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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life-Changing Truth from Mrs. Betty’s Tea Parties

I’ve always been drawn to quiet, gentle people–the ones content to serve others without recognition.

In May, I spoke to the ladies of Galilee Christian Church in Jefferson, GA  at their annual tea party and wrote about it here. 

But there’s more to the story. 

Once a month, a small group of ladies from Galilee Christian invite women who are new to their church to a tea party. In May, I received an invitation.

The minute I arrived, I felt loved. They welcomed me. Served me. Treated me like I belonged. 

Their kindness inspired me. My sister and I are having a little tea party for Mother on her 80th birthday in July. 🙂

And the ladies invited my mother and me to their June tea party–

So yesterday we headed up Janice’s walkway.

“You’re gonna love it,” I said.

“I already do. Look at her gorgeous hydrangeas. Reminds me of childhood summers.”

“Just wait.”

“How sweet. Two chairs under the tree,” she said.

“One would’ve looked sorta lonely, wouldn’t it?”

Everyone welcomed us. The tables had been set with TLC.

Our table below…

When we sat down, our plates had been prepared, along with handmade place cards.

Mother couldn’t decide what to taste first.

The centerpiece came from flowers in Janice’s yard.

So much laughter…

They made a gluten-free plate just for me…

And my very own gluten-free chocolate chip scone! 🙂

The food was amazing, but the best part came after we ate.

We read Scripture verses inside our place cards.

Simple.

Powerful.

Then Betty Williams (90) told us how she began having tea parties twenty years ago. She wanted ladies to feel loved and accepted.

When she joined Galilee Christian Church eight years ago, she began a Tea Party Ministry.

Mrs. Betty’s below, on the left. Janice is on the right.

Right before we left, one of my new friends gave me a precious gift–tiny spoons, knives, napkins, and a teacup from her own collection–

To help me with Mother’s birthday tea party.

I came home with a car full of goodies and life-changing Truth.

Nothing–absolutely nothing–outshines kindness when it comes from the heart. Click to tweet

Mother Teresa was right. “Do small things with great love.” Click to tweet

…serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13 NIV Click to tweet

Do you see other Truths from the tea party? 

Does this give you any ideas for new ways to love others? 

Love,

Julie

 

Forget the Dog Hair and Pray!

Sunday night, I was scheduled to speak to a group of ladies at Connection Pointe Church of God in Austell, GA. It wasn’t time to go yet. I got fidgety. Full of nervous energy.

The afternoon sun fell across the hardwood floor highlighting a pile of dog hair.

I really should vacuum. This looks terrible. 

God spoke to me ever … so … gently.

Forget the dog hair and pray. 

“Yes, of course. You’re right.”

I’d gotten distracted.

“I can’t do this without You. Help me. You’re My Strength…” I prayed all the out way the door.

In the car, I couldn’t find the address on my GPS. I get lost in restaurants.

Moment of panic.

What am I gonna do? What if I can’t get there? What if…

My son was at home. He found the address on his portable GPS. Whew…

“Okay, stay close, Lord. I need You.”

I arrived two hours early, so I drove around town. Got a cup of coffee.

Glancing at my props, I had a moment of doubt.

Look at this mess. You’re not a real speaker. 

I’m with you. Don’t be afraid.

Thank You. You’re right. Okay, what next? Too early to go inside.

Pray.

Yes, yes. Pray. Always. Without ceasing.

I parked across the street at the CVS. Left the car running. Listened to David Crowder sing about, “Hope for the hopeless.”

If you can’t see the video, click here

The song melted me. Drew me in close–again. I raised my hands in the car. Opened my fingers wide.

Thank You. You’re my Helper. Shine Your hope through me.

I’m with you. Always.

The women’s ministry leader invited me to speak because they were having a front porch theme. Someone found my blog about porch parties.

This is what I saw when I walked in. Totally blew me away–

Talk about God and His faithfulness–

My husband and I have a  porch party  every morning–

The church even had crickets chirping in the background. 

Happy, grateful tears. Thank You. This feels like home sweet home!  

Before we got started, I heard beautiful music coming from behind the porch–a song from my childhood.

Listen carefully. It’s really soft.

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

Great is Your faithfulness, Lord.

Mabel sat beside me. She’s in charge of the prayer ministry. Can’t you see His strength all over her?!

These ladies did a hilarious skit.

Then it was my turn.

My heart was pound…pound…pounding.

I’m with You. 

When I stood on that front porch and looked at all the smiling faces, something amazing happened. 

God’s fierce love rose up inside of me and crushed all my fear.  Click to tweet. 

Perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18. NASB Click to tweet

P.S. The next time He asks you to do something scary, don’t stay home vacuuming dog hair!

There’s LIFE on the other side of fear. Click to tweet. 

What scares you?

Have you ever experienced God’s faithfulness on the other side of fear? Please share!

Love,

Julie