Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Line in the Sand

A line in the sand. 
The urban dictionary says it’s,"Something that you refuse to do, or something on which you will not compromise. A point that you will not pass in any situation."
You might call it a defining moment. 
That moment you firmly choose which way you’re headed at a particular crossroads of life. 
It’s the place where ideas are birthed, visions are cast, declarations are penned, challenges are accepted. Mediocre is not welcome, mundane has to flee, and uncertainty is exiled. 
That is what happens when you draw the line in the sand. 
You decide that you will go no further in that same old way. No more compromise. It stops here. 
And the new mindset begins. 

But sometimes you need someone to remind you that you are worth that line in the sand. 

And I think that is where I was when I received this message from my friend.
A picture of my name and 2017 in the sands of a Hawaiian beach that brought me to tears.

What was just a simple gesture, a rake of the finger across granules of earth, a mere moment in time for her…that became a defining moment for me. 
What I had desired in my heart, was drawn in the sand for me.
She stooped down to drawn lines in the sand that spelled out a future not dictated by my past, but a future declared by the passion and positioning of my present. 

And in that moment I was reminded of Another who once did the same for a woman caught in sin and faced with a past so insurmountable that she could not imagine her future. I can only imagine that she stood before her accusers and could not find the hope to grasp in that moment. 

But Jesus.

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and sin no more.’” (John 8:6-11)

Jesus drew lines in the sand that changed her future from condemnation to grace. 
And the line that Grace draws? It changes things.
He drew a line in the sand of her present that declared her future untainted by her past. 
A defining moment. 
A woman on the doorstep of condemnation, now a woman on threshold of transformation. 
She simply had to remember that line in the sand.
That place where Jesus stooped down, raking his finger across granules of earth, and spelled out a future not dictated by her past, but a future declared by the forgiveness of her present. 
A defining moment that defined her life.
A defining moment that didn’t tell her she had to stay in the familiar- it unleashed her into the freedom of her present and the promise of her future. 

That’s what a line in the sand will do: unleash you from the ordinary into the extraordinary, from the mundane into the insane, from the past into the power, from the mediocre into the marvelous, from the safe into the spectacular. 
And sometimes God uses another to draw that line in the sand of your heart. 
To remind you, you are worth that finger scraping the earth.
You are forgiven.
You are called to GO. 
You are worth that defining moment where a thing is birthed, a vision is cast, a declaration is penned, a challenge is accepted. 
All you have to do is believe. 
Believe that you ARE who Jesus says you are and you will DO what He has purposed and prepared for you in advance to do! 

A line in the sand.

Let the new mindset begin. 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works , so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

“…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Itty Bitty Life

It's a huge assignment. 
And sometimes I feel so small for the task. 
But Jesus didn't think so: He died and rose again for me to have it. 
He absolutely believes that I am enough for every single task, every single encounter, every single valley I enter and every single mountain I am called to scale to make His name known. 
Not because of any good or any power that I alone possess. No. 
It's because He is enough in me. 
When I fully embrace the One the world so desperately needs to know, that is when I so beautifully make Him known. 
Not because I am asking the world to look at me, but because I am so locked in on Him they can't help but see the One who has captured my gaze.
I can only truly represent a heart I fully know. 
That is when I become an ambassador for Christ. 
So today, even when I feel like the tiny and powerless, I will focus my spirit on the only One with power to make me big and bold. He will take my itty bitty and do great big things as I stand surrendered. 
What will my life say about Who He is today? 
 #SimpleTruth to power your day, you life and connect others to His tender grace.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Unexpected

It hit me a while back. 
One of those deep thought moments where truth just pierces and you see what you couldn't see when you had to take that first step of faith that scared you and almost paralyzed you.

It hit me when I was siting on a bus on a once and a lifetime trip that had all come about because of something I never expected. 

I never expected to be diagnosed with major health issues. 
I never expected to try all the "right" things and still end up living in daily pain that no one even really knew about or understood. 
I never expected for a quick message to turn into the path to pain free. 
I never expected on that path to find the opportunity to share this hope with others. 
I never expected to be reduced to tears over stories of success and renewed health. 
I never expected so many doors of ministry to open simply because I shared my struggle. 
I never expected to be able to speak the love and life of Jesus into so many people's circumstances. 
I never expected financial blessing and freedom. 
I never expected any of it. 

Because I was living from my limited expectations instead of from my LIMITLESS God. 

I was dreaming from a safe place. 
I was compartmentalizing my life, unable to see the possibilities of where heaven meets earth...where everything I have to offer is surrendered to Him in every place, in every situation. 

My mission is to lay down MY mission and take up HIS in any and every opportunity He places before me. 

All of these are pieces of my dream- glimpses of who I am- who HE created me to be. 
And they are all His.

I long to be a person that allows the Lord to loose heaven through me. 
I never expected God to use something that I hadn't even considered. 
But He did. 
And I am thankful I get to share that with others. 

One year ago He prompted me to step out in scary faith and bare my soul. 
It's been a journey of growth that has stretched me in so many ways.
And I wouldn't trade it for a thing. 
I know it's only just begun. 

The only way to limit less in life is to live LIMITLESS in CHRIST!! 
#SimpleTruth for your day, your week, your! :) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

South Carolina Heat and Jesus Fire

It's hot. Like I just want to hire people to fan me hot. If you haven't lived in the south, and you don't know what SC 100 degree heat feels like, you can just nod and pretend. 
If you have, you just said, "Bless her heart" and meant it. 
You don't leave anything in the car during the daylight hours unless you want it warped or cooked. Ask Jarrett's poor Chipotle rewards card he left on the dash. 
And God bless your soul if you sit down on leather seats with anything shorter than capris. It's the kind of hot you feel with every breath. It's humid and hot and even the shade wants relief down here. 
And while I complain and fan with my old church fan in the car(not even kidding- see pic))

WITH the air running...all of the sudden, I remember. 

I remember all those Facebook posts about a countdown to summer I saw everybody posting and the longings for heat filled bathing suit weather and all the sunshine. 
We asked for these days. 
We longed for change. 
But for that cold season to leave, heat had to arrive. 
Change could only come with heat. 

No doubt: Heat changes things. 

And so it is when God allows the heat, the fire of life to come to that area where I've been asking for change...and I pitch a fit. I fan and whine wanting the heat to be turned down because it's just hard to breathe sometimes. 
But He is changing my season and the heat has to come. 
He is transforming this vessel and the fire has to breakdown what was to prepare for what will be.

And I have to trust Him. 

Melted hearts in the hands of the Refiner.
The fire doesn’t change our worth, it changes our purpose.
Melted gold is still gold…its just being shaped by the Creator into something that is going to add to its value, not detract from it!

It will not be comfortable or easy. 
It may feel like running barefoot on a SC blacktop some days. 
But there's a big patch of country grass and clover waiting to pause and cool my weary feet and my racing heart along the way and it's right next to the heart of my Daddy. 

So when the heat comes and the fire blazes, just know that what we call destruction, God calls preparation for purpose. 
It may feel like an end of good things, but in reality it is the beginning of GOD things. 

God's plans are to prosper us, to PROPEL us into our purpose and future. 
He is our Refiner. 
He is the Rebuilder of broken walls. 

So the next time you feel like Jarrett's chipotle rewards card left on the dash in this SC summer heat- all warped and bent- remember that it just means you're ready and able to be shaped for a purpose you may not yet know in the hands of your Father who DOES. 

Fan on fiends. But don't remove yourself from the hands of the Refiner. 
He makes all things new. 

#SimpleTruth for when the heat comes. 
Praying you know your worth in Christ today and everyday.
“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’””
Zechariah 13:9 NLT

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:19 NLT

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I don't know about you, but in my life, it's so easy to fall into the trap of judging others for their grumbling and then justifying my own. 
I see it around me, but am blind to it in my own life. And then I wonder why all the bumps and bruises. It's because I've been walking blind. Grumbling only increases my stumbling in the place I am walking through. 

God is sovereign. 
Not just over the situations I like, but even over the ones I don't. 
God is good. 
Not just in the situations that make me happy, but even in the ones that shake me to my core. 
Those simple truths are what fuel my gratitude. 
I have to let the fire of those truths sweep through my heart to refine and purify my heart, my mind, my intentions, my plans, and my actions. 

Gratitude opens my eyes to see not just A WAY but to see HIS WAY- no matter how dark or daunting the place I'm in. 

Gratitude is transformational. 
Grumbling is toxic. 
So what am I choosing: toxicity or transformation? 

Everything I encounter may not be the situation I want, but the ONE I want above all has already seen it, known it, and made every provision for me so I can walk through it victoriously. 

He is sovereign. He is good. And He wants a relationship with me. 
THAT is worth my attitude of gratitude. 

It isn't easy, but it's possible when we focus our mind on Jesus, our eyes on the Father, and our ears on the Spirit. 
Praying that in His strength we can all walk out that #SimpleTruth today. ~Julie

Friday, April 15, 2016

Herder to Hero: Finding Purpose in the Everyday

Sometimes we want the grand purpose of a giant slayer when Jesus is asking us to be a faithful sandwich deliverer and sheep herder. 
David was often called from his sheep pen to the battlefield...but it was only to take the soldiers their sandwiches. His dad sent him to feed the fighters and bring back, not his own amazing story, but the story of his brothers. 
David lived his life serving sheep, slaying animals, satisfying hunger, and telling other people's stories. 
Instead of getting to stay where all the action was, "David went back and forth", the Bible says. 

Maybe we can all relate to that a little? 
Stuck in the back and forth. Living what feels like the movie "Ground Hog Day", listening to stories all around us, but so painfully aware we are never moving forward in our own

Before David was a hero, he was a herder. But it was that day in and day out herding that prepared him for the day he was to be a hero. 

When we are longing for some glorious purpose on a well manicured platform, what we need to understand is that it may show up as a dirty, screaming giant in the middle of your daily delivery. 
Will we be positioned?
Will we be ready? 
Will we consider it someone else's problem? 
Will we have tended our stinky sheep so faithfully that we are confident to take on the giant slaying?

I want to answer yes. 
But some days, I think I am so busy complaining about my back and forth, that I never even see the great big purpose he sends into my path. 

Our faithfulness in the back and forth positions us to be propelled into the heart of our purpose

When you have trusted God to fight for you and be with you in your behind the scenes battles, you won't run from that looming giant out in front of the will run TO it. 
You will wonder why everyone else is running away. 
You will stand in confidence that God is bigger than that giant in the path of your purpose...because you know He put it there to propel and prepare you for whatever is next. 
Just like with David, people may not understand your willingness to take on the giant...but, they didn't see the fights you've already come through. 
You can say with boldness, 
“The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” 
1 Samuel 17:37 

The herder became a hero because he trusted in Him. 
The Lord who rescues is the Lord who redeems. 
He rescues you in the everyday to redeem you for that some day. 
That day your purpose looms large and you know for a fact you are beaten and unable so you consider running back to the sheep pen and sandwich delivery. But then, you stop listening to everyone scream in fear and discount your contribution and you start listening to the One who has assured your victory because HE is more than able!! 

Don't resent your days in the sheep pen...its preparing you for the giant that marks the path of your purpose. 

#SimpleTruth for your everyday as you wait for that some day. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Simply Marvelous

For a preacher's daughter turned preacher's wife in the south, the Resurrection of Jesus is not new news to me. 
As a matter of fact, it is the sole reason I can take a breath to the deep part of my lungs.    

But even though I intentionally keep the knowledge of that truth before me...I found myself frozen over one word as I read about the familiar scene of the Resurrection in Luke 24:12:

“But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”
In the original Greek, this verb carries the meaning to properly wonder at, be amazed, astonished out of one's senses, awestruck. It's root word- a noun- means that the "marvel" is something that powerfully strikes the viewer personally and evokes an emotional astonishment. 

Peter saw the stone rolled away, the grave cloths folded, the tomb empty. 
And he left marveling: amazed, awestruck, personally and emotionally impacted by what he had seen. 
And it positioned him for a step of faith. 

Have I stopped truly marveling at the resurrection? 
Have I stopped allowing the power and awesomeness of what Jesus did for me impact me deeply, personally? 

Are we living so guarded that the power of the Resurrection no longer leaves us astonished and undone? 
Or maybe that is what we are holding at bay: the possibility, the idea, the fear of some area we have in lock down becoming undone. 
And so we meander by the empty tomb every now and then...never really looking in...comfortable and content with the concept of Jesus and His resurrection- but nothing more.

When we marvel and find ourselves emotionally impacted and amazed out of our senses, we can at the same moment find ourselves positioned for a step of faith. 
A step of faith that requires us to stop believing that whatever we are stuck in is all there is. 
A step of faith that asks us to trade death for life in every area- even that deepest, darkest place. 
Because Jesus went to the deepest, darkest place and won the victory in your stead and in mine. 

Peter's marveling positioned him for a step of transforming faith that turned him from ashamed denier to powerful declarer. 

God doesn't need us to marvel to stroke his ego.
He wants us to marvel to fuel our faith. 
He longs for us to move past the idle thought of the resurrection and move forward in the POWER of the resurrection! 
We have to let it impact us personally, deeply, emotionally, individually. 
Because it will position us to be transformed from ashamed deniers to powerful declarers.

Run to the tomb. 
Stoop and look inside.
See that Jesus is.not.there. 

Move past the mention of the resurrection...and MARVEL at the magnitude of what the resurrection means for every piece and every part of who you are. 
That is where the life change happens. 
That is when the chains fall. 
That is when the walls crumble. 
That is when grace wins: when we refuse to be blinded by our mediocre meanderings and choose to MARVEL at the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

Marvel at the resurrection. 
Then, step out in a faith full of wonder and power like never before. 
#SimpleTruth for a marvelous life. 
And my soul shall ever be. 

"How marvelous! How wonderful! 
And my soul shall ever be. 
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me." 
 -hymn, "I Stand Amazed" 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Falling into Faith

Sometimes it's just plain hard to believe this. For real
To trust that God not only has all the pieces but that He has the picture on the box. 
He knows what the grand and beautiful masterpiece looks like, and He is placing every piece...even the hard, hurting ones...and you and I can trust He knows not just THAT it fits, but HOW and WHY it fits. 
And that is enough. 
I am learning to live like I know this and believe it. It's not easy...but I am FAITHING it even when I don't FEEL it. Part of our family mission statement declares "God is always at work to bring about His purposes." 
This...THIS is what I want to live and not just say. And leave a legacy as one who walked it out even when it was a stumbling, ugly hot mess. 

That's my prayer for you, too. Not as one who has arrived, but as one who is ONE the journey.