Cookies and Compassion

A few days ago my husband said, “You haven’t made any of those white chocolate cranberry cookies lately.”

“That’s because it’s the wrong season,” I said. “I add pumpkin pie spice to them. They taste like fall.”

He nodded and dropped the subject.

Later that day, I felt a gentle nudge in my heart to make the fall-weather cookies. Feeling a little foolish, I ran to the grocery store–in 95 degree heat–for dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips. 

When Rick came home that night the house smelled like October–as if the trees should be full of red and yellow leaves. He was happy, but there’s more to the story.

The next day my mother and I had appointments with our rheumatologist. She’d been having knee pain and had started wearing a knee brace. Before I left to pick her up, I sensed that same soft Voice talking to me.

Take your mother some cookies. 

She won’t eat them. She’ll say she doesn’t need the calories. And they’re not chocolate. She loves chocolate. 

Take them anyway. 

Convinced I was wasting my time, I tossed three cookies in a baggie and headed out the door. Mother and I arrived a few minutes early at the doctor’s office.

“I brought you a surprise.” I handed her the bag expecting her to politely decline them. “It’s July and they’re fall cookies.”

“Oh, good! I’m hungry. I didn’t eat breakfast.”

She took a bite. “Oh, Julie. They’re incredible. Best cookies I’ve ever had.”

She picked up a second cookie–one for each hand–and ate two at a time. Even though her leg hurt, she shoveled food in her mouth and got tickled.

The doctor spent a lot of time with her so she gave him her last cookie. I don’t know how many of his patients give him treats, but I think the cookie made his day.

On the way home, I told Mother I’d make her a whole batch. :)

That night, it seemed God had a message for me about the cookies. 

There were rational reasons why I didn’t want to make (or share!) them. 

1. It was the wrong season.

2. It was too hot for fall cookies.

3. I’d have to go the store for the ingredients. 

4. I’d made chocolate chip cookies a few days earlier.

5. I didn’t think my mother would want any.

But His Sweet Spirit kept pressing on me, tenderizing my heart–

Make white chocolate cranberry cookies.

Such a small thing.

And I almost said no.

When God touches our hearts to give, we can trust Him with the results. Click to tweet.

…show mercy and compassion to one another Zachariah 7:9 NIV

Here’s the recipe link All Things Heart and Home.

Has God touched your heart to do something small with great love? Please share!

P.S. Thank you for praying for me as I rewrite the novel. I’ll be sending it to my agent this week. :) :) I’m working on some new writing ideas and praying about my blogging schedule. I’m posting almost daily on Instagram.  I love it!

So much love,

Julie

 

Decorating with Love

When I found out Robin, my BFF of 40 years, was spending the night, I was blown away with excitement. But I was also a tiny bit scared.

Robin is ROBIN from All Things Heart and HomeEvery inch of her home blooms with beauty and creativity. 

She’d be staying in our spare bedroom–the room I’d been ignoring it for years. It was full of wrapping paper and boxes, with my ironing board sitting in the middle of the floor.

No color theme. No inspiration. Total blah.

I wanted Robin to feel loved and welcomed, but decorating isn’t easy for me. 

The bedroom makeover began with a prayer and a pillow.

Lord, will You please help me? Will You show me what to do–step-by-step?

Later that day, I searched through the decorative pillows at Walmart. Nothing thrilled me~~

Until I spotted this one with a bicycle on it.

Something sweet stirred in my heart as if the Lord whispered,

Get the pillow, Julie. It belongs in Robin’s room. 

Okay. I have a pillow. What next? A bedspread? I want her to feel covered with Your Love. 

One aisle over, I found a white duvet–fluffy and carefree like clouds.

At Target, I fell in love with a five-dollar pink pillow.

Five dollars? 

Decorating isn’t about price tags. 

Back at home, I put the pillow in my grandmother’s rocking chair.

I noticed the long, dark area in front of the dormer window.

How can we bring love into this spot, Lord?

(This is the “after” picture below.)

I brought a table inside from the front porch and added a few of my favorite things.

This corner next to the bookshelf needs something. 

I added my cross lamp.

Light and Love~~

Maybe a rug would feel cozy. 

I found a pink, shag rug at Target and texted my sister a picture. She gave it a thumbs’ up and suggested I try it under the bottom of the bed.

Who knew?!

Then I texted Robin’s husband to see if he had any ideas.

“Peonies are her favorite flowers,” he said, “but they’re really hard to find.”

Lord, will You help me find peonies? 

I called my friend Laurel from Everett’s Florist in Monroe, GA. Peonies had just arrived! She arranged them in my grandmother’s antique vase.

I put the flowers on the bedside table and had a tiny spot for one more thing, but what? 

I thought about our 40 years of friendship~~

All the memories~~

Phone calls about raising toddlers, potty training, and then teenage drama~~

So much love~~

I found a picture of us at her fall party and had it printed in black and white. 

Guess what?

Robin fell in love with her room!

The morning after she spent the night, she brought her peonies to the breakfast table. :)  The flowers I’d prayed for (and even doubted I’d find) became our centerpiece. 

And then the sweetest thing happened~~

After our time together, Robin texted me this picture from her heart and home.

No words. Just the picture. 

Tears blurred my vision.

Everything was so beautiful. God helped me do the impossible. 

Together, we turned a junk room into a room full of love.

I didn’t even know where to start and He showed me how.

He led me every step of the way.

 I went upstairs to take another peek. 

Robin had made up the bed and raised the blinds.  With golden Light streaming in the window, a new truth settled in my soul. 

Live this way, Julie, God seemed to say–in My Love–always, with everything you do. 

Wow. Just wow.

When you don’t know what to do next, ask God to lead you with His Love. (click to tweet)

Do everything in Love, even decorating! (click to tweet) 

Do everything in love. 1st Corinthians 16:14 NIV (click t0 tweet)

Do you know the secret of decorating with love?

Is God helping you do something step-by-step? Please share! 

P.S. I have a prayer request.  My goal is to finish my novel rewrite during the month of June. It’s sort of like decorating the bedroom-I can’t do it without His help. Will you pray for me? 

I’m going to be putting my heart and soul into the novel, so I’m not going to blog again until Wednesday, July the 5th. 

I’m going to miss you, big time!

Thank you for praying. 

One more tidbit of info–I’m spending more time on Instagram than Facebook. I’m posting a pic every day in June about Love, my word for 2017. :) Please join me~~

So much love,

Julie

 

 

One Tiny Moment at a Time

Sometimes a conversation has the power to change your life. That’s what happened Saturday, the day after my son’s wedding. Robin, my BFF of 40 years, came to the wedding, and then spent the night with me.

The two of us are deep-thinkers. 

If we’re not careful, we can get stuck in the melancholy parts of life–the things that weigh your heart down.

We’re prone to worry, but we’re working on changing, one tiny moment at a time. 

We were talking and she made a profound statement. When she did, I remembered so many magical moments about the wedding~~

The first rays of sunlight Friday morning–how they landed softly on the stairs of our cabin. 

Walking into the rehearsal dinner and seeing my sister Jennifer’s smile~~ 

The same expression as when we were little girls~~

Like she had a secret to tell me.

Weeks ago when I chose the restaurant, Jennifer offered to decorate for me. She has an eye for color and style and fashion, and she knows all about flowers and candles and creating ambiance.

I remembered the moment I glanced at Jamie, my daughter, and watched her laughing with Jennifer.

~~Pure joy~~

And Chris, Katie’s husband~~

I remembered the way Katie’s eyes lit up three years ago when she told me about him right after they met.

And my mother at the rehearsal dinner~~

I remembered how she’d taught me everything I needed to know~~

To love Jesus,

To love people,

And to love words. 

Oh, and Rilynn~~

I remembered Chris bringing Rilynn into our lives, our only grandchild, an answer to prayer.

There were two magical wedding moments with Rilynn~~

The way she gazed into the mirror after Brittany’s aunt curled her hair like the big girls.

And how she quietly slipped into the chair beside me at the wedding.

There were magical moments at the reception too~~

I forgot to bring my reading glasses and took pictures wearing my prescription sunglasses. Katie said, “Mom, please take off your sunglasses. You look silly.” 

But I didn’t care how silly I looked. 

I wanted to remember the moments. 

And then seeing Thomas and Brittany leaving for their honeymoon~~

That tiny moment when time stood still and love exploded inside my heart.

But my life-changing conversation with Robin happened after all of this–after all the excitement died down.

Saturday morning, we had a porch party. Just the two of us.

We rocked and drank coffee and laughed about getting older.

Then we went to the square in my little town, Monroe, Georgia, and visited my favorite shop, a children’s bookstore called The Story Shop.

This place is all the best moments of childhood made over~~

 

Surrounded by so much creativity, I knew exactly what Robin was  feeling because I felt it too~~

The magic of the moment. 

Later that day, we dove deep into conversation and talked about the things you share with your closest friends~~

But we didn’t dwell there, in Worry Land. Not this time.

Maybe because we didn’t want to spoil the magic of the moment. 

“Wow, I said, “We let go of our concerns in a hurry, didn’t we?”

“Yep. Record time, for us.” She paused. “Maybe the secret to life is celebrating each tiny moment with all your heart–which doesn’t leave room for worry.”

“And all we have is one tiny moment at a time,” I said.

Then Robin handed me the secret~~

“Maybe this is how God intends for us to live. One tiny moment at a time.” Click to tweet

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.” Matthew 6:34 MSG

What tiny moments are you celebrating today? 

P.S. Robin has an amazing blog, All Things Heart and Home. You’ll love it! I promise!

Love,

Julie

 

My Grandmother’s Secret

For the past few weeks, my heart’s been all over the place.

Thomas, our youngest child, is getting married on May 19th. He’s 25. I love Brittany, his bride-to-be. He’s ready to get married. They both are.

But I was afraid of how I’d feel at their wedding.

Afraid of all the love bumping around in my heart. 

Love and letting go were tightly intertwined. 

How could I handle both emotions at the same time?

How do you love and let go?  

A few days ago, I picked up my dress for the wedding and stopped by Mother’s house to show it to her. She ran her hands lightly over the pastel chiffon.

Stepping into the dress, I slipped it over my shoulders. The dress magnified what I was feeling.

The flurry of time.

Seasons changing.

“This brings back the memories, doesn’t it?” Mother said. “Your prom dresses. Your wedding dress.”

I wasn’t a teenager. Or a bride. I was a mother-of-the groom. And I had to prepare my heart for the wedding. But how? 

Mother zipped my dress. “This reminds me of my mother tying the sash of my nurse uniform,” she said.

“It was just an apron, but we called it a nurse’s uniform. When I was six, I got pneumonia and had to go to the hospital to take shots of penicillin. Goge (my grandmother) worked and couldn’t stay with me. I wasn’t really a patient, but the nurses watched me all day long until my mother returned.”

(Mother and Goge, my grandmother, 1940.)

So sad. Goge had to leave my mother for nurses to watch while she worked.

Mother’s daddy died when she was two.

Love can be a scary thing. Like life. You can’t control it.

“Didn’t you hate spending the day at the hospital?”

“Oh, no. I loved it. It was a tiny hospital. It had been someone’s home, and the doctor was our good friend. I got to sit on a white, metal stool in the lab and talk to the nurses. Actually, it felt like going to a birthday party.”

This was a good memory for Mother. God was with her at the hospital.

More than that.

Years before Goge went to heaven, she discovered the secret of letting go. 

She let go through the power of love.

Maybe that’s the only way we can do it. 

A tingly feeling came over me–as if my grandmother had a message for me. 

That’s when the miracle happens, Julie. Don’t be afraid of your love for Thomas. Use it to help you let go. God will give him everything he needs. And He’ll take care of your mama-heart too. 

At last, the Thomas-shaped place in my mama-heart stood up and cheered.

I didn’t have to separate my feelings.

The two worked together as a team, love and letting go.

I’d let go just like Goge did–through the power of love. 

When we let go with love, something miraculous happens. God shows up. (click to tweet)

Are you letting go of someone or something right now? If so, I pray this post helps.

P.S. Remember what my word for the year is? :) LOVE.

With so much love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

When Dreams Come True

The air in the greenhouse was damp and sweet, heavy with the promise of springtime.

I’d stopped by Everett’s Florist in Monroe, GA to buy ferns for the front porch.

I picked out eight of my favorites.

Carrying them two at a time, I walked through the the floral shop and sensed a deep awareness in my soul as if God said,

Listen with your heart, Julie. There’s a message here. 

I’d been coming to Everett’s every April for years. There was a new woman behind the counter, and the shop looked different.

There was something tender in the atmosphere~

Like finding newborn kittens in a barn~

The promise of sweet things to come~

Something that went beyond trinkets~

As if the place had been transformed from a house to a home.

“You’ve rearranged things. I love the wide, open space.”

“Thank you,” she said. “My name’s Laurel. I just bought the business from my parents.”

There was beauty all around me.

I loved the restored door.

The wooden ladder.

The hydrangeas.

“I have a pie safe just like this,” I said.

Oh, and the chalkboard.

I had one when I was a little girl–at my grandmother’s house.

“There’s so much love in this room. It feels like a sanctuary.”

“Thank you. My parents started the business thirty-something years ago and were ready to retire.”

“Wow, and it’s yours now.”

“Yes. My father still brings plants for the greenhouse, but ever since I was a little girl, it’s been my dream to turn the floral shop into a gift shop. My eight-year-old daughter is making custom floral arrangements.”

“Three generations of creativity. That’s amazing.”

Laurel waited a long time for her dream to come true. 

“I’m just wondering…is faith a part of this?” I said. “I sense God’s Presence here.”

Because I have a dream. 

My friends do too. 

Some of us have spent years praying and waiting and wondering

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Absolutely. Faith is a huge part. So much prayer went into this. And if my dream didn’t honor God, I wouldn’t want it to come true.”

Laurel gave me what I was searching for~

Something to share with you~

A precious seed of faith. 

When God-inspired dreams come true, we know Who gets the glory. (click to tweet)

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus… Colossians 3:17  

Lord, help us trust You with our dreams. Your will. Your way. Your timing. (click to tweet). 

P.S. You can follow Everett’s Florist on Facebook: Facebook.com/everett’s florist and on Instagram: Everett’s_Florist

Love,

Julie

 

 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

Spread a Little Love–After Valentine’s Day

There’s something special about the friendships that have developed here on the blog. Most of us have never met each other.

Over the past few days, I got valentines from four of you! I felt like a little girl hurrying home after school to dump out my valentine box.

So much LOVE spilled out of each one.

This kind of LOVE is contagious.

When someone  unexpectedly spreads a little love, it stirs our hearts to love others. 

I don’t know why.  

It just does.

Thinking about friendship, I wondered, what is the secret of the bond we share?

Later that day, I started making brownies for small group and put the ingredients on the counter. 

Is there a secret ingredient to friendship? Something to be blended together with love? 

Spreading chocolate frosting over the pan of warm brownies, I remembered a relationship tip my husband and I discovered. 

We were training to be small group leaders, and the pastor said something that went straight to my heart.

It’s just one sentence and one word, but I think it applies to all our relationships. 

“If you have a few extra minutes before small group,” the pastor said, “don’t waste time studying your notes. Pray.”

PRAY.

PRAY.

PRAY. 

That struck me as so profound.

You’d think he might have said, “Prepare your notes carefully. Study them diligently. Present your teaching plans well. Memorize your points.”

But he didn’t.

He instructed us to do what matters most in building strong relationships.

And that is to pray–

PRAYER is the secret ingredient to our friendships here on the blog. 

We pray for each other. 

When we pray for people, something miraculous happens inside our hearts. Love grows. Click to tweet. 

P.S. If I ever host a small group for my blog-friends, I’ll make tons of brownies! You can taste the love! I’m serious. Keep reading. The recipe is below. :)

Let’s talk about prayer. Have you discovered how prayer is necessary in your relationships

The brownie recipe is from my dear friend DiAnn Mills.

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 sq bitter chocolate *or use 1/3 cup dry cocoa and 1 Tbsp. more butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour (I use Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. It’s gluten-free.)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

Beat eggs very light; set aside. Melt butter and chocolate. Add sugar and beat well. Add to beaten eggs. Fold in flour, salt vanilla, and nuts. Place mixture in 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan. Bake slowly, 40 minutes at 325.

Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tbsp cocoa

Mix well. Add enough boiling water to mix (2 1/2 Tbsp). Pour over warm cake.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

A couple of weeks ago on the way home from the YMCA, I had a strange thought.

Stop by Starbucks. Get a gift card for a friend. Buy a cup of coffee.

Coffee? It’s 95 degrees. So hot outside I can’t breathe.

But my car turned into Starbucks.

Standing in line, I spotted two friends from my women’s small group. There was another lady with them. Someone I’d never met. She wore jeans. A cute sage-green top. Her hair was in a ponytail. They looked deep in conversation, so I smiled and waved. Didn’t plan to interrupt them.

I was in a hurry. Wearing  ugly workout clothes. No makeup. And they were busy.

But the soft Voice inside seemed to whisper, Go over and talk to them. 

I don’t want to.

Go say hello.

When I did, they invited me to join them. Colorful craft supplies lay on the table.

Uh-oh. 

I sat down on the edge of the chair. “Y’all know, I’m not craftsy.

My friends smiled. “We know. This is the lady we’ve been praying for in small group.”

I looked at her–with the eyes of my heart this time–and I knew who she was. 

Her child had been caught in sex trafficking. Operation Liberate is helping. It’s a Christian 501-3(c) non-profit organization.

At that moment, sex trafficking became real to me.

It’s happening right here.

Not in a third world country somewhere faraway. 

“I have an idea,” she said. “I want to make a lot bracelets to help get the word out.”

Get the word out.

Holy goose bumps traveled up my spine.

“You’ll never believe it,” I said. “Next week I’m going to the Christian Communicators Conference. I just found out I was randomly selected to give a five-minute devotional. I’d like to tell our group about your bracelets.”

“Really?” Her eyes filled to the brim. “Do you…do you think they’ll care?”

I couldn’t imagine her pain. “Of course. We all care when someone’s hurting.”

She spent the next four days making 40 bracelets.

I shared them with 36 ladies from all over the country. And they cared. Oh, how they cared. 

God’s gentle nudges are uniquely designed for each one of us. Click to tweet. 

Last night, a few of us from our small group made more bracelets. Some did the fancy, detailed work.

I used the paper-cutter. :)

So many times, when God’s Spirit prompts me to do something, I argue with Him. Or pretend I didn’t hear Him.

~~Buying a cup of coffee in the heat of the day seemed silly. 

~~I was wearing mismatched clothes and no makeup. I didn’t want to “interrupt” my friends. Pride got in the way. 

~~I didn’t want to do arts and crafts. Fear. 

Sometimes, interruptions are Holy Moments designed by God to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Click to tweet

Can you relate?

His Voice is so… very…soft.

Love,

Julie

A Rose Isn’t Always A Rose–Sometimes it’s a Promise

Our daughter Katie’s dealing with infertility. Some days, faith comes easier for her. Some days, she struggles.

April was a hard month–hormones, injections, ultrasounds, and no pregnancy.

One afternoon on my way to cheer her up, I glanced at my rose bushes beside the garage.

They’ve been a big, fat disappointment. Their leaves are dry and crispy. Their spindly limbs look like skinny arms covered in thorns. And there are only two blooms.

I was ready to give up on our roses. Year after year, I’ve watered them, trimmed them, babied them, and fed them Miracle Grow.

Here they are at the end of July.

This is as good as they get–more blooms than they had in April, but still, look at them.

Friends offered advice:

They’re diseased. Get rid of them.

You shouldn’t have planted them so close to the house.

Plant banana peels round them.

They’re climbers. They need a fence.

I was tired of fooling with them. I’d done all I could do. Still no miracle. 

A gentle thought came.

Take Katie the roses. 

Two roses from my ugly bushes? That’s not even a real gift. If I had a dozen, maybe.

I inspected the two blooms. One had opened, but the other was closed like a tight, angry fist. Sort of how I felt.

Why, God? A baby. She just wants a baby. 

Bring her the roses. 

But look at my bushes. 

They’re growing so tall, they’re going to clog the gutters. 

I got into my car saying NO. Absolutely not.

I was NOT taking her two buds because I didn’t have a promise to go with them.

I couldn’t promise she’d have a baby. 

But the Still Small Voice inside wouldn’t give up.

I got out of the car.

Sighed.

Cut the only two blooms I had from my wild, stubborn rose bushes.

Rummaged through the pantry for a vase.

But something happened on the way to Katie’s house. I saw their beauty, their soft petals unfurling in the sun.

Finally, I got honest with God.

Lord, will You take this piece of my broken heart and bless it? It’s all I have to give her. 

Katie opened the door and I stumbled through my explanation. “I brought you two roses from our yard.”

I wanted to say, “One’s for a mama and one’s for a baby.”

But I couldn’t promise that.

She took the vase from my hands, and I said the one thing I knew for sure–the only promise I could make.

“I don’t understand, but I know God loves you. He hasn’t forgotten you.” Click to tweet. 

Her eyes filled with tears.

She nodded and hugged me for a long time, His Grace filling all the empty space between us.

Sometimes the prettiest blooms come from the straggly limbs–from broken places when all you have to offer is His love.

Have you ever brought the gift of God’s love to someone? It’s powerful, isn’t it?

Are you in a season of disappointment? God loves you. He hasn’t forgotten you.

Love,

Julie

Mean Girl Memory

I was ten years old the day I acted like a Mean Girl. I’m ashamed to tell you what I did.

A group of us girls stood in our driveway laughing and talking. We were going to the movies. At the last minute, one more little girl showed up.

I didn’t know she’d been invited.

I wanted it to be just US older, mature girls, and she was only seven or eight. I still cringe at what I said.

We were all wearing shorts and T-shirts except for her. She wore a dress and Sunday shoes.

“Why are you so dressed up? We aren’t going to church. We’re just going to the movies.”

She ran home crying. We stopped by her house to pick her up, but she wouldn’t come to the door.

It felt so dark inside my heart.

I’d excluded her from the group.

Something happened last week and I remembered being a Mean Girl, and the shame in her eyes. While my husband was feeding his parakeets, one flew away. A white female.

For days she darted near the atrium where she used to live, but we couldn’t catch her. 

Sometimes, I’d see her in the treetops all by herself. An outsider looking in.

Nearly broke my heart…

Rick hung a bird-cage on the atrium, and fixed the tiny door so if she flew in, it would close. She never did.

And the worst part–at night, she clung on the screen of her old house calling out to her friends. Of course, they couldn’t help her. 

Hungry, thirsty, and lonely, if she survived the summer, she’d never make it through the winter outside the heated atrium.

One morning, Rick sprinkled bird seeds on the walkway near the atrium. She was no where in sight, but just in case…

A few minutes later, our cat Thelma crouched in an attack position, focused on the white parakeet who’d landed to eat.

Please, Lord, don’t let the bird die on the outside looking in. Don’t let Thelma…

Quickly and quietly, Rick shooed Thelma away. 

The parakeet stood still. 

He scooped her up, opened the door, and put her inside. Her friends welcomed her home and threw a grand celebration!

But the best part…

A week later, our long-lost white parakeet laid three white eggs.

Oh, the sweetness of belonging–of hearing, “Welcome. We’re so glad you’re here.” Click to tweet

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7 (ESV) Click to tweet 

Have you ever been on the outside looking in?  

Have you ever been a Mean Girl? Or am I the only one?

Love,

Julie