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The Orange Table Pep Talk.

The Orange table and I had a pep talk today.

They didn’t know it was coming. I didn’t either.

We sat together at the 3 foot high table, each of us in a blue plastic chair. Their wide eyes blinked at me slowly as I talked.
I looked over my shoulder. There were 6 colored circles, each representing a table. Each one had tallies under them.

Points.

The Orange Table was in last place.

“We need to pull it together” I said, scooting my chair a bit closer to the table.

The room was loud and full of lunch munchers, each at a different color labeled table. On every wall there were a rainbows of colors, projects, and shapes, but the only one that matter to me was Orange. With in 3 minutes of being in the room, the Mrs. had already said she was in the mood to give out more points.

“This is our chance guys. We need to work together as a team to get more points.”
I leaned into them as I talked and my son held my hand tightly.

When I first came in the room, he was covered in yellow paint and glitter from an art project earlier that day. With one hug and a kiss it rubbed off on me. He was at that table and because of that, I had an invested interest in their success. With a big-huge-gigatic-excited face he told me about The Prize. The Prize for the most points.

TWO huge scoops of popcorn.

TWO!

A prize worth the effort to the four 5 year-olds. All they needed now was to pull it together and work as a team.

I asked them what they needed to do to get the popcorn.
The cutest-number-one-stand-talking-offender you have ever see gave me the answer “Be good.”

I do this a lot. I’m vague in my hopes, vague in my dreams and I place a blanked statement over things never actually freeing my mind for success. “Be good.” was so broad. They needed something they can grab hold off…They have the vision but they needed more

“First rule: glue you hinney to the seat. Second, open your ears.” I had them all unlock their ears taking imaginary plugs out and with giggles they enthusiastically popped their ears forward. We all put our hands on each other’s like the kids in movie The Mighty Ducks. We were mighty.. They felt it.

“The most important thing to remember is we can encourage each other, when we forget what we should be doing we can remind each other and remember the prize.”  I spoke like I would be sitting at that kindergarten table with them. Like I would be there going through the ups and downs of the day. Like I took would receive the beloved popcorn prize… but really, I feel that way because my son is there. I want them to win. I want them to succeed.
In all these moments as a mother these are my favorite. These are the moments that God uses my kids to teach me about me. To teach me about Him. He sits at the table with me,  with the people He has put in my life and says “I’ve given you the tools you need to receive outragoues blessing… You need to work toegther and I will be coaching you all along the way.”

Being a mother has taught me more about God than anything else in my life. Maybe it’s the heart pull from two little being who represent my heart that live outside of my body. Maybe it’s the way they run up to me with excitement, or the glitter that I’ve covered in when I leave them.

Either way, I am smitten.

I realize my feelings for them aren’t even a grain of sand for how God feels for me. That sits at the surface of my heart, like I know this information logically but it hasn’t sunk in fully. I can know it in my head but I am hungry to know it in my heart. To feel it in my heart fully. This is a season He is drawing me into. I am realizing there is much more to understand about His passion for me, His love for me, than I have ever really realized.

I knelt hugging Leilie today and thought about how amazing it feels when she loves one me. It’s raw and messy. Sloppy kisses and silly faces…..but I love it. The things her I am talk about are most often are not deep, but I just sit and stare at her amazed I get to be Love to her.

There are moments in our lives we can miss when we rush, miss when we don’t go slow and just listen. When we stop watching the way our kids smile or what makes them light up, we miss something about them… We miss something about ourselves.

There is so much beauty in the slowness. Of living life aware of what the Father is saying, of living life aware that He really likes simplicity. When I hugged her today I hugged her wanting her to feel the love of God through me. Intentionally.

This word has followed me this year. Intentional. Loving intentionally, seeing people intentionally, listening to the Father speak to be intentionally. I realize as God has been unlocking many different languages to me that He is speaking through, how much of my life I missed what He was saying. He speaks in a still small voice because He desires the intimacy that comes form being a close listener. If He didn’t want relationship with us, He would move so much differently. He would be so different, but most everything in our life and heart He unlocks through relationships.  Relationships with Him, with people, with family. His heart is for people, coming together, growing together, working together. Being a family together.

I pushed my seat away from the Orange table realizing, this table had an advantage. They might be in last place now but over the weeks what could they accomplish because they had leadership in a different way than any other table. What would they accomplish if they became listeners? He uses the most simple things to talk to me. Even the stand-talker, by whom He reminded me, I can learn far from listening than talking.

He is always speaking to us and we have a choice to listen, and to learn how to be a listener. I never really understood this in my relationship with Him. I was so “la-te-da” that I never made being a listening of His Spirit a priority. Because of that, I use to only hear something from Him every few weeks. MAX.

A few weeks ago He began sending doves to my yard. It began with me asking for one and it showing up ten minutes later in a tree near my office. She moved a few minute later to something more personal, my car. Most mornings now, I stand on my tips toes looking over my kitchen sink through the window to see is she is in my back patio garden. Sure enough 9 times out of 10, she is there. Butterflies show up there too, but not just any butterfly, my favorite kind. One time for ten days straight there were a pair of doves and butterflies both there at the same time. Every morning. For 10 days. What is He saying in those things? He is speaking to my heart, and at other season in my life I totally would have just passed it off as coincidences.

I want to remind you.. He is really intentional, with every butterfly kiss He sends you.

Its not a coincidence Him sending things your way to love on you. He is a lover, and He speaks in many different ways. Softly and sweetly. It’s our job to learn His languages 😀 To learn to pursue Him for who He really is instead of forcing him into a box we’ve made for Him that looks and smells like a man.

We can have those Orange table moments, and see them for what they are: intentional moments He has planned to show us how He loves us. We can slow down and become listeners of His Spirit. We can live so close to His heart that when He speaks, in the stillness, in the quiet, we recognize Him because we live in a place of intentional listening, anticipating His love.
Love Always,
Julie

 

Isn’t HE THE CUTEST?! gosh, I love this little boy!

For this little dove I prayed, about ten minute before God sent her to my tree. I opened my door a little while later and there she was.. on my car. 😀

September 19, 2013 - 6:26 pm

Julie Story - Just got a email UPDATE on the Orange Table: they won… well the whole class did…<3 Its not a coincidence God sending things your way to love on you today <3

Road Signs & Abstract Suns

I was driving down the road last year and stopped at a familiar light close to my parents home. I looked lazily around until my eyes stopped on a sign, one near a house on a side road. It might have been there for years but I had never noticed  it before. It stopped me, in body and in my heart.

“Deaf and Blind child.”

I drove away, thinking. Thinking about that family and how everyday they drive past that sign. How when they pull onto that street they see it, but really, they don’t need that sign to remind them of everyday reality. I though about what it must feel like to have their biggest struggle be a sign for their neighbors, for strangers, for ones who have never carried their burdens with them to see… This is what they walk through every day…. and everyone knows it.

I wanted to hug them, right then and there.

And all of a sudden, I became very aware of my own signs, the imaginary ones that sit outside my being and point towards me. The ones strangers see. The ones that “define my struggles.”

There are times I feel like there are signs of who I am and who I am not placed at the entrance of my heart’s home. The signs of hurts from the distant past that feel like they will define my future. Somehow, even though all of these “signs” are imaginary, and can not even begin to relate to the journey of that family, I have felt the burden of my own hurts being a public description of my history.

One of my signs has been Divorced. This one is very interesting. Like an ugly jacket you are forced to wear. One that says somewhere along the line, no matter what the situations, I’ve failed. I couldn’t pull it together.  I couldn’t “make it work.” It’s like walking into a room with a big D on my forehead. A D that says I’m defective in someway… or at least that is the lie that had me bound for quite some time. This lie that says I am used. That I am not good any more because I had a lot of life I walked through.

It’s interesting how, when walking through life, we are handed one of two things: a lie and a Truth. The one we come into agreement with is the one that stands victorious.

The Truth will set you free.

I put my kids to bed last night and told them they were made for greatness, made uniquely each for a purpose. I held their sweet soft faces in my hands and kissed their cheeks like I always do. This morning I remembered I forgot to tell them something, something I wished someone would have told me everyday. You will hear two things in life: the Truth and a lie. Its your choice what you grab onto. It’s my job as their mother to lead  those little ones and tell them what is truth so when they hear a lie, they will know it is a lie. I picture them, walking through life, knowing they are sons and daughters of the King and they need to be reminded everyday.

I need to be reminded everyday.

Lies come to us in so many ways, and when we aren’t watchful and prayerful they slip into our hearts so quickly and before long we have built an entire imaginary mind world around them. A world that is destructive and painful. One that is full of who we are not instead of who we are because of Jesus.

I few days ago, I was driving and notice the clouds in the sky where muggy and thick and completely covered the sun so all the could be seen was just the distorted shape of light. I began to realize in that moment that if someone who have never seen the sun saw it that day, they would say “The sun has no shape. It is abstract.”  The clouds made the sun seem different than what is actually was. That person’s perception became truth because they did not know what the sun really looks like.

The Spirit was teaching me something that I haven’t even fully grasped yet…

Our perception of the Son does not change who He is.

We can see Him through a fog, not realize it, and be so certain that we are right about our perception of who He is. Lies can cloud who He is. We can cloud who He is.  And yet He doesn’t change.

We can let the lies of religion or the hurts of our life turn into clouds that distort who He really is. He is a lover, one that wants to define you by His love for you. He is the one that wants your identity to be more than the hurt you’ve walked through or the pain you’ve survived. Like a doctor who has seen the surgery of your heart but longs to tell the world, “She’s amazing… wait until you see the way I’ve created her to shine.”

Its so amazing to me that He wants to gift me His goodness. He wants to take who He is, and place it on me.. and then stand next to me like a proud Papa that says… “Look, no really look. Look at the way she laughs. Isn’t she great?”

He does that. A lot. Stands next to me proud, even in my immature moments. He know they are coming and He believes in me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  He is for me and that means when junk arises, when the lie is produced, He sits on the edge of His mercy seat excited for when I turn back to Him to find the truth, to find the my identity. He is cheering me on… He is cheering you on.

The truth will set you free. He longs for you to have freedom and to see Him for who He really is. For you to see you for who you really are. Ask Jesus. He will tell you. He is smiling over you excited to meet with you today.. right here and now… He is eager to gift you new perspectives about how incredible you are. He wants to show you how incredible He is…. <3 You are loved.

Love always,
Julie


(TEXT IN IMAGE FROM: DO YOU THINK I AM BEAUTIFUL: BY ANGELA THOMAS)

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!

Comparing & Love Pavers

 

 

When I heard her screaming I knew it was THE cry. Moms, you know it. The 10 on the cry scale. THE HURT CRY.

This one makers her tongue curl up on both sides and her face scrunch so much it wrinkles every part. This one means something horrible had happened….

And it had.

I heard it from behind, I turned around and bent down to her level in one swift motion.

“WHAT HAPPENED?” I said, thinking she got stung by a bee, or her hand had gotten chopped off by an angry Christmas elf…. or something equally horrific.

“MY ICE CREAM IS MELTING…..WAHHHH!!!”

*blink blink*

Her ice cream? Was melting?

YES, that’s right. We were at Disney world and I bought her an ice cream as big as her head and……….it was melting.

I couldn’t help but laugh. She was so darn cute and ridiculous all at once. Her ice cream was indeed melting and that my friends, what why she was screaming at a level 10. I ran to the ice cream counter, got a bigger ice cream cup, mixed it all together and poof: tears vanished. This moment will be forever etched inside my mind… I walked away laughing and shaking my head knowing that the 25 people who all saw the episode where judging my ability to mother….off of that one moment. (Thank you Alyssa for snapping a picture of this incredible moment……)

Sometimes we don’t talk about these moments. The real ones. The ones where the image isn’t perfect ( I REALLY think Disney should use this image for their next marketing campaign… don’t you? ) We don’t share the melt downs often of our kids or even ourselves. We show the pretty make-up pictures, the polished outfits, and our success that we totally want internet high fives for. Often, pretty facebook highlights leads us to compare, to look at the highlights of people lives and careers and yearn for them. The super cute pintrest clothed families or the amazing couples who are always cuddling and talking about their amazing lives. I’ve felt the sting of jealousy sifting through engaged couple after couple after couple… To be honest, sometime it makes me cry to see incredible dad’s with their happy families playing with their kids. (It’s a part of my restoration I am totally am looking forward to one day..) And it’s really beautiful to me to see affectionate husbands love their wives openly. As God has matured my heart, He has shown me I can be such an extension of love, encouraging the people who are being such an example of love to me, instead of being jealous of the blessings He is giving to them.

As we were leaving Disney that night, and I was pushing the stroller for the last mile. The air was stale and there were more kids passed out in their parents arms then walking. I noticed below me with every step there were names etched in the burnt red stones that lead the way to the magic kingdom. Pavers of names of people who believed in Walt Disney and wanted to be apart of his vision and dream, lined the walkway. There were hundreds of them. I began thinking about my walkway. The one that leads to the entrance of my life and my dreams. Who would be the people’s names on my pavers? How often do I thank those that God placed in my life at my blessings and supporters? How often do I tell them their loved changed my story forever instead of looking at other peoples victories and coveting their blessings?

When we compare ourselves to others we loose so much. Identity, perspective…. thankfulness.

I was once having a pout feast about the journey I have walked on to get to this point. I saw my garden, in my imagination. The one that God has been pruning for so long. He graciously spends so much of His time there, and often we sit under the trees together in our secret place. One day I looked over at one of my friends trees, in her garden. I saw it. She had incredible fruit there. She was married and lovely and I was… well… wondering why she didn’t have to go through what I did….

“You don’t know the journey that it took for her to get that harvest.” Jesus said from behind me…

Ouch.

He was right of course. I didn’t know what it took her to have that incredible fruit in her life…. I just saw the fruit and assumed it was easy because… the fruit of her life is incredible.

OOY!

The more He grooms me the more I understand there are incredible reasons He allows me to walk through some of the things I do. Along the journey I have meet incredible people who, even without them knowing,  they have influenced a piece of my story and a stone in my walk way. When I look at other people’s live and envy them, when I long to have what looks like the ease of some of their chapters, I am stepping outside of my book, and not yielding to the Author of my story.

In October, of this year Jeremiah 29:11 really came alive to me. “For He knows the plans He has for Julie Story. Plans to give her a future and a hope…. (Paraphrased 😉

Right now in this moment, that verse is so true. I was in a pit, He pulled me out. I was working at a job I hated, He gave me a job I can work from home, I needed a home, He gave me an incredible one. I needed a computer… He gave me that too. I asked for a church family and He already had one on the way…

When I spend my time comparing my kingdom to another.. I loose. Every time. I loose the people who believed in me, I loose my story, I loose the parts about the valleys and the mountains I have walked through with Him. I loose trusting Him. I loose my identity. To often we try and dress up like our brothers to God and try and take his blessing. Like Jacob did. We try and hide and manipulate God into giving us a harvest like someone else.. because all we can see is our ice cream is melting, and yet, in the middle of the melt feast we might be in the most magical part of our journey. The one where he longs for us to be thankful for the journey that it took to get there. The one where He wants us to see the promises of the land we are already living in…..

He is standing in our mist, preparing a way, going before us to make a path for us. A path that is etched with incredible love from people, one that is carved with His own two hands laying every stone for us….being The Stone for us.

We can’t manipulate Him. We can’t shift our lives to be someone else. He needs us to be uniquely us. We were made for something He has in mind……. We are a piece of His heart only WE can be. With our gifts, with our talents, with our journey. Focus on His face <3 He will show you incredible harvest like you’ve never seen before <3

Love Always,
Julie

PS. You know some of those people… the ones who have been an influence in your life? They really need to hear how amazing their Love has been. It’s time you told them…And take it a step further…. Do something inconvenient for yourself to show them LOVE.

AND  here we have some smiling kid pictures for good measure. Alyssa Maria graciously follow us around capturing every incredible moment of this trip.. even the crying fits 😉

August 10, 2013 - 6:45 am

Jana Long - The cry. I laughed so hard! I laughed harder when I saw the photo! so perfect! I adore you and your gift with sharing God’s love and grace…You ate a wonderful mama!!!!! thanks for keepin it real!!!! xoxo

August 10, 2013 - 1:49 pm

Joni James - Amazing. I think I will put this on my desktop and read it daily :) Love you!

August 10, 2013 - 4:52 pm

Angelsea Urban - Oh my gosh Julie Story. First…that crying ice cream picture is just epic. Your face + HER face, it’s just absolutely priceless and I would make a giant canvas of it. I would give it to her when she is 16 (or to YOU when she is 16) to be reminded of how incredibly graceful her mother was in a moment such as this. I don’t often get to read blogs these days but I am so grateful I got see this one today. Right now. The pavers – ouch. And spot on. Truly. The neighbor’s tree. Yup. All of it was so perfectly written and totally relatable. Your gift of encouragement is so powerful and abundant and so needed. Thank you for sharing this sweet story of your family. Totally bookmarking it, pinning it, sharing it and re-reading it often. <3

August 10, 2013 - 5:48 pm

Sharon Plant - So awesome!

August 10, 2013 - 8:11 pm

Marilyn Gonzales Garcia - I love it! You rock as a person, and mom!

August 11, 2013 - 2:07 am

Sarah Perkins - LOVE you. LOVE this post. <3

August 12, 2013 - 6:06 pm

Julie Libby - Beautiful:)

China Shop Remix

I was recently asked in a class I am in at my church what are the three qualities I was looking for in a spouse.

Humility before God is number one.

There is something so beautiful and attractive about a man being teachable, about him submitting to God and letting the people in his life pour into his heart as leader, and have him drink in their guidance as wisdom. More often I see men spitting out poison of pride instead of the steady inhale of the Spirit’s refreshment. Bill Johnson talks about God giving us answers we are needing  through the people in our lives instead of through us being isolated. God constantly reiterates our need for other people, their incite, their influence. He wants to build us up together, with a constant back and forth of wisdom exchanging. There is a richness in surrender  and humility to Him and to the people He has put in our lives. There is a beauty and a softness about humility. It gets me every time- across the board. I’ve seen this sweetness in the eyes of men, woman, my children, my father and it is such a reflection of Jesus. It makes me giddy.

English writer, Monica Baldwin says “What makes humility so desirable is that is creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God.”

This is why it is so attractive to me. The people who come to mind when I think of this word.. glow Jesus. I recognize His fragrance….

Pride reminds me of a bull in a china shop. Too often, I’ve been the china shop and I’ve seen my share of bulls, but as the broken pieces of my heart and spirit have laid before me, He reminds me of how one pass by from Him restores those pieces. He is delicately re-placing every piece of broken china and He has laced the rims with a new gold covering to sip from.

There have been times where I have been the bull, and it’s lead to a broken me. A broken day, a metal break down and an utter frustrational fit of GRR that gets ugly.. real quick.

I’ve see the damage in my own heart when I chose to walk away form the truth because “I’ve got this.. I’ve got it together.” I step outside of grace watch the day break to pieces and then sit in a huff wondering what happened. One thing I always go back to is His arms. I wonder how non- physical affection people relate to Jesus in their imagination but for me I am in His arms 99% of the time and the other 1% I am at His feet or holding His hand. We are always touching in some way, and with that I know He is always touching the rims of my life, and the rims of the day, lacing them with Gold, especially when I REALLY don’t have it together. In all that, I am learning, even today, the maturity I still don’t have, the “togetherness” and the “ability to.. like make mature emotional choices” that I don’t do well ALL of the time.

Something that God has been healing in my heart for so long is this notion that I have to have it “together” for Him to give me that guy *Blush ;)*  The ONE I will share the gospel with for the rest of my life. Like I have to “have it all together AND be PERFECT”  for God to say “Ok, it’s time.”. This lie has been such a beast to tame. This is a HUGE LIE… One I am so annoyed with… ( Lie’s form the enemy are so annoying…So I just have started telling him how BIG God is so he will get annoyed with me…. It’s working 😉 )

By His grace, I receive all of the good things that GOD has in store for me… He HAS planned for ME…. and that means I can write this post, with a messy hair bun, and a china shop heart being re-modeled and say.. YES! I am His little princess dancing at His feet and covered by His glory.. and that makes me perfectly ready for the grace of His blessings…. <3 GAH!!!!

When we keep our arms open in surrender, they are ready to catch the provision, and blessings He desires to give us… <3 Keep your arms open and pray He opens your eyes to the goodness of His Love for you <3

Love Always,
Julie

IMAGE BY THE AMAZING ALYSSA MARIE

November 2, 2013 - 3:15 pm

Betsy McLemore St. Amant - I’ve been under that same lie rrecently. I don’t know this author but wow our hearts are on the same beat. Probably because we have the same Daddy-king.