Edgy Christian Romance Author and Blogger


My Favorite Things

***This Giveaway is Now Closed! The Winner is Teresa Zeller!***

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One of the things that is the most challenging for me in this whole “let’s push worship leading to the side for now” thing is that when I hear a good song, all I want to do is share it with the world. As I was listening to one of my new faves today, I decided that not only am I going to share it with you, but I’m going to highlight a few of my very favorite things right now, just in case you need some ideas for anyone on your Christmas list!
There’s a big bundle giveaway and a whole lot of discounts for you, so take a minute and do some shopping!

This Glorious Grace (Live)

  1. This Glorious Grace -Austin Stone Worship This album is a beautiful
    offering of worship from a local fellowship here in Austin. Aaron Ivey and his band write and play in depth and heartfelt music that does such a brilliant job connecting our hearts to the Father’s. Track #3 is my current fave!Product Details
  2. A Table Full of Strangers Vol.1 – Jason Upton This is Jason Upton like you’ve never heard him before. Our friend Dave from Loud Harp and A Boy and His Kite worked on this project and we got a sneak peek of it last summer and were blown away. The fully finished product is just an incredible musical story of the Father’s love for us. I love this album and our friends who worked on it so much that I’m offering it in my giveaway! See details below!
    Product Details
  3. Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker I got this for Christmas two
    years ago and I use it almost every day to listen to the albums above. Probably the most useful gift I’ve gotten in years!Product Details
  4. Jesus Feminist – Sarah Bessey So many people look at this title and immediately walk away. I almost did, but thisbook is a lovely description of what the Bible actually says about women. It’s about redemption and finding the place you were always meant to have as a woman. Sarah has a new book out now, too, Out of Sorts, but I haven’t had the chance to dive into it yet. It’s next on my list!
  5. The Healing Path – Robin Pasley Surprise, surprise! If you hang out with me for longer than ten minutes, I’m going to tell you to buy this book. This book is the reason why I have been able to walk in such freedom in the past for years. Every believer in the world needs this step-by-step guide to healing so I’ve decided to give one away! See details below.
  6. This Bracelet from Debella.net I am not a typical Texas girl who loves her bling (likely because I am not really Texan), but this bracelet caught my eye the first time I saw it and then I searched for it for hours one night when I was finally ready to commit. What I love about it is that it doesn’t move or make noise on my arm (two things I can’t handle), and it also has a magnetic clasp so it’s easy to wear! Check out the rest of the store, too, there is a wide variety of jewelry and home decor choose from. Christina at Debella has graciously extended a discount offer to my readers! Enter the code FAVORITETHINGS at checkout and you’ll get 15% off your purchase! If that’s not enough, make sure to check her out on Dec. 5th for even more great deals! Order custom wall decor by Dec.6, everything else by Dec. 13 for Christmas shipping!
    Leafy Filigree Dangles
  7. These earrings (and a few others) from Love Street Boutique
    I am actually totally bummed to tell you that I lost these earrings this year, but they are absolutely my favorite, and I keep hoping they’ll turn up in the car, or under a couch cushion. Check out all that LSB has to offer. Great deals on great jewlery, and: just for you, if you enter the code Julie2015  at checkout, you’ll get a 30% discount! That’s an incredible deal! Order by Dec. 18th for Christmas shipping! 

  8. One of a kind Dauntless Cuffs (By Danielle Brower), which are not available for purchase right now BUT, I’ve got one to give away! See the details below, and when you get a chance, check out Dauntless Grace Ministries for awesome, encouraging and insightful content that explores what it looks like to live a wholehearted and vulnerable life.
  9. Natalie’s Custom Decor Natalie made signs for the boys’ rooms this year when we redecorated them and I absolutely love them. I gave her the general idea of what I wanted and she knocked the project ot of the park! Check out her website for all the different styles she can do!
  10. Designed By Regina I was gifted this beautiful jewelry holder in secret sister gift exchange this year and I love it so much. When you take a look at Rita’s other products I think you’ll be amazed! Check her out! She does some really cool things with frames that I’ve never seen before!Calvin Klein REVEAL Eau de Parfum, 1 fl. oz.
  11. Calvin Klein Reveal Eau de Parfum This may be the first bottle of perfume I’ve used until it’s gone ever in my whole life. It’s not too heavy or overwhelming and people will compliment you all day long! I’m definitely putting this on my list this year!
  12. Live.Simple Soap Seriously, who doesn’t love real, homemade soap? I love Emily’s process, her heart and her soap. It smells divine, and for someone who is highly allergic to store-bought, chemical filled soap, this stuff is perfect for me, plus I know exactly what’s in it and where it came from. Emily is offering my readers a 20% discount, using the code JP20, good ONLY through Thursday at midnight.  You’ll also want to check her site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!
  13. Herb Scissors I’m not kidding, these scissors are the best thing since freeze dried basil. I use them weekly (usually on cilantro because it’s one of my favorites and one of the most annoying to chop.), and they’re super easy to clean. If you have a cook in your life, this is the gift to give!
  14. Gingerbread Lattes Listen, I don’t care what color the cup is, it’s
    what is on the inside that counts, right? And I wait all year long for November 1st to roll around and bring with it my beloved grande, gingerbread, nonfat, with whip, latte (Did I do it right? I think they’ve changed things since I was a barista oh . . . 12 years ago). So guess what? This is the last and final thing on my favorites list (for today anyway) and I’m going to give it away too! Except, you can buy whatever drink you want under $5, though clearly, I’m making a recommendation ;)

There you have it, my friends. Some amazing music, books and a bunch of other random stuff that I am loving for this holiday season.



This is what’s up for grabs:

A Table Full of Strangers Digital Download by Jason Upton
Dauntless Cuff  (selection will vary)
The Healing Path by Robin Pasley
$5 Starbucks Giftcard

That’s $55 worth of awesome swag, folks!


  1. Leave a comment and tell me your favorite thing about the Christmas season. Please also leave your email address or a social media username so I can notify you!

BONUS ENTRIES (1 extra entry per option):

  1. Follow my blog and/or sign up for my email list (both links are on the sidebar to the right) and leave a comment here saying that you did.
  2. Like my author page on Facebook and leave a comment here saying that you did.
  3. Tweet about it or share on Facebook and tag my author page! Sample Tweet: I just entered this awesome Christmas giveaway by @jpresley48! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1lBAh04 Then leave a comment here that you did!

Winner will be chosen and announced on Friday, November 27, 2015.

Don’t forget about all the great discounts offered above! Now go shopping, and Merry Christmas!

Cracks in the Wall

Friends of ours moved to a neighborhood near the historical district in Dallas a number of years ago in order to serve as missionaries to the residents. The Lord gifted them a huge, beautiful home to use for their ministry and they have been doing amazing things for the Kingdom there.

The thing about houses in Dallas is that they all have foundation issues, and of course older homes show their scars the most. Our friends’ house had some significant issues that needed to be fixed: cracks in the walls and ceiling, the slant in the flooring, cabinets pulling away from the walls, Doors that didn’t shut properly . . . this house was in dire need of foundation repair. Once again, the Lord took care of the bill, and they were able to have professionals come do the work.

The crew had to completely dismantle the entire bottom floor and dig holes deep into the ground in order to fix the problem. It took almost 10 months for all of the work to be finished and the house to return to a normal, livable state.


Photograph by Keith Peeler, used with permission.

Once the foundation issue was resolved, the next thing was to tackle the evidence of the issue: the cracks in the walls. Those cracks were pretty easy to fix though. Putty, paint, putty, paint. Voila. New walls and no more cracks.

Why in the world are we talking about foundation repair? Because I think we all have foundation repair needed in our lives. The Lord began to revisit some of my foundation issues this week, but I was surprised when I tried to attack them with the tools I knew to use and I couldn’t seem to get anywhere.

My foundation issue is trust. This is not a new thing for me.  I’ve been trying to fix this one for awhile. When I pictured my trust foundations, I saw a lot of cracks in the walls, slanted floors and some gaps in the concrete. Frustrated that I was dealing with the same issue yet again, I took it to the Lord and halfheartedly tried to fix it.

After a few minutes and no progress, I decided to flip open my Bible to wherever it landed and see what came up. I don’t recommend this as an everyday tactic to finding answer or spending time with the Lord, but sometimes, playing Bible roulette can be just the thing you need. My Bible opened to John 12 and my eyes went to verse 44.

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust in me, you are really trusting in God. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me.”

I literally laughed out loud. “Okay. What is this about?”

Immediately I saw a picture of the cracks in the wall at our friends’ house in Dallas, before they’d been puttied and painted. I was struck with a really intriguing thought.

I have dealt with these trust issues already. I have spoken truth and proclaimed that I walk in freedom from these trust issues. My foundation issues have been tended to, the floors dug up and the new concrete poured in.

But you know what I realized I haven’t done? I haven’t gotten rid of the evidence. I haven’t puttied the walls and painted over the cracks. I have not finished the work that proves that my foundation has been fixed.

When an issue of trust arises, I’ve fallen into my old ways and walked in distrust of the Lord, looked at the cracks in the walls that reminded me not of a fixed foundation, but of a cracked one. I’ve been acting as though nothing has changed.

So how do I debunk the evidence that’s right in front of me? I remember that I’ve been freed from the lies and I choose to walk in that freedom.

Putty, paint. Putty, paint.

This is an ongoing process, which is also true about foundation repair: maintenance is a thing. Foundations need to be tended to and new cracks may form.

Putty, paint. Putty, paint.

When an issue of distrust arises, my job is to prove to that issue that my foundation has been fixed. “That’s not who I am,” or, “That’s not true of who He is.” etc. I have to speak truth (and believe it) to the thoughts that want t0 lead me into darkness and remind the enemy that I am whole, fixed and not subject to his lies anymore.

Putty, paint. Putty paint.

Where are you at in this process? Have you identified the problem? Are you tearing up carpet and digging holes? Putting things back together? Puttying and painting? Your foundational issue may be something completely different than mine but  the analogy still works.


Meet Cole and Olivia, super foundation fixers. Photograph by Keith Peeler, used with permission.

No matter where you see yourself, remember that the Father is not standing outside waiting for the reveal. He is in the hole with you, digging and pouring, handing you the putty and holding the paint bucket.




Exiting the Wilderness

*Campaign update . . . it’s coming. Videos take time to edit. But it’s coming! In the mean time, we have some other BIG news.*

I remember when the dust had settled and we’d been in Austin for about eight months, Rocky called me and said that a head hunter from Dallas had called, out of the blue, and told him about a position that he could be considered for back in DFW.

I immediately went into a tailspin because 1. I’d completely given up on the idea of going back to DFW the minute we left. After years of holding on to the dream of going back to Colorado, I knew better than to let that kind of thing hinder me again, and 2. I couldn’t figure out why in the heck the Lord would bring us to Austin for such a short time and drag me through hell and back only to take us right back to where we came from. It made no sense at all.

Rocky never followed up on that offer, much to my immediate relief.

Remember this post from last month? The Lord very specifically told me to toss worship #offthebeam and focus solely on my writing and speaking career. The worship part is still a struggle for me, by the way. I still grieve that and I’m still working on the way my brain reacts to the topic of leading worship and singing. Anyway, as I was working through that, one of the things that I said to the Lord was, “This is all well and good, I’m so glad you are giving me permission to totally pursue this writing dream, but I really don’t have a lot of time and energy to write right now. I have to work at a certain pace and that doesn’t leave me a lot of space for much else. What do I do about that? And what about Rocky? He doesn’t love selling walk in coolers to schools. That doesn’t excite him. He has a fantastic job with a great company, but . . . when will he get to do something he loves?” I just left those questions at Jesus feet and went on about my business.

It was maybe two or three days later that Rocky called from a work trip and told me that one of his good friends was potentially offering him a job that he would be stupid to refuse. When he laid out the details for me, I was floored. The two big questions that I’d asked earlier that week would be answered if Rocky accepted the position. I’d be able to scale back on work and focus more on writing and he would get to do something that he was excited about.

As we prayed, discussed, listened, and waited, one thing became very clear: If he took this job, we would have to move back to DFW.

You guys, when Rocky told me that news, my heart sank and I started to bawl, for so many different reasons. We just bought this house, and we just poured a huge labor of love into the kids room as well as our own bedroom. We planned to be here long term and we honestly never expected to go back to DFW. Plus, we’ve just barely recovered from the original move to Austin.

Rocky saw my tears and said, “Baby, whenever anyone asks you how you’re liking Austin your response is always the same: a very half-hearted, “it’s growing on us.””

It’s true. That is my response, it’s been a big fat lie. I have no feelings about Austin whatsoever. I know this is blasphemous and grounds for shunning, but, Austin is just not my heart city. I have a handful of people here that I love dearly, whom I will miss greatly, but I feel very un-tethered here. Austin and I have just not connected.

I went away to my retreat in Wisconsin to lead worship for the last time, pretty sure that we were going to say yes to the job because we would be fools to turn it down, but I was still uncertain and very unhappy about the idea of packing up and moving again. Is anyone counting our moves? Well, I am. Here’s how it pans out: 2016 will be our 13th year of marriage. If we make this move, it will be our 13th. And we’ve been in a few places for up to two years . . . so figure THAT out. My brain hurts. Back to the point.

designThrough a very simple exercise that one of the speakers had us go through, the Lord showed me exactly what I needed in order to come to terms with the decision ahead of us. I told Him that the thought of moving was exhausting and really scary to me. He responded by saying, “Let Me move you.” And from there I pictured myself as a marionette, and the Lord as the puppeteer. It wasn’t so much that He was controlling me, but when He moved, I moved. I knew what this was about.

I texted Rocky and said, “The answer is yes.”

This left me with one more obstacle to tackle: Why Austin? Why in the world did God bring us here and take us through what we went through if only to take us back to where we started?

My answer came in the form of a verse that became an inadvertent focus for that weekend retreat.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Song of Solomon 8:5

One of our other speakers taught on the wilderness and the original meaning behind the word and Hebrew letters, and what those symbols communicate about the wilderness – a place of blessing and security, and a place to commune with our Beloved, part of the promised land . . . There was so much to unpack, It blew my mind.

As I lay in bed after arriving home, I finally asked the Lord the question: Why Austin? He responded immediately with that verse above.

The Father took our family into the wilderness, and we had to go through some really hard and painful things in order to learn to truly lean and depend on Him. He brought us here, knowing what we would face, knowing what we would have to overcome, knowing that I would fail and need to be carried out of the ruins of my former self. He knew also, though, that we would survive, and we would be stronger because of it. He knew that my boys would learn about His character and His provision, and He knew that my husband would learn how to lead in a new way, and that all of us would be able to walk out of this place leaning on our beloved. I was concerned about people looking at or time in Austin as a failure, but in fact, we eventually began to thrive here, and the reason why this job is being offered at all is because of what Rocky has done here with his former company. There was hardship at the beginning, but we will move on from this place standing taller and more sure of ourselves and our God. We are changed for the better.

I am  not battle-weary and requiring the Lord’s strength to carry me out of this place. No, the image in my head is like a graceful saunter out of a field of wildflowers. His arm is around me and I am at peace, tucked into His side, leaning on my Beloved.

So, in other words . . . IMG_9886

June, 2016

Why Twilight?

My favorite responses to the survey  that I put out a few weeks ago were on the question that asked what you wanted me to talk about here. I’m looking forward to addressing each and every thing that was mentioned, even though some of them are going to be a challenge! One responder asked about the story behind Twilight being my inspiration to write, so I thought that was a good place to start, since it was the beginning of my writing journey.

Now listen, you’re not allowed to judge me for this, because, well, you supposedly love me. I in turn will not judge you for your own quirky tastes.

I loved the Twilight series. Like for real loved it. Until the Hunger Games came out, those thick books had their very own shelf in my living room. I re-read the entire series every time one of the movies came out (although I thought the movies were overall pretty terrible), and endured merciless teasing from some of my favorite people on earth because of my love for it.

My poor husband was so excited because I was *finally* into vampires. I tried to convince him that I was far less into the vamps than I was the forbidden love aspect of it all, but nonetheless, he insisted that we watch Dracula on the way to Colorado that Christmas, and let me say again . . .  No. Not the vampires. They could have been aliens for all I cared.

What turned me into a Twihard and an eventual writer was the way Stephenie Meyer wrote about the tension between her vampire and human characters, both physical, and emotional. I was completely sucked in by the fact that they wanted to be together in all manner of speaking, but absolutely could not, should not attempt it. Many criticized Meyer for how far she took the sexual tension between Edward and Bella, but I felt she dealt with it extremely tastefully. She made them wait until they were married (oh, um, spoiler? I don’t think you care though . . .) before they “consummated” their relationship, but in all the moments leading up to that, there was plenty of realistic tension and angst between them that left readers craving more. She left me wondering why Christian fiction steers clear of the reality of sexual tension in romantic relationships.

Of course that was an easy answer to figure out: because for some reason, Christians are taught that feeling that kind of tension is shameful. Phrases like “heat of the moment” are tossed around like hot potatoes, and heaven forbid you ever find yourself there.

One of my most shame-filled memories is when I found myself in that place, ‘the heat of the moment,’ and absolutely terrified to be there. I’d never been taught what to do to get out of it, just that if I were there, things were going to get bad, and my life would spiral out of control because of it. Ill-equipped with how to handle what was going on inside my body, I burst into hysterical sobs.

When I think back to that moment, I want so badly to give my teenage self a huge hug and tell her that she is completely, 100% normal. I want to undo all the lies she was told about her body and the way it was supposed to operate. It still breaks my heart when I see myself in that memory, and I still want to junk punch the guy because, having never experienced such a reaction from a girl before, he began to laugh at me. I digress.

After reading through the series for the 2nd time I thought about it for about five minutes and decided that I could probably do what Meyer did, minus the vampires. It was uncomfortable at first and I had to allow myself to discover what my boundaries were. I enjoyed pushing the envelope, but just how far should I push it? How far was necessary or acceptable? I decided to take Stephenie’s stance on it: “I took it as far as I was comfortable.”  I decided to be as real about it as I possibly could, without compromising my own morals.

Reading the Twilight series was really the first in a few mile markers on my journey into opening up wounds from the past and walking into healing. In the second book I resonated so deeply with what was going on in Bella’s life, but it took reading it twice before I realized why, and that was when the Lord reminded me of a wound that I’d covered up many years ago, one similar to Bella’s, and began to walk me through ultimate healing as a result. So not only did I get a real depiction of romantic entanglements, but I also learned something valuable about myself and about the Father in the process of reading, which is another tool that I use in my novels.

Say what you will about the books, and I’ll probably agree with you on the movies, but this series is near and dear to my heart because it was the birthplace of my own healing and freedom, as well as my desire to write in a way that brings both of those things to women everywhere.


Where is He?

As I sat down to spend some time with Jesus today a verse popped into my head. I wrote it down and was going to move on but I decided I should look it up and see if there was any particular reason why it was in my mind. The verse was, “I am with you, even until the end of the age.” Matt 28:20

I went back and read a good portion of that chapter as different things popped out at me and I needed more context, and I felt really impressed to bring them here and share them. It’ll be quick, I promise.

This passage comes just after Jesus has risen from the dead. In 28:16 it says that the disciples went to the mountain where Jesus said they would find Him, and He was there. In the earlier passages Mary and Martha are instructed twice to tell the disciples where to go in order to find Jesus. They obeyed, they went, and Jesus was where He said He would be.

I have so many loved ones struggling through what seem like insurmountable odds right now in their personal lives. There is so much pain and heart ache around me, and I often struggle with how to encourage my friends in ways that aren’t cliche or straight up lame. As so many often ask, “Jesus, where are you?” this morning I want to encourage you with this truth:

IMG_9904Jesus is where He said He would be. He will meet you there.

So the question then is this: Where did He tell you to meet Him? If you don’t have an answer for that, then I encourage you to find a quite space and seek the answer, and then seek Him there, because He is always where He says He will be, and He is with you, even until the end of the age.

If I can pray for you in any way, I would love to. Please leave a comment below or email me: juliewritesbooks at gmail dot com


It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like . . .

Campaign season!

No, this has nothing to do with the presidential race . . . do you know me at all? ;)

It’s almost time to start fundraising for Nor Forsake! I’m so excited I can barely sit still. This book has been such a labor of love . . . and pain and tears and agony . . . My original plan was for it to be out last spring. But last spring I was fighting against some major battles in my personal life and I could barely type a word much less put all of the necessary efforts into publishing and fundraising. It’s a new day though, friends.

We recorded my campaign video last week and let me tell you . . . a perfectionist I am not. My amazing husband was so kind and encouraging through the process. “That was great,” he’d say sweetly, “but . . .”  I can’t even tell you how many times I heard that sentence. There may or may not have been some expletives used, and *almost* caught on tape. #sorrynotsorry


Maybe it’s a good thing my acting career never took off.

Hopefully the campaign will be live on Friday, I can’t wait for you all to see the video and hear the message behind Nor Forsake. It is near and dear to my heart and I’m just so pumped to get this book out, and I have some fun things planned as we reach certain increments in the fundraising process!

In the mean time I’m working on a special holiday freebie for you guys, and I’m potentially even more jazzed about this right now. You’ll want to sign up for my e-mail newsletter to get the details for that in the coming weeks! That link is available to the right, directly under my profile picture. I promise: no spamming.  This list will get you some extra thoughts from me, early updates about products and as I mentioned, free stuff!

I want to say a special thank you to those of you who have filled out the survey that I posted about last week. Your responses are so helpful to me as I look into the future of this blog and the things I share with you here. If you haven’t yet filled it out, it’s super quick and easy, and you can do that here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HH5YQZM Taking this survey also gets you on the list (if you leave your email address) to hear about how you can help launch Nor Forsake in the spring.

It’s going to be a really busy few months but I am so looking forward to hitting the ground running, and I’m so thankful for your support as I continue to pursue this dream! Thank you for always sharing and liking my posts on social media, you may not realize it, but every time you like something I post from my author page on Facebook, it exposes more and more people to my site. If you share and comment, it increases my reach even more. Please keep it up!


Reader Survey

*Sorry to my email subscribers who’ve gotten this twice. I had some trouble with the html.*

Friends, if you could please do me a favor and fill out the quick survey below, I would so appreciate it. I’m looking forward to your responses in order to help serve up the kind of content you want to see here at juliepresley.com. Additionally, Nor Forsake is officially in the pipeline and I’m going to need your help to see it through! Thanks in advance for providing me with your feedback!


The Thorn in My Flesh

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

This passage has been on my mind for the last few days as I’ve heard a number of people talk about seeking out what FullSizeRender (1)their “thorn” may be. I’ve even had the thoughts myself and wondered if I should be spending more time trying to figure out what the Lord may have inflicted me with, but the whole thought process just hasn’t sat right with me so this morning I went to the passage to see exactly what it said.

I hear people talk about this passage as if it is a rule for all believers. We all have a thorn in our flesh, something that we simply must live with until we die. But the issue with this belief is, first of all, that the Bible doesn’t say that we all have the kind of thorn Paul is talking about, and second, if we decide what our “thorn” is, that then gives us permission to keep walking in whatever that thing may be without attempting to overcome it.

I’m no theologian, and I don’t know the original Greek or Hebrew, but I want to look at this passage a little deeper just from a basic point of view.

The verses before the ones I quoted above talk about Paul’s experience seeing heaven. He says that God allowed him to be inflicted so that his pride wouldn’t be boosted based on that supernatural experience. This issue was about keeping Paul humble. He was constantly in need of God’s healing power in this area.

He calls it a thorn in his flesh. So this speaks to me of some kind of disease or physical affliction as opposed to a condition of his spirit/heart. It was something he was unable to overcome on his own. He couldn’t fix himself. It wasn’t a heart issue, or even a sin issue, because both of those things could be redeemed under the sacrifice Jesus made.

Then he calls it a “messenger of Satan,” so this says that this is not something God has done to Paul, but something God has allowed to be done to him, and it’s something that God chooses not to take care of, for his own good.  This keeps in line with Romans 8:28 which says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Paul even confirms this by saying that his weakness allows Christ to be strong in him. The strength of the Father manifesting in our lives will always be for or good and the good of His Kingdom, and the belief that God wIMG_9789on’t let us suffer is blown out of the water here. There are going to be times when we go through hardships because they’re good for us.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. . .” Instead of boasting in the things that would give him clout, reverence and
respect, Paul chooses to boast in his weaknesses. He levels the playing field and makes himself relate-able to the rest of the human race. He is not out of reach, but yet as he struggles with his humanity and physical body, he is also impacting the entire world for the cause of Christ. He did not allow his weakness and affliction to deter him from the call on his life. He could have easily allowed his affliction and demonic torment to rule him. He could have said, “I’m sick, someone else can do it.” But no, he pressed on toward his goal and allowed God’s strength to be His prize.

My quick and non-intellectual yet thoughtful takeaways for you are these:

  1. If you think God has allowed a thorn in your flesh, it will be something that you can not overcome on your own, and it is something that will be present in your life until the Lord chooses to heal it, if He ever does.
  2. It is not a Biblical fact that all believers are subjected to having a thorn in their flesh.Clinging to the idea that we all have a thorn in our flesh is dangerous grounds for us to permit behavior that we can in fact control, change and be saved from
  3. Suffering is a fact of life. It’s not necessarily from God, it is allowed by Him in order to serve a greater purpose in your life and in His Kingdom. Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 
  4. Whatever our weaknesses may be, whether permanent or not, we need to embrace them, boast about them, even, so that the power of God may be made strong in us. We boast about Him rather than ourselves.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you have a deeper understanding of these verses? Do you believe you have a thorn, or have you believed it and now are questioning it based on this post? I’m looking forward to some discussion in the comments!

This is the Thing

*Disclaimer: While I am in fact reading the book, ‘The One Thing,’ I am no where near finished nor do I have a handle on what they are talking about. This post is independent from anything in that book and if it actually lines up with what they’re saying, that is purely coincidental.*

Who are you? What do you love? What are you good at? When people think about you, what is the one thing that comes to mind?


Photo credit: Justin Nygren

For as long as I can remember, my one thing has been my voice. Ever since I was little I have run around belting out my favorite songs. I sang my first solo at the ripe age of eight and I guess somewhere in there a dream was born to grow up to be a singer. I got involved in worship as a tween and began leading at school for chapels, youth group and eventually main services. I was not-so-affectionately called, “Praise Team Girl” in high school, but I accepted it because it was what I identified with. Worship was my jam. Singing was my thing. It was the only thing I was really good at, and it was going to be my vehicle to success, not to mention that it is also one of the main ways that the Lord and I connect

As an adult I have most definitely struggled to keep my talent from defining me. When I walk in to new places to meet new people, the fact that I am a worship leader is one of the first things I want to make known about myself. When I walk into places where other people are singing or leading worship, I am a highly critical judge — I’m not proud of it, but it’ s the truth. I think we all do this with our giftings though, don’t we? We measure ourselves up to the success of others, like I mentioned in my post,  “Measuring up.

Obviously for the past few years, something else has been inching its way into my identity crisis, so much so that there are people who *gasp* don’t even know that I sing! They know me as the author who writes really good “relational tension” as my friend Anna says *wink wink.*  Writing surprised me back when Josiah was a baby. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you why I even started . . . don’t judge me now . . . It was all because of The Twilight saga. I won’t go into the details of that now, but if you want to know, I’ll tell you sometime. Anyway, when I started and then finished Stones of Remembrance, the feeling that came over me was the equivalent to birthing a child. I’m not being melodramatic either. I was exuberant. It was the most exciting thing I had experienced in a long time even more than singing. That was the biggest surprise. From there, every manuscript that I finished (oh yes, there are many many books on my hard drive, just waiting to see the light of day) brought on the same elation as the first, and so I wrote as much as I could for as long as I could, which ended up lasting until two Octobers ago when we announced and began the process of our move to Austin and the whole world crumbled around me. Now there are too many responsibilities in my day to allow for hours upon hours of time spent with my imaginary friends. Now, writing is the last thing on my list. It’s like this sad thing that sits in the corner of my brain collecting dust while I peck away at all of the other things that are pressing. When I’m done with my to-do list for the day, the last thing I have energy for is dusting off my imagination and sitting back down at the computer I’ve been at for five-six hours already.

I’ve been lamenting this issue for awhile. All I want to do is write and sing, but there are so many other things in the way. I sat down a few weeks ago with the Lord and spent some time looking at the things I have to get done in a day verses the things I really want to be doing, and He really challenged me on something big.

He pointed to the line item that said, “Worship” and said, “Julie, that’s not the thing.”

I felt like the air had been sucked out of my lungs as I realized what He was saying. He was asking me to take worship and singing off of my priority list for an indeterminate amount of time. He was telling me that the thing I always thought I was the best at, the thing that I had counted on to get me places in life was in fact, not the thing.

You’d think that since He was instead pointing me toward writing and speaking and developing a public platform I would have been okay with giving up my music, but, no, in fact I am still grieving that loss right now. I had more tears about it today as I was preparing for my very last worship leading gig at a retreat in Wisconsin this weekend. I’ve been really struggling with these preparations for a number of reasons but I realized today that part of it was about the fact that after this trip is over, that’s it. I won’t be leading worship or singing publicly for who knows how long. I do not believe this is a forever thing, and I don’t think the Lord is saying don’t ever sing. No, what He is saying is that it’s not the priority for my life and while I think I have  known that for awhile, I actually had to go through the motions of letting go of it in order to make room for the writing platform.

The thing about it is this: leading worship and singing is easy for me. It’s second nature. I don’t have to work hard at it. But this platform building thing is terrifying and incredibly hard for me. It’s a challenge that I have been putting off accepting for years. I’ve felt it in my gut, stirring and taunting me but just like I said in that Measuring Up post, I defaulted to, “I can’t do that,” and shut the whole thing down. I’ve even thought, “If I just write free e-books that would be good enough.” Sure that would be enough to settle for, but I don’t want to get to my last dayIMG_9433 on earth and regret all of the settling that I did. I want to learn and grow and become something better than I am right now, and in order to do that, I have to work hard.

Music was never what I was supposed to identify with in the first place, just like being an author is what I do, and not who I am. My identity is in Christ alone, and that is something I fight to reconcile my humanity with every day, but I am allowing myself time to grieve the loss of this huge part of my life, and the Lord is giving me a lot of grace as I continue to make an effort to completely let it go. But even as I take the necessary steps, I see His blessing and provision for what I am trading it for come to fruition. I see Him making time and space for me to write, I see Him adjusting my mindset and bringing forth tools and voices that are going to help me along the way. Amateur hour is over and it’s time to step up to the microphone for a new purpose.

What is your one thing? What do you have to let go of in order to accomplish it?


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