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1

Saturday Confession: No Substitute Will Do

Posted by Julie on June 20, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession |

I dread this task more than anything.

Lab work for our youngest.

We’re a family full of hard draws and she’s a kid that needs consistent lab work.

But, Layla.

Layla is a tech that knows us and knows our daughter’s arms.

How it works. What works best.

And this week, Layla wasn’t there.

I told them all Layla’s tricks. They even called in a specialist. Brought in a special light.

And nothing worked.

Not like it did with Layla.

After many tries, a little girl being way braver than any kid should need to be and only a few vials full, I called it.

She was quickly becoming lifeless.

And it hit me.

A substitute will really be the death of us.

As news headlines introduce new groups proclaiming their saviors and celebrities giving themselves the same title and leaders letting us know they know the day the world ends—

I tell you the truth, these are substitutes.

And we need to turn and run far away from them.

Am I saying Layla is our savior?

No, silly. She’s a great tech and because of her and her knowledge of our daughter, I’m done toying around. If she isn’t there, no lab work. Not until we have Layla.

But what I am saying is watching the consequences of allowing a substitute to do what only the master can do is heart wrenching. There’s no happy ending there.

I have a friendship with the original, the real deal, the only one I want guiding me through the easy stuff and the valley days where blood draws take the life right out of you. The One that’s got my hand, my kid’s veins and our futures in view.isaiah43_11-12

The Christ that dripped vials and vials for my bad thoughts, misdeeds and everything inbetween. He came once as a babe in a stinky barn and few understood. Next time He’ll be back as King of Kings and everyone will get the message.

But few will choose to receive it.

I tell you what, after opting for a substitute, I couldn’t run back to the original fast enough.

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Thankful for Life by Eleanor Gustafson

Thanksgiving blog

 

I’m dying. But let me quickly add, so are you. I, perhaps, sooner than you, but we just don’t know, do we? Teenagers rarely think about dying, but maybe fewer of them would do crazy stuff if they did think ahead a bit. The older you get, though, the reality settles more readily on your shoulders. Do I fear death? No. And I will never to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent it. I know where I’m going and am longing for the loving embrace of my Savior.

 

Knowing that my expiration date is predetermined, I am moved to give thanks for whatever bit of life I have left. What am I grateful for?

 

  • A husband who happily drives me wherever I need/want to go. I can manage church and groceries, but driving myself on longer runs would likely hasten my demise.
  • Electricity for light and cooking, to say nothing of the plug-in mattress pad that warms our very cold bed.
  • The colors of fall that temporarily mask the long winter ahead, and conversely, the more gentle hues of spring that tack promise onto cold that doesn’t want to let go.
  • The loving bonds of family and friends.
  • Interesting interactions at church, such as a recent conversation with a stranger about snakes and wolves.
  • The gift of books and the ability to add a few of my own to the stack.
  • Art and music that startles and stretches and adds a whole different dimension to my inner life.
  • Times of prayer with those whose eyes turn easily toward the Lord.
  • The taste and feel of virtue while eating a square of 86% chocolate.
  • The sound of a warming stove fire in the room next to me, along with a full stack of firewood—courtesy of my accommodating husband, as mentioned above.

 

Please—take time to savor those little bits of life that come every day. They don’t tie us here, but they make the wait far easier than grumbling does.

 

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EKG listens at 50th_1_1_edited

 

Eleanor Gustafson

 

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True Value Isn’t Just the Name of a Hardware Store

Posted by Julie on July 11, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

I like my name in print.

Wait.

I like my name in bold print.

There was a time, that confession was so much more than that. Seeing my name in print was my marker on how well I was doing with my work. If my name or a project I was working on made the papers, I felt good about myself. If not, I felt like a failure.

That’s a seesaw way to live and not a very healthy one. If I had a psych degree I’d love to interview celebrities. I wonder how many struggle with the same value system, that they only succeed when they are known. I can tell you this, it wore me down fast.

There is a better way to live. My value long term couldn’t come from what I created but from my Creator. Big difference.

When I know I’m God’s daughter and a precious one at that, I still feel valued and special whether my name is in the paper or not. When I receive feedback that is filled with proverbial red marks or what feels like a verbal dress down, I own it for what it is. No longer do people’s opinions and the world’s rules own me.

Things that helped me in the process and still do today were of course Bible reading. I studied Song of Solomon as not just a look at marriage but a study on the faith walk between myself and Christ. I realized just as it says, “I’m dark but lovely.” I goof up and have many bad hair days. Still, God and His Son think I’m lovely. That’s value you can’t put a pricetag on.

I also am a Beth Moore study veteran. It’s a lot of work but I sacrificed TV time and other things that didn’t carry a lot of value to dive into those studies. I’ve done her entire Reflection series. If knowing who you are in God is a struggle for you too, consider her study called Believing God. It literally changed my life.

The John and Stasi Eldredge book Captivating also rocked my world in the best way. When you embrace the truth that as a woman you are God’s masterpiece and the crown of Creation, you’re going to walk a little taller. For the longest time I thought woman was created as a kind of oh, right, Adam needs someone. Here. Not so! We were the cherry on top. God put very special thought into each one of us.

I think my writing is taking a new direction because He’s rid me of nearly all the desire I had to see my name in print. I don’t envision my smiling face as a cardboard cutout promoting my books at your local store. If that happens, awesome. But I don’t need it. That makes all the difference.

My value is bold, but not a bold font, not anymore.

How about you? Where does your value come from? What people say about you?  The things you do? Buy? Where you work? Or, from your Creator?

 

True Value logo from photobucket

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The Father, Son, Holy Spirit and oh yes, the Smallville Finale

Posted by Julie on May 16, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Quite a blog title, isn’t it?  Head’s up, if you love the show Smallville and didn’t see the finale, I’m sharing tidbits from the episode.

This blog post started writing itself a few minutes into the two hour Smallville series finale Friday night. If you’ve read any of my writing over the years you know I’m a superhero fan. My husband is a Trekkie, I have friends who found revelation in the show Lost, others moved by Lord of the Rings. Well I’m the one that God can download His wisdom to me through a superhero movie (He showed me the power of unforgiveness through Spiderman 3) or  a TV show.

What did He show me?

The Father-—So much of the Smallville finale centered around the father theme. Clark Kent lost his adoptive father a few years back and felt the best way to move forward was to forget the past.  He chose to push away the relationship he had with his father. In addition, his adoptive father, Jor-El, was hard to figure out so Clark shut him out. During the finale Clark remembers Jonathan Kent and realizes he pushed both fathers away. He expresses sorrow to his adoptive father and confesses it’s too late to foster a relationship with his biological father.  Jonathan Kent gives great perspective into what is so true about us in real life (yes, I get superheroes aren’t real).

You can’t outrun your true Father. No matter how many times we mess up, rebel, ignore and neglect, one step towards our Heavenly Father and He is there. In the show Jor-El forgave and accepted his son immediately. No matter what your circumstances are with your Earthly father know that your Heavenly Father’s love knows no bounds.  Turn to Him today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Son—This gives me chills every time I think about it. The second half of the finale focused on a planet of sorts hurdling to Earth. I’m not strong in translating Sci Fi but really what was happening was darkness and evil were trying to invade Earth and destroy. The people of Earth needed someone to literally stand in the gap between Earth and evil to save them. Yes, in the episode that was Superman, embracing his destiny and saving the world. In reality, evil is already here and has been since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. We can’t avoid it, we are all sinners impacted by evil. Our finale has tragic results without the One standing in the gap on our behalf, separating us from evil.  Not Superman, Jesus. He literally laid down His perfect life to stand in the gap between our lives and destinies. He is the only way we’re saved. Want to know more? Click here.

The Holy Spirit—This aspect of the Trinity, all God and yet distinct (think of it like water: steam and ice are still water, just as God is also the Son and Holy Spirit) is the most understood. This is where I needed a book like The Shack because it helped me understand the Holy Spirit better. The Holy Spirit is your teacher and guide. He (not it) is your encourager and heart check. When you get that nudge about doing something good or realizing you’re real close to doing something bad it isn’t that cartoon devil and angel. It’s the Holy Spirit. In Smallville Clark had the fortress of solitude to escape and communicate with his Father. Many of his teachings came from Jor El bringing about bright light and exposing crystals containing training for Clark to see or experience. When I yield to the Holy Spirit that’s light for me because I’m learning and walking in His will.  He is not to be feared but to be sought.

A personal relationship with the Trinity—-In all my writings and trying to teach others about knowing Christ in a personal way and that doing so is the best decision to make ( life changing, although not easy) it was a Sunday School student who nailed it.  She told the class that she used to tell people she knew Justin Bieber, but she truly didn’t. If he walked by he would have no clue who she was even though she was aware of him. She really didn’t know him in a personal, direct way. Having a relationship with Christ gives you VIP access if you will to His Father and the Holy Spirit. There is a mutual relationship between you and God. He KNOWS you and you truly have a relationship with Him. I love that.

In the finale the most touching scene for me was the wedding aisle. Lois Lane is a lot of things, sassy, independent, a passionate reporter but she’s also insecure. She’s had a lot of rejection in her life and she has to surrender her entire life to the unknown by marrying Clark.  She knows she has baggage, maybe too much for Clark to want to commit to. Will he show?

Lois starts down the aisle, her own father not there. She looks ahead for Clark. He is not there. You can feel her heart break.

And then, comes an extended hand that takes hers. Clark knows her. He knows she really wanted someone to walk down the aisle with her. He was there. He didn’t fail, he didn’t run. He met her need.

That’s what God wants you to know. Like Jor El, He loves you enough to not just hand you your destiny but learn it. Like Lois He wants you to realize in every circumstance He is there holding your hand, especially when you can’t see Him. He knows you better than you know yourself. You are His bride, His all.

Smallville is over and it was a well written action packed, emotional finale.

But it is nothing compared to heaven or the journey God has for you right now through personally knowing Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If this knowing Christ is new to you and you’re not sure what to do and the link confuses you, feel free to e mail me at juliearduini@juliearduini.com. I’d be thrilled to help in any way I can.

 

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2

What If?

Posted by Julie on April 11, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

One of the books I’m reading right now is Beth Moore’s Personal Reflections Series on Paul and today I’m struck by Ananias. He is the man that Jesus in Acts 9 chose to share His message to the blinded Saul. When He got the assignment Ananias knew exactly who Saul was. This was a guy that came to town looking for Christians to kill.  Jesus wanted Ananias to talk to that guy?  Yep, Jesus did.

And Ananias obeyed.

That got me wondering, what if he said no?

What if the blinded Saul was taken to Ananias and the door promptly shut in Saul’s face? No message for Saul, no grace, no holy plan unveiled. Would Saul had ever been able to embrace God’s love if none was shone?

What about Mary?  Try being an engaged teenager where lack of purity means death and the Holy Spirit lets you know you’re going to be a mom. A pure mom. Of the Savior the Scriptures promised. I’m 41 and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t give a yes right away, if ever. That’s a pretty tall order. What if Mary said no? She could have aborted her own Messiah, and mine, and yours.

What if Mary Said No?

Over the weekend I read a lot of posts on Facebook and Twitter updates about the movie Soul Surfer based on Bethany Hamilton. What if after her accident Bethany decided to say no to trusting God further? What if she decided to be bitter and live out the life of a victim, something everyone would understand?

What if?

I sense today God is asking someone reading today to choose something today that He wants a yes answer to. Perhaps it is forgiving someone one more time for the same old thing that has gone on day after day (please don’t interpret this to mean any form of abuse, forgiveness and seeking help are two different matters) or saying yes to a job opportunity that means moving away from everything and everyone you know. What if you’re being asked to trust Him for something you can’t see around the bend for? Saying yes to a new ministry opportunity perhaps. Speaking a word of encouragement over a person like Saul might be your challenge today.

What if?

I believe a lie that is finally being found out is that God is a nebulous, shadowy figure that is too busy dealing with Iraq to care about you. That comes straight from the pit of hell. The truth is God is sovereign and He can handle Iraq and the second by second opportunities He’s showing your way. He wants relationship with you through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants to show you wonderful things about your life and for you to ask Him…what if?

If He’s asking you to say yes, seek Him hard (more than asking your friends or eating a bag of Oreos like I tend to do) and if that truly is His answer, take that leap.

Chances are, your obedience will change the Kingdom of God.

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Character Confession: I’m Intense with a Dash of Superficial

Posted by Julie on April 9, 2011 in About Me, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

For the prayer warrior life I’m slowly but surely allowing others to know is a bigger part of me than I’ve ever let on…

Because I’m no longer bound by the fear of what people might think of me….

Since I am a person yielded to surrender in Christ…

You need to read my character confession.

I can be unbelievably shallow and superficial.  The biggest confession regarding this is I am absolutely feeling pangs of grief because…um…Smallville is ending.

I know, the show on CW about Clark Kent transforming into Superman. I’m telling you now, I’ll absolutely cry when the finale airs.

Character Confession: Lost

I know this because I cried during the first two Superman movies and although Ididn’t love it, I probably did during Superman Returns. I nearly turned down dating my husband because I didn’t want to miss an episode of Lois and Clark. When we created a birthing plan I wrote out that I wanted to give birth with the Superman soundtrack in the background.

So for a pretty intense person, I’m not just superficial, I’m feeling lost. Because of a TV show completing a decade run.

Most people assume I love the Superman genre because I’m a sucker for tall guys with black hair and blue eyes.  Well years ago I would have been the president of that fan club but my husband is about my height with brown eyes and no black hair. I honestly think I’m a sucker for a pioneer story.

You know, someone who has to surrender to something bigger than himself and always make the right choice. Someone that wants so much for people to live free he aches. That he’s booksmart and misunderstood, not very coordinated and a loyal family man.

There is also the veiled references about Superman being a Savior, a son to a father. A hero who saves. Although I’m not on board with that as Clark Kent/Superman made mistakes and chose sinful things, I get it. We’re all looking for a hero.  As the Smallville theme song starts out the lyrics are, “Somebody save me…”

Every day my heart beats for the world to say the same and that if God would choose, that I could point them the way to the real Savior, Jesus Christ.

But one hour, once a week until May I also found entertainment from a show based on a teenager/young man living in Kansas trying to find his place where he is in the world, but not of it.

Going to miss that show…



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