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Tinkerbelle & Testimony Gardens

Every time she describes the story, her eyes light up the same way. Her favorite moment as Disney World was not the one I was expecting,but with every new person she greets since the trip, she tells the story with slightly more enthusiasm.

“And then at the parade, Tinckerbelle-was-on-the-flaot.” Her wordsrunningtogetherinsuper excited six year old fashion as she explains more, “She was going by me, looked right at me and then she blew a kiss right TO ME. The kiss became lights that came right AT ME!  THATWASMYFAVORITEPART.”

As I watch her tell the story, all I can think is Disney just gets it right. Every. Time. Little did they know that one moment made her feel like she was the most special kid in the universe. And I bet the 100 other kids Tink blew kisses to on the rest of the parade route, are all are telling the story in thesamehipperexcited way.

I was reading in a book this morning called When Heaven Invade Earth and all I could think about was the infamous Tinkerbelle-kiss moment. Bill Johnson talks about testimonies of God and how when we tell about the miracles He has done in our lives, tell about His goodness and the things He has done, it stirs faith in all of us. It stirs us to the point of believing for the impossible.  I’ve heard Bill say testimonies are like gardens we can glean from. Ones which seeds have been planted and have grown. We can glean from the testimonies of each others gardens. Bill once said if its a testimony for me then it is prophesy for you. My little fairytale heart is exploding with the goodness of His Love, in the same way Leilie beams about her moment, I love to tell stories of His kisses in my life.

For the next few minutes, as you read, pretend my eyes are as big as Disney princess eyes can get, that I am prancing from one foot to the next in that giddy-wigglie-child like excitement because, I write this in faith. Faith for a move from God in my life and faith for you to to glean from this and say yes to it in your own life. What He did for me was a radical move of Love, a move that was impossible in my own efforts. If you would have told me in the middle of these moments would I be at this moment, I would have laughed, because my faith was so little.

3 years ago I had written a blog about climbing a mountain. I felt like my life was a hamster in a wheel, one that went round and round, one I couldn’t get out of. I was working at an office job I hated. I really hated. My hair was falling out, I gained 30 pounds from the stress, and I  was at a really low place. All I wanted was to be home with my kids and be a photographer. I was working 80 hours a week between my job and working into the wee hours of the night editing pictures and well… blogging.

I remember early one morning walking into my office of my job when no one was there, and bursting into tears as soon as I saw my desk. I eventually made it to the stair well to cry.

I spend a lot of time crying there. That place was soaked with tears, I assure you. I cried out to God everyday for 15 months wondering why He wouldn’t do something, change SOMETHING, even though my heart towards Him was really hard. I was in a complete and utter spiritual teenage rebellion* in every area of my life, but OH, when I didn’t like something THEN I wanted Him to “like.. DO SOMETHING! NOW!”

*This rebellion was not pretty people. I will spare you the dirty details but just imagine for a minute that I was really ugly in my heart, like Cinderella step sister ugly. The one with the ugly puffy dress and the stuck up nose….oh and then I became more upset because God wasn’t “making my life magical.” NOTE: BY NO MEANS am I saying this story had anything to do with me “doing something” to “get something” from Him, but I am saying He cares more about my heart condition than my comfort or happiness.

Yeah, just keeping it real people.

At that job, one nice thing was they let us listen to music while working, as long as we got our work done. Of course, I had been listening to tons of workshops on photography because that was the answer to freedom- “being more amazing” at photography. This was my ticket out…but on this day, walking over to my desk for what seemed like the millionth day, I knew something had to change. Everything in my life was a hot mess and and graciously God lead me to a video by one of my favorite people Jason Upton. That video lead me in such an incredible way. He talked about Jesus in the garden and how in the last moments before the cross Jesus poured out His heart, telling God He was faithful with the ones God had gave him.

Faithful with the ones He had been given.

My head phones where on and I remember something unlocking in my heart. I pushed myself back form my desk, and in that moment my mind shifted…back. Back to the One and the ones. I left that day determined to surrender, determined to be something different, determined to honor Him with the ones He had given me. My littles.

I went home and stopped. Stopped rushing the kids off to bed so I couldworksoIcouldwquitmyjobandbe…..
I stopped strivingtobethemostamazingphotographer.

I stopped, and began to be with Him.
I began to let Him in again. TO let go. To stop fighting Him trying to tug on my heart. I had walked so far away, I hadn’t even noticed how hard my heart was towards Him.

He didn’t want me to be perfect. He didn’t need me to have it all together… He just wanted my heart, and that day, as an act of love, I started with one little thing in my life that shifted the climate of my heart- being faithful with THE ONES HE HAD GIVEN ME.

I went to work the next day, still struggling, but a little more hungry for Him than the day before. I began listening to worship teachings instead of photography workshops… and little by little my heart began to change. What I didn’t realize was my life was about to get a major overhaul….

With-in 3 months of that day, I quit that job and began working from home doing graphic design. I made a commitment to keep my kids the main focus of my service to Him, understanding that these little ones are His children and my sister and brother in Christ. He gave them to me as gifts from His heart to be a good steward of.

I took the kids out of daycare (PRAISE JESUS!!!) and was able to spend my time not working 100% focused on them. I began making the same amount of money as at my old job with in the next month. From that moment, He began a financial faith walk that month, one that would absolutely require me to trust Him. Some months, I wouldn’t book clients until the 31st of the month, but every single month HE WAS faithful to provide above and beyond what my needs were. For a year I booked clients month to month until October of this past year.

In October God unlocked another part of my heart, one that was more hungry than I had ever known. I began worshiping in my room out of hunger for Him. I began stopping work at 11pm and created time and space for just worshiping Him. And then, I began booking clients in advance, well in advance. 2 or 3 months. That was another huge shift for me. Working less, spending more time just being with Him and more jobs coming in. More than I could have ever imagined. HE is so good.

I want you to know, He wants you to come and be with Him, not because of what He can give you, but because of how incredible He is. I want you to know that He wants to lavish you with incredible blessings… It’s His plan for you. He loves seeing His servant prosper. He will never give up on you. He is always right there waiting. He is not waiting for you to have it all together. He wants your heart. He wants you.. right there right now.. with the mess of the life that you have.. and He wants to hold you. He wants you to cry to Him, to have a real conversation, without the staleness of religion. He wants to hear your heart.

I’ve had many cry on the bed like a 14-year-old girl moments with Him. Those moments are some of the most incredible moments with Him.. because He longs for realness… He wants the real you.

“It’s ok mommy, you don’t always have to look your best all the time, you can just be you.” And with that I paused as I looked in the mirror tonight putting the finishing touches on “looking my best.” I paused with understanding there was something greater in the spiritual happening. I realized that moment from a 6-year-old was for you and me, right now. With Him, you don’t have to look your best, in appearance or life success. In fact, He would rather you didn’t, because the beauty He wants to put on you is far greater than the mask we place on ourselves, trying to be something we aren’t. He longs for you to just be you, with all of your imperfections and all of your realness. His love is raw, and He wants you to be too….

I write this as a reminder of who God has been to me. Of where He has taken me from. I wish you could see my eyes when I talked about His goodness. The day I quit that job, I went back to that stairwell and just worshiped…. and cried some more, knowing that He had waited, waited until He had my heart to take me from the pit, so that when I got to the promise land, I would know that He is the one who provided, He is the one who held me up, and rescued me out…. to give me more than  I could have ever imagined.

Now, I am not a photographer. I am a designer for photographers. Now I am not the best in the world, but I am the best in the world to two of the most beautiful people in the world…. them….

 

To Him be the Glory, Now and Always,
Love Always,
Julie

August 12, 2013 - 3:15 am

Genesis Ann Wheeler - Julie, I just love you more and more and more… your raw heart and vulnerable attitude effect change in me often. <3

August 12, 2013 - 4:10 am

Angelsea Urban - Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. :-)

August 12, 2013 - 1:47 pm

Taylor Peak - Stop making me cry at work! :)

August 12, 2013 - 10:55 pm

Kerri Reel Crutchfield - That is so beautiful! I just finished that same book and it wrecked me. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!

August 13, 2013 - 3:44 am

Heather Fink - Julie, I don’t know you, but your post came across a photographers group on Facebook and I had interest. So glad I read it! Thank you for sharing your testimony and being a great example of what it is to be worshipping our God and seeking Him. I really needed this. To Him be the Glory!

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