my smile

In the valley,

it is hard to love 

your neighbor-those

that are your immediate 

family, much less yourself. 

How can I love them or any

one outside of this house if 

I can not love them or myself 

well, God. It starts slow, when I

take a pause from what I’m reading to 

listen to a laugh 

from my sister about a balloon

hat my mom made, a flower, my sister 

turns into a hat and we sit there and 

laugh. And then when I turn on a kids 

movie about singing and dad, her and I 

watch it and then dad and I watch 

another show about books, the librarians. 

And at the end of one episode there is 

rainbow. I think of you and what you may 

be trying to tell me again. That you are 

faithful, you love me and you will not 

stop making me and all things, your 

children, new. Keep my heart steadfast, 

Lord, because your beauty is captivating. 

Your love 

makes me hunger for more 

And more of 

you. I want to be still & know, you are God 

& you will be exalted over all the earth. Be 

my rock I run to now to declare now: you 

are beautiful, my neighbor, my friend, my 

father, the One who has wonderfully 

made with his breath 
fmf: neighbor

Really I saw this prompt and thought: won’t you be my neighbor? Mr. Rogers anyone? 😂 I totally went over the 5 mind with the poem. I have the timwe ser to stop when music stops playing for 5 mins. But it went to a commercial and then quit. Then when music played again, I forgot I had stopped the timer too, but was already on a roll in the words. I stopped midway and was like, oh..went over. But it’s okay. This was good to write, a sweet reminder God is working. May not be what I’d like all the time (anger can get on you after a while), but God really does promise to make all things new and beautiful in his time. His time. Not mine. 

Loving myself well looks a lot like digging into his word and praying. And this. Writing. It makes me feel really good to get everything out. Speaking I’m a mess but here I can think and breathe and ponder. Next month..it’s going to be another step of loving myself by going to a conference and spending time with Trisha and her family at the beginning of the month. Cannot wait. I mean I can wait because the fear has been creeping in like, what are you going to this for? What if nothing comes from it? You sure you’re not going to be a burden to this friend? I mean you can’t even talk to her well on the phone.. But then pure joy that I know is Jesus inside is all, it will be fine I hear all your prayers. You can’t wait. I know you want a hug. I know. You saw her before and it was fine. I was there and I’ll be there again. I know the peace you feel over there. I’m going to surprise you. 

And then my grandpa is looking to come and I haven’t seen him since last year. Maybe a movie and popcorn will be in order. 

And if God couldn’t get any funnier, one of my favorite singers is coming here toward the end of October. And VIP tickets are really cheap. And the thought of seeing her and being like, your music, JESUS MEETS ME THERE EVERY TIME! And I write too many poems to your song titles, like they are in the poem. And here I wrote you one.. Can we sit and talk for a few hours? Could we make a music video to Fighting Words, please? Also, would it be possible if we could write a song together?  I’ve written one, but have no idea how to put music to it. Yeah, I know lots of questions. I’d feel super crazy but it’s a burning inside just to ask. Her music has carried me through this valley. For years. So it’d take some bravery on my part. Just seeing her sing in person would probably make me cry. But I’m curious to see if God will add some extra special delight to next month. Especially to go with Megan, who knows if you put Ellie on I go in a zone of, “I’m just going to sit and sing now.” 😂 seriously, writing all that out feels like a fire just burning me up inside.

Jesus, you are good. You understand all these crazy dreams I have inside. Crazy ones that don’t make any sense to me. Ones that I’d like to just dismiss and forget because they scare me. And seem quite impossible without you. Make a way Jesus. Lead me by your song. And let me stay in this dream space and fill up on you so I can love my neighbor well. I’ve gone a bit into the crazy zone but it’s okay. You love me still. Don’t stop showing me. Please. Amen. 

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to lift me out. 

God,

I am tired 

and yet the sun

Still comes through

The window, a light

that doesn’t compare

to the one I long to guide

me to dreams I’ve let die 

for the momentum has run

dry. Would you come find me

anew, or maybe an embrace from an old 

friend would do. Light from the eyes 

would capture me in the darkness 

my mind can’t seem to shake fully. My 

God, I need you to smile again and again

fmf: guide

Today, I saw this was the prompt and then read in Bonnie Gray’s book Whispers of Rest for part of a prayer, guide me to create new rhythms. Since this a devotional book, it was the section on dreams with the day’s word, Shelter. I’m on a second read through but lately when I pick it up and open to a random page, it’s as if God meets me right there. 

I need shelter from doubt that my writing matters at all. And that maybe, maybe..God would like me to write a book, but it freaks me the heck out. And makes me weary. But it’s been rolling around since my dad mentioned it a week or so ago after I told him about how well Bonnie’s book did and I how I’m reading it again. 

All I can seem to do is read other books right now. And I’d rather help others than write my own book. But I can sit with the idea a loong time. 

In other news, I’m hopefully going to be starting the New Testament Sunday! 🎉 I really can’t believe how much I’ve gotten in God’s word since the beginning. From coloring to note taking/conversations with God. The hardest thing that has been hitting me is how much I want to call my grandma and go: THERES SO MUCH IN HERE! HE IS HUGE ON MERCY! I THINK MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE! A well of grief will rise to the surface because I can’t. I know God understands it and I like to think maybe she’s rejoicing, is most likely. It doesn’t take away the ache or the fact I wish I would’ve asked who God was to her. How much did you pray for me? Why do you feel so much like a memory? Why is this such a big deal to me now? Am I even going to remember what I’ve read? Why are all the kings in chronicles mostly really young- seriously 7 years old?! Why. They can make a decree for candy and really late bed times. 😂 will my heart change? To believe his love for me? Is it?

And then there’s this and this

The first song, I love this lyric:

When I know You love me

Is when I find that I’m free

Love the way You love me

Love the way You love

(Goes along with this post from a dear friend, Trisha who wrote about how to be effective this week. 🙋)

And the second song, I love the beginning  with the piano and these lyrics 

I will cry out to You, Lord

Of Your goodness I am sure

‘Cause it never failed before

I will praise You. 

Her music this week has been lifting up my soul and making me get to the point I want to weep, but it won’t come out. Not that I’ve not cried this week but it’s like a well inside. 

Jesus, I love the way You woo me. Please don’t shop wooing me. It’s so delightful. Help me be still in it. Amen. 

the weight of it all.

Lord, won’t you come

on this swing with me?

Sway me back & forth 

With the breeze, but please 

don’t let this motion be like 

my dreams. Always hanging 

in the balance of my maybe..

I hear the birds singing, telling 

each other, how come she doesn’t yet 

believe all the Lord

Does above, in between and below, is love 

her? Or maybe they are giggling from a 

joke,

But oh Jesus, my heart is starting to know

fmf: play.

This poem could’ve been more about the fact I want to go sit on a swing set with Jesus (even though I’m pretty sure, no I know he’s on the porch swing right now with me.) but instead it’s about a dream I’ve been longing for that maybe was reawakened this week. It’s mystified me and made my heart all excited at the thought. Way too excited. I broke more this week and Jesus has held me. 

I also learned an awesome attribute about Jesus: Sovereignty  of God, his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure. I’m in Ezekiel in my bible in year reading plan (a little more than half way done! Also makes me way too happy since it’s my first time. I’m gonna throw myself a party at 75 or a hundred percent. And dance to Ellie Holcomb.) and Sovereign keeps popping up a lot. I know that means God is in control, but I love finding this definition, that God does things for his own good pleasure. And then I find that pleasure has a synonym of “delight.” It’s hilarious because it’s my word this year. 😂 I love the way God does this. Love it. Sweeps in.

Speaking of delight: 

I got this candle in the mail yesterday and can’t wait to light it. My sister got it for me in a smaller size 2 birthdays ago and haven’t been able to quit it. I love that it’s called joy and laughter. I want so much of that in my life lately. 

Fill me up, Jesus. Oh please.

Love, revive me so.

my God,

how you meet

me here with quiet

& confidence that comes

From your word: you will

give me strength, refine

me in the furnace of affliction 

so I may come forth as gold–

Lord, I long to be shiny again,

with laughter’s tears, not grief 

stricken with thoughts all this 

will always be the same. 

fmf: refine.
Something is happening to me. On the outside I’m still up & down, but my inside is randomly feeling some serious joy. The more time I spend with Jesus, the more I want to. The more things become confusing the more I find myself being drawn to be still, to listen to him sing. To pour out my heart. He’s amazing with how he’s bringing verses back to me and how other songs with his word keep playing in my head almost like they’re on a loop. 

And then there’s this yesterday: 

I haven’t colored in my bible in so long. So when I opened to this other day, I was all smiley and ooh! And then wanted to color yesterday. God is stopping at nothing to be alone with & I just want to suck up all his words. All the ones that lift my soul. And all the melodies he leads me to. The hardest thing for me is watching how I still run to other people and want to share my joy or want them to fix my sorrow. But I’m learning the more I turn to him even just a bit, he’ll hold me still and comfort me. Waiting is hard. Especially when it feels like all your dreams are dying and a part of you is watching them go and another trying to hold on. 

But your heart knows it’s better to be still and know He is God. He will be exalted over all and keep the fire in your soul.

waters You stilled.

Jesus, here i am,
wanting more & 

less, but more Your

hand. Pull me back

or forward into Your

arms again-the only

arms strong enough 

to hold me. Let Your

banner enfold me with

a love song I can hear 

from miles wide-let my

cry be calm
fmf: middle.

This week. It has felt like many late night crying to God. Crying because I miss friends and want to do so many things, but so thankful for who He’s put in my life. who listen & tell me sweetest truth: relax. When I’m watching myself go down the prove myself going to lose everything track, this song speaks into the truth I’m trying to embrace. To make space to wait and see and breathe and hope even though that’s the hardest thing it feels like right now. When I’m so tired because my mind is racing with dreams and fears that maybe I’m a little crazy not to push harder. But then a book reminds me what God has for me won’t miss me and his word says:

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭3‬ NLT)

And this today: But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

I’ve heard this second verse in a song (so much laughter at the of this video, love it.) and I’m feeling like I need literal strength, but what can I praise him for in the meantime? Halos, those little tangelos that are easier to peel and so yummy. A taco, egg drop soup, crab ragoon and a fortune cookie that told me last night the rainbows treasures would be mine (I’m thinking god’s faithfulness instead of gold) from my sister. A friend who texts you questions and random pics of things that make you laugh because God is good at holding things together in heart even if there’s distance physically. Another friend reminding you all is well even if your heart wants to convince you otherwise. Good books. Sompingme (The silliness between me and my mom and the way a smile will well up in my heart and then spread across my mouth at this word, 😍). Prayer. That God listens, hears, sees and promises he is doing something new even if it’s hard to preceive and I want it right now. That he loves me right here, right now in the middle.

Abba?

Five minutes 

is all takes for me

to look out the window

& see a butterfly pass 

by to the left — another

flies to the right. It’s an 

an invisible X marks the spot,

I am the seal upon Your heart.

The one You are jealous, whom

brings You delight–do I really,

fmf: five.

I originally wanted to write this about how it takes five minutes to sing to God. I changed it because writing to music means sometimes losing yourself in a song.. 

I love how if I stare out the window here at the table long enough butterflies will fly by, or do nose dives. Yesterday, one was flying really close to the window and stopped in the middle for a few seconds. Like it was looking at me, waving, “Julia! How are you doing?” And keeps going..

It is momentary delights that keep me hanging on during a week of temptation and a question to give up my dreams. Dreams that are still there but the motivation isn’t right. It is weird when you find yourself crying over a friend going after something you want, and all you want to do is rejoice but jealousy  has reared it’s ugly head. I hate with every fiber of my being, this jealousy. It convinces me there is not enough and there will never be so don’t you even try. But the beauty is this friend continues to encourage you on the path God clearly has you AND still asks for your help with her dreams.

And you sit there: God, I want to REALLY rejoice, not be all woe is me. And I still want to help. God, why does dying to self have to hurt so much? 

What is happening with my dreams?

And what is with the word ‘delight’ coming up everywhere?

And with all the random that are my thoughts, the word has been consistent either a bit before or after I read this in Breathing Eden by Jennifer J Camp. This book is so healing and there is no way I’ll be done by the release, Oct. 4th. But there is a depth in bein able to connect with 40 fictional women and have God’s responses somehow speak to you in some way every time, that is just wow. I feel this intimacy with God and just being able to let lose with a prayer at the end of every story. It’s so good.

This concludes my rambles for today.

from all over the globe

For over a year & some 

I have jumped. Into the 

opportunity to be a part 

of something bigger than me–

the emotions of pure joy & panic have 

volleyed for my heart. & there i would 

find

myself reaching beyond my own ability to 

accomplish what 

I set out to do – launch another’s words 

out into the world, with new friends 

linking arms as we became a team, full

of love 

fmf: team.

Today, I saw this prompt and became somewhat panicked. I quietly thought to myself that God is trying to tell me something. This poem is about the joy & and frustration (that I put on myself..) I’ve had in being apart of launch teams for author’s books. For the last year and some, I’ve had the privilege of helping them get their words out in the world and make some beautiful friends along the way.

I never even knew book launch teams was a real thing until my lovely friend, Trisha had signed up for one, told me about it and thought to myself, God, I want to do that! (I was a little afraid and whiny, as in I never thought He’d let me..) Clearly, He knows my heart because He keeps bringing opportunities. I’ve not understood this, only that there’s a joy & excitement each new one. And I always think, yayy! I get to read another book! But it slowly turns to me sharing my heart and making friends. And trying to figure out how I will summarize a book in a way that someone might be interested in. 

Here’s where I try to explain the fear in my heart. Yesterday, my bestie for the restie (my phone corrected that to rescue 😂), put a thought into my head: what about a book launching specialist? And all these thoughts come flooding: what? Does that mean I have to gather a team and be a leader? I don’t know how to lead. And what do I just read an author’s book and come up with a plan and like those forms you fill out to get people to join? And God why does this make me so excited but my chest is all: panic!!

And in between saying all this to God, finding things for my resumé for Megan (because she is awesome and making things a little more professional for me since I have no idea what I’m doing.) and fixing a new page under Publications, of the books I’ve helped launched so far (Megan made this too. Seriously. She needs a cake pop for all this work.) this verse popped in my head:

Romans 8:32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 

I read in a commentary that God gave Jesus freely. Without hesitation. Without money. Because He wanted to bless us. 

And then I have to think, because this goes way over my head, like I can’t wrap my mind around it, He will give me everything I need to do this? I don’t have to push and try to do it in my own strength?

Oh, to rest in this.

I need serious prayers. I want to do this so much. I feel like God is confirming this since my mom told me I should try it in March. 

He will call on me, and I will answer him;

    I will be with him in trouble,

    I will deliver him and honor him. Ps. 91:15

Help, Lord.