God and Me … and My Husband’s Screwdrivers

Friday, I’d worked myself into a jam–literally. Early that morning, I gathered my courage and decided to replace my veneer office desk with an old oak table. I woke up thinking, today’s the day. With God’s help, I can re-do my office without asking Mr. Fix-It (my husband) to help me. But the desk had lots of screws, and I’m not mechanically inclined.

The week before, I couldn’t unscrew the kitchen soap dispenser to refill it. Mr. Fix-It had to do it.

“Does everything unscrew in the same direction?”

“Yep. Righty-tight-y, lefty-loose-y. Unless you’re working on the driver’s side wheels of an old MOPAR.

So Friday morning, I scrounged up three screwdrivers, knelt beside my desk, and whispered, “Righty-tight-y, lefty-loose-y.”

But none of the screwdrivers fit. Mr. Fix-It has plenty of power tools, but I don’t know how to use them.

Maybe I can bounce the desk down 13 steps.

But it got wedged in the hallway.

Great. Now look what I’ve done.

Pray.

About a stuck desk?

God, You made the whole world. Will You help me out of this mess?

Logical thoughts came.

Move it an inch to the right. Flip it on its side. Try the t-shaped screwdriver again.

Miraculously, a few screws came loose.

I slid the desk in the spare bedroom and tried to drag the oak table toward my office. Same thing happened.

I’m going to be stuck here all day. Or fall down the stairs.

Pray.

Lord, I need You again. Help me.

More ideas came.

For someone who’s never used a screwdriver (well, maybe once or twice) this is quite a feat! 🙂

Then I celebrated with a tall glass of sweet tea and got organized.

Ta-day!

I have this feeling God’s leading me into more adventures with Him. My word for 2013 is FOLLOW.

Is He calling you into something new?

The first step always seems impossible.

Take it anyway.

Say, “Help me, God.”

Then be still and listen.

Love,

Julie

Living (and Flying!) Fearlessly

For those of you who’ve been trampled by fear, this post is for you. Since I was a little girl, my go-to emotion has been fear. I’ve been afraid of zillions of things. Flying. Public speaking. Failing. Succeeding. Not measuring up. Fear is so exhausting, and it snatches up all the good stuff in life.

For years, flying wore me out. I was convinced it was my job to keep the plane in the air. I’m serious. I sat without moving (didn’t dare want to tip the plane) and kept my muscles rigid. If I relaxed–even for a second–the plane would plummet to the ground. I stared at one spot on my lap, never daring to glance out the window. Too scary. Besides, I had to concentrate. My job was to keep the plane in the air.

Kind of like how I approached life. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

I didn’t want to let go of my illusion of control.

I’m cringing while I’m typing this… I thought I could do a better job flying the plane than the pilot and God.

But during my SURRENDER process, I began laying down my fears.

There’s really no other way to live–really live, than to let go.

Guess what? I’m not afraid to fly anymore! Zero fear.

Flying home from the GUIDEPOSTS  workshop last weekend, as we approached Atlanta, I had to take a celebration picture. Leaning over my sleeping husband I whispered, “Thank You, Lord. You’re amazing. I’m free. I’m not afraid.”

If anyone is caught in fear, believe me. I understand. Let me know. I’ll pray.

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. Isaiah 41:10. NAS

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

 

 

Ignoring the Mean Monster

Everyone won’t understand this, but for those few who do–this one’s for you. Last Sunday night, I was having the best time reading in my favorite chair in the den, covered with my favorite blanket. Comfy and content. And out of nowhere, these bossy thoughts came.

Get up!

You shouldn’t be wasting time! Your blog’s not ready. You only have a blip of an idea, and who writes about lipstick anyway? That’s stupid. Nobody’s going to understand. If you don’t stop dilly dallying, you’ll never get it done. It’s Sunday night and you haven’t written one single word.

Panic lurched across my heart. I raced to the stairs leading to my office.

Before I put my foot on the first step, I stopped.

Wait a minute. This is how the old Julie acts.

Wearing myself out trying to make things happen. Force life into cooperating.

Doubting God.

Another thought came–a gentle whisper–something my Father might say.

Haven’t I been faithful so far?

Yes, but I only have a seed of an idea. I haven’t even started…

Do you trust Me?

A tiny yes rose up.

I didn’t climb those thirteen steps to my office that night. Instead, I turned around and walked back to my chair, covered up with my blanket, and finished reading my book.

Monday morning, I knelt at my desk. “Lord, You’re going to help me again, aren’t You?”

I sat in my familiar desk chair, put my hands on the familiar keys, and began typing as fast as I could.

The mean voice had vanished. 🙂

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you…” Isaiah 41:10 NAS

Can you relate?

Love,

Julie

 

A Life Lesson in Lipstick…Seriously

I have this theory that lipstick tells a lot about a woman. In this month’s Ladies’ Home Journal, Diane Keaton says, “Just have fun. Smile. And keep putting on lipstick.” I usually stick with your basic Vaseline or all-purpose Chap Stick. Safe. Predictable. Barely there. Even on my wedding day, I wore a thin coat of Vaseline.

One morning a few weeks ago, I called my friend Lynne Gentry. “You up?”

“Up, dressed, and have on my red lipstick,” she said.

“I’ve never seen you without it.”

She laughed. “And you never will.”

An itty-bitty comment but it sailed into my heart.

You’ll never believe what my redheaded mother did. She broke from her burnt orange OPI Cheyenne Pepper and bought FUCHSIA-COLORED LIPSTICK. I kid you not.

Mother said during the 50’s she and her friends went to Rich’s in Atlanta just to buy Milkmaid Pixie Pink lipstick.

“The smell of it made your mouth water,” she said. “Not for food but to make sweet memories.”

That did it.

I headed to Ulta and walked right up to the makeup counter and asked for help. “I want a lipstick with shine, sparkle… you know, personality.”

The saleslady chose one for me. “This looks like you.”

“Perfect. I’ll take it!”

And then I read the name of the color. You’ll never believe it.

Risk Taker.

Risk Taker. Opposite of the old me.

Ah, now I understand. This is about my one word for the year. 

Surrender. 

Let go.

Live boldly.

Fearlessly.

Trust God.

What color lipstick do you wear? Does it say anything about your personality? Is my theory right?

Love,

Julie