Love–The Remedy for Discouragement

I set two goals for the month of June:

1. Finish the rewrite on my novel.

2. Take a picture every day about my word for 2017,  Love. Share the pictures on Instagram. 

For 30 days I wondered, will I be able to find evidence of love today? Something picture-worthy? Where? How? When?

And every day I’d catch a glimpse of something and feel a little nudge inside my heart.

~Fresh peaches from Thompson Family Farms~

~Our hammock~

~Summertime petunias~

~The American flag and the last gardenia~~

~Thomas and Brittany’s wedding~(taken by Kylie Martin Photography)

~The rainbow on Father’s Day when the newlyweds invited us to their house for dinner~

~A blank page in my journal~

~Another porch party~

~On June 26th I finally finished my novel. I had it printed and snapped a picture of the box containing the 356 pages~

~I asked someone to edit it and kicked back in the hammock to celebrate~

Three days later, I read through the edit and discovered I have some more work to do.

I need to go deeper. 

One of my characters hasn’t completely opened her heart to me. 

Feeling discouraged, I dumped out the pages on my desk and had a good talk with myself. 

Why is this novel so important to me? Why am I writing it?

Then it dawned on me.  

I write for the same reason I took 30 pictures. 

Because of love. 

Love compels me. 

Love for my characters.  Love for my readers.  Love for God. 

I write because I love. And love is stronger than discouragement. Click to tweet.

The next morning I lit my candles, knelt beside my desk, and prayed a simple prayer. 

Lord, I need You. Will You pour Your love through me today? 

Are you feeling discouraged about something? Look for signs of love. And remember~~

Discouragement doesn’t come from God. Ever. He’s a God of hope. Always. click to tweet

Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails. Psalms 136:1 click to tweet

Each one of you means so much to me. Thank you for your friendship and for giving me grace with the blog. I’ll be back the first Wednesday in August.

So much love,

Julie

 

Comments

  1. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie. I’ve missed you. But I completely understand. Discouragement is currently visiting me. I think it’s due to meditation, but nonetheless, it’s not fun. Praying for you. Love you

    • You can’t imagine how much JOY I felt when your comment came sailing into my inbox, Anna.

      You said “meditation.” Do you mean medication? Medication can complicate our feelings, for sure. :/ :/

      I’m praying for you. Keep looking for daily signs of His Love.

      XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

      • Anna Haney says:

        Yep. I meant “medication.” I was put on prednisone for the disc issues and it always makes me blue. Almost finished with the dosing, though. I also didn’t have my glasses on when I sent my response. To give you an idea, I spent most of yesterday, well, heck, all of yesterday either just laying on the couch or asleep on the couch

  2. Elaine says:

    Julie, you have given me a great idea, I am going to take pictures for my word Serenity. I have been down lately due to several problems health, daughter’s husband retiring and getting a new job far away from us. We are 90 minutes from each other now. My daughter’s relapse to alcohol, but you know I do still have serenity. My husband Bob and I now have coffee on the veranda, no we don’t own a big house like we have in the past but the pool patio got nicknamed veranda. That kind of adds serenity to it doesn’t it.
    Anyway, I loved your pictures and today I read your guideposts with tears in my eyes about your daughter and her divorce and moving. I am going to pick up and view the world differently. I will be praying for your rewrites for the novel and look forward to reading it. Take care, you have love and are loved by many of us out here. sincerely, Elaine also go eat something good for me and my health

    • Elaine……………….!!! I have tears. Your comment…and to think that me NOT meeting my goal could possibly minister to someone. Well, it just blows me away.

      All God, my friend. All Him.

      Veranda, oh, yes! I love that word. Who wouldn’t want to have coffee on the veranda!

      Serenity is a a beautiful word. In fact, this morning I just read devotionals from two Al-Anon books, and I can tell you’re on your way back to Serenity. It’s so very daily, isn’t it?

      Thank you. So much. What a gift you gave me.

      Lifting up your daughter right now in prayer.

      Love well today.

  3. Marjorie Hill says:

    So proud of you, Julie. I really needed to hear your message this morning. Hope you had a great Fourth of July!

    • I just about hugged you through my laptop when I saw your name pop up!

      Thank you, Margie. So glad this touched a place in your heart. Shows me He’s still working through me. Through both of us.

      Much love, my friend.
      Julie~~

  4. Carm Russell says:

    Love, love, love this blog! Sometimes “looking back” is a good thing. Or should I say love thing? See how much love in 30 days is inspiring. You looked for love everyday and found it. It inspires me to “look back” and see all the Love and love in my life.

    Blessings,
    Carm

    • Carm~~~

      I’m telling you–it was such a powerful thing. AND I DOUBTED I COULD DO IT. Can you believe it?!

      And I bet I could’ve been doing this for years–focusing on the Love all around me.

      Thank you so much for letting me know this idea inspired you.

  5. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Julie, every time you write we can feel your love for us…and God’s love for us as poured out through your words. Thank you for loving us. Never doubt the good you do through this blog.

    Oh my goodness!!! I think that may be what God is saying to me…well, maybe. Let me try to explain briefly. (…umm…I tried, sorry it’s so long.)

    Most people who know me know I’ve longed for almost my whole life to “be a writer.” And not just “a” writer, but “the” writer He wants me to be. For 30+ years, He had me use this gift in teaching/homeschooling, which fulfilled me and brought me much joy and peace.

    Still, if anyone read my journal, you’d see this at least once a month over those years: “God, WHAT do you want me to write? Is it TIME yet?” I begged, wrote nonsense, begged more, wrote proposals, begged…wrote… To date, I’ve still not been published (for pay), and I’ve lost countless opportunities through writers conference possibilities. Those I followed through on came to nothing.

    This year, with “REDIRECTION” as my word, I knew it was time to break out. As you know, I dabbled in a fiction piece early in the year, fun but went nowhere. I started serious work on the 30-day devo for this year’s Christmas gifts; I began books for our grandson; I even delved into homeschool curriculum, combining my love of teaching with writing. I felt sure I was onto something.

    Now, Montrose Christian Writers Conference, my 19th time there, is only 12 days away, and I have nothing. Worse, I have no time to prepare much, although a publisher who is coming said, “Bring whatever you have.” For the past several weeks, I’ve once more begged, tried to find answers through two different Bible studies, prayed, and tried to write…anything! Nothing…again.

    What is God saying to me? I feel so unfaithful, so frustrated, so “discouraged.” So, I did as your devotion in DG read today, “the next best thing.” I turned on the computer to check my messages for what time Sarah wants me to come watch our grandson, the delight of my life. And your blog announcement came up first in my news feed…a blog written with love, a blog on discouragement…and love.

    At some point over the past two days of intense searching, the thought intruded that maybe it’s still not time for publishing, no matter how much I truly thought that was the “redirection” God intended for me. My commissioning verse is Is. 50:4, which God paraphrased to: “He has given me the (pen) of a (writer) so that I should know how to (write) a word in season to him who is weary.” Combined with my spiritual gifting in mercy, this fits me.

    I write because I love. God, His people, His creation, His Word, words in general. I am most happy when I am teaching and when I am writing some odds and ends – “passwords to your past” pieces, devotions and books for my family, blog posts for a still-unlaunched blog I’ve tried to start for over 5 years, comments to your blogs and others, posts on Facebook to reach hurting people. But somehow, this isn’t enough anymore; I know without a doubt there is something more.

    So…what do you make of all this mess? What do you…any of you who read this…think God is telling me? How can love dispel this discouragement? How can I turn this around and find the purpose God has which will have me delighting in its writing? (And a little income would be nice…

    • Cathy, there’s so much HEART in your comment. So much love. And oh, boy, do I understand. This writing journey….whew. It’s steep and rocky, isn’t it?!

      I wish I had wonderful words of wisdom. Sounds like you’re listening to His Still Small Voice. You’re going to conferences and being available and writing and praying and seeking.

      Have you joined any sort of editing group I’m a part of an online editing group that formed out of the GP workshop. There are 8 of us. Incredible help for me.

      I love that you’re doing “the next right thing.” And then next. That’s what I’m doing too…staying open and working hard.

      Keep going forward, my friend. Thrilled that you’re returning to Montrose again. My dear friend, B.J. Taylor, will be teaching there!

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        I know B.J. is coming! I’m so excited to meet her! I would love to take her morning classes, but I am also on faculty this year…working with teen writers. 🙂

        • Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re on faculty!!!!!!!! Hope y’all have a chance to eat a meal together. I’m emailing her today about something–will tell her to watch for my friend, Cathy.

  6. Patricia Martin says:

    Oh Julie, I will miss you so much! I am glad that your novel is coming along–you are such a wonderful writer that you deserve a place on the bestseller list!((: I have and am praying for your novel and know it will spread love to those who read it. I enjoyed your cheery posts on Instagram and loved reading them.(((: how was your Fourth of July? Please give everyone a hug and save one for yourself.((:
    Patricia xoxoxo

    • Patricia, you always say just the right thing.

      The picture of the rainbow–when we went to Thomas and Brittany’s house? He used the blender you sent him that night–to make mashed potatoes. 🙂

      You are so very special to me. My Fourth–Rick and I volunteered at our church’s fireworks show. So much fun! And the weather cooled off right before it started. Rain shower. But it stopped just in time.

      So much love, my friend. Thank you for being so faithful to read–and to let me know you’re reading.

  7. I have an up close and personal view of this, yet another, rewrite. I see the tremendous effort you are putting forth and your refusal to give up. Winston Churchill would be so proud f you. As I am. Your emotions are being hung out on a clothes line. But His Son will shine on them and suddenly it will all come together. Beautifully. Powerfully. Perfectly. Ginny will become alive. Real. And you can sit back and smile ,”It’sfinished. “

  8. Beautiful. Like always. Like you .

  9. Brenda Greene says:

    Oh Sweet Julie Girl! You are definitely on the right track! I even joined “Instagram” (to the disappointment of my grandkids who feared I was “spying” on them until I told them I wanted to follow you there) to follow your “love path” during June…it was inspiring! Thank you!

    As I woke with a “spirit of discouragement” this morning I searched my heart to try to find the source and came up with nothing. However, 20 minutes in my prayer closet I came out with a gentler spirit! It was awesome!! I then did my 3,000 (Fitbit) steps in the cool, crisp, and sweet air of the morning (before the Southern humidity kicked in) and returned to my “happy place” (front porch table) to spend time with Jesus.

    Billy Graham’s message (Wisdom for Each Day) “The Battle Rages” had my name on it at the opening scripture (Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not struggle against flesh and blood….) reminded me of what my battle really is all about. And behind those words my heart reminded me that My God already won that battle at Calvary! Hallelujah!

    So…all that to say: Keep plugging away Sweetie…in His time, we will be enjoying the “sweat of your brow” and proclaiming “I knew her when…!” Much love and prayers from my front porch this morning. Brenda

    • I need to print your response and save it forever.

      Brenda, your words are just beautiful. I “felt” them. Ohhhh, yes, the GA humidity. It’s here to stay for a while now.

      I literally felt peace coming through me as I “watched” you return to our Source. And look at you–you didn’t stay in discouragement. It can be so tempting, can’t it. But we don’t have to stay there forever.

      So much love, and I was thrilled to find out you’re on Instagram. I really like it better than FB.

  10. Julie, thank you for reminding me when I feel overwhelmed to open my eyes to how you are showing your love to us, to me. Thank you for your faithfulness. Love you, Bev

    • Thank you for understanding me so well, Bev. Guess it goes with the writer territory.

      Hugging you from here.

      Love you too.

  11. Pat Garczynski says:

    Here I am, always- even though you don’t often hear from me. Today is a “Two-For-One” prize
    with your welcome Guideposts writing & this Blog. I love the pictures & the idea of a daily Love/Gratitude one to fight against discouragement & depression – “A picture is (perhaps) worth a thousand words” in my Gratitude Journal that can sit with “a blank page.”

    • Hey Pat,

      I read that GP devo yesterday and today, just remembering and praising Him for His faithfulness and His Presence. Honestly, I didn’t know how to help her. (If anyone is reading this, we’re talking about my daughter Katie’s divorce. I did a series for Daily Guideposts called Ashes to Beauty about being the mom of a child going through a divorce.) The Lord was so very close, so tender to her during that time.

      Thank you for saying “hi.” Ohhh, yes the Love/Gratitude–the ideas/pics are still coming!!!!

      xoxo

  12. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie, so great to see and read your blog today! And so welcome in the midst of such chaos in my life right now, with our moving and all. I love all the pictures you took and seeing the things that touched your heart each of those days. It inspires me to want to add a picture to my thankful journal each day instead of just text! And congrats on getting your novel “done” ahead of schedule, even if you still have editing to be done. What a huge accomplishment, and so neat to see the picture of your box containing it, when you were ready to send it in, too! Makes it all so real 🙂 Looks like we both met our shared June 30th deadlines since we did close on our house that very day .. thank you for your prayers.

    I appreciate your thoughs on doing this out of love. I needed to hear that today as I go about the frightful task of finishing our packing before movers come tomorrow morning! It has been chaotic, exhausting and overhwhelming, but I know we are just about over the hump and am trying to do the remaining work with joy. That was my prayer this morning (one of many) — to be able to find joy as I go about packing boxes today. For God to infuse bits of joy here and there as I go along and He is doing that. One of those joys was getting to read your blog. Another was finding something as I packed that reminded me of so really sweet memories and that gave me a smile. Another joy is just the accomplishment of 9 boxes packed this morning already. But when I read what you said about doing things out of love, that added a whole new dimension to my day and these tasks. Why am I packing? Just to move or have things ready for the movers tomorrow? No, not just that. I’m packing to move into a house we will love, live in and make memories in. Loving this blessing and dream come true God has blessed us with and loving the One who made it all possible. Loving the memories made in this apartment I am packing up as I gradually say goodbye to it before we let it go.

    So thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures and your heart today and for giving me the inspiration to do what I have to do today, out of love.

    Blessings to you Julie G 🙂

    — Leafy ♥

    • Leafy, I can already sense the JOY in you about packing. It’s totally revolutionized my thinking–the Love/picture idea. And I LOVED getting to see your new home on FB. And your family and your owls. God’s all over you, my friend. He’s so close.

      You are such a wonderful encouragement to me. And to think, this blog about love touched your heart–thank You, Lord. Only You.

      Keep loving. And I will too.

  13. Georgia says:

    Julie: Thank you for your post today; the Lord knows when we need an encouraging word and knows who to nudge to give it! I am praying that your novel re-write goes well! It has to be hard to write a novel… I admire your perseverance. Please don’t give up, Julie!! 🙂

    • I’m smiling, Georgia. I can literally feel your encouragement through your words. Your heart shines through.

      Thank you for being my friend and reading my posts. Hearing from readers is like God whispering, “See, I’m with you, Julie. You’re not alone in this. Keep writing.”

      So much love to you~~ wish I could give you a hug!

  14. Julie, thank you for this beautiful and heart-touching post. I always feel such peace when I read your words.
    I am praying for you as you work on your novel.

    Please continue to pray for me as I heal from my health issues.

    You are loved here in the North Carolina mountains. I pray for you as I rock on my porch.

    Loe you,
    Dee Dee

    • Your words, your heart, and your beautiful smile just spoke to me, Dee Dee. So many people love you. I’m praying for you–that God continue to heal you.

      Thank you, my friend. What you said (or rather spoke over me) went straight to my heart.

  15. You’ve inspired me to go get a hammock as incentive to finish the rewrite of my current ms. That looked so comfortable!

    • WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWO!!!!!

      This makes me so happy!!!! I’m squealing in my office!!!!! Jumping up and down inside my heart!

      You’ll love it, Evelyn. Years ago, I saw a counselor who asked me to name one place in our home that I love. I said the hammock. She told me to lay in the hammock for 10 minutes every day and just let my thoughts rest. Soooooo powerful! So much peace is there.

  16. Love….you do it for love. Letting this wash all through me Julie- changes the way I see things and the way I feel – do it for love. yes.

  17. Marci'a says:

    Your lessons are so meaningful and always touch home. Love covers so much! Having your blog today and also your writing in DGP was a special treat. Both lessons are good ones for me to remember. Keep from being overwhelmed, which is something I battle with. I have written already on FB so I wont make this long.
    You will be missed during the month, until you are back with us on the blog, but at the same time happy for you and praying for you as you work on your projects and hopefully feel all the love coming your way, from me and so many others. We will appreciate you just that much more when you come back to us in August. And in the mean time we will just hold you up to the Lord with many prayers. God Bless you dear Julie,
    Love, Marci’a

    • Marci’a, it was such a difficult decision–to cut back (at least for now) on my blogging. It’s like that Scripture about “deep calling out to deep”…I sense a tug on my heart with the novel. The characters are with me constantly.

      I’m so grateful for the love and grace I feel here with my friends. Y’all welcome me each time I post and encourage me. I feel the LOVE.

      Thank you for your prayers. Praying the feeling of being overwhelmed stays far, far away from you today.

  18. As you see, love is everywhere, in everything, in everybody.
    Love is what I feel when I read your blog posts.
    Love is what I have for our friendship.
    Love is what you have oozing out of your heart when you write.
    Love is all around us.
    P.S. LOVE your dress at the wedding. This is a full-face picture that I was eager to see! You look GOR-GEOUS!

    • I can just think about you, and in my heart, I’m with you, B.J. So many times I have these little pretend conversations with you in my mind.

      I’ll never stop being grateful for our friendship–for how God brought us together.

      I love you.

      And thank you for your sweet words. I had a lot of help the day of the wedding–hair, makeup, etc. xo

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Just an FYI, B.J. – I messaged you on Facebook with a question for Montrose. I’m not sure how often you check that, so I figured, if you are notified about these replies on Julie’s blog, maybe it was a way to let you know! Hope neither you nor Julie mind my inserting this here! 🙂 See you in exactly 9 days!! Wish I could take your class, but I may order the CDs! 🙂

  19. Aww, Julie … I’ll continue praying for the writing. I’ve got an update for you, too. More writing awaits me, too. But … I’m ready. xoxo

    • So,so, so glad we’re praying for each other and walking this journey together. Who cares that you’re in TX and I’m in GA. God keeps us close to each other.

      Thank you for reading and writing. You know how much it means!

  20. That’s a great project, Julie. I seldom log into IG nowadays but it’s nice to see your photos with encouraging and inspiring stories behind it.

    I’m sure your June is so full of love. Speaking of which, love is always the answer, isn’t it? Even in Wonder Woman (have you seen it? It’s good!), only love can save the world.

  21. You’re absolutely right, Lux. Love is always the answer.

    No, I haven’t seen WW, but I want to!

    xoxoxoxoxoxo

  22. Patricia Martin says:

    Thank you, Julie, for your kind and uplifting words! You are a precious friend to me, and I really am excited for your novel and pray that it will be a blessing to all who read it, and, after all, writers like you come only once in a lifetime! (; You have a warmth to your words like we are all on your porch sitting and shooting the breeze. ((: Have a beautiful day!
    Patricia
    xoxoxo(((:

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