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What 43 Looks Like On Me

Posted by Julie on March 27, 2013 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

The last couple years I’ve used my birthday to gauge what my new age looks like on me. Here is last year’s post.

Turning 43 feels like the clickety-clack of a roller coaster inching toward the top. It’s not old age, but it isn’t the youth that I felt was just yesterday.

Last year was a doozie. So much change. Loss. Grief. Transition.

But it wasn’t all bad. We took a family Disney cruise. Our kids are thriving in school. My husband’s work life is full of favor. Those hard times were opportunities to grow, and I receive that.

So here’s what 43 looks like on me.

1. The focus is clearer. I remember as a kid trying to look through binoculars. What setting worked for my dad to see a deer, I had to fine tune. Recently God fine tuned the vision He has for my life. I believe this is from Him because it is a flash of a vision that appears more and more. And it excites and frightens me. I want to wait on a bit before sharing, but I sense from here on in, what I do will propel me forward for this.

2. Finish strong. Where so much has changed, I am living intentionally. I give tributes to people now because neither of us is guaranteed another day. If I’ve given everything I had and God has released me, you won’t see me one second longer than He asks me to be there. Life is too short, and I’m kicking the dust off places and people that clearly have no use for me. It isn’t personal, unless you try to manipulate me to stay where God doesn’t want me. I try to pass on what I’m learning. Encourage. Mentor. Love.

3. Don’t take those small things for granted. Breaking my wrist and the long, painful recovery was not in my plan for last year. Every morning when I make coffee I’m thankful I can. For months I either couldn’t do it, or I had to prop my cast against the coffee maker to do it. I had trouble opening jars, getting dressed, showering. When someone is intentional about interacting with me, I appreciate it. Some topics aren’t fun, but people have the courage to approach me, anyway. I don’t take that for granted. I also don’t minimize grief and what causes it or the timeframe to finish. I don’t want to see anyone harping on the same event 20 years from now, but there were things in 2012/13 that knocked me so hard I wasn’t sure I could recover. My mind is constantly on, and most often thinking about appreciating things and people who saw me through.

4. How precious peace and joy are. These are experiences that separate the wheat from the chaff. Peace and joy are from Christ alone and on the kind of days where the wind whips and sand pelts your eyes, you know it’s Him when there is still a song on your heart. A covering that despite the heartbreak holds you steady. No one can buy that, and I had these things in abundance. So, so thankful.

5. Don’t take the bait. There’s a video gone viral where the woman in the newstory blurts, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Last year brought so many situations that definitely had the potential for drama. I haven’t acted perfectly, often falling for the bait to keep the emotions high. I had a friend who knew some of the circumstances in my life and pointed out that I had baiters in my life. She shared she heard the term from Dr. Phil, and that baiters like toxic waters. What I find humorous is that people who know me in real life say they know what circumstance I’m talking about when I share what I’m seeing or learning on FB. Thing is, very few know all going on. Very, very few. So when a baiter comes along hoping to stir me up, I don’t want to take the bait. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that.

I don’t dare guess what 43 will be like. I sense full of opportunity. My word for the year is abundance, and I’m seeing that play out in different ways. But my eyes are wide open, heart is mending and expanding, and my steps are bold and with purpose to advance God’s Kingdom. If that’s all that happens this year, I say it’s going to be a great year!

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Sabbath Sunday: Joy in the Morning

Posted by Julie on March 17, 2013 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Nature, photography, surrender |

20130120_173954

Sabbath Sunday. I post an amateur nature picture of my own with a thought or two about God’s love for you.

I look at this picture and think about my life.

God’s Word.

How His Word carries me, especially in hard times.

And this verse pairs up perfectly with the picture to me.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5, NLT

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Sabbath Sunday: Joy in the Morning

20130120_173954

Sabbath Sunday. I post an amateur nature picture of my own with a thought or two about God’s love for you.

I look at this picture and think about my life.

God’s Word.

How His Word carries me, especially in hard times.

And this verse pairs up perfectly with the picture to me.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5, NLT

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Character Confession: Fighting Words

Posted by Julie on March 2, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

 photo Character-Confession-confident.png

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’m journeying through a valley season. I’m fairly open about it because I sense my experience and what God is doing can encourage someone else.

I wrote this week that I feel like this is delayed grief. Not just from a real death, which has been our family experience, but other things, too. It started with my broken wrist and kept going. A church split. Family health issues. Loss. Change.

I went through a similar season in late 2003-2005 and the grief about did me in. But from it I learned so much about myself, Jesus, and our relationship. So much fruit came from that time, and I credit all God showed me then as training ground for my life as a praying person who believes God.

Yet these hard times stink.

But I want to grow and learn and take my relationship with the Lord to the next level. I never want to be satisfied. I’m ready for all the Holy Spirit downloads and whatever else may come my way.

And here is a snippet of what I’m learning.

It isn’t just me in this season. There is so much hurting going around, and it is hard. But, it has eternal purpose. As a friend once told me, I’m not going through this life to hand Jesus a Burger King crown. This is war. The defeated one grows desperate with each tick of the clock, and his job is to discourage, delay, deter, and yes, destroy. How? Whatever it takes. But I know his favorite way is through deceit, where you walk around feeling defeated.

With that, I’ve been reading verses and praying and this is what is coming together for me.

Fighting words.

That no matter what my circumstance, and I’m going to be honest, there is enough going on right now that 99% of you have no clue what I’m writing about on FB. Don’t guess, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is what I’m learning and applying, and if it rings true for you, may it bless you.

These are the words I have seared on my heart as a battle plan to not just survive this season, but thrive. Because God ordered a lot of it, and that which He did not, He’s allowing. So I want to be armed and ready in His strength and knowledge for when it is an all out attack to make me feel defeated. Here are my fighting words:

Choose. I can be bitter or better. I hate that I went through 12 weeks of cast wearing to learn my wrist didn’t heal right. I hate that the therapy probably made it worse, and it sure hurt. But this and other things are all about how I react to them. Chuck Swindoll said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Perspective. I look around, and I have, my husband and I have, and the one word we used to describe the last several months and what we feel are our surroundings is carnage. We keep our focus on us and we’re doomed. I’m intentional, although not perfect, about keeping my perspective on eternity. I want to finish strong, no matter if my end date is tomorrow or 60 years from now. I pray to live from a throne perspective, my eye on Jesus, always in expectation that there is a gem in the rough for me to embrace.

Joy. This goes along with choose but joy is so much more than having a great hair day. Joy is that inner bubble that still sings when everything else is mute. I know this is an important fighting word because our daughter is a vessel of joy and she has suffered in this season. For a couple weeks that joy was stolen. And in Jesus’ name, no matter how tired I was, prayerfully we were going on the offensive and make sure she recovered that gift. And thank God, the joy is back for her. On the hardest day I still knew He was worth praising and I felt so loved by Him, and my heart was full of joy. No lie.

Contend. This keeps coming back to me, so I think it is more important than I give it credit. I know who I am in Christ and what my purpose is. I know His Word has promises, and I know birthed in our children and family are promises. When our daughter was ill and her joy gone, I prayerfully went after those promises. That joy forwards God’s Kingdom and is used for His glory. I’ve seen it time and time again, and I knew I couldn’t sit and hope she felt better. I had to fight not just for her health, but go after those promises.

Words. A lot of my fighting is through words. I listen closely to the Lord and He speaks. When it was chaotic and my emotions were all over the map, He told me to agree with His plan. No fancy prayers, just utter that I agreed with His plan. I spoke words of life over dead looking situations. Plans for people and ministries to prosper. One picture I kept seeing was from Independence Day, but instead of injecting a mother ship with a virus, I felt I was to “inject” people with God’s love. That meant being intentional with my words and actions. I can’t tell you how fast healing has come to me because of this.

But a spiritual battle is nothing without His word. The verse that keeps popping up in my reading, the radio, in conversation, on Facebook is–

Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.

A friend sent me this treasure of a verse that I’m clinging to because it is full of such promise. Isaiah 35. How can I not get excited to think about flowers blooming in a wasteland?

And the last verse is 1 Samuel 30:8. This verse just nails everything above down, and gives the easiest three point sermon I know, that was in my inbox just when I needed it.acrostic-poem-faith-bible-web-1sam.30.8

 

Pursue.

Overtake

Recover All.

Amen and Amen!

Image courtesy acrostic.me

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Sabbath Sunday: Full of Fog with Glimpses of Beauty

Posted by Julie on October 21, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Nature, photography, Sabbath Sunday |

Each Sunday I post my own amateur nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you.

This isn’t the best picture, but it’s a typical fall morning.

Full of fog with glimpses of beauty.

Is that where you are today? Can’t figure out the literal season you are in–unable to even take two steps forward because it is so murky?

Been there.

As confusing as it is, there are glimpses of beauty in the fog. They aren’t the answers, but to me, signposts. Little encouragements you haven’t been forgotten. You’re on the right track. Keep up those baby steps, the clearing will come.

What beauty are you missing that is your signpost? A chubby, sticky toddler finger grasping yours? A beautiful pumpkin and mum spread as you walk by? The aroma of an apple pie from a loved one’s kitchen?

God’s little love nudges are so simple I know I miss many of them.

I hope you find some beauty in the fog today.

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Sabbath Sunday: Full of Fog with Glimpses of Beauty

Each Sunday I post my own amateur nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you.

This isn’t the best picture, but it’s a typical fall morning.

Full of fog with glimpses of beauty.

Is that where you are today? Can’t figure out the literal season you are in–unable to even take two steps forward because it is so murky?

Been there.

As confusing as it is, there are glimpses of beauty in the fog. They aren’t the answers, but to me, signposts. Little encouragements you haven’t been forgotten. You’re on the right track. Keep up those baby steps, the clearing will come.

What beauty are you missing that is your signpost? A chubby, sticky toddler finger grasping yours? A beautiful pumpkin and mum spread as you walk by? The aroma of an apple pie from a loved one’s kitchen?

God’s little love nudges are so simple I know I miss many of them.

I hope you find some beauty in the fog today.



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