A Secret Place in My Heart

One day last week, an editor called. She presented me with a startling writing assignment. A big scary assignment. An idea that could take months. And if there’s one thing that messes with me, it’s fear.

After we hung up, I sat down at my desk. My cold, clammy fingers hovered above my keyboard. I had no idea how to begin.

Why does she think I can do this?  I don’t know how. 

The softest sweetest voice in my heart whispered one word. 


I knelt beside by my desk.

Lord, fear is trespassing in my heart again. And I don’t have to be afraid.  

If You’re in this, help me. 

Sometimes when I write, I light a candle. I love the bright glow and the warm smell of cinnamon. I lit my favorite candle and watched the flame for a minute or two.

Then I put my fingers on the keys.

But the candle wasn’t enough.

Two unlit candles caught my attention.

What is it, Lord? 



Holy Spirit.

The Trinity. Three in one. Light all three candles. Ask Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to help you. 

I’d never considered praying this way before.

Yes! Yes!

I lit the other candles and knelt again.

“Lord, You’re my Father. The Great I Am. My Protector. Alpha and Omega. 

Jesus, You’re My Savior. My Friend.  Emmanuel. Wonderful Counselor. My Redeemer.

Holy Spirit, You’re my Comforter. My Deliverer. My Teacher. Dwell with me today.”

I crawled back into my chair and typed:

“I had no idea there was any other way to live. Fear, perfectionism, and control were like my wicked stepsisters.”

The words came from a secret place in my heart.

I had begun. 🙂

Here’s a 15-second video of my candles. Just had to show you!

If you can’t see video below, click here

Is there anything in life that keeps you on your knees? 

That’s okay.

It’s a safe place to be.




  1. Kim says:

    So with you on this Julie. Fear is my greatest struggle and Light is what I am continually striving to live into. I love the idea of praying, asking the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to help. Feels stronger.

    Your question is convicting. Yes, I pray about my stumbling blocks, but rarely do I do it on my knees. But that is where I need to be. Thank you for that reminder.

    Loved hearing your voice in the candle video! I have been reading your words in Daily Guideposts since you began. After a while, each contributor “sounds” a certain way in my head. 🙂 Now I have your real voice to “hear.”

    Prayers for you through this new assignment.

    • Kim, we are just sisters, aren’t we!!!

      The knees…twice that day. And lots of days. When I feel the urge not to knee, that’s when I know I need to.

      My voice…my Southern twangy voice. Talk about intimately sharing with y’all!!!

      Love your words, my friend. And thanks for the prayers. I’m praying for you.

  2. Colleen Capes Jackson says:

    Julie, thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts with us today. I love the candles.
    On our knees is such a sweet place to be. It is where we find comfort in the blessed Trinity. Keep us posted when your assignment goes to print. I know it will be dynamic. As I often tell writer friends, “God has assigned a work in you that no one else can do.” We love you.

    • Colleen, your words and YOU are so dear to me. You’re one of the gentlest, kindest people I’ve ever met.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  3. Patricia Martin says:

    Thank you,Julie!!! I needed to read this post today.((: I am preparing right now for two tests and at first I was terrified and overwhelmed by everything about the tests, but I am giving both my tests to God and I will rest in Him! I hope your book is a New York Times best seller and I am sure it will be. Is it a fiction or nonfiction book?
    Hugs from AZ,

    • Patricia! I smiled all over myself when I noticed your comment early this morning b/c usually you comment later in the day. And it made my day that this touched your heart this morning!!

      I’m agreeing with you in prayer about your tests. Are they today? Let me know how it goes–or rather, let me know how His Spirit helps you. 🙂

      I’m just keeping quiet on any details on the writing assigment. Seems like I’m just supposed to pray. And trust. And pray.


  4. I’m putting a candle near my desk right now! Thanks!

    • Linda, I’ve been writing with a candle for years. They are incredible! Reminds me that He is our Light and our Source. Let me know….I bet you’ll love it!

  5. Jacqi Barker says:

    So glad I read this today! Right when I needed it! Great reminder!

  6. Georgia says:

    Thank you, Julie for the post. I needed it today. Rough times at my job, but I know He will help me through. Have a peaceful day!!

    • Georgia, I’m just so honored this touched your day today. Blesses my socks off to know that people are drawn to Him through my words. That’s why I write!

      So much love, my friend!

      Yes, yes, “Have a peaceful day.” I love that! Thank you. You too.

  7. Anna Haney says:

    Beautiful post. Fear is a horrible thing. It can truly paralyze us at times. Fear’s twin is worry. Thank you for sharing this. Love you

  8. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Oh my Sweet Julie Girl! I agree with all the post thus far. This one is “annointed”…carry on!
    Love you and SO blessed to have you in my life! Brenda

  9. I am excited to hear more about your writing project! I also loved hearing your sweet southern voice.

    • Elizabeth, okay, now you have to let us hear your voice!!! I thought about trying not to sound so Southern, but I couldn’t. Didn’t feel real and I couldn’t do it. 🙂

      I’m just praying and keeping still and quiet and waiting and watching with the writing project… you know those times when we’re supposed to be still and pray.

      Thank you!

  10. Julie,

    You really have a way of speaking to my heart. Yes, I have fear. Fear like I haven’t known in this situation before. I have to have surgery. I’ve had many surgeries, but I always knew what the outcome would be. With this one, there are a couple of variables that could cause different outcomes. I’ve already been on my knees to the Lord more than once during the business of testing and figuring out if surgery was needed.

    But you are oh so right, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are there for me. All of them in one. When my surgeon came out of the last test to me in post-op and gave me the prognosis, the last thing he said was, “And we’ll pray about it.” Very quietly. I grabbed on to that simple sentence like a life preserver. For my surgeon to say he’s praying about my surgery before he takes me to the OR; YES Lord, YES! This is the right person for the job! I’ve learned a few things about myself that will hopefully make things easier and better during this hospital stay and recovery, but one thing is for sure. I will be holding my heavenly Father’s hand tightly the whole way. Which means I’m holding onto the Son and the Holy Spirit too. I have a team on my side that can’t be beat, no matter what the outcome!

    Thanks for sharing your fear Julie; we can all make it through anything with the help our “our team!”

    • Lisa, AMEN!!!! Do you want to share with us when your surgery is? So we can pray?

      There’s something about dropping to our knees, isn’t there… means we’re desperate and we can’t do it without Him.

      Email me your address and I’d love to mail you a candle.

      Prayers and love and faith!

      • No, I do not mind sharing my surgery date or what I’m having done. I have adhesions from several former surgeries blocking my colon. We want to get in there and correct the problem before it becomes an emergency. I’ve asked for surgery to be on March 16th but they won’t confirm that til towards the middle of the month. I will let you know if it changes for March 16th if things go like I hope! I would appreciate all of your prayers; I covet them; they will get me through this, knowing I am covered in prayer.

        • Sure! You have my prayers. And I just emailed you. 🙂 Putting your name on my calendar for the 16th to pray, my friend.

          So much love!

  11. Prayer. How often we feel we have to go it ourselves…that we should have it in control…that we should be able to do things on our own. But we’re never on our own. Like you said, we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we have friends, our Father’s way here on earth to help one another, just like Jesus did when He was here. Telling stories, sharing His life, helping us all. Warm hugs from many states away as you work on the editor’s project. You’ll do GREAT!

  12. marci says:

    Oh Julie, the Lord is in this one, and I just have to tell you— as I read your writing for today, I had to stop in awe. God is in the details. The Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit… 3 . That sat me back in my chair. I ‘ve been working on the prayer shawl, and the pattern that felt right to make, that, God chose for me to use is– “The Power of Three”.! What a wonderful message – God speaks! I know about fear and worry. And I like the way you put it, ” fear is trespassing in my heart again.” I had not thought of it like that– that it is trespassing, but that is what it does. I am often reminded, of the old proverb, “Sew and God will supply the thread”, .. Crochet, and God will supply the yarn,..and He has… and the same can be said of any thing God leads us too.

    By now, you know I could write a lot more, but I think this is a good place to stop. And let “less be more”.
    Thank you Julie for always being open to let God speak through you and use the lessons you learn along the journey.
    God Bless!

    • Marci, HOLY GOOSEBUMPS. Are you saying, that you had already decided to do a “Power of Three” pattern?

      I can hardly stand it….so much…so deep…so wide….so big is His Love.

      Oh, thank you, thank you. How can I ever thank you enough?

      He keeps whispering, “Keep trusting me. Eyes on Me.”

      • marci says:

        Yes, I had already started the shawl and was well on it’s way in the Power of 3 pattern, when I read your writing for today. I had worked on it Tuesday. As you put it, it was a Holy Goosebumps moment. God at work.

        God Bless,

  13. Julie, I’m going to print out that prayer and put it by my writing chair. That’s so beautiful and inspired by God. I love it. And I love you, my friend. I know you and the Lord will rock this story!

    • Teary-eyed again, Ane. These precious comments. And you’re printing this one up.

      Thank You, Lord. All glory and power and honor to You.

      I love you, Ane. So grateful for your friendship.

  14. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Hmmm…what keeps me on my knees? Easier to say what doesn’t! 🙂

    I guess the major issues that drive me craz…oops, to my knees involve my three grown daughters. I spent many hours in prayer for them as they grew from pre-birth through childhood and teen years, but I think I pray more for them now, as adults. And fear plays a huge part in that.

    A few years back, our local theater put on the musical version of Little Women. (If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and do so!!) My now-married daughter directed and choreographed, and I produced it and made the costumes. At one performance, as I listened to Jo sing at the end, when she realizes she should write the stories of her childhood, an idea burst into my brain as loud as the music swelled to Jo’s words. I’d tried for almost 30 years to find what I should write, dabbling in various genres. “Write a novel called, My Little Women, about all the girls who graced your home over the years.”

    As I began outlining the project, I couldn’t decide on a main character, finally choosing a mother or grandmother, with a mixed family of daughters, cousins, foster kids, etc. And, of course, because I LOVE this type of work, I began filling out a character analysis on this woman. That’s where the trouble began. “What does this character want more than anything?” Well, “To see ALL her girls happy in life.” But, “Who or what is keeping her from achieving this goal?” Ah, the dreaded antagonist. Before I knew it, I’d written, “Herself!”

    As I pondered this incredulous answer, the Holy Spirit explained it to me. I want my daughters to be happy, but…I want to be the one to make that happen. And as anyone who has adult children they’re attempting to still mold will understand, it’s not our job anymore. We can’t make them happy, and the fear that revelation brought made my heart race. I still try sometimes, until I hear, “Let go, let God.” And that’s why I’m back on my knees…daily!

    • Cathy, do you realize, my precious friend, how very profound your words are? How He’s writing and loving and living through you?

      This. Is. Absolutely. Beautiful.

      And it ministered to a Deep Place in my heart.

      Our children and praying on our knees–oh, yes. This one hits home, big time. Thank you. And then we stand up and, “Let go and let God.

      With you, my sister.

  15. Leigh Ann says:

    LOVED getting your email this morning before I’d had a chance to read this. This was special to me today.. I’m not one who lives in a lot of fear, but since the surgery I had in December, things haven’t been quite “right” and I’m spending a lot of time completely terrified and consumed with the fear that things will never feel normal again. I’m sitting in my chair, with my yummiest candles lit praying for you and this new journey you’re on and me and my new journey too. I thought of you today when I was reminded of what Mother Theresa said: “I am a little pencil in the hands of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” I love that! And reading all of these comments on your blog made me think of something else… your friend Cathy wrote about the musical Little Women, which I love too. There’s this incredible song in it that Jo sings and I think you should hear it. Start at the 2:45 mark the first time you listen to it…I LOVE this. It’s a great song of inspiration. I hope you like it too.
    Love you!


    • Can’t wait to listen, Leigh Ann.

      Fear. It tries to destroy us, doesn’t it. Just have to say, I had no idea you’d have ever struggled with it. Thanks for letting me know how to pray.

      Okay, seriously, we HAVE to do coffee.

      Going to your link now….



      Holy Moly.



      I don’t even know what to say? And y’all brought this to me. To us…………………………………………………………………..

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Glad you liked it. We told you it was…well…astonishing! The whole show fills your heart with more than music. Try to find a place that’s putting on a production. It was such fun to be a part of the process when Youth for Christ did it, especially with my daughter directing. Of course, I got the benefit of hearing my girls sing the songs for months and months! Such a blessing having musical children! I miss that, now that they’re grown. Faith, my 19-yr-old, dances, tho, and that’s fun, too!

  16. The Trinity in candles–what a great reminder that we’re never alone in this journey. Even when we feel we’re in over our heads, our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit join forces to give us exactly what we need!
    Thank you!

  17. Ruth says:

    I too, liked hearing your sweet voice today. It is as pretty as you are. I struggle with fear too. Fear that I am not enough – not smart enough, not strong enough, you name it. Fear that if I share my faith with someone, that I will stumble over the words & not be a good witness for Him. But we only have a short time on this earth & we need to make all our days count! I copied II Tim. 1:7 – For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power & love & a strong mind, and taped it under my keyboard at work, So be strong Dear Julie and move forward, you can do this writing assignment. Our God is stronger and bigger than our fears. We all are all rooting for you. Love you lots!

    • Ohh, Ruth. Hope you can feel me hugging you from here.

      We’re ALL in this together. All of us. And you’re so right. We have such a short time, but He has forever, doesn’t He.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my friend.

      Boy, I wish we could have a great big blog party with all of us in one room…before Heaven!

      • Ruth says:

        A big party with all your blogger friends, on your porch and with your mother?? Lol! What fun that would be! I felt that hug – all the way up here in snowy Ohio! God bless you, Julie!

  18. Julie Gilleand says:

    I always fret and sigh and rant and rave and vent before I finally remember I should pray! It seems easier to do all the other than it does to just pray, doesn’t it? But it isn’t what makes your challenge easier, that’s for sure. When I finally remember to pray, it focuses me on the solution rather than the problem and right away, a heaviness begins to lift, whether the challenge is a miserable one or an exciting, but scary one as in your case. I love that you light candles when you write! If I have any ritual or source of inspiration when I write, it is putting on a CD I have sounds of a thunderstorm with some slow instrumental music mingled in, that has at times a haunting sound I suppose to reflect the danger and scariness of a storm and then at other times, the music goes into a different feeling, more like the storm is letting up. Both music and thunderstorms inspire me, so I surround myself with both! But I love your candles and loved that you showed them to us! And you have me so curious as to what your project is!!

    • Julie, Leafy,

      Isn’t it the Truth! We do everything else BEFORE we pray. Crazy, isn’t it.

      I’ve never tried listening to music when I write. But your idea might work. I’ve always thought words would distract me, but you’re talking about just sounds. Sounds like a neat plan. Hmmmmm….might have to try it.

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. What keeps me on my knees? Though I struggle with worry and anxiety, I’m learning to live looking up. Life is so far beyond my control and reach now. The illusion is gone that I could overcome anything thrown my way. I need Him every hour- I love love love the visual of 3 candles- burning brightly. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful lesson- I think I’ll go light some candles…. Love you Julie. I’ll be praying for you as God uses you to write His words to a hungry for truth generation. Blessings and hugs

  20. Thank you, Cindy. Means so much to know you’re praying. How I wish we could face-to-face meet. I LOVE your writing, your heart, your family–feels like we’ve already met.

    And I got the best visual from what you just said, “Live looking up.” No. Other. Way. To. Live!

  21. I’ve found that prayer in humble submission is one of the most powerful experiences I ever have. And it seems that when I remember to do that before writing even the first word, God more often uses me to prepare His message, rather than my own. Great word here, Julie.

    • Thank you, Chuck. It seems illogical, in human terms–the thing to do is to ask God to help even before we begin. I keep reminding myself of that Truth.

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