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…

Brown Paper Bags and Big, Round Eyes

“Everything is so familiar, but we feel so out of place.” My sister said it best when we first walked into our local Walmart after returning from two weeks in Mexico. For a few days after, I would drive down the road and half expect to see a crazy quilt of houses and shacks built…

Every Vessel Matters

It was Thursday evening, the 30th of May, 1940. The coastline of the English channel was littered with small boats … “fishing smacks … drifters … excursion boats … glittering white yachts… mud-spattered hoppers… open motor launches… tugs towing ship’s lifeboats.” Businessmen with hobby vessels were hurrying about on deck, trying to figure out how…

A Jesus Encounter

I knew the second she walked up that she loved Jesus. I had slipped out early one morning on my family’s vacation to get some time with the Lord; the haze was still floating lazily in the mountain valley where my family was staying for a couple nights. I finally settled down, my phone, Bible,…

Singing to Mountain Lions and Other Thoughts

We had just thrown down our backpacks and starting strapping on our snowshoes when the weight of our situation first hit. We had decided to snowshoe up to Crater Lake that day in an attempt to reach one of the top photography spots in Colorado. The last All Trails entry informed us that as long…

Nothing to Lose

“I was in Berlin shortly after the wall fell,” the retired pastor leaned forward in his seat. He stopped and cleared his throat, his eyes watering, as he described one of the most affecting moments in his life. The wall — or rather, the stub of what was left — was but the width of…

A Real World and a Real God

“He seemed to live in such a real world and to have such a real, great God.” Such was Maria Dyer’s observation upon meeting her would-be husband, the great pioneer missionary to China, Hudson Taylor. I haven’t been able to shake off those words. They strike deeply into the heart of the theme written across…

Straddling Cultures

“You were homeschooled too?” I had a joined a couple of our discipleship group leader girls in the cafeteria over lunch. It was as if a spark went off. Suddenly, we could share about our experiences taking co-op classes and laugh about fifteen-passenger vans (especially the ones with at least ten mini-people bumper stickers on…

Looking for God’s Edelweiss

Life at the Dotten house is pretty crazy right now. Not only did we have to pack up and move with about month’s notice, we found that our tenant ruined most of the flooring in our new house, so we’re in the major demolition and remodeling faze now. In the middle of it all, I’m…

The Pen is His

“There is a place where your fears must meet the God you know.”[1] Where is that place? It’s here. Here—as I sit at my desk, books, journals, half-written letters scattered around me, somehow reminiscent of how out-of-control my own life feels. Behind me is difficulty, those haunting memories of trials that only time can work…

Look to the Bulwark!

Imagine being inside a castle during a siege. Outside the thick, stone walls surrounding you, the enemy is shooting flaming arrows and preparing a massive siege engine to ram against your gates. Occasionally, you are jolted awake as huge boulders are catapulted against the stone walls. But despite their ceaseless attacks, you are safe. The…