Sunday, March 26, 2017

Are you looking for your Prince Charming? (The Lock & Key)


Recently I spoke to a group of middle/high school girls on a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  The title of my workshop was… “How to find your Prince Charming and keep him.”   We talked about how to find our “happily ever after” and how we can plan ahead now for an incredible future. 


I reminded them that it is the choices we make today that determines our future tomorrow.   We need to make wise decisions.  Our focus was concerning boys.   I had a lot of fun teaching.  Hopefully I was able to give the girls some things to think about.

I’ve taken this workshop session and broken it up into three different blog posts for you to enjoy.  If you missed the first two, you can check them out at the links below…

PART 1 (The List)
Part 2 (The Heart)

How can you find and keep your Prince Charming?
1.   Make a List
2.   Ready your heart
3….

RESERVE YOURSELF
Reserve means to hold back, hide away, or keep in a safe place.

I have a question for you.  If I could talk to you in person right now I would say, “I want honest feedback from you.”

How much of your future husband do you want him to SAVE or RESERVE for you?  (His kisses, cuddles, and snuggles… Do you want him to only hold hands with you?  What is okay for him give away and what should he reserve just for you?)

Of course he should SAVE it all, right?  We deserve that!  Well… with that in mind, let’s flip the coin.  I have another question for you.


How much of YOURSELF do you think your Prince Charming wants YOU to save for him? (Your kisses, cuddles, and snuggles.  What is okay to give away and what should you save back?)  

It’s a lot harder to answer that question when it’s pointed toward YOU, isn’t it?  Yep.  We expect A LOT out of our Prince Charming, but we struggle some what with the idea of SAVING anything for him.  Doesn’t our Prince Charming deserve it?  He sure does!

I heard a teen say recently (in regards to what she should save back for her future spouse) “Isn’t that what growing up is all about? …dating lots of guys, exploring, and all that?  It’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Really?!?  “It’s what you are supposed to do.”  I was shocked to hear her nonchalant attitude toward purity… reserving herself for her future spouse.  It was an afterthought.   She hadn’t even considered saving ANYTHING for him at all.  That’s sad. Unfortunately that mindset is prevalent in our culture.

I want to challenge single gals everywhere (and guys too if you are reading) to begin doing things differently as you think toward your future

YOU are worth the wait!!   …and so is your Prince Charming.  In case you didn’t know it, God has an amazing plan for your life.  He really does!  It’s an incredible future!

Jeremiah 29:11 says…
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (MSG)


God has plans for us and they are good, but sometimes our choices can lead us away from God’s BEST for us.


“Don’t throw purity out of the window when it comes  to waiting for 
God’s plan to unfold 
in your life.”



God wants us to lock our bodies away in a sense until our wedding day.  No sneak peaks, messing around, exploring our options, or living with our Prince Charming first to make sure we click.  Nope…We need to trust God completely! 



I don’t know about you, but we don’t give the key to our home to just anyone.  It has to be someone we really trust.  If the key to our home is THAT important wouldn’t you think the keys to our hearts would be more?

Our hearts are more valuable than our homes. 

I want to encourage you to do something crazy… RESERVE the key to your heart for Jesus alone until the day you get married.  Then on your wedding day, hand it over to your husband.

Whoever holds the key to your heart can unlock the door to your body… and that is something that should be RESERVED for after your wedding.

Determine from this moment forward that you are going to reserve it all for your future mate?

You may be reading this thinking… “I didn’t know any of this, nobody told me, now it’s too late!”  Some may have already reaped the consequences of not waiting or have some regrets.  I can’t change that for you, but what I can tell you is that you can start fresh today RESERVING and SAVING yourself from this day forward.

Which do you think your Prince Charming would rather hear? 
Nobody told me so I messed around and when I finally heard the truth it was too late so I just went with it.  Sorry.

Or… nobody told me so I messed up, but from the moment I heard the truth I saved it all for you.

I would say the latter.  It’s never too late for you to do things right.  We need to live differently than the world as Christians.

I John 3:1 says…
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 


We are CHILDREN of God.  If God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords then that means as children we are ROYALTY… Princes and Princesses.

Princesses do things differently.  It’s all over the movies.

1.  They TALK differently and so should we…

Luke 6:45 says…
“… it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” (NRSV)

If ugliness is inside of us, it will come out of our mouths for all to hear.
 
I can’t remember EVER watching a movie or reading a book about a fairy tale where a Princess cussed someone out, can you?  No way!  That’s crazy!   Princesses don’t act like that and we shouldn’t either, right?

We need to clean up our hearts so clean stuff will come out of our mouths.   Gossip, cussing, negativity, cutting down others, etc… they aren’t becoming of a Princess.   We need to TALK differently.


2.  Princesses DRESS differently and so should we…

Can you think of any fairy tale princesses that dressed scantly showing lots of skin to try to get the attention of her Prince Charming?  I can’t think of any (The little Mermaid doesn’t count… LOL).

We need to think about what kind of guy we want to attract by our clothing.  We need to dress like a Princess.  Don’t they have the MOST beautiful dresses!

We need to do a modesty check each day before we leave the house.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself… “Am I dressing like a Princess today?”  

We need to DRESS differently.



3.  Princesses BEHAVE differently and so should we…

Princesses understand that the choices they make today determine their future tomorrow.  That helps them make their decisions easier of where they go, what they do, and who they do things with.

You need to make wise decisions when it comes to YOUR behavior with guys… Use wisdom in WHERE you go, WHAT you do, and WHO you are with.

If your goal is SAVING yourself… which I hope it is, then you need to do things differently.  You may need to avoid different places like… his bedroom, dark places, or anywhere you can’t be interrupted.  You may need to find some safe things to DO that helps guard your purity.  Spending long hours in a dark car wouldn’t be one of them.  You may need to change WHO you invite to do things with you.  Some people will lead you to do things you never dreamed you would do.  Choose your friends well.  Remember God has an amazing future planned for you and you need to work to protect it.

We need to BEHAVE differently.

How much of yourself do you want to SAVE for your future husband?  
I hope it’s ALL of you.  He will be SO worth the wait!  I promise!!


No matter what your past looks like today concerning guys, I want to encourage you to START FRESH now preparing for your Prince Charming.  SAVE yourself… lock your heart and body away for that special day.  You will never regret it!

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie

Monday, March 13, 2017

Are you looking for your Prince Charming? (The Heart)

Recently I spoke to a group of middle/high school girls on a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  The title of my workshop was… “How to find your Prince Charming and keep him.”   We talked about how to find our “happily ever after” and how we can plan ahead now for an incredible future. 

I reminded them that it is the choices we make today that determines our future tomorrow.   We need to make wise decisions.  Our focus was concerning boys.   I had a lot of fun teaching.  Hopefully I was able to give the girls some things to think about.


This is Part 2 from that teaching…  Check out Part 1 HERE.

READY YOUR HEART
Somewhere out there YOUR Prince Charming is praying for YOU… his Cinderella.  I bet he is thinking about what kind of woman “he” wants to marry some day and is imagining what SHE will be like… what YOU will be like.

With that in mind, I have a question for you… What kind of woman are you planning to give your future husband?  What kind of woman will you be?  It can’t be all about how beautiful you are… which you are of course!!!!  There has to be more to you than that.  Think about it...

What does your heart look like on the inside?  Does it need some work?  Is it pretty?

“I think the MOST important thing you can do to prepare yourself
 for your Prince Charming is to place God at the
CENTER of your heart and keep Him there.”


I’m not talking about being religious or simply being good either… it’s about having a personal relationship with God.  It’s about YOU allowing God to have complete control of your life and asking Him to direct your steps… day by day.

When God is at the center of YOUR heart and He is at the center of your PRINCE CHARMING’S heart, then He will be at the CENTER of your marriage!  That is one marriage that will be solid to the core, growing stronger year by year.


MY MARRIAGE
My husband, Al Davis, and I have been married for 23 years now.  Having God at the center of each of our hearts personally and in our marriage has made all the difference.

We’ve been through some very difficult seasons in our marriage.  I have had some serious health issues and scares over the years which has created a lot of stress for us.  My husband has been amazing through it all.  He has carried me through, kept me focused on God, and stuck by my side no matter what life threw our way.  I am blessed!

He is an awesome man of God… a spiritual leader for our family with incredible faith that inspires us all.  He always keeps a smile on my face and makes my heart happy. My love for him has only grown deeper and stronger over the years.

Let me tell you a secret… When I met my husband way back in college he was on fire for God.  He LOVED God and everyone knew it.  There was evidence!  I observed his relationship with God (when he wasn't looking) and discovered it was real and personal.  I longed for what he had.

Do you want to know something else?  He’s the same person today as he was back then… well, maybe a little older.  God is STILL first place in his life (at the center of his heart)… which is awesome!  That means Al Davis, with God’s help will become the BEST person he can be.... giving me an even more incredible husband as the years go by as he stays connected to God.

The same should be true of me, right?  I need to have an on-going, growing relationship with God so I can become the BEST “Me” I can be for my Prince Charming.  He deserves that!

You need to make it your mission this year (for all you single ladies) to chase God MORE than you are any guys around you.  Be on the look out for those guys that love God and there is evidence to prove it.  They are treasures to be found!

I heard it said before that you should…

“Run as fast as you can towards God and if
someone keeps up, introduce yourself.”


Marrying a godly man makes a difference gals!  Don’t go for the guy who just goes to church or kinda lives for God.  Find the guy who is on fire for God!  He will be the one who STAYS on fire for God all throughout your marriage.  Godly men will treat you right... ladies.  They are worth the wait!

The man you marry some day needs to be as much in love with God as he is with you.  The same should be true for you...  YOU should love God more than any man in your life.  This won’t guarantee your marriage will be perfect, but it will guarantee your love will grow stronger as you continue to keep God at the center.


Let this be your goal…

“Your heart needs to be so hidden in God that 
a man has to seek Him just to find you.” 
 – Maya Angelou


How can you KEEP your Prince Charming when you find him?

Matthew 6:33 says…
“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants.  Then all your other needs will be met as well.” (NCV)

When God is at the CENTER of your heart and marriage, your man won’t be going anywhere.  Nobody will ever compare to the incredible woman you become with God at the center of your heart and life.
  

The best gift you can give your future Prince Charming is 
the BEST you that you can be… God at the center makes all the difference!  

If God isn’t at the center of your heart today, I challenge you to make some changes.  Talk to Him about it and commit your life to Him completely.  Tell a friend, get a Bible and start reading it (I like the New Living or New Century versions of the Bible.  The book of John is a great place to start reading.), find a church, and begin BECOMING who God created you to be today.  A life totally committed to God is a life you will never regret!

Be watching for the final post in this series coming soon (Part 3... The Lock & Key)

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Are you looking for your Prince Charming? (The List)


Recently I spoke to a group of middle/high school girls on a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  The title of my workshop was… “How to find your Prince Charming and keep him.”   We talked about how to find our “happily ever after” and how we can plan ahead now for an incredible future. 

I reminded them that it is the choices we make today that determines our future tomorrow.   We need to make wise decisions.  Our focus was concerning boys.   I had a lot of fun teaching.  Hopefully I was able to give the girls some things to think about.


Since this has been on my heart lately, I thought I would share it with YOU… my single lady friends.  I know you hate that word… “SINGLE”.  It’s not a bad word friend.  I see it as being “disconnected” from guys (for a season) so you can be fully “connected” to God…. not that guys are bad.  When you are FULLY connected to God, He can do so many amazing things in and through you like no other time in your life.  Savor those moments.

So here goes… Here are some of the secret truths I shared with the gals at my workshop.  I hope you will be challenged and blessed as you read.

Let’s dream a little bit.  Ten years from now where will you be?  What will you be doing?  How old will you be?  Will you be married?  Have kids?  Where will you live?  What will some of your accomplishments be?  What will be important to you?  Where will God fit into your life ten years from now?

For some of you these questions may have been hard to answer while for others it was a piece of cake.  The point in asking all theses questions was to get you thinking about your future.  God has an amazing future planned for you!  Do you believe it?  Well… He does!

Everyone wants to live “Happily Ever After”, right?  We all want to find and keep our Prince Charming, but how can we really do that?  I have a few ideas that may help you out as you are planning ahead.

MAKE A LIST
How can we find our Prince Charming?  Well, first we need to figure out WHO we are looking for.  What does your Prince Charming look like?  You can start by making a list of qualities you want in the man of your dreams.   Let me give you some ideas… tall, dark, handsome, strong growing Christian, perfect gentleman, funny, smells good, etc…

If you are currently dating someone, it’s going to be harder for you to make a dream list.  Do you know why?  Well, for some odd reason you might be a little biased.  This could alter your list.  Don’t worry, dating doesn’t disqualify you from the things I will be sharing about finding your Prince Charming.  There are still some things you can do to work on your list.  I will be sharing more on this later.

Once you have the majority of your list written, look it over.  Do MOST of these qualities have to do more with the INSIDE or OUTSIDE of your Prince Charming?  Which do you think would be more important?

I want to encourage you to do something crazy when it comes to looking for your Prince Charming with your wish list in hand.  Flip flop your search criteria.  Instead of focusing all on the outside, do the INSIDE OUT search.  Look at the hearts of prospective guys FIRST.

I Samuel 16:7 says… “People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (NCV)


What’s on the INSIDE of us matters!

But what about attraction and hotness… don’t they matter?  Of course they do, but not as much as what’s on the inside.  When the hotness wears off and what is on the inside shines through, what will you see?

Before I met my husband, I dated a lot of jerks.  For that reason, I chose to “observe” guys more from afar for awhile.  I observed my husband quite a bit.  I was trying to catch a glimpse of his inner qualities and heart without him knowing it.  I wanted to see what was really on the inside with out him trying to impress me and it worked!  

I found lots of godly qualities I liked... his passion for God, he was a person of integrity, he was kind and sweet, compassionate, full of life (joy), he forgave quickly and said he was sorry when something was his fault, he had a gentle spirit with me, he was giving, had a servant's heart, was bold, fearless, full of faith, and on and on. The inside out search I did reaped great results.  I was very pleased with this boy!

For those who are currently dating, I want to challenge you to OBSERVE… observe how he talks to his momma (it’s how he may talk to you some day if you get married.), observe what kind of people he hangs around, how he talks to others, what he talks about MOST, and what he likes to do in his free time.  These will give you glimpses into his heart.

My Story
Just after my senior year of high school, I was inspired to write my own wish list for the man of my dreams.  Actually I wrote it more out of offense than inspiration if you really want to know.

One Sunday I heard a bunch of younger girls at my church talking about how they had made “their” Prince Charming wish list at a slumber party.  I was a tad bit offended.  “…how dare they make a list about their future spouse when clearly I was closer to getting married than they were...”

That night I set a date with my best friend to have a slumber party of our own so we could make our own list.  My friend wrote out my list (while I daydreamed about it) and I wrote down hers.  We stayed up as late as it took to get everything written down.  When we were all done, I had a whopping 64 things written down on my list!!!  (I guess I was picky in my young age… LOL).  I later narrowed down my list to 50 things.  I used it as a guide to match prospective guys up to it using initials, fractions, and the date to camouflage true identities.

Later when my husband and I started dating seriously I matched him up to my list and you will never guess what he scored.   He scored 49 out of 50! What’s crazy is that it totally could have been 50 out of 50 easily… it just would have cost him a little money… LOL. 

As I was thinking about a potential future with Al Davis, God reminded me of something.  At the top of my wish list it said PERFECT” Spouse list.  God wanted me to know that He gave me everything I ever wanted in Al Davis, but I needed to remember that he wasn’t perfect.  This was one of the ways God confirmed to me that “HE” was the one for me.

I want to encourage you to MAKE A LIST and use it as a prayer guide for your future mate.

I started praying for my future husband my senior year of high school BEFORE I ever made a list.  I heard someone at my youth group mention how we should do it so I started.  I prayed God would protect him, keep him safe, and if he didn’t know God that he would be drawn to Him.  I prayed as God directed me. 

I found out years later when I met my husband that it was our senior year of high school (we are the same age) that he attempted to take his own life.  One night he had determined that he was going to drive his car over a steep ravine and end it all.  That night he set out to do it, but at the last minute he changed his mind.  He slammed his brakes and turned the car quickly leaving a huge mark on the side of his car from the side rail.  He instead drove to a church down the road, talked to a youth pastor there, and gave his life to God.  Thank you Jesus!  I honestly believe it was my prayers that made a difference that day!

What’s going on with YOUR Prince Charming?  What could you begin now praying for him about?  Start praying now for your future spouse.  Your prayers make a difference!  Mine did!   

Start looking around you for godly men with amazing hearts.  They are out there friends.  Do your search from the INSIDE OUT!  You won’t be sorry.

How can you find your Prince Charming… MAKE A LIST!  
Why don't you get your paper out and start writing now.


To find out more tips on "How to find your Prince Charming"... be watching for the next post coming soon (Part 2... The Heart).

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie

Monday, January 16, 2017

#THANKFUL

Today I visited my neurologist.  It felt like a visit, but it was really just a check up.  Before I left he introduced me to someone at the front as “the one who brings him chocolate.”  I asked… “Am I the only one who brings this to you?”  He paused for a minute, thought, and then said… “Yes.”

I admit it.  I do spoil my doctor with chocolate and a Diet Coke each time I have an appointment.  Why do I do it?  Well, because I am thankful. 

I’m thankful for all he does to keep me well.  When I first came to see him probably 8 years ago I was really bad.  I had no energy.  I was very weak and could barely walk or talk because of the autoimmune disease I struggle with (It’s Myasthenia Gravis for the curious ones).  In a month’s time after first seeing him, my life turned around drastically.  New medicines and procedures had made all the difference.  I was thankful!

On one visit with him some time in the past, I noticed he was having a bad day.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe too many complaining people were getting to him or he missed lunch… Who knows?  All I knew was that I was thankful and I didn’t feel like I was showing it. 


On that visit I asked the nurses what some of my doctor’s favorite snack and beverages were…I scribbled them down on a piece of paper and tossed it into my purse.  The next time I came in I was prepared to be thankful.  At that appointment I brought a special treat… an assortment of chocolate and a Diet Coke.  He was shocked and pleased all at once.  I guess nobody had ever done that before… be thankful and show it!   I’ve been doing it ever since. 

I want to live in a state of thankfulness!  There are enough people whining in the world about what they don’t have, can’t do, or are stuck with.  I want to be different!  How about you?

“In everything give thanks…”

1 Thess. 5:18 (NLV)


Are you thankful?  Is there some special way you can show that thankfulness to others?  Get creative and watch God work through you as you walk in thankfulness!

Living to leave a legacy, 
Julie

Friday, December 30, 2016

RE: Start (My 2017 Plan)

Can you believe 2016 is almost over?  A new year will begin soon.  New… a fresh page, a brand new start, a do-over if you will… a chance to make things right, finish what you started, and become intentional about all of those things you’ve been putting off.  It’s our own personal restart.

I challenge you to do something crazy in 2017… become intentional.   Do something!  Make a list, set a goal, and make it your own personal aim to do SOMETHING this year.  Even if it’s just ONE thing… start and finish it.

I know, I know… New Year’s resolutions can get old.  We always set these lofty goals and then fail.  I’m just saying set a ton of goals if you want, but let your aim be to just complete ONE.  If you do that, then you have made one step forward in 2017 toward where you wanted to be.  Hey if you knock out more than one, then way to go, you crazy overachiever!

 
Just so it’s out there and I have something to shoot for, here are some of My personal goals
(Note:  Set goals that fit where YOU are and where you want to be by the end of the year.  Not everyone’s goals will look the same.  Pray and ask God to help you set your own God-sized goals to reach for.)

My word is … “Intentional”
Each year I try to choose a word or phrase to focus on throughout the year to keep me pushing forward toward my goals.  Last year it was “Baby Steps”… My health kept holding me back from doing what I really wanted to do, but I determined to just do what I could one step at a time with God’s help.  The year before my word was “Thrive”.  I wanted to go beyond just surviving in all areas of my life to Thriving.

Next year I want to become INTENTIONAL… do things on purpose.  I want to take time and make time for people… especially “My People”. 

My boys will be graduating before I know it so I want to savor the moments I have with them.  Life is busy, but I still want to continue to build my relationship with my husband too.  After 23 years of marriage, I want to continue to date my boyfriend for life.


I want to take time to invest in others.  I want to leave a legacy behind of someone who loved God and loved others.  I want to encourage, equip, and share my life with those around me… the good, bad, and ugly.

For that reason I have determined to mentor three women this year in their walk with God.  Not that I think I have everything figured out or feel I have reached perfection.  Ummm… not even close.  I just want a chance to share my imperfect life with others in hopes that maybe just maybe they might grow from what I’ve learned.

I want my life to catch fire for God… I want to be re-ignited this year!  I want to hunger for MORE of Him.  I want to devour His word and soak in His presence.  I want to hear His voice more clearly and act on His promptings radically.  

Specifically, I want to begin studying the Old Testament this year.  I’ve read the New Testament a million times, but I really want to dig deeper into the old this year. 

I also want to make a prayer wall… a place to collect specific needs I can be praying for concerning others. 

I want to get out of my comfort zone.  I want to find places where I can surround myself with lost people (who don’t know God) and shine God’s light to be a bold witness for Him.

On a lighter note I want to get in shape and lose weight.  My health condition hinders this element of my New Year’s resolutions or goals quite a bit, but I want to try.

I also want to read books for fun this year (at least ONE a month).

As far as writing goes, I want to finish my book.  I don’t know why I haven’t.  It could be all the moves we have made, my random health struggles, the busyness of life, etc… whatever the reasoning for the delay who knows.  I’m just ready to complete what I started… finally!



I also want to submit several articles to various places for publication and write a 30 day e-book devotional.

These are just a few of my random goals.  If I take my own advice and just complete ONE thing this year, I will be one step closer to where I wanted to be at the start of the year. 

What if that one thing is mentoring someone in their walk with God or losing weight or finishing my book (Yes, please!!!) or making a prayer wall…  That ONE thing that I start and finish could make all the difference in my year!


Let’s start 2017 with our eyes focused on finishing SOMETHING.  I’m excited to see what that ONE thing will be for me and for you!

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie