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   Dawn Wilson


Entries in Julie Watson (5)


Shed Your Past—Shed the Pounds

Julie Watson is inspiring. In this UPLIFT post, she shares her story of how dealing with personal pain from her past enabled her—with the help of a healthy nutrition program—to lose weight and gain confidence.

“You can’t shed the extra pounds,” Julie says, “until you shed the painful experiences that put them there in the first place!”  

Exactly! I (Dawn) discovered the same thing over the past two years. I had to deal with the underlying emotional causes for my weight gain, and I appreciate Julie's honesty here.

Julie continues . . .

Last summer I set out to lose weight… a lot of weight! It’s not weight that came on recently, or even in the last 10 years. I’ve been carrying around this extra weight my entire life.

I often joke and say, “The last time I was thin was in the birthing room the day I entered the world!” 

Laughing about my weight has been my coping mechanism for as long as I can remember. But the truth is, there’s a lot of pain under that laughter.

My guess is that’s the case for most people who are obese. There’s always going to be a memory or two of the mean kids on the playground who called you, “fatty” or, in my case, my third-grade crush who called me “moose” while standing behind him in line at a Sea World drinking fountain.

I can still remember it like yesterday, and that was nearly 40 years ago!

Worse yet is when a person of authority crushes your spirit with words that are hurtful and damaging.

Such was the case with my pediatrician when I was 10 years old. I was told that I was overweight and needed to go on a diet immediately or I might get a myriad of health problems. 

Perspective for just a second:

  • I was five feet five inches tall at 10 years old.
  • I was a fully developed young woman and weighed 145 pounds.
  • I realize that’s a lot for an average 10-year-old. But I was NOT average! I was 3 inches taller than my fifth-grade teacher!

Back to the story . . .

My pediatrician sent me home with instructions for a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet and requirements to come back weekly to weigh-in. You would have thought I was the fattest person she had ever seen! That’s how I felt, anyway.

I remember crying in my room later that day. Nevertheless, I listened to her instructions and followed the plan. Of course, my mom made my food because, quite frankly, at 10 years old I didn’t know what a calorie was!

The following week, back we went. The scale read 144.5 pounds. I felt good that I had lost! But, that’s not the response I received. I got a FULL-ON YELLING LECTURE!

She was upset that I ONLY lost a half pound and needed me to understand—quite loudly—that if I didn’t lose weight, I was going to have High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, and would die of a heart attack really young!

I was 10—what did those words even mean? 

Traumatized, we left, and thankfully, never returned! However, the damage was done.

As I aged, I learned what those diseases were. I started having anxiety and panic attacks that I would get them.

I became a moderate hypochondriac in my teen years as the weight piled on. I used food to escape my emotions and feelings about my weight. If I heard one more person tell me, “You have such a pretty face, if only you lost weight,” I might have just exploded!

Fast forward to June 25th of 2018.

Desperate and alone I cried out to God for help!

I had self-fulfilled much of the prophecy that pediatrician had placed on me. I was in a very dark place, imagining an early death and that my family was going to have to bury me in a double-wide coffin.

God was faithful and graciously led me to an amazing, life-changing health program!

  • It broke through “why” I had a food problem, all relating to the pain compiled over the years.
  • It helped me look at the triggers, why they were there and how to be free of the pain that kept me in bondage.
  • At the same time, I learned new, healthy habits to replace the old, bad habits, one at a time.

The weight began to melt off and I began to heal from the inside out!

I learned that you can’t shed the extra pounds until you shed the painful experiences that put them there in the first place! 

I’m just about halfway in my weight loss journey—nearly 90 pounds down in just over 6 months! I have a long way to go yet, but I haven’t looked back because I haven’t wanted to!

When you feel good—really good—you don’t want to give that up! I found true FREEDOM, one directed by the Lord, for such a time as this!

When someone gives you keys to the jail door, you DON’T give them back!

Painful pasts must be dealt with so we can reach our goals! Whether it’s losing weight or another desire, speak to a pastor, counselor or therapist to work through your past and reach for your dreams!

You are worth it!

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”  (Jeremiah 29:11).

Are painful experiences keeping you in bondage? Are you ready to shed them?

Julie Watson became an independent C.O.P.E. Certified Health Coach after finding freedom using an amazing health program that is transforming lives one habit at a time. Her husband became her first client, lost 43 pounds in three months and remains in maintenance. She loves helping others find the same freedom she found! Julie and Shawn live in San Diego with their three children and myriad of pets.

(NOTE from Dawn: This article is not meant to promote any specific program, but if you are interested in learning more about the specific program Julie is using, let me know and I will contact her.)

Graphic adapted, courtesy of MoreHarmony at Pixabay.


A Thankful Heart Produces a Blessed Life

I've observed Julie Watson go through a severe testing of "waiting," and then the blessings God poured into her heart and life. In this special UPLIFT, she shares one of the things the Lord taught her during the long wait: Thankfulness.

“Whoever said ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’ must have been one difficult Mother-In-Law to impress!" Julie says. "I believe a more accurate description is ‘Thankfulness is next to godliness.’”  

The two thoughts that came to my (Dawn's ) mind when I read Julie's post today were: I think any child would want a mom like Julie; and I want to be a more thankful person!

Julie continues…

Thankfulness, gratefulness, heartfelt appreciation for all that God has blessed me with is something I think about almost every day. It’s an attribute of Christ I wish to instill in the hearts of my children. *

The words “thank you” are said in my home at least 20 times a day, or at worst, a gentle reminder to do so is given to an otherwise distracted and forgetful child.

But, let’s be honest. Having a thankful heart is hard to have on difficult days, especially when you find yourself in the midst of an unexpected life storm!

We recently finalized the adoption of our three beautiful children just a few months agoPRAISE JESUS! It was such a blessing for our family to finally be official

What a difficult, nearly two-year journey it had been. There were many days I was thankful during that time:

  • Thankful when my oldest, who was filled with anger, stopped chasing his sister around trying to rip her hair out. 
  • Thankful when my youngest son stopped hiding behind furniture when he didn’t want to talk, or more accurately, “grunt” at us for something he wanted. 
  • Thankful when my daughter, in tear-filled panicked cries, stopped screaming for me not to leave her, as her bio mom had done so many times before.

I slowly learned to be thankful for every small step in the process. In fact, it is still what keeps me in check today! 

Ultimately, seeing the huge progress my kids have made in the relatively short time we’ve had them has given me such a sense of joy and contentment.  I feel blessed!  It helps me stay focused on the good stuff and not so much on the obstacles in front of us.

However, it wasn’t always this way (and at times, I still struggle).

Between the temper tantrums, power struggles, constant lying (still working on this one), destruction of our property, issues in school with stealing and cheating, and days where I just felt completely alone with three little "monsters" ready to drive me into an early grave—I seriously have WAY more gray hair than I ever expected at this age—I can honestly say, I was NOT thankful.

Many tears were shed during my quiet times with God, begging Him to reconsider this path He had placed me on.

This Ministry of Motherhood He had bestowed upon me after waiting 17 years was NOT all it was cracked up to be! 

I remember telling Him quite clearly that He “had picked the wrong mom for this job.” And, “You’re crazy, God, if you think I can do this!” 

Looking back, I’m sure He just sat up on His heavenly throne saying, “Wait... just wait, child. What I am doing through you will be more amazing than you could ever imagine!”

That is truly where the thankfulness begins. 

Trusting in God as you wait upon Him during those hard days...  those life storms! Being grateful for each small victory and not focusing on the mountain still before you. 

Every day after that it’s simply a choice.

You have to CHOOSE to be thankful in all things. You have to PRACTICE it

You have to rely on the goodness and faithfulness of our loving Father who has something so amazing, you won’t believe it—until you do. 

A thankful heart produces a deeper, more intimate walk with Christ and a blessed life.

Here are some verses to encourage a thankful heart:

  • "O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" (1 Chronicles 16:34, also Psalm 106:1)
  • "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  • "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17).
  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
  • "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected it it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

Are you struggling with being thankful? Do you have a hard time trusting God to complete a good work in the midst of a life storm? Remember He cares for you and will speak to your heart if you open His Word and simply listen. Start thanking Him for some small victories today!

Julie Watson worked in women’s and children’s ministries for 10 years and as an Executive Director and Grant writer before becoming a stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children. She and her husband, Shawn know these children were hand-picked by God to be their own, and officially adopted them in the spring of 2016.  God is good!

* Note from Dawn: I had never actually thought about thankfulness being an attribute of Jesus, but it is! We see Him giving thanks in John 6:11, and in many other places in scripture He offered private and public appreciation for the good deeds people showed—He thanked the Father and He gave credit on earth where it was due—a wonderful example for us.

Graphic, adapted, courtesty of HotBlack, Morguefile.


Praying for Others: A Call to Commit

If you want to know someone with a tender heart, meet Julie Watson. In this unique Prayer UPRADE, she reminds us to be careful when we say, "I'll pray for you."

“Where, oh where, have all those gone who committed to pray for me?” Julie says.

OK. I (Dawn) just felt a pang of guilt. Did you? Instead of running from the conviction, I want to face it head-on. And Julie's here to help.

She continues . . . 

Praying for others is a vital and daily part of our Christian walk. Nowadays, with the popularity of social media, I now find myself praying for online unknown acquaintances several times a day. But, lately I have wondered, “Where, oh where, have all those gone who committed to pray for me?” 

Lately, I have felt forgotten.

I rarely ask for prayer for myself. I have always felt my needs were so small in comparison to the serious nature of others, I didn’t feel right to ask. I’m often the one asking, “May I pray for you?” At least, that was the case until recently. 

As my husband and I embarked on the most difficult journey of our lives two years ago, we knew we would need to be surrounded in prayer for every stage of this new adventure:  adopting children out of the foster care system. We had many people from all walks of life wrap their arms (literally and figuratively) around us in love, support and prayer. It has been an amazing experience to feel so cared for and to know that someone is always praying for us and our new children.

Now, let me preface the rest of this blog by saying:

Without a doubt, I know people continue to pray for us daily.

Without a doubt, I know we are on the minds and hearts of some wonderfully committed friends, family and church members.  

However, the numbers feel as though they’ve significantly dwindled. I have literally gone weeks, and even months, only hearing from a few dear friends. 

Many, with the best intentions, have said, “I will call you next week” or “Let’s get together for coffee and to talk/pray,” etc.—only to never call or check in again. 

While I know life is busy and throws us off track at times, there is significant importance to keeping our word in things we’ve committed to doing—especially in praying for others.

I’ve failed at this myself many times. I used to tell people, “I’ll pray for you.” However, I often didn’t remember to do so. I found life got busy and it wasn’t until I saw that person the next time that I remembered to pray for them.

So, in order to stay true to my word, I changed to say, “Can I pray for you right now?”  Or, “I am praying for you now.” This helped me connect with that person and address their immediate needs, hopefully showing them God’s love and concern for them in the process.

So, if you are struggling to stay committed to praying for others, here are a few suggestions to help you keep your word, build your own faith as you see others’ prayers answered and stand in the gap for those in need.

1. Don’t commit unless you are SURE you will do it.

Face it, your word is your vow. Show that it is not empty and spoken in vain. 

You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth” (Deuteronomy 23:23).

But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected…” (I John 2:5). 

2. Once you commit, make a plan to STAY committed. 

 Whether you need to plug it into your calendar, create a reminder on your phone or write Post-it Notes all over your bathroom mirror, make sure you do something that works for YOU to keep your word.

3. Check in REGULARLY with the person you’ve committed to praying for. 

How will you continue to know how to pray—or rejoice in an answered prayer—if you don’t check in with those you are praying for? Just put it on that calendar or phone or Post-it Note to check in within a reasonable amount of time.

4. Create a HABIT of praying for others as a daily routine. 

 Whether you have committed to pray for anyone or not, remember: God calls us to pray for others, period. (1 Timothy 2:1, James 5:13,16, Ephesians 6:18, Romans 8:26-27)

Whether I hear from others or not, I can rest assured knowing my Heavenly Father loves and cares about me. I know that praying for others is an important part of my walk and it’s essential to keep my word.

When I pray for others I will be personally blessed and grow in faith as I watch God answer prayer. 

Where are you struggling? Are you struggling with keeping your commitment to pray for others?  Or, do you need someone to wrap their arms and prayers around you today? 

Right now, go to the Father in prayer. He will provide the right prayer partner for you—trust Him!

Julie Watson worked in children’s ministries for 10 years and as an Executive Director and Grant writer before becoming a stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children. She and her husband Shawn know these children were hand-picked by God to be their own, and plan to adopt them as soon as they are legally allowed.

Graphic adapted, photo by Jordan Sanchez, 


Raising Fearless Children in a Fear-Filled World

I've always been impressed with Julie Watson's godly approach to life. In this Parenting UPGRADE, she tackles the topic of children and fear.

“Spiders used to scare my children," Julie said. "Now, they get names and are considered family pets!”   

LOL! I (Dawn) don't think I'd ever name a spider, but I love Julie's story and the blessing she has already been to little ones who needed her to help them understand how to trust God.

Julie continues…

When my three amazing, foster children entered my life seven months ago, they were absolutely terrified of everything: the dark, being alone, new people, new places, and, of course, spiders to name a few.

For someone who had wasted ten years of her life living in fear, I could relate. I recalled what God taught me before I was delivered from my fear, but as a new mom I wasn’t sure how to teach my children the same in an age-appropriate way.

For me, after being diagnosed with a slow growing form of ovarian cancer at age 27, I lived in fear every day that the cancer would return.

The sad part is that I had (audibly) heard God say to me, “You’ll never go through this again,” after receiving my diagnosis. I knew that still, small voice was God’s. I knew it, but the more I thought about it, doubt began to creep in and questioned it. I questioned it every day for 10 years.

On the 10th anniversary of my surgery, I got down on my face before God and begged Him to remove the fear that had kept me in bondage.

I had an instant healing! Immediately I received peace that the words spoken to me in the hospital all those years before were indeed His; I had nothing to fear. I walked out of my room that day free from my fear and I never looked back.   

Considering all the years I wasted, I didn’t want my kids to wait to learn to trust God.

I started with small things: spiders!

“God made spiders,” I reasoned, “to help keep the bug population down. Would you prefer to have more bugs or less bugs?” I asked.


“Then, you have to see that God’s purpose for spiders is good—as He gives everything a purpose, including you!”

Long story short, after about two months of showing the children how nice spiders are, the kids stopped screaming every time they saw a Daddy Longlegs.

Last month the kids actually started giving names to the spiders and call for us all to come meet our new “pet.” To this day, Blackie, a family favorite, still has his home set up in a corner of our sunroom. 

With kids you start with the small stuff and then move on to the more difficult as their faith grows.

Here are the steps I have been using that can free us if we are living in fear. 

1) Believe God’s Word is true.

Whether He has audibly spoken to you or has talked to you in prayer or through His Word, know this: It is true! (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 119:105

2) Don’t doubt God by listening to the lies of the enemy.

Put on the full armor of God and protect your heart, mind and spirit. (Ephesians 6:11-13)

3) Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

As a child of God you have the power of the Almighty’s name—the most powerful thing in the universe. Use it! If you can’t think of anything else to say, just say "Jesus" and the enemy must leave! (James 4:7, 2 Timothy 1:7)

4) God’s plans for you are perfect and He will always see them through to fruition.

Even though life is not always easy, God will never leave or forsake you. He will walk beside you to see His purpose fulfilled in and through you! (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 121)

And, yes, in case you’re wondering . . . as of today, my kids are no longer afraid of spiders, the dark, being alone, going to new places or meeting new people, as long as we have prepared them a bit and reminded them why there is no reason to fear when Jesus lives in our hearts.

Are you fearful of something and living in bondage? How will you protect yourself from the enemy and find freedom from fear today?

Julie Watson worked in children’s ministries for 10 years and as a Grant writer before becoming a stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children. She and her husband, Shawn know these children were hand-picked by God to be their own, and plan to adopt them as soon as they are legally allowed. 


Living in Uncertainty: Waiting on God

Julie Watson is a gifted woman who not only has technical expertise, she also has deep compassion for people who hurt. In this UPGRADE, she encourages us with powerful words about patience.

“Having patience, standing in line, waiting my turn … these are things I learned in kindergarten,” Julie says, “but still didn’t do well ... until now.” 

Watching Julie in her long waiting season has inspired me (Dawn) and taught me to trust God’s timing. But what I value most are the lessons God has taught her.

Julie continues…

I quit praying for patience long ago because I realized every time I did, I’d somehow get stuck behind the slowest drivers known to man!

God is not surprised by my impatience, but for my journey, He gave me something very special to wait for.

Nearly 17 years ago I married the man of my dreams. As most young couples do, we made plans for our future. Children were a part of that plan. However, life throws you curveballs, and mine came in the form of a slow growing type of ovarian cancer. Long story short, having children—natural children, that is—were no longer in our plans.

We were saddened, but not devastated. God had other plans … perfect plans!

Fast forward to Easter week 2013. Adoption was always something we wanted to do once we found out we couldn’t have children. It just took us a LONG time to get there.

When my husband and I separately received confirmation from God that it was time to move forward (on Good Friday of all days) we were READY! And, when I say ready, we literally prayed someone would drop a child onto our doorstep the next day!

Needless to say, adoption doesn’t work like that. We waited… and waited… and waited some more.

Living in uncertainty is never fun. Waiting for something I had wanted for so long stirred a whole range of new emotions, and I learned some things along the way:

1) Don’t ever stop talking to God—keep praying diligently for His will to be done and leave your own will out of it!

2) Don’t stop listening to God—keep reading His Word, be still and allow His truth to penetrate your heart! (Proverbs 4:11-13)

3) Don’t alienate yourself by shutting others outkeep your support team on standby; you’ll need their continuous encouragement and prayer!

4) Don’t hold in the anger, frustration or disappointmentkeep it real and be honest with yourself and God. You can even yell at God; it doesn’t surprise Him and He can take it—plus it might be very cathartic for you!

5) Don’t doubt the path God placed you onkeep your eyes on the prize and persevere! (Isaiah 40:31; Jeremiah 17:7-8)

6) Don’t stop planning—keep your priorities straight, your routines normal and don’t stop living just because you don’t know when “that something” is coming! (Philippians 4:12-13)

So yes, I hate waiting (even still). But, I now see God’s handiwork in the wait. I know the wait will equip me for the task ahead. And, I know that if I trust God and wait on Him, He will accomplish great things in and through me (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28).

Lastly, even while writing this article God revealed to me why I needed to wait for what was coming.

We were about to embark on the hardest journey of our lives and marriage.

We chose to open our home to a sibling set of abused and neglected foster children who needed a ton of love. But what do they need almost as much as love? A mountain-sized amount of PATIENCE (1 Corinthians 13:4a).

Had I not gone through this waiting game, I never would have been ready for the most important job of my life: motherhood.

Are you waiting on God for something? How can you use this time to prepare (physically, emotionally, spiritually) for what’s to come?

Julie Watson has worked with pregnancy care centers over the years and is currently a Grant Writer. She and her husband Shawn are new parents to three beautiful children who have forever changed their lives. The process of becoming foster/adoptive parents was neither painless nor short, but was well worth the wait. They know these children were hand-picked by God to be their own, and plan to adopt as soon as they are legally allowed.

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of Ambro at