I was just your average, loud, fun-loving little girl with dreams of making my mark on the world. As a middle kid, I figured out ways to mix into most groups and make friends with everyone. But it wasn't until I started walking around the corner from our house-in-the-country to a little (and when I say little, I mean wee-little-teeny-tiny) Baptist church for their summer Vacation Bible School that I really found my place. After that summer I never missed a Sunday, and it wasn't long before I heard a message so simple that I was changed forever. I understood for the first time that although I was only 9 years old, I could never do anything or say anything that could undo my sin-nature. I was awakened to life by the love and grace of my Father God through the love sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.
Within a few years, I realized that the passion of my heart was sharing this life-changing message with others. I realized that the personality, abilities, and gifts that were uniquely "Julie" were not meant to bring attention to myself and make my mark on the world, but for God and to make Him known to the world.
Growing up in the small but mighty town of Leonard, TX, you would not have been more surprised than I to find out that I would move to Chicago, IL for college and make my young adult life there. Even though I had no big-city aspirations, that is exactly what happened. I was accepted to the well-respected Moody Bible Institute as a freshman just after high school, so I packed my stuff, sold my car, and off I went! Little did I know the journey that would lie ahead and the twists and turns that my ministry voyage would take.
At the end of my freshman year of college, I had met the man who my soul loved and with whom I would spend my life. It was no surprise that with this new "distraction" and the fact that I was heavily involved in ministry at my church, school took a backseat. I was always motivated and desired to learn, but not always so motivated to actually do assignments! After my sophomore year, Riaz and I became engaged and I accepted a position with Metro Chicago Youth for Christ as their Northwest Chicago Campus Life Director. This first ministry job was a great learning experience and I loved many aspects, but I was truly in over my head! What a big transition those early years of my twenties were! New married life, ministry job, moved out of state for a new venture with hubby, new MOMMY life, two years of awesome work with at-risk teens in group home environment, and then back to Chicago! Whew! It wasn't long before I realized that as passionate as I was about ministry, my first and primary ministry was to my husband and to that sweet little boy that God had put in our care!
Now I am no longer in my twenties and we have not one, but THREE sweet little boys and I absolutely LOVE being their mother! Motherhood is the greatest challenge and biggest blessing of my life. It's interesting to realize that aside from any personal goals or pursuits that I may strive for, pouring into their lives the Love, Grace, and Truth of the Gospel overshadow all else. They are so different and it is amazing seeing the little people that they are, but oh so humbling to realize that God is growing them into men. They will lead and guide their families some day by His grace. And it is with that in mind that every step of my days are set on God's purposes and desires. This season of life is full of lots of laughter, boy noises, chicken nuggets, and Calgon (take me away!), but I wouldn't change a thing...except a few of the boy noises...ahem.
I recently returned to school to finish my degree. I still have this love/hate relationship with school...love the knowledge, hate the work! But I am very close to completing my BA in Psychology with an emphasis on Christian Counseling at Trinity International University. Through this, I have developed a passion for writing and discovered new avenues of ministry that I had sensed in the past but have had confirmed in recent years. I have had opportunities to learn from some really amazing teachers both at Trinity and otherwise and have learned much about myself, others, and this world we travel which isn't our own. I hope to continue writing and enjoy the opportunities that come about to teach and speak to other women about what I have learned along the way.
As long-winded as that was, it only scratches the surface. I'll move along for now, but would like to say that I am thankful that you have decided to stop by and read this little blog. I hope that my words can be encouraging to you in your journey. I look forward to hearing from you as well. Feel free to comment anywhere you like. We're in this life together. It's amazing how He weaves us into one another's lives in varying and interesting ways. As a final word, there are very few things I can say with certainty. I encourage you to look to Him in your time of joy. Look to Him in your time of sorry. Look to Him in your time of greatest success. And look again to Him in your deepest valley. His Word will be the guide to navigating this life abundantly; that I know to be true.