Receive Your Beautiful Inheritance – a Free Gift

“Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6b).

Not long ago, I passed a lady walking on the side of the road. Slim and toned, she seemed so put together. 

I didn’t know her, but my mind began to taunt me about how wonderful her life must be. 

Exercising at this hour, she must have all kinds of flexibility in her days (certainly not a caregiver for an adult child.). 

I bet she doesn’t have any financial worries (just look at her matching workout clothes). 

She probably has great close friendships and some supportive mentors (she looks confident and popular). 

Here I was assessing a total stranger’s life as perfect based on outward appearances. Yet I knew better. 

beautiful inheritance

Difficulties Assault Us All

Difficulties, of some sort, assault us all. Maybe hers isn’t such a wonderful marriage. Maybe her children are prodigals. Perhaps a loved one recently died or she feels alone.

Worse yet, maybe she doesn’t have the hope of Christ!

It’s easy to slip into thinking someone has it much better than we do. But we all carry some sort of burden. 

A burden that, as Christians, shouldn’t drive us to comparison, but should instead drive us to our knees. 

Our burdens shouldn't drive us to comparison, but should instead drive us to our knees. Click To Tweet

A burden that, as we lay it at the feet of Jesus, produces something beautiful in our lives and/or in the lives of others. 

A few minutes after passing the outwardly put-together walker, my wandering mind began to wonder about her hard story. She certainly had one.

Our Ugly-Beautiful Stories

What was her ugly story that God had already turned, or could turn, into something beautiful? Did it mirror mine, or had she walked through tragedy I couldn’t comprehend? 

No matter, God can redeem them all. He transforms the dark into light; the desert into an oasis. 

He redeems our ugly stories, those most difficult parts of our lives, and grows something lovely from them. 

God redeems our ugly stories, those most difficult parts of our lives, and grows something lovely from them. Click To Tweet

A Beautiful Inheritance

The Lord promises redemption, not necessarily in way of a comfortable and easy life, but ultimately in a beautiful inheritance.

God promises redemption, not necessarily in way of a comfortable life, but ultimately in a beautiful inheritance. Click To Tweet

An inheritance of invaluable treasure! Life everlasting! Forever with our Lord!  

All we need to do is receive it. It’s free. It’s for all who turn to Jesus. 

And it’s not dependent on outward appearance. It doesn’t depend on how put together we are. 

Whether your life outwardly looks the part or not, if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your inheritance is truly beautiful. 

So, we can stop comparing our lives to others, imagining their lives as far easier than ours. 

Each of our stories, if we abide with Christ, has a beautiful ending: the promised inheritance of a heavenly future. 

Each of our stories, if we abide with Christ, has a beautiful ending: the promised inheritance of a heavenly future. Click To Tweet

In faith, believe in this good and beautiful gift! 

Reflections: What’s your ugly-beautiful story? How does the promise of your beautiful inheritance bring you hope?

Linking once again with Suzie Eller’s #livefreeThursday. Click her to read more great encouragement! 

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Blessings, Christian walk, Daily Living, Faith, Jesus Christ, Salvation

When You Beg God To Change Your Circumstances and He Doesn’t, Remember This

If we could only remember who’s in charge … and trust. 

How often we besiege God about something we desperately want! We beg Him to change our circumstances. We implore Him to bring something to fruition. 

Sometimes, however, God says no … or seemingly nothing at all.

God's hand is in your circumstances

In Desperation … and Foolishness

Still, we keep at it. Like Balak in the book of Numbers, we hope addressing the situation from a different vantage point will help our cause. 

In Numbers 22-24, Balak, the king of Moab, implored Balaam, a prophet of God, to curse the Israelites. Balaam, however, could only bless them as God instructed Him. 

Three times Balak took Balaam to different sites, hoping the change of scenery would change the prophet’s (or God’s) mind. 

“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: ‘Let nothing keep you from coming to me, 17 for I will greatly honor you and do whatever you ask me. So please come and put a curse on these people for me!’” (Numbers 22:16-17)

“Please come with me to another place where you can see them. You will only see the outskirts of their camp; you won’t see all of them. From there, put a curse on them for me.” (23:13)

 “Please come. I will take you to another place. Maybe it will be agreeable to God that you can put a curse on them for me there.” (23:27)

Balak seemed so … desperate and foolish! But don’t we do the same thing? 

“Look at it this way, Lord” or

“Don’t You see how happy it will make me, Lord?” or even,

“I know it will draw many more souls to You if You just bless what I want to do!” 

Begging God to Change Your Circumstances

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be persistent in prayer. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask God more than once. 

But sometimes we resort to what amounts to manipulation. We compromise with God. We twist and turn our request, trying to present our desire to the Lord in a way that He will bless.

Basically, we try to change His mind.

Yet God sees all. He knows what’s best for us and for His kingdom.

We may think our idea is best, but if God withholds His blessing, it’s because He has a better plan. 

We may think our idea is best, but if God withholds His blessing, it's because He has a better plan. Click To Tweet

Wow, that’s a hard truth! But who are we to tell the Lord of the universe otherwise? 

Still, we beg for a change in our circumstances …

“Please, Lord, make it a different disease!” 

“Lord, someone else is far better equipped to handle this than I am.” 

“This will prevent me from sharing the Gospel, Lord, hindering me from glorifying You, preventing me from taking Your Good News to the ends of the earth, because here I am stuck!” 

Do we really think God doesn’t know what He’s doing? Do we really think we know better?

Welcome God’s Assignments

What if we would live our life in such a way that we welcome everything that comes our way as a step in God’s plan … as an assignment for us from Him? 

What if we would welcome everything that comes our way as a step in God's plan ... an assignment. #trustGod Click To Tweet

That invitation you’d rather turn down? Perhaps God wants you to encourage someone there or share the Gospel with them. 

Raising that child who is so different from others? Maybe there are or will be others who need to see God’s faithfulness in the midst of the unexpected or who need to be exposed to the blessings of the “least.” Or maybe you do. 

Your assignment may be one meant to humble you or another—or maybe to introduce you or another to a greater joy than you could have ever imagined. The circumstances you find yourself in will serve a greater purpose in the hands of our great God.  

The circumstances you find yourself in will serve a greater purpose in the hands of our great God. Click To Tweet

God’s Hand Is In It All

Whatever it is, whatever unwanted thing you face, whether big or small, remember God’s hand is in it. God’s hand is in it all! 

Whether He handed it to you or will redeem it in the end, you can trust that it will have a far better outcome than anything you can contrive. And no matter how difficult your circumstances, you can count on God’s sufficient grace to see you through! 

Whatever unwanted circumstances you face, whether big or small, remember, God's hand's in it.God's hand is in it all! Click To Tweet

 But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor? 22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? 23 And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— 24 on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:20-24)

Reflections: What difficult circumstances do you find yourself in? Are you frustrated because God seems to be saying no or ignoring your prayers? Have you considered that this may be His best yes for you right now, that He has a plan in and through it? Remember, He’s for you! 

Joining once again with my friend, Suzie Eller, for #livefreeThursday! Click here to read more wonderful encouragement. 

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Christian walk, Faith, God's attributes, trust

Grow to Trust God Even More

God’s ways are often a mystery, but we can always trust they’re for our best. 

God's ways are often a mystery, but we can always trust they're for our best. Click To Tweet

The Lord has filled the Bible with truth and instruction, insight and encouragement. It guides, convicts, informs, directs, exposes, empowers, saves…. It endures forever. 

Each morning I spend reading these inspired words of God. But I’m often amazed at the revelation I receive while listening to a familiar passage on Bible Gateway instead of merely reading it. 

Last week while jogging, the account from Numbers 20 captured my attention. Moses and Aaron, angry at the people who continually questioned and doubted their leadership, struck a rock to bring water instead of speaking to it as the Lord had instructed. As a result, God sentenced them to die without entering the Promised Land.

Later in that same chapter, God directed Moses to take Aaron and his son, Eleazar, to the top of Mount Hor. Then Moses was to remove Aaron’s garments and place them on Eleazar. After that Aaron would be gathered to his people and die there.

The Bible says, “So Moses did as the LORD commanded, and they climbed Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. After Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, Aaron died there on top of the mountain (Numbers 20:27-28).”

trust God

The Path to Complete Obedience

Aaron died.

It was a devastating loss for Moses, Eleazar, and the Israelites. Yet what stuck in my mind and my heart was how Moses took it all.

Moses absorbed all of this loss with no recorded words of protest! Did you catch that? 

No “buts,” no “have you thought of this instead, Lord?” Complete and utter obedience, no questions asked! Like Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22).

That totally amazes me! That absolutely convicts me!

Unswerving loyalty and trust in the Lord. Willing to lay it all at His feet at His request. No questions, no protests.

Unfortunately, these phrases don’t describe me … yet.

But they do raise a question that begs an answer. How does one get to such a place with their faith?

I venture that it comes through walking with God in the lesser moments. Experiencing His faithfulness in the in-between times.

My Bible tags Abraham and Moses as Heroes of Faith (Hebrews 11), but they had to grow into such a title. Unquestioning obedience didn’t come naturally.

Both patriarchs had to learn to trust God in those most difficult requests. (Read Bible passages such as Genesis 16, Genesis 20, Exodus 3 and 4 to get an idea of their stumbling.)

Learn to Trust God

As much as I desire to glorify God with my complete loyalty, I still find myself falling short of meeting the Heroes of Faith mark in certain areas. 

I’m receiving His faithfulness daily, but sometimes I fail to walk confidently in it. I’m still a work in progress, and if you’re still walking on earth, I suspect you are too. 

Moses’ and Abraham’s faith grew to “hero” proportions thanks to God’s amazing grace. Only after experiencing His mercy and faithfulness throughout their lifetime could they lay themselves totally at the Lord’s disposal.

I am learning to trust God for each breath I take and direction I step, albeit slowly. It’s His love and mercy poured out on me on a regular basis that is winning out over my fear and trepidation.

The Lord has not only proven faithful in the past … He is not only faithful to see me through now … But He will be faithful to bolster me when even sharper pain strikes. 

That’s a promise I am learning to step into with greater certainty.

You can too! When you’re tempted to question God, pause and reflect on His past faithfulness. Then step into that faith as you trust Him to secure your path once again! 

Join me, as we learn to trust God and walk confidently ahead, believing Him to be trustworthy in our future as He is in our present and has been in our past. 

Learn to walk confidently ahead, believing God to be faithful in your future as He is now and has been in your past Click To Tweet

Father, help me to grow a faith of unswerving loyalty and devotion to You—complete trust, without question, in whatever You ask of me. Something only possible in the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord!

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Reflections: In which area(s) do you struggle to trust God the most? What has grown your faith the most? 

Linking up with my friend Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday! Click to read lots of great encouragement. 

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Faith, trust

The One Thing a Strong Woman Needs To Remember

The danger of being a strong woman is forgetting where our true strength lies.

The danger of being a strong woman is forgetting where our true strength lies. Click To Tweet

My hand in hers, I bent over her bed and rested my head on a pillow. I slumbered fitfully, waking often to nurses entering the room or my daughter’s whimpering as she stirred, confused and in pain. 

For 3 days I stayed by Rachel’s bedside, leaving only when someone insisted I take a break. It looked like I was muscling through my daughter’s recovery on my own strength.

Years ago that would have been the case, but no longer.

Rach and I weren’t the only two in that room during those long nights of her hospital stay. I had invited another. One who could and would carry us through.

strong woman - stronger God

The Breaking of a Strong Woman

As a young lady, I was an independently strong woman. Certain I could handle all that life threw at me.

Yet, thank God He showed me the cost of my independence—a hopeless heart—and the beauty of my surrender—persistent peace and joy. 

You see, being a strong woman isn’t all bad, but believing you can do it all on your own is.

Being a strong woman isn't all bad, but believing you can do it all on your own is. Click To Tweet

I could survive this life of raising a child with disabilities, the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages, the countless hardships that fill a sin-riddled world. I could survive … but I couldn’t live. 

To truly live, we all need a hope that’s beyond human understanding. An assurance of a strength that never wanes. A trust that’s anchored to something far more solid than what this world can offer.

To truly live, we must rest in the unshakable confidence of the Lord, not the flimsy hope of the flesh.

To truly live, we must rest in the unshakable confidence of the Lord, not the flimsy hope of the flesh. Click To Tweet

Great Loss, Greater Gain

I will always miss those five little ones that wait for me in heaven, but I’m grateful the Lord used my loss to give me great gain. He showed me what dependence on my own strength was costing me.

And as difficult as it is to raise a child with disabilities, I’m grateful God chose me. Because caring for this sweet blessing and planning for her future is an ongoing reminder of my need for One who is far stronger than I am. 

Without the continual bombardment of hard—hard in the unknown, hard in the known—I would saunter through life thinking I had all the answers.

I would miss the beautiful gift of God’s grace.

I would miss the peaceful shelter offered in the shadow of the Almighty.

I would miss the joy of knowing He has it when I fail.

Strong in the Lord

I’m still a strong woman. But even better, I’m growing into a woman strengthened by the Lord. And that’s a strength that will never fail.

In Isaiah 30:15, we are called to be still—to rest, to lie in quiet confidence as the Lord delivers us, makes a way for us, becomes our strength. Yet I still tend to run ahead too often, sure I know the way and have the strength to make it. But once again we are told: “Happy are all who wait patiently for Him”  (Isaiah 30:18d). 

Confidence is never fulfilled in our strength, because one day, in some circumstance, our strength will fail. Our confidence must be placed in the all-knowing, all-caring, ever-faithful Lord of the universe, whose power is all-sufficient and whose love is everlasting. 

Our confidence must be placed in the ever-faithful Lord, whose power is all-sufficient, whose love is everlasting Click To Tweet

Oh, Lord, help me rest in You … to be still in Your confidence … to trust in Your timing and strength. For You offer a confidence that lasts through all eternity!

“For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said:
‘You will be delivered by returning and resting;
your strength will lie in quiet confidence.
But you are not willing.’” Isaiah 30:15

Reflections: Are you a strong woman? Do you invite God into those hard times or rely on your strength alone? How did you come to place your confidence in the Lord? 

I’m excited to link up with my friend, Suzie Eller, for #livefreeThursday. Click here to read lots of encouragement. 

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Daily Living, Disability/Special Needs

What To Tell Yourself When You Wonder If You Are Enough

“We are all born originals—why is it so many of us die copies?”
-Edward Young

My early morning jog began as usual: cellphone on, earbuds in, audio version of Bible Gateway playing. Then I met her at the top of the hill. 

“How far have you gone?” She greeted me as she turned to circle a small, gravel parking lot. It was obvious that she enjoyed running and did it often. 

“I just started.” I answered after pulling out my earbud. I informed her I lived at the bottom of the hill and would be running the roads of the campground. 

We smiled and waved good-bye. My normal routine resumed.

However something had changed in me. I no longer felt confident or adequate as I compared myself to this running diva. 

Quite a few years older than I, she was still lean with muscular legs. Her skin glistened with sweat from what I assumed was nearly a dozen miles already run that morning. 

How did I compare? My jogging consisted of 2 miles of interspersed running and walking. Hardly up to her standards. 

A few minutes later, I passed her again as she put her little 4-legged jogging partner in a camper. Something (shame maybe) compelled me to address her again, pointing out that she was a far greater runner than I. 

Through no fault of hers, in her presence, I felt like a pretender.

Unfortunately, it’s not only in the area of exercise where I let myself feel inadequate. I excel at that exercise.

you are enough

The Lie

Feeling like I’m not enough comes all too easy. 

Not strong enough to parent a daughter who cannot tell me many of her wants and needs.

Not a wise enough mother to guide my grown children.

Not perceptive enough to make solid future decisions.

Not a skilled enough writer to get a publishing contract. 

Not dedicated enough to maintain my health. 

NOT ENOUGH!

It screams at me daily as I look at the lives of others. Increasingly, I’m able to bat the lie away; still, often I struggle to believe differently. 

Yet, my new jogging friend was gracious. As we rounded each curve of the road and crested each hill, she assured me that my exercise was enough for me, not only in the words she offered, but in her actions. 

She quietly matched her running to mine. I felt no judgement from her when I periodically slowed to a walk. No sigh of impatience. No whisper of relief when I began jogging again. 

She accepted my form of exercise as enough. Not enough for her, but enough for me. 

It Is Enough To Be Who You Are

What a wonderful show of grace; demonstrating to me that I don’t have to measure up to everyone else. I don’t have to jog as far or as fast, write as much or as well, sing as lovely. 

I don’t have to compare myself to others. Because God made us each original.

Don't compare yourself to others, because God made us each original. Click To Tweet

He placed each of us in a unique place.

He has a unique plan for each of us to carry out. 

And that’s reassuring to those of us who struggle to be enough. 

After all, we can never be enough in all areas. And what is enough anyway? 

But God will help us be enough for our individual circumstances. He has given us the perfect gifts to impact those in our sphere of influence.

He has a unique plan for each of our lives that we can embrace.  

And the rest? All we’re not doing? Those areas we fall short? 

God has it covered. Maybe He has someone else in mind to do it, or maybe He’s preparing it and you for another season of your life.

No matter, you and I are exactly enough (in the Lord’s wisdom and strength) to fulfill the assignments that are ours to do. 

We can count on it! 

Tell Yourself the Truth

I’m learning to believe it. Here are two things that have helped:

  1. Reminding myself daily of God’s sovereignty and goodness and who I am in His eyes. 
  2. Sifting out and focusing on those things God has called me to do, not those He’s delegated to someone else.

We are not our neighbor or that friend we admire. In fact, we can only effectively be us. The one and only me and you! 

So let’s work on ditching the comparison game. Instead, let’s walk out the best version of us we can. God can help. In fact, He will help. We just need to ask. 

And when those sneaky, “You’re not enough” accusations hit, send them packing by filling in the blank to this statement with the area in question. 

With God’s help, I’m exactly enough to __________________________!

Here’s my biggie: With God’s help, I’m exactly enough to parent my daughter well! 

Live confidently in your uniqueness: Fill in the blank, 'With God's help, I'm exactly enough to__________' Click To Tweet

As for my exercise routine? I’ll stick with my 2 mile walk/jog, thanks. It works for me, providing the right amount of dedicated exercise for this girl. 

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you..” John 15:16

Reflections: In what areas of life do you struggle to believe you’re enough? Next time you face that lie, what will you put in the blank?

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

 

Linking with Suzie Eller for livefreeThursday!

Posted in Christian walk, Daily Living, Worth

Hope Can Be Found in Even the Darkest Days (‘Hope Prevails’ Book Review/Giveaway)

“When walking in the valley, the only way out is up. He is our only path out of our despair.”
~Dr. Michelle Bengtson, Hope Prevails

'When walking in the valley, the only way out is up. He is our only path out of our despair.' #HopePrevails Click To Tweet

Some of us find ourselves trudging in deep valleys, others journey through shallower ones. Regardless, the only way out is to grasp onto hope. Yet sometimes that hope is lost in the darkness.

out of darkness

Dr. Michelle Bengtson, in her book Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression, assures us that we won’t dwell in that valley forever. She helps us learn where to find a glimmer of hope, in even our darkest days.

There is always a glimmer of hope, even in the darkest days. #HopePrevails Click To Tweet

Although I strongly supported the message of this book from the moment I heard about it, I hesitated to read and review it, thinking it didn’t really pertain to me. After all, I didn’t suffer from long-term debilitating depression. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

We all need a hope that prevails, because we all face affliction. In the pages of Hope Prevails rings encouragement for all who walk through dark seasons. And that’s all of us!

With her knowledge as a board-certified neuropsychologist, Dr. Bengtson discusses the underlying causes of depression and the traditional treatments available. And with the compassion of one who’s been in that darkest valley and eventually found her way out, she tenderly speaks to the reader’s heart and honestly shares what finally made the difference for her. 

Although exploring all the underlying causes of depression is an important step in healing, Dr. Bengtson suggests that addressing the spiritual roots is often a missing critical component in treatment. The missing piece that eventually lead to her freedom.

The Enemy

We have an enemy that is a spirit, and Dr. Bengtson contends, “he seeks to separate believers and nonbelievers alike from God.” He does so by feeding us lies. Lies we often unconsciously agree with. 

Ignoring Satan’s hand in guiding our thoughts, allows the enemy of our souls an open door to influence our lives in a negative way. He leads us down a spiraling staircase into a deep, dark hole of despair.

Yet, he hasn’t won, far from it! 

We can find freedom in any situation because in the Lord, hope does indeed prevail.

We can find freedom in any situation because in the Lord, hope does indeed prevail. Click To Tweet

Hope in the Darkest of Days

When we realize the enemy’s tricks, we can gain weapons in our arsenal to fight them. 

Dr. Bengtson provides such weapons throughout the book. She includes exercises at the end of each chapter that proved instrumental in her own journey out of depression, including Scripture verses to memorize and a playlists of songs. Along with those, the reader is encouraged to offer ongoing praise to God, even when we don’t feel it. 

“In those periods of despair, I had to choose to believe God and trust in his promises rather than my feelings,” confessed Dr. Bengtson.

Separate chapters in Hope Prevails explore practical ways to recover your joy, reclaim your peace, and reestablish your identity, the three primary areas the enemy attacks. For instance, practicing gratitude, serving others, and praying often help us recover joy. 

Scripture verses fill the pages of Hope Prevails, because that’s where we find truth. However, to grasp and truly believe that truth, we need to saturate ourselves in the promises of Scripture. 

Because when we replace Satan’s lies with the truth of God’s Word and fill our days with praise, feel like it or not, we are well on our journey out of the valley. 

“I will rejoice and be glad in Your faithful love
because You have seen my affliction.
You have known the troubles of my life” Psalm 31:7

Reflections: Are you currently walking through a dark season? What is one truth from Scripture you can claim to replace a lie the enemy has been feeding you?

Thanks to the generosity of Revell Publishing and BlogAbout, I am able to offer a free copy of this incredibly practical and potentially life-transforming book to one of my readers. For chances to win, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.

Hope Prevails

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

*Affiliate links are found in this post.

**I received two copies of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Book review, giveaway, Hope

A Surprising Suggestion for When You Are Unable To Move Forward in an Area

Sometimes to move forward you must step back, occasionally even step aside. 

Sometimes to move forward you must step back, occasionally even step aside. #trustGod to lead. Click To Tweet

Paralyzed

You may have noticed I’ve been rather quiet on this blog for a while now. It’s not that I don’t want to encourage you. 

In fact it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. I’ve been paralyzed to write much. 

I’m not sure what triggered my writing paralysis.

It may have started with the schedule upheaval that occurred when I began a new part-time job.

It may have been caused by a bit of burnout or over-commitment.

Perhaps it was introduced by the very difficult life decisions my husband and I have to make in the looming future. 

My guess is it is a combination of many things. Regardless of the cause, I’ve tried to push my way through the writing block. Yet the harder I try, the more stuck I’ve become.

step aside to move forward

Move Forward

We often try to solve a problem that’s not ours to solve. I’ve tried to get out of this writing desert by my own power and understanding.

But the more tools I’ve tried to implement, the more “advice” I’ve put into practice, the less I can write.

I’m slowly coming to the realization that I’ve made “recovery” all about me.

My writing was always meant to be an offshoot of my faith. But where’s the faith when I’m doing it on my own.

If I always take the lead, how am I expressing my trust in the Lord? When I’m plowing forward with little regard to where He wants me in this journey, there’s little room for God to get the glory. 

True, part of getting through writing block is to sit down and write. Just do it! B.O.B. time as my son’s piano teacher used to coach: Butt On Bench Time.

But perhaps the biggest part of moving forward in an area is stepping back to see what might be in the way. And that involves asking God for His wisdom and insight.

When we step back or even move aside, we allow God to take the lead, guiding us around or through the obstacles in our way.

When we step aside, we allow God to take the lead, guiding us around or through the obstacles in our way. Click To Tweet

Permission Granted

I can’t say I’m back in full writing mode yet. But today there’s a difference.

Today I’ve let the frustration melt away and chose to trust God to provide the words.

This is not my writing ministry; it’s the Lord’s. In His perfect timing. When He’s revealed the obstacles in my way and led me around or through them, then my writing will once again flow.

Until then, I’m giving myself permission to step back and wait on Him. That’s trust … and I’m learning a lot about it in this writing desert I’m journeying through.

Paralyzed in an area of life? Give yourself permission to step back. Wait on God, trusting Him to show you the way. Click To Tweet

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Reflections: Do you find yourself paralyzed in an area of your life? Have you thought about giving yourself permission to step back or aside, letting God direct and lead you through this desert?

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Christian walk, trust, Writing

Tears Water the Soil of Our Hearts

A natural crier, I often wish I could stop up the tears that seem to come so easily.

Yet maybe it’s the tears we shed that water our parched hearts, preparing them to receive the seeds of growth God plants.

Maybe it's the tears we shed that water our parched hearts, preparing them to receive the seeds of growth God plants. Click To Tweet

Tears

Nineteen Years of Crying

It seems I’ve been crying since the day my girl was born.

My third child, I cried for the miracle of new life, and I wept for my first girl.

And then I cried …

  • When Rachel quit breathing at a little over a month old.
  • During the long nights of apnea monitoring.
  • Through exhausting days of nursing and pumping to give my tiny treasure, whose cleft palate wouldn’t allow her to properly drink, the best nutrition.
  • While undertaking the grueling job of getting her to drink following her cleft repair.
  • When we heard, “lifelong disability.”
  • When she said her first word and took her first unaided step, both around her 4 year old mark.
  • Marking each school year of growth that always ended with greater discrepancy with her peers.
  • When Rachel attended her first dance in 8th grade at the insistence of her friend Kenna. Not only did Kenna and her friends invite Rach but they welcomed her as one of them, helping her do her hair and making it a golden night.
  • After the call I received informing us that the senior class had chosen Rachel to be on the Homecoming court.
  • The night she was crowned Homecoming Queen!
  • When the surgeon informed us after nearly 7 hours of surgery that her vascular transplantation went wonderfully.
  • The afternoon Rachel walked across the stage at commencement flanked by two friends to receive her diploma cover and the applause from her peers and the audience.

Tears of joy, sorrow, pain, frustration, relief, overwhelming gratitude: I’ve shed them all during this girl’s 19 years of life.

Purpose To Our Tears 

And there’s two things I’m certain of concerning those tears:

1. They will continue and

2. They’ve watered hearts, helping to produce growth in the lives of many, perhaps most of all, me.

So don’t fear the tears you’re compelled to shed. After all, every heart needs to be watered to grow.

Don't fear the tears you're compelled to shed. After all, every heart needs to be watered to grow. Click To Tweet

Happy Birthday, Rachel

I couldn’t be more blessed to celebrate the life of this daughter of mine.

A daughter in name, but so much more, a daughter of my heart.

Happy 19th birthday, Rachel! This world is far richer with you in it.

IMG_20170219_161448158

“You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?” Psalm 56:8

Reflections: What growth have you experienced in your life that were watered by the tears?

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Daily Living, Disability/Special Needs

Hope for When You’re in a Hard Place

Many of the hardest things in life prove to be the most valuable.

Many of the hardest things in life prove to be the most valuable. Trust God's plan for you. Click To Tweet

hard often delivers great blessings

It’s Hard!

I once thought parenting would be easy. It’s not.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how truly inadequate I feel for this job, even after nearly 23 years. I thought it’d get easier. And in some ways it has. Yet in other ways, not so much. 

While there may not be as constant a barrage of issues to address as when the kids were young, when faced with them now, they’re often much bigger and more significant.

I have far less knowledge and say about my young adult children’s activities and choices.

The gap between typically developing peers and Rachel grows wider.

The difficulties of raising a child with special needs become compounded by the need to provide for her future, eventually without you.

Seeing my children separate and make their own way in life, while a wonderful and sought-after outcome of parenting, brings an ache to my heart. 

The Value of Hard

Yet, despite the continued weight of parenting, I’m blessed to be a mama. Incredibly blessed. 

I’ve grown exponentially since that day I held my firstborn. I’ve grown in ways I never expected…. in ways impossible had I not been stretched by the uncomfortable and hard moments. 

But that’s how it is with most things. The hardest things often deliver the greatest blessings.

The hardest things often deliver the greatest blessings. #hopeinthemess Click To Tweet

Bringing a baby into the world. Going through the long and arduous journey to adoption. 

Completing a college degree. Getting that promotion at work. 

Cultivating a thriving marriage. Trusting God when the going gets near impossible. 

Blessing of Being Faithful Where You Are

Being a mother is among the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Being a mother to a child with disabilities is and will continue to add to the burden I feel. 

Yet the blessing of motherhood has far outweighed the load. Because the blessing of being faithful where God has placed you always outweighs the burden of walking it out.

The blessing of being faithful where God has placed you always outweighs the burden of walking it out. Click To Tweet 

This is true whether or not you are a parent.  We all have hard journeys. Ones also filled with obstacles and unexpected turns. 

Yet wherever you find yourself:

  • single or married
  • mother or childless
  • employed or in-between jobs
  • healthy or disabled
  • young or elderly

you’ll also find blessings. Blessings that will actually strengthen you to carry the load you’ve been given. 

On this Mother’s Day weekend, when many grieve estranged children, sick children, or no children, let me offer a little encouragement: 

Wherever you find yourself, in whatever situation you face, that is where the grass is greenest for you, for now. Don’t long for the other side. Chances are when you get there, you’ll discover it’s all a mirage.

Best Place for You

The lushest grass, the best place for you to be now is the place you find yourself in right now. It’s often the hardest one to walk through. And it may look anything but fertile and rich.

But blessings will flow out of your faithfulness. As you trust God’s plan for your life, you’ll begin to see the gems poking through the mess.

Best place for you to be is where you are now. Trust God's plan for your life and see the gems poking thru the mess. Click To Tweet

“Wait for the Lordbe strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Reflections: Where is the hard place you’re asked to be? Have you gotten a glimpse of the blessings of faithfully walking through it? 

 

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Christian walk, Daily Living, mothers, Parenting, Perspective, Uncategorized

The Constant to Cling To When Facing Seasons of Change

It can be difficult to move on in the midst of life changes, but God’s a constant we can all count on. 

It can be difficult to move on in the midst of life changes, but God's a constant we can count on. Click To Tweet

In Iowa we have a saying about the weather: If you don’t like it, just wait a minute, it’ll change. That’s the way I feel about my life recently. 

the constant in change

Facing a Whirlwind of Change

Over the past 5 years, my life feels like it’s flipped upside down.

My children are leaving. My work is being transformed. My ministry is morphing. My identity is changing.

I’m no longer a stay-at-home mom to my four children. I’m now only home part-time.

I’m weary of all the changes and struggling to juggle this “new” life.

I had wanted to write about this once I reached the other side, but the other side keeps moving. 

I miss my boys, desperately. I miss the game nights and wrestling. I miss the snowball fights and tucking them in at night.

Some may say I’m entering the good season of life. That’s not how I see it. 

I miss the day-to-day sameness of pouring into my children. The life of a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom suited me well. 

Clinging to the Rock

Yet amid all the changes and the weariness they’re delivering, I’m clinging to two promises:

  1. God has not and will not change.
  2. God still has a good and grace-filled plan for me … and always will.

Two promises to cling to when faced with wearying changes: God doesn't change, and His plans for us remain good. Click To Tweet

The seasons I’ve walked through have been both hard and beautiful. I know the ones coming my way so rapidly will be as well. 

I need to turn my lamenting of my ever-changing life into storing up the treasures in my heart like Mary the mother of Jesus did. I need to offset my fatigue with prayer and time with God.

Changes do and will continue to occur in my life and yours. There’s nothing any of us can do about that.

But during difficult seasons like this one for me, when we struggle with moving past the whirlwind of changes, we have a Rock to anchor us. 

Entering a season of chaos? 

Struggling with changing roles?

Cling tight to your Rock, my friends! God’s a constant in your life that will never change. And even in seasons of change, He still has a good and grace-filled plan for you. 

Cling to your Rock! In seasons of change, God is a constant, and He still has a good and grace-filled plan for you. Click To Tweet

“There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides You! And there is no rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2

Reflections: Are you wearied by life changes? Are you facing a season of chaos or a change of roles you don’t want? You can trust God to be your one constant in a lifetime of change. Let Him be your rock! 

I always enjoy linking up with Suzie Eller on for #livefreeThursday. Click this link to read all the wonderful posts!

I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

Posted in Change, Christian walk, Daily Living, God, God's attributes

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Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's BLESSINGS to get lost in its HAPPENINGS. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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— Charles Spurgeon

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