Hi all! I feel like I have been absent from you for a while and I apologize. I've missed sharing what the Lord has been teaching me so let me tell you what's been happening lately!
We (Tiffany, our friend Sybil and I) just completed a study by Jennie Allen titled Restless. This study blew my world right open and turned it upside down - in a fabulous way! This study helps us to intentionally begin to recognize the threads in our lives that are floating in the breeze so to speak. Threads are moments in our life that have had an impact on us either positive or negative. The challenge was to look at these moments and figure out how the Lord has brought us to this point in our lives through all that we have gone through. This book met me right where I was at. Over the last several months I have been trying to narrow down what it is that my calling is. What is my purpose? How does my Father want to use me to impact this world? I am one of those that wants to do EVERYTHING! If you are a multi-tasker like me with a broken heart for the lost and the hurting, it can be easy to jump from one ministry to the next without actually developing and growing in the area where the Lord has called you to be.
About 13 years ago at the age of 18, I went through the darkest period in my life. I was dealing with a very difficult betrayal in my family and my world as I knew it was falling apart. I strayed from the Lord for a while as I sought to drown my pain however possible. Through counseling and support from my friends and family, I began to work through my pain. Over the course of a few years, the Lord healed myself and my family in a way that is nothing short of a miracle. The enemy could have used that very dark experience to break me - and he almost did. But my God is so much bigger than that and out of that experience has been born in me a desire to help families struggling in the same way we did. I told the Lord a few years ago that however He wanted to use me and my story to help others, I would do it. For a long time I felt the urge to write out my story. I had told it in many different forms to different people but wanted to get every single detail out in one spot. I sat on that idea for a long time. One morning in church the Lord said to me, "Now Julie". How do I know it was Him? It was an undeniable voice and it seemingly came out of nowhere... I knew I had to sit down and write it out. I figured I would write it as it came to me and then I'd have to go back and cut and paste to make it all flow and make sense. After three separate sittings at my computer I had gotten it all out. I sat back and read it and it was perfect. Right there in front of me was my story in the perfect order with all of the details just as I wanted them. How did that happen?!! I knew what I needed to do next... I needed to send it to someone. I sent it to a few of my close friends and then I sent it to my pastor. I said in my email to him that I was just being obedient to the Lord and if he could think of any way my story could be useful then to let me know. A week later he emailed me back and said that they were preparing to film some testimonies on relational healing for an upcoming sermon but the lady they had in mind had backed out. He asked if I would like to share a little bit of my story. I was scared but I agreed. My church is a large one with a congregation of about 2000 including all of the services. On the day my testimony was shown in service I had my whole family sitting next to me in support. I know that what I had to say was powerful and that lives were touched. Since that day a few years ago, I have had several people find me and ask me to speak. I have never sought out any speaking opportunities! I have only been obedient to say yes when they ask. I almost chicken out every time I'm about to speak! But, I refuse to let the enemy stop me from using what he intended as destruction, to bring life to others who are hurting.
All that being said, I'm now at a point where I know I need to take the next step in reaching people. For a long time I've had an idea in the back of my head that I've been sitting on. A couple of weeks ago during a rare quiet moment with the Lord (I've got small kids, believe me those moments are hard to come by!), the Lord said to me again, "Now Julie." I knew it was time and I feverishly started writing notes. My dream right now is to write a curriculum and start a support group for girls who went through what I went through 13 years ago. I've searched and found nothing quite like it anywhere yet. I've learned through our study that when something is God's will, it's most likely not going to be mapped out cleanly in front of us. We most likely won't be able to see the big picture. We need only to take one step at a time in faith that God will lead us. So I am taking one step at a time, and I'm excited! I didn't think this would be a big project or one that would require much of my time in the future, but in another moment of clarity the Lord said to me, "How do you know?" I've twice found myself putting God in a box regarding this project. The reality is, I don't know how the Lord's going to use me, I know only that He's called me and that's good enough for now. I'm learning to not rely so heavily on my need to plan everything to a T but rather say, "What's next God?" And then take the next step.
I'd love to keep you updated on how this goes. Part of my purpose for writing this post is so that I can look back and say, wow, look where I was 6 months - a year ago! Would you ask the Lord what the next step is for you? I guarantee you were put on this Earth for a VERY specific purpose and I know for many it's a struggle to discover just what that is. Ask the Lord to remove things in your life that are a distraction from what He really wants you to focus on and if you'd like prayer for this very issue, let us know! We'd love to partner with you in prayer.
Have a blessed day,