Forget the Dog Hair and Pray!

Sunday night, I was scheduled to speak to a group of ladies at Connection Pointe Church of God in Austell, GA. It wasn’t time to go yet. I got fidgety. Full of nervous energy.

The afternoon sun fell across the hardwood floor highlighting a pile of dog hair.

I really should vacuum. This looks terrible. 

God spoke to me ever … so … gently.

Forget the dog hair and pray. 

“Yes, of course. You’re right.”

I’d gotten distracted.

“I can’t do this without You. Help me. You’re My Strength…” I prayed all the out way the door.

In the car, I couldn’t find the address on my GPS. I get lost in restaurants.

Moment of panic.

What am I gonna do? What if I can’t get there? What if…

My son was at home. He found the address on his portable GPS. Whew…

“Okay, stay close, Lord. I need You.”

I arrived two hours early, so I drove around town. Got a cup of coffee.

Glancing at my props, I had a moment of doubt.

Look at this mess. You’re not a real speaker. 

I’m with you. Don’t be afraid.

Thank You. You’re right. Okay, what next? Too early to go inside.

Pray.

Yes, yes. Pray. Always. Without ceasing.

I parked across the street at the CVS. Left the car running. Listened to David Crowder sing about, “Hope for the hopeless.”

If you can’t see the video, click here

The song melted me. Drew me in close–again. I raised my hands in the car. Opened my fingers wide.

Thank You. You’re my Helper. Shine Your hope through me.

I’m with you. Always.

The women’s ministry leader invited me to speak because they were having a front porch theme. Someone found my blog about porch parties.

This is what I saw when I walked in. Totally blew me away–

Talk about God and His faithfulness–

My husband and I have a  porch party  every morning–

The church even had crickets chirping in the background. 

Happy, grateful tears. Thank You. This feels like home sweet home!  

Before we got started, I heard beautiful music coming from behind the porch–a song from my childhood.

Listen carefully. It’s really soft.

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Great is Your faithfulness, Lord.

Mabel sat beside me. She’s in charge of the prayer ministry. Can’t you see His strength all over her?!

These ladies did a hilarious skit.

Then it was my turn.

My heart was pound…pound…pounding.

I’m with You. 

When I stood on that front porch and looked at all the smiling faces, something amazing happened. 

God’s fierce love rose up inside of me and crushed all my fear.  Click to tweet. 

Perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18. NASB Click to tweet

P.S. The next time He asks you to do something scary, don’t stay home vacuuming dog hair!

There’s LIFE on the other side of fear. Click to tweet. 

What scares you?

Have you ever experienced God’s faithfulness on the other side of fear? Please share!

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. oh how timely!!!! I’m focusing on this very thing in my quiet time…wow Julie- girl you’ve brought words of courage this morning …thank you- and this church…oh my goodness, they were amazing with the porch!!!! makes me think: “do everything with excellence …” xo

    • So glad we had a chance to talk about it this morning–the subject of living fearlessly.

      Love you dearly, and you DO do everything with excellence, my BFF… of 40 years!

  2. Julie … my car looks just like that when I travel to speak … filled to the brim. All my props, tables if needed, tablecloths. At my last speaking engagement, the Lord really treated me like a queen. As I arrived, women came out and took everything from the back of my car into the building, even set up for me. They didn’t know how I was using everything, but the Lord must have guided their hands because they set the stage perfectly. I don’t have the strength to haul all my stuff like I used to be able to … without really tiring out. And I always get so nervous when I start … and then, just like you said, God’s peace comes over me and there is no fear. It’s an amazing place to be. I wish I could start out that way, but it hasn’t happened yet. 🙂 You bless me, Julie. xoxo

    • Shelli,

      I LOVE IT! You and I simply have to meet one day. We can compare our props. Probably have a great timing laughing, too. 🙂

      Totally makes my day to hear you always get nervous to start. Me too. But then when I start talking, it’s like I move out of the way, and He takes over. I’ve even mailed my props ahead of time before I speak if I’m flying. Can’t share without them!!!!

      Love you, my friend. And yes, I agree, carrying all our ‘stuff’ can be tiring, but we can’t teach w/out it, can we? xo

  3. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, sweet Julie. I also fret about vacuuming hair off the floor only it’s mine lol.
    Since March I’ve had to face so many fears. I would love to tell you it gets easier and in some ways it does. But it’s God who gets us through.
    Love you

    • Perfect thought, Anna.

      It’s God. Only God. No other way.

      I love you. One day, I want to meet you…Atlanta and Nashville aren’t too far away.

      XO

      • Anna Haney says:

        I’d love to merey you, too. I live in Knoxville, though. I have what’s supposed to be my final chemo tomorrow. Edited and scared

        • Anna Haney says:

          Excited and scared. Danged auto correct

          • Anna Haney says:

            Sigh. I’d love to meet you one day. Perhaps I’d speak better than I type on my phone keyboard

          • Anna, I’m sitting here laughing. You’re hilarious. Edited, unscripted, or just plain being yourself.

            Praying, praying, praying!

            P.S. Me and my sense of directions–Knoxville, Nashville, pretty much the same thing, right? 🙂

  4. Great is your faithfulness Julie! That song has helped me through many a scary moment as well. Thanks for reminding me that facing these fears and moving forward, praying through the fear, brings such strength. Your talk looks wonderful.

    • Ohhh, thank you, Peggy! Thank you.

      And our fears don’t match, but fear is fear. And faith is stronger….always!

      xoxoxoxo

  5. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, I prayed like you did every time I had a test, project, or something big in my college career. I love the porch party pics and some of the wigs remind me of Mama’s Family from TV. My church teachers once made our whole classroom look just like a camp out with a real tent. Thank you thank you for my graduation card!!! (((: Thank you for our friendship and all the powerful prayers you said for me–made a world of difference! Every year I see hot air balloons right in back of our house and they always remind me of the book, “Around the Worl in Eighty Days.” How are your kids doing? How is Rick? How is your mom and Gene? Do you have a favorite book or movie?
    Have a great day,
    Patricia xoxox

    • Yes, Mama’s Family, Patricia! I thought the same thing… That’s from the Carol Burnett show, right?

      For me (and for you too–I see) there’s no other way to do life than pray our way through it. Either that or stay home and vacuum dog hair. :/

      So glad you got the card. Have fun with it. 🙂 All is well here. Favorite books–so many. I write all over them, and they’re like my best friends.

      Enjoy every single second of your summer!

    • Oh, yes, books and movies. I loved Walk the Line, 28 Days, Good Will Hunting. I just saw Jungle Book and loved it, though it was kinda scary for a Disney movie.

      Books, anything by Elizabeth Berg or Kristin Hannah, The Help, Glass Castles by Jeannette Walls, anything with real people having real problems. The reason I’m working on writing Christian fiction, is we can give real answers. 🙂 And There is no story w/out conflict. I like women’s fiction and young adult.

  6. Cathy Mayfield says:

    You looked so pretty, Julie! You are such a stylish, yet down-to-earth person! I would have loved to be there and heard your talk. I’ve decided I simply must figure out how to clear our porch of all its menagerie and fix it up so my husband and I can share this wonderful new experience! It’ll have to be evenings, because he leaves before 6 am, but still…

    Guess what!! I may have a writing job! Prayers from all appreciated!! It’s for a website which lists PA homes for sale and includes “spotlight” articles on places/businesses/organizations/etc. so people have the listing and info about the area they may move to all on one site. You will NEVER believe how it came about! I applied to an ad to be a researcher for them, submitted my resume and cover letter, had favorable communication, right up to the phone interview…which never came. I was bummed, but I decided to send another email to them, and in that one, I actually told them I wanted to be added to their in-house writing staff who write the actual articles!! I offered samples and said I knew I could be of help to them in that way best. SO BOLD!!! I couldn’t believe I actually hit “send”!!

    Later that same day, they replied!! They said they thought it was a good time to add a writer and offered $15-$20 for each 300-400 word article!! I wrote three sample articles on local places and sent them off. The first email said they looked great, but they wanted to read them more thoroughly. So, we’re at that waiting stage again! I still get breathless thinking about how forward I was! I’ve never done that before! Fear of rejection has always kept me from anything like that. I’ll let you know what happens next time we meet here! 🙂

    PS: I’m glad I’m not the ONLY one who gets lost in restaurants!! 😉 Love ya!

    • CATHY!!!! This is amazing news!!! I’m cheering for you!!! So glad you took the plunge and sent in a resume!

      Let me know the minute you hear. I can’t wait!!! Wo-hooooooooooooooo!

      Yeah, if I leave my table to go to the restroom in a restaurant, I have to talk to myself all the way there and back…like, turn left and then look for the lady with blonde hair and the fussy toddler.

      XOXOXO

  7. I wish I could have been sitting there listening!

    • Me too…so that we could FINALLY meet. Although I do feel like we’ve known each other for years. 🙂

      xoxoxoxo

  8. Brenda Greene says:

    From day one ,Sweet Julie, I was in awe of your “porch parties” with Rick and often wished Hubby and I could do that, but with his “distant” (at best) relationship with Jesus doubted it would ever happen. But guess what?…it has!

    His health is declining and he began sitting on our front porch to smoke his pipe and watch the birds. I go out very early most mornings to read and enjoy my “quiet time” and usually would be busy in the house when he was out there. One day I sensed God reminding me of the “desire of my heart” to share life with him from our front porch so I dropped what I was doing and went out and sat with him! What joy as he shares about the birds that come to our feeders. He even had to take “care of” a rattle snake our dog had uncovered! Such gentle peace out there.

    So…reading about this very creative women’s ministry welcoming you fro
    m their own “front porch” makes me smile! Yep, I’ve let housework (vacuuming up dog hair) go to the back burner and love, love, love life from our front porch…no matter the time of day!

    Continued love and prayers Julie Girl as you inspire us!!

    • BRENDA!!!! I’m jumping up and down and screaming, scaring my dogs, I’m soooooooooo happy for you!!!!! Wo-hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I have happy tears. We spent several minutes this morning just marveling at the birds.

      This is big, my friend!

      I’m giving you a hug from here. I hope you feel it. Keep on, keeping on. Daily Porch Parties!

      So much love~~

  9. Thanks for taking me along on that journey with you! I’m thrilled you persevered because those women needed to hear you and see you shine for Jesus! I hope our paths cross soon 🙂

  10. I’ve been in that very spot, when I allow my nervous energy to take over and try to fill the moments with everything but prayer. Thanks for the reminder to forget the distractions and pray. Love this, Julie. God is faithful. The front porch thing is so cute.

    • I know, Beverly. For half a second, it made perfect sense. VACUUM THE DOG HAIR. YOUR GPS WON’T PULL UP THE ADDRESS. YOU’LL NEVER GET THERE.

      Then I remembered,….I should be praying.

      Love you Glad you could relate.

  11. I’ve been in that very spot, when I allow my nervous energy to take over and try to fill the moments with everything but prayer. Thanks for the reminder to forget the distractions and pray. Love this, Julie. God is faithful.

  12. Norma says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog today!!! Wish I could have been there.

    • Me too, Norma! Hugs from my little cabin in the woods. And thank you for letting me know you’re reading! xo

  13. marci says:

    Enjoyed this, and the lessons. How great that they had a little porch set up.
    How easy it is to fret about something, then later when it works out so well, wonder what were we so worried about. A trait in myself I really have to work on.
    Right now, with my big project, trying to get everything done, and the house whipped into shape before my Aunts and uncle comes, .. I could see myself in your words. There always seems to be something that can distract me. And your words, God’s whisper to you, is what I needed to hear, and keep hearing. Trust God. Trust He will see me through and some how, it will all come together with His blessing!

    God Bless you Julie, for taking us a long on your journey, and as so often, you speak to our hearts and to our needs.
    xoxoxo

    • I know, Marci’a!!! Couldn’t believe it. And I got to speak standing on the front porch!!!!

      It’s sooo true…what we need to do is to stop fidgeting, be still, and pray. Saying a prayer right now for when your company comes, that you’ll stay cool, calm, and collected. And have fun. 🙂

  14. The enemy would do anything to delay and discourage you from doing your mission, won’t he?
    Good job Julie for not listening to the distraction and focusing on God. Prayer is a powerful weapon.

    And wow, you being a speaker is impressive. Hope to hear you share soon.

    • Absolutely, Lux. And I think the enemy knows exactly which distractions to throw our way. For me it was the dog hair and my GPS situation.

      Thank you, my friend. Am loving your blog!!!!

  15. Monica Morris says:

    This reminds me a little bit of when I used to sell Mary Kay. No GPS back then….and my car filled to the brim with MK products and Katy toys, because she often accompanied me to my shows. All the way, I hummed Amazing Grace or How Great Thou Art. I never made a million dollars selling Mary Kay, but I made some really good, lifelong friends. Looking back, I see God’s hand – I was new in town and a young and sometimes very scared mom. What an experience! Thanks for writing, Julie. I enjoy your blogs so much! God bless. 🙂 <3

    • Love how you put it. You didn’t make a million dollars, but you made some really good, lifelong friends. I don’t think there’s a better gift!

      I can’t EVEN imagine trying to navigate w/out my GPS. Of course, I did it for years, but like you, I was scared. And got lost lots of times.

      So much love, my friend. LOVE your blog!!

  16. When I saw the stage, Julie, I thought how much this must of put you at ease. The Lord knew where He was sending you and this lesson of trust is something each of us can use. What spoke to me was when you wrote, “Great is Your faithfulness, Lord”. One of my favorite hymns has always been, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. It is something I try to remind myself about every time worry and fear start to creep in. To lean on Him and to trust Him is when we will find the greatest peace.

    Thank you my friend, for another wonderful post. Love and hugs.

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the stage, Eileen! I’m serious–tears came to me and I thought, WHY DO I EVER WORRY?!! It was so much more than I could’ve ever imagined.

      I love that hymn too–always makes me aware of His Presence and reminds me of Who He is.

      So much love to you,
      Julie

  17. Kim says:

    Oh, where do I begin? Ha! I have a long history of easily saying no to anything and everything, so now that I am braving some well thought out yeses, this is absolutely a process I have experienced.

    My first reaction after saying yes to whatever, is often the next day with, “Oh, why did I say yes? What was I thinking?” The fear, anxiety and anticipation are overwhelming and often paralyzing.

    So, distraction is an easy go to. I will find myself baking or running or cycling. Those things calm me and I can then tackle getting ready for the next growing journey God is taking me on. I can tell you, the actual activity/event is never as bad as I fear. It is often fun.

    Typing all that out is reminding me of something I asked a friend just yesterday. Her daughter is dealing with similar issues and had a good process the other day. I asked afterward if her daughter could look back on it yet and see, “What was I so afraid of? It all worked out. God is with me through it all.” I should be practicing that myself.

    • I agree with you 100 percent, Kim! Always, every single time I’ve been asked to speak and I let myself get the jitters, it’s turned out beautifully.

      GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS.

      Love your friend’s daughter’s words. “What was I so afraid of?” Words to live by.

      Thank you.

  18. Patricia Martin says:

    Please pray for Marmie and lily my two cats! Marmie has an ingrown nail that may require surgery and her eye may be infected.)): I hope you are well and I said a prayer that Rick is well.((: xoxoxo

    • Just now seeing your comment, Patricia. I’m saying a prayer right now. Let us know….

      Thank you for praying for Rick. He’s doing great!

      so much love, my friend~~

  19. They created a porch for you! I wish there was a recording of your presentation- it would be so great to see you and hear you. But you already made me feel like I was there with you. My nerves go on high alert as well when I’m stepping outside of my usual space. I feel downright sick sometimes- but I have definitely started to embrace the idea of “do it afraid, but just do it.” That’s living life, right? I don’t think we’ll ever look back and regret the piles of dog hair on the floor that we didn’t clean. But maybe, knowing we could spoken to a room full of women and uplifted them in some way- and didn’t do it, that we may regret in a big way. So grateful you chose to go!! What a lovely church group! And, I just have to say- blue is your color!! So pretty!!

    • Vicky, your thoughts are so beautiful~~ You’re absolutely right. We’ll never say, “Gee, if only I’d vacuumed the dog hair more often!”

      Wish I could hear you speak sometime. I know you have the sweetest spirit.

      Thank you about the blue too. My mother’s always said that redheads can’t wear blue, but she told me just the other day, she liked this color on me. 🙂 🙂

      Love you,
      Julie

  20. Patricia Martin says:

    Thank you, Julie! (: Marmie and Lily are both fine. Just keeping an eye on them as cats are mischievous and curious individuals! Have a super day. xxoox

    • So, so, so glad to read this message, Patricia!

      XOXOXOXO

      Giant hugs from Georgia–where it’s going to rain soon!

  21. Jaye says:

    I love sitting on my front porch. On summer mornings I bring my coffee and spend time in prayer and reflection. First, however, I turn on the light to be sure my cat hasn’t left a deceased rodent on the welcome mat!

    Sometimes my porch is a refuge. When I’ve had a hard day at work or there’s too much month at the end of the money. Or when a friend gently but firmly confronts me about something that I don’t think is any of her business. Or when my then-nineteen year old daughter announced that she and her boyfriend were moving in together. On these occasions the darkness hides my tears as I pray silently for help, comfort, and wisdom.

    I also count my blessings as I sit and rock. I still have my father, who is 86 and in reasonably good health. My daughter is 31 and happily married, with a two-year-old who fills my life with joy. I am blessed to be a part of the prayer shawl ministry at my church. To date we have given away over 100 shawls and lap blankets.

    It is too hot to porch-sit today, at least until the sun goes down. I overslept and missed my early morning quiet time there but there’s always tomorrow.

    • Julie says:

      Ohhhh, Jaye,

      I loved reading every word of this. There’s humor and honesty. You’re real about some tough things in life, and you’re always looking out for something to be grateful for. And 100 shawls/blankets. That’s amazing!

      Thank you so much for reading and for writing.

      LOVE your heart!

      Blessings this rainy night in Georgia~~

  22. Patricia Martin says:

    Happy first week of June, Julie! How are you? How is your novel? Hope you and your family had a happy memorial day. (;

    • Hey Sweet Patricia,

      And happy first week of June to you! I bet you feel so freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Yay! You’re finished with school!!!!

      Memorial Day was good. Jamie (our oldest daughter) came over. Thomas has just bought a house–not too far from us. She wanted to see it. It’s an older home and he’s working really hard to get it all fixed up.

      I’m working on the novel. Keep praying. It’s plotting all the way to the end. Every day, I write and write and write. And pray and pray and pray.

      How’s your dad doing?

      So much love,
      Julie

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