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What 47 Looks Like on Me

Posted by Julie on April 8, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been doing this a few years, post-birthday, sharing where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I hope to go.

How 47 Looks On Me

I have to say, 47 is weird. It’s a stone’s throw to 50, and wow, that’s an age I never gave a lot of thought to as a college student. That seems like yesterday.

One problem.

My SON is the college student, not me.

In fact, I just got notice my college reunion, #25, is this year.

Wow.

It’s a year where two of our children, Tom’s first two that I met when they were 12 and 10, are expecting sons this summer. We’re going to be grandparents. Yet, we have a middle schooler. And honestly? I relate more to teens than senior citizens. I’m eligible to be in the senior group in less than 10 years. And I just can’t see myself jumping all in for that. But the youth conferences I’m invited to attend as part of the adults helping out? I love it. Love it.

Weird.

I have to color my sassy red hair monthly, but if I felt it were safe and I had that kind of money, it could be every other week. Red is hard to maintain, but what it covers is white. Snow white. And I am NOT going there just yet.

If ever.

But 46 was a stumble, if not all-out free-fall in confidence. Menopause has been part of my life for years, thanks to surgery. Something about 2016 was a marker for everything to flip on me. Waking every hour. Volcanic temperatures. Voracious hunger. Mood swings I had not had in years. Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain.

So entering 47 is with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, an endocrinologist helped get my health straightened out and I feel a lot better. But a tiny part wonders if it is short-term. There are times emotionally I feel completely fragile, and I hate it. People need me. And I don’t like spiraling out with no reason except hormones.

Yet, in those tears and exhaustion, so much happened that was GOOD. Our oldest son of the four kids got married to a wonderful woman. Our son graduated from high school and started pursuing education at Kent State. I started my own writing and speaking business/ministry. In three months I released two books in both print and eBook form. Now my hormones rebelling makes more sense…

It’s in writing I feel I’m on more stable ground. When I questioned God if I was doing the right thing, it was at 3:23 in the morning I woke and knew I was supposed to open my Bible to Colossians 3:23.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

I feel free from numbers. Where my books rank. How much money they generate. I want to see readers living free in Christ. This 47th year I am on track to finish my first contemporary romance series with ENGAGED and start the first of six book in my new series about surrendering what others think. I’m not scared. I’m excited.

I take into 47 an amazing piece of wisdom my pastor shared when I doubted I could survive the stress and changes. He told me to picture an arch, and imagine Jesus on the other side. As long as I stayed on one side and Him on the other, a million tons of stuff could be on that arch and it would not break. That held true through all the things I mentioned, plus much more I have not.

It is true as I’ve watched the kids grow in Him through their personal valleys I know all too well: rejection. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Doing the right thing and feeling completely alone. Their pain has been the most devastating thing to observe and feel so helpless. Yet, we’ve had the deepest most intimate prayer times we’ve ever had. In those times, God revealed so many awesome things. Messages of hope. Encouragement. That they are not alone. They are deeply cared for.

I’m 47 and full of hope for the world and people around me. Not because of the election results or new administration, but because there are so many promises I’ve prayed and prayed and believe breakthrough is close at hand. For our family. Friends who are hurting. Ministries that are 1000% ready to give all God asks of them, and have 1% provision as far as the world sees. I don’t know how or when, but I know it’s close.

And I guess to sum it up, it’s the same two words I’d use for turning 47.

I’m ready.

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Saturday Confession: When Did That Happen?

Posted by Julie on July 25, 2015 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession |

Feelings of failure loomed late night as the large ice cream cake I bought didn’t fit in our freezer. I didn’t think the fridge would work. I  threw an ice sleeve and ice in a freezer bag with the cake and hoped for the best.

When I presented the cake, it took a gasp of air and collapsed into a pile of peanut butter goo.

My husband asked why didn’t I cut the cake up and put that in the freezer?

I almost graded my parenting based on that melted cake.

But I looked over and watched him share with his friends and girlfriend.

The laughter.

Recalling moments in NYC where they served with the NYC Dream Center.

His second year.

Then I realized he’s filling out a job application.

Making plans for his senior year

And beyond.

When did that happen?

Wasn’t he the kid that tried to make his entry at 32 weeks?

Then decided to stay put until surgeons intervened?

Wasn’t he the one banging his head as a toddler when he was mad?

Or luring his aunt into his room to play and keeping her there for hours?

Asking for kinne and fries, agpa and his dog, kissiwa?

Wasn’t he just in first grade drawing a picture of a little boy crying with a U-Haul because we’d moved to Ohio hours before?

When did it happen that he got braces?

Then glasses?

Then another set of braces?

And many more pairs of glasses?

Didn’t he just pick percussion as his choice for elementary band?

Wasn’t he the kid that nearly passed out in a spelling bee?

When did that happen that he was in middle school?

Weren’t we just whining that we hate science fairs?

Wasn’t she just introduced to us as his friend that we knew he liked?

Didn’t he just attend high school orientation?

How can it be he’s going to be in his brother’s wedding when he was just in his sister’s?

Melted cake, you can’t kill my joy.

I’m celebrating.

Even though I keep asking when did that happen?

 

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I Have a New Title…

Posted by Julie on July 22, 2011 in About Me, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Mom of teenager.

At officially 4:12 p.m.

It’s a whole new ballgame from the first school years and brings new victories and challenges. I don’t enter this stage with fear but the peace of God not just on me, but him. I felt early on the time to train him in things of the Lord was early. I knew if I waited until he was a teen, it would be too late.

He’s a kid that signed up for Compassion on his own and chose Burkina Faso because he knew it was a high HIV area. He’s the kid that started to cry the night we moved to the area because a man stopped me in the parking lot at night and asked for directions and I explained I didn’t know where anything was. He felt bad for the man.

He’s a typical teen in a lot of ways, games, gadgets and girls are on the radar but they don’t own him.

He’s a kid that at five years of age was praying for the elimination of communism in China.

 

 

He’s a keeper.

 

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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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Faithful Bloggers Group Writing Project: That Saturday

Posted by Julie on March 28, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

This post is part of a group writing project Courtney is hosting at Faithful Bloggers. Anyone wishing to can write on a verse/topic regarding Jesus’ death, burial or resurrection and then share a link in her comment section.

That Saturday

Matthew 27 (verse from BibleGateway.com)
The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

I don’t know if it’s a writer thing or just a curious Jesus girl thing but I’d like to know about Saturday.  We have details about “Good” Friday where Jesus was crucified. We know all about Resurrection Friday.

So, what do you think Saturday was like?

Matthew 27:62-65 gives us a glimpse and if I close my eyes, I can picture the scene.  Those that loved Jesus are devastated and confused. Those that hated him are giving shouts of celebration and recounts of key moments. Government officials are proud, they took down the biggest threat to their government with no fight from this so called king.  Barabbas?  The real criminal? I imagine he’s overwhelmed with ideas on what to do with his new freedom.

All of them, I can guess, are spending Saturday with one eye over their shoulder.

Haunted.

Scared.

Anxious.

Sick.

I bet they all see shadows even in the peek of daytime that cause them to stop everything and look, wonder. Pilate and his officials took tentative steps all day. When Pilate brought a chalice to his lips I’m sure his hand shook. The guards around the tomb exhausted in half the time it usually takes. The mental strain of waiting on the promises will do that.

Barabbas starts dozens of plans to satisfy self but can’t complete one evil idea. He knows where he belongs and he can’t shake it. For all the open spaces and freedom he slinks in a corner, the tomb in view. He wraps his knees to his chest and rocks back and forth. The same position he had in prison.

The devil paces back and forth, anxiety quadrupling with every step and hands over his ears. His minions keep repeating what he already knows.

What about the third day?

He knows God’s word, he just twists it, but he knows. And I suspect he can’t enjoy his victory because he knows it is short lived.

Heaven is muted. A sense of grief and confusion weaves throughout the streets of gold. Something is in the works.  But what?

God hid His usual palette of color and painted a bleak gray scene for the world to interact in that Saturday. Shadows and phantom voices stalked everyone who ever heard of or knew Jesus. Anxiety and fear reigned. Guilt and accelerated exhaustion flooded thoughts, plans and celebrations.

That is what I think happened that Saturday.

How about you?  What do you imagine happened?


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Character Confession: The Fragrance Called Mercy

Posted by Julie on March 26, 2011 in Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

He was three months old when we dedicated him, a commitment as parents to raise our son in an environment that models Christ. We were new to that particular church and after the service a man stepped forward and let us know as we prayed, he “saw” our son in a snapshot of sorts, and he was preaching.

That was an encouraging vision but through the years we’ve relied on God to guide us in all the plans He has for our now almost teen. When I pray I often have the words “a modern David” in mind because as flawed as I found David, he remains for all of history a “man after God’s own heart.”

Our guy who resembles that statement blew me away this month. Seventh grade is hard on so many levels. It’s an academic challenge yet his grades excel. Junior High is when changes happen—socially, physically and often spiritually. He’s dealing with all these things, trusting God to show Him the way. There have been great days and days so devastating I thought I’d go to school and sit by him all day to ensure no one mess with him.

God has a better plan than that.

Recently he had an upsetting experience. Some hurtful words were directed his way and he also overheard statements that disrespected elders. These things were becoming a habit and it was starting to affect his day. We talked, agreed on a course of action, and the school was notified. The lines of communication were quickly opened to include everyone.

In a short amount of time an apology was given. More than that, an explanation. Turns out what I tell others played out here: wounded people wound people. A great kid who tried reaching out couldn’t take the rejection and decided to join the crowd and say what too many kids speak so freely. His parents had no idea the hurt he was hiding and the direction he was taking. In minutes the boy was repentant and the family committed to work together to work it all out.

One variable stood in the way.

Our 12 year old.

This One is a Young Man After God's Own Heart

The neatest thing happened. He literally stood. He stood and faced the family and defended their son, the same child that only a day before devastated him with words. He explained how hard it must have been to reach out and not receive anything in return. He agreed with their son how hard it is to keep a Christian stand, even in a Christian school.

Then he forgave. Without hesitation.

Then he made sure everyone knew about this boy, the truth about him. That he is so much more than the words they heard, he was a neat kid worth knowing. And whether or not anyone else was going to try, our son was going to befriend this kid.

And he has.

In return, the boy went to every student in class and asked for their forgiveness.  Do you know adults who would be that strong? I was in school a lot this week and came across this boy often. He came up to me immediately and asked for my forgiveness.

Then he hugged me.

Mercy.

It’s not just a Southern expression, it was a fragrance that permeated my week.

Mercy.

Will you operate in mercy this week?



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