Let me introduce you to… Jules.
I have been so inspired by this amazing lady over the last few years and the way she manages to be a wife, mum, creative, business owner, prophetic voice and all-round bringer of joy.
I have bought beautiful pieces of hand lettering art from her company ‘Gingertwentytwo‘, that she lovingly designs and they have blessed the people I bought them for. She is also part of a group of creatives called ‘Cheerfully Given‘ which is a UK based market place for Christian gifts. I was so excited to find out more about her journey and the way she hears from God and the outworking of that. I hope you are as inspired as I am by her and that her authenticity about her life and journey will be an encouragement and provocation to you.
What prophetic words have shaped your life?
Wow, so many! There are two types of prophetic words that shape my life, the long term ones that seem to get repeated now and again by various prophetic voices, and feel like a life-long call. Then there are the seasonal words that maybe only apply to where I am at right now, or what I am coming into. These types often help me with my perspective of the current situation.
In terms of the long-term words, I have had lots of words about empowering others, especially women. Seeing people walk in true love and freedom, especially those who have/are held captive (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) – the phrases ‘loving the unloveables’ or ‘taking the love of God to the forgotten places’ comes up now and again.
I’ve also had lots of words about raising up leaders, being a prophet to the nations, having Governmental authority, and being a warrior in the spirit realm. These all shape what I say ‘yes’ to in a world that places a lot of demands on us.
Have there been pivotal moments in your life that have changed your direction?
Yes, usually, for me, these pivotal moments are either a profound encounter with God, or a circumstance that seems to turn life upside down and create an opportunity to see things differently. It feels like there’s been a lot of those in my life!!
An example of a pivotal encounter would be 3 years ago when I was at a conference and Shawn Bolz had some words of knowledge that called me out. I felt so unbelievably seen and known by God, it was very overwhelming (in a good way). Then Shawn went on to prophesy over me, saying I had creativity in me that expresses the love nature of God, and it has a monetary value attached to it. That was a real turning point for me because I have always worked in the media/communications industry, but I have always been the producer/project manager who worked with ‘creatives’. And despite studying music and art, and being paid to be a copywriter I have never viewed myself as ‘a creative’. Shawn awoke something in me about my identity and how I see myself. I was forced to look at why I believed the lie that I wasn’t creative, and I was persuaded by God to look at things differently. As a result I have started writing a book (another long-held promise) and I started a business selling prints, cards and stationery that I have designed. Seems mad!
How do you hear from God?
I hear from God in lots of different ways. I think some come more naturally that others, but I try to live my life open to Him being everywhere and in everything – so then he’s able to get my attention in lots of ways. God is very creative.
If God is speaking to me, for me, then typically it will either look like some sort of vision (moving images, or a sense of being somewhere else), or he’ll get my attention through things that stand out in nature and act as metaphors or ‘signs’. Sometimes God speaks very clearly when I am journaling, almost like he is writing the words on the page.
If I am with leaders, or in situations where vision or strategy is needed, God will speak to me through pictures or with a strong sense of ‘knowing’ – like a ‘gut instinct’ (except I know it’s God).
If I am prophesying over an individual, a region or a group of people, I get thoughts in my head – which is a kind of hearing, I see pictures, or symbols that have meaning. But most acutely God will use my emotions or senses. I might feel something in my body, smell something or taste something. Or I might feel an emotion particularly strongly.
God will speak to me through the bible, through world events, creative arts, my emotions, my physical senses…it’s kind of limitless!
However God gets my initial attention, through seeing, hearing, knowing, sensing, feeling, etc, I always turn it into a conversation. I ask Him ‘what does that mean?’, ‘why did you show me that?’, ‘is there more to understand?’, ‘do you want me to share this?’ I might be doing that very quickly in the moment, or I might do that over several months of years depending on the context. The point is that prophecy is relational. God doesn’t just drop a message and run, the initial revelation from Him is an invitation to go deeper.
What is your mission field/passion?
Love. That we truly understand what it means, how it transforms and affects us, and the difference it makes.
I long for every human to live with love as their foundation, motivation and goal, but especially in the bride of Christ. The world is looking for an answer to its many issues, and I believe that is found in the true, pure, power of Heaven – Love. But for me, there’s a process in understanding what love actually is and looks like in all situations. We need to break it down – what does love look like, how does it behave, what does it say?
Mostly, I ache for all people to know how loved they are, and how transformative the love of God is for them personally. I long for them to trust that God loves them with an everlasting, unchanging, furious love. I want the world to know it is being pursued by a love that will change and transform and reform everything.
When we see and accept His love a process of undoing starts to happen. From the safety of intimacy with Him we are drawn into a wild adventure of discovery. We start to understand Him and His ways, and we embrace our identity. Because of His love we become mature in character, meaning we act in love, with wisdom, honour, leadership and integrity. Also we start to believe we are who he says we are, we develop a value for ourselves – understanding our significance and place in the world.
As we relate to God as a good Father, enjoying our unbroken union with Him and all that He accomplished at the cross. We start to live fully alive, knowing we are free from the chains of sin, and sickness, and bondage – able to overcome and live victoriously as children of the king of kings. We start to see ourselves through His eyes, and love ourselves, and we become full of His love which overflows to others in the places we work, live and play.
Love is the foundation of the culture of heaven, the culture we are to establish here on earth and if we rush ‘to make a difference’ without love we are not equipped with all that we need. Love never fails.
What do you do whilst waiting for promises to be fulfilled?
I am the least patient person I know. Being prophetic, I’ve always got one foot in the future, so remaining in the present, full of hope and faith can be a challenge! Sometimes I live in the tension of waiting well, and sometimes I grumble and moan and give up and get over dramatic!
The way I wait looks different depending on the context. I might increase my prayer and intercession, I might worship, I might journal or study His promises for me, using them as fuel for declarations and to increase faith.
I’ve realised that God wants us to partner with Him, and His word never returns to Him void. If He promises, He will do it, but not without our co-operation. So, if I feel like I am waiting, I’ve learnt to ask questions – ‘what should I be learning in this season?’, ‘what do you want me to do?’, ‘how can I partner with you?’
And, finally, I take risks, I push doors, I look for opportunities and I never quit in my heart. He promised and I will hold Him to that!
How have you coped with any disappointments?
Moan, eat chocolate, grumble and ignore God! That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Haha!
There have been many disappointments. Whether it’s overcoming the abuse of my past, long term health issues, relationship breakdowns, plans not going as expected, redundancies, broken dreams, you name it, it has happened. I still feel like I am growing and learning about handling these, but I guess my top 5 tips are:
- Worship. Worship changes your focus from what is wrong, to who God is, how powerful He is, and how sovereign He is. It does our spirit and soul good to declare His goodness. For me this shifts that horrible, nauseating feeling in my stomach.
- Talk to God. I let Him have it. I cry, I moan, I ask for His perspective, I ask questions.
- I never ask ‘why’. I’ve noticed in the grip of disappointment God rarely answers why. Sometimes the why isn’t evident until a long time after. Why traps me into my circumstances, it keeps me focused on me. I don’t need to know. I just need to know what to do, and where to surrender. So now I ask questions like ‘What am I supposed to be learning?’, ‘What should I do next?’ ‘What are you showing me?’
- I have fun and I am kind to myself. When my heart is hurting I need to nourish it. Worship and prayer help, so does doing things I love, like watching comedy, being outside, hanging with friends, reading, travelling, drinking copious amounts of red bush tea. I also put my ‘to-do’ list to one side and take a day or two off from being responsible, as best I can (I’m a Mum so I can’t opt out totally).
- I talk about it. I have wise friends who are encouraging and have great perspective. They remind me how much I have to be thankful for, they give me prophetic insight, and hugs, and love.
What do you see as the key to breakthrough?
Love. Ok, so you probably knew I was going to say that, but it’s clear in 1 Cor 13 ‘Love never fails’.
Being more specific I feel it’s the surrender to love and for love that leads to breakthrough.
It is the sacrificing and laying down of our own lives and our own agendas in order to join up with his desire for our lives. Hearts and minds surrendered in humility and trust (1 Cor 13 – Love is not self-seeking, love trusts).
By surrender I don’t mean the point in which we prayed a one off ‘sinners prayer’. I am talking about a life given back to God with full permission for Him to have His way through us. It’s the every day choices of putting Him before anything else. His will and His ways and His plans and His leading. Trusting in His timing, His goodness, His desire for us, the fact He is running after us and is FOR us and is working all things for our good.
God is love and He loves us. When we know how loved we are, we can’t help but respond with devotion and surrender. It’s not an effort, we don’t need to strive to do it, it’s a natural response to who He is. He has made it possible, as we rest in Him, to surrender without effort. The bible says we love because He loved us first. We also surrender because He surrendered first – at the cross. The cross empowers and enables us to live surrendered. The trinity is surrendered to one another in love and now they are in us and we are in them. We have all we need to rest into surrender.
I have learnt that if I learn to rest, and let Him take control, if I stop fighting Him and placing demands based on my human understanding, then actually His process is perfect, and that often He not only has the breakthrough sorted, but also has me on a journey to learn some thing’s, if only I would rest, trust and listen.
He will go after our hearts over and over again, He will pursue us, and because love never ends and love never fails, He will never give up. And He’s searching for the hearts that respond to that pursuit. That say yes to Him whatever the personal cost. Hearts that say ‘I trust you’ and ‘you are enough’.
You see, I believe because He is good He wants us to live lives of promise and abundance and wholeness, because that is what He paid for at the cross. There is no man, material possession, ambition or ministry that could even come close to fulfilling us like He can.
When we put our own agenda down, our own strategies, solutions, plans and purposes to just live poured out in worship and devotion that actually draws God’s attention to us, because He knows through hearts like that He can achieve great things.
Our breakthrough is found when we choose love for Him over all other things. When we put down our agendas, plans, purposes, so that our hands are open to grab onto His heart and remain there.
We will get our breakthrough when we make the journey of intimacy with Him our greatest priority; When we make Him our focus; When we allow Him to lead us; When we ask Him questions and trust His answers and by turning to Him as He pursues us and saying YES with all of our hearts, all our minds and all of our soul.
What do you want to see God do in your life?
So many things! I long to serve the body of Christ in a way that equips and matures it into all it can be, so that it takes the kingdom into the world and genuinely reforms society, so the world thrives with His goodness in all sectors. I’d love God to use me more like this but in a way that generates income, not just so I can support my family, but also to create employment and empowerment for those who need it most. I would love to facilitate income generation for the poor and marginalised, enable ex-offenders to get back on their feet, create housing, education and opportunities for those that need it the most.
I’d also love God to heal me of CFS/ME.
How do you pass on what you have? What do you want your your legacy to be?
Massive question. For me personally there are two obvious ways, and those are my children. My husband and I include them in everything God is doing, we talk to them about it, we talk about things in the bible, we pray and prophesy. I don’t believe in there being a junior holy spirit. In some ways my kids are way ahead of me. We want them to grasp hold of the understanding we have now and run ahead of us, seeking the more, and changing the world.
For me legacy is all about wisdom, empowerment and maturity.
Wisdom: When we build, we must be careful to build in God’s wisdom, not ours. We might be a group of excellent, experienced, gifted individuals, but if we’re rushing ahead without strategy from heaven then we really aren’t building for the future. Building with God’s wisdom requires risk and courage, we have to do things we may not have ever thought we would, or in a way the world would say is crazy. I look back at previous generations, who took risks and made courageous decisions, led by the Spirit, which has enabled my generation to enjoy grace and life by the spirit in a whole new way – and so it goes on.
Empowerment: Empowerment comes in because in order for people to build in God’s wisdom and to take risks, they need to be free to try, and carve new paths, and possibly even fail. As a leader I see it as my role, to guide and impart, but not to give instructions. I can share experiences and teach according to what God shows me but really I just need to build others up to the point they are willing to have a go. This will look like me encouraging them, asking good questions that lead them further into God, challenging them to take risks and having their back when they do. Where possible I try to create opportunities for them to experiment and try. Most of all I need to convey trust. God has made them free, it’s not up to me to get in the way of that. I might share concerns, and give feedback where needed, but ultimately I am here to empower others to be the best version of themselves and to take things way beyond I ever could. They are the future.
Maturity: Self awareness and character is everything, again, this is all rooted in love being our foundation, motivation and goal. When we’re loved-centred, we are mature, meaning, we listen better, we relate better, we bear more fruit. If earth is to look like heaven we need to learn how to love people who are different to us. We need to learn how to serve the world around us and ask questions rather than impose our own ideas. We need to be confident and courageous in bringing the revelation of God into business, the arts, media, and so on. When we know whose we are, who we are, and how to live as the best version of ourselves, we WILL make a lasting impact, because we’ll be building as God intends – and He wants something that lasts.
What have been your biggest obstacles? How have you overcome them?
My biggest obstacles…hmm…There are two. Can I have two?
The first is the affects of the trauma and abuse in my childhood. Years of that led to a highly dysfunctional and damaging teen years, and then in my adult years I was eventually diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, self-esteem issues, shame and imposter syndrome. Those have been some real ‘biggies’ to overcome. I decided early on that I only wanted to be defined by who God said I was and I refused to be a victim. So much of my life felt ‘robbed’, I knew if I wanted to live the life God had intended for me, I needed to be intentional in seeking it out. There’s no point siting around, angry, bitter and disaffected – that’s just playing into the devil’s hands. Instead I went into therapy, took medication (which I still take today), had various prayer ministries, read books, let people and God into my pain, and with a lot of courage allowed Him to walk me out of my past and into the life He intended. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m not 100% there yet, but I’ll never stop being intentional with my self-awareness and growth. I am not doing it alone, He leads me every step of the way, but He does need me to be willing to take the steps. He paid a high price for my freedom, He’s gonna make sure I get to live in it, fully, so long as I let him.
The second one is being female. Not particularly my fault, but it has been an obstacle both in work and in the church especially. I’m a redhead, a prophet, and straight talking – makes for a quite a combo at times! There’s a strength in me that I think people have found challenging at times. At 23, I was a project manager in the workplace, managing multi-million pound projects. Nearly all the people working on those projects were men. I was their line-manager, and in some senses ‘the boss’. That was an issue and I often came up against rebellion, sexist comments, sexual inappropriateness, etc. All designed to undermine me and the position I was paid to be in.
In the church, my leadership experience, anointing, and gifting has also caused issues. I have been told to be less ‘this’, or more ‘that’. I have been instructed to ‘know my place’, ‘know my season’, ‘just focus on being a Mum, as that’s my main calling’. I have been overlooked, gossiped about, and deliberately not included. I have been called rebellious and have been accused of having an issue with authority. Ultimately, I have been made to feel that in order to fit in I need to neutralise myself, reduce myself, and learn to live in a way that pleases others. It’s been phenomenally damaging in the sense that for a long time I believed I was totally unacceptable and rebellious, it made me fearful, shrink back, not live in the things God has called me to and I had considerable loss of confidence.
I wouldn’t say I have overcome all of those things yet. It’s an on-going journey, but the first thing I have had to do is go back to what God says about me. Shawn Bolz said once to ask God, every day ‘what are you saying to me, about me, today’, so I started to cultivate that habit a few years ago. I have studied his word to see what he says about women leaders, so I have my own peace about the anointing and calling He has given me. I trained myself to ask ‘what does love look like’ in every situation, which meant learning when to have courage and push, and when to compromise, when to speak up and when to keep quiet and let God do it. I have a strong bent towards relationship over everything, so I have tried really hard to be a good person, who loves the people around me, who champions, encourages and believes in people, regardless of gender so that they can trust me. Ultimately I have tried to be self aware, mature and someone who has a positive effect on others. And over time opportunities and freedom has made a way.
How did you get started in your own business and what is your dream for the business?
Well, it started with Shawn Bolz and his word about creativity. I had to start believing I was creative. So as an experiment I started creating postcards for friends with prophetic words on them or scriptures. I would decorate them and try out fancy writing. I started getting requests to create them for others, and then a friend of mine suggested I did it as a business, which felt like a step too far for me. It eventually became a business when that same friend commissioned me to make some Christmas cards and I needed an easy way for people in my church to see them and pay me for them, so I set up an Etsy shop. Before I knew it I had loads of designs popping into my head and people were actually buying them – something that even 3 years later still mystifies and thrills me!
My dream really is to impact people’s world for the better. If the truth from my prints can encourage, comfort or empower people then I am happy. I want them to encounter God through my work, and know they belong, they are seen, known and are being pursued all the days of their lives. He is so good.
If you have been inspired by reading this don’t forget to drop me a message and let me know. If you would like to check out Jules’ creativity then use this link and head to her Esty shop, you won’t be disappointed!
You can keep up with Jules on Instagram.
She has just started a new Insta page called Love, Lead, Live.
If you have enjoyed this blog you may want to read my first ‘Inspired By’ series. You can link to previous posts below.
Series 2 Inspired by….