King Of The Castle

Today a certain someone turns 6 months old.  Like WHOA.  How did that happen?!  Now that we're past the scary, angry baby part we are really, really starting to enjoy this babe.  He's just a bundle of joy.  His whole face lights up if Kell or I walk in a room and he's started reaching for us {heart. melt.}.  Such a little ham too.  And flirt.  And I just want to eat him up.  I'm totally that mom that goes to sleep looking at pictures of him on her phone and watching videos from the day.  I'm also mildly obsessed with dressing him.  This little onsie I stalked for ages until it finally went on sale {boom, ten dolla make me holla}.  And don't even get me started on his little sandals, that are a wee big but, gosh darn it, he has fat feet.  All around, we just love this little chunk so, so much.  How could you not!?
  {Also, the $11 shorts from Forever21...  I've worn them every day for the past week.  No lie.  Just wanted to confess that.}  Hope y'all have the happiest of Easter weekends.  Maybe I'll actually be able to get into a dress {come on bottle!}. ;)
 {Shirt J.Crew, Shorts F21, Boots Sam Edelman, Earrings Lizzibeth, Sunnies Zara
CK:  Onsie Baby Gap, Sandals Old Navy}

This past Sunday Pastor Duane {of The Resolved Church} was talking about Gospel Conversion and Paul's story {you can read or listen to the sermon HERE - as I did because let's be honest, I don't hear sermons in real time anymore ;)}.  How his story was a cut and dry, wham bam now I'm changed.  Pastor D challenged us to think more about our stories, and in light of Easter weekend, I thought I'd share mine.  

I'll be honest, mine is not a cut and dry, wham bam story like Paul's.  Duane was talking about how there are two types of sinners, the bad sinners {living the rebellious life} and the good sinners {thinking they can be good enough on their own}.  This isn't anything new, I feel like this topic has really been quite popular for the past 5ish years, but it's still so so relevant.  Especially for a people-pleasing, church-raised girl from the Bible Belt.  I remember asking Jesus into my heart at a young age, maybe second grade.  I just really remember I had a green velvet dress on {go figure}.  I grew up knowing exactly what was wrong and right.  I was petrified of doing wrong.  Of rebelling.  {But insanely jealous of my siblings who were brave enough to rebel a bit in their own ways}.  Of disappointing my parents and friends from church.  I became prideful in how 'good' I was.  During my senior year of high school, one day I spent my lunch break at the lake journaling, asking God to help me figure out the college thing.  I think that was the first time I'd ever had to make a big decision on my own.  And probably the first time I'd asked for God to help {other than a sports, test or boy related request}.  I remember realizing that I wanted Him to be in on ALL my life decisions.  {I think this may have also been when I decided I wanted to be a stay at home mom.  And yes, I was a little late for 6th hour.  Oops.}  Freshmen year of college I met some seriously cool non-Nazarenes who still loved Jesus {that was possible!?  ha} and I always had such a blast with them.  They just seemed free from all the rules and not constantly watching their every move afraid they were going to slip up.  I got a tattoo and pierced my nose {#sorrynotsorry Dad, love you}.  That was my stint of rebelling - although I still love my tattoo.  During my sophomore year of college I went through a fairly heavy depression.  It was like I couldn't please anyone anymore.  And I was sick and tired of trying.  But yet, I still wanted to find that favor from those same people I was tired of trying to please.  It wasn't until the summer before my Junior year - out of the Christian bubble, reading books like Ragamuffin Gospel and Blue Like Jazz and seeing a counselor that the depression began to lift.  I realized Jesus loved me exactly as I was.  Who I was.  Not who I was trying to be to measure up to all these expectations.  Junior year of college I went to Australia for a semester and met one of the closest friends I've ever had - if not the closest friend.  And guess what, not a Nazarene {ha}, but this girl loves Jesus in a way that is so contagious.  She had new thoughts on how to be a follower.  Thoughts I really found freeing and joyful and real.  After college I moved to Seattle to live with my sister.  Once I was 100% away from where I grew up, and the ideals within that, I really began to see who God truly was and who I was in Him.  I started going to Mars Hill  {dadadoooon} and was challenged every Sunday in ways I have never been challenged in my relationship with God before {I love that about Mark Driscoll.  Personally, I'm a fan of his bluntness and calling people out.  Every single Sunday there was something I realized I need to work out, but knew that I was still loved}.  It was a constant reminder not to be so legalistic or religious.  It was also in the first year of living in Seattle that I had my first glass of wine.  I went over to a unbelieving friend's house because she was going to dye my hair.  She offered me a glass and we sipped wine and had a real conversation about life.  When I got home I felt like I should feel guilty.  It took me a week {or month} to realize I absolutely didn't.   Flash forward three more years, January of 2011, I was in Hawaii waiting for my flight to leave, sitting on the beach by myself and God hit me like a wall, just giving me a glimpse of how great His love for me is, that He is with me, He will take care of and protect me and even knows my preferences {a beach, hello}.  I sat there and bawled, immersed in His love.  I feel like that beach-side moment was the completing of the circle.  Of really hammering home who my God is.  And I'll be honest with you.  In my religious, legalistic pride that still flares it's ugly head once in a while, I want to say that moment happened years and years ago.  That I'm so wise and have all kinds of experience - that I have it all together.  But that's one big fat lie.  I'm still figuring this all out.  But I know one thing.  I know who my God is and that gives me all the confidence and joy in the world.  And I wouldn't trade my story or experiences for anything.  I love it.  Even the hard, lonely and sad bits.  That my friends is what I celebrate on Easter - a God who is willing to die for me, yet so powerful He defeats death and rises again so that I might live - my God.


**I promise, the Nazarene world isn't terrible.  Every domination has it's ups and downs and legalistic side to it.  And the Midwest is a great place to raise a kid.  Simply put, my personality required me to get out.  To be forced to be on my own and make my own decisions.  And I kind of love that because I've learned so much about myself - especially the ugly bits, which in turns requires more of Jesus in my life - and to really, truly trust the Lord with everything.  To rest in that trust.**

3 comments:

  1. Amazing story Julie. I am actually tearing up a little bit because it is so,etimes hard as a mom of a newborn to always feel that love from God. But then, all of the sudden it seems to just hit me out of nowhere when I look at my little babe how blessed I really am! I'm so glad Clement is becoming more and more enjoyable! Makes me look forward to that stage.

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  2. Love this! It makes me just want to chat with you for hours about how great Christ's love and direction is. Miss you, lady!

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Thanks for the love!