A Willing Heart

Confession.

For years, I hid in my loft office upstairs and wrote the days away, trying to make my life count. Trying to be somebody.

But God’s been messing with my heart lately. Big time.

On Saturday, November 4th, I went with some friends to downtown Atlanta. We took goodie bags to the homeless.

This pastor happened by.

He said he’d just walked his 6,000 steps for the day and ended up at same park where we were.

“There’s a reason God brought me here,” he said. “Now I know why.” He smiled. “To pray for you ladies.”

He didn’t say a quick prayer and hurry on his busy way.

He spent some time with us. He thanked us for what we were doing, and then he began to pray–the kind of prayer that stirs your soul. He asked God to protect us and to shine His Light through us. 

There was something special about him.

Something unforgettable. 

The man depended on God for every step he took. Every word he spoke. 

We said goodbye and headed to our next stop.

I want to live that way, I thought. Like that man. Totally free to be myself. Free to share God’s love anywhere and everywhere.

Two days ago, I met Missy for lunch.

She attended a women’s retreat in October where my mother and I spoke.

Missy and I chatted and laughed while we ate. Then we got gut-level honest.

“Missy,” I said. “I’ve been speaking to ladies’ groups for years. Usually it takes me a few minutes to feel comfortable in front of a crowd. But something happened when I spoke to your group. I’m not sure what it was, but I had so much fun. No fear whatsoever. Wonder what made the difference?”

She leaned forward and looked right in my eyes. “You were real with us, Julie. Every woman in the room could relate to you.”

Holy goosebumps covered me.

That’s how I make a difference in the world?

I take off my skin and be myself?

It sounded too good to be true.

Then I remembered the pastor. His compassion. His easy manner. The way God drew near when he prayed for us.

I want to live that way, every day.

And for a few precious minutes at the women’s retreat, I did.

When you surrender everything to God–even for a few minutes, He never wastes a willing heart. (click to tweet)

Can you relate? Have you had moments when you completely surrendered your heart to God? What happened? Please share with the group! It’s an exciting way to live, isn’t it?!

P.S. I’ll be speaking Thursday and Friday nights, November 16th and 17th. Say a prayer. 🙂

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Fear…Hello Fun!

I’ve tried all sorts of tricks to overcome my fear of public speaking. I sit at the decorated banquet table with clammy hands, a dry mouth, and try to think of something cute to say. I take deep breaths to slow my racing heart. Which never works. I shake so much I can’t eat my plate of lady food.  I pretend I’m not the speaker until I have to walk on stage.

But y’all….

Something happened this weekend. I led a ladies retreat about my one word for the year. Surrender.

I talked to God on the way to South Carolina. “Will You take the fear this time? Pleeeeeeeease? If I didn’t have to be afraid I could have fun.”

Surrender.

“I am. I’m going.”

Surrender your pride. Care more about the ladies than what they think of you.

The gentle thought wrapped around my heart.

When I drove up to the gorgeous green house on the lake, I didn’t want to leave the safe bubble of my car.

Surrender.

I grabbed my suitcase and sweet Shari welcomed me. She lives here, where the retreat would take place. The back porch reminded me of the love I felt at my grandmother’s house.

Here’s my bedroom–a comfy twin bed covered in a quilt and pillows. Someone had printed my name on a little card to welcome me. 🙂

 

 

After dinner, we gathered in the cozy den. Time for the first session.

 

 

I glanced at the smiling faces and something amazing happened.

Such love for each lady welled up, there was no room for fear.

I forgot my proud self.

No trembling hands. No dry throat. Absolutely no FEAR! Zero!

“Y’all,” I said. “For the first time in ten years of speaking, I’m not afraid.”

Applause! Laughter!

Here’s a one minute video of the end of the retreat.

The path to Surrender isn’t fun, but when I finally let go … and keep letting go, wow.

What an exhilarating way to live.

And love!

“Perfect love casts out all fear.” 1 John 4:18

Love,

Julie