What do you think of when I say the word church? Joy? Good people? Pain? Hypocrisy? Unspoken?
So many thoughts…none of them wrong, but I think of home. My go to place each Wednesday and Sunday. My first boyfriend and best friend. Youth group hang outs and camps. People that prayed.
Sure it is full of broken people and sinners, but that is why I fit in so well. My brokenness is welcome here and yours should be too. My youth church closed its doors this past Sunday. Church is not a place, but still sad I cannot go back to visit the building where I was baptized. Happy to have my family with me this Easter. Hope my son has all I had in a church home and more. If you feel a certain way about church, I encourage you to try again. It is worth it.
I want to start by saying that this year for me is WAY better than last year, so I am thankful. Last year juggling virtual teaching and student absences while trying to maintain a gradebook was intense. I will always be grateful for my mental health this year, however teachers across the country are abandoning education at a massive rate. I struggled to put into words why…but then a teacher I follow on Twitter said it perfectly…
The teaching game has changed, but the mindsets of those making the decisions and laws have not. They want to “catch up” kids to make them what they use to be and these kids are not what they use to be. Families have changed, education has changed and now laws need to change. The stress being put on teachers to test and perform is breaking our spirits as more hours of tutoring, documentation and building up their SEL is exhausting. I made this TikTok last year I think of one of my favorite Christian songs called Truth Be Known. It sums us up well…looking good, but feeling weak.
God is my source of hope and strength so I know my foundation is firm. I have endured this business for 20 years so I know I can endure this valley, but those that do not know any different are walking out at an alarming rate. I get it. I hate it, but I get it.
On another note, wow how Lupus has changed my hair. No clue when my hair began to fall out and thin, but seeing my hair in this Tik Tok is shocking…long, full of volume…this is it today
Not without hope, but definitely not what it was. Crazy how a medicated auto immune disease can do that. My devo today said God has a purpose for my broken body and I am putting all my faith, hope and love that it is true.
So over the past few months I have continued to lose weight without trying. Sounds awesome, but not when you look sick and you are down to a size 0 and under 100 pounds. Only in small outfits does it look sexy…in most clothes I look ill. So I have had to pause Camp Gladiator so I can visit doctors and figure out the root. When you need every calorie, you have zero to burn!
So far I have been to three doctors and received an ultrasound of my thyroid. Gastronologist is next along with a high protein diet, delivered meal plan so I snack all day and eat and protein shakes from Crandall Nutrition. Again, blessed to not worry about losing pounds, but never Google unexplained weight loss.. it is scary! Join me in praying for some direction!
Finally, in all the day to day, I am leaning into my self. Put a pause in working on my relationships, and am focusing on God and my mental health. Sadly, I tend to lose me in us and it is time to look at who God says I am.
Turning 42 flipped a switch. Who am I? Where do I want to be in a year? Who do I want by my side if I have to battle a deadly disease tomorrow? No time to question loyalty…I need to know my team and live in it! Stay tuned for Julia 42.0!
In Lupus related news, I am now on Methextrate and off Plaquenil. Over time, my symptoms began to look more like RA and the joint pain became too much. I now have side effects of headaches and mouth ulcers, but feel better than ever joint-wise. Kinda scared to find out what 62 feels like since 42 already feels like 92, but believing in a cure and a good Lord comeback!
I stepped out of my comfort zone this summer and joined a Bible Study for women. Not only that, but I led a table group. I struggle being in a room with women that love Jesus because I feel like I fail in being a godly woman. I do not see myself worthy of being a pastor’s wife.
I listen to 90’s rap and like it. On bad days, I catch myself talking gangsta like in the lyrics.
I am good at doing the stanky leg.
I complain and am idle.
I do not like people in my home and buy goodies rather than bake them.
I do not craft…in fact I hate it.
I just do not feel like I represent a woman of the church. But I love Jesus and so do the women I got to “lead” this summer. I wanted to be at the table with my friends or the table with the people my age, but God had a better plan. I was at the table with a mix of ages and he sat me down so that I could be mentored and taught. I gained new friends and grew in my relationship with Christ.
This is Bible Study.
This is the church.
If you have not studied with Ruth Chou, then I encourage you to study Truthfilled. It takes you on a journey through Colossians to learn your identity in Christ. To rehearse His truths. So powerful in this age where we easily get our confidence from likes, views and followers. Truth is what we say to ourselves is everything…so speak truth!
I struggle with this. I put off Bible study to put away dishes. I avoid reading his word to vacuum. I get more concerned about others being impressed with my home I stop to consider how they feel about themselves in my presence. I need to reconsider my priorities.
I fail at this daily. The author of the Bible Recap says “You are a person that reads her Bible, wants to read her Bible or wants to want to read her Bible.” I fall in the middle.
I am on Day 102 of a Bible reading plan, but should be on Day 175 I think. I started strong then stalled. I thought summer days would catch me up and I failed at that, too. My problem is distractedness. I sit down then lose focus. I am a failure.
Now, I celebrate that I have read 102 more days of the Bible than I read last year, but I can do better. I want to do better. I feel better and can handle life better when God’s truth is poured into me. I strive to be more like God.
But believing God is where the joy is at is much different than living it, so I continue to pray and do more. Truthfully, every time God has called me to study His word…he ends up preparing me for a battle where His word has sustained me. I will see if this time is different, but I know I am armed with the truth and that is enough.