Today, Rebekah Julia speaks to us about her art, books you’ll want to add to your list, and the ties between art and the church, historically.
Tell us a little bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a Christian home, my parents having just come back to the United States after the Lord called them to return from being long-term missionaries in Guatemala. At the age of 4 my family and I moved from Southern California to a small farm outside of Lodi, California.
I was homeschooled all the way through high school and was raised with an appreciation for fine arts (music, art, literature, cooking, etc.) and was encouraged to pursue creativity in all its many forms. After high school, I was accepted to attend Calvary Chapel Bible College and am so excited to be graduating with my Bachelors in Biblical Studies in May.
I started my art business – Julia’s Watercolors – last July. I have created art all my life, but my sister and grandma really encouraged me to take my watercoloring seriously and start a business.
What is a biblical passage inspiring you at the present time? My current favorite Scripture is Philippians 2:1-18. The Lord is teaching me to focus on Him, to remain humble, and to be a servant, and this passage in Philippians is the epitome of how a humble servant should look and behave.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: My spiritual growth focus right now is to be humble. In my college lectures, I am working through example after example of Old Testament characters who struggled with pride and the devastating results of that pride. It has been such a great reminder to me to seek to be humble even when it’s hard. The Lord loves humility and a humble heart. A humble person is someone that God can use. I want to be used by God and not have my foolish pride get in the way. (Psalm 25:8, Isaiah 66:2, Micah 6:8)
Profession: I am a watercolor artist. I also work part time at WGR Southwest, Inc. (an environmental company that helps facilities comply with the state laws), and I also am a part-time personal chef who specializes in allergy-friendly cooking.
Walk us through a day in your life: A day in my life begins with rising early in the morning (the time depends on my work schedule for the day) and doing my daily devotions. Then I move on to doing chores around the house (I live at home with my mom and dad and siblings), and caring for our many animals (we live on a small hobby farm and currently have cats, dogs, a pony, two pigs, a mama sheep and her two babies, chickens, a goose, and baby turkeys). After the morning chores, it is time for school which I do online through the distance learning program. If I am not doing school that day, you can find me either at the office working on upcoming events and writing newsletters, or sitting at my desk creating new watercolor paintings. After the busyness of the day I help cook dinner for the family (I love to cook so any meal will find me in the kitchen getting my hands dirty). Then comes the best part of the day – family time.
My entire family dedicates the time after dinner to doing group activities or just hanging out together. I love the family culture we share. If you were to spend a day with me, you would see a passionate love for music (I listen to music and sing and play the piano all day long), a passionate love for family (FaceTiming and texting family members is a daily must), and a great love for coffee!!
How do you incorporate your connection with God into your daily, secular work? I am so blessed to work at a company that is comprised of Christian employees. There is no hiring policy that says you have to be a certain religion, it’s just that the Lord has worked it out so that all the employees, at the office branch where I work are strong believers. This is so wonderful because each Monday morning, our boss (my dad) starts us off with prayer, and then asks us about our life and how he can pray for us, then we wrap up our Monday morning meeting by praying for a different one of our clients each week. Throughout the day, you can find employees praying for each other as they share life and what they are struggling through. “Praise God” is a phrase that you would hear quite a few times if you were to spend the day at my office. I am so grateful to be an employee in a company that strives to use work as a way to glorify God and shine the light of Jesus to others.
What do you think is something, we as Christians can bring to the arts sphere? Something we as Christians can bring into the arts sphere is our very best. As Christians, when we work, we work for God. Our work should be of the finest quality knowing that God is our boss. There is a certain excellence we as artists can bring when we know whom we are serving. Plus, I once heard it said that in the olden days (1200s-1800s) if you wanted to see any masterpiece of art, music, debate, literature, or any of the arts, you went to the church. The church strove to honor and glorify God through the excellence of arts. As an artist, I want my art to honor and glorify God so that when others see my work, they recognize for whom I am working.
“Something we as Christians can bring into the arts sphere is our very best. As Christians, when we work, we work for God.”
How do you incorporate your faith in your creative process? I incorporate my faith in my creative process in different ways. Not all of my paintings are related to the Bible. But all of my paintings are capturing the beauty of God’s creation. Sometimes, it’s the beautiful sunset or sunrise that God painted in the sky that inspires my creativity. Sometimes it’s a passage of Scripture that I read in my devotions that came to life in a new way, and to drive the message home I illustrated it. God has given me the ability to paint, and I don’t want to squander that precious gift, but to invest time into it and let that gift come to life.
What advice do you have for a young woman who wants a job like yours? Seek God first. Put Him as first priority in your life. We want our work to be used as a form of worship to God– in that we give God our time and abilities and work as unto the Lord. Don’t let the drive for money, or status or job title reverse that order and make you start worshipping work. Seek God first, and then seek out what He is calling you to do. It may be art, or it may be something else, but really spend time praying and earnestly seeking His will for your life, especially if you are going to make this a full-time career.
Did you feel particularly called to go into this profession? For me, being an artist is not my full-time profession. God has called me to the profession of being a homemaker. And for me, art will be a side business that I can do to help support my future family. Just like the Proverbs 31 woman makes linen garments and sells them and raises a vineyard to provide for her family, I see art as my way of bringing in a little extra income to take care of my future family.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? By God’s Grace. Throughout my college career, I can’t even count how many times it has been impressed on me that everything we do is by God’s grace. If I wrote a memoir, I would want it to be focused on the grace of God.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I first encountered God at the early age of two. My brother actually was the one who led me to the Lord. Later at 13, I rededicated my life to Christ and really made my faith my own. Even though I had grown up as a Christian, at 13, it was time to make a decision to make the faith of my parents my very own faith.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Currently, I am in a very busy season of life. I am entering into a period of life with no more school in sight, and am working two very busy jobs. God has been helping me grow spiritually, this season, in my trust in Him. Not worrying or being anxious about deadlines, or lack of work, but just completely trusting Him for everything I need. Also, I am working through being single and desiring marriage. Add that on top of a busy life, and it can all get a bit overwhelming. God has been speaking to me of just letting go of my dreams and wants and plans and just relaxing and resting in the fact that God has a perfect plan for my life and that He will bring it into completion in His timing.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, and On Being A Servant of God by Warren Wiersbe. These books have really shaped who I am as a woman who wants to grow closer to God. They have taught me the importance of being in the Word of God and staying humble.
Top three essentials: It’s so hard to choose just three. I’d have to say outside of the Bible, I would say my three essentials are Music, Watercolor, and Coffee. If I could add any more to those three, I would add rose gold anything.
How did God speak to you recently? God spoke to me recently to stop trying to force His will to happen in my life and stop trying to make situations occur (in regard to singleness and wanting to get married) and to just trust Him and let Him be my advocate. It’s been so peaceful just to take my hands off and allow God to do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, and how He wants to do it in my life.
Hobby: I actually have three hobbies – cooking, music, and art. I play the piano, guitar, and harp. I also LOVE to cook (fun fact: I rarely use a cookbook for anything but baking. Yes, I am crazy!). And watercoloring is not only my job but is also what I enjoy doing!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Be in the Word. Daily be reading and studying the Bible. If you want to be spiritually strong you have to know what God says in His Word. The Bible is our guidebook. Be in it so that you don’t get lost in this race of life. Secondly, pray. Pray about everything. There is nothing too small that you can’t pray about. Spend time talking with God. Thirdly, be plugged in to a Bible-teaching church. Plugged in meaning you attend regularly and serve in some aspect at church. Don’t just warm a pew, get in there and serve.
Favorite person in scripture? I love Ruth. I have loved her story since a very young age. Her purity and humility and walk with the Lord are great examples to follow as a woman pursuing Christ.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? It would be my greatest hope that people would learn about the wonderful grace of God when they look at me. That my life would be one of grace – grace given to me by God that I, in turn, can give to those around me. Grace and humility go hand-in-hand, and it is my heart’s desire to walk humbly with the Lord and show other’s the amazing grace God has for us all.
“That my life would be one of grace – grace given to me by God that I, in turn, can give to those around me.”
How do you leave your mark on your community? I try to leave my mark on my community in two ways – first, in a spiritual way. I love encouraging other people to pursue Jesus with everything they have. I want to be someone who is always available to pray with people and encourage them when they are struggling. To rejoice when they do, and weep when they do. And secondly, I am striving to leave my mark on my community with my artwork. Both to sell art, and also to give it away to those in need of encouragement.
Favorite holiday? Hands down my favorite holiday is Christmas. I love Christmas. I listen to Christmas music all year long and look forward with great anticipation to December! Giving gifts is my love language so Christmas is such a special time!
A goal you have? One of my goals for my art business is to be able to grow my business to a place where I can sell consignment, sell directly to customers, and also be hired as an illustrator for publications.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: A special tradition that my family does every day is called Wisdom Search – a daily devotion time that occurs right after breakfast. This devotion includes reading the chapter in Proverbs and Psalms that corresponds with the day of the month and then picking a verse that spoke to us from that chapter and reading it as the beginning of your prayer. This moves in a circle around the group until everyone has read and prayed. It’s just a great way to start the day grounded in the Word of God. Proverbs and the Psalms are packed so full of truth for daily life and business. I grew up as a child reading these chapters over and over each month throughout the years, and I can honestly say that this devotion time was a huge part of what shaped me, my work ethic, and my business ethics.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I think one of the first questions that I will ask when I get to heaven is the reason behind all the waiting in my life. It seems like I’ve done a lot of waiting for different things, and I know God is working behind the scenes preparing me and working on me, but when I get to heaven, I think I would like to ask to see some of the behind the scenes of those years of waiting.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The importance of a Christ-centered family. Family is where life happens. They are the people you are closest to. Being raised in Christ-centered family has given me the appreciation for all that my parents sought to do in teaching me and my siblings about following the Lord and valuing family. This has impacted my life so much and I would love to see more families place importance on pursuing Christ together as a family. As important as business and success may be, pursuing Christ is of the uttermost importance, and having/being/or participating in a thriving family culture is of second most importance. There is nothing like having a family that strives to encourage one another to pursue Christ and pursue His calling on each of their lives.
“There is nothing like having a family that strives to encourage one another to pursue Christ and pursue His calling on each of their lives.”
What does your morning routine consist of? My morning devotions routine consists of praying and thanking the Lord for the day and for who He is. Then, I study Scripture – currently I am working through the devotional The Heart of Jesus by David Jeremiah, and reading through my Bible (I just finished Joel and am going to be starting Amos). Following reading several chapters, I will close by praying for the day and for any prayer requests.
What is on your nightstand? Besides décor, I keep a stack of books that I am either working through or going to work through. Currently on my nightstand I have the books: The Loveliness of Christ by Samuel Rutherford, On Being A Servant of God by Warren Wiersbe, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, Knowing the Bible: Ezra and Nehemiah 12-Week Study by Kathleen B. Nielson, Daily Hope Prayer Journal by Rick Warren, and several journals. I try really hard not to keep my phone on my nightstand, so that I don’t get distracted before going to bed or using my phone first thing when I wake up in the morning. I keep my phone on the other side of the room and only allow myself to check it after I have finished my morning devotions.
“I keep my phone on the other side of the room and only allow myself to check it after I have finished my morning devotions.”
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is the relationship that comes from receiving God’s gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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Until next time, keep witnessing!