Waiting – What’s it all about? What does it look like for me?


The topic at hand was inspired via this bible study I recently (slowly) started reading. It’s been “waiting” on me to begin it for sometime now! ūüôā I read one chapter then put it down for another week until I awoke super early on vacation. It was staring at me – creating guilt within, even though it was tucked away inside my bag.

Bible study by Sharla Fritz

Ask any of my immediate family members and they will tell you that waiting is not my virtue. That I like to know what is going to happen prior to it even being formed at times. When watching shows or movies I will figure out the next “act” around the corner. This drives my husband crazy because on more than one occasion I am correct.

In my mind though, I like to think that with age I have become a tad more patient. Of course my employer had me take one of those “hiring” tests last week that reflected patience was not my strong suit. ūüôā It did reflect some really good things about me though too! ūüôā

The bible study today was on Anna, it brought about feelings of things I had been keeping in the back of my own mind. Wondering what my next “act” would be myself, what purpose do I have in this life.

For a few years now I have been grampling with a few different things and in the chaos of my mind I’ve let doubt prevail. I’ve always wanted to see myself as a strong woman but in honesty not so much in recent years. The feeling of being proud of myself has lingered. All while jumping from one thing to another wondering why I can not master one thing.

Did I mention waiting isn’t my strong suit? I know I used to heavily be the type of person that had to hurry up and get to the finish line so I could start the next thing to conquer. At least that is what it felt like in my head. Placing my “worth and value” in what I could get done. (This is probably why it drives me nuts to have quilt tops not quilted and ready to present!)

Along the way though and I need to give a shout out to my hubs here because he is not a rushy person. He has brought a sense of slowness to my life and that it is okay to ENJOY the journey so to speak. For instance he always says “it’s not about the killing (insert your favorite animal to hunt), it’s about the hunt.” The time he spends with his friends each year in Colorado. Oh sure he LOVES to snag one for sure and he will share the story, probably more than once, but I know in his heart, it’s about the actual time spent there.

Vacations used to be more stressful and it was probably me who created the turmoil. Thinking we had to have a schedule and keep to it and so on. Although I do believe a “plan” is essential there needs to be room for flexibility. Otherwise I might miss that golden sunset or my daughter and her Dad enjoying a game or memory to etch in my mind. Now, that being said I still must have some sort of plan but I am more lax in it! Baby steps for sure!

But this post isn’t about my vacations, it’s about my journey and the act of waiting to know what my purpose is here on earth. To know that the next act is one that can be doable and if not learning from it will be character building.

While I wait to see what my next act is perhaps I need to take a few clues from Anna in Luke 2:3638. This woman only had a partner for seven years, then lived the rest of her long long long life praying, fasting, and thanking God. As a widow she was alone but in reality she wasn’t. She had God, just as I do and you do.

My journey is happening right now. I need to stop rushing to the next accomplishment and look at what is around me right now. In prayer and quiet asking the Lord to show me what he would have me do now.

The key thing…… I need to WAIT.

Thanks for stopping by and it felt good to be inspired and write once again.

Julie

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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! ūüôā But I see the help it has given our relationship already, without him evening knowing what it’s about! ūüôā

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

 

 

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

 

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

Matthew 4:4 and Seek Ye First


Matthew 4:4

4 But he answered, ‚ÄúIt is written,‚Äú‚ÄėMan shall not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

Each week on Sunday, our current Pastor shares with us a bible verse to memorize. ¬†This one really made me smile. ¬†The reason is because bits of it are also in one of my daughter’s favorite hymns. ¬†“Seek Ye First”

This is the hymn that she asks me to sing at bedtime or when she is sick or just feeling scared.  This is the hymn I had to try to recall while standing in an emergency room trying to get her to stop crying.  The one where I had to sing in front of a doctor and nurse that were stitching her chin up.  I am not a singer folks but for my little girl I did my best.

When this hymn is sung during worship I can’t help but smile when the organ begins to play. I know my daughter is singing it as well. ¬†It is one of those things that brings me joy although it’s quite simple. ¬† Click the link to hear the song. Find out for yourself the joy within these words and music.

Seek Ye First

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Word of God In Joy or Sadness

Grateful To Hear


One of the staples in our worship service is the playing of the organ. ¬†Our church is blessed to have not only one, but four very talented women play. ¬†It’s something that you can count on each Sunday and although I enjoy it, I miss the piano. ¬†I missed it a great deal when I changed churches, then the desire was placed in a section of my brain to be forgotten.

Until last Sunday, ¬†it was brought to the forefront of my memory. ¬†I sat in my pew and with joy my ears listened. ¬†They were filled suddenly, unexpectedly, with a beautiful playing of the piano. ¬† It included a singing I can not even put into words. ¬†It was that beautiful. ¬† As I sat there listening to the Psalm being sang tears filled my eyes. ¬†They were not of sadness, they were of joy. ¬†Longing to turn but knew I shouldn’t I just basked in the moment of hearing God’s glory. ¬†I embraced the gift I had been given this moment in time. ¬†I felt my heart flutter, my mind clear, my body relax.

Joy comes in many forms. ¬†God’s glory comes in many forms. ¬†On this day, two young ladies were used by God as instruments to spread His word. ¬†I am so very grateful I could hear and look forward to a future of such blissful times.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Church

Wandering Are We?


Azalea

 

I found another little gift while sifting through old emails. ¬†I had sent my baptismal birthday date to myself when I researched it a couple of years ago. ¬†I knew it was in June and the year but wasn’t real sure of the actual date.

June 26, 1994. I can recall the church, the waters, and who joined us in this important event.  I was 23 years old and had two small children.  I had been attending a church of different denomination as now and was led there by friends/neighbors. I am grateful for them and the journey since then.

For a moment I am going to jump to the present, 21 years later.  As I sat in Sunday school recently I had an aha moment you might say.  I looked at my husband and he smiled, knowing something was really going on in this brain of mine!  A teeny tiny bit of me is embarrassed to write about it but I feel I must!

The aha moment was:

In my baptism I was given the ability to hear the Word of God.

Yep, that’s it. ¬†All these years and on this day in 2015 it just ignites something within me! Go figure! So I want to dedicate this post to igniting it in others!

Back in 1994, I was a believing Christian and I was on the right path. ¬†I just wasn’t in full understanding of what was given to me with the gift of baptism. ¬†I wasn’t as dedicated I guess, perhaps lack of support, or possibly my young age might have had something to do with it.

As I have said before, I can recall in my childhood feeling like something was missing. ¬†Something that would help in my life, that substance that would give strength, and not be so lonely. My desire to know the Lord (I feel) began long before my baptism and yet I didn’t excel when accepting the gift God has offered for all. ¬†I wonder why that is? ¬†I’m sure sin had something to do with it. ¬†The distractions of this world, the things I thought were important, looking back not so important now.

Today I am still far from placing God where he should be on a daily basis but I am making a strong effort to do just that in my life. ¬†Even the difficult days are not as hard because I’ve grown my knowledge of the Word in the past couple years, attend church worship, fellowship with others of faith, and pray often. ¬†It’s not easy, life still has those distractions and those selfish moments. ¬†Building around me a life where I am reminded of God’s glory helps. I want to let others in on that, how it really does make a difference!

I know that my faith isn’t to be about feelings. ¬†I know I am to fear, love, and trust God above all things. I am to encourage others and help them, I am to continue to learn myself as well. ¬†I am to live by the Law and the Gospel. Not one or the other but both.

Today’s post is one to encourage those of you that might be wandering. ¬†It’s not about me tooting my own accomplishments or telling my story to hear about myself. ¬†It’s about letting others know that no matter where you are in you life there is still opportunity for you. ¬†There is still the gift to be accepted, you can’t earn it, you can’t buy it, you can’t ask for it. ¬†It’s ours, it’s yours.

Whether you find yourself wandering away from the faith you were raised in, wandering away from the action of daily devotion, wandering to surround yourself with things that aren’t quite right in the eyes of God, or wandering away from the church you once felt support. Or wandering to find that “missing piece” in your life. ¬†Whatever the reason or excuse you have know that you can find what you need in Christ. ¬†I hope you will this opportunity to start again or anew. ¬†To find the way to the place of strength, guidance, friendship, support, encouragement, and so much more.

This begins with accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Let’s pray.

God Almighty,

We thank you for the times You have given us strength and we didn’t realize it came from You. ¬†We thank you for the opportunities of joy and love that only came from You. ¬†We praise you and look to the day we can join you fully.

At this time Lord we ask that you send the Spirit to guide those that aren’t quite sure, that are feeling in a rut in their spiritual life, or wandering away from Your gracious love. ¬†May they be surrounded by others that will reach out and help them find their way to You. ¬†That we may all open our hearts and minds to allow You to guide us. ¬†Where ever we are wandering may be move towards only You.

Thank you for all that You have so freely given.  In Jesus name, Amen

 

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Garden of Stress


As I sit here trying to figure out what to write I can look out my office window and see the weeds taking over our garden. ¬† I do not see much dirt, that’s how bad it is.

Like those weeds, sometimes life has not one big stress but a lot of little ones. That is how I have felt recently. Like I have several little stresses poking their way into my daily living and in turn I feel overwhelmed.  So much so that tears fall, my mouth says things it should not, my head hurts, and my sleep is lacking.

And even as I write this I am feeling guilt.  Guilt because my life is pretty darn good folks.  I mean really.  I have wanted to be a stay at home Mom forever and I am doing just that.  I have wanted to do more of the farming with my spouse and I have lately.  I have time to embroidery, make jam, and cook.  Why in the world am I blogging about my stresses?

The guilt comes from the fact that my family really has it good when there are others that do not.  There is always someone that has it worse than us and those that need us.  Whether it is thousands of miles away or in the same church pew last Sunday.  People need People.  But mostly they need GOD.

 

Matthew 1926

 

So I close by remembering the One True God is with me in every second of my day.  He is with me in the midst of joy and the midst of sorrow.  He will, one day, return and bring such joy to me I can only wait in anticipation!

Those “weeds” I will quiet with the Word and wait for the day I am with my Father.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

 

PS :¬† This blog is a place for me to express my life, my feelings, and work through things. ¬†This blog is a place to inspire, share the Word, help others, and live with more peace. ¬†This blog has brought to my life much in just less than a year’s time. ¬†Writing helps me work through the little and big stresses. ¬†I am grateful I am able to do so here. Thank you for sharing in it with me.

Love – Reminder It’s God’s Plan


Church painting 2014

 

The sermon I heard this past Sunday was one that just fit perfectly into the event that was occurring and what my mindset had been for a few days.  The church I attend has been without a permanent leader of our flock for a year now.  This day we welcomed a new one, a man who is spending his Vicarage with us.

The sermon from the supervising Pastor was of marriage.  Explaining how the new Vicar would have two marriages now.  The one to his wife and the one to his congregation so to speak.  The sermon spoke of both the new leader and congregation would need to be patient, to teach one another, but mostly love one another.

The last time a new Pastor arrived at our church, I wasn’t a member ¬†yet, but I attended with my husband regularly. ¬†When the time was right I chose to change churches and denominations. ¬†The Pastor helped me to understand things and answer my questions. ¬†He led me in classes to become a member at ¬†Immanuel. ¬†I know that this new Vicar will provide care for his flock and help as well.

The other night when I¬†was part of a crew that aided the new leader of our flock move in I want to share with you my thoughts. ¬†I took a break and made my way to the church. ¬†As I headed back, walking through fellowship hall, I looked up at the gold cross a thought crossed my mind. ¬†” Twelve years ago I probably wouldn’t have been so “willing” to participate in so much here.” Back then I was ¬†was defensive and protective and probably fighting God’s plan for me. ¬† ¬†I smiled to myself. ¬†I smiled because long before I knew what was needed in my life, God did. ¬†God always has and always will. ¬†It is so good to feel the way God has loved me in that moment of revelation.

I pray daily that¬†love¬†will prevail in this new chapter of Immanuel’s story. ¬†It’s exciting, it’s wonderful, it’s change. ¬†Together may we all serve to the glory of God.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

My Child’s Faith Life – It’s Not the Brick & Mortar


“I am excited for the new Vicar to come.”

Those were the words from my 7-year-old after we made another  trip to the parsonage this week.

Of course I asked why, just to hear her response.

“I just am and if you haven’t noticed I like to meet new people!”

Laughter came from my lips and joy from my heart. ¬†ūüôā¬†I’m anxious to see how she is when our new Vicar arrives since she made her announcement!

Sometimes when my daughter speaks I cringe, ¬†but to be honest most of the time her words make me smile. ¬†I’m thankful I try to track these little tidbits of joy and document them in her journal. ¬†And yes, I put the ones that aren’t so cute too. Yep I’m that Mom! She has to know all things that have built her character when she grows up ya know!

I feel comfort in the fact that we only live two miles from our church and that she is usually with us when we are doing work there, worshiping, or just having fellowship. ¬†She is growing up with a sense of security.. ¬†A security I didn’t feel growing up and as a mother it is one of the most important things I can surround her with.

Church

It’s not about the brick and mortar, the building at all. ¬†It’s about what she learns inside (and outside in the yard and cemetery). ¬†The people inside bring forth knowledge I could never give her. ¬†The religious leaders of this building will teach my daughter things that are needed in her life. ¬†She will build strong relationships with the children she shared Sunday school and youth group with. ¬†There will be ¬†special bond between her and the Sunday school teachers. ¬†The abundance of blessings from one Lord’s house is truly remarkable if you think about it.¬†The baptisms, the confirmations, the Easter and Christmas Eve services, youth Sundays, and sermons that will cross my daughter’s path in the years to come. ¬†Just thinking of all that will pass by her eyes and be heard by her ears is astounding to me and fills my heart with joy. But the number one thing is that God is present and when one or more are gathered it is beautiful.

I pray that with this path, as her parents have begun for her will take her through life knowing that God is with her always. ¬†That a building isn’t the key factor but a significant substance in her faith life. ¬†That she will continue her journey as a Christian in daily living. That the bond of believers creates the church body and the love of Christ grants her eternal life.

Grace is a gift,

Julie