Her Story: My Life – God’s Masterpiece: Learning to Let God be the Author of My Life

She and I have never met in person, never shared a hug but God allows ways for people to meet friends along the way that are distance in miles, but not in heart. And I'm thankful Julie Lavender is my dear friend and a Sister-in-Christ. I draw inspiration and encouragement from her daily.

In her own words...Julie Lavender

One of my very favorite verses of the Bible says, “For we are all God’s masterpiece. He has

created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” That’s

the NLT version of Ephesians 2:10. I also love the NIV version that says, “For we are God’s

handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to


God is the author of this history and has been since the beginning of time. He’s writing the

overall story of mankind, obviously, from beginning to end. But simultaneously, He is writing

each of our stories, individually. And the story of our lives, interwoven, all fit into God’s plan,

God’s timeline.

When God weaves each of us in His handiwork somewhere along this timeline, when he writes

our story, he has a beautiful bestseller in mind. We can choose to be part of His plans, but He

doesn’t force us. He doesn’t need us – He can accomplish anything he wants without us, but He

delights in including us, and if we allow him, when he writes our story, it can be a beautiful


When I try to write my story – without God’s help – it often doesn’t seem to coincide with God’s

penmanship of my story. I’m reminded of that verse, Proverbs 19:21, that says, “Many are the

plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” But, always, even if I don’t

see it at the time, God’s version of my life story is way way better than I could ever dream. Time

and time again, I’m made aware of the verse in Ephesians, Ephesians 3:20, that says, “Now to

him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the

power that works in us.”

When I wrote the setting for the novel of my life, that setting was my hometown of Statesboro,

Georgia. But I met this cute little boy in eleventh grade and after dating all through college, and marrying,

my hubby David Lavender signed the dotted line to join the Navy. Let’s just say I thought my

life was all washed up! Some temper tantrums later, I decided I was up for the adventure, and I’ll

tell you one thing, I just thought he was cute in high school – but boy did he look good in

uniform as a handsome Naval officer!

God’s world is big and beautiful, and over the twenty years in the Navy, I watched military

helicopters practice water rescues on the St. John’s River; I dropped from a rope swing into the

Atlantic waters surrounding Barbados; saw the Andes Mountains and straddled the equator in

Quixto, Ecuador so that I could say I was in two hemispheres at one time; wandered through the

Holy Land, ate a gyro, rode a camel and saw olive trees that surely shaded my Savior at one

time, hiked into the El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico at eight months pregnant, witnessed the

beauty of Niagara Falls; stuck my toes in the cold Pacific Ocean; admired the giant sequoias and

humongous Redwoods, felt the heat of Death Valley and played in the snow on top of San

Jacinto Mountain, caught a tarantula and watched tumbleweeds, heard Bob Barker say, ‘Come

on down,’ but he didn’t call my name; got lost on Ventura Boulevard, traveled to Tijuana,

watched turtles in Bermuda; soared over Seattle in a seaplane; felt an earthquake under my feet,

schlepped the Rio Grande, took a ride in a sleigh and exclaimed mush on a sled dog ride, rode a

ferry to Victoria, and took in the aroma of miles and miles of lavender at a farm in Snoqualmie.

It was indeed a wonderful adventure that exceedingly and abundantly was more than I could ever

have dreamed of. And to think I initially resisted God’s plan for that?

I don’t really remember when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher, but I’d always loved kids

and enjoyed working with them, so, somehow and at some age, I knew I wanted to teach little

ones one day.

I taught for six years, with a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. I loved teaching

little ones, but I also knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when my own little ones came


At first, I remember thinking that being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t as significant as being a

teacher, but God found many ways to show me that my role as a Mommy was an important one.

When we think the plot of our life is small or insignificant, I think it will benefit us to know that

when God writes our story, no matter how small a role it seems like we play, in God’s kingdom,

it’s all part of his masterpiece and every stitch is vitally important on God’s timeline. That

thought should be a reminder to us to consistently live out another of my favorite verses:

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and

not for men.

As I’ve mentioned to you, I seem to have this habit of writing my own story and then asking God

to come alongside me and bless my endeavors. You’d think I’d learn by now to let HIM do the

writing and then me walk that path, but, well, I’m a slow learner I guess.

I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and, in my novel, I planned to go back to work when

the youngest started school.

Well, in a number of ways God revealed to me that his plan was for us to homeschool our kids.

Turns out, when God wrote my story, he planned on me homeschooling all four children

throughout high school.

When I wrote the story of my life, I decided at some point during my public school teaching that

I wanted to write a children’s book. I just loved children’s literature and thought, “How difficult

could it be to write a children’s book?” Little did I know – it’s VERY difficult. But God planted

the seed in my head about writing.

I tried my hand at submitting children’s picture books and got rejection after rejection, - mostly

because I was doing everything wrong - but I’d been bitten by the writing bug. Which is a pun,

since my husband is an entomologist, mind you.

I started reading books on writing and attending conferences and reading anything I could get my

hands on about the craft of writing. I decided to submit a proposal to an education company

about using children’s picture books in their lesson plans. I sent in a query, and an educational

publisher wanted to publish the book. I was elated! I finished the book, received my paycheck,

and they gave me a date when the book would come out. While I waited for the book to come

out, I sent in other queries, mentioning the forthcoming book.

Having that first credit helped me get my foot in the door for other publications. I got a couple of

articles accepted to Lifeway’s ParentLife magazine and to a homeschooling magazine. The irony

of the situation was this. When it got closer to the publication date of my book, I got a letter from

the publisher that said it was delayed a couple of months. Then another letter that delayed it

again. And finally, a letter that said the company had changed their mind. I got to keep my

payment for the book, but I was really sad they weren’t going to publish my book.

BUT – the best part was that God used that one credit to help me get my foot in the door to other

publications. Because it was the book credit that opened the door for magazines like ParentLife,

Homeschooling Today, Taste of Home, Country Woman, and more.

Those magazine credits, combined with my teaching experiences, then helped me get work with

a Christian curriculum company called Group Publishing. For many years, I contributed

Vacation Bible School and Sunday School lessons to Group Publishing, and my work appears in

two dozen of their teacher resource books.

About this time, I had several more writing credits on my resume, and I queried a company that

hired freelance writers for projects. That’s how I got the opportunity to write the book, Creative

Sleepovers for Kids.

Once I had that book on my resume, combined with a number of years of homeschooling

experience, that led me to write a homeschooling devotional proposal and query an editor at a

writers’ conference. The editor accepted my proposal, and I began work on the book.

I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here, but with each step, God opened doors that led me down the

writing path to new opportunities. While I attended a workshop to write for a new project for

Group, I met a fellow writer who invited me to write children’s newspaper articles with her for

the Denver Post. I contributed for several years and loved being able to write current event

articles in kid-friendly language.

Well, by now, my husband’s career in the Navy was coming to an end, and we moved back to

our hometown. The newspaper experience I’d gained with the Denver Post gave me the

confidence to query the editor of my local paper. I was blessed with an acceptance, and for years

I’ve written a family column monthly and faith-based articles as a freelance stringer.

Well, just like God has done all along with my writing journey, God used my newspaper writing

to open another door. I entered one of my newspaper stories, and other submissions, in the 2014

Guideposts Magazine writing contest, and I was blessed to be chosen as one of the winners.

Guideposts paid for me and eleven other writers to go to New York to learn how to write for

their magazines.

Most recently, I published the parenting book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little

Moments into Lasting Memories. And this book came about because I shared with the editor

about my Guideposts writing. And, through contact with a Guideposts editor, I secured an

opportunity to write a Bible story book for kids, called, Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime.

Each step along the way, God opened new doors and led me on the path he wanted me to be on.

And now, I love nothing better than encouraging other writers with their projects, and I often do

that through classes at writers’ conferences.

When God writes our story it’s beautiful. It took me a long time to learn that He was the best

author of my life, not me! I love walking through the doors God’s opened along my journey, and

I’m so grateful for Him. Because when God writes our story, it’s a beautiful, award-winning,

best-selling masterpiece!!!

BIO: Julie Lavender, author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into

Lasting Memories and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime, is a journalist, author, veteran

homeschooling mom of four for twenty-five-plus years, grandmommy, and wife of a biologist

for thirty-eight years.

You can follow Julie on her website at https://julielavenderwrites.com

and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JulieLavenderAuthor

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