Sunday, September 13, 2015


There’s a coolness in the air now as the daylight dims a bit sooner each day. The morning dew lies thicker on the grass and the busy buzz of bumble-bees has slowed to a quieter hum. 

It comes quietly, this changing of seasons, but for me, 

this one never comes without a fight. 

Summer is the season where I feel most alive --- when the flowers are fully blooming and the sun is shining bright, all the birds are happily singing, and everything seems just right. 

I love to sink my bare feet into the thick green grass of summer and pluck dandelions that have gone to seed, giving a quick blow to watch them fly up and disappear against the fluffy white clouds. The blue of the sky seems so much brighter in the summertime, much like the color of the sweet forget-me-nots that spread out in a favorite corner of my garden. 

The morning sun taps early at the window to wake me to this beauty, 

and I hate to see it all end.

Where I live, summer goes by so quickly, and as it fades a little more with each setting sun I want to hold it just a little longer, 

begging it to stay and keep me warm.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

But the leaves only know it’s time for their colors to change, and whether I like it or not, autumn does come as the calendar turns another page. 

September sinks in and stills the playtime, and soon the bright yellow buses make their way down most every street, picking up kids in their fresh new clothes and favorite-colored back packs. There’s excitement in the first days of school as the kids meet new teachers and get settled into new classrooms, wondering just what the year ahead will bring. 

At least, that’s how it was for my kids who went to public school.

My children are grown now, young adults learning more about themselves these days and finding their own way in this world. It’s been quite some time since I’ve needed to get them up in the morning and get them ready to begin another school day, a while since I rallied them after dinner to help with the homework.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

But this fall there is a back-to-school of sorts happening in our house, and there will definitely be homework to go with it. Not for them, but for me, when in one more week I will once again begin leading a women’s bible study group.

I had taken a break from that role for more than a year. 

I felt the need to step away for a while, to be still in His presence, gather my thoughts, take a hard look at my heart, and to decide why I was leading in the first place. 

Sometimes, when you do something for so many years you lose sight of the reasons why you are there and that’s where I found myself… 

increasingly unsure of my abilities, 
wandering and a little bit lost.

Anxiety and insecurity had found its way into my spirit with each weekly meeting. I worried much about what others were thinking of me and looking back now, I can finally see where that was coming from. 

I had begun to do all things in my own strength, failing to rely upon the One who I was there for, failing to obey Him fully in His command to love God above all else, and to love others as myself (Matthew 22: 37-40).

I read these words just this morning – and they sting:

“At the root of insecurity – the anxiety over how others think of us – is pride. This pride is an excessive desire for others to see us as impressive and admirable. Insecurity is the fear that instead they will see us as deficient. As King Saul shows us, insecure pride is a dangerous fear because insecurity can lead to great disobedience.” (based on 1 Samuel 15)
- Jon Bloom, Things Not Seen, pg. 51.

Yes, insecurity can lead to a great many things including disobedience and 

pride always comes before the proverbial fall.

I do believe those falls are needed though. None of us is without sin, but so often I think we fail to recognize our own sin, becoming desensitized while repeating the same patterns over the years. We need to fall down to find our face pressed hard against the simple dirt that we are made of. We need to fall right down at His feet so that HE is the one who picks us back up again, and not our own selfish, prideful selves. We need to repent and ask for forgiveness once again.

So that’s where I’m at in this current back-to-school season, humbled for sure, but oh so grateful for His amazing, lavish, undeserved grace. 

Grateful that His mercies are new every morning, that He forgives my sinful pride, and He gives me yet another chance to meet together with beautiful women to sing out His praise, encourage one another, and learn how to better follow His ways.

He is the one I am serving.

It’s not about me. 

He is the one whose opinion matters and I pray that as I enter into a new season of leading this fall, that my pride, my insecurities and anxieties will be left behind just like the thick summer heat. 

I’m praying that even now new flowers will begin to bloom, flowers that will produce much beautiful fruit, and that the growing will continue even long after the fall.

Hmmm, flowers blooming in the cold Wisconsin winter? 

Oh yes! I do believe there will be.

For my heart knows very well. . .

Nothing is impossible for God!

Linking up once again with a talented group of photographers, writers, and friends.
The theme for this month is, "Back to School".


  1. thanks Julie - great thoughts and lovely photos as well

    1. Thanks for reading Tim and for leaving words of encouragement. I'm already looking forward to our meet-up next month! Blessings

  2. Beautiful images as always! Love the glimpse into your heart and pray that God will bless your humbleness and willingness to learn even as you lead.

    1. Thank you so much Marty, I really appreciate the prayer and encouragement! It's so good to meet like this and to cheer one another on. God made us to be in community and I'm so thankful that He made you part of mine.

  3. Lovely Julie! Love your images and words.:)

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for leaving such a nice comment, Mary Anne. It means so much to me.

  4. I love this so much, Julie. And yet, I'm just the opposite when it comes to summer. I suspect that if I didn't live in the subtropical south I'd have your same appreciation, but where your summers are too short, ours are too long.

    Your photography is stunning, Julie...always.

    I very much relate to what you write about leading Bible study. Last fall I led the study at my church while also leading a group in my home. When I was asked to lead a group at church this fall I wrestled with the decision. I love the women in my church and enjoy the opportunity to lead, but like you, I had to ask myself why I wanted to hold onto both opportunities and pride is certainly a factor. The more I prayed about it, the more I heard God telling me that I need to give my best to the small group of women God brings to my home. So I told my church no. I'm going to lead my group through I, II, and III John beginning next week, and like you, I've been studying in preparation. I'd love to know what you will be teaching this fall.

  5. Thank you so much, Patricia! Wisconsin is a beautiful state. There are so many things I love about it, but the long cold winters that sometimes seem to last from November to March are not one of them!

    I've been a small group leader in women's bible studies for many years. I'd say my favorite studies over the years were Believing God by Beth Moore, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, and Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver, and favorite books of the Bible we studied were Ruth, Esther, and recently Joshua. This year I'll be leading a Women's Discipleship series that our church put together called Her Life Matters. I led this study once before and it is really great. The focus is on deepening our relationship with Christ and finding our mission. We meet weekly from September through May (with short breaks) and there's an option to continue on for another year (8 books in all).

    I've never done an in depth study of John's letters. That sounds amazing! I'll be praying for you and your group. :) God's Word truly is Living Bread for our souls.

  6. Hugs! I know God's proud of you!

  7. Julie, lovely post! I'll be praying for you as you step back into teaching, praying for the quiet growth of winter to burst into bloom come spring. 🌷

    1. Thank you, Cindee, for your kind words.. and thank you so very much for praying! I really do need it! Fall is barely here, and I'm already looking forward to Spring. Flowers once again. :)