent home from work. Thanks to prayer and a couple of wonderful chiropractors (along with a break from my way too high heels), I got better.
The following spring, I was going to train for my second half-marathon with a wonderful group that I helped start called One Voice Runners, in Franklin, TN. Only a few days into the training and I realized, my neck wasn't ready for that much running. I was disappointed. Later that year, I was able to train with the team and run my second half-marathon.
I don't know where you are this morning - physically, emotionally, spiritually - but find something to be excited about. I was able to run five miles last week and two miles yesterday. I have gas in my amazing Jeep, a wonderful Golden Retriever, a place to live, food to eat, family and friends that love me, my own business! How amazingly excited am I? And I bet, if you try hard enough, you can find some reasons to be "simply excited" too! We're not promised tomorrow - so live today to its fullest! Ask the Lord for His favor and to tune your ear to His voice. Obey Him. Smile at the cashier, engage someone who seems lonely in conversation, call your parents and tell them you love them, give the homeless person on the corner all the cash in your pocket, run a mile just because you can. It's truly exciting!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Since I was out of town, visiting Southern California from Friday through Monday, my regular routine is out of whack. I'm living with an older woman who no longer drives and help her with keeping the house clean, going to the grocery store, doctors appointments and hair salon. She's very sweet and mentally sharp. She'll be 88 on her next birthday. Since it's supposed to snow today, she wants to go to the grocery store this morning. So we'll load her, Magellan and her Golden, Bisbee, up in her Camery (not one of the recalled ones) & head over to King Soopers (aka Kroger in other parts of the country). She's so cute. We both get carts and split the shopping list. We're supposed to meet in the front of the store to check out but I usually find her back in the bakery looking at cookies. She has quite the sweet tooth and we normally have a couple dozen fresh-baked cookies in the house - which continues to test my resolve to eat healthy, whole, non-processed foods as much as possible. :)
When we get back & unloaded, I'll take Magellan & Bisbee for a run, then I'll take myself for one. :)
This afternoon, I'll work on my new business. Yes. I'm self-employed again - Hallelujah! I've been praying for something exactly like this - where I can work from anywhere and far exceed any income I've known previously. It's a very exciting opportunity that I know God showed me as a result of obeying His voice and a small prompting to change what I had planned, go out of my way and walk into a business I had never even seen before He prompted me.
I encourage you to be very sensitive to God's voice. That's something He's been telling me. I've posted it on Facebook and Twitter, but obey that still small voice quickly and each time you hear Him. Don't analyze what He's saying - simply respond - no matter how silly or seemingly insignificant it may seem.
Hopefully, I'll be playing in the snow with Magellan, Bisbee and Reepacheep (my Jeep) tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
My parents are wonderful. (And I'm not saying that for any brownie points - they don't even have internet so they won't be reading this.) In my heart of hearts, I know they raised myself and my four sisters in the best way they knew how and with the minimal means they had at the time. My dad was a pastor and drove a semi (he still drives for FedEx) and my mom worked various jobs over the years. They raised us to be respectful, honest and creative. Mom has always had a love for music and animals (not necessarily in that order). Dad loves trucks, buses, writing and art. I feel like I'm a good blend of both of them.
Sometimes feeling special has made me feel guilty. Like I have some kind of unfair advantage over others. Sometimes feeling special makes me feel misunderstood and like an outsider. But God's been showing me that this different-ness, this special-ness, is His favor - and anyone can have it - not just me. Being His daughter and feeling His favor upon me carries with it a responsibility - and it's kind-of heavy - though not burdensome.
Each one of us has a destiny. I'm endeavoring to accomplish the one God designed for me...and it IS an adventure. My prayer is that as I blog these happenings, you'll be encouraged, inspired and find His favor and destiny, too.
So, Magellan (my Golden Retriever) and I are here in the Denver area, meeting new people, driving in Reepacheep, our Jeep, and living life to its fullest.