Relationships


I created this graphic after going through session five of the bible study Sip, Savor, and Drink Deeply by Deb Burma.  You can purchase the study a few different places if you are interested.

Encouragement

Now that I am finished with it I would recommend it to anyone, even if you do not drink coffee.  It includes recipes, craft ideas, tidbits about coffee drinks, and a great many other things about God’s Word. Lucky for me I was able to walk through it with a group of other ladies but it could easily be done on your own!

Now back to that graphic and why I created it for myself.  I wanted to have easy access for a reminder from areas of the Bible.  Some of the relationships in my life are stagnet, not comfortable, flourishing, open, comfortable, or have just gone by the wayside. But today I’d like to talk about one of the most important relationships I have in my life.

The one with my spouse, my husband of 14 years.

When this session was presented before me it was a good thing.  At the time I wasn’t so sure because things were stressful in that very important relationship I mentioned before.  No need to air my dirty laundry or share more than my hubs is comfortable with.  Just know that reading through creating something in me to focus on changing my responses.  I’m still a work in progress and so is he.  To date, I have not been able to sit down and visit with him about this session.  The farmer is too busy and it’s okay, we will when time allows. I have it on the top of our “to do” list! 🙂 But I see the help it has given our relationship already, without him evening knowing what it’s about! 🙂

When I walked out of the Monday night bible study the night we did this session I saw things differently. One thing I realized is that it’s a duty as a Christian to have those difficult conversations with others.  Am I scared?  Yep.  Will I pray on it?  Yep.  Have I strayed from my faith before?  Yep.  Do I still struggle with things today?  Yep. Have I repented?  Yep. Am I forgiven?  Yep.

Psst….. you can too.  Jesus loves you.

Now, feel free to save the graphic or print it off for personal use.  I plan too.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

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Beating Heartbeats – Visual Reminders


I sat in an ultrasound room this week with two of my daughters, the middle and the youngest.  As the little humans that my middle daughter is growing appeared on the television screen I couldn’t help but think of the sonograms I have had over the years.

My first was about 29 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. During this week’s viewing I giggled inside my head remembering how they put the sonogram on a VHS tape for me.  I was so excited and thought how cool is this!  I still have it, maybe we’ll watch it sometime soon.

vhs-tape

During my second pregnancy I had an ultrasound while they  performed an amniocentesis.  Talk about nerve – wracking!  But everything was fine with the little bundle of joy come to find out.  It can be a joyous experience or a scary one when having a sonogram.

Then there was those littles that my husband and I created in a dish and they placed inside our surrogate.  I have some slick paper photographs of those itty bitty beings we won’t meet here on earth.   With the outcome of that journey  the gift of motherhood to my third daughter through adoption came.  We don’t have any vhs tapes, dvd, or photos of her while in the womb.  All we had at the time  was miles between us and her, and no visual until she was 15 minutes old.

Then there was my first grandchild’s ultrasound,that was amazing in itself. Here we are onto the next set grandchildren (twins) and it’s just as exciting for me!

Through the years technology has come a long way to allowing us to see inside the human body.  I’ve been to two sonograms with my daughter so far and there is a moment that really takes my breath away.

Every. Single. Time.

Those little heartbeats.  The ones that are pumping away.

I almost can’t explain how I feel inside but it’s pretty amazing to me.  I can’t keep from smiling.  There is no doubt in my mind that God created not only my three daughters or my grandchildren or even my petri-dish babies.  His amazing power can take us where no technology ever will.

Julie

 

Chosen. Helping Others Know That.


the-lord-your-god-has-chosen-you-to-be-a-people-for-his-treasured-possession-out-of-all-the-peoples-who-are-on-the-face-of-the-earth-deuteronomy-7-6
Feel free to save or print for your own personal use only.

Mondays are the day of the week when I meet with other sisters in Christ to hear the word, share the word, learn the word, and fellowship.  I look forward to Mondays because of the opportunity to be with these ladies.  I’ve chosen them and they have chosen me, well that last one may be that they are just stuck with me cause I show up! 🙂

You may have guessed that the topic for this week’s session was “Chosen”. (Mirror Mirror by Susan Senechal)  We made our way through 1 Samuel by visiting chapters 16, 17, 18 while in Exodus, chapters 4 and 7.  There were others too but Deuteronomy 7:6 is the mirror message for the week and it  reminds us that GOD CHOSE US!

Our Lord chose us although we are sinners.

We tend to  forget Him daily, weekly, and 40 seconds after worship on occasion.  We talk of others, complain about our life, envy the neighbor’s nice things, and forget those in need while we drink our Starbucks coffee.

But still.

The Lord continues to choose us and love us as we ask for forgiveness. Just as He forgave Aaron in the bible.  He sent his Son to die for our sins, even though we were not worthy.  He cares for us even when we do not deserve it.

for-consider-your-calling-brothers-not-many-of-you-were-wise-according-to-worldly-standards-not-many-were-powerful-not-many-were-of-noble-birth-but-god-chose-what-is-foolish-in-the-world-to-shame

Although it’s about our salvation, being chosen is something that brings a good feeling to my life. Whether it’s in bible study group, on the playground, at our workplace, in a club, or even in our own earthly family, it creates a security within us. Who wouldn’t want to feel secure? The ultimate security is the fact that our Lord has provided for us eternal life!

I challenge you (and myself) to extend to another this week the feeling of being chosen. No we can not give what our Lord did but we can lead others to the same rea

Allow the Lord to guide you and bring the Word into someone else’s life.  It can be done casually or structured.  Don’t close the door on feeling chosen.  God chose us, let’s share that with others, shall we?

Grace is a  gift,

Julie

 

Mirror Reflections & What to Remember


When I see my reflection in the bathroom mirror I often wonder about the features of my face that I have. Normally, it takes me on a journey in my mind where I end up  recalling images of my own parents..

I see many physical traits  that came from my father.  The dark brown hair, the eyes, and definitely the nose!   I look less like my mother but I have other attributes that I inherited from her.  They come into play when I use my brain and interact with others or work physically hard.

The reflection in the mirror also gives me ample view of my flaws.  I see them as flaws where others may not even notice them.  We all deal with the image in mirror, don’t we?

The current bible study I attend, “Mirror, Mirror” by Susan Senechal, stated the following.  “we’re seeing our reflections as in a fun house mirror – warped and distorted.”

As I read those words I felt a bit of a weight off my shoulders, then as the following was shared I felt even more of a release.

the-truth-is-that-we-dont-see-ourselves-they-way-god-sees-us-he-is-our-creator-and-redeemer-god-sees-u-through-the-filter-of-the-cross-in-the-reflection-of-his-son-with-the-eyes-of-love

That release is actually more like feeling loved.  Loved in a manner that is hard to wrap my head around because of the sins of this world.  But in the Word I can find the truth that reminds me that Christ loves me and died for my flaws and sins.

fear-not-for-i-have-redeemed-you-i-have-called-you-by-name-you-are-mine-isaiah-43-1

Although I have only read one session of this particular bible study I find it to be helpful and a learning experience.  Not just because I’ve been reminded that I’m beautiful and a creation from God.  I have also been able to learn more about Jacob, Esau, Levi/Matthew, and hit several books of the bible while bonding with other Sisters in Christ.

I wasn’t paid to tell you about this bible study or about God.  I just felt moved to share what I experienced.  If you find yourself needing to be reminded of the love given from Christ you can find your copy of the bible study here, here, and even here.  Oh and by the way, they sell bibles at all those places too if you are in need of one!

I hope the reflection in the mirror that you see is one that reminds you of the love you have from Christ.

Feel free to download the Mirror Message for the week!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

fear-not-for-i-have-redeemed-you-i-have-called-you-by-name-you-are-mine-isaiah-43-1-1

 

It’s Been Too Long – The Word


I’m back at spending time in God’s word daily.  I had been away for quite sometime.  The attempts were there to get back to it but it didn’t stick.  I have to admit when I spend some quiet time in God’s word in the morning it helps for me to be calm.  I’m back at actually writing my prayers out and making a short grateful list.  I can feel some of the darkness fall away bit by ever so small bit.  It’s only day 2 but I need to acknowledge the good things more often to retain them in my mind I’ve decided.

The devotion for today was fitting for my life as well.  Luke 8: 22-25 , do you know it? If not, click on it and take a gander.  It’s simple but boy did I need that reminder.  My storm has subsided at times but it’s still an ever present rain many days.  So, hearing this simple story of Jesus taking care of things and having faith was a gentle push to the thoughts I need to be having.

That even though our financial situation isn’t great, God will take care of us.  Although I can’t shake the darkness and the new medicine has some really yucky side effects when starting, it will be okay because no matter what He’s got my back.  That even though my faith has been shaken and I wasn’t the true follower I needed to be in the past couple years, HE STILL LOVES ME.  GOD FORGIVES.  He has always and will always have me my back.

devotion

I know there will be days when I falter but I am given the opportunity to start again.  That’s all I can do.  Start again.

Pushing towards the light of grace but it’s freely given,

Julie

 

Early Morning Hours – The Lost Sheep


 

I wrote this post a while back.  I’ve waited until I felt it was time to publish.  I think it’s time.  My love for this person has not changed one bit.  If anything it has shown me how much I truly love them.  How much I care for them and have hope for them.  I am praying and that is what I can do for now.  

The full moon is upon us this week and as usual my sleep habits are in a disarray once again.  I find myself wake often, mind running, and eventually out of my bed.  In the early morning hours, I found myself spending time in the Word of God.  In hopes that I would feel some peace and be led to know how to unscramble this time in my life.

What I found was  my devotion brought my focus to something I have been wanting to somewhat ignore.  The bible story was The Parable of the Lost Sheep, it’s found in Matthew 18: 10-14.  See, recently I had someone very dear to me renounce their faith in God to me.

Cross Upon My Wall

The moment it occurred I kept quiet and it took all I had not to weep uncontrollably.  My heart broke and I prayed to God right that moment.  It took all I had to keep it together.  I knew that if I made a huge deal about what was just stated the person would automatically shut down on me.  They would shut me out and put up an even bigger display of defense.

I waited a few moments, then made an excuse to leave for a few minutes.  As I walked to my mailbox tears streamed down my cheeks.  For this person I love so very much had made a choice in their life that I was unable to stop.  One that I know will hurt them forever unless they repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior once again. I hurt for this person.  I hurt for their loss.

Luckily, there is hope.  Hope of the repentance and of the choice that lays in front of them.

Matthew 1926

My days have been filled with prayer for them and for guidance on what I can do.  I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me as I know this will be a slow journey.  I can not rely on my own idea of what to do but I must allow God to lead me.  I ask that you pray for this person and for guidance for me.

Having my daily devotion be upon this subject, I think, is God’s way of saying “Julie, it’s time, go slow, study, pray, love, and depend on Me to help you.”  I have had a lot of things occur in my life but I do believe this was the most heart shattering.  Honestly, I was surprised myself at how much it affected me.

” Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I”  Matthew 18: 20 .  Won’t you  please join me helping others to feel the love of Christ.  So they too can accept the gift of eternal life.  Thank you.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

You Can Harvest Without Being a Farmer


I hope the title caught your attention enough that you are now reading this post.  I pray you will read to the end and then feel inspired to put your “harvester” mode in action!

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The church I belong to is a beautiful brick one that sits between fields of wheat and soybeans.  The sunsets look glorious with the cemetary in the image and you can see the stars very well as you leave a bible study on a Monday night.  The church where my family worships is in the country.  The closest town is 7 miles away.

In this church, there have been generations upon generations worshiping the Lord. There have been people who have been brought to Christ at birth, in their 20’s, 30’s, and further into adulthood than that.  People have been in the Word, making their way to the altar for the sacraments, and been washed clean at the baptismal font.  Along with those there have been many times the pews have been filled for weddings and funerals.

This church is just a building though, but it’s a building that we want to still be here for years to come.  To see many infants at the baptismal font,  witness youth confirmed, and celebrate the joys and give support in the tribulations of one another’s lives.

Honestly though, if the building were gone tomorrow we could still do what we do every time we gather there now.   We could worship the Lord our Father.  Weekly attendance is an essential part of  Christian life but don’t forget we can harvest daily anywhere. Daily living allows us to  guide others to Him every day.  Gathering those that do not know of Him and bringing them into this building that is provided is our duty isn’t it?

Please watch this inspiring music video by Brandon Heath.

 

My favorite lines from this song are the following.

For all that we’ve grown
How could we forget
Those who don’t know
Or just don’t know yet
Let’s harvest this field
From sunrise to sunset
The Master is coming
We are not done yet

Wheat 2015 - Copy

My husband is a farmer, I can relate to the sowing of seed, the small plants that turn into an amazing beauty, and the long hours it takes to bring forth enough to make our farm operate.  The dirt under his fingernails and jeans that are covered in grease repairing equipment is all in a days work.

Farver North Wheat2015

Just as he places trust in God to provide for our family and farm operation by sowing a small seed in dirt, nurturing it, and one day harvesting it, I too want to do that.

Psalm 139

Only my seed may be a note of grace, opportunity to give forgiveness, witness to someone in a pew as I take the sacraments, tell my faith journey, or share a simple bible story with others.

My hope in life is for us all to bring others to know Christ’s love.  See, a small seed was placed inside of me many years ago.  I had no clue that someday I would find myself standing in a large field that I was given this  opportunity.  I’m here and although on occasion scared, I’m ready.   Ready to sow the seeds, give some nurturing, and eventually harvest by the grace of God.

JV
After attending an event called Reaching Rural America for Christ I feel I am stronger and have been placed in this field called earth to do this work.  To help others know that they are not alone, that Christ loves them unconditionally, and that human life is precious.  The gift of Jesus as our Savior isn’t one to reject but to embrace.  Isn’t it our duty and a gift to bring others to Christ?

Our Master is coming, let’s make the best effort so that when He returns we are all together!

I can not do it alone.  Will you join me?  Choose a seed, nurture it, and then harvest it when the time comes.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Yes God Made Me, Yes God Loves Me, But….


Yes, God made me in His image.

Genesis 1 26 27

Yes,  God loves me.

John 16 27

I don’t doubt that at all.  I believe that whole-hearted. I am a believer in Christ, that God’s Son died for my sins.  But….

He didn’t make me a sinner.  That was brought on by the actions of Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3 6

My ancestry bestowed upon me this sinful nature that I exhibit each day.  Whether it be an unkind thought or word, fear, doubt, anger, or any type of sin.  It’s here, its daily.  It’s not ok, but there is hope.  There is hope in asking for forgiveness from God and He grants forgiveness.

Matthew 12 31

The hope lies in looking to the day His Son returns.

John 14 1 3

God made me, God loves me, but without being a baptized child of God I would have only death.  My eternal life comes through His Son Jesus Christ.

Romans 5 1

My strength, my refuge.  They come from the sacrifice that was His Son dying on the cross for my sins.  When God sees me there is a filter, and that filter is His Son Jesus Christ.

Today I will take communion and as I drink the wine and take the bread I know in my heart it is truly the body and blood of Christ.

 

Matthew 26 26 29

He will return and He will come to judge the living and the dead. I pray that you will join me, if you have not already, in becoming a child of God through baptism.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Grace is a Gift


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Grace is a Gift.  That is the way I sign all my posts.  I decided to make this second to last post about just that.

Grace.

It is a gift from God.

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

I went to Dictionary.com to see what it had to say about grace. I decided I’d just share the link verses put it completely here in the post.  I wanted to focus on what the bible has to say about grace.

To put is plainly……

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

We can not earn it.  We can not buy it.  We can not pray for it.  It is a gift from our Father in Heaven.   HE offers this gift to all,  in hopes that every one of us will accept it.  Accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.

I’ve written about my faith and the journey it has taken a few times here on blog.  I wanted to share today that before I even understood what God’s grace was, HE was providing it to me.

I wasn’t alone when I was hurt, I wasn’t alone when I gave birth at 17, and I wasn’t alone when I did any joyous thing in my life prior to understanding this gift.  God provided me with love and protection, with strength and courage, and he offered me HIS grace.

I hope that you will take some time and find your way through the blog to learn more about me and God.  The relationship we have and where it has been and where it might be going.  I have much to learn but I am finding that life here on earth is easier to endure with my ever-growing faith in HIM. That weekly fellowship and worship, plus being in the Word (almost) daily has helped.

In the past when I would get upset for whatever reason, I recall crying out that I felt so alone.  Now, in my midst of tears and heartache, no matter who or what made me cry, I whisper the following to calm myself.

“I am not alone.  God is with me right now. I will never be alone.  I am a sinner but HE loves me.  He cares for me.”

This is the truth.  I am not alone and you are not alone.  God’s gift to you and me is HIS grace.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Other posts about God you might enjoy

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Clothes. Weddings. Funerals. Worship.


The father I live with today

I decided I had to blog about this topic.  It’s not that I want to proclaim my thinking is right, I just feel there are various opinions on the subject and I wanted to talk about it.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and as long as it’s done respectful, you can share here on the blog.

The discussion of what is appropriate attire for worship/church services was brought up during a gathering of great minds.  These minds were all female and I respect all of them at a high level.  About the time I got the guts to speak up with my thoughts, the subject was changing.  Which is fine, this isn’t earth shattering news! Yes, opinions differed from mine, including my spouse’s.

Professional photo

There are a majority of people in this world that feel one should wear a dress  or suit with tie or at least business casual attire for worship services.  I normally wear business casual as I am not a person that wears dresses very often.  But I do also wear jeans on occasion or even capris.  I don’t think I am hurting any one and as long as I am respectful to my Lord while worshiping and am hearing the Word I don’t feel my clothes matter much.  Prior to the fall  Adam and Eve were naked if I recall the story correctly, then they proceeded to wear leaves.  Not that I would want to be caught in either one of those circumstances but in my mind the least of God’s worries is how I dress.  I dress what I call modestly and maybe even frumpy at times.  I’m clean, my hair is fixed, and yes makeup is applied. My child does not wear short skirts or dirty clothes, and when she is old enough she won’t be wearing clothes that show her bra strap either!  My focus is not to be on my outer beauty but my interior beauty, is it not?  So if my body is covered enough and I don’t smell why should what I am wearing to church matter to anyone else?

Trust Guy Ministries Dr. Micah Parker
Trust Guy Ministries
Dr. Micah Parker

Here is where I share my husband’s opinion. He stated in our conversation of this topic recently the following.  “Why do people “dress to the hilt” for two people marrying or for a dead sinner but not for God?”

Yes, yes he did use those words, which most would be surprised if I had to guess.   It did make me stop and think for a few minutes, but I didn’t admit I thought he was right.  His statement was definitely something to ponder.  To be honest, I normally wear the same thing to all three occasions, whether that is right or wrong.

I know that what we are taught as children and young adults plays a huge role in this subject along with many other things in life.  I have especially learned this through my marriage of 12 years to a man that grew up having his faith present daily.

I just feel that if someone came to worship, where ever that may be,  that had never been there before, I wouldn’t want them to feel they couldn’t return because they didn’t have the “right look”.  Actually, if someone arrived that had come before I wouldn’t want that for them either.

I understand my husband and other’s thinking, and it has influenced me in the past few years.  But I am who I am and hope that is enough.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

P.S. When it comes to my husband’s faith, and when the subject comes up, his voice changes, and he is protective of God’s truth.  Some may not know that about him.  I like it and I don’t think he does it often enough!