It Ain’t Over Yet!

If the woman at Home Depot hadn’t been wearing Birkenstock sandals, I probably wouldn’t have bought  strawberry plants.

In March of 2017, my daughter Katie, who’d been struggling with infertility for ten years, was awaiting pregnancy test results (again). I wanted to do something brave–something I’d never done before.

I wanted to plant something new.

In the gardening section of Home Depot, I decided herbs might be easy to grow, so I picked out rosemary and basil.

Then I noticed a woman in the strawberry section wearing Birkenstocks. She had a long, braided ponytail, and looked like she knew what she was doing.

I asked if strawberries were hard to grow. She assured me I could do it. 

I wanted to you say, if I can grow strawberries, do you think can Katie have a baby? 

Back at home, I put the herbs and three strawberry plants on my grandmother’s old ironing board outside. I knew the herbs would be okay there.

But if the strawberries were going to survive, they needed to be planted.

And I was afraid to plant them.

I didn’t want to be disappointed again.

A couple of days later, I moved the strawberry plants to the railing, so they’d be a little closer to the sun.

As long as I don’t plant them, they can’t die.

Then Katie found out she wasn’t pregnant.

Again.

She didn’t talk much about it this time.

She just got quiet.

I did too.

On an unusually hot Thursday afternoon in April of 2017, I planted the strawberries in the rock-hard Georgia clay, where we normally had a garden. We didn’t plant a garden last year.

I felt empty on the inside. Frustrated and faithless. 

You know my heart, Lord. I’m going to plant these stupid strawberries, but I don’t even have faith to water them. I’m not wasting my time. 

One Saturday this spring, my husband came in the house. “Come here,” he said. “You gotta see this.”

We live in the middle of the woods. Maybe he’d found a snake. A possum. Couldn’t be veggies. We didn’t plant anything this year either.

He led me through the yard, past the weeds in our abandoned garden–

And opened the garden gate.

“Come, look,” he said.

Along the edge of the fence–right where I planted the strawberries–I saw lush, green leaves.

The strawberries.

I’d forgotten all about them.

“I can’t believe it. They didn’t die.”

“Keep looking,” Rick said.

I got closer.

Then I spotted the fat, red berries.

“It’s a miracle! We have real strawberries in our yard!” Just like the woman at Home Depot. “Did you take care of them?”

“I haven’t touched them.”

My dear readers, I haven’t had the freedom to tell you this until now.

Not only do we have strawberries,

KATIE’S PREGNANT!

She’s due July 20! 

She waited until I few weeks ago to announce her news.

There’s a phrase in this song that says it all:

“It ain’t over yet!” 

Lord, it ain’t over yet! You can do anything. Even create faith in a faithless heart. You inspired me through a woman wearing Birkenstock sandals and three strawberry plants. 

If you’re close to giving up, listen to this song. 

If you can’t see the image above, click this link –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou-p_RDUbB4  

 


How can we pray for you?

Love,

Julie

Comments

  1. sandy Coffey says:

    Never lose faith. Just when you feel like giving up God sends a miracle. July 20 is my third daughter’s b’day. A beautiful day indeed.

    • And I was soooooo close, Sandy.

      Wouldn’t that be wonderful! If the baby shares your daughter’s birthday!!!!!

      Thank you for sharing my excitement.

  2. Elaine says:

    How wonderful, God is Good. I have tears of happiness for you and your family. I will be praying for your daughter and her husband. You made my morning. Thank you for sharing.

  3. How Marvelous is our Lord! I rejoice with you. You’ll love the strawberries, I’m sure. Congratulations, too. Your love for the little one will be ‘berry’ good! (Sorry. Couldn’t help it!)

    • Cute! Berry Good. Thank you, my friend. I’ll always be grateful for having the chance to meet you that day.

      So much love,
      Julie (Berry’s grandmother) 🙂 🙂 Now that would be cute, wouldn’t it!

  4. Joan Johnson says:

    Julie- your willingness to share your heart – good and bad – is such a witness to true faith – and God’s faithfulness! Thank you again. Our family went through these days of praying for grand babies that seemed out of reach. But when God opened the floodgates if heaven they came like raindrops. I know your family will be blessed !!

    • Raindrops……..such a beautiful word, Joan. Thank you–that came like Raindrops.

      Means so much that you care. Thanks for taking time to read this post and to congratulate us!!

  5. Anna Haney says:

    Oh Grandma Jewels,
    I am sitting here a little teary eyed. SO happy for all of you! It never ceases to amaze me just how great the blessings are when we trust Him. Love you

    • I’m smiling through my tears. You remembered my Grandma name, Anna. THANK YOU. And sometimes it seems so futile to trust Him, but He’s all we have. And He’s more than enough.

      Love you dearly~

  6. Pat Garczynski says:

    “The desert and the parched land will be glad, the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom, it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35: 1-2

    Grandma Jewels, we rejoice with your family!

    • More tears!!!! Thank you, Pat!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, love, love this verse. Perfect for how I feel right now.

  7. Carmella Russell says:

    Congratulations Julie! A song of your suggestion has yet again touched me. Call It Grace and now Move. Yep love that line “It ain’t over yet”. This one also had my ear perking up “Lift your head”. Maybe I will start coming to you instead of iTunes for my musical repertoire!

    Blessings,
    Carm

    • I can’t listen to Keep Walkin’ (It Ain’t Over Yet) without dancing. I’ve listened to it over and over yesterday and today while writing this post.

      Thank you for caring and for being happy with us!!!

      Yep. These would make great additions to your iTunes collection. 🙂 And you can probably recommend a few to me!

  8. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Oh, Julie, what a blessing! Thank You, Jesus, for this new life You’ve created. Please let the delivery be safe and the little one be healthy. Oh, the joy of a new grandchild! <3

    As for feeling like giving up…waning strength and faith…yes, please pray. I started seeing a therapist, who happens to be a Christian. But it's hard…so much of what she wants me to "tell myself" or "visualize" are, to me, lies. And not the ones of the enemy…but from situations brought on by my own sins. How can I say, "I did the best I can," when I know for a fact I didn't? How can I say, "I'm fine as I am," when I'm most certainly not fine. And visualizing myself doing something which, though a positive thing in many circles, goes against everything I've been taught about yielding my will, turning the other cheek, being obedient to those over me (unless directly against God's law)…I can't make myself do it; it feels false, unnatural, a lie.

    So pray for a way for this therapist, who I believe God sent me to after 20 years of seeking help…pray she finds a way to help me which doesn't involve my being untrue to me, to who I am and what I believe in. Yes, I'm sure some of my beliefs are skewed, but without being able to go into details, know that I'm talking basics (i.e. going against trivial things which giving into avoids confrontations and strife, keeps peace…even if that peace isn't for me). I can't change those people…I just keep trying to change me, in respect to how I react. No, sinking lower into depression isn't the way, either; that's why I'm seeing a therapist!

    Blessings, Julie, and enjoy that grandbaby…as I know you shall!

    • Cathy,

      Of course I will be praying. You know I’ve had two bouts of depression. Whew….. it’s deep stuff.

      Is it possible–I’m just wondering–but is it possible that at the time, you really did do the best you could?

      My heart goes out to you. Be gentle with yourself, my precious friend.

  9. Such a testimony of God’s Faithfulness! He is good all the time! <3

  10. (Chaplain) Debra-Diane (DD) McDonnell says:

    Oh how my heart soars at this news! Our God is SOO faithful to give us the desires of our hearts! We just have to be FAITHFUL and PATIENT and let Him “do His thing” in His own time. THIS precious baby is the one she was meant to have and the timing is now for this child to get ready to enter the world and do great things….including boost the faith of all around.

    Julie, you will love and enjoy this baby…..AND your strawberries….even tho you may have “ignored them” you still planted them in faith. And your faith has shown you it works….ALWAYS.

    MUCH LOVE!!

    • Yes, yes, yes! His timing. HIS.

      I wouldn’t even let myself go down to our weedy garden to check on this. Why bother, I thought. And still, with my imperfect faith…..

      Thank you, my friend.

      Love right back to you!

  11. Praising God with you! I know what it is to see your daughter going through this kind of pain. I’m so very happy for all of you!

  12. Julie, thank you for sharing this beautiful message. I REALLY needed to be reminded. You are a blessing!

    • Happy Tears. It’s such a blessing to find out we encourage each other. Saying a little prayer for you right now. And I’ll never forget our indoor porch party that day.

      Love you dearly~~~~

  13. Roxann Crane says:

    This is THE best news, Julie!! I’m so happy for all of you.❣️ And thank you for the introduction to tobymac… love his music.

    • Thank you so much for reading, Roxann–and for letting me know you’re reading! I know, this song–I could dance all day long to it.

      Great big hug!
      Julie

  14. Julie.
    This is a wonderful story. God’s Love and faith do prevail. Your writings and photos are beautiful and very inspiring.
    Congratulations to all of you.

    • OOOoohh, thank you, my encouraging friend. Thanks for sharing in our excitement. Means so much to know people care.

      xoxooxo

  15. So lovely. And maybe you’ll nickname your grandchild “my little strawberry.” (Maybe your grandchild will be a redhead too!)

    • I know! I’ve been thinking that very thing, Peggy. It just might happen!!!!! And I’d love it!!!!!! Thanks for everything-especially your prayers over the years.

  16. Teri says:

    Julie, thank you! Only a very few know I did give up. God brought me back for some reason. Medically I shouldn’t be here but yet I survived. Here I am still trying to find a purpose. All these suicides the last week has made me so sad. I wanted to tell them it’s not over. There is a purpose. “It ain’t over yet.”

    • More tears, Teri. What a beautiful thought. You’re right. So grateful for your life and for Who you are.

      Much love,
      Julie (Grandma Jewels)

  17. Love this, Julie! Congratulations!!!

  18. Congratulations to you and Rick and to Katie and her family.

  19. Tonya says:

    Congratulations!!!❤️What a beautiful announcement! ❤️

  20. So grateful for your wonderful news. God is so good. Thanks for sharing.

  21. May His grace shower your grandbaby and your strawberries! Love, Other Julie

    • Thank you, Other Julie!!!

      One day, maybe you and I can meet. I have a feeling we’d have lots to talk about!!

      xoxoxoxo

  22. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, Congrats on Katie’s miracle, and your miracle! (((((((((((((((: I know that you will be such a wonderful grandmother to the new baby! Is it a boy or girl? Will you write stories in Daily Guideposts especially about Rilynn and the new baby? What does Rilynn think about the baby? Does Katie have a name picked out? Does she have a gift registry? I am sooooooooooo happy for all you! Sending hugs to Katie and her family! Sending hugs to all of you! What does your mom think about all this? Maybe you could write a short story for Guideposts about Katie’s miracle–reading it was inspiring for me, and I know it would inspire others as well.
    Sending hugs,
    Patricia xxoxooo

    • It’s a boy, Patricia. 🙂

      Yeah, I probably will write about all of this later. I just couldn’t hold back from blogging about it. And I waited until I was sure Katie was okay with me sharing the news. She LOVED this post. 🙂

      Rilynn is THRILLED! I’m going to a shower on Saturday. Rilynn will be there, of course. She loves parties and wearing dresses.

      No names for sure right now. She says she’ll know who he is when she gets to meet him.

      So much love to you and your family,
      Julie

  23. Missy Tippens says:

    What wonderful news!! I’m so happy for y’all!

  24. Janice Chapman says:

    wow! July 20 is my birthday! I will be listening for updates and praying for your daughter and the baby to come!

    • Wow! Wouldn’t that be neat!!! My mother’s is July 8. My sis’s is July 6.

      It means so much that my friends are excited with me. THANK YOU.

  25. Strawberries: plump like Katie.
    Strawberries: sweet like Katie.
    Strawberries: a miracle that grew, just like Katie and just like your faith.

  26. Lisa says:

    So happy for you all! I didn’t realize how awesome the news was when you told me and Amanda! Awesome! Lovely writing as always. And…i love the Toby Mac ‘Move’ song!

    • Thank you so much, Lisa. Thanks for caring and being happy with us. Means BUNCHES. I keep listening to the Toby Mac song. Can’t get enough!

  27. Such precious news!!! So happy for you and your family. I will tie a prayer ribbon on my prayer bush for this little one on the way. Love you.

    • Prayer bush? This is soooooooooooooooooooooooo interesting. I’m totally intrigued. The idea is so “Dee Dee!”

      Love you, my friend. Thank you for caring. And for praying.

  28. Kim says:

    Oh Julie! Happy tears! Yeah!!!

    My son Ryan was due July 20. He was born July 7.

    Prayers for an uneventful final few weeks and an easy birth.

    • I’d love a July 7 birthday for this baby! My mom’s is the 8th, my sis’s the 6th. 🙂

      Hugging you from my office–on this rainy Friday afternoon.

      Thanks for reading and commenting–and caring!

  29. Julie Gilleand says:

    Congrats, Julie, and to Katie too! What happy news this is for all of you, and an encouraging message of hope to all of us too. It’s almost an empty cliche to hear “Never give up” and “there’s always hope”. But to hear a story of when hope didn’t disappoint, as the scripture goes, feels like a shot of adrenaline. Puts some substance into those seemingly empty words. Thank you for that! Happy for you and so glad to see another blog from you — it’s been so long!

    Blessings 🙂

    — Leafy

    • I thought of that same Scripture, Julie, “Hope does not disappoint.”

      I wanted to tell y’all the baby news SOOOO MUCH, but I had to wait until the time was right. And this was the only blog in my heart. I couldn’t forget about the strawberries, and how God grew them without any help from me. Except planting them.

      I see you’re having a new grandbaby coming, right?

      xoxoxo
      Love you, Leafy~~~

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Yep, a new grandson in November! My youngest son David and his wife Hilary. This is their second baby. Liam just turned 3 a few days ago. Last fall, though, they miscarried so that was sad. And it makes this even more of a special blessing. November 2nd is the due date. That’s the date Rod and I got married the first time around so that’s kind of neat 🙂

        July 20th — did you know that is the date man first walked on the moon in 1969?! And gosh, July 20th isn’t very far away, is it?!! I just thought about that. Rod and I will be arriving in Colorado Springs on that date and spending the night in a cabin at the foot of Pikes Peak — but I will be staying tuned for any announcements and photos! So exciting 🙂 You will have to make a gluten free strawberry shortcake to celebrate. Is there such a thing? I bet there is ♥

        Take care and blessings this weekend,
        — Leafy

        • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Leafy! What a beautiful story of God’s goodness!! I can’t believe Liam’s already three. Feels like we (our little group at the blog) walked through that time with you, and now you have another baby coming. Due on your first anniversary!

          No! I had no idea bout July 20th’s history. Feels like it’s that kind of miracle, though.

          How totally romantic for you and Rod. I’m sorta jealous. 🙂 Can’t wait to see pics. I’ll pretend its Rick and me.

      • Jan says:

        Another word for planting them would be to commit them to the earth–and to god’s care.

  30. Vicky Cheek says:

    Congratulations! Praying for Katie & baby!
    God bless both of them.
    Vicky

  31. Oh Julie! What wonderful news!!! How exciting! Our God does not disappoint. It just happens in His time. We tend to lose hope when our patience runs out. I am still learning that lesson over and over. But, I believe the Lord wants us to learn (no matter how long it takes) to trust him and his timing.

    Have you done some crocheting for this precious babe?

    My daughter Joye just planted strawberries for the first time. She has two so far growing. Looking forward to some sweet ones!

    Thanks for sharing this special news with us!!!!

    Love, Eileen

    • Hey Eileen,

      Oh, yes! I’ve done crocheting for this baby boy. Years ago, I tried to learn to knit. Couldn’t do it. Then when she got pregnant (after 10 years) I picked up my old knitting mess, ripped it out, and made a blanket. Then I made him another one. Then I made Rilynn one (Katie’s stepdaughter). I’m kinda obsessed with yarn now. And I Love it.

      Congrats on your strawberries. Isn’t it so much fun?!

      Learning to trust God’s timing… I think maybe it’ll take me a lifetime.

      xoxoxox

      • Jan says:

        Have you happened upon a Bernat yarn called Pipsqueak? Lovely to work, and so soft. The Baby Blue is so nice, and the variegatied options too.
        Saw my newest Great Niece, Anneke Lynn, at church this morning. Her folks could finally bring her, 5 months old, from where they live in Canada now that her mother has achieved Permanent Resident status. What a joy has come with her! Imagining your joy and sharing it!

        • Ohhhhh, wow! I can feel your excitement, Jan! No, I don’t think I’ve heard of Pipsqueak. I LOVE Bernat yarn. I’ll have to check it out.

          So thrilled for you about Anneke Lynn~~

          Much love,
          Julie

  32. What a blessing for Katie and you and all of the family! And what a testimony to the faithfulness of our God. He would have been faithful even if Katie were not expecting this precious little boy, but I am sure He has a plan for His glory and I am so glad it comes as a blessing for all of you!! I am praying.
    I know some of the heartaches with infertility and God did receive Glory from all three children He has given to us and for now, 9 grandchildren here and 5 in heaven- ALL of His glory. PRAYING and looking forward to July 20th with you! It will be easy to remember because our first miracle was due July 21 ,43 years ago! Love, Melonie

    • Wish I could give you a big hug, Melonie. Your words–your testimony–is so precious.

      Isn’t it wonderful how God connects women and helps us become friends?

      Can’t believe you had the same due date!!

      Holy Goosebumps!!!!!!!

      So much love,
      Julie

  33. Congratulations, Julie and Katie! God answers prayer. I’m so thankful. I can’t wait … Much love to you.

  34. Marie says:

    Congratulations, Grandma! I’m thrilled for your whole family!

  35. Patricia Martin says:

    Congrats, Julie on sweet and adorable Caleb James! I saw your Instagram photo of you and Katie with your new grandson! God does answer prayer and all His miracles are wonderful! Also, please, I wanted to ask if you have any willow tree figures and, if so, which ones? I am so thrilled and happy that it “ain’t over yet!” Are you dancing right now?(((:
    xox
    Patricia

    • Patricia, I haven’t stopped dancing!!!! I’m on Cloud Ten!!!!! So, so, so grateful. Stayed home from church this morning and porch-partied with just me and God. So much praise. I know what willow tree figurines are and no, I don’t have any. I feel your love just from your note though. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! You never gave up!

  36. Patricia Martin says:

    Hi Julie,
    I loved your pictures of you all! I am sending you a package that should be delivered today or maybe tomorrow. Hope you have a safe, happy, and fun day.xxxoo

  37. I’m so happy to see the photos on IG.
    SO happy for you and your fam.

    Indeed in God’s timetable, it’s not over yet!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Lux! And I’m totally thrilled for you too. Yes, His timing. xoxo

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