Welcome back! I wanted to take a few steps back from my last post and actually introduce myself a little better. That first post flew out of my fingers on the morning of my birthday, before this website was even up and running, after almost two years of hemming and hawing and trying to get back into the world of writing. I’ve got to give a huge shout out to my friend Olivia who has been working with me on this site and this dream for a long time, and barely batted an eyelash when I texted her that morning and said, “Can we do this . . . today?” Thanks friend. This page is beautiful and it’s all because of you!
Back to the introductions: I’m Julie, I live in Texas with my two teenage boys and I desire to speak hope into the lives of anyone who needs it.
I used to be a prolific writer. I’ve published 2 Christian romance novels and have about ten more on a hard drive somewhere in this house. They’ll likely never see the light of day, but, never say never, right? I used to blog fairly regularly and had somewhat of a following. My other love is leading worship and singing. If I could just write and sing for the rest of my life and still provide for my boys, I would be more than satisfied in this life.
In 2017, that writing, singing, wife-ing and parenting life I had built for myself slowly started to crumble around me, starting with my mom’s stroke in January. I was just a few days home from visiting her in Canada for her seventieth birthday when I got a message from her neighbor stating that my mom had had a stroke. I was back in Canada within twenty-four hours and continued to go back and forth for months while my mom recovered. There were moments when we weren’t sure what was going to happen. Would she live? Would she have another stroke? Every speak again? Walk? Live a normal life? Was there permanent damage? It was the scariest thing I had ever faced. I told God I was mad at Him and didn’t want to speak to Him and He said, “You don’t have to. I’m still going to be right here.” He’s so faithful.
Thankfully, my mom recovered enough to where she eventually left the hospital and now manages to live on her own with daily in-home health care. She has some significant deficits, but she carries on, and she gives God the glory every day. She is my biggest hero in the faith. Watching her walk through her recovery while leaning on Jesus prepared me to face my own impending trauma.
In the spring of 2017, I had a routine hysterectomy that went horribly wrong. I spent a month recovering in the hospital, facing a lot of the same questions that I had back in Canada in January. Would I survive? Be able to walk again? Ever eat normally? Would my body ever work the way God had created it to, ever again? What damage was permanent? What would recover? I remember being wheeled out for one of my many surgeries thinking, “If the boys will be okay, God, you can take me. But only if they’ll be okay.”
Thankfully, I also recovered, and with minimal lasting side effects. It took a very long time, and multiple surgeries. My spirit and soul had to go through surgery as well. I spent so many hours with Jesus, crying, asking, fighting, begging for rescue, healing, and answers. He was largely quiet on the questions front, but He was so very close to me in the midst of all of it. He was faithful to reveal His character through the story of Job, and allowed me to lament and experience the crushing that needed to happen in my soul as I walked with David through the Psalms and learned to cling to hope even in the midst of insurmountable circumstances. My faith grew deeply through the worst experience of my life.
As I put surgeries and medical trauma behind me and braced myself to re-enter my life as a wife, mom, writer, and worship leader, I found out very quickly that my ‘normal’ had to be forcefully reinvented. I was no longer a wife, the writing bug had died, and because of all that I had to heal from, worship leading was out the window, too. So I was a mom. A single mom.
That’s a lot to deal with in a very short period of time, and it was hell. It was all hell. There were times when I would weep so loud that my kids could hear me upstairs, over the noise of their video games. There were times when I woke up in the morning and wished that I hadn’t. I faced the days with such a deep sense of dread, I’m not sure how I managed to get out of bed and do what I needed to in order to survive.
On my own, these things would have destroyed me. They sure tried to. But even in my worst, most desperate moments, Jesus showed up, every single time. He showed up in friends who came and helped me develop my confidence to drive again after I was cleared to do so. He showed up in friends who came to care for me after surgeries and make sure my kids were fed. He showed up in healing prayer times and was so gentle with my broken heart. He showed up in scripture like I’d never experienced Him before. He showed up in sermons at church and then took me on tangents so deep that I had to go back and relisten to the original sermon because I completely missed about half of it. He showed up by revealing Himself holding me while I wept in my bed. He showed up in Romans 8:28 fashion when I developed a serious infection that ended up relieving me of one of my troubling medical devices that the hospital had sent me home with, which also released me from needing in home health care. He showed up by strategically withholding answers to my questions until the perfect moment came, when it all made sense, even in the midst of great tragedy and loss. Over and over Jesus kept showing up. The perfect rental at the perfect moment, a surprise check with money for Christmas from far away friends, job offers when I wasn’t sure how I was going to provide . . . There was no opportunity to lose my faith because Jesus just kept showing Himself faithful, loving, caring, protecting, guiding, and providing. He continues to blow me away with His provision and His faithfulness.
I got a lot of praise during the worst moments. “How are you still standing on your faith?” “You are so strong, Julie!” I would always shake my head because I knew the truth. I am not that strong. I am, in fact, extremely weak. But the Bible promises that in our weakness, God’s strength is made perfect, and that is what people saw in me. I learned from a young age that Jesus is our only hope, and the only thing I did in my own strength was to cling to the belief that it was actually true, and I had years of proof to back that up.
For a long time, I thought my dreams had been shut down, stolen, and were long gone. But God has been showing me for awhile now that His dreams don’t die. They come on His perfect timeline, and just as He has proven Himself faithful in my trauma, He will prove Himself faithful in the dreams He has spoken over me. He is restoring the years the locust have stolen.
That is why I’m here: because I have been through trauma after trauma, and by the grace of God, I have come out of that time with a deep sense of hope in the goodness of our God, and my greatest desire is to share that hope, prophesy that hope, and watch that hope change lives like it has changed mine.
Thank you for joining me in this journey.
*Are you struggling right now? Do you feel abandoned, or like hope is gone? Please feel free to reach out. I would love to listen and pray with you.
Your faith and God’s goodness will use this dark time for good! Thank for you sharing. You are amazing. 😉
Love you, friend.
He always shows up. Always.