The Fear/Faith Principle

I’ll never forget what my mother did when I was twelve years old. She volunteered me to teach a ladies Sunday school class. She thought it would be fun. She was in the class. 🙁

It was youth Sunday, but still …

I was furious. And scared to death.

On the way to  church I felt like throwing up. My hands shook as I clutched the fear/faith poster I’d made. The poster was half black and half yellow. The yellow part represented faith. The black part meant fear.

At the bottom I wrote:

“Faith means walking to the edge of all the light you can see and taking one more step.”

That day in 1972 when I taught the semi-circle of ladies, a miracle happened.

My poster worked!

I didn’t pass out. My heart slowed down. My words flowed.

I saw a softening around their eyes, a tenderness, a look of understanding.

We experienced the awe and humility of God’s Presence.

This weekend, I’m flying to Massachusetts to lead a ladies retreat on Surrender.

I’m packing my carry-on now. The goofy shoes and hat are part of a skit.

I’m bringing the Daily Guideposts 2015 . It contains a Surrender Series I wrote.

On the inside, I’m still the same little girl. Forty-two years later, right before I speak, my heart does that same skippity thing, and my hands turn clammy.

But the fear/faith principle still works.

When you take one tiny step out of all the light you can see, and your foot is coming down into darkness, you don’t realize it, but you’re landing in faith.

Are you stepping out into faith about something?

My church lady shoes for the skit–my mother wore them 27 years ago at her second wedding.

Please say a prayer for us this weekend.

Here’s my blog about the Ladies Surrender Retreat in South Carolina.

“Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

So much love,




  1. How wonderful is God’s presence, especially when we surrender to it! I am praying now for the fullness of God’s presence at your retreat. The wonder of retreating into His presence certainly defines awe. Blessings and safe travels as you step out in faith.

    • I know, Tom! No other way than Surrender. Such a paradox. 🙂

      Thank you for your prayers as I’m stepping out in faith (especially in these Church lady shoes!)

  2. Lifting you in prayer, sweet friend. May the Holy Spirit flow through you and into the lives of those precious women.

  3. Anna Haney says:

    Julie, speaking is just your writing out loud. I hope you know how much your writing has helped me in times when I needed it. Until Hi tells me differently, I am fully convinced that many Wednesdays, God is using you and your words to tell me something He has been trying to tell me, only I wasn’t listening. I an TRUSTing (trust) is my word that you will not only do wonderfully in this presentation, but you will reach these ladies the same way you reach each of us on Wednesdays.

    I am having to work really hard on TRUST right now with my mom’s health and so many other situations. It is so hard, harder than I ever dreamed it could be. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Only trust Him only trust Him only trust Him now. That’s what I have to do with Momma and that’s what I’m gonna do with you.
    Love you

    • Ohhh, Anna. I’m laughing–all alone in my little loft office. Speaking is just writing out loud. I LOVE IT! I’m claiming that one.

      My sweet friend … Don’t look down because you’re walking on water. I guess there’s no other way but to Trust and Obey, right?

      I’m praying for you. You’ll never know how much your encouragement has meant to me.

      So. Much. Love.

  4. Patti Wiersma says:

    Praying for you and the ladies on the retreat. I hope you can feel the prayers and love surrounding you. The ladies are truly blessed to have you (and Jesus) leading them. Hugs.

    • Thank you, thank you, Patti. Great big hug!!!! Means so much to see these comments and to know my friends will be praying.

  5. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Love, love, love this Julie Girl!

    Especially love your memory as a 12 year old…and your directions to that group of ladies: “faith means walking to the edge of all the light you can see and taking one more step.” Bet you never realized you were “annointed” back then, did you?!! And we, Sweet Friend, are SO blessed because you were!!

    So excited to have my 2015 Daily Guideposts upstairs waiting for Christmas wrappings so I, and our two daughters, can rip into them on Christmas morning and get excited about another year with some dear friends! However, I’m tempted to run up and open mine now…naww, can’t break a 24 year tradition now can I?!

    (This reminds me of one of my favorite books by your Mom: “The Nevertheless Principle” which continues to guide me to this day. I think I know now where her inspiration for that book came from! Thanks for carrying on that tradition. We are blessed!!)

    Praying for safe travels and inspired hearts as you “go about God’s business!” Those ladies are gonna be blessed beyond their wildest imagination…and to God be that glory!

    Love you! Brenda

    • Brenda.



      What can I say? It’s so good of God. How did He know? How could He have possibly had Mother volunteer me to do something like teach a class? How could He be so big? But He is. When I am weak, He is strong.

      Nah, don’t rip open your wrapped presents. And I can’t believe you’re that far ahead of me!

      Hugging you from here. So much love, and thank you, thank you for your prayers this weekend.

  6. Beautiful words of encouragement to me today, Julie. Thank you! Just this morning, I was crying out to Him about all that must be done, and I realize now that I must simply surrender it to Him in faith, just as you did as a 12-year-old girl. He called you even then, and He’s calling you to today. I praise Him for how He continues to use you through the spoken and written word! Praying now for your event. 🙂

    • Vonda, I’m telling you, I fought that Surrender word. Despised it. Didn’t want to let go. Didn’t want to ask for help.

      But ohhhhhhhhhhh the joy of stepping out (on the other side of the poster–the black side) and knowing He’s right there waiting.

      Thank you so much for your prayers. Love you. And I hadn’t thought about teaching that class when I was 12 until the past few days, and I began to wonder, hmmmmm……

  7. Julie, I’ve been reading about fear and faith today, so your blog post is timely! One quote I read that I like is: “Never let your fear decide your future.” Thanks for your article. I will share it with my tweeps! Praying for your writing and speaking ministry.

    • Hey Kathy! Just saw your sweet tweet! Thanks for being you. Wish we had time to sit and talk and laugh together.

      It means so much to know we have friends behind us, praying, doesn’t it?

      All my love. And thank you! Love this quote, because if we allowed fear to rule, we’d just sit at home in a corner. Or at least I would.

  8. thankful that you conquer you fear each time you speak. II will be praying for you at the retreat

  9. Hey, sweet friend. I’m praying for you. Public speaking is my worst fear … and God has been calling me to it. The first time, I got sick through the night, uncontrollably shaking, like I had a stomach virus. I was so weak the next morning before speaking … but God delivered me through it … and I enjoyed the speaking and the precious women. The last time I spoke, I wasn’t as afraid … because I had seen what God could do. When I was handed a microphone and told I’d have to hold it through my talk, I just knew my hand would be shaking uncontrollably. It didn’t … but my right hip did! Have mercy! And that was not even three weeks after my appendectomy … I was so weak. But, God did His beautiful thing. I’m like I was as a kid … ducking my head down when the teacher is looking for someone to call upon to read aloud. And she picks me anyway. God picks us …

    • Shelli, our pastor once said, “Public speaking is really public sweating.” 🙂

      And sometimes I wonder why it seems He calls introverts, quiet people, those of us who’d be happy writing and not speaking….to speak!

      It makes my day–TOTALLY–to read your words…how He carried you. I’m laughing–your right hip? Hahahahahahahaha! I haven’t had hip nervousness, but I guess it could happen. 🙂

      Wish we lived closer. Would love to have coffee. I bet we’d both be content to be quiet and listen~

  10. Best wishes on the retreat this weekend. I love the hat and the shoes. The skit will be fun! But even more fun will be stepping out in faith with a heart opened wide and the people there walking right into it and feeling at home.

    Hugs and love!

    • Love you, B.J. Taylor! You’re exactly right about feeling at home. That always happens when I speak–such a wonderful feeling!!!!

      It’s like as soon as you get started and see the smiling faces, something settles down in your spirit, and you go, “Ahhhhhhh. This feels nice.”

  11. Debi Taylor guise says:

    Dear Julie there will be many prayers lifting you up this week end ! The ladies will see and feel His love through you. ! You are full of His spirit ! Seems the theme for the weekend applies to many of us most of the time ! We need the constant reminder ! I must share your poster with my granddaughter . Thank you for giving !!!! debi

    • Thank you, thank you Debi!

      My spirit is just soaring reading all these encouraging comments!! I love that you’re sharing my poster with your granddaughter. Maybe she’ll make one for some sort of a project. 🙂

      Blessings and tell your precious granddaughter to Walk By Faith. ‘Cause there’s really no other way.

  12. marci says:

    Oh, Julie, As usual your words have struck a cord with me. I can see how at 12 yrs old, being told to speak to a class of women would have a kid shaking. It sounds like the Lord truly lead you – as what a great lesson you came up with. As good today and it was those years ago. I am already praying for you as you speak, and for that peace that passes understanding to be with you. Yes, sometimes it seems the Lord does call the introverts. Perhaps that it to prove what He can do and so we will know it is Him, not us… and so we will surrender. I am so looking forward to your writings on Surrender in the DGP 15. Which as I am hearing many already have their DGP for next year. . I have not gotten mine yet, so I hope it will come soon. I put them up and try to hold off until after Christmas – so it does feel like an extra Christmas gift.. though I don’t wrap it.
    Thanks for all of your sharing with us, and I hope you will know how much it means to so many.

    I also liked Anna’s words, about Speaking just being writing outloud. For those of us that are much more comfortable writing than speaking- that is very helpful.

    God Bless you,
    Marci’a Swonger Greer

    • Hey Marci,
      Looking back to that day when I was 12, I had no clue that day served any purpose in my life–except for my mother….. well, you know. But now, I see how even the yucky-ness and fear served a purpose.

      I need to order my Daily GP to 2015 too. I just have the one copy I receive because I’m a contributor.

      Thank you for your precious prayer–for reminding me of His Peace, which we can’t begin to understand–and how it fills us.

      I’m so very grateful for our little blog group. Y’all just can’t imagine what you mean to me.

      So much love.

  13. Julie Gilleand says:

    Julie, I have always hated speaking in front of people. I felt just like you — nervous and sick. I nearly dropped out of high school because I couldn’t graduate without passing a speech class! I was one day away from failing the class — because I skipped out the first two days! A friend called me that night and told me “Can’t never could do nothin'”. I didn’t understand, but somehow that night the light bulb went off. I realized I COULD do it. It was just that I didn’t want to (with a passion!). So because I COULD, I WOULD. I stayed up all night writing my speech, in my head. I gave it the next day, nervous and sick as could be, but I got a B. I even made the teacher, Mr. Drapek, almost cry because my subject was sad. I never got over the nerves but I aced the class. And I kept every outline from every speech and still have them. I was 16 then. I didn’t know God yet or anything about faith or fear, but once I did, memories of that time would come to me. The only time I ever slightly enjoyed speaking in front of people was one time, in church. I was playing piano and singing for the first time and told a story about the song before hand. It made me nervous, but secretly I got a real rush out of it! And I have it on tape! Cassette tape! I have learned over the years that every time I do something that scares me, I become a little more fearless. My boys helped with that too by talking me into riding roller coasters!

    Thanks for sharing this and for all it brings back to my mind now. I am praying for you dear leaf sister. You’re gonna rock!!

    • Leaf Sister, I Love what you said–every time I do something that scares me, I become a little more fearless!! Beautiful my friend.

      Thank you so much for praying, and I’m so glad you aced the speech, the class, and you even played the piano at church!!!!!!!!!! I took lessons for a few years but quit b/c my mother would always say, “Julie, come play the piano for us” when people came over. :/

      Thank you so much, my sweet Leaf-loving sister!

  14. Wish I could be one of those blessed ones who get to hear you speak!

    • Awwwww, Elizabeth one day we just gotta meet face to face. I love your heart–how you see your family, your world, and your wonderful journals!!! And your pens. Every time I write with mine, I think about you. 🙂

  15. Patricia Martin says:

    Have a great time at your retreat, Julie! I remember when I was in church years ago and a bossy older lady that taught church school announced in front of several people that she “wanted to see me teach sabbath school.” I am a teacher’s child so many people feel that because my parent was and still is a teacher that I want to teach as well. (): right now I am stepping out in faith about my diet. did you know that people fear public speaking more than spiders or anything else? I learned this from my communication class. Sending blessings to you and yours!
    Sending hugs your way,

    • Hey Sweet Patricia, yes, I think public speaking is maybe the number one fear???? And our pastor called it public sweating. :/

      I’m soooooooooooooo proud of you for faith-walking your diet. I’m praying for you. It’s not easy—takes a while to adjust. I do hope you’re feeling better. My best friend was diagnosed with Celiac too–took her quite a while to feel better. I could tell a difference within a couple of days.


      • Patricia Martin says:

        Thank you for your prayers, Julie! I know that they are helping!((:
        Patricia (((;

        • I’m so very glad, Patricia. Keep up the good work…and I know it’s work, at least at first, to re-learn how to eat and take care of yourself.


  16. Kim says:

    I laughed so hard at dinner last night. We were having a discussion on spoken prayer and my 13 yr old daughter asked why we were talking about it? “You didn’t sign me up to pray or anything did you?” No, I did not! But I thought of your blog post.

    She asked this because I did sign her up to be a VBS helper during the upcoming Fall break.

    May you bless and be blessed this weekend.

    • hahahahahahahahahah, Kim!! I love it!!! Tell your daughter I completely understand having a “helpful” mother.

      Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  17. Shelley Elaine says:

    Julie, this is AMAZING!!! Over the past 2 weeks God has brought me to Isaiah 41:10 over and over! Yes, I will DEFINITELY be praying for y’all. Thanks for taking that step.

    • Hey Shelley, thank you, my friend. The retreat was amazing–such sweet ladies–so welcoming. Thank you for praying!! xoxo

  18. This might be my all time favorite piece you’ve written! It speaks to me in so many ways. You’re quotes! Oh the wisdom and insightfulness they infuse in me! How I wish I could jump on a plane and attend one of your retreats. As I prepare for my own speaking engagement I am printing this out to be a gentle reminder to “keep stepping.” Thank you Julie- this touched me immensely! Much love to you and prayers for a wonderful retreat!

    • *your* quotes… sigh.

    • I’m hugging you from my little loft office back at home, Vicky. It was incredible. IN-CRED-I-BLE. As soon as I walked in, it was as if the ladies and I were already friend. Instant Connection!

      I’ll keep watching your FB page and blog for your speaking dates so I can pray for you. Would love to hear you~~~~

      So Much Love to you. I’m a few days behind on emails/reading blogs. II have a Vicky post to read–looking forward to finding out about your world!

  19. Sandra Walker says:

    Your posts always speak to me, confirming what God is saying. EVERY TIME! Praying for your retreat.

    • Sandra, the retreat was AMAZING. Thank you so much for praying. Wish I could meet everyone face to face to thank you all for praying. Your encouragement/love/comments mean so very much to me… very grateful.

  20. Oh Julie, I love your illustration about taking one more step. So many times I’ve let fear paralyze me even before I get to the edge. I sit in the light and freeze with the fear- just thinking about what might happen. Someday I hope I get to come to a retreat where you’re speaking. Hugs and blessings and thanks for sharing your heart and the beautiful lessons the Lord is teaching you!

    • Thank you, so much Cindy. Surely we must be Sisters! I think you either totally identify with the fear thing, or you have no clue what I’m talking about. I’m sorta relieved you (and the others) understand.

      Retreat was amaaazing—thankful God went with me. Couldn’t have done it without Him!

  21. Julie, it is so precious to watch you stretch and grow. Thank you for this honest piece. I love it – the story of teaching that Sunday school lesson and the blessing of teaching and trusting yet today! You go, girl!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.