25stories: julie

At 25 Julie was living a beautifully quiet life with her husband and expecting her firstborn. They worked during the day and spent their evenings preparing their home for their daughter's arrival and spending time with friends and family. With the news of her pregnancy Julie's goals shifted from career to family oriented. She wanted to create a perfect home for her little family. When she looked into the future she saw her husband with a successful career in sales and a big house on a quaint street not far from where she'd grown up.

Julie's dream was to live simply, love well, and be loved in return, but there was so many questions standing in her way. How do I balance all the demands on my time? How do I sacrificially love others? How do I walk through life with courage and perseverance? She could see the life she wanted to live, but the path to get there wasn't so clear. Julie also grappled with feeling pressure to want more, to be driven to do something more "ambitious". It would have been easy to lose herself among all the questions and let life just sweep her away to all the should-be's. Instead she honored her calling and spent each day growing in her faith and investing in her family.

It's this faithfulness to what she knew to be true that has allowed Julie to accept all of life's surprises with such grace. That lucrative sales job of her husband's was traded for a life of full time ministry. Their big house tucked into a familiar street turned into a series of moves across several states. The quiet, small town life Julie had envisioned transformed into one marked with adventures and friendships around the world. She'd dreamt of the most perfect life she could imagine, but she was given one completely different and even more incredible and full of beauty. Not every moment of the last twenty-something years has been perfect, but for every heartache endured there has been abundantly more joy.

As a mother of three who has walked through sorrow and happiness alike, Julie now knows that God's grace is wholly sufficient. She's found that difficult days seem less so as time passes, and that challenges and blessings are equally important in shaping who we will become. Most importantly Julie has learned to rest in the truth that God is "enough for every day, one day at a time, day after day".

There is a lot to be gleaned from Julie's story. The thing I keep coming back to is the incredible contentment, the peace with which she tells it. Life is hard a lot of the time. It's also good a lot of the time. There are so many highs and lows, successes and failures. Maybe that's why it's so easy to define our stories that way. Here's where things got really bad. Here's where they got good. Those moments where the moment shifts become the most significant plot points, and everything in between is glossed over as a time of learning. But what if that's where life really happens? What if the highs and lows are the teachable moments preparing us to walk faithfully through the rest?

Ever since having Lana I've developed a near obsession with savoring every moment. I'm terrified of wasting one second that I have with her. Isn't that how we should see our lives? We've been given the incredible blessing of right now, but we are so quick to squander it waiting for the next big moment. I don't want to look back and be desperate to relive the high points. As Julie so beautifully said, I want to "look back and sigh with regret that I cannot live it all over again.  I pray that I will reach the end and find myself wishing for another day, another moment to live the same life and love the same loves."

In my 25th year I will love the ordinary moments just as much as the extraordinary ones. 

25 Stories is a series I'm writing as I prepare to turn 25. I'll be talking with twenty-five women and then sharing their stories. I don't have much figured out about life, but I know that I learn some of the best lessons by listening to the stories of those around me. See more here. 

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