Julie Van Gorp
I’m what some people would describe as a type A personality who is extroverted, decisive, goal oriented, and loves working on projects—and who has to have ‘closure’ once I’ve started something (I’ve been known to pull an all-nighter not only to finish college term papers and job assignments, but also to finish painting rooms in my house!). My mother’s words, ‘any job worth doing is worth doing well’, have been a guidepost for me and led me to always strive for excellence, which can be a great motivator, but also a stumbling block to knowing that my worth is not ‘performance based’. I tend to have a very strong competitive streak– at least that’s what my family says. Although I am dedicated to achieving goals, I also am a relationship ‘junkie’ who LOVES people! I love getting to know new people; I love having coffee, lunch dates, and lengthy talks with my treasured ‘old’ friends; and I especially love talking with anyone about the ‘forbidden’ topics: religion, politics, the purpose of life, and any other ‘deep and meaningful’ issues.
On the lighter side, I also enjoy reading, hiking, belly laughs, as well as more adventurous things like parachuting, parasailing, hot air balloon rides and Escape Rooms, and I’ll accept the challenge to play most any game, any time—from corn hole and pickle ball to card and board games… and I confess, I’m somewhat addicted to ‘Words with Friends’.
I was raised in a Christian home in a small, Midwestern ‘Utopian’ town. Even as a young child I knew that God loved me, but as I grew older, my desire to please others so they’d like and accept me–what’s sometimes called the ‘fear of man’– often led me to disobey God’s commands. A life-long and voracious reader–especially of biographies– I always admired and wanted to emulate ‘difference makers’ like Harriet Tubman, Albert Schweitzer, and Jane Addams. Since it was my goal to change lives as they had, I pursued undergraduate and master level studies that would enable me to help others, which eventually led to my being hired as the executive director of a large home health care agency. I worked many hours and accumulated many accolades and awards along the way, but I finally realized that as rewarding as my career was, my life was coming apart at the seams as I focused more time and attention on it and on making a name for myself than I did on a relationship with God, my husband, or on raising our four young children. I vividly remember being afraid that if I left my career that my life would lose its purpose.
I can look back now and realize that the insatiable ‘god’ I was serving was ‘myself’. I was living to satisfy my own will and for my pleasure, fame, and recognition; serving that ‘god’ led to a very deceptive, unfulfilling, empty life. It wasn’t until I was 37 years old and had left my job and we had moved to the Atlanta area (which is why you may hear a ‘ya’ll’ from time to time from me!) that I finally was willing to humble myself and really look in the mirror and have a ‘come to Jesus moment’. God used a loving, godly woman to speak the truth of God’s Word to me, which pierced my heart and broke through the wall I had erected to keep God out of my life.
I confessed my sin to God, and turned my life fully over to Him. I experienced a release, peace, and freedom that I had never known before, and which I continue to enjoy every day as I live with God at the center of my life! It is now my goal and passion for others to experience that same freedom, peace, and joy, which I know can only come from believing God, receiving His love, and living in obedience to His will.
I have taught and written Bible studies, I lead a weekly corporate prayer group, and I mentor women of all ages– with a special heart for those who are struggling in their marriages or who desire to be godly wives and mothers. I love to be a part of the life-transformation that occurs when people are willing to apply the truth of God’s Word to the situations in their lives. Like the woman whom God used to set me free from my sin, I am committed to speaking the truth of God’s Word in the Spirit of His love. I also have a passionate desire for and am dedicated to seeing unity in the Body of Christ based upon the truth of His Word.
Although I have experienced success in the secular world since I gave my life to Christ, I consider my greatest accomplishment to be a vibrant and love-filled marriage to my husband Craig– whom I married in 1979– and helping my four children grow from childhood to becoming God-loving adults without succumbing to the common pitfalls along the way. They—along with my three daughters-in-laws, son-in-law and seven grandchildren—are my greatest earthly blessings. I have also been blessed beyond measure with wonderful, godly friends—especially Jamie– who have been instrumental in helping me to know and love God better and to experience His love through them. I hope to meet you if I have not already, so we too can be ‘iron sharpening iron’ for God’s glory!
He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.
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