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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Chosen. Helping Others Know That.


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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.

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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

 

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

 

Only One Post


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Well folks it’s been fun in 2015 hasn’t it?  I mean we have laughed and shook heads in agreement with Honesty Days, touched base with God in the God’s Grace posts, and walked through grieving another death.

I hope that in my Music to my Ears posts you found yourself dancing while reading, enjoyed some awesome stories about adoption, but most of all I hope my writing inspired you.  Inspired you to do whatever God was leading you to do.  Whether it be through an act of kindness, pray with another, speak of His truth to others, or start a new adventure!  I’m so very glad you have joined me in every aspect of the journey.

I’ve written many times about connecting with others.  I know that between us is some sort of device, but I hope that my words have touched you in a way that has brought you joy.  Writing about my life experiences is a way for me to grow, help others, and deal with whatever is at hand.  I feel fortunate to be able to write in a blog setting.

Does this sound like a good bye?  Well,  don’t worry, I’m not. I’m just taking an extended vacation to focus on family, the holidays, and create a new space for us to meet.  I do have an upcoming very special post in December, just one.  Of course it has to do with #pfwg44thbirthday and you will see if I made my goals!

I pray that your Christmas season is a joyous one and that it holds the true meaning of it all.  Jesus Christ.  May you take time to watch the little ones play, sing, and be silly.  May you see the glimmer in your spouse’s/significant other’s eyes once again, and watch the adult children’s life unfold before you.  Hug and kiss the family too much and eat the good food that has been provided for you, and TAKE PICTURES!  Take moments to be generally kind to the clerk at the store, the elderly one, the ones less fortunate, and the ones alone this holiday season.

May we all encompass Christ’s love and share it too much!  God bless you and I will see you in a few weeks!

Grace is a gift,

Juli

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

 

Marriage – It’s Not for the Faint of Heart


Farm Wife - I married a risk taker

 

There are times in marriage where one might feel it’s time to give up. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. This post was in my personal Facebook feed one morning. It was a morning that I, myself was struggling to feel this marriage thing was all worth it.

I read the long post and at times was shaking my head in agreement, other times in awe of information provided, and then not in awe at all at sections.  I shared it with my spouse as well.

I’ve been divorced once in my life and it did involve two children. I can still see both their faces when we told them we were divorcing. I can still feel the emotions each time they headed off to the other parent’s for a week or month. It’s not an easy path, but my ex-spouse and I worked hard to make the best situation for our kids we could after the divorce. If there is something to be proud of in the grand scheme of things of our divorce it’s that. That with the help of our current spouses keeping us calm, helping communicate, we were able to put our children first.

I’ve been married to my current husband for 12.5 years now and another child is in the mix.  I’m different yet the same as that younger version of me in that first marriage.  I’ve grown, and in that let go of certain perceptions and behaviors, among other things.  I’ve gained a few qualities and found that simplicity fits me best to name a few.

The Handwritten Letter Story

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, my marriage still has it times of disarray and heartache.  There are things I fell in love with in my husband that today drive me nuts.  There are boundaries, expectations, and God plays a substantial role in our daily life.  We are not a totally conventional married couple either. We still have our own mindsets and are two different personalities with our own needs.

Wedding Anniversary

JV

In the times of our marriage that are difficult, where we are still dealing with the same issue from long ago, and fall back into that vicious cycle , I usually do not know what to do. I feel as if I am pounding my head against a wall.  Eventually I find myself  on my knees and praying.  So as to not feel  alone.  God will encompass me and listen to my cries, He will send the Holy Spirit to help me.  It won’t fix everything and probably not very quickly, but that’s ok.  His plan is best.  God is there in my marital joys as well!

40-50% of marriages end in divorce.

I was at a recent seminar where they shared demographics for our area.  It showed that in the study area only 18.3% of people felt it was important to attend religious services. *

Makes ya wonder if the two are connected somehow, doesn’t it?

My marriage is not stellar every day.  In fact, we still struggle after 12.5 years of wedded bliss.  I fight hard though for various reasons.  Some of which are, I still love this man, God wants me to stay married, we have a child, stigma of being divorced again, and our marriage is worth it.

If my child were sick or dying I would do anything to take that away or ease their pain.  I would pray and fight and hold them.  I would gather strength to protect them.

So in the same manner isn’t my husband/marriage worth just as much?  I shall get on my knees if I need to and look at myself to see what I can do to help him be a better husband, make me a better wife, and continue this marriage.

Won’t you join me?

Grace is a gift,

Julie

marriage

*US Census Bureau, Synergos Technologies Inc, Experian, Decionnsite/MissionInsites

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

To Be Served or Serve Others


To Be Served Or Serve

I feel like lately I have not done much serving to others.  It has been more of myself being served.  Those precious souls outside my own family,  taking the time to cover me in support, love, hugs, cards, notes, words, food, and time.  I am much better at accepting service from others than I used to be.  I have learned, in the past couple years, while in God’s Word, that this is an essential part in living.  It is just as important as us serving others.

Allowing others to serve us, whether in a time of need or time of joy brings about the concept of give and take I think.  My hope is that I am able to serve others and not miss an opportunity to do so in the name of our Savior.  I serve because the Lord did so, I do it hopefully to His glory.

Yes, there are times I miss an opportunity, don’t say a word, or do not give that comforting hug.  I can be selfish and not be thinking of others.   I pray though that I am more of a reflection of God’s service than not.  That even when no one is looking I provide aid to others.

Is there a time you can recall being served? There is one particular time that I realized much later that it was an act of service through the grace of God.  It was provided to me  by a group of women I attended church with years ago.  I had moved out to a new house upon separation with my then husband.  The ladies had a house-warming party and showered me with gifts at the new home.  It was a loving time when things didn’t seem so loving in my life.  I will forever cherish the memory and the service these ladies provided me in my time of need.  Although material items were given, it was the act, the love and compassion that forever resonates in my memories.

When I have had my children there have been baby showers and well wishes upon my marriages.  There has been food provided to my family during deaths and support by attendance to my loved one’s funerals.  Prayers ascended to heaven for our God to aid me and my family in different times of life. For these and  many other acts of service I am grateful

Service is something that we can all do, I think it’s just something we have to keep at the forefront of our daily living. (me included)  For example I sometimes feel it unfair that I have to clean up the toast crumbs left behind, or remind older children of things repeatedly, organize dinner,  do the laundry, or make sure homework is completed.  I need to remember these are acts of service for the most precious beings God has placed in my life.  That perhaps, my duty to serve in the name of God, is for just these people right now.  My family.  

So today I’d like to invite you to serve with me.  Take the opportunity to serve another.  It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or purchasing something large.  A note of encouragement, a home cooked meal, coffee or tea, or just  quick phone call or text.  Join me in serving another in the name of God our Father.  Come back and tell me how it went and how it changed your life!

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

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