Nudges from God and My Word for 2019

Sometimes I feel God talking to me when I’m reading. Sometimes it happens when I’m having a conversation with a close friend. Sometimes I sense His Presence when I’m doing normal, everyday things.

Like last week.

December 26th.

I hadn’t found my word for 2019.

I decided to go wordless and began taking down Christmas decorations. I’d considered Praise, Home, and Abide–all great words–but none of them curled up in my heart and settled down.

After I took the wreath off the front door, I stood on the porch, studying the blank door. I didn’t like the way it looked–it reminded me of how I felt–but it was too soon for my spring wreath. Probably too soon for my Valentine’s wreath, but I hung it anyway.

Sounds odd, but the red heart seemed to smile at me.


Okay, maybe this works~~

Now, if I can just find my word. 

This past November my mother gave me a stack of old paperbacks. I almost tossed them. They were from the 1970’s!

A couple of weeks later, I began reading the one on top, The Highroad to Surrender, by Frances J. Roberts.

Frances drew me in on the first page.

On December 27th, I read a devotional from his book called, “A Heart Fixed on Me.”

I highlighted these sentences:

From page 104~~

“As I have told you so often, KEEP YOUR HEART FIXED ON ME.” Frances’s caps, not mine. 🙂

Lord, are You talking to me?

That afternoon, I added more hearts around the house.


For some reason, decorating with hearts felt right.

They satisfied me~~

Surprised me with joy.

Decorating for Valentine’s Day in December, I prayed,

“Lord, please reveal my word for 2019–if You want to give me one.” 

On December 28th, I highlighted another quote by Frances J. Roberts:

“Only prayer furnishes the soul with nourishment, but prayer must be born of singleness of heart.” (page 106)

The next paragraph:

“There is no peace in the heart of the transgressor and no joy in his spirit.” (page 107)

A few sentences down:

“Search your heart in the light of My word. Let the Holy Spirit give insight.” from John 16:13-15 (page 107)

Lord, I’m listening. You want my whole heart. Every day. All of me. My thoughts. My mind. My word for 2019 is HEART. Help me. I can’t do this without You.

When it seems God has nothing to say, listen to His gentle nudges inside your heart. click to tweet 

~~Two questions for you, my blog friends~~

  1. If you’ve chosen a word, a verse, or a theme–even if you just want to–please share!
  2. Does God speak to your heart in unique ways like while you’re doing everyday things? Tell us!

P.S. If you’d like to read about my words for the past few years, click the links below.

2018 Give 

2017 Love

2016 Dance

2015 Simple

2014 Enough

2013 Follow

2012 Surrender

The book I’m quoting, On the Highroad of Surrender, by Frances J. Roberts, was published by King’s Farspan, Inc, copyright 1973.

Written from my heart,

Julie

 

 

My Four-Letter Word for 2017

When the idea for my word first came to me in November, I shoved it aside. I didn’t think it would be much of a challenge. Nothing like my words from the past:

2016 DANCE 

2015 SIMPLE  

2014 ENOUGH

2013 FOLLOW 

2012 SURRENDER  

I thought I’d aced this particular word a long time ago. But it kept popping up. Everywhere. It’s behind my laptop on an ideas board I made back in August.

It’s on the cover of this Angels on Earth magazine on my desk.

I started reading a book on my Kindle by Sheila Walsh, The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God. (Great book!)

The word is in the verse at the very beginning of the book, the command from God:

LOVE each other. John 15:17

I do love people. I’m not mean. 

I got a little nervous when I read the title of my BFF’s blog post, Love is Costly. Robin opens with this picture below and says,

“Love was costly for Jesus. Love was costly for God. Of course, love is costly for us too.”

(photo credit All Things Heart and Home.)

I felt an uncomfortable sensation churning inside. An uneasiness. 

God had a grip on my heart. I didn’t want to give in.

This was getting deep, and I wasn’t sure what LOVE might cost.

Taking the Christmas decorations down, I noticed the burlap ribbon on the tree in the kitchen. Leftover from Valentine’s Day. Covered with red hearts.

I’m not craftsy, but I wondered if I could use the ribbon on the front porch–where my Christmas decorations were.

For Valentine’s Day.

Not for LOVE. 

I wrapped it around a grapevine wreath and tied a bow at the bottom.

I brought my old pitcher outside–the one with hearts on it–still arguing with God about the word.

Okay. This looks nice, but it doesn’t mean I have to pick LOVE for my word.

I get it. 

We’re supposed to love people. 

And I do.

Then the word showed up at the bottom of my prayer journal.

Boom.

An arrow.

Straight to my heart.

The verse nailed me.

Love one another as I have loved you. 

AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.

I don’t do this very often, Lord. I don’t love people unconditionally. Sometimes it’s for show. Or for personal gain. Or because it’s expected.

But to love expecting nothing in return…

This scares me.

Because I don’t know how. 

And I can’t do it without You. 

With trembling fingers, I handed God my heart and said, “Will You teach me how to love others?” Click to tweet

I have no idea what’s next, and yes–I’m still a little bit afraid of my word.

Have you chosen a word for 2017? A theme? A goal? Are you a tiny bit scared too?

Love,

Julie (there’s my word again!)

 

 

 

 

 

My 2016 Word–The Flip Side of Surrender

A couple of weeks ago, one word from a Scripture verse danced off the page, begging for my attention. Can you guess what it was?

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…” 2 Samuel 6:14 (KJV)

As a child, I loved to dance.

I started taking ballet lessons when I was three. I came alive in the ballet studio–a wide open room with shiny wooden floors and mirrored walls.

But eight years later when I got my first pair of toe shoes, a fearful thought took root.

You’re never going to learn how to dance in these pointy shoes. 

So I quit dancing.

My mother spray-painted my toe shoes red. They hung in my bedroom for years.

Untouched but never forgotten.  

Yesterday while I thought about 2016 word possibilities, my husband dragged the Christmas tree outside and moved my pie safe back into place.

After days of rain the sun came out, and my wedding dishes sparkled. So pretty. Closing the doors to protect my china, I noticed my oldest child’s handprint.

She’s 34 now.

My hands used to be this small–

When I was a tiny ballerina–

Who stopped dancing because of fear.

Can I actually choose a fun word for 2016? Like  Dance

I always pick stoic words like Enough, Simple, Follow, and Surrender

What if the flip side of Surrender is Dance? 

Maybe when we let go of control, we’re free to dance. 

I bet when David danced before the Lord he didn’t say, “Don’t watch me. I’m a terrible dancer.” He probably danced with his heart and soul–with everything inside him. 

That’s when my word came to me with absolute assurance. 

My 2016 word for the year is DANCE.  

I danced to the pie safe, flung open the doors, and grabbed some dishes. 

Breaking all sorts of decorating rules, I mixed wedding china with my grandmother’s depression glass and set up a coffee station.

I filled an antique container with Sour Patch Kids. I love Sour Patch Kids! 🙂

I even lit a pink candle in the middle of the day.

In 2016, I’m going to:

* Use my wedding china.

* Light more candles.

* Bathe with decorative soap.

* Love people with my whole heart. 

* Most of all, I’m going to dance–not just with my feet, but with everything I do. 

When we surrender and live fearlessly, others are set free! Click to Tweet

Do you have a 2016 word? Do tell! 

Are you gonna dance next year?

For the full experience, watch this video below. If you can’t see it, click here.  She’s even redheaded!

** Let’s remember to pray for those in Texas and the Midwest who’ve been affected by the storms. My heart is with them right now.

P.S. Ballet pics from Pixaby. 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving Miracle–Inside My Heart and Fridge!

Even though I’m a recovering perfectionist, this past Sunday, everything had to go according to schedule. I’m talking, split-second timing.

Our daughter Katie invited us for Thanksgiving. She married in February. Sunday would be a time of celebration! New marriage. New house. New family.

Early in the week, I posted my list on the fridge.

I even bought a thermal container for my strawberry Jell-o salad–

The yummy kind with a crust made of pretzels.

Sunday Morning Agenda:

1. Go to early church.

2. Son Thomas (24) puts dressing in oven while we’re gone.

3. Hurry home.

4. Pack food.

5. Leave!

Before heading to church, I took the dressing out of the fridge and stuck a note on it for Thomas.

350 x 30 minutes!

When we got home at 11:15, I didn’t smell that wonderful scent of dressing baking in the oven.

A bit of the Old Panic Button Julie rose up.

That terrible uh-oh feeling. 

Wool scarf-tightness around my throat. 

But Thomas’s standing in the kitchen. The oven’s set for 350.

“You put the dressing in at 10:30, right?”

He nodded.

I pulled this out of the oven.

“Thomas, what is it…lasagna? No! It’s the Jell-o salad!”

“It was sitting on the counter with a note on it.”

“You’re right! My fault. Ahhhhh!”

I crammed the Jell-o mess back in the fridge. Kicked the oven up to 400. Threw in the dressing. Made a spinach salad.

“Quick! Pack the cooler!”

The dressing didn’t have time to finish cooking. Mush-mush on one side.

“Hurry! We gotta go!”  

We arrived 25 minutes late. Green bean juice had sloshed all over my new carrier. I opened the cooler.

“Where’s the ice?”

“Ice?” my husband said. “I thought you needed the cooler for storage.” 

“Who takes a cooler for storage?”

Right then, something wild and free broke loose inside of me and I started laughing.

About everything. 

Hysterical laughter! 🙂

Turns out, the pumpkin pie and spinach salad didn’t need ice. We ate around the gooey parts in the dressing.

Back at home that night, I peeked at the Jell-o salad.

Something miraculous happened while we were gone. You’ll never believe it! 

The Jell-o did its thing again. The pretzels bloomed into delicious salty-tasting gummy worms. 🙂  

Life becomes a celebration when you learn to laugh at yourself.  

God helps us fix our mess-ups. 

Sunday reminded me of Surrender, Simple, and Enough.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Have you ever tried to make a day go according to schedule and everything fell apart? Did you learn anything? 🙂

P.S. I’ll be glad to share my baked Jell-o dessert recipe. 🙂

Love,

Julie

Our Mysterious Destination (and My 2015 Word)

I’d been considering a certain word for 2015. I didn’t have much in common with it, but I loved it. It’s tiny and tender compared to my last three heavyweights–surrender follow, and enough.

Something unexpected happened Christmas night, and I knew the word was mine.

Six p.m.

“Go get your coat,” my husband said.

“Why? Is everything okay? Where’re we going? Do I need my purse? Let me get my phone.”

“Nope. Just your coat.”

(We re-enacted  for pictures. On Christmas night there were no cars.)

Even though I felt uneasy leaving everything behind, I followed his simple instructions and grabbed my coat. While he drove to our mysterious destination, I asked a million more questions.

He just smiled.

Patted my knee.

Approximately eight minutes later, we parked at the town square.

“Ohhhhh, we’re walking around the square, right?”

He winked.

It’d been a couple of years since we’d walked around the square together. And never on Christmas night. “Wow. Everything’s all lit up.” I hurried toward the first shop to peek in the window.

“Slow down. We’re not exercising.”

Oh.

I felt a tug at my heart.

Something’s happening. Pay attention.

“Look at the Christmas tree lights!” I said. “They’re the big old-fashioned kind, like when we were little.”

“Oh, look at Buckles Hardware all decorated.”

“We might even see Barney Fife!

“Yep,” he said.

photo credit Bisse’s Photostream Flickr link

How had I missed the beauty of small town simplicity?

The beauty of simple things? 

We stopped at a window box full of pansies.

Spotting one simple candle glowing in the window, I finally said yes to my word. One-hundred percent yes.

“Guess what my word is for 2015? It’s the exact opposite of me.”

“Risk-taker?”

“No. It’s Simple. My new word is Simple. Like, ‘K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple, Sweetheart.’‘”

He looked at me and I knew exactly what he was thinking.

But you’re not simple. You’re complicated. You never stop thinking. Or planning.

“With God’s help, I’m going to think simple thoughts. I am–I’m going to simplify and focus on what matters most.”

Maybe simple faith is all we really need.

Do you have a word for 2015? Please share it with our group!

**Reminder** Facebook is changing in January. Be sure to sign up for my blog through my website.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Morning Gratitude

Saturday morning my husband was out of town, so I porch partied alone. I woke up early, around 4 a.m., made coffee, and took my flashlight and Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling outside.

The air felt different that morning. Soft and cool on my face. Almost lavender.

Like Easter morning.

Maybe the air felt this way when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross.

I paused.

Almost thought about the cross, but I wasn’t ready.

Not yet.

Instead I pondered gentle things.

Pastel images.

The dogwoods had just bloomed.

I could barely see the branches in the darkness, but I remembered their splendor.

The Easter tree my mother-in-law made.

She gave it to us when the children were little.

I let my mind dwell on bright green Easter grass. Filling baskets. Egg hunts.

I thought about our oldest child’s first Easter.

While I sat rocking and thinking, I knew I’d return to the cross.

I remembered ten years ago, when I saw The Passion of the Christ.

And that one scene.

How it undid me.

It still does.

When He suffered the beating, the scourging, the whips on His back, when His hands and feet were nailed to the cross…

My heart pounded with the heaviness of the Truth.

A weight fell on me,

So intense I couldn’t breathe.

For the first time I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt

What He did for me was Enough.

Now I wonder

Could it have been…

That moment was the first time I worshipped my Jesus of the Cross?

I couldn’t help but say it over and over again.

Thank You.

Thank You.

Thank You.

There was nothing more You could have done.

You did it all. 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help! My Phone’s Been Stolen…And My Peace Too!

The other day, I did something stupid. I was grocery shopping. I checked my list which I keep on my phone. Putting my phone back in my purse, I thought, zip your purse.

But I didn’t.

I left my purse in the buggy (that’s Southern for grocery cart) while I looked for chocolate chips.

Seconds later, I reached for my phone.

It wasn’t there. Was it stolen? Did I lose it?

Nooooooooooooo! I need my phone! I love my phone!

My rational self left. Crazy took over.

I squatted on the floor, dumped everything out of my purse, and searched through my groceries like a madwoman.

Calm down. Stop being such a panic button.

I ran to customer service.

“No, ma’am. No one’s turned in a phone.”

Of course not. It was stolen.

I left my groceries, hurried to our service provider, and called the police–the whole time, my word for 2014 softly tapped my heart.

ENOUGH. 

Almost every morning this year, I’d written “God, You’re more than enough for me” in my prayer journal.

What about when someone steals your phone? Or when anything and everything goes wrong?

Is God enough then?

Every few minutes I stopped fretting long enough to pray.

Lord, whether or not I find my phone, You’re more than enough for me.

Each time I prayed my peace returned.

Five hours later after driving to another city for a replacement phone, I received a call.

My phone was turned in at customer service twenty minutes after being stolen. Some kind soul found it in the grocery store parking lot. When I erased my data, the thief probably tossed my phone.

I’d wasted a lot of time hurrying and worrying. But maybe it wasn’t a total waste.

Maybe it was worth the drama to grasp this truth.

No matter what happens, no one can steal our peace.

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You…” Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

Can you relate? If you chose a word this year, how’s it going?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

My Word for 2014…Enough is Enough

Deciding on my one word for the year always goes this way. A word comes to me in November. I run from it. Same thing happened in 2013. Here’s a snippet from my journal about my 2014 word:

“Lord, what kind of word is Enough? Enough doesn’t sound very spiritual, and I have no idea how to apply it. E.N.O.U.G.H. Enough what?”

Enough.

It was December 27 and I was getting fidgety–way past time to have picked my word. I sat in my prayer chair and read from Sarah Young’s JESUS CALLING hoping for clarity.

 

Page 378:

“Take time to be still in My Presence so that I can strengthen you.”

Further down the page…

How much better is it to walk close to Me, depending on My strength and trusting Me in every situation.”

Oswald Chambers, MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, December 27:

“The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God.”

“You know, God, I’ve done this plenty of times. Lived life my way, by fear rather than faith.”

I got down on my knees. “Sounds like You’re telling me You’re Enough. Are You sure you can handle me? Sometimes I get….complicated.”

Then I hushed long enough to listen. Here’s what I believe He said:

I am Christ in You, the Hope of Glory.

I am the Prince of Peace.

I AM the Great I AM.

Nothing slips by Me.

I AM the First and the Last. The Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End.

You can rest in Me.

You’ll never need more than I can provide.

I AM ENOUGH.

Happy tears came.

Enough. What a wonderful , beautiful, perfect word.

Deep and full and wide.

Such a strong word.

Eeee–nough.

No matter what 2014 brings, God, You’re enough. You’re more than Enough.

What’s your word for 2014? Do tell!

Love,

Julie