This is Julia. Julia is 22 years old and from the state of Texas. As we sat in room 302, and I had the honor to get to know Julia more through her faith. Julia is someone that I look up to a lot, and I hope you enjoy her as much as I do. This is Julia’s witness.
All glory to God.
What is your favorite verse: Philippians 4:8
Song stuck in my head: The Lion and the Lamb – Big Daddy Weave
What was your faith life like growing up?:
“My faith life growing up was very independent. My parents were the Christmas and Easter people for sure, and Sundays if there’s nothing better to do sort of thing. I had no roots, there was nothing foundational for me. And that kind of applied to my whole life, I was just an average kid, I was an average student, average daughter, average athlete, all the way around. That was very present in my faith life. I just didn’t know Jesus at all until I got into my freshman year of high school. That is when I went on my first Lifeteen trip and I found Jesus. I can’t even remember what it was like before that besides that there was no roots. Well, the seed was planted there but I like to think about it as this: you know when you plant a seed or a tree, or something like that? You don’t know that an oak tree is suppose to provide shade before it becomes a full oak tree, you don’t know that a cornstalk is suppose to provide nutrients until it becomes a full cornstalk. When they’re a seed, they’re all the same. It was there but it didn’t have the nutrients to grow until I got to high school. So I didn’t understand my faith life or where we are suppose to be coming from. But because we did go to mass, there was a seed planted, but no foundation to grow off of growing up.”
Was there a time that you chose your faith?:
“Yes! I very specifically remember when I was going into my freshman year of high school I was at a Lifeteen camp, and it was the first time I experienced someone straight up telling me “now you can say ‘yes’ to your faith. Right now, in this moment.” And I did. I was in the middle of Missouri, in a basement at some retreat center, and I said ‘yes’ to my faith. After that, there was kind of an invasion of the Holy Spirit in my life, and from there I started to recognize things, see things, and see Christ in others. That’s eventually what led to my full conversion. My freshman year of high school, my youth minister brought in students from the University of Texas. And it was seeing one specific girl, who looking back I saw Christ in her, and I saw that and knew that, that’s what I wanted to emulate in my life. And it was through her discipleship that I came to understand Christ in my life.”
Who is God to you?:
“That’s a really hard question. God to me is truly like a father, in the very real sense of my father growing up. My father didn’t show affection much or wasn’t that vocal, but I knew my father’s love from the things he did for me and his consistent presence in my life. From being at my swim meets when I was a little kid all the way through high school. So when I think of God the Father, I think of my earthly father, and vice-a-versa. I see Him as someone who I don’t really have this flowery, lovely, romantic relationship with, I don’t see that in my life. And I’m okay with people saying that Christ is a romancer, I just never had experienced that. But I know that He is consistent and He pursues me in a “I will always be here for you, I will always provide for you whether or not I say it or you feel it” way. And I see it time and time again, He is always there, even if I’m not feeling it.”
How has God worked in your life?:
“I remember when I was in high school, my friends always gave crap about this, but I never stressed. I just didn’t believe in stress, I didn’t think it was a real emotion, and my friends hated me for it. But I was always like “I don’t understand why you are anxious or nervous right now.” Whatever will be, will be. I didn’t realize that that was a gift given to me. So God has worked in my life by one of the most evident and grateful ways, in a sense of calmness and reassurance that everything will work out. Whether it was me making a last minute decision to come to Franciscan, or me making a last minute decision to join the National Guard, or me making a last minute decision to switch my major, I don’t worry about things. He is consistently working under the radar, He just pops up. I try to cultivate an interior life with Christ in a very “non-showy” sort of way, and that’s how He works in my life. He pops up and is like, “Hey, what about this?” And it sits with me so well, and gives me a sense of peace. He really works through peace in my life, and so he works in a way of showing me what He wants me to do or discern, and I know it because there is peace in my life.”
Favorite Saint, Why?:
“I’ve always had a very strong devotion to Pope Saint John Paul II, because he was a man of great faith, and a man of great love, and he was very much a father to the church. Like in an earthly way he was a man everybody loved, and believed in everybody as children. He loved so ardently, and he desired the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. He was so active in his youth, and it was unheard of that he was such a young Pope. But he was truly a man called by God to do great things, and he showed that through love. I read what he wrote, and he had this amazing ability to show that God is Love. Very simply. Through family, relationships, and through mercy. He was just so relatable and personable. I look up to him as someone I aspire to be like, and you can even look at pictures of him now or listen to his voice and hear Christ in him. That is only something I can only strive to be, is to be Christ to everyone, love to everyone.”
Favorite person from the bible, not Jesus. And why?:
“My favorite person from the Bible. I would say Peter because he didn’t think very highly of himself, but God saw in him such a great amount of potential, that He built his church on Him, and gave him the keys to heaven. He knew that Peter had such a strong faith. We read in Matthew that he would be given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Christ was like, you don’t realize it right now, but so much will come from you, and so much will be built upon you, and it will be so strong, that hell itself will not be able to touch it. And Peter’s just this lowly guy over here, whose like, “what the frick are you talking about?” I just think that it relates so much to my life and everyone’s lives. We think so little of ourselves, when in reality God plucked Peter out of the most random circumstances. And that can happen to any one of us. That’s what I love about the New Testament so much. We are all called individually to bear our own individual crosses. In the old testament you were chosen because you were part of this covenantal community, but in the New Testament all these people were individually chosen to bear an individual cross. And that is because God was like “I want that in the kingdom of Heaven.” He chose Peter and his specific attributes. “I want Peter, and I want these little things about Peter in my kingdom.” I think God chose him so specifically. And I think of that in my life and people’s lives, He chooses us so specifically. He chose Peter to build His church on, and He chooses us everyday to build the church on us, because we are tomorrow’s church. I think that’s how we need to approach our faith life. Like, my faith life is gonna be what the church is built upon. . . So I like Peter because he’s a rock. Literally.”
What are ways that you live out your faith daily?:
“I take my vocation as a very personal thing, and a daily personal call to vocation in that everyday. I’m not trying to change the world, but I think that if we wake up everyday and sit with God, and we discern and discover our personal vocation for that very day, and we go out and be Christ to every person we meet. The world will change. So, daily I try to live out my personal vocation, whatever it may be that day, and cultivate this interior conversation with God so that I may be Christ to everybody. And hopefully the world will change.”
Is there something you wish everyone knew about God?:
“I remember when I had my big conversion at Covecrest, the Lifeteen summer camp. I remember sitting on a back porch and having a conversation with one of the summer missionaries, and I was so enamored. I couldn’t even vocalize it or put it into words, of how beautiful, just beautiful God is in everything. In Everything. Not even in just the people we see and have conversations with, but you look outside and God is beautiful in the snow, and in these barren trees. I wish everybody could see the beauty of God in daily things, and in the very small things. Yes, God is mercy, God is love, God is a great redeemer, God is a good forgiver. He is a big, beautiful, good father. But He is also so small, and beautiful in the barrenness of things. I think that if people could see the beauty of God in the small things, the worries that people have today would be so trivial. I wish that people could see that God is beauty in the barren.”
Close us in prayer?:
“Good Father, we thank you for the gift of today, the gift of life today, and the blessings, burdens, and crosses you have given to us this day. Thank you for Dani, for this time to come together, and to exalt you. To give glory to you. Thank you for you beauty today, that we may see you in everything. I ask going forward that you bless us in the most beautiful ways, that you invade our hearts with the Holy Spirit. That we may see you in everything and every one, in every action we do we glorify you. We strive to be instruments of peace on the road to your kingdom. Mama Mary we ask that you wrap us in your mantle. Bless us with child-like joy and faith, and eagerness to say “yes” to God as you did, in your Fiat. We do all things for the Kingdom as we pray: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.