Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now Rejoice: Julie's Story

Hey guys, My name is Julie and I blog over at From Awkward To ArtI am so honored that Brittany asked me to share my story on Now Rejoice!
A lot of times when I write and people ask to hear my story,
I tell the story of how I was raised in the church,
so I didn't really feel like I have a story. So I instead go to a recent experience of God helping out of a very long season of depression.
But the truth is we all have a story.
And today I am going to tell you that first moment I became this girl I am today. A part of my story I have never talked about in blog world.
When I was 19, I had been out of school for over a year, but I had no desire to go to school beyond that. So I just worked.

About a year into it I went to a youth conference, you may have heard of it... called Acquire The Fire. Being raised in a preachers home, I had actually been to several of these youth conferences throughout my teen years and had always enjoyed them.
Every year they would show videos of their Global Expeditions. A part of their organization that took teenagers across the globe to over like 18 countries every summer to share the love of Jesus with people of other nations. That year, because all I was doing was working, I felt like I was doing nothing with my life. So I decided this would be the year I would go. Yes, I was going to travel the world
all by myself with a bunch of teenagers I did not know.

And I did. I went to Albania. The experience of traveling through Italy and to Greece in itself was amazing. I met new friends. I encountered a new culture. 
I learned of these people who had recently come out of communism at that time. Who were so grateful, and loved the Lord so much, and didn't take for granted their new found freedom in serving God. They were unashamed in sharing the gospel. I mean, even the teenagers were. They were our interpreters and had no fears or hesitation in approaching people with the story of Gods love.
I can't say how much that made an impact on me. How much it moved me. I remember coming home that year and going "up north" to visit my relatives with my mom. My mom grew up on an Indian Reservation. So, yes, I am Native American. One thing I got used to over the years is hearing the continual stories of people my moms family 
knew dying in car wrecks, becoming alcoholics, this person was in jail, that person just commit suicide, just a lot of horrible situations these people on the reservation came across on a very continual basis. I always wondered why.
Were they a product of their environment? Was it poverty, boredom of living in a small town, lack of Godly spiritual influence? 
I never understood it, but as I grew up I learned that it wasn't just the reservation she grew up on, Native Americans as a whole seemed to bound by much of these types of things. Anyways...one day we were up north in my moms hometown and we were driving...and we came across someone that she knew and he was walking on the side of the road.
She picked him up and he wreaked of alcohol and looked sad and sickly and weak.
I was just a young girl, and although I had heard stories of alcohol related accidents
and disease and such, it was really never apart of my life.
It shocked me, it made me sad to see him look this way. 
So given over to a life that had no hope.
I remember after she dropped him off, there was a song playing on the radio.
It was by an old Christian rock band called Petra. 
The Lyrics said "We are strangers. We are aliens. We are not of this world." And I remember just busting out in tears.
I remember thinking how different our lives were.
 Thinking how do people live this way?
This isn't normal. At least to me it wasn't. This isn't happy.
And that week, I was praying and I said "Lord, give me a heart of compassion. I want to see people the way you see them. I want to hurt for them. I want to love them the way you do."
That moment was the beginning of who I am today, why I blog the way I do.
When I see people that are bound with depression or addictions, when I see their families hurting as a result, when I see people shoving God out of their life, sometimes purposely, sometimes not even realizing it, my heart aches for them. Because I know it will only end up in confusion or heartache for them.
My heart aches for God as he must want so badly to help them. I truly believe that moment was a defining moment for my life. Why I think and talk and act the way I do today. That moment had an eternal impact on my life and will forever move me to love people, tell them the truth that can only set them free.
Sometimes, people don't want to know the truth. I know there have been times where I didn't, but truth & hope in God is the very literally the only thing that can help and set people free.
That moment moved me to forever be that vessel that God can use to reach people and help people. After seeing how excited those Albanian christians were to serve God and tell others about Jesus, how could I just sit by having all the freedom in the world to do so, and let my world, the people I came in contact with, how could I let everyone just hurt and be lost in confusion without hope when I know the truth?  Up until I started my blog,  I never realized the impact even just having compassion on other people's stories and sharing my own story could have on people. And I am forever grateful and do rejoice that I can share my ups and downs, trials and errors, and still be able to glorify God and direct people to Jesus in all that I do and say!

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Romans 10:14


  1. AHHHHH!!! I can totally relate to this post. I went to India when I was 21, and THAT was the moment that the Lord really opened my eyes to things that were going on around me. I too am Native American, and I can agree on the weird "curse" that seems to follow them around. My tribe is centered around a small town here in NC, and it is highly saturated with alcohol, drugs, and horrible crimes.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story...VERY beautiful.

    1. so so glad it touched you girl. it is very heartbreaking. thanks for the encouragement~


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