Anniversary Thoughts from Julia

I looked back over our ‘Thoughts From the Founders’ post from a year ago, and I am just overwhelmed by where this year has taken me.  It has been the most exciting, adventurous time of my life.  Watching my dreams come to life has been so amazing, and I can’t go on before thanking the multitude of people that have helped me reach this point. 

  • To my parents, thank you for the wisdom you share, the time you invest, and all of the everyday blessings you provide. 
  • To Benjamin, thank you for your constant support, constructive criticism, all your good ideas, and for always believing in me. 
  • To the rest of my family, thank you for the fun you add to the mix and your sweet ways! 
  • To several dear friends, thank you for all the prayers and encouragement!  I couldn’t do it without you guys! 
  • To the team, thank you for all the great times and conversations we’ve had!  I am thankful to be surrounded by such a faithful, passionate, group.  You guys are world changers. 
  • Most of all, I want to acknowledge my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without the hope I have in Him, none of this would be worth pursuing.  Because I know His truth will always prevail, I can keep going in the face of an overwhelmingly lost culture. 

At a time like this, I wanted to find a way to make my thoughts in this post particularly beneficial to my peers. I’ve been praying and asking myself, “What have I learned?” Well, a list of all that I’ve learned over the past year could go on for quite a while, so I’ll focus on three main things:

1)Trust God more! 

“There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.” ~ from ‘Oh My Soul’ by Casting Crowns 

There have been times along this journey where I can’t see very far ahead and wonder where the path will lead.  It is at those times that I feel like I have to take matters into my own hands. It is in that moment that I begin to forget the God I serve — the God who will always take care of our needs!  Yet, when I surrender my plans to Him, and trust that He will always work things for my good, the journey becomes so much easier!  This quote has really spoken to me over the past year: 

“Great people don’t do great things.  God does great things through surrendered people.”

If there is one thing I’ve learned in this process, it is that our success in this life is directly related to our trust in the Father.  I have learned that my strongest position is on my knees, because it’s there I have access to the God who works wonders.  Just like Miss Clara in the movie War Room says, “You need to plead with God to do what only He can do, and then you need to get out of the way and let Him do it.” 

2) Let the difficulty build your character.

Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.  The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”   

If we trust God, we can make it through the difficult path. That difficult path will then build character.  After the difficulty, we can rise to even greater heights, because we’ve grown through the spiritual and practical lessons we learn in those times.  Just like in the story of Esther, we see through history that God often uses the most desperate situations to show His power.  Whenever we come to a rough spot in life, we just need to make sure we keep the right perspective. 

Helen Keller said, “Character is not developed in ease and quiet.  It is through experience of trial and suffering that the soul is strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

3) Don’t give up.  Keep dreaming. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, and it’s just two simple words: “Dare greatly.” 

Don’t be discouraged!  Keep daring to do great things!  The Bible has so much to say about having vision and goals, but here are just a few verses on this subject:

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” 

“But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” 

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” 

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a could of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which cost easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” 

We will face mountains.  Go tell your mountain about your God. 

“Success is not final.  Failure is not final.  It is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

These are lessons that I’m still learning afresh every day. But, as we are molded into who we are meant to be, we will be used in ways that go beyond anything we could ever imagine.  My closing admonishment is this: let’s not forget that the God who used flawed people such as Peter, Thomas, Moses, and Jacob can use us.  Remember, our success is only contingent on one thing: a constant surrendering to our Lord! 

Keep fighting the good fight! 

“If God be for us, who can be against us?”  Romans 8:31

Julia

 

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