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”

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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…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…Experience: the good, the bad & the ugly.

Many of you have asked about my latest race…the 2011 Vulcan 10k

YAY! I finished! Lovely day...lovely EXPERIENCE.

I haven’t felt inspired to write about it yet…but I’m sure I will.

This is what I jotted down on race day:

-Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. ~John Wooden

-Last year when I finished the Vulcan…I felt SATISFACTION.

-This year I was disappointed & said, “Well, that was a good experience.”

-“If you know you can do better, and you don’t.  You won’t be satisfied.” ~me

-“The good…the bad…and the ugly…”  That about sums up this race.

-I believe the very next day…I saw this video:  http://johnmaxwellteam.com/experience/

“The good, the bad & the ugly….”

The good….there are LOTS of good things I want to share with you.

The bad…I simply did not do my very best.  I did good…but not my best.  But I DID learn something.   SATISFACTION was a much better feeling than….EXPERIENCE.

I’m looking forward once again to training…next time(even though I said the same thing after Talladega)…I guarantee that I WILL PUT MY BEST EFFORT into training for the races ahead.

The ugly…there was NOTHING ugly about it.

I’m just glad to be able to say I was in the race & crossed the finish line!

More to come…

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…defeat.

IGNORING YOUR WORST CRITIC
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.-Theodore Roosevelt
When reading this quote, I think of my own worst critic…ME!
I consistently remind myself of my own shortcomings & failures.
This is what I will think instead:
Every person alive will experience moments of defeat.
Defeat is simply part of the Journey.
After the defeat,
Be proud of yourself for getting in the game in the first place!
Give yourself some credit…
The mere fact that you are still here
is in itself it’s own great accomplishment.
…and then….
keep
moving
forward.
It takes much bravery & courage to stay in the arena.
Perseverance, when you’d rather just watch from the sidelines, is the only path to
VICTORY!
~Ignoring Myself,
 Julia

The Journey is…Inspiration

“Find your why…and then live your choice with passion.”

For the last 3 weeks I have been attempting to blog about the things that inspire me to move….mainly…the things that inspire me to run.

It starts out nice enough, it goes something like this:

in·spire [ in spir ]
  1. stimulate somebody to do something: to encourage somebody to greater
    effort, enthusiasm, or creativity
  2. provoke particular feeling: to arouse a particular feeling in somebody
  3. cause creative activity: to stimulate somebody to do something,
    especially creative or artistic work

I have found that there are things in life that inspire me to action.  They inspire me to get out of my comfort zone & change my normal pattern of behavior….typically for the better.

For example:  Stepping on a mouse trap, inspires me to jump around, screaming like a mad woman 🙂  Completely out of character for me…but evidently, from the reaction of my children) quite funny to watch.

I’m fine by the way….


Well, the rest of that blog isn’t coming together.  My thoughts typically are a jumbled up mess in my head, until I sit down & type them out.  This time, they are just staying there…tangled up in my brain.

But during the process, it caused me to contemplate what would inspire me to change my eating habits.  What would make me WANT to do this…because so far, the WANT to eat junk has been greater than the WANT to loose weight.  With very little thought I came up with my answer.  A new camera!  My old one died….on the first day of our family vacation mind you!  I’ll just say…I was very sad.  If you know me well, this would make sense.  If not…you might think I’m a nut.  If someone offered to buy me the camera of my dreams, along with lenses & flashes, etc…if I ate healthy for  xxx # of days…I would without a doubt, have the will power to resist every sweet thing that was offered to me DAILY!  It does seem that everywhere I go there is some kind of delicious food tempting me.  You see…I would then have a “WHY”.  Why would I not eat that?  Because if I made the right choice…I could have the amazing piece of technology to record precious moments of life that will never happen again.  Photographs for us to cherish FOREVER…or at least until Jesus comes back….

Then I think…that’s pitiful.  Is not my own body…my own health & quality of living more important to me than a camera, an object?  So now…every time I think about the food…I think about the camera & MY value…yes…I AM more valuable to myself than a camera.

So here’s to W1D2 (week 1/day 2)!  TWO days of eating healthy(again, for the zillionth time)!!!  YAY ME!!!!

I believe with anything that you value in life, you must find your inspiration.  What is your reason or purpose for doing something…your WHY?  Find your why…and then live your choice with passion.

~Julia

The Journey is…Fred Rogers

Today I was reminded of Mr. Rogers, you know, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…”

 

Just thought I would share some of his quotes:

Quotes – Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers)

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
– Fred Rogers

Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness. It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.
– Fred Rogers

We all have different gifts and different ways of saying to the world who we are. The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling they are worthwhile.
– Fred Rogers

It would have been sad for me to spend my life just trying to superimpose stuff on people rather than trying to encourage them to look within themselves for what’s of value.
– Fred Rogers

I think everybody longs to be loved and longs to know that he or she is lovable and, consequently, the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.
– Fred Rogers

What really matters is not just our own winning but helping other people to win, too.
– Fred Rogers

I feel the greatest gift we can give to anybody is the gift of our honest self.

– Fred Rogers

At the center of the universe is a
loving heart that continues to beat
and that wants the best for every person.

Anything we can do to help foster
the intellect and spirit and emotional growth
of our fellow human beings, that is our job.

Those of us who have this particular vision
must continue against all odds.

Life is for service.

mister rogers neighborhood – fred rogers – 1928-2003

The Journey is….Thankfulness!

“THANKFUL THURSDAY” ~ THE BURCHETT’S

A friend of mine has encouraged us to set aside Thursday’s as “Thankful Thursdays!” 

As I have reminisced about this weeks events, my thoughts overwhelmingly turn to my childhood.  A friend had asked about some pictures that I had stored away in my cedar chest.  Looking through them was such a pleasure…It amazes me how a picture can so quickly take you back to a special moment in time.  I even found myself singing songs from the 80’s that I hadn’t thought of in ages.  I could almost smell the “Aqua Net”!  Then yesterday, was a special day of remembrance to me.  My childhood best friend’s dad had passed away 3 years ago.  Such a great man!  Again, more pictures were shared.  I was reminded of my love for my BFF & her family…YEARS of special memories!

On this Thankful Thursday,  my thoughts turn to two people that I am particularly thankful for today.  Rev. Dwight & Mary Burchett…without them the pictures would all be so different…the memories just wouldn’t be the same.  In their daily living & desiring to follow the leading of the Lord…they founded the school that I attended from 3rd to 9th grade.  The biggest part of my childhood, some of my favorite memories, life changing experiences with the Lord, & best friendships are because they listened to & obeyed God’s calling on their lives.  They still minister to me to this day!

Thank you Rev. Dwight & Mary Burchett!  On this Thankful Thursday…I am thankful for YOU!!!

~Julia