Saturday, December 26, 2009

God is stronger...

Wow, I can't believe I haven't written since September.

Busyness has consumed me this past semester.
Busyness has consumed me thus far this Christmas break.
I'm even feeling a little guilty writing this post right now because I hear my mom vacuuming and I feel I should be cleaning my room or doing something that appears "productive," even though to me, right now, THIS is productive.

So, here are some thoughts I have right now...

First of all,
I am sick of Christmas parties. I feel like everyone to some extent puts on a mask, we stuff ourselves full of food, and after multiple days in a row of socializing and eating, all I want to do is hide in my room or jump on an elliptical, not go to yet another party. I'd much rather spend quality time with a friend, cousin, or grandparent shopping, taking a walk, or having a cup of coffee--one on one in a setting where we can open up and not getting fat and feeling gross after enormous amounts of food. But that's just me. And I know Christmas parties are inevitably going to happen for the rest of my life. And I can deal. Just in small amounts, please.

Second of all,
I leave for Ethiopia in 9 days....and I am nervous, anxious, feeling inadequate, unprepared, and honestly, not excited right now. And I know spiritual warfare is playing into those feelings...I know the devil has a hold because I have not been intentionally praying against those feelings and in the Word. And busyness (often in the form of Christmas parties!!!) has prevented me from really taking time for serious devotion, thought, prayer, reading, and journaling. I have voiced these feelings to a couple friends, and was surprised and so encouraged to hear both of them say something to the extent of, "Julie, God has been preparing you all your life...for every work He will have you do" I am grateful for friends that speak truth into my life.

I'm realizing ramifications of spiritual warfare in a broader context, both in the world and in members of my family. Things that I used to think of as separated from the "spiritual realm," I am now realizing are connected...everything is. If God is sovereign over the world, at work in it, and has made us in His image, then surely he knows, understands, and is deeply involved with every human condition we find ourselves in....laziness, busyness, materialism, inadequacy, lack of confidence, feelings of insignificance, apathy, our responsibility to discipline and correct, and so many more. All of those things I have just mentioned I have seen firsthand this Christmas break from people around me and some in myself, so I wanted to bring those at the forefront. There are undoubtedly spiritual forces within all of these "conditions," for lack of a better word...and we are called to fight against them. They don't go away if we are not aware of them and actively praying against their presence in our lives.

Ephesians 6:12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."


Be in prayer for my team now, and as we travel and are in Ethiopia....the power of prayer is real and true and will be a weapon against the spiritual forces of evil that are going to try to penetrate our minds and hearts.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

i cannot not write

for awhile now i've been itching to write but just...can't.
i've been feeling devoid of emotion for a really long time. i've been stale, complacent, and bitter. i've felt devoid of direction, purpose, and meaning. separated from God, from my heart, from who I am. i've been wrestling with both change and lack of change. i wondered why i felt so much like i was just....floating....especially when i was back on home away from home. this place that has transformed me. this place where i normally feel so much more, and feel a greater connection to my spirit...
i began praying for God to shake things up in my life, not having any idea what that would look like. i prayed, while in the back of my mind thinking of practical ways God could "shake things up," allowing me to feel again. i was at such a state of complacency, i was almost hoping and preparing myself for anything...anything at all...even if it was negative. i just wanted to be broken and i didn't know how to be.


then spiritual renewal week came upon Taylor's campus....

and God shook things up.

a greater peace and love and joy and freedom and reverence for God filled many people on this campus, including me. once confession began to happen, walls were broken down, masks were taken off, and there was vulnerability like i have never seen vulnerability. and it was beautiful.

for the first time in a long while, i was able to feel this connection to my soul, to the Holy Spirit within me, that was missing for so long. it's something that is truly unexplainable and sounds foolish to the world, i know, but it was real. i began to see everything more clearly. i was convicted in so many areas of my life and God pushed me not only to a public confession, but stirred in my heart desires i didn't realize i had. He simultaneously convicted me of relationships i need to repair and/or build up, and things i needed to quit in order to devote more time to things that truly mattered. and let me tell you, a lot of what God was speaking to me wasn't comfortable or something i necessarily wanted to follow through with. but He often takes us out of our comfort zone, and His call is for us to be radical. We are to live fearlessly, foolishly for Him, and with so much love for our brothers and sisters--even those that have wronged us or that we don't like or that are just hard to connect to--that it seems ridiculous to us.

He exposed me and broke me down so that i'd begin to change how i live, how i viewed His power, His grace, His might, His mercy, His forgiveness, His love, His undeniable sovereignty over everything. He humbled me as i realized how LITTLE faith i had that He would do anything at all, and yet He answered my prayers in a way that i would not have been able to fathom. in a way that is not even close to being simple, or practical, or reasonable. and definitely not negative.

Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

bahh how cool

i can't sleep. so i picked up my Bible. and turned to Psalms. and started reading chapter 33.
do you know what it says in verse 15??????

"He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do."

ok, for some reason this really caught my attention. it's one of those things that you've heard and you know but then it jumps out at you when you actually read the words on the page and you're like whoaaaaaa. the Creator of the universe made my heart and knows my heart and understands why i think the way i think and i do the things i do and i say the things i say. because he MADE ME THAT WAY. and he understands my sin and how sometimes it overcomes me and sometimes i am entangled by it and sometimes i feel suffocated by it. he UNDERSTANDS. it puts God at this level of not just high up in the air above us all holy and mighty and majestic and blameless and perfect and sovereign, but also WITH US. his spirit is IN US. his son walked AMONG US.

He knows us.

When no one else on the planet can really truly understand what's going on in our hearts and minds, HE DOES.

so cool.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I am 20 years old today.
So long teenage years; I am glad you are over.
But I thank you for shaping me into the woman I have become.

Therefore, an "ode" to my teens:

Here's to high school, marching band, and spirit week.
To dances, first kisses, and hugging in hallways.
Three cheers for scooping ice cream, watching gilmore girls, and talking to crushes on AIM.
Here's to truth or dare, movie nights, and shopping at the mall.
To clarinet lessons, youth group, and campus life.
To listening to punk rock, sleepovers, and eating too much cookie dough.
Here's to dance parties, conversations about God, and praying with the wonderful women of my wing.
To allowing my heart to open. To mistakes. To wrestling with God. To wanting to throw in the towel and give up. To healing. To growth.
To God never giving up on ME.
It's been a great ride thus far.

Bring on my twenties!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a "Julie" version of something you've probably heard thousands of times

"Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying? Let me lift up your face.
Just don't turn away.
Why are you looking for love? Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?...."
-Tenth Avenue North

The beautiful and wonderful and so dearly missed Taylor Grimes introduced me to that song this past spring and since then I keep hearing it on the radio...

I seem to get somewhat desensitized to songs after a couple plays, but this song...this song has the ability to speak to me every time. The lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, Mike Donehey, speaks in the voice of God (ok, not God's actual voice...but as if the lead singer is God speaking to us--all of humanity). I feel like this approach is so much more direct and powerful if the artist's goal is to get people to wake up a bit and really radically change their thinking, or question their lifestyle. I think it's great when Christian artists write about their struggles and how their faith is carrying them through and write their songs from a personal standpoint...

But songs that speak from the perspective of God talking to us directly kinda make me crawl and squirm and revisit a state of humility and deep thought and conviction.

And this song more than I think any Christian song has in the past, really tugs at my heart every time. Because I am so guilty of what Mike sings/writes...

Why do I continue to strive to be someone I'm not? Or maybe not so much that, but strive to a better version of me? Why does jealousy and perfectionism and images of "flawless" women on TV and in movies seem to seep heavily into my thoughts? Why do I strive to have my life put together and plans figured out? Why do I have these visions of my Junior year in my head--some that even cause me to stress--when God will take care of it all if I surrender control to Him?

The lyrics "Why are you looking for love? Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?" hit me the hardest. Such good questions, loosely paraphrased and extracted from verses in the Bible, though one of the primary messages that is found in the Bible:

He is enough. God is enough. "I am enough."

Why do I search? Why do I daydream so frequently about earthly posessions and build up a stupid romances in my head and dwell on these THINGS that don't ever completely satisfy??

What I want to remind myself and remind you is...we need to be in God's word. We need to be in prayer. We need to search and seek and try to grasp ahold of His awesome majesty. Why do we search for earthly things, even earthly friendships and relationships, to fill us up when they will never satisfy the deeper longings of our heart? And we are fools if we think they are all we need in this life.

I feel like once again my post is rather devoid of profoundness and originality because a "message" such as this is most likely preached by thousands of pastors across the world every Sunday....but I hope maybe the "Julie" in this post made it worthwhile to read....and at the very least I got something out of it by writing it ; )

Happy early early early Tuesday morning. Yikes. I must go to bed now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What is My Purpose?

You're probably thinking: "Dang, you're going to be contemplating your life purpose for your first post? This woman just dives right in."

Haha. Or maybe you're not thinking that. Regardless, this is not a post questioning my purpose in life, but rather questioning my purpose in creating this blog.

I have just spent far too much time today reading friends' blogs and found myself thoroughly refreshed by my peers' thoughts, stories, feelings, questions, and quotes from literature. I felt I got a better glimpse of who they really are and felt this kind of interconnectivity to the Taylor community as I found myself saying "so true," and "yep, I've totally felt that way," and "wow, that's really been on my mind and on my heart as well." I think sometimes I focus too much on differences between people and I judge and scrutinize and try to pick them apart from occasional meetings, conversations, sightings on campus...I forget the longings of our hearts are pretty darn similar. Our stories are not too different. We've all been hurt, abused, and mistreated. We're all just trying to figure out this crazy, messed up life and we're trying to see into our future through blinded eyes.

So I suppose the purpose of this blog is to join in on sharing my own ponderings and happenings and passions. It's partly for me and partly for you. Writing has this ability to free me, as I tend to have trouble verbalizing what all is on my mind and in my heart, or just choose not to.

So there you have it. An introduction not all that profound to a series of blog posts that probably will be equally unprofound, but hopefully at least fun and interesting and easily relatable.

Noteworthy things:

1. I will be 20 a week from today
2. I got a new phone yesterday
3. I get my top wisdom teeth out tomorrow
4. I'm pretty proud of my blog title...I came up with that after sitting on my couch for like 15 minutes, brainstorming various titles in my head like it was the most important thing in the world. I think that title really fits though...I am daily cleansed by God's grace but I am not living gracefully. I so often stumble and fall and am blinded and careless...praise God for his faithfulness.