Julie Elias – A Girl Like Me (A CD Review)

We love music around our house and so when I had the opportunity to review “A Girl Like Me,” the new CD by Julie Elias, I took it.  If you are like me, I saw this CD cover and thought to myself that she looks really, really familiar.   I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  As it turns out, Julie was an actress in Hollywood. You may have seen her in “Grey’s Anatomy” or “CSI:NY.”  Her life in Hollywood was not bringing her the  contentment that she knew she could as she was living her life for Christ.  Stepping out on faith, Julie left Hollywood behind and began looking ahead to what God had for her.  That led Julie to pursue a career in music believing that her life experiences could encourage others in their faith.

In her music, Julie shares her heart by sharing personal experiences that span from beauty to rejection.  Her willingness to be transparent through her music makes it all the more beautiful.  As I listen to the music and read the words to Julie’s songs, I am touched by the reality of God’s grace that is freely offered.  A few favorite lines, with the name of the song noted at the end, are:

When I’m lost You call me by name…and when I fall You love me the same.. ~ Unchained

You build power from my weakness…give me life with Your great love… ~ Awaken

A girl like me could be worthy of a King… ~ A Girl Like Me

Can’t make it through without grace and favor…~ Lost

When the hurt and fear are at my door, let me look to You when I need more… ~ Run Away

You’re treasured and loved, a child of a King…There’s hope on the way…There’s love on your side..There’s strength for today…You’re never alone…There’s light to lead you home… ~ Wherever You Roam

It may be because Christmas is less than 20 days away, but I think my favorite song on the CD is Here With Us.  It’s about the manger. It’s about the gift of our Savior and the sacrifice He made for us.  One thing I have to mention is that I love instruments! And Julie’s CD did not disappoint in this area.  Not only are the words poignant but the instrumental portions of the songs are just beautiful reminding us in every song that we are “worthy of a King”.

A little more about Julie…In 2014, she founded Aurora Ministries, an organization that creates Christian material and hosts conferences for teen and tween girls around the world where Julie shares her music and life experiences in hopes of reaching others for the cause of Christ.

Lastly, and just maybe the best part, I get to end my review with a giveaway. You can enter to win Julie’s CD “A Girl Like Me” by clicking HERE.

“A Girl Like Me” is available now in CD format and also on all digital outlets such as iTunes.  Julie’s official website is: www.julieeliasmusic.com.  And you can learn more about Aurora Ministries HERE.

Until Next Time… Joy to You!


Please note that I did receive a free copy of “A Girl Like Me” in exchange for my fair and honest review.


He’s In Our Midst

My 31 Days of Encouragement from the Lord series is over.  And I’ve had a little break.  I’m ready to see what the Lord would have me share here in my little corner of the internet.  A few years back, I did what I affectionately called “Monday Meditations”.  These were lessons I learned during the sermon on Sunday, verses the Lord had brought me to during my quiet time, or simply things I had on my heart.  I’m giving them a go again.  I’d love to hear what the Lord has taught you on Sunday or the previous week.

Mon_meditations_revdI’ve been working my way through Psalms for some time now.  My process is to read the passage, list attributes of God that are mentioned, write down verses that stand out, and then I pray those verses back to the Lord.  One morning last week, I was in Psalm 74.  The Psalmist is asking the Lord to remember His people and then he describes destruction of God’s sanctuary.  He speaks of the people of God being treated badly.  He pleads for God to destroy the enemy that is reeking havoc on the temple.  Then in verse 12, he says:

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

I had to read that one again.  I’m burdened by so much that goes on in our world today.  I don’t want to list events or details but the bottom line is that there is much to be concerned about.  And I certainly don’t want to go down the political road, but our nation needs prayer right now for the election tomorrow.  Psalm 74:12 gave me comfort.  A reminder that He is still on His throne…in control.  He calls us to Him.  We just have to answer.  He compels us to pray.  We just have to obey.

A few weeks ago, one of the high schools in our town held a “Fields of Faith” event.  It was sponsored by the school’s FCA group.  They held it on a Wednesday night and invited all churches to bring their youth there for service that night.  There were over 250 kids, and a handful of adults, on the field that night.  I listened to high school students lead worship and share their testimony about who God is in their life.  It was very encouraging.  I felt the presence of the Lord on the field that night.  I left there wondering what would happen if these kids really stood up for their faith.  What difference would it make in our city, county, state?

Later that day, I saw a video come across Facebook.  I love the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.  This video is Matt and his band playing in Times Square.  I was brought to tears watching thousands of people worship the Lord.  I can only imagine that the presence of the Lord was felt right there, in the middle of Times Square.

As I’ve thought about both scenes for a few days, I’ve considered that I don’t give enough consideration to Him being in my midst all the time.  Not just in the walls of the church.  Not just at a concert.  Not just on a football field when teenagers are praising the Lord.  And not even in Times Square.  He’s with me all the time.  I want everything in my life to be based on being in the presence of the Lord.

How about you?  I’d love to hear how you have experienced the presence of the Lord in your life?

In the mean time…

Joy to You!


He Gives and Takes Away ~ A 31Day Post (day 14)


One of my favorite songs (ever) is Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman.   I wrote about it HERE back in my very first 31 Day Writing Challenge.  Interestingly enough, that post spoke of the major change that our family faced when we went to seminary.  It seems I write about that a lot! {smile}  I guess when something impacts your life as much as going into ministry impacted mine, it comes up now and again.

Anyway, the first time I heard this song was in church on a Sunday morning. A friend, who has one of the most beautiful voices that I have ever heard, was the soloist that day.  I love anything she sings but this one immediately struck me as being a hard truth that I needed to grasp.  That was in 2004.  I had no idea that a year later, we would be uprooting our family and moving 7-1/2 hours away from everything familiar.

The lyrics list times in which the Lord’s name should be blessed.  I’ve listed a few below:

Blessed Be Your Name…     

  • In the land that is plentiful
  • Where Your streams of abundance flow
  • When I’m found in the desert place
  • Though I walk through the wilderness
  • When the sun’s shining down on me
  • When the world’s ‘all as it should be
  • On the road marked with suffering
  • Though there’s pain in the offering

The chorus goes like this:

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise…When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say…Blessed be the name of the Lord…Blessed be Your name

And then, the part of the song that can sometimes be hard to swallow comes


We don’t mind the giving part.  I don’t know about you but I am always grateful, thankful, and willing to receive a blessing…a gift from the Lord.

It’s the take away that’s hard.

If only I were like Job.  Remember him?  He lost everything and yet, he never cursed the name of the Lord.  Even when his friends and his, “ahem” wife told him to curse God.  His response to them is found in Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

If Job can praise the Lord in times of plenty and want, then I know that I should be able to as well.  It’s just hard.  It goes back to me having my whole life planned and then the plans changing.

In the past year of writing down encouraging quotes, verses, etc., I ran across this one that made me run the gamut of emotions.

Sometimes God’s blessings are not in what He gives, but in what He takes away.  He knows best.  Trust Him.  ~ Anonymous

I know He gives good gifts.  And I don’t necessarily mean the in a box with a bow kind.  A cool breeze and a sweet text from a friend are just as valuable as a new pair of earrings.  I also know that He takes away.  I’ve experienced it time and time again.  Even when my dad passed away 17 years ago, I knew that ultimately the Lord needed to be praised. 

I expect that I will see this over and over again in my life.  I need to remember that His plan is perfect and in the giving by Him…and the taking away by Him…”He knows best.”

And yes, I need to trust Him.  Back on day 5, I quoted my friend’s aunt.  I’ll share it again because it’s so true and it applies:

if we knew the (His) plan, we’d mess it up.

I’m trusting Him in all things.  Or at least that’s my goal!

Until tomorrow…

Joy to You!





Indescribable ~ Day 25: Hymns of Praise

There are 6 more days left in this 31 Day series and SO many more songs that I could write about.  The amount of beautiful praise hymns, both old and new, is really overwhelming.

I mentioned a week or so ago that one of my favorite Christian artist is Chris Tomlin, however, one of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs wasn’t even written by him.  Indescribable was written by Laura Story, a SC girl…like me.  It is a beautiful song that, in my opinion, sums up what praise and worship really is.

We really can’t do justice the honor and praise that we should give to the Lord.  His majesty is revealed in the mountains, in the sea, and in everything in between.  And truly, there are no words.  That’s why this song really is perfect to me.

Laura Story began writing this song while driving down a mountain road.  She later finished it at a piano after reading Job 38.  I pray that the description of God given in the words she wrote will bring you to place of worship.

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God

All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing, God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet, conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God

All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing, God
You are amazing, God

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God

Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart
And You love me the same
You are amazing, God
You are amazing, God

Joy to You!


The Wonderful Cross ~ Day 22: Hymns of Praise

Today’s song is one of my absolute favorite classic hymns with an updated flair.  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” was originally written by Isaac Watts in 1707.  Chris Tomlin and friends took this old favorite, kept the powerful meaning that it holds, and gave it a bit of  a new flair. 
I don’t think I consider the cross enough.  I mean, Christ willingly went to the cross for me.  What do I really do for Him?  Something for me to consider.  This song puts it in perspective for me.  It helps me think on just what it means to have the love that God had for me, for you, right there on the cross with the deep sorrow He must have felt because His Son was there……..on the wonderful cross.

May the words bring you to a place of worship wherever you are in your day.

wonderful cross

Joy to You!

The Potter’s Hand ~ Day 21: Hymns of Praise

31 hymns 300I sat down to be sure that the Day 21 post was ready to post come midnight and found that I had not completed it. I’ll be honest and say that I’m just tired. As I looked through the possible songs to post, I came across this one. It helps me rest knowing that I live in His hands. I pray that you will enjoy listening to the words and that you will be brought to a place of worship.

Mighty To Save ~ Day 19: Hymns of Praise

I heard someone say once that we shouldn’t tell God how big our “mountains” are; we should tell the “mountains” how big our God is.  I like that.  
My Hymn of Praise today is Mighty to Save by Hillsong.  It’s about the “mountains” of life.  Our fears and failures.  He offers us mercy, forgiveness, kindness, hope, love, and compassion.  He is mighty to save. 
As you read the words, I pray you are encouraged. 
Everyone needs compassion 
Love thats never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave
 So take me as You find me 
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine Your light and let the whole world see 
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen king
Shine your light and let the whole world see!
Joy to You!