Consumed by vengeance no more, Julie finds family at Shepherd’s Door

Julie minced no words as she kicked off her time on the stage in the courtyard at Shepherd’s Door, “There is really no one here that thought I was going to get here today,” she said. “I came in a Tasmanian Devil.”

Julie explained how, before coming to Shepherd’s Door, she was consumed with anger and vengeance. Her life had been one filled with one bad memory after another — a living nightmare. After attempting suicide four times, she had nothing left and nowhere else to go.

But then she had a conversation with Christine Ourada, Director of the New Life Ministry for Women and Children at Shepherd’s Door. Julie’s heart started to drink from the grace she thirsted for so long before.

“Christine told me, ‘You might have nothing now, and you might have had everything taken from you, but if you stick through to the end, Julie, you won’t leave with nothing.’”

And sure enough, Julie hasn’t. She finally discovered something her soul lacked for so long. Julie gained a sense of belonging, and an extended family that loves her regardless of where she came from, or what might be buried in her past.

IMG_9478“I came in here completely broken and ruined, and I didn’t believe in God at all. … I spent my life dancing with the devil,” she said. “I have fought God every step of the way, and during my whole life. But He has done things with me that are amazing. … God truly does take the lonely and put them into families.”

He also reunites them.

With her three kids sitting in the audience, Julie also dedicated a portion of her speaking time to appreciate her own family she had so desperately ached to see again.  Gushing over the days each of them were born, and showering words of love and affection over each one, she ended on her youngest child.

“Had I left this life any sooner, there would not have been this little blonde-haired, blue-eyed kid who, for the longest time, I wasn’t allowed to see or talk to on the phone,” she said fighting through tears. “Even when I saw all these women get their kids back, I waited, and waited, and waited some more – it was absolutely devastating.

“But just as I thought this little girl was a nail in my coffin, she brought me straight to Jesus. … It was the only thing that kept me pressing into God, and then it finally happened.”

Julie could finally do what burdened her for so very long, she gave up her need for vengeance.

“I asked God to start to tell me the truth. I told Him, if this is true, show me, and He did … over and over and over again. He showed me that if you have faith, He will bring you freedom you never thought possible.”

(SEE PHOTOS OF JULIE FROM SHEPHERD’S DOOR JUBILEE)

BRENDA JACOBSEN ON JULIE’S RECOVERY JOURNEY OVER THE LAST YEAR:

Those months of feeling rejection, loneliness and yearning for Addie also was a time the Lord began to thaw your heart toward Him. In this long, lonely waiting period, you decided to cry out to Him, and He heard you. He surrounded you with love and spoke to you. You clung to Him and took to heart two verses (SEE BELOW). A memory will stay with me of sitting in the van, singing “Oceans” (by Hillsong United) with you and Ashley, worshiping our Savior, before we headed into the courtroom. The Lord’s presence was obvious. As you have trusted and obeyed the Lord, I have watched Him bless you beyond what you could have imagined a few months ago. As you raise your arm, be reminded, “Vengeance is mine.” Obey Him, wait on His timing, and He will continue to heal you while He leads you on the best path.

FAVORITE SCRIPTURES OVER THE LAST YEAR:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) – Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”