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A letter to Brave.

Bravery Amor,

Today, you turn two, and although you won’t remember this day, may these words hang in the air until you can grasp them, until your tiny hands turn into delicate feminine ones, until your little Spirit learns to sing songs of Love yet to be written.

You were always meant to be here. You were made for this time, and though your name echos the sound of your story, there is more to it then you know. He has a destiny for you to mark every soul you ever encounter and every hand you hold.  It’s in those moments  you share the very nature of who you are: Brave.

You can glean from the ceiling of purpose your mother knew was for you.
Let her ceiling be your floor.
You can draw from her strength because your story is as much about her as it is about you. And people will ask, baby girl, they will ask why your name is what it is, and why you are the way that you are; Unique, Set apart, A carrier of God’s glory.

You can tell them.
You can tell them your story and watch in amazement as God shifts their heart’s to His just because your profound name matches your Spirit.

Everyone who has ever known you, has left completely changed by you. You changed an entire family before you even took a breath. And that my love, is part of your destiny.

Never let anyone take any of that beauty from you, for it’s in that beauty, truth is told without saying much. Hearts are healed from His touch on your life, and your purpose unfolds right in front of people’s eyes. I’ve seen it happen, and each time it does, I celebrate His goodness.

Even though you are two, you have already changed people. You began changing people from the moment God set you in your mother’s womb, from the moment He began to form your tiny little face, and you glorious Spirit. He took parts of Himself and set them inside of you. So when you dance, when you sing, when you are a passionate wild little thing, when people watch you in amazement, I know why. He fashion you to be Loved, and you always were, right from the beginning.

You were made to be fearless because Love casts out fear. You were always made for greatness because He made you with plans in mind for you. You were always made to touch the world in a way that no one else can because He sings a new song over you each and everyday.

I love you, like you are my own. You have a part of my heart I never want back, and you’ve always had it, from the beginning.

I love you, now and always.

Love Always,
Aunt JuJu

PS. You always know where to find the cupcakes 😉

 

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March 21, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Sabrina - Julie, this is just beautiful. Brave is one special little girl and she is SO blessed to have the mother she does and the aunt that you are. Keep loving her fiercely and the world will know God’s purpose for her soon enough! xoxo!

March 21, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Lecia McDermott - awww jules~ she loves you so much!!! we love you so much!

Watermarks.

The cheers with grape juice filled wine glasses. Sets of his and her towels. Pink and blue stripped panels of our lives wind around each other mirroring the perfections of children’s friendships. The ups and downs of life sway back and forth from taking deep breaths, to exhaling when it’s necessary.  The “Mom!” crys are more often then the quite moments. The socks are more mismatched then not. The butterfly kisses are more than the meltdowns. The sting of being alone in the most glorious, raw, beautiful life moments is something that tugs at my heart more often then not.

Hope, the heart beat of the soul… I had mine, placed in a Tiffany blue box and tied with the bow of the ideal life.

God is so gracious to remove neatly tied ribbons to reveal boxes of origami paper dreams I have intentionally crafted.
He wants more than that for me. He wants heart stopping intimacy with Him and that comes from heart stopping trust.

Hope built on Pintrest life boards always cease when the WIFI cuts out. God gently removes me from fabricated ideas of my agenda and sets me in a place of not knowing what is going to happen; simply to instill in my heart, He is safe to trust. Somehow, it feels much safer to know a glimpse of the pathway ahead. When all of the folded paper is flown about the room and the box is empty, I am left realizing Hope can’t come from an idea of a solution. It can’t come from stale bread, it has to come from the Living Bread each and everyday. It has to come from the Fresh Mana moments of intimacy from His heart to mine.

My Hope has to be in His character and not circumstances. For me, He uses reconstruction of mental inventory, it always happens with a blank script of the future. My pen, His hand, and my soul Resting. Wringing my hands is a reflection of a soul whose confidence is set on self and control. He is teaching me, I don’t have to know where I am going, I just have to know He will be there every single step.

The Proverbs 31 woman laughed at the future. God laughs at the lies of the enemy. Yet crying seams to suite my heart’s disposition rather than laughing.
When hope is rooted in self, self has to sustain it. Control and manipulation knock on the door of self idolatry and before long it’s a hot mess of distrust.

When Peter stepped out on the water he didn’t know how many steps he would take. He didn’t know if he would walk on water for hours or minutes, he just stepped. He didn’t have to know what would happen next, he just looked at Jesus and walked towards Him. Peter trusted because He was walking towards Love. Whenever we take a step towards Love, fear dissipates. Perfect Love always casts out fear. Love always carries Hope. Hope is not in knowing what is going to happen, it’s knowing the One you are holding onto.

He knows I want that kind of fruit in my life. He allows circumstances that hit me to the core of my being to show where roots are growing, where there are seeds of distrust, and where my perspective lies. He wants the lies gone and the dark clouds to roll away to reveal the clarity that can only come from trust. Hope differed makes the heart sick, and my heart has been burning in a way I have never felt before. It has felt lost, longing, alone, stinging, and everything in-between. Yet He is constant, He has never left. He reached out His hand and held every piece of brokeness, from glass pierced hands to bruised expectations. He takes that brokeness and calls it beauty. He rips open the cave of isolation and shines light into the dark places. He calls me out upon the water…towards Himself.

It’s on the water I am most exposed, transparent, vulnerable. There is no safety but Him.

He wants to hear me say yes to Him in front of everyone and everything that has ever stopped me from intimacy with Him. Yes, in front of every fear that has ever robbed me of anything. He calls me to take a step because He knows, in that moment faith is birthed, hope is restored, and that one step becomes the greatest step. He has always been one step away.

Say, “Yes.”
He is calling you out upon the water…
)

Love Always,
Julie

Calledme

March 12, 2014 - 7:52 pm

Jennifer Brandon Soots - This gave me chills and I loved every part of it…..this song is perfection and my favorite :) you are a gem, Julie!!! Xo

March 12, 2014 - 8:01 pm

Your biggest fan - At work fighting back tears, this is why I sing this song as much as I do. Thank you for this I just love you Jules, you are love personified

March 12, 2014 - 8:09 pm

juliestory - I love you CASSY!!! Thank you for being such an incredible support, a cherished sister, and an incredible POWERHOUSE of the King. You are such an incredible gift to me

March 12, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Kathy Bryan Azar - Beautifully written, Julie. And so true for many of us. Though situations may vary, our hearts tend to be fickle. You are an inspiration.

March 13, 2014 - 9:44 am

Ashley Stephen - sleepless at 4 am and stumbled across this…ministered to me so much! thanks julie! :)

Joy.

I never really like going through trials.
I mean, who does?

My comfort zone is like stone henge of 4 thick deep walls and I’m right in the middle. In that place, I’m good.
My comfort zone and I are more than just friends, we are soul ties.

But in the severing of ties through various ups and downs in the journey of intimacy with the Father, God constantly pulls me out of my stone wall company and stretches me to uncomfortable places.

Comfort: A word now I associate more with thick wool blankets then situations.

I found a verse in James this week that came alive to me. One that has been Christianized, plastered on t-shirts, and made and anthem of through various sermons, Jesus mugs and teeny-bopper scrunchies….

Jame 1: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Whenever I have seen this verse in the past, I cringe a little . When I am in the thick of a trial, it doesn’t FEEL like joy even if I put a Jesus smilie sticker on the front of my JOY coffee mug.

The cup is still half empty….

It doest feel like joy when the stress of my shoulders weights down to the depth of my heart and when the tears won’t stop pouring out. It doesn’t feel joyful when my mind won’t stop thinking to the early morning hours and when my soul is weary from the enemy lies. It doesn’t feel like joy when I have to fight to position my mind in a place of complete trust when everything in me wants to hold onto control because… it feels more comfortable.

Joy comes from understanding what the out come of the trial is going to be.
Faith tested gives birth to patience. Tested faith actually carries another fruit with it.
The fruit of tested faith is patience.

V. 4 (Message) So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Patience in this verse sounds like it’s own process. It sounds like it has it’s own agenda and we need to stay out of the way until it’s has it’s way. Almost like it has a will of it’s own. Let Patience complete its corse so that we become mature and complete.

A me that doesn’t lack anything.
That sounds fabulous.

Patience is how we wait in the process. It’s giving up our will to control, to jump in and save ourselves. It’s letting go of manipulation and saying yes to complete and utter trust in Him leading us.

I love how the next verse is an invitation for intimacy with Him.

ASK for WISDOM. Ask for incite form the Father. He will give it.

So in the trial He gives us a little outline of gifts:
A tested faith with births patience.
Patience that makes us complete and perfect not lacking anything.
Wisdom from the Father. (If we ask 😉 )

We come out on the other end of the struggle, the tears, the journey, with Intimacy and Fruit from the Father’s heart.

It’s joy because of what is coming because of the trail. It’s joy because it means that there are nooks and crannies of our hearts that are being solidified through maturity. It’s joy because the outcome is a better us. He has set us up to succeed in every trial, every time. He works all things together for our good and in this verse He actually outlines the good, and thats just the beginning.

He wants us to know, that at the beginning of the trial we can already know the outcome. That outcome is so spectacular He wants us to experiences JOY even while we are in the trial because we already know what coming.

The rewards for Jesus going to the cross was Joy. That was the gift God choose to reward Jesus.

Joy is such a spectacular gift. It’s not just being happy or smiling. It’s an actual over flow that comes from the center of your being and bubbles over into goodness. I have fought battles being completely and totally joy filled, laughing the entire battle because of how incredible God is. Joy, like a lifting of the veil to see the revealed goodness of God. That is what Joy feels like and it is amazing.  We have access to that joy through Jesus all of the time. Joy is an incredible weapon of war fair. We can position ourselves to receive the joy of Jesus and fight the battle completely giddy at His goodness.

Always look at what the Father is doing.
The Father laughs at the enemy.
I’m just like my Daddy.

Love Always,
Julie

My niece, Bravery. Oct 2012

January 24, 2014 - 4:47 pm

Julie Story - Trails, Jesus Coffee Mugs and Joy <3 <3 <3

February 27, 2014 - 6:40 pm

Wendy Willis Cunningham - GAH! I seriously needed to read this today. I love you so much… and your journey is soooooo similar to mine that I can’t help but watch your transformation and be excited that one day… one day that transformation will be as noticeable within me.

History Maker

She ran into the house and threw herself on the bed in true Disney princess fashion. In matter of 30 seconds, she assumed the worst- there were going to be no Christmas gifts for her. NONE.

She saw the stack of neatly rapped presents, looked through them for ten seconds in search of her name and then proceeded to “melt-down” mode.
By the time I walked upstairs to ask what was going on, the tear level was at stage ten: head-pillowed-burried.

“NONE of the pink paper rapped gifts are for me. They are ALL for Bravery.  There are going to be no gifts are for me.”

In one moment, she had negated our entire history together. Every Christmas, since she was born, she has gotten a gift. She had no context for her assumption other than what she could see in that moment. She looked at the circumstances of the situation and because she couldn’t see what was planned for her, she assumed no plans had been made, regardless of our history together.

I felt that.

I saw me in her and the moments I have done this with God. I’ve looked at what He is doing in other peoples lives or what He is NOT doing in mine and I throw myself on my bed upset at the gifts I haven’t seen Him give me yet. I sit in a huff annoyed and frustrated telling Him everything opposite of our history together, while lies try and convince me He is different than how I have always known Him to be. I see His plans like a little child who can’t see the gifts yet, so they must not be coming.

“I know the plans I have for you…”says the Lord

I have a choice. I can choose to believe His character or the circumstances surrounding my frustrations. I can choose to believe even though I can’t see the pathway that does not mean He has not prepared one for me.

There are times when it feels like all we have is our History with Him. Like love letters stuffed in the draws of our hearts, there are words He has written to us beckoning us to remember the kind of Lover that He is. We are on a journey that leads us back to His heart and yet somehow in the panic of fear, we forget, He has plans for us we can’t see yet. He has something in store for us far beyond what we can ask or think.

Our history with Him is so valuable. It’s unique to us specifically. He subtly has given us an incredible relational tool that I long to see more valued in my own life…. the things He has done is a reflection of the things He is going to do. I can thank Him today for the break through I had two years ago and gain access to it in a new way today. I can praise Him for the moments that have yet to happened because I am confident in His character. Even if I can’t see the outcome specifically right now, if He’s done it before, He will do it again.

Psalms 77:11 says “Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders” (Message)
Psalms 78: 1-4
1-4 Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth,    bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers,
counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
    we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
    the marvelous things he has done.(Message)

What God doing alive and active for me, but also for my children. How often has He kissed me with such a sweet blessing and then it’s forgotten by noon the next day! I long for a heart that is so enraptured by His voice, that each word He speaks I keep note of it like a Love story that will be carried on to my children. I want them to value history with Him like a love song that will be sung over us for the rest of our lives. The words He speaks over me they can have access to as well.

“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising,” Isaiah 63:7 (Message)

When it seems like He is not moving, when He is not speaking, when He is blessing people in your life with the gift you have been asking Him for…. praise Him. Praise Him because He is worthy, because what He did yesterday is as valuable as what He is going to do tomorrow.

He has already given us the tools to win every battle in our history with Him. He has prepare us for this day, this time, this season, this drought, this harvest in multiple moments that have lead us here. Open your eyes to see…

Write everyday down as an act of worship to the One who is worthy. Steward the things He has told you and is telling you. Keep track of it like your life depends on it. He is writing on your heart and is an active listener to your soul. He longs to lavish you with Hope and awaken dreams. Document words from heaven – what He is doing and what He has done. When there is a day where perpetual rain is hitting your heart, begin to releasing thanksgiving for the History you have with the Creator of the stars.

You are loved. Write your Love Story.

Love Always,
Julie

You might like this message by Jason Upton. It is one of my favorites. <3

PS She said it was the best Christmas ever…..


Image By Lecia McDermott.

January 7, 2014 - 7:02 pm

Lecia McDermott - Awwww :)

January 7, 2014 - 7:04 pm

Cassy - Perfection as always! Love this, it ministered right to my heart! Love you Jules!!

Relationship Status: …

I watched her.
As a single mother she was vulnerable.
She dated a still married man and got more than just her heart involved before the proper time.
As they got more connected I watched and realized… I AM vulnerable.

As a single mother, I am more vulnerable than most women. I have more hearts involved than just mine. I have to guard mine and theirs. I realized as I watched her and gleaned from her experiences, that her hopes and dreams were probably just as woven in the hope of being married as mine are. I am convinced no little princess grows up dreaming of loving her children alone. Alone feels like a demon to conquer. When left untamed the lies of being “alone” are a constant distraction from the invitation for a closer intimacy with God.

Alone has a voice. It’s loud and profound. It stands on the head board and screams. It walks in the kitchen and boasts loudly. The quiet moment become a quarrel in the heart. The Alone Lie tries to convince us that “Our value comes from being with someone” and until that is fulfilled, it will sing and beckon more ugly sneers and vicious head games.

Alone; like popular girl in school who never wants you to be dating someone because…. she is not.

I remember the moments when someone would tell me, “Someday you will find someone amazing,” and as they pranced away with an incredible guy on their arm, I would realize I never want to hear that statement again… …and still don’t. They might as well say, “One day you will be awesome because you have someone awesome.”

I AM awesome, because I AM made me awesome.

The mission of life is not our relationship status. Our status is to aid us in the Kingdom work in either case. When our value is defined by a desire in our heart, we devalue the desire. We loose the standard of love He placed in us. We become defined by what we have instead of Who are are in covenant with. These truths are to become more than statements that rest on the still waters of our minds. They are to become and anchor of our soul.

I stood aboard a boat last year, completely smitten with a couple who revealed God’s nature in their courtship. I saw them few weeks ago and reminded the groom-to-be that the way he walked towards his lovely future bride leads people to the heart of the Father. His love for her lead me to the heart of the Father. I am still struck by the profoundness and the details of the way he loves her. His love for her is leading people to the gospel. How incredible.

Ladies, if the way The Mr. pursues you doesn’t look like the way Jesus pursues, it’s time to jump ship. The way he treats you now can be a clear indication of the way he will treat you when you are old and crinkled, when make-up doesn’t hide the wisdom of the face, and when years have added more to you than you realize. His nature now can be an indication of his nature then…

After walking through the storm of divorce I’ve learned the value of understanding the expectation of the roles in a marriage. The relationship should always be leading people to Jesus naturally. When we are in alignment with His nature, the over flow is the intent of the covenant: to reveal Jesus and His nature towards the Church. The vows? The ones you are dreaming of, the ones that make your heart sing and soar, the ones that profess selfless amazing epic love…. what The Mr. is really promising to God, is that he is going to die to himself everyday FOR YOU. Just like Jesus died.

If he is not dying now, you can’t nag him to death in the marriage. It a choice he has to make from the intimacy of his heart, yielded to the Father. God’s nature is the only one who can reveal to the man the relevance of his own nature. It should reflect God’s. Ladies, insecurity will make excuses for poor man-frog-character. We justify a whole lot of men’s selfish living because we are starving for affection. Alone has kept our minds and hearts in a perpetual state of neediness. Thus when a frog comes alone, we’ll take it. His charm, his good looks, his pride, his lack of integrity and honor, we chose to take it all on. We wear his junk like a robe of honor because AT LEAST Alone can’t kick us in the face any more.

I promise, it’s better to be single than wish you were.

The Alone Lie has an open invitation to every marriage that is not under God’s authority. The marriage bed can feel warm and cold all at once. Alone in a marriage creates a desperation unlike any other. It screams louder, hits harder, and creates a completely chaotic platform that beckons emotional cliff jumping.

There are places of your heart that were create for God and God alone. When the idea of a man or a man himself gets stuffed into a God shaped environment, the man suffers, you suffer, and connectivity with God suffers. You are damaging the intent of the role of a husband by forcing the controlled expectations of emotional needs onto a person. The Lies of Alone should be a gigantic indication there is a heart agreement with the enemy. Those lies can’t live in your house unless you allow it. Write up the eviction notice… TODAY.

You were made for more than the dream of being with an incredible man. Chances are, God placed that seed in your heart because He wants that for you….. But beyond the head knowledge of being an “active soul mate waiter” ask God what you were made for… run towards that. Run towards the passions you have living inside of you that and longing to escape and fulfill God’s dreams for you. Waiting around for a husband before stepping into who you were made to be is like sitting in a brand new convertible form Daddy God and leaving it in park. Steward the gift from Papa, steward the time. Honor Him by honoring what He made you for. Turn on the car. The tank is full. Go.

Ruth was serving when Boaz noticed her.

Its time to move beyond the dormant life of waiting around and run after God’s heart…. The enemy wants you to be debilitated by the lie. He wants you to sit in the parked car waiting around. It’s time to kick the Alone mindset to the curb and reconnect to the One who never leaves you alone….

Love Always,
Julie

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December 20, 2013 - 5:29 am

Shampa Rice - Thank you precious friend <3 you are so so encouraging and filled with Hope to Give ! Thank you for being a fore runner for women all over the world .... even a little women from India like me is smiling big because of your words :)

December 28, 2013 - 6:00 am

Sherry Gillard - Love you daughter! So proud!! xoxoxox

August 17, 2014 - 7:50 pm

Karen Muniz - Julie this is EPIC!!! Seriously love it!!!! Love you girl!!!