The Journey is…just one of THOSE days!

I heard this song last night & it reminded me of this blog I began around Thanksgiving Day, but never finished.  I came home & finished it last night & I would like to share it today, on this Thankful Thursday:

Have you ever had one of THOSE days!?!  In this case…it’s one of those days where you KNOW God is working in your life.  He directs your steps & YOU really can hear from God!

Well…yesterday was “just one of THOSE days”. 🙂

I am so thankful & would like to share it with you.

I was listening to the radio after dropping the girls off at school & had the thought…”You should put one of those praise & worship CD’s in that Matt made you a long time ago.”  I really didn’t want to, but when the thought didn’t go away I decided to anyway.  I just reached in the console & pulled out a random CD & popped it in.  It only had 3 songs on it, but two of them were some of my favorites!  “Your Love is Unconditional” & “When I Think about the Lord”, both by Christ for the Nations.  When the second song played it just got stuck in my spirit.  I played it the rest of the way home.  In fact, I played it ALL DAY long!  When Emily got home from school I was still playing it, and kept saying “I’m just going to play it one more time”.  She caught me later STILL playing it, BUT I had turned it down very low so not to annoy her.  This is the song:

That evening we had a special Thanksgiving service at church.  Of course I snuck my song in a few more times on the drive there.  Emily just smiled & shook her head at me.  As praise & worship began the words to the song flashed on the screen at the front of the sanctuary.  Emily said, “Oh my goodness…I think I just saw the words to your song!”  I laughed and said, “I doubt it!”  Well…it WAS!  Not only that, after we sang it once…they decided to sing it AGAIN!!!

That is all I had written.  Here is the rest of the story:

Being a special Thanksgiving service, the rest of the evening was spent with people sharing what they were Thankful for.  As each person took their turn, it quickly turned into an evening of people sharing their personal testimony, of how the Lord did just what the words of the song stated.  “How He picked me up and turned me around How He placed my feet, on solid ground…”

WOW.  It was a beautiful time of remembering the faithfulness of God to each of us.  There were stories of VICTORY over alcoholism, abuse, lack, job situations, expectations of others, great loss…many things we didn’t know about each other.  Different situations, same devil.  Same feelings of utter hopelesness.  Same God who restores(just as if I’d never missed it), fills us(with His presence, peace, love), heals us(to the uttermost…even better than our own dreams for our lives)!  It was a blessing to us to reflect, and in turn gave hope to those currently in those situations who thought they were alone in their struggles.

Then there was that couple who’s testimony I’ll never forget.  I should have written my thoughts that night, but this is the best I can remember.

The wife:

She was thankful to be part of a crying church.  A place where it is common to see people cry.  In some places of worship, people might think there is something terribly wrong.  At our church, it most likely means the Lord is really working & blessing you.  She said there was a time about 8 years ago when all she could do was come to church & cry.  Not because she felt the presence of the Lord…but just because that’s where she was in life.  AND SHE WAS THE YOUTH PASTOR’S WIFE!  It truly was a “sacrifice of praise”.  To make herself utter the words of praise, when all her senses told her not to.  She thought it was pointless….a feeling of hopelesness.

She was thankful that the Lord loved her & as she allowed Him to…in his sometimes unusual & creative ways…the Lord was faithful to wake her up & bring her out of the darkness.  All these years later, as she stood in the back of the church the last week…doing a job she DOESN’T LIKE, but KNOWS it’s importance(greeting people as they come in the door)…she was able to witness a beautiful sight.  Her church family praising the Lord from the heart…each in their own way.

As she stood there, she realized the Lord had replaced the heaviness with HIS joy & she was able to enter into praise with a happy heart.  Her point?  Keep doing what God is telling you, what you know is right, even when you don’t feel it.  You do your part, God does the rest.  He is faithful.

The husband:

There was a time when he had experienced great loss.  Some from his own poor choices, some from things beyond his control.  The whole time he was serving the Lord & doing what He thought the Lord was leading him to do.  He felt that he had let his wife, kids & GOD down.  The devil tried to tell him he was a failure & just to end it all…that everyone would be better off without him.

God sent a missionary to his church, who simply said something like this(the Julia translation), “You are God’s son, He loves you & there is nothing you have to DO to be well pleasing to him.  You please him, just because you are his kid.”  The husband’s message that night was, “Don’t quit.  Don’t listen to the lies from the devil.  What does God’s Word say about you & your situation?  That can be the only standard for your life.  God says you are a winner!”  He went on to say, that as he continued to follow God, the Lord has & is restoring what the devil stole.  While it wasn’t/isn’t always easy or fun…You do your part, God does the rest.  He is faithful.

Of course, I’ll never forget that couples testimony, because it was mine & Matt’s.

Many times in life the devil would have us to believe it’s the end & leave us in utter hopelesness.  I marvel at the extreme measures the Lord goes through to help us all, His children.  I am so thankful for the people, places & events that He puts in our paths to encourage us in our journey…but that’s a whole other blog!

The devil is a liar, pants on fire….

GOD IS FAITHFUL!  There’s so much more!  God always has a “NEXT” for you. 

Don’t forget it!

….and I’m thankful that I had “Just one of THOSE days!”  I love it when God does things like that, don’t you?

From my heart, filled with love & thankfulness….

~Julia

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20-21



“When I think about the Lord, How He saved me, How He raised me

How He filled me, With the Holy Ghost How He healed me, to the utter most

When I think about the Lord,

How He picked me up and turned me around

How He placed my feet, on solid ground

It makes me wanna shout Hallelujah, Thank you Jesus

Lord You’re worthy Of all the Glory, and all the Honor And all the praise”

The Journey is….FOCUS on the solution.

Quote

This scene from the 1998 movie “Patch Adams” has been on my mind lately.  It must have had some impact on my life, it’s one of those moments in time that are “stuck” in my brain for some reason.  I actually forgot about it for a few dark years…but I’m glad to be reminded of it now.

I believe Oprah would call this one of my life’s “aha! moments” http://www.oprah.com/packages/aha-moments.html

Go ahead…try it!  It really works!  You’ll see “8 fingers” too!

There’s so much more to someone’s story than what they have shared with you…look beyond their actionssee the real them.

AND

There’s so much more to life than what we can see with our human eyes…look beyond the nowFOCUS ON THE SOLUTION.

Look beyond the immediate problem.  It’s only temporary.  This too shall pass.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…..  ~Hebrews 12:2

The Journey is…”…but God…”

“….but God…”

I love that statement.

In the great joy & smiles of the holidays…

it is often a time of remembering and grieving as well.

To my friends experiencing both emotions at this time,

I would say, “You are normal, you are not alone.

Grief is a personal thing.

There is no time frame & it is expressed in many ways,

grief is real…

BUT GOD

is much bigger.

He is more than willing & able to fill the sadness

with His unmeasurable hope & peace

….and that is my prayer for you today.”

The Journey is….Redemptive

A friend shared this on FB the other day.  I wanted to share it, but hesitated because I didn’t want anyone to think I was directing it towards them.  If you took 100 people, this statement would have 100 (or more) different meanings. It ministered to me that day.  Quite often, if something helps me, it tends to help my friends as well.

So, I decided just to share it here on my blog today.  I have peace about that.

Steve Eden ~ “Your past mistakes in the hands of your enemy are a problem & a pain; but your past mistakes in My hands where I can use them to grow you and help others can be quite redemptive. What was once a very dark time in your life I can make a great light. Look at how many have benefited from one young mans trip to a pig pen – it revealed My true nature which is to save not to destroy, to heal and rebuild not cast out. My hands are redemptive, My hands are restoring, My hands are capable of making all things; your hurts, your poor choices, your misdeeds beautiful in My time”

Today I spoke with a young lady who had just been evicted from her home.  I could honestly look her in the eye…with a little tear in my own…and say, “I’ve been there.  The Lord is faithful.  I’m still here aren’t I?   You’re going to be OK.  There never was a time in my life that the Lord didn’t provide a roof over my head & food on the table.  Your life is truly going to get better.”  I feel confident that I was able to give her a sense of hope.

I enjoy looking back at times & seeing progress in my life, here are two examples that meant a lot to me:

-When the City truck was parked outside my home for an extended period of time a few weeks ago…I knew they weren’t about to cut off the water.

-When we needed new tires AND brakes at the same time the other day, we had plenty of room on the credit card to pay for it.

BUT….

We payed cash instead.

If you’ve never been there, you have no idea how good that felt.

The Lord saves, heals & restores.  He does more than we could ask, think or imagine….and we’re all just getting started!

I did grow from my trip to a “pig pen”.  I now have complete confidence that in God’s Hands EVERYTHING’S GOING TO BE ALRIGHT!…beautiful even.

~Julia

The Journey is…honor.

1992

WHO I WAS, but not who I am…the old Julia that most of you have never met...changed by unfailing love.

During this season, when thinking of the things I am most thankful for it is only natural that my thoughts would turn to my husband.  Particularly when my dad e-mailed us a video that also happened to come on TV yesterday as we were getting ready for the day.  My dad suggested that it would be a good marriage “refresher course”, as it was something they enjoyed watching themselves.   In it, Joyce Meyer & her husband Dave, were speaking on marriage.  They discussed how Dave decided to be happy no matter how Joyce was acting.  He so reminded me of Matt.  I used to get furious with Matt when he would refuse to argue with me.  He would say, “I’m not going to argue with you.”  Then he would just be silent.  No matter how much I tore into him, he would only love me in return.  In fact, at times, he would come & wrap his arms around me & just hold me when I was being my ugliest.  I just stood there still as a statue…on the outside anyway.  What he couldn’t see was that on the inside, my hard crusty shell was melting.  That is so humbling to me.  I was much like Joyce in the fact that I was guilty of putting the blame for our life’s hardships & failures on Matt, instead of asking the Lord to “change ME”.  I had a part to play in my own life & I wasn’t meeting my end.  I so appreciate that every life decision he made for our family, was with the intention to bring blessing to our lives & follow God’s plan for our lives.  When I grew up & quit looking for Matt to meet all my needs, I found that I was complete in Jesus Christ alone.  When I think back on all these years…I can’t help but want to give honor where it is due.  Nobody knows what I put him through. I am truly thankful that he didn’t give up on me.  I am so aware that he could have at any time said that I wasn’t worth it…and he would have been right.  For some reason, the comment by John, from John & Kate plus 8, has really bothered me.  When they divorced, he said, “This is not what I signed up for”.  I KNOW what Matt experienced with me is not what he signed up for!  Everywhere I look I see men leaving their wives.  Even now, after almost 20 years of his Christ-like-ness, if I let my mind wander I begin to feel insecure.  I am thankful that he let the Lord guide him & show him what to do to reach me.  His example has changed ME.  It is only someone who is determined to love with the unconditional love of Christ that would have the strength to do this.

My daughter & I were talking yesterday about how absolutely CRAZY that was for her daddy & I to get married.  We were barely 17 & 18…the age of many of her friends….and we had only dated 6 months!  I am so amazed that at such a young age, he would have had the wisdom to have what it takes to keep our marriage together.  Really AMAZED!  Have you ever been around a 17 year old boy!?!  He thought he was getting this sweet, kind, soft-spoken wife.  I know that, because that is what I thought I was too!  Not until AFTER we were married, did the real Julia appear.  I just never had anyone to argue with before that point.  Talk about, THIS IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR!

I don’t stay ornery & argumentative CONSTANTLY.  I have my nice moments.    We say often at our house, “I love you…and I like you too!”  There is a difference you know.   We all have people that we LOVE….but the thought of spending any amount of time with them sucks all the energy out of you.  We discuss this sometimes, how awful it would be to dread the little time we get to spend together.  I look forward to every minute I get to be in his presence.  My love for Matt is nothing new.  In all the ups and downs of life, & even the times of emotional struggle,  that has remained constant.  He is my very best friend.  In fact I wrote of the darkest times in our marriage not too long ago.  If you were to read this, \”The Journey is…dark\”, you would find that the darkest time in my life was not just in our hardships & losses, we had many of those before my darkest days.  My darkest days, were when I felt that I was loosing him as well.  The closeness, friendship & time that we had always had together was forced to change. All that I knew & was comfortable with was leaving.  But life is full of stages & changes, you adapt & move forward….or grow bitter & die.  In the changes, I learned to love myself.   So, in what is considered loss…the Lord is bringing gain.  Again…I am thankful!

When I watch the \”The Pursuit of Happyness\”…my thoughts always turn to Matt.  I believe that is the life he has been and is living.  When he was a teenager he had a dream to have a real family, unlike the home he grew up in which was full of turmoil.  As an adult he has that dream and a dream in the business world…and he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his dreams & make them happen.  I cringed as I watched the wife in the movie…it was a familiar scene when she angrily told him to go get a real job.  Only because shamefully, I have said the same thing to Matt before.  In the movie you see the true life story of Chris Gardner….you see the long hours, the running, the sacrifice, the struggling to provide for his family, the disapointments, the utter hopelessness at times…and the dreamthe action, the do-ing, the creativity….and then what I would say is the hand of God that comes along to provide, to give divine appointments…faithful to bring success.  In the movie…the people on the outside had no concept of what the man actually went through in the pursuit of his dreams.

It is my personal opinion, that my husband deserves such honor & respect.  He is living, walking, talking unfailing mercy & grace.  This is my goal…the same sacrificial love that he has never failed to show me…is the same love he deserves in return…and SO MUCH MORE!  It would be my dream to possibly give back to him what he has taught me through his actions.

Unworthy…but so very thankful!

~Julia

2011

Here are a few things I have been meaning to transfer over to this blog.  I wrote these on FB, before I started blogging.

~ Our first date.

~ Cherish theTreasure

Valentine\’s Day 😦

~ ….and you thought we were the Davis-es…

~ Every day I choose to say \”I DO\”

~ Long ago 🙂

The Journey is….Ninja

Fall is my favorite season!During yesterday’s run, as I enjoyed watching the leaves fall gracefully from the trees, one of them tapped me lightly on the head during it’s descent.  I felt that possibly it was God.  Kind of like the times you walk by a little kid & tap them affectionately on the head.  It made me smile anyway.

Well, today…

I was taking a breather.  Walking with a friend, watching her daughter feed the squirrels…..

and this ACORN came out of nowhere and just HIT me right on the top of my head!  It hurt a little for a split second.

What did that mean!?!

NOTHING…except maybe that God has a sense of humor.

 

….or was it REALLY the deviant park squirrels,

 practicing their NINJA acorn throwing skills…

…and laughing…

 🙂

God’s richest blessings to you on this beautiful fall day!

~Julia

The Journey is….pain.

PAIN IS NOT THE ENEMY

They call me “weird”, but I don’t care.

Today, Grace asked me to hold her….so I did.

I gathered her in my lap & wrapped my arms around her…even closing my eyes & breathing in the moment.  What does this feel like, what does it smell like…how do I feel at this exact moment.  I would say that I am trying to mentally take a photograph of the moment to cherish.

Later, Jessica said, “Hey mom, want to come see my powerpoint presentation?”  I was busy, but I stopped because…I really DID want to take 5 minutes of time to enjoy her presentation.  That moment brought me great joy.

It seems I do that a lot lately.  Making my family stop…pause…savoring the moment.  They say, “You’re weird”, and we laugh…but I do it anyway.

After my Butterfly Lesson (where I realized the way I dealt with all pain in my life was by ignoring it), I now see pain everywhere I go.  If interested, you can read some of my observations about pain by clicking  here.

It’s similar to buying a new vehicle.  After it’s purchase, you suddenly notice that many people own the same car.  A fact that had eluded you before.

I’m not IN pain.  I’m just aware of it more.

It seems the more that I am aware of pain…the more I am able to appreciate JOY.

A fellow blogger, Grief: One Woman\’s Perspective ~ Perceptions on life after the death of a child, & I were discussing this somewhat the other day. I don’t think she would mind me sharing her words.  This was her comment on my blog about \”Olivia\”:

“Ohmigosh! My heart just breaks for this little girl…and for the way I see some parents treat their kids. I just want to get in their faces and say, “Don’t you know what a precious gift you have?”

My husband was in a store one time when he overheard a little boy ask his dad if he could have a toy. The dad responded, “I don’t think you’re even worth it.” My husband stopped, bent down, and said to the little boy, “You ARE worth it!! I think you are very worth it.”

I can’t help but think…There HAS to be another way to cherish the simple joys of life, all the many things we have been blessed with…all the moments we have to be thankful for, the people we love the most!  Surely accepting pain, is not the path to true thankfulness!  But for me, in my own life…that seems to be the reality.

What do you think?   I’m not sure how I feel about this yet.

So, for now…if you see me at my favorite park, just sitting there in the wind with my eyes closed.

…or…

You give me a hug…and I don’t let go right away.

I’m just taking a picture.

Savoring the moment.

Being thankful.

and

weird.

*Disclaimer:  I DO believe that pain is the enemy if it takes over our lives.  I do believe that the devil would like nothing more than for us to sit in sorrow & die.  My own experience is, that the Lord takes us & walks us through the pain.  He finds a way to miraculously do “surgery” on us, taking the “sting” away.  During that process…just keep moving forward!  Keep breathing.  Keep doing the right thing despite your feelings.  You can trust that the Lord is leading you to Victory!

10-24-11

Before sharing this blog with you all, I asked my dad what he thought about it.  He said that he thought I was wise, & that I should share it.  Here is part of our conversation that followed:

Thanks daddy…but what do you think about the concept that acknowledging pain is the path to true thankfulness.  It seems the more pain I see…the more grateful I am…TRULY GRATEFUL & thankful for my blessings.  I just think there HAS TO BE be another way to feel thankful than through pain.

To which he answered:

The short answer is, no there is not.  Its only through pain that we really know joy and thankfulness.  We never understand our blessings, until we have the pain to weight them against.  How can you know sweet, unless you know bitter?  In our modern culture, people do everything they can to avoid or deny pain, which is precisely why they are so unappreciative of the blessings their lives are filled with.  Its pain that tears away our illusions and allows us to see Life clearly.  One of the things we discover in the process is that we are not the center of the universe.  That sole discovery opens the gates of our eyes and soul to begin to understand the marvelous wonders and blessing Father has surrounded us with.  It may sound odd, but it is the presence of pain (of all types and most of it bittersweet) that keeps our eyes and soul open.  It is the pain in our lives that allows us to have the freedom to laugh and enjoy our lives.

I think he’s pretty wise himself 🙂

So what do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Journey is…Thankful Thursday!

THANKFUL THURSDAY!  Just a few things that make me want to say…”Thank you Lord, that was very nice of you to do that for me”.

WINDY DAYS. 

Those rare moments that I cherish.  Have you ever had them?  Where just for a moment you can go back in time & feel like a child.  Something about the wind this week, instead of the usual muggy, Alabama heat…

There were 3 distinct moments this week, where the cool, fall wind took me back to those days when life was all about playing with friends & having fun.  It was if I were right there, back in the culdesac on Tinker AFB….in the never ending OKLAHOMA WIND!  I just closed my eyes & soaked it in for a moment.  I LOVED IT!  Thanks God!

THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The awareness of His presence in my life.  He leads, guides, comforts, strengthens….

“…And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter
(Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He
may remain with you forever…” – John 14:16

Thank you Holy Spirit!  I needed that!

RUNNING.

Someone mentioned how cold it would be to run the Vulcan since it is held the first weekend in November.  I started explaining how wonderful it was going to be….running with thousands of people in the cold brisk air…all with the same goal in mind.  I started getting really excited about it, just talking about it.  Then I realized…they weren’t feeling it.  Not even one bit.

I’m thankful that the Lord puts things inside of us for our own pleasure…be it baking, gardening, sports, music, etc.  That’s very nice of Him.  🙂

WONDERFUL PARENTS!

I will have to dedicate a whole blog just to them soon!  I love them!

….and I could go on & on & on……God is so good!  He IS the Lord of my life.  I am thankful!

The Journey is…Olivia. “Mom’s are stupid sometimes.”

Smiling as I watched the busy little girl at the table next to us.  Up and down in her chair, talking & talking AND TALKING!…while the rest of the family sat basically in silence as they finished their meal.  The restaurant was full of people, but she caught my eye.  With her dark hair & almond eyes, she looked nothing like the rest of her family.  I assumed that like me, she was probably adopted.  My mind wondered as I thought back to my own childhood….Thinking that this little family had a likeness to my own as a little girl.  She continued fidgeting & talking…and asking for ICE CREAM over & over.

Then the likeness to my family suddenly came to a halt as I heard the mother speak these words:  “Don’t make me wish we hadn’t got you!”

I kept waiting for the rest of the sentence.  Surely I heard her wrong!!!  I kept thinking….“FINISH THE SENTENCE!”

Don’t make me wish we hadn’t got you….that big sandwich…that HUGE drink…that nasty, stinky, dirty pet hampster…SOMETHING…………ANYTHING!

But, NOTHING.  That was it.

Simply, Don’t make me wish we hadn’t got YOU.

I was SO MAD!  I wanted to revoke that mom’s parenting license!  I could literally feel my blood pressure rise…I had to make myself relax…or risk ruining the whole meal with my own family.  How did the little girl respond?  What did she do?  Nothing.  The mom hurriedly grabbed her by the arm & rushed her around the restaurant….out the door they went.  She was too young to understand those words…today.

So…to give her the benefit of the doubt…I will say, maybe that mom doesn’t realize the power that is held in the words that she speaks to her child.  Maybe…she even had similar words spoken to her as a child.

So since I will likely never see her again…I’ll take a minute here & to talk to that little girl.  Maybe she’ll read this one day, let’s just call her “Olivia” (I just love that name):

Dear Olivia,

It was so nice to see you today, you were the most precious child in that restaurant today.  I enjoyed watching as you filled the place with sunshine!   I’m sure you’ll learn to sit still long enough to eat lunch one day…and that ICE CREAM!!!  I know!  It’s hard to eat an old boring sandwich when they have all that delicious ICE CREAM just wating for us to enjoy!!!  Someday you’ll be a grown up…then you can eat dessert first if you want(that’s what I do sometimes)!

I am so sorry about what your mom said today.  I hope she stops!  You know, us moms aren’t perfect…we often say things that we don’t really mean when we’re frustrated.  Many times, we just repeat what we heard said to us when we were kids.

Olivia, you’re going to find in life that LOTS of people are going to say many hurtful things to you.  You know what?  Just because they say them….THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE!!!  For example:  If I say, “Olivia….you are a ROCK.  A great big, gray, mass…a boulder.”  You’re not going to be sad and think, “Well, it must be true.  I’m a rock…because Mrs. Julia said so.”  You’re not going to be sad and cry because now you just have to sit on the side of the road for the rest of your life, watching the cars drive by.  You’re going to think…that’s silly.  Mrs. Julia is so wrong…I’m a person!  You will just move on, forgetting about what I called you…

So your mom has said…”Don’t make me wish we hadn’t got you”.

What do YOU think about that?  How does that make YOU feel?  I’m guessing that makes you think that you are unwanted, that nobody loves you.  That if you don’t do everything just right, you are unlovable.  I just want to make sure you know, just because they said it and just because that’s how you feel….that doesn’t make it true.

Olivia, you were handcrafted by the Lord Jesus Christ himself!  YOU ARE who God says you are!  This is what He says…He says that you are Created in His image!  Filled with His LIFE!  God created you because He wanted to fellowship with you.  He IS Love…and that love lives in you and flows out of you.   You ARE here on this earth at this moment, for a specific purpose!  You are loved.  You are wanted.”

Your life will bless many, I know it already blessed mine!

Love,

Mrs. Julia

To all the parents that are reading this, I would say:  You chose to have them…you chose to keep them….or in this case…you chose to adopt her as your own.  Children are precious gifts from God…NOW CHOOSE to love them every minute of every day.  Make sure they know they are wanted…cherished ♥