Surrender fear, loss, & Change with Julie Arduini

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1

Thankful Series Kick-Off: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by Julie on November 1, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Hi! Remember me? I’m the author of this blog. It’s been so long I feel like I need to re-introduce myself. I look like this:

 

This blog was my first, my baby, the one writing vessel I clung tightly to as I sought publication. In the last couple years as I followed God’s call to have my own writing and speaking ministry (and released four books,) this little blog hasn’t featured my own voice for a long time.

 

And I hate that.

I miss it.

 

I hope to catch you up with this post, and most importantly, kick off what I think might be the 10th year of the thankful series here at juliearduini.com. Each November I hand the blog over to anyone wishing to share why they are thankful. There are some great guest bloggers lined up with amazing gratitude. I don’t know about you, but I feel this is a critical juncture at this time, in this world.

 

I need to hear positive words. Encouragement. Affirmation. Thankfulness.

 

Why not start here?

If you aren’t subscribed to the blog, click to the right sidebar and you will be able to receive the posts to your inbox. You don’t want to miss the thankful series, trust me!

 

This year hasn’t been horrible, but it’s been hard. I figured I’d be thankful for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

Let’s go.

 

THE GOOD

  • We have two grandsons! They both live in the same state (sadly, not the state we live in,) and are very close in age. It’s going to be so much fun watching them grow up together.
  • Our daughter is thriving. She has braces, she is on student council, and bouncing back after a brutal 7th grade experience.
  • Our son is doing well as a sophomore at Kent State. This semester he’s 100% online, and that’s been such a blessing for me with various projects.
  • We have a wonderful family living in our rental property. God did an amazing thing orchestrating it.
  • I finished the Surrendering Time series, and am grateful for the readers who have been transformed by the surrender messages.
  • I received an invitation to join Inspy Romance, and love being a monthly blogger with them.
  • I created a community of encouragement called 180 Encouragements. For us, we pick a slip each school day and start it with words of life. It’s also for anyone else to take the images/words and encourage someone else.

THE BAD

  • My word for the year is transformation and I never thought I’d see so much change hit so fast and hard. Our son saw so much change with friendships, school, and work. What was hard to watch was knowing he’d done all the right things. It was Christ refining him, growing him. As a mom, it was tough to observe.
  • As I mentioned, our daughter did not have a great 7th grade year. Like her brother, she was doing the right things and there were key people around her who destroyed the joy she so naturally carried.
  • Car repairs. My husband’s retirement was on the table as something to talk about with a timeline. Then the transmission on his car went. The repairs were crushing. Our son’s car had a major repair that was a fire hazard, and the dealer really could have cared less when I brought it to their attention, making us pay $200 more than they quoted, and that quote was outrageous. Retirement? We can’t even afford for him to talk about it anymore.
  • We had a situation where we trusted and got burned. It was a financial gift that was a sacrifice for us that cost us thousands in the end. More than that, it paralyzed us from trusting for a bit. It forced us to work on restoring property we didn’t have time or money to invest, but we had to. Things we lent that were nearly or brand new were lost or destroyed.

THE UGLY

  • Not even a week into the new year and we learned that our friend’s three year old daughter was taken from them through the actions of a refugee who received her license although she can’t speak or read English. Before this tragedy, she had already been cited for driving down the wrong way. In this instance she hit both the girl’s father, and the girl, while her friends from pre school witnessed it. The driver was not cited, and last I knew, has her license and is still driving. I don’t want to be political, but I will be real—this aspect of the refugee debate has not been discussed, and it is a real issue. No one should have to attend a funeral for a child. No. One.
  • All the changes with the kids took me to a new place I had not known outside of hormone imbalance, anxiety. I feared new situations for them and wanted to be one step ahead. I wanted to take their pain and wrap it in a ball and throw it all away. I yearned to talk to the people who hurt them, intentional or not, I wanted to have the last word. I was exhausted even after sleeping, craved sugary foods again, and felt like I backtracked in health progress from last year.
  • So many tragedies this year. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Terrorism. Division. Ugly isn’t a strong enough word.

It’s hard to be thankful for the bad and the ugly, but as much as I can be for these hard and even terrible things, I am. With the kids, I had to lean on God and trust Him. Instead of acting on my temptations, I was able to wait on God and watch Him work wonders. And He is. I still have a quick seize of fear when something new or shocking comes our way, but my time is shorter in surrendering that fear to Him instead of trying to tackle it for myself.

With our friends, they are grieving, understandably. I am thankful to see they have a very strong support system. They created a page on Facebook encouraging people to do acts of Kindness in Regan’s memory. Their goal is for her not to be forgotten. There is also space dedicated to Regan at The Wild Animal Park in Chittenago, New York. Families can now have a seat and photo opportunities at a place Regan loved. Many people came together to make this happen. Recently, people are painting rocks and hiding them as another way to honor and remember her. These are ways to make the goal a reality, and help her family.

These days, it’s hard to be thankful. I haven’t met anyone this year who has boasted of a perfect life. There is hurt and hardship everywhere. Thankfulness makes a difference and is a choice. I pray the posts throughout this month lift you up.

Just like you have for me.

 

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1

Saturday Confession: The Leprosy Inside Me

As I write this, I’m looking at the clock, wishing for time to move faster. I have a doctor’s appointment and for once, I can’t wait to get there.

I have poison ivy.

With a new house and lots of landscaping and woods comes stuff I can’t identify. My gloves get hot and sometimes things were so solid in the ground I needed bare hands to get a grip. When I first started getting bumps and itching I thought honestly it was from the cat and his fleas.

Yeah, this is an attractive post.

That story is the cat ran off into the woods and brought back a horrible flea infestation. Room by room I cleared it up but the cat still had fleas. Until I bathed him. I figured it was the cat getting revenge on me.

But at the chiropractor he saw my arm and told me I had poison ivy. It all made sense. I used creams, Benadryl and allergy meds and in time, they faded away.

Until I went back to landscaping. I thought I missed anything itchy, but apparently not. It’s back with a vengeance and spreading.

I looked at the map of bumps and realized how ugly it is. Our daughter, not one to mince words, let me know how scary my arm looks and I should basically hide in a closet until it passes. She was nicer than that, but it got me thinking.

About people with leprosy. I’ve never met anyone, but I know people who traveled on missions trips who served with those affected. I’ve seen the pictures. And I get why in Biblical times they were shunned. People didn’t understand, and what they saw wasn’t pretty. They figured they must have sinned and this was their lot in life.

That hurts more than my poison ivy.

And I kept thinking. What if people could read my thoughts? You want to talk ugly. The world has us trained to circle around the pretty people and pay no mind to their brokenness. A wounded life is an ugly problem, so the world doesn’t want us to see that. But when my arm is clear from poison ivy, I have to be real—

My mind is as ugly as poison ivy. As a tumor. As leprosy.

I’ve been extra vulnerable this year. Mid life crisis, spiritual warfare, or what I suspect, God growing me through a season, there were times my mind wandered into some dangerous what if’s.

But I didn’t have poison ivy on the outside so I continued to be  accepted.poisonivy_edited

The worst thing we could do is keep those thoughts churning. I realized pretty fast I had to take each and every thought to Christ. I dove harder into the Bible and started taking Bible studies on my own. The last thing I needed was for my thoughts to spread into action. I’ve seen that tragedy play out too many times.

Just like with the poison ivy, I know when to admit I need help and call in for a master on the subject.

My challenge question is, do you?



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