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Jul
05
2016
Article
Jul
05
2016
Article

Julie’s Story: Learning To Love The World

“I started realizing how big the universe was and how big everything was and it started to freak me out!  I’m just a little ant, how could God love me? How could He even know who I am?” As a believer these thoughts may occur to us every so often, but for Julie, the thought of how big God was and how small she felt, kept her from truly giving herself to God for many years.

Julie began having panic attacks after watching a movie about the universe and taking a class that focused on studying human anatomy.

Picture in your mind a galaxy filled with stars and planets, and then Earth—an Earth filled with billions of people. Then picture a single person standing in the midst of all this greatness—just one soul in comparison to the entire Universe.  This thought was enough to trigger a panic attack for Julie.

“It got to the point that even if I saw a kid’s drawing of the Earth, I would start to feel scared and anxious,” Julie explained, “I couldn’t even go outside anymore.  At that point I was diagnosed with agoraphobia.” The fear of going out in public kept Julie from attending church for several months.

“I had to be brave. I forced myself not to look down or take my eyes off the screen. I felt nervous and a little sweaty, but I was okay.”

Finally, after many prayers for healing and peace, she decided it was time to go back to church. The first two attempts were unsuccessful; at the last minute she’d change her mind. Then one Sunday, leaving her mom’s house after a visit, Julie got in her car and began to sob uncontrollably with shortness of breath due to her anxiety, praying to God to come rescue her.

As she drove, a familiar song played that quieted her sobbing. As she listened to the words of the song she realized it was mimicking the words of her prayers—she knew this was God, so she decided to go to church. After looking up the times online she realized it was a baptism service, “Oh… maybe today is not the day” she thought, and turned left for home instead of right for church.  As she drove she was caught in the middle of a spiritual tug of war, being torn in both directions.  Finally, she gave in, turned around, and headed to church.

As a woman with anxiety and panic attacks triggered by the thought of an infinite universe, one can imagine Julie’s dismay as she sat down in church only to be greeted by a sermon titled “Telescopes.”

“Why God?” she asked as the video on the screen displayed the vastness of an immeasurable universe. “I had to be brave,” she said, “I forced myself not to look down or take my eyes off the screen. I felt nervous and a little sweaty, but I was okay.”

Then she heard the invitation for anyone that wished to be baptized to come forward.  “I always wanted to get baptized,” Julie admitted, “but I wanted everything to be perfect. From the people I would invite, to the thought of perhaps some of my family members hearing my testimony and coming forth as well.  But it never felt like the right time.” …. until now.

As Julie walked up, no make-up and tasseled hair, she realized this is exactly how God wanted her—broken, humble, and knowing there was nothing she could possibly offer him but herself.  So, alone with God, without the group of family and friends she had dreamt about having there with her, Julie got baptized. “It was nothing like what I planned in my head, but it was more beautiful than I had ever expected.”

We are all made in the image of God our creator, who made the stars in the sky and calls them by name, who loves all of His creations—even the ants.