Day 17: The Gift of New Life

I love Dicken’s Christmas Carol for it’s heartwarming story, words that leap out of the book and invite you to cozy up near the fire, with the Christmas tree lit, and escape into “the spirit of Christmas” — complete with a cup of tea. But for all my love for the classic story, it hands…

Day 16: Christ our Living Water

I have often wondered why, if Jesus promised He was the Living Water that always satisfied, unmet desires didn’t go away the moment I was saved. After all, didn’t Jesus tell the woman at the well that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14)? Why…

Day 15: Christ our Justifier

The great preacher of the 20th century Martin Lloyd-Jones called it “the acropolis of the Bible” — the high city of Athens that served as the pinnacle of the ancient world. Or in more modern language, it’s “the most important paragraph in the entire Bible, the innermost meaning of the cross.” What they’re referring to…

Day 14: Christ our Propitiation

I vividly remember my eight- or nine-year old little sister coming up to me one day. “What does propitiation mean?” she asked. I thought it was really cute, because she was so small to be thinking about such a big word! And I guess since I was the oldest (even though I was only a…

Day 13: Christ Our Lamb

You have to wonder what John was thinking when he first pointed to Jesus, his then unknown cousin, and declared “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Of course, John, as the last Old Covenant prophet, carried divine inspiration in those words like the rest of the Old Testament…

Day 12: Christ our Redeemer

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). The amazing truth of the gospel is that we’re bought back from the power of sin and Satan — redeemed. That’s a fact that influences not just the day of conversion but the entirety of our lives. This…

Day 11: Christ our Substitute

I work frequently as an elementary school substitute teacher, and it’s often funny to see the kids’ faces when they first walk into the classroom. You can see the first bewilderment, where’s our teacher? And then sometimes, some whispering and excitement because they think they’ll get off with an easy day and no rules! When…

Day 10: The Incarnation and Ministry

Love is shown not so much by pitying from afar but walking alongside a sufferer. I was quite young when my family lost a baby, but I still remember several families who cared enough to embed themselves in our lives when we needed them most. They could have sent a card in the mail, but…

Day 9: The Incarnation and Prayer

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of…

Day 8: The Incarnation, Pt. 2

When we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating Jesus’ birth into this world. Birth is always a reason to celebrate, but this birth is far different than any other! Instead of coming into existence, like all of us did in the womb, Christ always existed. So his birth to this world wasn’t so much a celebration…

Day 7: The Incarnation, Pt. 1

“Christ’s incarnation was a greater and more wonderful thing than ever had yet come to pass. The creation of the world was a very great thing, but not so great as the incarnation of Christ. It was a great thing for God to make the creature, but not so great as for the Creator himself…

Day 6: The Answer is Always the Gospel

It’s so easy to hand out advice. Especially as someone who loves the feeling of solving a problem for someone, it’s so tempting to recommend temporary solutions and get on my own soapboxes: you should homeschool, you should read this how-to book, try eating gluten free, try this time management idea … While none of…

Day 5: Beauty from Ashes, Life from Death

My husband commented to me one October day when we were driving past our neighbor’s 15-foot skeleton in the yard: “Some people decorate for Halloween more than they decorate for Christmas!” It’s ironic that evil and death is so glorified in October only to be replaced by hollow “Christmas” decorations of Santa and snowflakes. In…

Day 4: Good News Requires a Problem

Imagine banging on the door of a small cottage in the Appalachian mountains on September 2, 1945. “The war’s over, the war’s over” you cry. “The Japanese just signed the final surrender documents, and World War II is over!” An old man inside squeaks open his door: “What war?” he asks. While the rest of…

Day 3: 5 Ways to Apply the Gospel to our Hearts this Advent

A good friend of mine often teases me about how often I use the word “sweet.” So one birthday, I decided to get back at her and write her a thank-you note for her gift using “sweet” almost every other word: Sweet friend, thank you for your sweet gift and the sweetness of your birthday…

Day 2 Christmas is About the Gospel

A tiny baby is born into a manger. His parents stand in silent adoration. Shepherds hurry from their fields to see the child. A special star arises to show his location. Nobility from the east travel to bring him presents. A local king sees the threat and attempts to kill him, but not before his…

Why Advent Matters

I saw the first Christmas trees set up in Costco — the first day of October. The twinkling lights and colors and aura of the season bring mixed emotions to many of us. For some, pure excitement. I love this season! It’s as if we can’t wait for the first flurry of snow, the first…

Discovering the Inner Ring

“The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it,” C.S. Lewis wrote in his not-as-well known but nonetheless brilliant speech, “The Inner Ring.” This Ring is something we all discovered around middle school, if not earlier, when we first observed peers pairing off and desperately wanted to be a part….

Empowered or Servant-Minded?

I’ve been consuming a lot of blogs and podcasts lately on natural birth, hungry to get my hands on whatever information I can get that might prepare me for the great unknown of labor and birth. Along the way, I’ve noticed a theme: empowerment. The message of today’s birth consultants and doulas disguises entitlement under…

On Becoming

There are days I just wish I could go back to the way I used to be. I used to be able to get up early, have cleaned the whole house and made a dinner plan by 8 am, completed all my marketing work, ran three miles, and be finished by 1 pm. One friend…

Our Exciting News

“Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill He treasures up his bright designs And works His sovereign will.” — William Cowper “This doesn’t feel real,” I thought to myself. I was sitting on the floor, watching the timer on the phone count two minutes, three minutes, five minutes. Yes, both lines were still there. It’s…

For That Day

A wedding poem I pulled out my wedding dress the other day, the dress we’d spent hours to perfect — For just one day. It was stained dirt and grass clinging, Attracted to the white — In just one day. Tediously, I began to clean And wondered — Is this how I appear? To Christ,…

Just & Justifier — Time Alone with God Study (PDF)

Setting aside time alone with God isn’t just about you coming away renewed and refreshed; it’s about offering to God spiritual worship by setting our hearts on Him. Scheduling in specific time — whether it’s an hour or a half day — leaves us the mental space to truly spend undistracted time with him the…

A God-Entranced World

I shift my car into fourth gear, then third, then second, then first, following the glaring brake lights of the car in front of me. Traffic in the middle of the day … it’s becoming normal in Denver. What I didn’t realize was that I’d be parked for an hour with the highway completely shut…

Is Our Culture Placing Too Much Pressure? Part 2

We are constantly feeling guilty about things that are not sinful, they’re just part of being a creature. And when we get confused between our finitude and sin, it actually distorts the Christian life. It distorts our worship, it distorts what Christian faithfulness looks like, in our relationships. – Kelly Kapic In my last blog…

Is Our Culture Placing Undo Pressure on Girls?

Is there a reason for the seeming rise in health issues in young ladies? From both my observations and personal experience, I would argue unneeded stress plays a role in many hormonal, digestive, and adrenal issues many of us face. While there are certainly physical factors (and doctors are great!), what impact would exchanging the…

Duty, Drudgery, and Joy

“Coming from my denominational background, I’ve always seen Christianity as more of a duty,” one young woman recently shared with me. She attended church, read her Bible occasionally, but only out of a sense of duty. She knew intellectually that the only way for her to be fulfilled was in Christ, but confessed, “I know…

The Secret Place of the Stairs

I originally wrote this article three years ago, when I was in college and going through a tough season of disappointment. I’ve waited to publish until now — because the lessons God taught be then were so real but painful they were hard to share. But I’m so grateful for those seasons looking back and…

Guarding Your Heart by Guarding Your Worship

“Guard your heart!” Like most teenage girls, my parents’ reminder was not something I was always eager to hear when my thoughts started fantasizing about a guy. Of course, I knew everything they had told me about the dangers of giving your heart away to the wrong one. I knew well the analogy of the…

What Can I Give Him?

Navigating her way through the crowded streets, Mary pushed through groups of chattering women, baskets of fresh olives and dates at their sides or perched atop their flowing headdresses. Children darted through, narrowly missing upsetting a cart of eggs. Mary shook her head, her eyes intently scanning the colorful array of booths, carts, and storefronts….

Barry & Julianna – Our Story

We’re engaged! I am so humbled and grateful to the Lord for bringing such a godly man into my life, and can’t wait walk through life together — with all its joys, trials, ministry opportunities, and adventure! Today on my blog, I wanted to share a little bit of our story. I still remember vividly…

Because Christ is Shalom

Sleeves rolled up and sponge in hand, I was scrubbing the bathroom floor when I heard my 7-year-old nanny boy timidly call, “Julianna?” I turned around to face him, knowing he’d just been let out of his room from a talking back incident we’d had earlier. “Will you forgive me?” He said it softly, with…

Julianna’s 2021 Top Reads

Hope you enjoy this short video sharing my top reads for the year! If you had any books you loved this year, please comment below! I’d love to hear! -Julianna

Minister to Whoever is in Front of You

I had just unloaded the suburban and filed all the kids into our local children’s museum, (basically a one-room play area a local church put together for outreach). “Finally, I get a break,” I thought, settling down onto the couch. I’m currently nannying four children eleven and under, which makes for some long days and…

The Lord’s Hand in the Details

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I could blame the busyness of life, but in reality, it’s harder for lessons and observations to emerge in the middle of the battle, having to trust the Lord a day at a time. The best battle accounts and letters home come after the battle, not in the…

Puppies and Prayer

I was sitting with six of my middle school girls from church the other night, sprawled out on the concrete steps out front of the door. The girls insisted on having our little talk out there, even though it was dark and we always get eaten alive by mosquitos. Sometimes they are quiet, but last…

Digging to the Root: Fighting Idols Through Loving Christ

“Why am I reacting like this?” The previous few weeks had been a rollercoaster of crazy emotions—despair, anger, uncontrollable tears… Yes, life was changing faster than I could process with my family moving out of state. Yes, one of my jobs fell through. Yes, I was facing uncertainty, but none of this seemed to explain…

What God Defines as Precious

“Precious” necessarily excludes most things. Something is precious because it is rare, set-apart, solitary, or uniquely valuable. Precious metals are not so-called because a particular culture thinks they are more valuable than dust or sand or iron. No, they are universally precious to all cultures and times because of some intrinsic rarity or value. Our…

On the Edge of a Mountain Stream

What do you experience in the mountains? To best describe it, as I recently discovered in an old journal, I had to put the experience from someone else’s perspective, a girl name Fran. Perhaps someday, the story will have to be continued … Fran dashed down to the side of the river. A curtain of…

The Pursuit of Happiness

From another journal entry in 2016—like most new high school grads, I was excited about life and of course, wanting to be happy. But how did that square with my faith? For some reason, Edwards’ writings were immense help at the time, and my journal an outlet for processing a lot of whirling thoughts. “Edward’s…

From Dusty Journals

Old journals—I’m going through a box of them today. Often, reading back through my old musings, collections of random quotes, scribblings of poems or events of the day make me smile. Remember back to old days, the “way I used to think.” Most will remain there, in dusty journals. But a few excerpts are worth…

Made for Another World

“Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of…

A Prayer of Surrender

One of the perks of being a history major in college was finding treasures buried deep within otherwise long, laborious reading assignments! I found one such gem while working through a two-volume, nearly 1,900 page account of 19th century revivals in Wales. I was reading about one of the lesser-known traveling preachers of the period,…

The Greatest Woman

What defines a great woman, or at least a great Christian woman? I’ve been mulling over this question as I’ve recently been reading through Eric Metaxas’ Seven Women and the Secret of their Greatness. His choices of women for the mini-biography series intrigue me: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris,…

A Refuge From the Battle

I love word pictures. Maybe it’s from growing up on hours of being read aloud to—Narnia, biographies, historical fiction—that forced me to imagine a picture painted with the beautiful strokes of words. Thus I’ve found scripture’s imagery some of the most sweet, deep comfort during difficult and uncertain times. Within the artistic masterpiece of the…

Hijabs in Panera: A Journey of Learning to be Available to the Lord

I was leaning back in a booth at Panera the other day, waiting to have dinner with a friend at church. I had my Bible out on the table and was pouring over 1 Peter when I saw them: three girls chatting happily, indistinguishable from any other college-age girls besides their black and silver hijabs,…

What Am I Supposed to Do Next? A Prayer for High School Graduates

Dear Father, The clock is ticking on my school year, and May is right around the corner. In some ways, it feels like it can’t come soon enough. School is hard and I’m tired. But I’m also nervous. May also means the end of the structured routine of high school and an endless world of…