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…LOVE, RESPECT &….cell phones?

It’s true!  People CAN change if they want to!

After YEARS of frustrating my loved ones….I’m proud to say that for 3 weeks now I have(with very few exceptions) kept my cell phone charged, the volume TURNED UP, and with me at all times….and I’ve even answered it when I didn’t recognize the number!  Simple right?  For YOU MAYBE!  But for me, this is a major accomplishment!  I’m proud of myself.  I don’t imagine anyone else cares or has noticed, but it makes me happy.  YAY ME!

Have I enjoyed changing?  NO!  It’s been quite a bother to constantly think about it, keep up with it…and even answer it.  I really DON’T like to talk on the phone!

I’m sure my friends & family don’t see it this way, they loved me despite my “cell phone flaws”, but this my why.  The reason why I made the effort to change.

It’s one way I’m letting them know, “I value you.  I respect your time.  You are more valuable to me than my comfort.  I love you.”

What did this simple example remind me of?

“When we value & respect what we already have

…a whole world of opportunities open.”

I find this principle to be true in MANY areas of my own life.

But, back to the phone…See, I used to joke about wanting an i-phone….but when presented with the opportunity to get one, I would always decline.  My thoughts? It was too expensive a gift for me to damage.  If I wasn’t going to keep it charged, use it correctly or possibly lose or break it…what was the point in acquiring it?  I might as well keep the old free one.

When I valued and respected the people in my life enough to take care of the phone I already have…my thinking began to change.  I’m now thinking…an i-phone might be nice to have after all!

I know it’s just a phone, but it makes me think this…What simple changes can we make daily that will add value to people.  What do I already have in my power that will tell those I love that they are important to me?  What has the Lord already blessed me with for which I can respect & show my gratitude?  In what ways is He wanting to enlarge my thinking?

When you can answer that, then it’s really very simple.  (Keeping this in mind…simple is not equal to EASY.)  Embrace your NOW, find your WHY, make a plan & follow through.  Change is good.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the worlds of opportunities it opens up for you NEXT!

Your future is bright!  Embrace it!  Enjoy it!  Live it!

~Julia

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…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…Letting Go (Life through the eye’s of my daughter)

LESSONS FROM A 5 YEAR OLD.

My 5 year old daughter, Grace, had on her brave little smile as her new babies quickly flew away to freedom.  In the previous weeks, we had watched, with much patience & excitement as 4 little caterpillars had turned into butterflies before our eyes.  We had witnessed a miracle!

Grace described her feelings well when we let them go.   Her mind agreed as her mouth said the words…, “I know my butterflies will be happier in their new home…and I know I’m making the world a more beautiful place.”  The pictures show that she was very happy, but when we returned home her heart told a different story.  She looked at me & said, “I’m just filled up with sad.”  I reminded her that was the plan the whole time…she new from the start that we would be letting them go when they turned into butterflies.  Her response, “I know…but I didn’t know it was going to be so great.”  My heart broke for her.  Not only that…IT WAS ALL MY FAULT!  I’m the one who ordered the caterpillar’s in the first place!!!

So when she wasn’t paying attention, I put her little butterfly house away.  My thought…If she doesn’t think about it, maybe she won’t be so sad.  Well…the next day she asked where her butterfly house was.  I stopped in my tracks & reluctantly pulled it out of my secret hiding place…complete with the empty cocoons & the one that never emerged from it’s chrysalis.  She only looked at it, smiled…and then set it where she plans on it staying until I fork out the $ to buy her some more caterpillars.  AND she didn’t hesitate to remind me that she’d prefer that I buy EIGHT caterpillars next time!  🙂

I learned something about myself that day.  Doesn’t it seem that there will come a day that you would quit learning NEW things about yourself?  I learned that the way I have dealt with things that are unpleasant in my life has been to just hide them away…deciding to forget about them…as if they never even happened.

Well, you can only live in your happy world so long before the myriad of things you have tucked away start poking holes in the make believe world that you have created.  If there is strong emotion(pain, sadness, anger) that means you’re not finished dealing with it.  Telling yourself, “that didn’t really hurt”…is not the same thing as finding the source of your pain & asking God to heal it…and He WILL.

What I learned from my child?  Give yourself permission to feel.  Each stage of your life will have it’s own joys.  Feel happy…and keep moving forward!  Each stage of your life will have it’s sorrows as well. Feel sad…and keep moving forward!    Embrace & enjoy each moment.  Remembering to breathe in each new & wonderful experience to come, because it won’t be long & they will become your richest memories.

When I grow up, I want to be like Grace 🙂

The Journey is…THIRTY SEVEN.

THANKFUL THURSDAY!  Seasons of My Life….the 30-something years.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have learned this…

I AM

Julia Lynn Freeman…daughter of Delbert & Carol Freeman.

Julia Freeman Davis…wife of Matthew Davis….mother of 3…friend to many.

AND

Mrs. Julia…Children’s Minister, Youth Minister’s Wife, Pastor’s Wife

BECAUSE OF the seasons of my life…the changes & struggles

I have learned that I am ALSO:

Julia.

Child of God.

Runner.

Writer.

Dreamer.

With a mind of my own, capable of doing many things…including (but not limited to), allowing the Lord to minister to my spirit, trying new things by myself, driving in crazy traffic, grilling my own food & dressing semi-fashionable.  (May not seem like big accomplishments, but they mean a lot to me.)

Now…BECAUSE I LOVE MYSELF as MUCH  as I do my family…we are all able to love & value each other more.

In all your loving….remember to love yourself too! 

Be a giver…but learn to receive as well.

Your family will thank you for it!

If given the chance…going back to 21 does not even tempt me in the slightest bit!

I am thankful to be THIRTY SEVEN years old!  That’s a very nice place to be.

The Journey is….TBH

To Be Honest:

I am really a grumpy old hag…with high expectations…

…who pouts when things don’t turn out like I planned them to.

I am scatterbrained, disorganized, an awful cook & housekeeper….

…and I burn my family’s favorite clothes items with the iron.

I don’t like pets.

(But secretly I believe that’s because they all die anyway,

and that hurts.)

I put on my happy face when I am in public.

I read my own blog all the time because it reminds me of who I really am,

and who God created me to be.

It is God speaking to me.

I feel like Forrest Gump when I run.

He was frustrated.

He ran.

3 years later he was ok. 

He stopped running.

I will not post this on FB…and why I would blog about it is beyond me.

I know…

the truth is…

the real me is who God says I am.

The real me will be back later.

Jesus loves me anyway.

I’m going to go run now. 

Goodbye.

The Journey is….thankful.

THANKFUL THURSDAY!

I’m thankful for:

-A man that has chosen the Lord.

In a world where infidelity is somewhat common….I could never be pretty, kind, encouraging, wise or talented enough to meet his every need.  If dwelt on, this could make a girl feel a little insecure.  Only the Lord can bring the fulfillment that so many are searching for.  Knowing that He is faithful first to His Lord…which means he is also faithful to me…this brings great peace to my life.

-Groupon & Living Social

-Birthday Parties, friends, smiles

-Butterflies

-People that minister to my life & my spirit, many times just through a simple conversation we have had or a suggestion they have made.

-Movies & books that make me think.

-My sister.