Julia Ann (Walter) Ewert went home to the Lord on May 13, 2022, after a long courageous battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. She is survived by her husband, daughter & son-in-law Jennifer (Ewert) & Dirk Gieser, grandsons Jashton, Tobiah & Corban, as well as her brothers Jerroll (& Karen) Walter, and Harvey Walter, and her loved nieces and nephews.
Julia was born on January 4, 1950, to her loving parents Johnnie & Rosie Walter in Huron, South Dakota. She grew up, moving often, in South Dakota and Nebraska, always caring for her much loved younger brothers.
After meeting during Bible College, Julia married the great love of her life, David Allen Ewert, on August 1, 1970. In their over 51 years together they called many places home, including: Everett, WA, Champaign, IL, Winston, OR and most recently, Castleton, NY. The day David told Julia he loved her was the day that men first stepped on the moon in 1969. Julia from that day on, would look at her husband and tell him that she loved him “to the moon and back.” He would look at her and say, “forever and beyond.”
Julia spent her life in service to her Lord as a pastor’s wife, Bible teacher, writer, organizer, mother to their daughter, grandmother to her beloved grandsons, and friend & mentor to so many.
Julia placed her faith in Christ as a child, but that faith began to grow confident and strong when she was a junior in high school. Two hundred miles from home at Christian boarding school, God spoke in loneliness to her heart from Psalm 125:1-2, letting her know that she belonged to Him and that He was with her and watching over her.
Julia was known as a storyteller. As a song written by her grandson for her 70th birthday puts it: “We have a grandma with a story for everything. / ‘Cause when you’re her age you’ve been around. / So, if you happen to mention anything, / She’s sure to tell you / A story of that thing.”
Many of Julia’s stories illustrate how she learned to confidently trust in God in everything, moving toward contentment and joy every time. This one comes from Julia’s 11th year of marriage, shortly before David graduated from seminary when Jennifer was in the first grade:
“We thought David had the flu. For three days I fed him yogurt. On the third day, I laid my hands on him and prayed for God to heal him. He stopped me and said the longer I prayed, the worse the pain got. I got him up and to urgent care. They told me it was very serious, and as I followed the ambulance to the hospital, I felt God’s arms around me. It was like I could feel His hand on my shoulder. He filled me with such peace that I sang praise songs all the way along.
“At the hospital, the doctor took one look at the x-ray and said, ‘I hope we’re not too late’ and rushed him into surgery. His appendix had ruptured three days before and he was full of gangrene that was attacking his major organs. The doctor told me if I hadn’t gotten him there, David would have only had two hours to live. Eleven days later, despite several setbacks David went home from the hospital and the doctor quipped that he was “a walking miracle.”
“I had always been afraid of losing David. …[But] Through this experience, God showed me that He was with me, holding me no matter what happened. If I would give my fears to Him, He would hold me and see me through.”
“Wife, mother, grandmother” – what wonderful words to describe Julia! As a young girl she had dreamed of having half-a-dozen children and a loving husband. The Lord granted her the desire of her heart but not in a way she imagined. Jennifer was the light of her life and in the one child God gave her she saw the fullness of God’s love for her as a mom. And not having other children was not a problem because there were so many other children and young people to love and nurture. Her home was often filled with children and when her grandsons began to arrive, O how her heart rejoiced! She prayed earnestly that no matter what else she might accomplish that she could be a living picture to them of her beautiful Savior and Lord.
Have any of you tasted Julia’s Almond Cookie Cake or chocolate truffles? Julia was also known as a delightful and entertaining hostess. She could fill a Thanksgiving sideboard with delicious pies or create a beautiful tea party complete with the three things she insisted must be there: scones, savories, and delectable desserts. Throughout her lifetime she opened her home to the needy and to youth needing a safe place in which to flourish.
Writer & Teacher
Julia put her enormous talents as a writer and teacher at the disposal of the Lord Jesus. She gave herself to a lifelong study of the Scriptures after memorizing the book of John as a high school senior. In her seeking after truth, she met God daily in prayer with an open heart, and He in turn began to use her to spiritually influence and counsel those around her in marvelous ways.
Though she was only book-published once, she wrote compelling stories for all ages and many Bible studies for the spiritually hungry. But there was another aspect to this that was largely hidden from others.
What happens to a person who every day spends time praying through a passage of Scripture and writing down what she believes God is speaking into her heart?
Those “conversations” Julia had with God taught her to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit and put her faith into action. She grew strong as a witness to the all-sufficient, amazing grace of Jesus Christ. When Julia became ill with a terminal illness, God seemed to multiply her opportunities to witness to His love and presence amid suffering.
Long Obedience in the same direction
Julia suffered from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, an incurable disease that scars the lungs and progressively kills off living tissue until the lungs cannot function any longer. The result is increasing breathlessness, persistent and hard coughing, extreme weakness and weariness, loss of mental acuity, and loss of mobility. As one can imagine, the challenge of living with this even for a couple years (the average time most people before 2015 with IPF were given) was extremely steep and a deep personal test of faith and resilience in every way.
During the seven years Julia lived with IPF, God taught her and David to “breath by grace” – to open their hearts to the good gifts that God would pour into their laps – no matter how difficult it would get. They agreed together that whatever they would be, God’s gifts whether great or small would be enough. They believed they would be content if God was in the struggle with them, and for them in all things. He proved Himself faithful to His promises and glorious in answer to their prayers as the days unfolded before them.
Julia died completely content with her life because she lived “a long obedience in the same direction.”
For her that meant having a grateful heart in everything and trusting God to show up and accomplish His good and perfect will in her life.
She wrote this one day to a young mom struggling to have faith,
Trusting God and fear are not compatible. I have a choice each day, each moment – fear or faith. Everyday David and I begin by saying to one another, ‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!’ We are asking God to help us stand on the rock of His faithfulness and let our life be a testimony to living by grace – by His gifts alone…
I’m not sure what you’re facing, but I know that God is in it – stretching you, teaching you, urging you to drop everything else and obediently follow Him. When you do, He becomes the one responsible for your life and your circumstances, not you. He tailor-makes your trials to teach you lessons that you will use all through your life. He never wastes anything, nor does He take you through something without a reason. He loves you so much He personally oversees everything about you, everything that affects you, every person you meet.
I’m learning to say, ‘What do You have in store for me today, Lord?’ And above all, give thanks, even for the hard stuff. Looking back, I can see how God used things I didn’t understand at the time to bring fruit much later.
My final words would be ‘Trust Him!