Even those who can’t hear can feel when the beat of a song is off, and it doesn’t take a medical professional to notice the skipped beat of a heart …but that’s just what happened to Julie Manning, as she tells in her book “My Heart.” It’s every mother’s worst nightmare played out, to the tune of unending grace. Julie recounts the tragic sickness of her heart, and all of the medical challenges that spiraled in to personal and spiritual challenges for her as she tried to move forward without skipping a beat for her two young sons and sweetheart husband.
Like every book I’m blessed to be part of launching, I dove in curiously wondering what God was going to use this book for in my life, and the lives of others. Julie’s bravery to recount and write down the painful memories and joyous triumphs is truly endearing …and important. When we walk close to the edge of the end of life we realize the reality of it’s fragility.
How many of us launch into our days in a rush and continue on at the speed of light through a crammed calendar of days without stopping to linger in a few precious moments?
“What if lunch notes, texts, and cards stopped saying, ‘Have a great day!’ and instead included a prayer over the soul and a Scripture to cling to that is Truth as they decipher through the lies heard in the hallways, on sidewalks, or next to the water cooler?” -Julie Manning, My Heart
I will write those lunch notes. As today’s verse teaches us, “the end of a matter is better than the beginning.” Better the end of a matter than the end of a life not ready to end. Pride wants us to rush through our moments, but patience allows us to linger longer.
“Jesus was an intentional memory maker. Jesus was always fully present.”- Julie Manning, My Heart
My youngest daughter pulls out “the big book of Lo Lo” all of the time. It’s the scrapbook of the first year of her life that I spent an embarrassing number of hours putting together. I’ve always had a problem eliminating memories and deleting pictures. I make photo books for them each year, and each year the photos become smaller and smaller and the books grow larger and larger. There are five specific things I love about these books:
When I sort through pictures and sit there for hours, coordinating clip-art and smiles, God’s faithfulness reflects off of the screen. How I prayed for these babies, and this family, and like Julie speaks of in her book …how I long to watch them grow old and have their own babies!
Each experience I look back on has a ‘thank you’ attached. 365 days have the potential to hold millions of memories …and to the glory of the Lord, we’ve been able to share so many laughs over the years. As I read Julie’s story, I couldn’t help but pay more attention to my own heart. I found myself sitting in silence listening to it’s regular beat. What gift it is just to listen to a regular heartbeat.
All of the smiles make me smile. We rarely photograph sorrow and grief. Painfully aware of it’s proximity, Julie soldiers on in her faith throughout her book …and her life. It’s admirable, and as I look at the smiling memories that pull me out of a sad slump, I can only image how precious each one is to her. Everyday life has a tendency to seem drudgery, so it’s good to refocus on the positive by gazing at some happiness.
Patience is a gift of the Spirit that I struggle with. And these photo books take …not hours …not days …not weeks …but months to put together. Months. I’ve digitally crafted myself into a corner, but the slow pace of each page leaves time for each memory, and the lessons attached to it, to soak back in.
Snuggling up to look at our memories is like living a dream. “My Heart” reminded me to be ever so careful not to try and count the number of days or my capabilities ahead of the One who creates and sustains. It’s made me grip Jesus’ hand a little tighter, and refocused my prayers for my family and my children.
“May we turn into a generation of women who live with constant intentionality. Not just for the sake of being intentional but for the sake of living like Christ.”-Julie Manning, My Heart.
You can pick up a copy of Julie’s book here!
And you can link up with my friends and I here as I share this post and other at these link ups throughout the week!
Mondays…Mommy Moments , Modest Monday, Open Mic Monday, Soul Survival, Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Make Your Home Sing, Inspire Me Monday , Motivation Monday , Motivational Monday, Over the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday, Inspire Me Monday
Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUp, Testimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk , God Sized Dreams, Tell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday, Turn in Up Tuesday, Twinkly Tuesday,
Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirls, Coffee for Your Heart, From Messes to Messages, Wordless Wednesday, Amanda’s Books and More Linky, Coffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,