This Much I Know is True

Something about becoming a grandmother is changing me. God’s peeling back the layers of my heart, asking me to be honest. I mentioned it in my last post.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I spend my time and what matters most in life.

Am I loving people? Really loving them?

When I stepped away from blogging after Caleb was born, something unexpected happened.

God tenderized my heart in the area of relationships. 

I love connecting with women–through a blog post, at a conference, or in my friend’s cozy den at our ladies’ small group. I love spontaneous friendships that happen in the grocery store, and friendships that last a lifetime.

I strongly feel He’s leading me to spend time in one-on-one friendships–ministering in the moment–and loving my family. 

~I want to visit my mom weekly.

~Katie and her husband moved to the Georgia coast, almost four hours away. I want to get to know my grandson.

~My husband’s business of 41 years is going through some changes. He’s supported my writing dream for a long time. I want to be available to him.

I’m going to let the blog rest for now. This doesn’t make sense for a writer who’s supposed to be busy with social media, building her platform, and accepting speaking engagements.

But this much I know is true:

God’s teaching me to love people. It’s a behind the scenes way to live, but living this way brings me so much JOY.

I just wanted to let you how much you mean to me, and why I won’t be here. At least for a season. And believe me–if He whispers, Write about this, Julie, I’ll be all over it!

Over the past seven years, it felt like you and I were sitting at my kitchen table, talking over a cup of coffee, or porch-partying together.

I’m grateful for every comment, every prayer, and every friendship that bloomed here.

You gave me so much more than I could ever give you. 

Maybe this is what Surrender is all about, loving and letting go. 

Something else~~

What if the things that bring us the greatest joy also bring great joy to God?

And what if these things are quiet, hidden from most of the world?

Maybe life is a lot simpler than I ever thought possible.    

I’m sharing my favorite song with you. The first time I heard it, I forgot to breathe. 

I still do. 

I pray it blesses you. 

If you can’t see the video below, click here .

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 ESV

With all my heart,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Four-Letter Word for 2018 and How I Chose it

My word for 2017 was LOVE– a tiny word that packed a powerful punch. I wanted another short, meaningful word for 2018, but 2017 was nearly out the door, and I hadn’t chosen one.

On December 20, 2017, I wrote in my journal, “Lord, please lead me to the right word, or take away my desire to have one.”

Sometimes God speaks through circumstances and people around us. Over the next few days, I received gentle nudges, like sprinkles on sugar cookies~~

Memories resurfaced~

My sister gave me a unique Christmas present~

I began reading a book from my mother~

And my dear friend Denise died~~

I didn’t tie everything together until December 31st.

My word for 2018 probably started percolating in mid-December when I baked Christmas cookies with my granddaughter Rilynn.

Watching her draw squiggly lines with icing, I remembered being eight years old and how much I  loved my Easy-Bake Oven. Strange–to be all grown up, missing your Easy-Bake Oven. Then a lifetime of Christmases passed, and the joy of baking cookies got shelved.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Sometimes illness can lead to blessings.

After I was diagnosed, I taught myself how to cook again–even yummy gluten-free cookies.

For several Christmases, my daughters and I made them together~~

Such a simple thing, but I loved doing it.

Why does baking cooking make me so happy? 

“Cookies” can’t be my word for 2018.

You can’t grow closer to God from baking cookies.

One day in late December, I scrolled through the photos on my Instagram feed.

Lots of cookie pictures~

Why am I fascinated with baking cookies? What are You saying, Lord?

This Christmas, I made dozens of cookies and gave them away. Something I’d never done.

First to my family and close friends.

Then I gave a tin of white chocolate cranberry cookies to our pastor and his family.

I didn’t know if cookies counted as a real gift, but they do.

I got a huge surprise this Christmas. For the first time in my life, my sister gave me cooking supplies.

I felt eight years old again! 

And I began reading the book from my mother, Ann Voskamp’s, The Broken Way.

Warning: This is a life-changing book. It’s not the kind of book you can skim. I read it slowly, whispering the words, letting them soak into my soul.

Ann writes about being broken, and giving your heart away to others who are broken.

She mentions “choosing to be bread to all kinds of hungry.” 

Bread.

Bread is food.

So are cookies.

People are hungry for love. 

I read this sentence on page 89 over and over~~

“Why grow the list of what I want to have instead of the list of what I can give?”

What I can give…

That’s when my word for 2018 found me.

GIVE.

GIVE.

GIVE. 

What if I keep baking cookies and giving them away?

After Denise died, I made cookies for her friends and family. Actually, the cookies remade me.

“Lord, I’m pouring love into this batch of cookies. Will You pour Your love into Denise’s people today?”

I came home from the funeral with an empty tray and a full heart of love.

Then I prayed a new prayer. 

“Father, if You’ll show me people who need to be loved, I’ll give them cookies.”

When we give from our hearts, God fills us up with more love to share. click to tweet

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over…” Luke 6:38 KJV

Share your word, thoughts, and dreams for 2018 in the comments. 

Have you ever rediscovered a form of creativity that you loved as a child? Pretty awesome, isn’t it!

Love,

Julie