trees and hills

Friday, November 4, 2011

Julie Webb Kelley --Painter of Words, Nurse, Breast Cancer Conqueror

Everyone's Story warmly welcomes Julie Webb Kelley. When I first stumbled across her writing on her blog, Anti-Writing, Words to Satisfy the Uncommon Soul, my mouth literally fell open and a soft "ooooh" whispered out. Julie is a true artist with her words, painting an awesome landscape to ponder and entertain. Each word is a powerhouse selection that grips and lures the reader into the story. I'm honored Julie is sharing with us a story making its debut appearance entitled COME ON. After reading this inspirational tale, please take a moment and share your thoughts with Julie. She'd love to hear from you.


♡♡And I'd appreciate any new Followers to this blog♡♡

COME ON by Julie Webb Kelley
“Come on,” he says.
 I fall behind his vast strides. We’re getting close. I stop.
God takes my hand. “Come on.” A gentle tug moves me back in step.
Within moments we’re facing the swollen mound of flesh blocking the pathway of my life. 
Seeing the colossal heap up close overwhelms me. I let my hand fall from his; my legs feel like a bolt of lightning hit them – they buckle and tremble all at once. “It’s hopeless.”
“There’s nothing here that can’t be fixed.” He says.
“A heart should be pink, not grey. It should be pumping, not just sitting there oozing blood and pus . . . and the lid, I can’t get the lid off. It’s stuck.”
“It is worn, but once we unpack it and get the pressure off, it’ll pink up and find its rhythm again.” He is circling the structure, studying the wreckage, witnessing the rusted craters and inflamed holes. 
Then, as if distance had never existed, he kneels beside the lifeless receptacle.
I watch as his grand form dwarfs the crusty container and am startled as the God of the universe moves with gentleness and precision upon the surface of my heart. As he stretches his fingers across the lid and drives his nails beneath the lip, I realize that nothing important yet everything that matters most is inside that thing.
“Stop!” I feel separated inside, like his mission isn’t really as pure as he’s letting on, like I want desperately to trust him, but can’t find a way.
He moves closer. “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I am your God . . . I will make you strong and help you.”
The infusion of his Word forces certainty through my veins. I nod.

Again, he works the lid – pulling, lifting, never yanking –until finally with one complete screech it is up and off. A putrid odor assaults us. I cover my nose while he waves me toward the opening, acting like he can’t smell a thing. 
“It’s awful.” I say.
“It’ll get better as we clean it out,” he promises.
I reach into the muddled tissue. The slime of anguish is smeared on everything making it difficult to know what’s what. I lift out a rectangular, metal pot. God grabs the other handle, sharing the weight.
I look inside the pot – confusion, distrust, fear, anger, loneliness, betrayal, yearning, emptiness – the stench of my accumulated sorrows forces a million tears to fight for first place behind my eyes. 
“I don’t know why I’ve kept this.” I say, releasing it into his hands. 
In that moment, the mortal coil within me begins to loosen and I am sure I hear a cry of relief break from his lips. But when I look at him, I see only the mingling of relief and care at the edges of his smile.
Reaching in again, I pull up a gray and crumbling brick. “Take this.”
He wipes the drippy, ooze from the brick, exposing the inscription, reading, “If only.”
I pull out another brick, and, another, and another, and another, handing them all to him. When the last one is in his hands, he asks if I’m sure.
“I’m tired of this wall of regrets, tired of bumping into it at night.”
I reach again -- the malignant smell fighting me. Digging under a damp wad of misery, the thing I’m after is sticky, wedged between tones of sepia tinted disappointment. I yank it free and something inside my chest twists sending distress up my neck and down both arms. The tiny black box is slimy. Its glass surfaces cracked; it emits a flash of light.
“It’s the only one left. I’ve thrown the others away . . . they were shattered, dead . . .” I hold it out.
He takes the square, turning it over in his hands. “I’m glad you kept this one.”
“I didn’t want you to see it. My faith in you is weak and splintered. It’s dying the same way all the other faith died. My faith in myself, it melted away. And my faith in others . . . smashed, like a bulldozer went over it. But that one,” I point at my faith in God, “the light still works once in a while . . . look! There’s another flash.”
“All faith can be renewed.” He says.
I turn toward the echo of the empty structure before us and notice a black crust coating the inside. I pick at it.
“What is this?” I ask. 
As God scratches his nails through the sooty, baked-on glaze, I recognize the pressure of his presence within my defective heart scrapping away the worthlessness I’ve worn like a protective varnish. 
When he finishes, the still, cold chunk swells with the tension of luster and life. For the first time, I see a pure reflection of myself and I recognize the magnificence of what he has created. This truth snaps my eyelids shut. I stoop to my knees, covering my face, wishing God would go away. 
“The absence of my worthlessness leaves nothing but unworthiness pressing at me.” I cry from behind my hands.
I feel him near and am scared to open my eyes. Then it comes to me -- he will never be content to let me be until he has loved me into worth and worthiness.  I open my eyes into the face of God; the air around me thins, he’s too close, he’s knows too much. I want to scoot away but I can’t move. His countenance holds me steady as the mystery of grace pours from the radiance of my Father.
As he takes me hand, his delight in me whispers to my heart, “Come on.”
Author Bio:
Julie Webb Kelley is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. In the last 25 years she has written for newspapers, non-profits, and websites in which she has had numerous articles and short stories published. As a breast cancer conqueror, one of Julie's passions remains writing about issues of women's health and wellness and alternative approaches to medicine.

In 2010, Julie’s novel, Darkness Trembles, was awarded and recognized at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. In 2011, she won awards for her poetry and article writing at the Blue Ridge conference. 
Julie worked as an RN and Communication Coordinator in the PICU at The Children's Hospital of IL for 13 years before leaving to join her husband in running their business, Kelley Construction Contractors, Inc. while doing freelance medical writing.
In 2005 Julie was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in Business as part of the annual Women's Recognition Awards sponsored by the YWCA, Pekin, IL. She was recognized for the outstanding marketing and public relations skills she demonstrated while working at The Children’s Hospital of IL and for Kelley Construction Contractors, Inc.
Julie and Michael have been married for 25 years. They have two daughters: Lauren, 23 and Megan, 13. She resides and writes among the endless cornfields of Central IL.
Julie hosts the blog Anti-Writing, Words to Satisfy the Uncommon Soul and has been heading up and blogging for the Pekin Writers Group since 2009. You can also check out more of her writing at the Kelley Costruction nBlog. Follow her on Twitter @juliewebbkelley. 

22 comments:

  1. Wow. Julie, you have a unique writing voice. This brought on tears. I don't know if I have met you before at Blue Ridge, I've been there the past five years. Love that place! Elaine, thanks for sharing this post.

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  2. Beautiful words Julie. What a great way to visualize the truth of how the Lord changes our hearts. AND the different view He has of it compared to ours.

    Thanks Elaine!

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  3. Julie, each of us needs to clean out those regrets and focus on today and the future. "If only" is a biggie in our family. We joke that we have 20/20 hindsight, but we have almost ceased worrying about it. Great story.

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  4. Caroline, thanks for taking the time to cross paths with me. I am grateful our Father has provided a way past the "if only" for all of us. Be blessed, julie

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  5. Dear cbalmony, thanks for the generous comment. So glad you enjoyed it. Julie

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  6. Cynthia, I'm not sure either if we've met, but we will have to make a point of it next spring! Thanks for letting my words surround your tears. Blessings.....

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  7. Elaine, I've known Julie for several years and her writing never ceases to amaze me. Kudos to you for introducing her to others - I'm not surprised though - your blog always has some of the coolest stuff!

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  8. Truly uplifting. I needed this today.

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  9. It's like I read a contemporary Psalm. Beautiful. Thank you,Julie!

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  10. Hi Debra, thank you for taking the time to sit with my story. Although the message secreted varies for everyone, I believe you found the grace element....... "his ways are not my ways" ........as profound as I did. Grace to you, julie

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  11. p.s. Thanks for hosting, Elaine! I hope you are doing well. :)

    Melanie-Joy :)

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  12. Edie, thanks for visiting Everyone's Story & giving a great plug for both Julie & this blog. I've just come home from work--today ending an exhausting work week--and you've planted a great big fat smile on my face!

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  13. Melanie--it's a good thing you added "Joy" in your PS 'cause I just went ohhhhh ☺ As I've said, I know you as Joy since you're truly a joy.
    Thanks so much for Following my blog.

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  14. Julie, your writing leaves me breathless! My favorite line: "When he finishes, the still, cold chunk swells with the tension of luster and life. For the first time, I see a pure reflection of myself and I recognize the magnificence of what he has created." Simply, and oh so truthfully, beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. Simply beautiful and touching. {{sigh}} Thank you!

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  16. Julie has been having difficulty with her email this past week and has asked me to post these replies. Please accept her apologies.

    From Julie:


    Edie, Thanks for stopping by. You are a constant encouragement to me. Be blessed, friend!

    Christine, I'm so glad you found the lift you needed in these words. Thanks for experiencing this with me. Be fulfilled in our Lord.

    Julie, you're welcome and thank you for walking with me through this story's journey. I appreciate your "contemporary Psalm" point of view -- refreshing and humbling for me. Grace and peace.

    Melanie, Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. It blesses me to know you found beauty in the spaces between my words. Christ's blessings to you.

    Hi Lynn, Thanks for reading and expressing your soul's response.....it blessed this soul. Thank you. God's peace to cover you.

    Cathy, You are such a dear, sweet companion for my life's journey! That line is my favorite as well (but perhaps you already know that). After those words fell outside of me and settled onto the page, it was like a wonderful collision of becoming nobody and somebody all at the same time. Who says writing can't be therapy for the soul? Not you or I, that's for sure. Bask in the glory of our God.

    Thanks again, Elaine!! Really cool about the number of hits and the "other" worlds some of those hits have traveled from....to find your blog!

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  17. Julie, heartfelt thanks for being my guest this past week. You've been a trooper hanging in there despite email woes. From the comments--and the number of hits your guest segment received I know that COME ON has inspired many. I'm personally blessed to always have this story on my blog to bring up when I need an uplifting reminder that God is always with us and always holding our hands.

    Please consider being a guest again.

    Blessings,

    ♥ Elaine

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  18. Elaine, it was truly a blessing for me to join arms with you and your readers. Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to guesting with you again someday!

    Also, thanks one and all for your patience with my email issues......

    Deepest gratitude,

    Julie

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  19. I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind!

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  20. Thanks for the visit, Painter. So glad you enjoyed Julie's post and Everyone's Story as well. Hope you'll come back again... I host a new guest every Friday.

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