Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hello. Goodbye.

This small sign. I almost chose to write different words in this particular chalkboard amidst my Christmas decorations. And even after I made it, I thought, "Oh well, I can change it later."

 But this little sign has had more impact on me over the last 2 weeks than I could have ever imagined.

 I have realized that I have said "hello" to so many things in my life when I should have been saying goodbye. 

The enemy has fear knock at my door? I say hello. Worry rings the doorbell? I say come in. Loneliness asking to come in? I say hello. Unworthiness pounds away? I say hello.

 But why do I struggle so to trust turning my door knob when Jesus sends grace knocking? Comfort? Joy? Confidence? 

Hello. Hello to truth. That is what I need to say, not just in this season, but every season that life brings.

 It seems that a lot of things have been coming to my door lately asking for entrance. 

But what a simple reminder that if it isn't a thought, a word, an attitude, a mindset that brings me straight to the comfort and joy of my Father's heart, then it isn't my Father who is bringing it. 

I never thought I'd use this phrase in a Simple Truth sharing moment, but this is what keeps coming to my mind: 

Bye, Felicia! 

Maybe I need to make that chalkboard too! 

Everyday, we choose- we choose our hellos and goodbyes and therefore open up the home of our hearts or close it off to a multitude of things. 

What are you saying hello to? What are you saying goodbye to? 

May our hellos in every area of our life usher in Holy Spirit truth. And may we have the courage to say goodbye to all that distracts and drains us of His power.

 Bye, Felicia, indeed. 

Hello, Comfort and Joy. 

#SimpleTruth for every season. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

God is Not a Spectator


Some days are slippery and you need truth that is sticky...that holds on to you as you hold tight to it. Today,
as I was digging for this kind of grabby truth, the Holy Spirit led me to these words: 

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

When God says He will NEVER do a thing, we sometimes glaze past what it truly means. 
He says He will NEVER forsake us. 
This means he will ALWAYS do the opposite of forsaking us: 
harbor, have, hold, keep, redeem, rescue, save, reclaim, adopt, advocate, cherish, defend, favor, maintain, protect, pursue, support, uphold, vindicate. 

It's even more than Him just being present in my life- as if that weren't enough! My God isn't just a spectator as I spin round on this globe. No- He is constantly ACTIVE in my life. 
For me, these words take the blinders off of my limited perspective of God's involvement and investment in every piece and part of my life. 
THIS is His PROMISE for you in the middle of your circumstance. 

That unknown in front of you? 
God has already been there. 
Done that. 
Prepped it for your arrival. 
And now He's walking straight into it WITH you, showing you every step, every leap, every sprint required for Victory. 

Fear is a liar and a power sucker. 
God is Truth and your Power Source. 

Don't be afraid- be amazed. 
Don't be discouraged- be encouraged. His promises will not fail. 

#SimpleTruth for your day. 
~Julie 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Somebody Hit the PAUSE Button


Guess what?! This month is at the halfway point. Maybe you're like me and you look up and go, "Wait! Did I hit snooze?? How am I already here?!" 
I have goals yet to write, lists yet to check off, intentions to unshelve! 
And so I get into a ridiculous panic and scurry to feel busy about something because busy means accomplished, right?? 
Wrong.
Step away from that busy button. 
Now is a great time to hit the PAUSE button. 
It's time to take time. 
Time to really reflect on where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there..but also, really check and see if what you are choosing each day will actually get you where you want to be.
 
So WHY is it a good time to PAUSE? 

Because you still have the whole last half of this month to make the choices that will put you were you want to be! 
Whether you are focusing on your personal spiritual health, physical health, family issues, health goals, or business goals or ALL THE THINGS this month, know that there is POWER in the PAUSE. 
And when you add PRAYER? It's a triple threat!!
PAUSE+PRAYER=POWER! 
These are the 3 P's that will take you places. 
But instead of running ahead distracted, disgruntled, disheartened, deafened by the realities around you...
1. Pause to open your eyes to see where you are and what you are doing in that place.
2. Pray for the Lord to show you HIS desire for those things, those goals you're running after...and LISTEN to His response.
3. Power up! in His presence and find the strength to make the choices that you weren't able to on your own.

I am praying for each of you!
Hit that PAUSE button today!!
"Be still and know that I am God..."
Psalm 46:10

Monday, October 12, 2015

When I Forget God is Faithful


Sometimes our circumstances cast such a thick fog around us, that it becomes hard to see God in the midst of where we are. That is when have to look back and remember Him where we were. 
It is way too easy for me to complain and wail like the Israelites in the desert, instead of stand in faith and call on My Deliverer and Red Sea Parter. 

How quickly I forget. 
And that's why I have to be diligent to remember. 

That's why you see me scribbling in my journal, putting God's promises up on my door frames, mirrors and car dash- not because I want the appearance of holy...but because I have to remind my thick headed, stubborn flesh of the Truth of Who my God is:
 Faithful. Present. Fully Able. 

When I look around and feel claustrophobic because the reality of life is pressing in on every side, that is the moment of Truth: the moment I press back with the Truth I choose to keep before my eyes- God is Faithful. 

Believe me, just like the Israelites, I have deserts I wander in, but I am choosing not to set up camp there- and I remind the enemy to not issue me an address- because I am just traveling through

My God is ever faithful, and He is leading the way. 

"...if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand firm at all."
Isaiah 7:9 
#SimpleTruth #first5 @first5app @proverbs31ministries @wblight 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Facing the Unknown


When I walked up to my front door by myself  and found it standing open, it stopped me in my tracks. It took me a minute to process. Wait. This is different. Go in? Don't go in?
I yelled an inquisitive "Hellooooo??" into my dark house except for a random light on in my room. Wait- why was my light on? Everyone should be gone. No cars are in the driveway. 

When you're standing in the face of the unknown- it can be terrifying and paralyzing. 
But you can't keep standing where you are. 

I was on the phone with my best friend and like friends on scary movies NEVER do, she reminded me to NOT go into the dark house alone. I walked over to my neighbors and they either didn't hear my knock, or couldn't respond to it. So, I stood there in between my yard and theirs wondering how to go into this unknown- this place that was mine but I was stuck not being able to claim and settle into because of all of the what ifs. What if someone was hiding and waiting. What if we had been robbed. What if I was about to be robbed. What if...what if...

Thankfully, my BFFs hubby came to my rescue- armed for battle. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as we cautiously walked in and checked all the rooms and closets, afraid of what we would find. 
Nothing. 
The what ifs of the unknown didn't turn into the what are's. 

And isn't that often the way? 
Now don't hear me saying we need to run recklessly into the dark, scary places of life.
But-
We also can't stand frozen in the front yard or locked in the car in the driveway of the place God has told us to call home: where and who we are called and created to be. 
God doesn't expect you to blaze into the unknown on your own. He wants you to wait on Him, walk in alongside Him- because He is the One that arms you for any battles you may encounter along the way. 
As we walk with the Holy Spirit, we begin to see that so many of our what ifs about the unknown are not the what are's. 
We can step out of the paralyzing terror, flip the lights on in that dark unknown place, and find out it's home. 

 And instead of grabbing the hand of a fellow panicker, find a friend- a voice of truth and wisdom- who skips the drama, and simply reminds you to not rush in alone, but press in to Jesus, the One who goes before you and with you into that unknown place. 

Whatever unknown you are facing, realize that to God, it is fully known. 

Trust the One who sees what is and you won't be paralyzed any longer by the what ifs.

#SimpleTruth 



Monday, September 28, 2015

The Banner Doesn't Lie

In the not too far past, there was some big fight in the news.
Not like a fight at school fight, or "I don’t like your opinion fight”- It was a boxing fight. 
I don’t like boxing.
I find it rather barbaric and people really mess up their faces and noses and ears and…cognitive abilities. (Rocky fans, don’t hate on me- I still like inspirational boxing movies from time to time.)

So because this particular match was all the buzz, per the usual, it showed up in my Facebook newsfeed. 
But something really struck me as a picture of all this popped up on my screen.
The fighter was on his way out to the ring with this entourage all around him- security, fancy women, coaches, trainers and the like. And then there was this one guy standing right behind him as they were walking the path to the ring who was consistently holding above the fighters head this attention grabbing belt that declared the fighter’s title.
This guys job was to make sure that everyone knew who this fighter was. It was his accomplishment on display so everyone could see why he deserved to be in the fight.
But I bet that boxer hadn’t won every single fight he had ever been in his whole life. I bet he’s had a few scars and bumps and bruises along the way- if in the ones he did win. He probably hasn’t thrown every punch correctly and he probably missed a few blocks.
But he was still a champion.
The belt doesn’t lie. 

Now I am not a boxer- nor do I ever want to be- although I wouldn’t mind following their workout to get those killer arms.
But...I am a fighter. 
I get into the ring daily as a Jesus follower.
And I have the Holy Spirit and an entourage around me that help me stay focused and pressing into to Whom and what will train me for the fight in front of me. 
But I can’t forget about the One behind me.
He is holding His banner over me that says “Love”.
Just like the song I used to sing in church as a child:
"His Banner Over Me is Love" (linked here is a grown up Bethel Music version you will love)

What simple words that I never quite understood until now.
See, those words weren't just telling me about Jesus...they hold truth about me- my identity in Christ.

I act like Jesus is constantly shaking His head in disgust at the opportunities I have missed in the Kingdom fights, or the punches from the enemy to my life that I so stupidly welcomed instead of blocking. I act like I have to cover the bumps, bruises and scars in shame.
But that would only be what would happen if it were my accomplishments that determined whether or not He holds that banner over my head. 
But it isn’t my accomplishment…it is His.
And Jesus says, "It is finished."(John 19:30)

When I accept that He conquered death on the cross and won the complete victory for me, He holds that banner of LOVE high over my head saying, 
“THIS IS THE ONE THAT I LOVE! 
I won eternal victory for HER
This one is my beloved! 
She is VICTORIOUS!” 

And even when I mess up, that banner over me never changes. 

Just like that fighter, that truth changes the way that you walk.
Confidence becomes a part of your stride, even when personal perfection isn’t always present.
Why? Because you know your title.
You know who you are. And as a Believer, you know WHOSE you are. 

I don’t deserve a place in the fight for His Kingdom, but Grace says otherwise.
His banner of Love over me is an irrevocable title of Victory by His righteousness that cannot be removed. 
I have screwed up. I will screw up. 
But in Him I am a Love lavished, Grace given, Righteousness received champion.
The Banner doesn’t lie.

Let’s start walking to the fight like we know Who we are and Whose we are.
Let’s live out loud for Jesus in a way that it becomes the evidence that LOVE is the banner He waves over us and that transforms us and sets us apart.

His banner over you is Love. 
#SimpleTruth that can transform. 

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”
Song of Solomon 2:4

Monday, September 21, 2015

Where Are You Going?


She was running away.
Mistreated. Used.
Thats where we find Hagar in Genesis 16.
And my flesh says, "Run, Hagar, run!"
But then the angel of the Lord finds her, calls her by name and says, "...where have you come from and where are you going?"
And she replies, "I'm running away from my mistress, Sarai."
So that answered where she had been.
But through His messenger, the Lord asked her TWO questions, and she never answered the second:
"WHERE are you GOING?"

When life mistreats us, we run because we are trying so desperately to get away. We are so bound and determined, planning and executing our escape route, that we never stop to think about where we are actually going.
We get so caught up in what we are getting away from that we never ask God what we should be heading toward.

But if we would simply ask God the question, "God, where do you want me to go?", He would not have to ask the question, "Where are you going?".

We are living in a sinful, fallen world amongst broken people like ourselves...so yes, the world will mistreat us. You can count on it.
But that doesn't mean we should escape by making our own way.
Because when we do, we end up creating more havoc than that we hoped to leave behind.
We have to ask God to show us the path He has for us- to show us where we should be going.
And sometimes that is right back to face the stuff you wanted to escape.

But you know what Hagar found out? She wasn't alone.
She says in Genesis 16:13, "You are the God who sees me."
See, it wasn't escape she needed: it was the healing promises of the person of God.

She stopped at the spring to refresh her physical body, but it was the refreshment for her soul that she needed most.
When she believed and understood anew Who God was, and that He was for her, she was able to walk back toward the place from which she had run.
In that place is where she would give birth to God's promises for her life. 

There is purpose and healing in the path God chooses for your life-even when it feels more like persecution and pain. Even when He is asking you to labor amongst those who mistreat you, like He did Hagar.
We already know, and He already knows, what it is we want to get away from...so why not talk instead about what you are believing God to lead you to?

Whenever change or movement is involved, be sure it is motivated because you are called TO a thing rather than because you are trying to escape FROM a thing. 
If God calls you to remain, He will strengthen you to do the remaining.
Believe me- even in the darkest, loneliest, suffocating moments...He is with you and is at work on your behalf.
He is a good God, with a good plan for your life.

It will not be easy.
But set aside the urge to run.

Paths blazed out of desperation rather than Divine direction 
often lead to destruction rather than deliverance.

Stop and marinate on that. 

In His voice, in His presence, we can know where we are going- and it is with Him.
We may not have all the details, but we know the direction in which He calls us to move: under His wing, in His shadow- near to Him.
And even when the direction He calls us to isn't exactly what our plan and timing had looked like, we still steady on...not running from a bad thing, but walking toward a God thing- learning and growing along the way as we keep the company of the Way-Maker.

I know you want to run away today.
Honestly, me too.
But today, even if just for this moment...lets try running to Him, instead.

#SimpleTruth
#First5



Saturday, September 19, 2015

From Normal to Necessary


We all want normal. Familiar. Our worry isn’t challenged in that place and control is seemingly at our fingertips. We understand what we are doing and we know where we are going. 
But what happens when we have to leave normal to travel into the necessary?

My life had been a picture of normal- at least my normal. 
But then, God called me into my necessary. 
And I wanted to go…until I began walking it out.
It is a strange and unfamiliar place. 
Those of us who have always liked our normal, often don’t respond so well to our necessary.

It reminds me of Mary with her jar of expensive perfume, making her way to Jesus amidst all the men reclined around the table with Him. 
She wasn’t in her normal place. And they did not like it. 
She broke her jar of perfume and poured out her all before her Lord. 
The fragrance of her normal was overpowered- it was filled with the fragrance of her necessary.
She untied her hair from its normal and used it as necessary to wash Jesus’ feet.
She stepped out of her normal and into her necessary because that is what brought glory to her Savior. 
When she chose to step out of the distance her normal, she stepped into the intimacy of necessary- found at the feet of Jesus. 

A year and a half ago, God called me out of my normal. And step after step I have walked in my necessary. 
Can I be honest? I haven’t loved every moment of my necessary. 
It is hard. It is lonely. It is overwhelming. 
But time and time again, I find myself more at the feet of Jesus than ever before. 
I find my life filled with the fragrance of the sacrifice that my necessary demands, and I breathe deep the strength, I grip tight to the trust that I had only heard about in my normal. 
And when my Father saw I was willing to live in the necessary, He has kept calling me away from any semblance of normal that I begin to sit down in. 

The necessary for His Kingdom has become my new normal. 
Because the moment I begin to trust anything in myself is the moment I choose to stop trusting everything He is. 

Change and I? We aren’t BFF’s.
But these changes have given me new perspectives.

I see how truly powerless I am.
I see how truly powerful He is.
I believe in miracles because I know the Miracle worker…I have sat at his feet. 
I have seen Him in my necessary in ways my normal never allowed. 

Don’t be so afraid to leave your normal that you miss the blessing of your necessary. 

Breaking your jar of what you have been holding tight to, and allowing that fragrance of that sacrifice to spill out? It changes the aroma of the atmosphere. It charges it with trust, power, faith like never before. 

What normal will you step out of- even with fear and trembling- to step into the necessary God has called you to?

No normal is greater than the necessary of knowing Jesus more intimately. 
It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

“Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.””
Luke 7:44-47 NIV

#SimpleTruth 



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Walk When Waters Rise


"Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." Proverbs 30:5 

Genesis 8 is a great reminder that like Noah in the flood, the Truth of God's word and our obedience to it are our lifeline.
 In every storm and in every season, we have to: 
turn toward His truth, 
trust He is for us, and 
trudge forward. 
It may be scary, it may be exhausting, it may cause us to be brave when we don't want to be, and the choices we make may cause people to think we are crazy, but obedience isn't about pleasing others- it's about trusting God's plan.
 
Moving with Him step by step- or maybe as Noah would say, hammer by hammer. Galatians 5:25 says,
 "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." 
Today, I am trying to get in sync. 
To trust His gait. 
To believe that even at a sweaty sprint or soothing stroll, He has a plan for my good. 

Noah shut the door on the right side of obedience- world outside, and him with God. And that is where I want to be found when the floodwaters rise. 
Even if I have the blisters and the callouses from keeping His way and trusting His word...I know my hope is with Him. 

So if you see me walking funny, or out of breath, or frozen in my tracks, or turning an uncommon direction, or bumbling through an unusual stride...I'm just doing all I can to keep in step with God. 
He alone knows the way to my ark...and that is peace for my every storm. 

#SimpleTruth #first5 @first5app @proverbs31ministries 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

No More Pack Mule


By myself at a random table in a Starbucks post dropping off my kids at school. 
That statement in itself is weird. 
Me? By myself? Weird. 
Kids at school? Weird. 
Me at Starbucks? Ok...that's pretty normal.
But I feel way out of my skin eating breakfast and drinking a fancy flat white- instead of my plain old coffee- and no one across from me at the table. 
I don't quite know what to do with all this- the here and the not here. 
I am caught thinking about all I want to do and then, all I don't want to stop doing. 
And then the Spirit whispers deep: 
In order to pick something up, you have to lay something down. 

You cannot carry all the things. 

When my kids were small, my father in law always called me a pack mule. Why? Because every time he saw me, I was carrying all the things. 
From a kid to diaper bags to Batman to trash. Times 3. 
I carried it all. 

Carry all the things. 

But that can't last forever. 
Kids grow, bags shrink, Batman gets lost, and well...they still give me their trash. 
But the truth is, we can only carry certain loads in life for a season.
And then it's time to set one thing down to pick another up. 
Better still? 
We set the good things down to pick the God things up. 

The load we have been used to carrying becomes too familiar. We tell someone wanting to help, "No don't grab anything! I've got it balanced. If you take one thing it will all come tumbling down." 
And maybe there are parts of what you're carrying that God wants you to keep. 
But maybe what's in my hands isn't meant for me to carry? 
Maybe someone else is standing there empty handed because I am carrying the good thing that's supposed to be their God thing. 

I am not meant to carry all the things. 
I am meant to carry my God things

Because that load is light. 

It may not be easy, but it is in proportion to the strength He has released for me to carry it. 

So I am sitting here, letting go and laying down what isn't mine to carry. Not knowing what it all looks like to pick up what He has put in front of me. 
But...
I know it's a God sized load that I was designed to carry. 
There are a lot of good things that I will have to lay down. 
But the God things can't be left behind
And you have to lay something down to pick something up. 
I won't be grabbing all the things, but I will be holding His things...and that is a load I can bear. 

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

#SimpleTruth 
#First5App

Monday, August 24, 2015

Will Love Provide?


My mama loves to feed people.
If you are around her and you're hungry- then she feels she has failed. 
I had a friend tell me once that she "thinks in food" when it comes to planning an event. This would be my mom. We often say my mom could take a can of beans and a loaf of bread and turn it into a four course meal. 
We are only half kidding. 
She always has food prepared or shortly available- long before we are ever even hungry, she has already thought of what she will serve us in love. She expresses her deep love for us through providing. She longs to meet our needs- and we all have to eat.

In John 21(after Jesus's resurrection), the disciples are back to the business of fishing- and having no luck- when Jesus unexpectedly appears to them on the shore. After He calls out to them, they miraculously catch a huge net full. And then, they head to shore-to Jesus. 
But for me, this verse stands out:
"When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread." 
These men had not known what their night would bring- that they would catch nothing until Jesus intervened; that they would be coming to a random place on the shore to connect with their risen Lord.
But Jesus knew. 
Jesus knew their hunger before they knew it. 
Those coals, the fish, the bread- Jesus had been preparing for them what they didn't even know they would need in a place they didn't even know they would be. 
He was already there, provision waiting- nourishment for hungry souls.
Jesus was showing them His deep love for them. Reminding them as He met their need that fullness only comes from Him. 
I think about the quiet moments on the shore as Jesus prepared the meal long before the disciples were even in sight- as He thought about them, cooked for them, prepared the provision before they ever arrived- and the love that was in every step. 
Just let that movie play in your mind a moment. 
It was His joy to meet their need...and it is His joy to meet yours as well. 
Trust. Love will provide. Maybe not the way or time you expect, but He will always provide. 

That sea you are sailing? The one that has left you tired, boat and belly empty?
He has a place of provision already prepared. He's simply waiting for you. He's waiting for you to hear His call from the shore to meet Him- even if it's not the way or the when you expected. He knew your hunger even before you did, and the food is ready and waiting. 
The smell of provision is already in the air. 

Jesus longs to express His deep love for you.
Will you stop the work of casting your net long enough to come ashore and let Him love you and provide for you? Those overflowing nets of fish you're catching- that busy, full life? They are from Him anyway. 
The very thing you need, He has already provided...even before you know you need it. 
Trust Him, get near to Him, so you don't miss the meal He has prepared for you! 

So...my mama may be feeding us a meal, but it's the provision of love we devour. And fueled for the next steps, we go on, knowing the next meal is already cooking in her heart...just like my Jesus. 
Never doubt: Love provides.  

#SimpleTruth 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Perfect Peace in my Pieces


I was scrambling in my living room to have my time with the Lord, while my mind was scrambling a thousand other places, a thousand miles an hour. 
I was thinking about everything ahead in this coming season...all I knew and didn't even know-  and it had me in a dead panic in my mind. 
And then, before I even sat down to get in the Word, the Holy Spirit brought this verse up in my spirit:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Perfect peace. Not some version of peace- but perfect.
Perfect is defined as: "having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. Absolute. Complete."
In other words, it is exactly what we need when we need it. 
Perfect peace.
Calm. 
From the inside out. 
It's learning to trust IN Him, rather than trusting things around and about Him.
 
Where you trust FROM determines the kind of peace you live IN

As we trust in Him, He secures us with the unwavering assurance that abundant life is His promise(John 10:10); therefore every battle we are facing is to bring about that very purpose.

He is the anchor for my thoughts in the raging sea of worry, doubt, and condemnation in my mind. When I fix my eyes on Him, I am no longer dizzied by the whirlwind of the world. I am locked into His gaze and I see what He sees, I can know what He knows: that every bit of it is for my good because He is Good. He is a good Father, giving me every good and perfect gift. 
(James 1:17, Romans 8:28)
Maybe not always the ones I want...but it's always the ones that I need

I have to live my life with open eyes and open hands:
Eyes open, fixed on Him.
Hands open, filled by Him. 

I have to stop looking in every direction hoping to see some answer for my questions- because HE IS THE ANSWER. 
I have to stop reaching in every direction to grab what feels and fills like I want it, when I want it- because HE IS MY PROVIDER. 

When I scurry around and try to piece together peace in my life, it only results in stress, failure, frustration, anger.
I am playing a game I will never win.  
It's time for me to stop worrying about the win and start focusing on the One.

What are you fixed on today? 
Believe me- I know it is hard to see past all that is screaming for your attention. 
But only One focal point will bring perfect peace

He doesn't promise to remove whatever is raging in your life, but He promises to love, grow, and be with you through it. 
That is perfect peace. 

#SimpleTruth 

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Knowing The Way


The unknown can be paralyzing. 
Feet turn to lead.
Mind fills with fear.
Heart beats out of chest.
And worry comes running to be my friend. 
I have to walk forward. Because stopping isn't an option when I have a way to go, a journey to walk. 
But sometimes? I just want to know the way. The whole way.
I want to see the Maps version of His plan pop up on my smart phone so I can see it all in a picture or in enumerated steps or even 3D satellite view. 
I want to know the way. 
But then, I remember that Jesus promised to be a "lamp unto my feet, a light into my path". A lamp at my feet assures I can see just enough to keep walking and not stumble and fall. A light on my path shows me the way right in front of me, not miles down the road. 
Jesus shows me His way in my here and in my now. When I lock my gaze on Him, He doesn't just show me the way- He IS my Way...no matter the ease or difficulty of the path beneath my feet. 
While I am concerned with knowing a way, Jesus draws me to Himself so I can know THE Way. 
We all have a way we are wondering about and wandering around. 
Let's stop our worry and let go of fear. 
Trust The Way for His way on your way. 
You may not know it all, but you know Him- and I promise that is enough. 
That's may prayer for us today. 
~Julie 
#SimpleTruth 
@first5App 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Leaving: Hope for a Mama's Heart



It's an unspoken mommy truth: one day they will leave.
This baby in your arms that you have waited on, prayed for, dreamed of, will one day drive away into their own dreams.
And so we push that truth down and blink away tears and keep that little unspoken dammed up behind our mommy wall so we can live the day.
Not because we wish it away or believe we can delay it, but simply because the thought of living without your heart seems paralyzingly impossible.

When they seek you out for a hug, advice, snuggles, quality time...the unspoken flashes before you, and you linger in that moment to help stand on your feet in the soon to come.
But how did we even get here? How are these little feet even walking, running, driving, going out into this big world without us holding those stubby little fingers in ours?
How did time sneak up on us?

No one tells you in those endless, sleepless nights of vomit and nightmares that it is inching closer. 
No one tells you in the sibling squabbles and slamming doors that it's closing in on the horizon.
When we wish any of it away, we move past the very moments that unite us in the days beyond the leaving. 
Every ache, every tear, every fight, every stumble are opportunities for roots to dig deeper, so they can fly higher.
Every laugh, every accolade, every face to face moment, every I love you, wire us for a lifetime of connection that distance cannot undo.

So yes, our hearts will ache with love and pride that swell as they stand up in who they are, this grown up human they are destined to be. 
And yes, that unspoken truth behind that wall in the depths of our mama hearts may even burst and result in a massive flood of tears and emotion.
But it isn't because we haven't known it was coming- it's because we didn't see how quickly it was approaching. 

Mommies know their babies will leave.
But we breathe deep because our babies know the truth we have been imprinting on their hearts every moment before this leaving one: they can always come back. 

Your baby may walk out of your door, they can never walk out of your heart.
Release the leaving and hold onto that mommy truth. 

#SimpleTruth 


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Spit and Mud to Heal My Mess


Spit and mud: Jesus uses it in John 9. Seriously. 
And for what? A miracle. 
Jesus sees the blindness-this mans point of need- and meets him there with spit and mud. 
Sometimes I get mad about an area of "blindness" in my life- places in need of His miraculous. I get bitter in my blindness. I don't understand why I have to live life saddled with physical frustrations and impairments...storms camped out over me spiritually, emotionally, situationally, relationally. 
But then when JESUS approaches my need with spit and mud...I lament over messy methods and delay or even miss my miracle. 

When asked about this man's blindness Jesus simply says this: "...but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."(John 9:3) 

What if I took this approach, had this mentality toward every occurrence and every area of my life?
What if I lived with that level of pure, simple confidence that Jesus WILL display His glory through the miraculous in my life...even if His intervention is unconventional by my standards? (see spit, mud and a face washing!) 
Will I embrace spit and mud from the Master in order to see my miracle? 

I'm blind in so many ways. But I know God has a plan for His glory in it all if I will just surrender to His process. 
I don't love the method every time...but I love and trust the Master. 
And that is enough for me. 
I'm praying you embrace the spit and mud, too. 
~Julie 
#simpletruth #first5 @first5 @proverbs31

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Posture of Grace


John 8 begins with a bang. 
An adulterous woman, caught in the act. I know many of us recognize sin in our life- but how many of us can say that the thing or things we are most ashamed about, we have actually been caught in the very act of doing, and then had it announced in the town square before religious leaders?! 
Let that sink in a fat minute. 
This is a for real moment in this woman's life. As in- how do you even stand up under the weight of all that shame? But they stood her before Jesus and her community and declared her sin for all to see. 
What strikes me is what Jesus does: he stoops low. He bends down. 
He took the posture of Grace. 
Philippians 2 reminds us of that:

“And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,”
Philippians 2:8-9 AMP

He lowered himself so she could stand in the midst of her accusers. 
And that is what the cross and empty grave have done for you and me. 
All her accusers dropped their stones and walked away, "...until only Jesus was left with the woman, standing there."(John 8:9) 
Only Jesus. Alone in His presence. That's when you see the truth of who He is and who you are in His eyes.  
I'm afraid that as soon as the stones fell, I would have run away in shame, bearing the weight of the condemnation that brought me to that place. 
But she remained...and in doing so let Jesus declare the opportunity for new life over her.
"...And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more." John 8:11
In the same place they declared her sin and shame, JESUS declared her righteous through His grace. 
When I am accused, when I am judged- right or wrongly- how do I respond? 
Do I run from Him or to Him? 
Do I dare remain as this woman did and glimpse this unconditional Love? 
Am I willing to position myself to receive grace from the One who is postured to issue it? 
Only then can I step into who HE says I am- when I allow His declaration of truth to redeem me. 
Jesus disarmed her accusers to arm her for LIFE. 
That is the power of Grace. 
Let that marinate in you so it can pour out through you in every place you enter. 
Let's position ourselves for Grace, but let's take a posture of Grace in our lives so that others can see this crazy love of Jesus. 
I am asking the Holy Spirit to help me embrace it AND live it. 
That's my prayer for you today, too. ~Julie 
#simpletruth 
@first5 #first5 @proverbs31

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Most Important Thing About You


"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."- Tozer

Jesus is polarizing. John 7 reveals that. Verse 43 tells us people were divided because of him. 
Why? Because what we believe about Him is the most important thing about us. 
It determines if we live FOR or if we live FROM. 
We live FOR our thirst to be quenched or we live FROM the Thirst Quencher. 
We live FOR righteousness or we live FROM His Righteousness. 
We live FOR victory or we live FROM His victory. 
We live FOR satisfaction or FROM our satisfaction in HIM. 
We live FOR love or we live FROM His perfect love. 
Jesus says in verse 38, "Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow FROM within him." (my emphasis added) 
FROM is inside-out living. FOR is outside-in.
FROM is transformational. FOR is temporary.
FROM is grace filled. FOR is effort filled. 
FROM is empowering. FOR is draining. 
FROM is focused. FOR is afraid. 
In every part of our lives we are choosing to live FOR or to live FROM. 

I am asking God to show me where I've chosen FOR...asking Him to rearrange and add to those letters to help me live FROM. 
That's my prayer for you today, too.
~Julie 
#simpletruth @first5app @proverbs31ministries #first5 

Monday, August 3, 2015

When Reality is Rough


*** I am currently walking through the book of John with Proverbs31 ministries using the First 5 App. 
This post is part of what the Holy Spirit is teaching me and revealing to me personally as I dig into this part of His Word. 
Jump into this study with me by going to www.first5.org or downloading the app for your device.***

John 6: Jesus feeds the five thousand; Jesus walks on water. 
This chapter is full of miracles but it's also full of moments that can sometimes get glossed over because of their magnitude. I can't help but think about the people IN those moments, witnessing those miracles. These were real problems, real hunger, real storms, real fear, real questions, real uncertainty. Those stories we read and summarize and throw into sentences were their realities. 
And when you are in the middle of your reality, believing for a miracle isn't as easy as reading ahead a few verses- because when it's YOUR reality, you can't read past the verse you're in; you can only believe that Jesus has already perfectly written it. 
So today it's taking everything I have to put my pen down and let Jesus write the miraculous in the current reality of my life verses. Instead of pining over all the drafts cluttering my mind and my soul, I am using every ounce of who I am to draw close to the Author and Perfector of my faith. 
I can be like Philip who could not see the way so decided it was impossible, or be like Andrew who even though he didn't see how, chose to go to Jesus and surrender what they had. 
What I have today doesn't feel like a lot, or look like a lot, but Jesus is my abundance. He is the Multiplier. He is the Miracle Worker. He is the Way Maker. He is the Storm Calmer. 
I'm inviting Jesus into my reality. He's already written the miracle- I just have to surrender the pen and believe the Author. 
That's my prayer for you, too.
~Julie 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Perfect Love



There's nothing I can do to make Jesus love me less, and there's nothing I can do to make Him love me more
He loves me perfectly. 

This is Grace truth The Holy Spirit stitched into this sinner's heart years ago. But I often revisit it...run my fingers across those words to remind my weary soul. 
And I repeat to myself: 
I don't have to BE perfect for Jesus to love me perfectly. 
At times like this that I just have to journal it to remind myself- to make it sink deep, because some days, some seasons, the world screams at me-this mama, wife, daughter, sister, pastor's wife, teacher, worship leader, writer- yes, the world screams the exact opposite at every turn. 
I am tempted to fall in love with working towards some false perfection rather than His Perfect Love.

But JESUS.

Hebrews 12 tells me that JESUS is the Author AND Perfecter of my faith. 
When I look Grace in the face, I am undone. 
When I am enveloped in the embrace of my Savior, my walls fall. 
When I am positioned at His feet, 
I am not driven to DO; I am driven to LOVE.
cannot hold back or hold in what He has done for me. 

When I live from His love and not for it, I am FREE to truly love. 
 
Hey Do-er? Breathe deeply. 
Every single bit of His love, grace, and forgiveness is available to you right in the middle of your mess and your crazy. Let's change our cry from "If God..." to the truth declaration: God IS! 
God is for you. 
God is with you. 
God is love. 
God is enough. 
He loves us perfectly, even though we are far from it. 
Find rest and JOY and POWER in that truth today. 
You are SO loved. 

Hebrews 12:2
"We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne."

Romans 5:8
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." 

Friday, March 27, 2015

When You Are GIVE.SLAP.OUT.


I hear the voice screaming:
"Give in! Give up!"
Why? Because I'm 
GIVE.SLAP.OUT.

Who's been there? Who is there? I know we all need to raise our hands on this one. 
From endless demands, to overloaded schedules, to impossible requirements...and the list goes on. 
We want to stop the crazy but we don't know how. We want to escape the hard because we have failed to bring the change we want to see. 

But you and I? 
We have a choice. 
Just because that voice is screaming, it doesn't mean its message is TRUTH. 
You and I? 
We can choose to stand up under that lie...that temptation to RUN FOR THE EVER LOVIN' HILLS. 
Because JESUS...He's been there. 
And JESUS? 
He's got a trade for you: 
Your heavy burden for His fullness of Joy- right smack dab in the middle of whatever crazy you're in. 
He wants to carry that weight. 
He has been tempted and has walked through it perfectly...so you don't have to crumble trying to.
Don't give in my friend. 
Don't give up.
GIVE IT OVER to God. 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 
Matthew 11:28-30


"This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." 
Hebrews 4:15-16

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thirty-eight Special

"Noted for its accuracy and manageable recoil, the .38 Special remains the most popular revolver cartridge in the world more than a century after its introduction. It is used for target shooting, formal target competition, personal defense, and for hunting small game."- Wikipedia 
It doesn't feel old, really.
Thirty-eight feels like this inconspicuous birthday year that hovers between the culture exacerbated "mid-thirties confidence" and "forty over-the-hill irrelevance". 
Thirty-eight looks a bit like marking time when I glance its way.
A place holder of a year until the infamous ones show up.
A year in jeopardy of being stuck in what it was and paralyzed because of where it is headed.
And that is why 38 is so crucial.

Thirty-eight is special.
Thirty-eight has footprints and fingerprints that God intends to use just like 19, 25, and 32.

They're all good friends, you see- these years of my life.
They work together so seamlessly. Flowing one into the other, never overstepping each other's territory. I'm the one who tries to pit them against each other- comparing them, condemning some, praising others.
Yet here I am, just having barely aquatinted myself with this new year, so tempted to slap it with my preconceived ideas rather than embrace the character and potential that 38 brings as the clock strikes midnight. 
And just like that, 38 opens the door of opportunity and tiptoes in, inviting me to come along. 
But I get to choose: guilt or grace.
Guilt perpetuates the lies of insecurities and postponement.
Grace is what propels me through the uncertainty and into Christ's power and freedom.

Yes, thirty-eight is special.
I can see 26 and 35 are cheering her on and I see 40 waiting patiently, pregnant with her own potential.

And so, I am welcoming 38 in, and taking her by the hand and trusting where this year will lead me because it is a gift sculpted and designed by my Father.
I've got my thirty-eight special. My eyes are on the target. And we mean business.


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The #SimpleTruth is I choose #Grace over guilt. #eyesonthetarget