When The Memories Hurt

It’s hard to share personal pieces of my life. There was a time when I was extremely private. I still am even though I share lots of my family and life moments through photos on social media. I share bits and pieces of myself with the world through this space here called Simple Truths. I share in hopes of reaching someone for Christ, and to let you know that you aren’t alone. With that being said, today I am sharing a piece of my heart with you. Raw. Real. Transparent. Not for pity. Only to let whoever needs to hear it know that they are not alone and that there IS HOPE. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the memories. Sometimes though, they hurt.

Like being punched in the gut. They hurt. Because, I don’t want them to just be MEMORIES. I want to still be making memories with my Daddy.

It’s very selfish. I know.

I should be happy to even have the memories, and I AM. They don’t always hurt. They bring me joy. They comfort me. BUT, sometimes the “wanting to make more memories” hurts.

I am learning to roll with the feelings as they come and go. Like waves in the ocean. I don’t fight them, I just make my way through them.

I have cried more in these past six months than I have my entire 40 years of life.

This is real life. This is a part of life that we can’t avoid. Death. Grief. Loss.

The emotions that come with them are normal as well.

As the holidays approach, the ones that I always spent with my daddy, I can’t predict how I will handle them. As some of you have been there and done that, you know what I mean.

When the memories hurt, I will try to choose joy. When the memories make me ache deep within, I will praise my LORD for the memories and that my Daddy is with HIM and I WILL see him again.

How? Because my Daddy knows Jesus and Jesus knows him. I know Jesus and Jesus knows me. That is how I KNOW that I will see my Daddy again. I know Jesus personally and I KNOW that HIS WORD is true.

John 3:36 ~ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

John 6:47 ~ Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

John 10:27,28 ~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

GOD is good all the time and ALL the time GOD IS GOOD. When the memories hurt, GOD is good. When we experience loss, GOD is good. When we don’t understand life, GOD is good. All the time.

Psalm 37:39 ~ The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

 

 

Until Next Time,

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This world, for followers of Christ, is a pit stop. Just passing through. Heaven is our home. We will face adversity and loss as well as lots of wonderful things on this earth. While we are here we are to bring glory to God and make disciples. Through the good times and also through the difficult times. 

Do you know my Jesus? Is he your Heavenly Father too? Do you think that you have to clean up your act first and then begin your relationship with Christ? You don’t. Jesus wants you just like you are. HE is the only way to heaven. He is the only ONE who can make you righteous. YOU can’t get righteous without HIM. He is the only ONE who can wash your sins as white as snow. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone. Life is short. No time like the present to KNOW that you KNOW Jesus and that HE knows you. Jesus is THE source of HOPE.

 

 

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Beach Trip

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Daddy visiting

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Missed Blessings

That nudge I get, the one that I can’t ignore, that’s The Holy Spirit. My JESUS living in me. Convicting. Pushing. Nudging. HIS presence.

Every single time that I obey whatever it is that God lays on my heart, I am blessed.

Usually the obedience is preceded with an uncomfortable feeling of SELF fighting with The Holy Spirit.

I.E. : “you should really go say something.” “But they will think that I am weird.” “What if they reject me?” “I’m probably just imagining that God is telling me to go.” Combined with a nervous feeling in my stomach. Accompanied by my heart pounding.

Do I go? Do I ignore it?

Sometimes I respond in obedience. Sometimes I ignore the feeling.

All I know is this, when I don’t obey I miss a blessing.

Being Present In REAL LIFE

Being Present
In REAL LIFE

Here is an instance where I listened to the prompting from The Holy Spirit and received a blessing… Read this post for the story.

Just recently I felt God nudge me to go pray with someone { in front of other people}. I just couldn’t ignore that still small voice telling me to go pray with this person. Afterwards, she thanked me several times. She said that she had been praying about some physical pain that she had been experiencing. I had no clue what I was praying for when praying with her. She said that when I touched her shoulder and held her hand that she felt a rush of heat. I didn’t feel that. My hand felt very sweaty afterwards. If she hadn’t told me this I wouldn’t have known. It was ALL GOD. Not me. I tell you this as a testimony to how God uses us as his vessels if HE so chooses, when we are obedient to HIM.I told her that it was God who led me to pray with her. All glory to GOD. The same power that conquered the grave lives in you if you are a child of God, and HE lives in me.

You may not believe me. Trust me, even I was skeptical at first. Then I remembered the verse below.. WHY SHOULD I DOUBT MY GOD AND HIS ABILITY ?! 

 

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) ~ Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Being obedient just feels right. The blessing of joy and peace follows.

I’m sure you have your own stories of how obedience led to a blessing for you or someone you know. Share them. By sharing your testimonies you point to GOD and bring glory to God. Share them here in the comments or wherever…but share them.

{This is Day 13 of the 31 Days of Writing challenge. If you would like to see the other posts in the series, click here.}

Until Next Time,

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My Place of Solace

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{My spiritual whitespace, my place of solace this morning.}

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{A Psalm of Thanksgiving}

I hope you find your place of spiritual rest today.

It looks different for everyone. That’s the beauty of it. In fact, it looks different for me each day too.

Until Next Time,

Heather :)

P.S. You should check out Bonnie Gray’s book, FINDING SPIRITUAL WHITESPACE.

Wishing Our Lives Away

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creds to Pinterest

 

“I can’t wait until summer.”

“I wish it was the weekend already.”

“I am so ready for spring.”

“Can’t wait until next year.”

Wishing our lives away.

Not living in the here and now. Focusing on the future. The future that we aren’t even guaranteed. Instead of living where we are right now.

As I was thinking about what I was going to share on the blog today, my Daddy’s words came to my mind.

I can see myself sitting on the sofa in their family room. Talking about some future plans. Can’t remember just what. Other than saying: “I can’t wait until….” To which Daddy replied with something like: “I don’t want to hurry time up..my days seem to fly by..time is just flying by for me.” He was so right.

He knew how precious time was. He knew how fast life here on earth could be over. He lived life to the fullest. He loved with everything he had and he taught me to really live and really love.

I learned from the best. To not wish my life away. To enjoy each moment. To not rush time.

I am learning to be really present, not distracted by technology or tv or even good things and people who may take my focus off of who I am with at the time.

The little things in life really are the big things. Especially when the memories are all that you have left. The simple things. The times that you were all there and not distracted. Those moments are precious.

What are you learning during this 31 Days of Being Present? Share in the comments. Would love to hear from you. 

If you are new here or have missed any of the 31 day posts, you can find them all on the Intro post to 31 Days here. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Until Next Time,

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Always Daddy's Girl

Always Daddy’s Girl

31 DAYS

Day 3 of Being Present

Day 3 ~ Being Present in Real Life

Just so you know, I am not anti-technology, anti-cell phones, anti-social media. I think that it all can serve a great purpose. As long as we have a balance in our lives, and remember that nothing beats REAL LIFE relationships.

Watch this, even if you have already seen it. Click on the link below for the YouTube video that is attached.

Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? 

 

This says it all.

Let’s all commit to being present. Really present.

 

Are you new here? Have you not joined me yet by signing up to receive encouragement here? Have you missed any of the previous posts? If so, click here for all of the posts in one place. See ya tomorrow for Day 4 in this series! :) If you would like to see more posts from hundreds of other bloggers, you should see where I am linking up at the Write 31 Days site.

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

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Seeing Those Around You

Day 2 of 31 Days of Writing

 

We were heading out for a free day. We had been doing mission work in New Orleans for a few days straight. Looking forward to walking the streets and seeing the sights. Off duty.

A young woman sitting on the steps outside of the church we were staying at. Her hair braided up pretty. “I did it myself” she told me.

Her voice so sweet and childlike.

She asked for some chips or something to eat.

We had no food on us. Not that kind of food anyways.

I couldn’t just walk past her. I stopped and knelt down in front of her and so began a very long conversation.

My daughters and their friend were with me. They all were engaged in the conversation that we were having.

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copyright 2014 heatherdawkins.com

They were present. Real life. Face to Face. Present.

We made a real connection that day. She prayed to ask Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. She smiled for probably the first time in a long time. She was fed and full.

 

John 6:35 (NLT) ~ Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

 

We were just the messengers. Jesus did all of the work. All I know is that if I had passed her by with only a nod at the most, that I would have missed the blessing.

Being Present in Real Life means seeing those around you. Really seeing them.

Being Present means that you might just be inconvenienced.

Being Present means connection.

I’m not the same woman who I was before that mission trip. I don’t want to be the same. I have received the blessing that comes from really being all there.

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copyright 2014 heatherdawkins.com

I’ll never forget Nya. Or her voice. Or her smile. I’ll never forget the beauty of listening to our girls share Jesus with her.

 

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psst… If you are new here, I would love to encourage you with posts from my blog. You can sign up here. Let’s be blog friends. When you click here you will be taken to the intro post and all of the 31 day series is found there at the top of the post. :)

Until Next Time,

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Day 1 of Being Present

 

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Today marks the first post in my 31 Days of Writing series.

These posts will all link back to one page in case you missed any. My hope is that at the end of these 31 days, and maybe before, that I will have become better at Being Present in Real Life. I hope to encourage, inspire, and challenge you to do the same.

Hey, they say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. So let’s get this show on the road!

Day 1

I miss the days:

of playing outside all afternoon after school

of making up a play to perform for my parents

of tv in the den all together as a family and without cellular devices..

of board games

of the only way to reach someone was by letter, home phone call, or actually going to there house to see them

of face to face interaction

of waiting by the phone for a special phone call

I miss those simple yet complex days.

Who says we can’t bring the old ways back?

Who says we can’t set our devices down, turn them on silent, turn off notifications, and BE PRESENT?

I want to be more present. I don’t want to miss these moments. Moments that I can’t get back. Do you?

If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? ~Author Unknown

Join me tomorrow for Day 2 in the series: 31 Days of Being Present, In Real Life.

Until Then,

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The Harvest IS Plentiful

I don’t know about you, but for me, normally when I can’t stand the place I am visiting, I don’t ever want to go back.

Like ever.

For those who don’t know, my family went on a mission trip to New Orleans this summer. People warned me of the smells, and even the fluids that were commonly found on the sidewalks. They warned me of the darkness that seemed to hang over you like a cloud. They hinted at the free-spirited living. The smells didn’t bother me as much as I thought. And I have a sensitive smeller. No, it was the sights that broke my heart.

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From the countless homeless people to the small children roaming the streets, things were different just a few hours away from home sweet home. It didn’t take going thousands of miles away or even crossing oceans to do mission work. I didn’t even have to learn another language. Well, maybe I did. Maybe the new language was to See The Unseen with different eyes. Hearing their stories. Taking time to care. Hold a hand. Say a prayer. Give out a water bottle and a snack. Maybe that is a language. A love language.

Matthew 25:35 (NIV) ~ For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) ~ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

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Our team worked together so well. It was a God thing. He definitely put us together. It was a beautiful experience. One that forever changed me. The person that doesn’t need people around. The person that tends to be a loner. The introvert. I learned that community is so very vital. When one falls down…the other helps him up. You know that verse. It is so true.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT) ~ If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

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They say that once you go on a mission trip that you get the fever to keep going back. After a solid week of staying in a room with our team of girls and then a whole lot of girls that we did not know, and sharing 2 showers with them and their hair, I was ready to get home. I know that sounds spoiled. Remember my sensitive nose? Smells? Let’s just say Praise Jesus that my buddy had one of those laundry detergent pods. I slept with it on the middle bunk one night. Somebody above me from the other group drank too much water or something before bed, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Praise Jesus for detergent pods and smell good thingamajiggers.

I was so blessed by every single experience that God allowed on the NOLA recon team UNSEEN trip. Yes, even the yucky ones taught me something. Come on, if Jesus traveled from place to place and slept wherever he had to, so could I for one single week. At least we had a bed. Some of the UNSEEN slept on the concrete. Every single night. When I was tempted to complain, I quickly reminded myself of this. So spoiled and so blessed. I don’t deserve anything I have. That woman, that mother, she could very easily be me.

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Then there was Bourbon Street. The Midnight Outreach through The Dream Center reaches out to the women who work in the strip clubs, and the owners and bouncers as well. Whew. Only a few of us went on this mission. Let me clarify that our team stayed out of the clubs, but what we saw on the street was plenty. I only lasted through the orientation and about 30 minutes on the street. At first I felt like a quitter. But then, I accepted that I was obedient to go and I was obedient to bow out when God led me to leave.

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I saw what he wanted me to see. No more. No less. I saw women who had to get all drugged up and drunk to even be able to work. I saw families walking through the street with small children. Children exposed to nudity, sexual innuendo, alcohol, and all of the people who support it. I saw a young boy playing a drum on the sidewalk..on BOURBON Street. Where was his momma? Maybe across the street working in one of the clubs. Maybe standing half naked in the window as if she were for sale. Wait, she was. There were the men working the doors and trying to entice people to come in to their business. There was the man coming out of the strip club and the dancer coming out after him, clearly completely strung out. She would have to be I’m sure of it. She’s a person. With feelings.

Forever changed.

My eyes were opened. I saw the teenage girls talking to the bouncer and then walking in to the strip club. Were they runaways? Were they looking for a job? Did they know that they were about to be forever changed by their choices?

I’m not a crier by nature. I tend to hold it in. Cry in private. Act tough in public.

My tears came like floodwaters escaping through a breached dam. I couldn’t contain the emotions welling up within me. I can only explain it like this: The Holy Spirit within was broken…Jesus in me..I felt what HE must feel when seeing sin. Complete and utter grief. I know what grief feels like. I recently lost my Daddy. These were tears of grief. Heartache for those girls and women. Heartache for the people who treated other people like merchandise. MERCHANDISE! It shouldn’t be so.

Story after story I could share with you. God blessed me so much by allowing me to be a part of that trip. As much as I was ready to get home to Georgia, and even though I told my husband and friends that I had no desire to ever and I mean EVER go back to NOLA, guess what I miss? I miss NOLA. I miss being on that mission trip. Even though I had to wear flip flops in the shower and sleep with a smell good thingy, I miss it.

I don’t know where God will call my family to serve next. We are going to be obedient though. Obedience truly leads to blessing. I can’t wait to serve wherever HE leads us to serve.

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The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few… I promise you, the HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL. Every act of service is important. Don’t think that you can’t do anything because of age or a handicap or even because of finances. Can you pray? That is mission work too!

Matthew 9:37 (NIV) ~ Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

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The mission field is not just overseas. The mission field is in your home, your work, your school, your neighborhood. If you can’t go out of town, don’t use that as an excuse to not serve. Everyone who is a child of God, an authentic believer and follower of CHRIST, is called to serve. I pray that I never forget those whom I met and the stories that I heard while on the New Orleans trip. Even though the stories aren’t always beautiful, there is beauty in remembering the stories.

I leave you with a few questions:

1~ Is there something that I am ignoring and that I need to be obedient to God and respond about in regards to serving?

2~ Is there sin in my life that I need to come clean about? Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

3~ Am I being faithful to God with the gifts that HE has blessed me with? Am I hoarding my talents instead of using them to SHINE Jesus?

4~ Am I expecting everyone else to serve while I sit on the sidelines and cheer?

{If I can pray for you about any of the above questions, please feel free to respond. I would love to pray for you and help you or guide you to someone who can help you.}

Until Next Time,

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Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Picture Perfect

Can I speak bluntly for a moment?

Women need to stop wearing masks and stop assuming that everyone else has it all together. We need to be real and transparent and share the good the bad and the ugly. (No, I don’t mean to rant or tell all.. Face it, nobody wants to hear it all) I’m saying share the real you, not just the “highlight reel” or the “photoshopped version”. And we also need to quit comparing what we assume others are to how we think of ourselves.

None of us are perfect. None of us have it all together. Just because we have a great photo that looks like we do..doesn’t mean it’s real. Or maybe it is at that moment. What about after? Is it always picture perfect?

And I’m not saying that a great photoshopped photo is bad! Trust me.. I love them. I’m just saying that if we want to reach other women for Christ, then we might need to let them see that we don’t have it all together all of the time either.

How can one relate to someone that pretends to be perfect? Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. Why do women,especially, believe the lies that we tell ourselves? Why do we compare our wrong thoughts about ourselves to what we assume to be real about another woman?

What if instead of assuming, and comparing, and being prideful, that we were real?

It is a pride issue ladies.

Call it what it is.

You can’t pull a weed from the top and expect it not to grow back. You have to dig deep and pull the weed out at the root.

And I’m not saying that we should vomit negativity. I’m saying that we need to deal with ourselves. Deep digging. Get real with the root. Take off the masks. Stop assuming. Quit comparing. Walk in faith.

Walk in belief.

The belief that God is enough and that he doesn’t make junk.

The belief that not every other woman has it all together.

Yet, if they do have it more together, then what is their secret?

I’ll tell you the secret. It’s found in Philippians. The secret to contentment is belief and faith in Jesus.

Paul found the secret to being content.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

The truth is that we are all dealing with our own insecurities. Yet, we don’t have to be in bondage to those insecurities. God doesn’t talk to us the way we talk to ourselves. Why do we?!

Faith is the secret.

Faith that Jesus is enough. That Jesus provides all that we need and at just the right time.

And honestly, we as women, need each other.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT)

Maybe, just maybe, if we would stop assuming and take off the masks, we would see that we are not all that different.

To me picture perfect is showing the real you.

The real you (or ME) that messes up. Fails daily. That Desperately needs Jesus every single second of every day.

Love,

Heather

Without JESUS

I’ve found that with grief comes moodiness. Some days I’m more irritable than others. Some parts of the day I’m “ok” and at other moments I’m not.

Not many people see those sides of my grief. Or if they do, I don’t even realize it.

Truth is, I don’t know when the low moments will occur. Anything can trigger them. They may last 5 minutes. They may last 5 hours.

I’m learning that it’s part of the process. Riding the waves of grief. Learning to swim in it. Getting better at holding my head above the waters so that I don’t drown in it.

If I drown in it then I’m not shining Jesus like I should.

As the saying goes: “My lifeguard walks on water.”

I’m so thankful for this TRUTH.

Without JESUS I’d surely drown in grief.

I don’t share these truths for pity. I share them so you’ll know that you are not alone. Everyone will experience their own losses.

We are all appointed once to die. Eternal life is a gift promised to all who believe and call upon The Lord to be saved.

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NIV)

That’s where my hope rests.
That’s where my source of peace is found.
JESUS.

Without JESUS I’d have no hope.
Without JESUS I’d have no peace.

Grief is real. You never “get over” the loss of those you were closest to. You just don’t. Nor should you. They are a part of you. You just learn to swim in the ocean of grief. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes the water is choppy. You just learn to navigate through and soon it becomes your new normal.

With JESUS it is possible to smile through the tears and shine through the rain.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8, 9 NIV)

Believe me. It’s true. But only WITH JESUS.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

Striving to SHINE,

Heather

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