Follow Your Purpose by Julie Arduini


A scene from the movie, Captive, starring Kate Mara and David Oyelowo.

One of my recent reads was to review the book, Captive. You might remember the author, Ashley Smith, was the single mom who in 2005 was held hostage by Brian Nichols. What made her story so extraordinary was that during her ordeal she read him Pastor Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life. The book will be in movie form in September, I believe.

Part of the review process was thinking about and sharing our purpose. In her twenties, Ashley, at the time of her captivity, was baby new in her faith walk. When she rejected the spotlight and told the media she wasn’t worthy of the praise, she didn’t want to sugarcoat her life. She was a single mom because her husband had been murdered. She didn’t have custody of her child because she became addicted to drugs. When Brian Nichols forced himself into her life, she still had drugs in hand to help her through the moving process.

Yet, in the midst of all that, God used her. In reading her story it’s compelling because it’s obvious she had her captor’s attention. He had been churched. He knew much of what she was sharing. And he was conflicted. He knew he’d killed people only hours before. Yet he had a son only days old. Ashley not only kept herself alive, she shared the gospel and the truth about grace and redemption.

Talk about following your purpose.

So, what can you think of in your life that reminds you of following your purpose, even when against all odds? It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Ashley’s story, I doubt most of us could compare, nor want to.

Me? It might seem small to you but it was a life-changer. I was a Christian for quite a few years, married, and had a small child. But I was filled with anger from hurts and plans that didn’t go my way. I was afraid to trust the church, my Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? No. Way. Too scary. All of it.

But something drew me to Beth Moore and the call to join her online Bible study, Believing God.

The homework didn’t intimidate me, I dove into it. I couldn’t get enough. Each week I could feel my mind changing. Shackles were coming off and I felt a freedom with each lesson. One week while watching the video she challenged the members to picture themselves and the mountain they were facing and just stomp on it in faith in Christ’s power.
I pictured the anger, specifically from my miscarriage. I was so toxic from it I was barely functional. I closed my eyes and envisioned my foot just stomping out the hurt and bitterness.

When I did, this is what I saw:

That mountain crumbling to a million little stones I was able to walk over with ease.

It wasn’t just a picture. It was a promise from God. He healed my heart, and my body. Within two months I was pregnant.

More than that, He gifted me with faith. I don’t just believe in God, I believe God. He has allowed me to speak prayers casually in conversation to hear that the person was healed. There have been people who have read prayers I wrote and felt God move as they read it. People have found hearing aids, Bibles, precious things because I believed God and I prayed in obedience.

I could have stayed angry. I wanted to for a long time. But like Ashley, I was able to follow my purpose.

How about you?

To learn more about Captive, click here.

If you’re interested in the Believing God study, it is currently underway in the small group session with the Women’s Bible Café.

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. The last book in the series, ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future, is coming soon. Her devotional, FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER, features the surrender themes and characters from the series. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, and starting April 2017, will be part of the Inspy Romance blog. She resides in Ohio with her husband, two children, and secret chocolate stash. Learn more by visiting her at, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.
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