Death of a Vision–Birth of a New One

This past Monday, I shared my secret with a close friend. 

Ten years ago, I had a vision to become a novelist. My motives were pure. I wanted to write stories that were beautiful and real and full of hope. But something happened along the way. My motives got all tangled up.

What started out good became an idol.

I wanted to impress people. Write a bestseller. Be Somebody.

And I believed a lie. I thought I had to earn God’s love. 

After writing four and a half novels (with multiple rewrites–probably a million words), I’d lost my joy. I dreaded climbing the 13 steps to my office.

“It feels like I’m climbing an endless ladder to Nowhere,” I told my friend. “But there’s no way out. I have to make this work.”

She gave me a verse of Scripture I’d memorized as a child but never understood.

Take my yoke upon you, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29. 

Rest? I had work to do.

“Julie, what if you wait on God and see where He leads?”

Wait? I had to hurry up and finish. I couldn’t risk being a failure. 

The next morning, I wrote pages and pages in my prayer journal. Gut-level honest prayers. Another Scripture found me.

“Do you wish great things for yourself? Do not seek them…” Jeremiah 45:5

“Yes, Lord, Yes, yes. Please forgive me. I’ve wished great things for myself.”

Defeated, I climbed the mile-high stairs one more time. 

I didn’t want to touch my desk or my chair, so I knelt in the floor of my office and turned on some praise music. For a long time, I just breathed.

If His love was based on my performance, I’d blown it.

Then the most amazing thing happened. 

While I was kneeling, God showed up. 

He didn’t turn away in disgust. He performed heart surgery and cleaned out all the darkness and lies. When He finished, it seemed He suggested the unthinkable.

Are you willing to let go of your novel? 

I hesitated. One…two…three…four…five long seconds. 

Do you trust me? 

Yes, but how could You ask me to do this? 

There was a long silence.

How could I tell Him no? He’d forgiven me of so much. 

With trembling fingers, I removed all my notes and pictures from my whiteboard–everything I’d thought would make me Somebody.

I put them at the foot of the cross–the one my husband made 40 years ago.

Lord, it’s yours. I’m yours. If You want to resurrect my dream, You can. If not, I trust You. 

I stared at my spotless whiteboard.

A new vision rose up.

My heart felt full and still. Peaceful.

What if I start small? If You’ll show me one person each day to encourage, I’ll do it. 

I didn’t have to wait long. The first encounter happened the next day–the lady behind the deli counter.

I thought my word for 2016–DANCE — meant I’d finally be Somebody. But dancing means living in rhythm with Jesus. 

I don’t know where God’s leading, but wherever it is, I’m following. Click to tweet

Are you experiencing the death of dream? There’s Life on the other side. Click to tweet. 

P.S.  Lauren Daigle helped me let go. If you can’t see the video below, click here

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

If you need a little more Grace, there’s plenty to go around. Here’s one from Unspoken. If you can’t see below, click here.

If you have a prayer request, feel free to share it in the comments. My blog-friends pray for each other.













  1. Thank you for sharing that the most important thing in my life should be surrendering Jesus and his way.I am having health issues and would appreciate prayer.

    • Candis,

      I’ve started jotting different kinds of notes on my whiteboard. Names of people I’m praying for. I’m adding yours right now.

      Surrendering….. it’s so very daily, isn’t it?

      So much love,
      Julie–and thank you for being such a big encouragement to me!

  2. Anna Haney says:

    Dear Sweet Julie,
    You DO encourage people every day. Don’t you ever doubt for a moment that you already do that.
    Like you, I have had dreams of being a famous writer. As you have probably guessed, I am not. There have been moments when I have read pieces written by friends who, in the whole time I have known them, have never expressed any interest in writing, didn’t major in English, and I have wondered why they are successful in their writing and I am not.
    When you and I first “met,” I was in a situation similar to the one you’re in now. I’d just gotten married and moved to a new place, leaving the teaching job I loved. Finding a new job as a teacher, even with 10 years of experience in the classroom was not panning out. I truly believed and still do believe that God led me to leave my higher education job in 1999 and return to school to become a teacher. He called me to do that and now He had shut that door. I had whined and cried to everyone I knew and I saw you on Facebook and I asked you to pray for me because I felt worthless and useless.
    “Why that’s not true at all, ” you said, “Who told you such a lie?” And from there, you prayed and we started our friendship.
    Not only did I make a new friend that day, I finally gave my job search to Jesus. A couple days later, I got the phone call from the college where I currently work,
    This is rambling, I know, but even though I am no longer in a classroom, I am still a teacher. Sometimes in writing, we have to put things away and revisit them later.
    Your words have always offered encouragement.
    Love you

    • Tears, Anna….

      Thank you. I literally felt your words move into my heart and curl up. Not only b/c of what you said and how you said it, but b/c you’re reminding me of God’s faithfulness. And goodness. And mercy. And how He’s always, always at work.

      Every time I think about you I smile–the way you’ve handled ….well, everything!! Every single thing!

      Friendship is such a rich gift, isn’t it?

      Once more, I’ll never forget what you did for me today.

  3. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, I know how you feel. Life and even goals, and yes dreams, can distract us from following God.(): I try to have quiet time in the morning as it helps me keep my priorities straight. How is Katie? How are you and your family? Any prayer requests?

    • Sweet, Sweet Patricia.

      God was soooooo kind in bringing you into my life and heart. Thank you for understanding. Yes, yes, morning prayer time–vital to our well-being, isn’t it?!

      Katie’s doing well. Waiting and hoping and trusting. She does a fantastic job of letting go. She’s always teaching me stuff…all of my children do.

      How are your teeth? You”d asked me to pray for you…..

      So much love~

  4. You are so precious. Real. I checked your blog twice yesterday because I always look forward to seeing what you’ll have to share. I do have a prayer request. I hate to write it here … but I’m going to. My dr wants to start me on hormone replacements. Ugh. She says I’m so young to be going through all this. But I remember back when my mom started hormones, in no time she had breast cancer. So I’ve always told myself I wouldn’t take them. But my legs have started hurting. I can barely walk when I first stand. So … I started them last night. I’m scared. And I want to trust that no matter what happens, God has me. He knew when I’d breathe my first, and He knows when I’ll breathe my last. I’ve been so fearful that taking the medicine might mean I’m not heeding the Holy Spirit’s instruction. But when my legs hurt so bad. So I’m going to take them long enough to see if the pain goes away. Who knows, maybe the pain is unrelated. But … I’ll see in time, I guess. Anyway, just prayers that I’ll have peace and not blame myself for anything. Lol. I’m terribly good at blaming myself. I love you, Julie. xoxo And your heart is so darling. You do … you make me brave or want to be. xoxo

    • Shelli…..

      I just love you right back. And no one has every told me my heart is “darling.” I’m smiling–big time. I have a darling heart! I never knew. 🙂

      Brave? Thank you. I’ve never thought of myself as brave. Just felt like…what kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t tell y’all the truth.

      Okay, and now to your prayer request. Yes, I’m writing your name on my whiteboard to pray for you. I don’t have any answers or suggestions. Know that I’ll be praying. Let me know if it helps. My rheum told me I shouldn’t to HRT so I haven’t. Message me if you want to know more.

      So much love–and I can’t imagine if we hadn’t “met” through our blogs!

  5. Shawnelle says:

    Oh Julie. You’ve spoken to my soul today. Your willingness to be transparent is a blessing and a gift. Thank you for that. I love you – praying for clear direction. Your heart must surely make God smile….

    • More sweet tears when I read your words, Shawnelle.

      How do you always know just what to say? To tell me that my heart must make God smile. Well, that means so very much to me.

      I love you dearly.

  6. Peggy Frezon says:

    Wow Julie. I love and believe in your writing talent. I believe this is a case of God having even bigger things in store for you. Things you can’t even imagine. I know whatever it is, you will be blessing others. And I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if there is still a wonderful novel in your future. Praying for you.

    • Ohhh, Megs.

      Thank you. Wish we were at a GP workshop, or heck, even at one of our houses talking. Thank you your kindness and graciousness and prayers.

      Love you so much!! We shall see….

  7. The Christian walk is a continual revelation of the deceitfulness of our own heart and the beauty and grace of His great heart. I’ve often said that if we walk in simple daily obedience to Him and His ways then we will inevitably intersect with the future and hope He promises. What that looks like may surprise us, but I believe it will be more than we can ask or imagine.

    • Elizabeth.

      What you said just now is absolutely beautiful. So powerful. Nothing I can say but thank you. Thank you. Such wisdom in your words.

      I think I’ve been trying way too hard. :/ But His grace covers even that.


  8. Oh Julie, I have admired your writing for so long, wanted to be more real like you. You have such a gift for ministering to people through your writing! Maybe it’s not novels you are meant to write, but non-fiction that speaks directly to one’s needs. Whatever it is, is is withing your grasp. Sometimes we get confused by trying to be like somebody else, when that’s not our calling. But you, dear sister, you do have a special gift for writing, and God will show you exactly how He wants you to use it. And by the way, you already have blessed countless people through your writing – your devotions and your blog, not to mention your Guideposts stories.

    • Marilyn, thank you, my friend. Your words mean so much to me.

      I’m not sure what God’s doing. Or exactly what I’m supposed to do next. But I know He’s asking me to hold on tight. And do life one day at a time. And to trust Him with all my heart.

      I do know that even if I’m not writing, my heart feels like a writer’s heart. If that makes sense. I guess, I know I’m a writer. Just not sure how He plans to use it for His Glory.

      But I don’t have to know right this very second, either.


  9. Oh, Julie, I so get this. I, too have written more than a million fictional words in the past few years. Literally. And even though I’ve been blessed with books in print because of winning a contest, etc., I’m still waiting on that royalty contract. Since my dad died a year ago, I’ve not written one word of fiction. It’s like the door closed. And just when it seemed the darkest, the Lord reminded me that He knows everything that touches me and asked me to give thanks that I didn’t have a contract. So I have surrendered that dream, and peace is beginning to return in that arena. I’ve been painting more and more and really enjoying it, so I don’t know what’s next either, but I’ve turned it over to the Lord. I’m not walking away–just waiting on His leading and trusting He knows best.

    • Bev,

      I’m sitting here, nodding and reading, and um-hmmming to myself. I understand. I didn’t know you hadn’t written any fiction since your dad died. I’m feeling it for you.

      Writing is brutal, isn’t it? It can be a beast.

      The closing door you mentioned….sometimes I wonder if God’s holding the door shut. Not sure.

      I love how you come full circle in your comment–back to trusting Him. And waiting. Sounds like we’re standing side-by-side, waiting and watching, together.

      Thank you~~You understand.

      • Brutal is the word for it. It’s like your mother says, “If you can do anything else but write, you’d better do it.” But we can’t. You said it in another comment, we have writer’s hearts. I paint, but writing has been at my core since I was eight years old. We shall see what God will do. Love, love, love you.

        • She does say that, Bev. All the time. And she’s right. And so are you.

          We. Can’t.

          Yes, clinging tightly to Him right now.

          Love you, dearly.

  10. Georgia says:

    Julie: I am looking forward to reading your future blogs to see what God has in store for you. How exciting! His dreams for us are best, even though it is hard to let our dreams go. As far as encouragement, you have been an encouragement to me so many times through your writings in the Guidepost devotional book and the Guidepost magazine, and this blog. Thank you for allowing God to use your gifts to help others. Have a wonderful week!

    • Hey Georgia!

      Wow–thank you! Nothing makes me happier than to know He’s working through me. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      And guess what? You’re encouraging me too.

      Thank you–thank you–thank you.

  11. Your courage Julie, is something that has inspired me. Giving up on a dream is very hard to do! But then, God knows what is best for us. Looking forward to seeing where this new phase in life will bring you. Praying for you that He will lead you where you are meant to be. Love and hugs, my friend.

    • OOhhhhhh, Eileen,

      I sure do wish we get to meet face-to-face one day. I sense such strength in your words.

      Thank you, my friend. What you said means so much–while I’m waiting……Just gotta tell you again, your photos are incredible. You tell beautiful stories through pictures. 🙂


  12. As an encourager through your writings, I’ve been waiting patiently for your next post. However, I didn’t realize the struggle you were going through in this wait. Prayers and praises are being sent for you to feel the Lord’s lead. With a willingness to follow where He knows you’ll serve Him best, you’ll be rushing up those stairs again. The Lord has given you a talent to use. You have given Him the freedom to guide you. Now, I’ll be waiting to see you shine beyond your expectations.

    Write on!

    • I’m just smiling all over myself, Carolyn. THANK YOU! We shall see. Watching and waiting with expectation.

      So, so, so grateful God brought us together–“for such a time as this.”

  13. marci says:

    Dearest Julie, This is so powerful! I had already written you, but there was some kind of glitch, so it was lost, But maybe even that was for God’s reasons? So I begin again. .. Wow. To let go of a dream that you have had for so long. Sometimes though, I understand, we need to do just that. My dearest Julie, You are already Somebody, you are such an encourager, and your writings already touch so many, I am sure many more than you even know or hear from. You give us, in this little group the boost we need for sure. And have been responsible through the Lord of knitting us together. This is different than what I wrote the first time, but maybe this is what I was suppose to write. My prayers are with you. Just last night I was praying for your writing what ever you write, where ever you write. This morning I found myself writing in my journal the verse, “And I will put in them a new heart” That was what I needed to hear, and maybe that is a good one for here too? The verse from Matt. that you quoted has been a favorite of mine since I was a teen. We use to say it every Sunday in Church, and I would cling to it. “Come to me all who are…. and are heavy layden… and I will… ” And now, I must go – my husband is waiting for me to be ready to go do some errands, You are in my prayers, always. And I will be praying for you now as you are going a new direction. God Bless, Marci’a

    • Marci’a,

      Thank you. You nailed it. Everything you said. And to think that last night you were praying for me…. so very, very kind of you.

      He’s definitely been working on my heart. Cleaning it up. Rearranging it. Making me new.

      And He was so kind to knit us together (and then you crocheted me the prayer shawl and place mats!)

      I love you dearly~~~~

  14. Carm Russell says:

    Your message reminded me of Joanne Gaines’! In case you have not heard it before I included a link. Thank you for always sharing your heart ❤️❣️


    • Carm,

      Okay, this is weird. God maybe? But today, I had a blip of a thought about JoAnna’s message. I heard it months ago, but then, for some reason, I thought about it. I wondered what she’d said–like whatever it was, I wanted to remind myself.

      So, thank you. I just re-listened. Re-Heard.


  15. Darlene says:

    I always longed for a large audience. Huge. I pictured fans lined up for an autographed copy of my book (the bestseller) anxious to tell me how much they loved it. But when I tried to picture the book, it was a big unknown. Fiction? Humor? Young adult? Children’s book? I was never sure. I just was so taken by the dream of being a voice, someone whose words mattered.

    Finally, I got it. Whether I ever publish beyond our local paper, it doesn’t matter. Because we don’t need to touch masses of people, we are supposed to maybe touch one at a time.

    The long letters I wrote to friends (beloved snail mail how I miss you) which they often shared with someone else, the poems I wrote to my students at the end of a school year (and sometimes I run into a now grown child or his or her parent who tell me they kept the poems and how much they meant) or a word of encouragement, praise or thanks to a friend, a blogger, or an artist who otherwise would have no idea that a certain phrase or story will be with me forever.

    Garrison Keillor said that nothing you do for a child is ever wasted. I think it can be said that no words from a prose or poetry writer who seeks to heal or enlighten to lift is ever wasted either.

    One of my first articles that was published in the newspaper was a true account of my father’s slide into dementia, and how our last visit was much like a journey with only one of us meaning to return home.

    The article mentioned the school where I worked, so at an open house a few days later a woman arrived with her Dad, who was rapidly losing his mental capacity to the ravages of Alzheimer’s,

    The woman just wanted to seek me out, to tell me that my words had touched her heart. She was teary, I was teary. Watching a parent lose his or her very self is a burden one can rarely prepare for.

    As we spoke, her father stood watching the children zoom around the playground in a ferocious game of tag, delighting in the action. His face was full of wonder, giggling when another child was tagged.

    He was now in some ways a child himself, his body old but his soul a four year old who like all four year olds has a bottomless enthusiasm for joy. He was lit from within; happy, enthusiastic, alive.

    These moments, I assured her, make the rest just a little bit easier.

    And I’m so thankful that I, someone who had gone through this heartache, was able to tell her so.

    She would still have her heart thoroughly wrung out by the long goodbye of dementia, but like most things there would be grace notes and times that if anything else, we would realize we were taking our parents hand from ours and placing it into God’s.

    Good words are not wasted. Good words have changed lives, saved souls, created hope.

    A woman blogs and writes from her heart in her home office, or kitchen, or while eating lunch at her housekeeping job, or from her desk in some skyscraper, and those words can change the world with only an audience of one.

    Maybe I can take my own words to heart the next time I look at my empty writing desk and start yammering away at myself. Writing, after all, is a lifelong activity. We are not trying to be gymnasts or supermodels or ballerinas. You are 95 years old and can grip a pencil or tap a keyboard? You’re a writer.

    And God surely knew what He was doing when He gave each of us the crazy, indescribable, certain hunger to put words into paper.

    He’s never wrong.

    We’re just hard on ourselves.

    As women usually are.

    • Darlene~~~~

      How in the world can I respond to such beauty and truth?

      Oh. Wow.

      From one writer to another, thank you. You are absolutely right. Everything you said–yes, yes.

      Surely, He knew what He was doing?! Amen to that.

      Not exactly sure what’s next, but He knows so I don’t have to. I’m printing up your healing words.

      Thank you. Did I say thank you? 🙂


  16. Kim says:

    Oh goodness Julie, Tears, tears… I almost don’t know what to say. Let me begin by saying you are the most famous person I’ve ever met. I didn’t want to meet you because you were a well known Christian Guideposts writer. I wanted to meet you because you are such a light. You are so honest and genuine.

    Your blog is the first I followed. It remains to this day my very favorite. It is the one I forward or recommend most often. There is such truth in the words you share and so much love in this little online community of friends.

    I can see you, surrendering the lead to your dance partner, Jesus, dancing the dance of your lifetime. Relax, Breathe, Twirl…

    • Kim,

      Y’all are ripping my heart out!!

      Swallowing back the tears now….

      I gotta go talk to Jesus a little more.

      Twirling my way downstairs…

      With a heart full of love.

  17. Okay…is this like surrender? I’ve been turning my life and my writing over to God this year. And I’m seeing where he has held back many things that I felt COULD HAVE or SHOULD HAVE happened. Sometimes I got the hint right away when a door closed, and sometimes it took a long while (like a phone call yesterday that slammed a door shut). What did I learn? Those closed doors were JUST WHAT I NEEDED. Lo and behold, little me had no idea how much my big, awesome God was doing for me. I just had to be quiet, listen, and surrender. Then accept. Huh. So simple, right?

    • B.J., I’m hugging you right now. Can you feel it?

      I texted you last week and just as I was pressing send, the phone rang (house phone). I felt like, in my heart, what I was thinking…..surrendering…was okay.

      And now you’re saying He’s telling you the same thing.

      Now I’m laughing. Simple. Ha! 🙂

  18. Stephanie says:

    You ARE already somebody, Julie =). When I’ve come to that place where I think I’m a nobody, I try to remember, “Wait, but I’m a daughter of the King!”
    Just this week I had to give up on a dream of purchasing a little organic cafe in my town. But in the giving up, I’m also leaning in and listening better, more intently. Because what I know for sure is that the King’s plans are good and there are plans for me. The root, the foundation of whatever comes next has to be steady and firm, so when things get hard, I can go back and remember why I’m doing this thing. If my motives aren’t the best (and sometimes we just don’t know if they are off base right away), then they can’t hold me up when the going gets rough.
    I want the good foundation and so I wait and listen. Now I’m excited for what happens next!

    • Stephanie, this is SOOOO TRUE! Yes, I’m smiling. And I’m already Somebody…with a capital S. 🙂

      An organic cafe—I love the sound of that. I love the strength of your Words.

      I’m excited too for what might be next. So wisdom in what you said about motives. And as well as I think I know my heart, I don’t. Bu God does. And He loves me. Oh, how He loves me.

      Thank you. Your comment means so very much.

      Big hugs this Wednesday night in Georgia–from my little log cabin the woods.

      • Stephanie says:

        A late reply here—I love how you respond to each person on your blog. I’ve seen it grow and become more and more of a place to contemplate, process and respond for those of us who follow you. I LOVE the every 2 weeks rhythm of it! I wanted to share what took the place of my little cafe dream for now. Our youngest daughter (15) is a beautiful dancer. She has done Irish dance, tap, ballroom, swing, and in the last 2 years, ballet. She is dancing in several parts of her studio’s performance of The Nutcracker this year =). So I am heading up the costume department. In the past, when her older sister was in Musical Theatre, I played that part too, and now it’s her turn. I get to drive her to class and rehearsal 5 times a week in the process. Sometimes we are quiet, sometimes we sing to the radio, sometimes we talk about life stuff—hard stuff and funny stuff. We laugh alot together. So although I am busy with costumes, we are together. I would have misssed out on this time if we had bought the cafe now. This precious time with my youngest before she stretches her wings and flies =) So I am grateful.

        • Stephanie, thank you so much for saying you like the two-week blog postings. Means so, so, so much. I really wrestled with going from weekly to every other week.

          As a mother to a 35 y.o. daughter, a 32 y.o. daughter, and a 25 y.o. son, I’m telling you–these are some of the sweetest times you’re having right now in the car (of all places)!

          I promise. These days are special.

          Ohhh, how I’d love to go back–just for a few days–and drive my children to practices.

          Sweet times.

          Hugging you from here. Your comment stirred my heart, big time.

          So very gratefully,

          • Stephanie says:

            Julie, I am glad I encouraged you too! My youngest, Tess (who I imagine you’ve seen on my Instagram), is 15. She is our “surprise”. I was so sick with all my pregnancies, so as I had just resurfaced after #4, it took a minute to take in the news that I was pregnant with Tess. My oldest just turned 27. Many many car conversations over the years. I don’t take this gift lightly =)!
            When I discovered I was pregnant with Tess, my husband said, ever so gently….”But I just got you back….” He ended up talking with a friend whose 4th and youngest child was in her teens. He said, “Oh man, these are the BEST times of your life. I would give anything to have all those little heads in the back seat driving somewhere. I knew where they all were at all times. You’ll do just fine and you’ll have what you need when you need it.” And you know, he was right. But I LOVE the times with all my kids, each age and stage. From my oldest and her husband buying their first home, meeting up with my son and his girlfriend who live in the city (we live in the country), and all the chances we have to converse, debate and love each other.
            Thanks for being one who brings such sweet truth to my heart–every OTHER week 😉

        • Replying one more time, Stephanie. Hope you see it here. Wish we could meet. I could tell–we’d have LOTS to talk about.

          I love the name Tess. Such a blessing–having one more baby.

          So much love~~~~~

  19. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Oh, Julie, you are playing my song. So many dreams, so many visions, so many losses, so many failures…especially in the writing field Years ago, I felt led to write out one of these visions (not writing oriented) and put it in the back of my journal. Excitement bubbled inside me, but I kept it to myself. There seemed to be no time limit on this vision, but still, I anxiously awaited its fulfillment, so sure I was of God’s plan to do so.

    It wasn’t.

    And it never can be now.

    And the death of that particular vision was the beginning of a downhill plunge for one of the people, a plunge that gets deeper and deeper in the mud and mire. I finally tore up the paper with the vision, ripping it into as many pieces as my heart was breaking.

    But just yesterday, God showed me an error in my way of praying for this person. I’ve been obsessed with the “could’ves-should’ves.” The Holy Spirit, oh, so gently, tenderly, pointed me to a better way. Instead of dwelling on the missed opportunities, the fallen lives, the destroyed reputations that took years to build…and the death of that vision, I need to focus on the rebuilding, the possibilities, the mercy of God’s forgiveness…and mine.

    No, it won’t happen quickly. No, it won’t be easy. No, it won’t be without more heartache, more hurt, more tears.

    But…it will happen. And I pray right now that God gives me a new vision, gives them a new beginning, and gives us all new hearts. I pray for the Spirit to comfort, to guide, to intercede with the Father this moment for this situation.

    And love will win!

    • Cathy, I’m so glad you’re sharing your heart tonight. Your thoughts mean so much to me. And to our group, I’m sure!

      I’m literally feeling it with you/for you as I’m reading this. And then, the turn in your spirit, when His Spirit gently (which is so important b/c that’s how He deals with us) pointed you to a BETTER WAY. I just love that.

      And I sense you shifted your focus to all the good stuff–the God stuff. Mercy and forgiveness.

      This is beautiful, my friend. Maybe we don’t grow w/out pain.

      I’m agreeing with you in prayer, lifting the situation to Him, believing with you–that Love will win.

      Thank you. Thank you.

  20. Lis says:

    I know your struggle is real. Writing can be very isolating (nobody can quite understand a writer unless you are one – or another creative mind type) and your confession hit me in the gut. But it makes me not feel so alone in my own struggle.

    I’ve been seriously writing for the past ten years, but I’ve been writing in some form or another for what feels like my entire life. The past year has been torture. I have many stories half written because all of a sudden I’ll get another brilliant idea for a new plot and think how much greater it will be and start on that. This happens more times than I’d like to admit. Over the past few years and most of this year, it feels almost like a habit. I start doubting that I’ll ever be able to focus on one and finish. I am so confused because there are so many unfinished stories and I have no idea which one I should really be writing. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t take it anymore and I killed the dream. I bought an external drive, put all my writing and story folders on it and deleted them from my computer. Along with removing everything in my sight that had to do with writing. I felt like I was spiraling out of control. Not listening to God at all but my own heart and mind. And of course, I was miserable in the meantime because as we know, the human heart is deceitful. I am in my own head too much and have a hard time hearing God’s voice. I’m also perfectionist and have control issues, so I’m now trying to let God take control. It’s not been easy and I still have no idea through many weeks, days, and hours of prayer and study what the answer will be for me, but I sure hope that when He talks, I will be calm and open enough to listen.

    Thank you for sharing and for all the comments to this post, it has been eye opening and a balm to my broken heart. I’m not a failure, I just have to be a bit more patient and submit to Him.

    • Darlene says:

      It’s funny, but those of us who are parents (or just have kids we love in our lives) would never hold our child’s art up to such scrutiny. We love it because we love the child. No timeline, no scrutiny, never thinking that poem or that drawing was not good enough.

      I think God is like that. He gives us a gift to enjoy and if we will, to glorify Him.

      We see the unfinished stories and the articles that went nowhere and the ideas for novels we treat like royalty until we kick them to the curb.

      But He sees US, the way a writer thinks, the way we marvel, the way we ponder and ask and SEE, and I think He is greatly pleased.

      We were made to think the words, capture the words, feel the words. And maybe by chance to sell the words.

      But with every jotted idea or phrase (Dorothy Parker called these her “little darlings.”) we give life to words and to Him who blessed us with the joy of words.

      Our dreams don’t die. But sometimes they take a sabbatical, and come back even better.

      • Darlene,

        Whew…. I can hardly breathe, just taking in the Glory of your words. I’ve had the longest prayer time this morning, scribbling my thoughts to Him as fast as my fingers would move. Opening myself up to Him more. Listening. Waiting. Watching. Trusting.

        Thank you.

    • Liz,

      How can I thank you? You are where I am–where I’ve been. You get it. Thank You, Jesus–for my friend Liz.

      Tearing up with your honesty. Ohhh, how I understand. I got to the place where I felt like I was trying to shove a locked door open. Was I wrestling with God? Doubt? Forcing my way to prove something?

      I don’t know. All I know is, I had to write what seemed to be the truth about what I was feeling. Sounds exactly like what you just did.

      Yes, yes, the alone time in my office. I began to dread it. But writers have to be alone…and I’m an introvert, but yet I needed to tell someone how I was feeling. Really feeling.

      Your words are pouring over me and through me. I’m praying for you on our journey… I know what it means to get stuck inside your head.

      As I read the words….”you killed your dream” I felt a lurch in my heart.

      I understand. It had gotten too important to me. I’m not sure how to balance it out.

      I’ve spent a lot of time being honest with Him again this morning. I am discovering my honesty doesn’t scare Him off. I know He wants me to go deeper.

      I’m praying–praying–praying for you. I have a feeling He’s probably calling you to go deeper too.

      So gratefully,
      Julie ~

      • Lis says:

        Thank you for the reply. I know we as perfectionists are way too hard on ourselves and like Darlene says, God doesn’t think of us as failures even when we’re struggling. It helps to think of a Father who is all-knowing, all-loving and all-supportive, so thank you for that reminder. I am the daughter of the King, I need to start acting like it!

        I have created my own sort of demons (through doubt, fear, and bad habits) and needed to take a step back to allow Him to comfort and reassure me. I know I will get back to writing, but right now it still hurts a bit. I need to heal and reevaluate, making sure my motives are pure before I begin again. And even though I am trying to be patient, it’s so very hard not writing.

        I pray for everyone here and hope we can all be still and know.

        • God’s speaking to me through all of you.

          Thank you so much, Darlene. I’m hanging on to Him so tightly. Putting down other stuff I don’t need. Letting Him fill me up and love me….

          I’m opening my heart to Him, and I just keep doing it. And He just keeps going deeper.

          I’m praying for you too. I’m right there with you in the fire.

          Come back and comment…if He prompts you. I’m just trying to stay so close and listen and obey.

  21. Julie Gilleand says:

    Julie, my heart feels for you and I know what the death of a dream is. Growing up, all I wanted to do was make music for a living. Nothing made me feel more alive. I can almost say the same is true to this day. When you said you felt no joy, that what I came to, too, with music; and I loved music far too much to let anything spoil it for me. I couldn’t bear for music to become something that broke my heart instead of something wonderful. There came a day I knew I had to lay it down. I took a walk and talked with God. I didn’t feel defeated or as if I were giving up. I did feel sad, but I also felt at peace, as if I knew it was what I was meant to do. I asked God to give me a new dream in its place and that very night was the first time I ever wanted to write! And I’ve written ever since — journaling, letters, devotionals, stories and articles. That day that one dream died and a new one was born was 22 years ago, so now I am feeling very close to the death of my writing dream. Maybe not death, but maybe just a reconciling myself to the fact it wasn’t going to play out the way I dreamed and thought it would. When I wrote devotionals at a church where I worked, people loved them. The two things I’ve gotten published, minus anything self-published, were both devotionals. The stories I write don’t seem to move anyone and I know why. They are more of an expression of my heart and soul and maybe only meant to be between me and God. They are prayers in print rather than real stories with the reader in mind. My friends never ask me what I’m writing or ask to read anything I write, nor my family. And for those who have read, there is no really good feedback, other than generalities and politeness. But my letter-writing is a different thing. I tend to want to write letters to people who have lost a loved one. The first time I did it was to the wife of a man in the church where I worked. This man had been such a blessing to me. So kind, so respectful, so helpful and full of faith. To this day when I think about him, tears spring to my eyes. I wrote to her, telling her what a blessing he had been to me. She told me how much that letter meant to her and every time I saw her over the years, she always brought up that letter. It touched my heart to know it had meant so much to her and I was thankful God had used it to bring her comfort. The same thing has happened since then with others, through letters. And months before my ex-husband came back into my life, and when I didn’t even know where he was, I started writing him what I called “secret” letters. I wrote 20+ of these letters I could not even send, nor did I know if I’d ever see him again, but I did and we are now remarried. He has read every one of them. So I can see where God has used letter writing and devotional writing but not so much story writing, even though that is my favorite. And just the other day I met with someone at our local hospice to look into volunteering and it turns out they have a thing called “Life-Bio”, which is interviewing patients and/or their families in order to enter the information into a software program which generates their life story and legacy. I am all over that!!!! I still will write stories. Maybe it’ll just be for me, or for me and God. Or maybe one day He’ll use it in another way. But for now, maybe it is letter writing and life-bio writing for hospice. Or more devotionals. I don’t know. But I know I have to write. What God does with it is His business.

    I don’t know what God’s path for you is, but like others have said here, you and your writing have encouraged and inspired me here, in your DGP devotionals, your GP articles, and your emails. I am so thankful for you. And whether your novels are published or not someday, I would so love to read at least one of them someday. I’ve read so many of your writings, but never anything fictional. You know, I’ve always thought it would be so cool if GP had a fiction magazine — one full of short fictional inspiration stories with illustrations. But anyway, thank you for all you have written to encourage so many of us and for sharing from your heart the things God shows you on your journey.

    God bless you Julie!!


    • Leafy,

      Wednesday after the post went live, I kept peeking to see if you’d commented. And here it is!! Everything you said feels so healing to me. I love every single word. Letter-writing, yes, me too! I love writing letters, and I can FEEL this place of peace you’ve come to about how God chooses to work through you.

      You express yourself with written words so beautifully. You just ministered to me. Thank you.

      You’ll never in a million years believe it, but yesterday I googled Hospice, just to find out how to be trained. I know God’s preparing my heart for something. I’m watching and waiting. I’ve never heard of a Life-Bio, but I’m drawn to it.

      I want to be careful not to run ahead of God. And. Wait.

      We’ll see about you reading one of my novels. Very, very kind of you to offer. Want to send me one of your stories?

      I’m in love with a new NF book called, The Fire of Unanswered Prayer. It’s not a book I can hurry through. I’m almost recopying every single sentence in a special notebook. .

      Thank you for “hearing” me and understanding.

      Isn’t God good–the way He blesses us with the gift of friendship! And the right word spoken at just the right time.

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Julie, you know I always worry about blog-bombing you with my long comments! I almost didn’t comment at all because I was afraid of discouraging you with telling about my own dream deaths. But thank you for letting me know if anything I said was a comfort to you. That’s what I hoped for. How cool is that, they you also looked into volunteering at Hospice?! I’ve thought of it so many times, but what finally nudged me to pursue it was when I was at work, cutting out a newspaper article my boss had asked me to add to our agency’s scrapbook and on the same page as the article was the weekly volunteer opportunities and Hospice is always among them. I set aside that page to look at later and once I was done “scrapbooking”, I pulled out that page again to read it. When I did, I recognized the person’s name who was the volunteer coordinator for Hospice. She used to work where I work! In fact she used to run the department I most recently worked in and I heard about her all the time. I guess it was that familiarity and connection that felt to me like a segway into it. Or an open door. A welcoming. I met with her this past Monday and we had a good talk — about Hospice, about her former and my current workplace and people we both knew there. We talked about her mother-in-law, Dolly, who recently passed away. I knew of her mother-in-law and had spoken to her as part of my job before and I think it was a comfort to her to talk to someone who knew Dolly. She talked about different aspects of what Hospice does and generically mentioned a support group for people who have lost a child. She didn’t know (and I didn’t let on) that I knew she’d lost her 2 month old baby girl last winter. There were all these connections that made this feel right to me. The life-bio thing was exciting to hear about but because it is only a sporadic need, I am also looking into other types of volunteering as well. I have two upcoming trainings to attend and am looking forward to it. Even at work, my schedule has opened up in such a way as to allow me more time to devote to volunteering which was what I had hoped for. Doors opening, right? And that you also have looked into doing something with hospice is just astounding to me — because it seems we have so many of these so-called coincidences, you know? Only God 🙂

        I would love to read one of your novels if you ever feel willing to let me do that. And yes, I’d love to share one of mine with you also. I’d have to give some thought as to which one. There is one I’m working on right now and have been for 2 1/2 years. It’s not done, but maybe I could send you my first half. I don’t claim that it is well written and had not been proofread or edited yet, well not more than once anyway! But I am in love with the story and with my character. My inspiration for her came from my job also — a lovely client by the same name as I chose for the story, whose strong faith was so obvious and stunned me after she told me about having lost her husband only months before. She so inspired me, this story came to life. But here I am blog-bombing you again! Maybe we can email each other more about our story-trade!

        God bless, Julie and thanks again for all you share with us that always encourages, comforts and inspires. I am thankful for you and for our friendship 🙂


        • Hush about the blog-bombing! 🙂 Although that is a cute phrase. 🙂 Blog-bombing.

          Holy goosebumps with how the Hospice door seems to be opening for you. So easily too, and at just the right time.

          Your comment reminds me that God is always, always at work–even when we don’t understand what He’s up to. Do we ever????

          Love you, and we’ll snail mail. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

          Your Leafy Sister ~

  22. Mary says:

    When God closes a door, He opens a window, right?

    This is what I have been thinking about lately: being flexible and open to his will. So instead of judging a situation, I’m trying hard to be grateful. Less thinking about the closed door and more thinking about the open window! I have this feeling, Julie, that there might be a room full of windows waiting for you!


  23. First of all, this is an incredibly excellent piece, filled with honesty, wisdom and peace. And, of course, you reeled me in when you mentioned encouragement. I’ve finished developing a small group study on encouraging others and being encouraged. And its path follows yours…prayer, submission, opportunity, action. I hope you’ll share more of your adventures as you encourage others.. You know…this might make a pretty good Note. 8>)

    Have an encouraging day!


    • Deep gratitude, Chuck. This is a wonderfully foreign land I’m in. Some kind of wilderness where the only thing I can do is to stay close to Him.

      Your comment means a lot–to find out wherever He’s leading is following a path. Definitely prayer and submission. Waiting for Him to lead me to what’s next. It’s a place of brokenness. I can’t quite get my bearings (being a Type-A/take charge kind of person) but it seems the only thing that’s required of me right now is to stay close to Him. .

  24. Monica Henson says:

    You already are Somebody. You are the Daughter of the Most High.

    Love you!


    • Hey, Monica. Thanks for commenting. I know–at least in my head, I know. But my heart wasn’t all together right. At the very center, when I got still and honest, my motives had gotten out of line.

      Sometimes it felt like I was writing fiction to bless others and for all the right reasons.

      But there was also the desire to climb the ladder to success. Not that being successful is wrong. We should all desire excellence in our work, but it felt as though I’d lost my first love.

      He was tapping ever so gently on my heart, letting me know I’d gotten off course.


  25. Julie, thanks for making yourself vulnerable, not just to God, but to readers of your blog. Many writers (if they’re honest) have lost sight of why they climb those (figurative) stairs and put fingers to keys. You’ve done well by realizing the true reason you’re writing, and turning it over to God. And, as I’ve said before, if only one person–you–reads the words you’ve written, it may be enough to accomplish the task you’ve been given.

    • Dr. Mabry, thank you.

      It feels as if He’s putting me through the fire and turning up the heat. If I’d refused to write this post, I’d have lost my connection with Him.

      Bare-bones honesty. It’s not pretty.

      Your comment means so much.


  26. Donna Lineaweaver says:

    Dear Julie, I was going to miss the Julie you are–sometimes rich and famous just doesn’t cut it! I read half the comments by ladies like me who look forward to reading your blog–You know the saying,” you should write a book”. I’ve heard that writing one is like labor and delivery of a baby. Maybe God wants you to concentrate on being a future Grandma. I guess a miracle (book or baby) is just something we can’t force to happen–in Gods time!
    Huge hugs, Wow, your honesty is to be respected!! How real. Donna

    • Hey Donna,

      I’m smiling. 🙂 Ha! Me rich and famous!!! No way! The dream started out to just write something powerful and wonderful and holy and inspiring. And then somehow I felt driven–in a not-good way.

      Anyway–coming clean feels good. I mean, what kind of friend and writer would I be if I didn’t tell y’all the truth?

      I’m just watching and waiting to see where God stirs my heart. All kinds of things (everyday kinds of things) keep happening to rearrange my thinking.

      More later–I’m sure.

      Thank you so much for reading–and letting me know you’re reading! Wouldn’t be any fun to write a blog to myself. :/


  27. Reading through these precious comments, just binds me even more to this faith filled community you’ve grown up around you! Your “audience” is growing here, sweet friend, and I also come and look and read and feel fulfilled. I am sure you have thought of these things too- blog to book? Self-publish? Sponsorship of your blog and growing? So many doors to open, friend. Your voice is so strong, resilient and insightful. I so often have found, His vision is so much bigger sometimes, than what I’ve allowed my own mind to think.

    My prayer request?

    My sweet friend, Karla, is being called home to Jesus. She is a mom of 6, grandma to 3, and a NICU nurse to so many precious babies she lovingly cared for. Pray for peace, please- that peace and love surround her with whatever time remains. Thank you!! Love you!!

    • Vicky, my heart is full–as it always is when you and I “talk.” Yes, I’ve thought the things you’ve mentioned. Just not sure what’s right. My agent is shopping novel number 4 and a couple of other ideas. Keeping my hands and heart open.

      Your precious friend–I get a sense of her heart right now as I’m praying for her. Surely she’s so very compassionate. She’s a nurse. And a mother and grandmother. Oh, Lord, please–fill her with Your supernatural peace and grace… Even now, on Sunday afternoon, let Your Spirit of Hope and Healing minister to her.

      I’m writing Karla on my whiteboard of prayer requests. I’d be honored to pray for her and her family.

      I love you too~

  28. It’s so easy to believe in the lies of the enemy especially when it’s too loud, when sometimes it comes from people close to us. Oh, without grace, I don’t know where I’d be today.

  29. There’s no point in doing anything God doesn’t approve up.

    • Carm, for now He’s saying to put it down….

      Not sure what’s next. Waiting. Watching. Trusting.

      He’s remaking me.


  30. Patricia Martin says:

    Thanks for your prayers, Julie, they are helping!(: I love your honest and heartfelt posts as they are a special part of my week. (((: How you are dancing and celebrating fall? hugs xxoxo
    P.S. Has Thomas set his wedding date yet? (:

    • 🙂 🙂 🙂 Can you tell I’m smiling, Patricia? 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Yes, Thomas and Brittany have set a wedding date!! wo-hoooo! It’s May 19, 2017. I’m so happy for them!

      Yes, oh, yes, I’m dancing and celebrating.

      So much love, my friend. Glad to hear you’re doing okay.


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