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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To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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Time Doesn’t Stop For Anyone

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15 ESV)

When I knew my Daddy was definitely dying, (I believe he had coded 2 or 3 times by this point) as we all surrounded him in the hospital, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “Zippity Doo Dah” in his left ear. (He used to sing the last one loudly around the house when I was a little girl) .. Softly, as I rubbed his hair and gave him kisses and cried, because I wanted to comfort him and for him to not be afraid; because he was always my comforter. Even though rationally I knew that Daddy was already being held by Jesus.

After the 4th code blue, we knew we had to let him go. He was already gone. Shock was among the emotions I first felt, and denial and anger and overwhelming grief and heart ache.

Heart Ache. Literal aching.

Losing my hero and the first man I ever loved was a change that I wasn’t ready to make and would have never been ready to make. I learned some things about myself while watching my Daddy die. I learned that when choosing fight or flight mode in an awful tragedy that I stand and fight.. Like my daddy. That when someone I love most is in danger that I will stand and fight.

I learned that by God’s grace I can face loss and not be alone. That GOD truly supplies all of my needs. I learned that grief cannot be stopped at a certain time no matter what anyone says or what I’ve ever said to anyone about not staying stuck in a phase of grief. There are no time limits.. Every loss is different.

My daddy and I shared a special bond, and at age 40 I was still Daddy’s little girl. I felt like part of my heart went to heaven with him. Only someone who has had the exact relationship as I did with my Daddy or a similar one will understand.

My mother’s loss is different than mine. My brothers and sister and the children each are experiencing their own loss. Every person who’s life was touched by a loss experiences their own grief. Grief is different for everyone.

When it was over, I asked “is that it? Is he gone?” Just like that.. Everything changed. One breath to the next.

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I knew he was gone was: “what happens when your Daddy dies and you were Daddy’s little girl? Are you still Daddy’s little girl?”

And the answer to that is: “ABSOLUTELY”

Whatever any of us were before in relation to any loss, doesn’t get deleted like a file on a computer just because they no longer walk on this earth with us.

I say all of this to share with you that time doesn’t stop for anyone. You think you will have tomorrow to handle things or to say hello or to go visit. You think that because yesterday you had tomorrow that today you will too. Think again. Nobody is promised tomorrow.

But even though I never went more than a week without seeing my Daddy, I still wish I had visited more. Like one of my brother’s said: “no matter what, we would always want one more time.” One more visit, one more hug, one more “I Love You.”

It’s been 3 weeks, and if you see my family and we are smiling or laughing, it’s not because we are over it. No, we smile because we know Daddy is with Jesus. We smile because God is providing strength and peace because of HIS love and grace and mercy. Undeserved.. But freely given.

My family and I are truly grateful for the love shown to us by so many friends and family members. We are so rich in family and friends. Gifts from God. That peace.. That strength.. Gifts from God.

All men are destined to die once. For authentic believers, that death leads to eternal life. That’s where my hope lies.. That’s where my comfort rests. You, too, can have that hope and peace and assurance as well, if you don’t already. It comes from trusting in Jesus and following HIM.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, (Hebrews 9:27a ESV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Until Next Time,

~ Heather

Quit Believing Lies

Let me just jump right on in and say: WE HAVE to QUIT believing the LIES that WE tell ourselves!

 

Oh, you don’t lie to yourself? Really? You just lied.

 

“I’m NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.

“They’ll think I’m stupid.”

“UNWORTHY”

“I’m just a ….. (you fill in the blank.)”

“There’s already a book, blog, song, poem, business like that.”

“I don’t know as much as he/she appears to know.”

 

Those are just a few of the lies we tell ourselves.

 

Good grief. Why do we do it? It’s like our own little pity party.

 

Here’s a thought. When we make excuses like those above, or tell ourselves those lies, we give ourselves an EXCUSE to DO NOTHING.

 

Ouch.

 

NO MORE EXCUSES.

 

See, the GOD who made us IS ABLE.

AND HE IS ABLE TO DO MUCH MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE!

If you truly have a relationship with God, then HE is at work IN YOU.

NO MORE EXCUSES.

 

I am the queen of  believing those lies above. I get these BIG DREAMS and even feel like I am called to DO SOMETHING, and then I listen to the lies and even BELIEVE them. Then I say to myself (yes, I quite often have complete conversations in my head with myself. No I am not crazy) : “That author, blogger, speaker, person already did that and mine wouldn’t be half as good.” Now, just who do I think I am?

It is not about ME!  When we believe the lies and listen to the lies then we are not Believing who HE is and who we are IN HIM. 

Can I get an AMEN?! You too?

 

A dream is just a dream without a plan, so I’ve heard.

Words are just words without action. Am I right?

 

Maybe, just maybe, it is a lack of faith that holds us back. We can say we have faith all day long, but when the rubber meets the road, do we really believe TRUTH? Or do we tend to fall back into the trap of believing LIES.

Lies.

God IS ABLE. He made each one of us with PURPOSE and for a PURPOSE.

What might you be NOT DOING for GOD ?

Are you like me and think that because there is “already something like that out there” that yours isn’t necessary ?

LIES.

What if because of my obedience, your obedience, just ONE life was changed ?

 

Ephesians 3:20 ~ Now to HIM who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS power that is at work within us

 

Until Next Time,

 

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Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

 

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heatherdawkins.com
copyright: heatherdawkinsphotography

heatherdawkins.com copyright: heatherdawkinsphotography

 Today, as promised, I am continuing the message : What Are You Filling The Voids With? , and if you missed the first part you should click on the title/link above.

  To begin this second part of the message, I need to ask you again, if you know HIM and if HE knows you. As I said in yesterday’s post, there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.

Here is another really simple and you may think “crazy” way to look at it…….

  Are you a SHEEP or a GOAT?

Jesus is often referred to as The Shepherd in scripture, and if you are saved, you would be referred to as SHEEP.  Sheep needed the shepherd to guide them and show them where to eat and drink. Sheep needed protection from wolves, and the shepherd often slept in the pen with the sheep and stretched across the entrance to keep them safe from wolves while the sheep slept. Every sheep mattered, and the shepherd went to great lengths to find even just ONE lost sheep.

Seeing any parallels yet?

Sheep and goats often “hung out” and grazed together. Yet when it was time for the sheep to have the wool sheared off, the shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats.

God will separate the sheep from the goats as well. 

The true follower from the great pretender.

The real from the fake.

Matthew 25:31-34 ~ When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

 

Here’s some good news though, If you are a GOAT you can still become a SHEEP!

God’s love is unfailing, unchangeable, immeasurable, and AMAZING! His grace is enough! Our small minds cannot comprehend how deep HIS love is for us!

 

1 John 1:9 ~ If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

  Hebrews 7:24,25 ~ But Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

God loves you as you are. He loves you too much to leave you that way though. He sees you, loves you, and wants a relationship with you.

 

If you do know Jesus, and heaven is your home, then I ask this : ARE YOU SHINING JESUS?

Or is there some junk that you need to clear out of the way so that others can see HIM in you again?

Shine Jesus or shine the world…and the world doesn’t shine.

Make a difference for GOD or make a difference for the devil.

You are always making an impact on others around you. Are you making a positive impact or a negative impact? I am asking myself these same questions.

NO, you won’t be a perfect little shining star all of the time. You will mess up. I do. We all do. What we do when we mess up matters. Do you make it right? It matters.

What we fill the voids in our lives with MATTERS. Our actions (words, walk, talk, text, tweet, post,etc..) reflect what is in our heart. What we FILL UP with will show.

 

Luke 6:45 ~ The good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.

 

In life we have TWO choices in relation to eternity.

  Heaven or Hell. Both places are real and both last for ever and ever.

SHEEP or GOAT

 

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for?

If you are saved, Are you shining Jesus? Do others see Jesus in you? Or do they just see all the junk that you have filled the voids in your life with?

 

True freedom. True peace. True love. They are found in JESUS.

To know Jesus you have to spend time with him. He doesn’t force his way in, because a forced love isn’t love. He wants to know you. He wants you to know him. He wants you to want him.

 

I know I have written a lot of questions in this post, but questions make you think. They make me think.

 

I leave you with these questions and yes they may already be in this post :

 

~ Do I shine Jesus or the world ?

~ Do I really know HIM and does HE know me?

~ Do I just know about him and “think” that I might be saved..but not 100% ?

~ Is there anything in my life that I am using as a substitute for Jesus?

 

God loves you.

 

  Blessings to you all, and I pray that this message, both parts, touches your soul. Share it with someone if you think it will touch their soul. All Glory to God, because this message is HIS..not mine.

 

Until Next Time,

 

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What Are You Filling The Voids With?

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As promised, today I am sharing with you all the message that I shared with the girls last weekend at the “Girls Night Out” event. Of course, this will be more of a summary of the entire message. In fact, there will be two parts to this post, and I will post Part Two tomorrow.

My husband  let me know that I spoke for 40 minutes. EEEEK. I so did not even realize it! They were actually paying attention too! It was God’s message, so I spoke as long as HE let me and when it was over, it was over. :)  {and I thought I wasn’t a speaker :D }

So, here goes.

What are you filling the voids in your life with?

  What do you worship and obsess over?

Here is a list of “things” that I listed and that they told me that night:

Twitter ~ FB~Instagram~VINE~Texting~
Food~Shopping~Cheerleading~
Fashion~Clubs~Keeping up with the latest trends~Boys (because I was speaking to girls)~Girls (because this is a message for boys too) ~Friends~Internet~TV~Netflix~YouTube~Music~Tennis~Sports~Clubs~
Alcohol (I said this) ~S*x (I said this because YES inappropriate relationships happen) ~ Drugs (another one that I listed because they won’t say it but the reality is that drugs are in this world) ~Books~Hobbies~School~Work~
Getting the MOST Likes~Getting the MOST followers

You get the picture.

The above “LIST” does NOT just apply to teen or college age girls. It applies to us all. The reality is that we all have too much junk or have had too much stuff packed into the voids in our life that only JESUS was made to fill.

After they saw the visual of JESUS being covered up by all of the things on the list, they were able to see that JESUS couldn’t SHINE through with all that other stuff in the way. HE gets crowded out or covered up.

He gets crowded out when we don’t put him first and center. Filling up voids with meaningless junk or even good stuff leaves little room for Jesus. Then we wonder why we end up feeling so empty and alone or stressed.

When you are really close to someone you normally know their likes and dislikes, what they hate and what they love. Why? Because you spend time getting to know them. You MAKE THE TIME to get to know them.

The thing is, NO person, NO drug, NO friend, NO food, NO social media, NO hobby, NO relationship will EVER permanently fill the void. They may be a temporary “fix”. They may dull or ease the pain, but it’s like trying to fill a heart-shaped hole with a square-shaped piece. JUST WON’T WORK.

You start expecting those things and people to fill your voids and they can’t! Only God can.God created you. He knew you before you were born. HE loves you the same today as HE loved you yesterday and HE will love you the very same amount tomorrow. HIS love doesn’t change.

God made you for a purpose and with purpose. YOU were NOT an accidental creation. God made you, but he made you to love HIM and to SHINE for Him.

PSALM 139:13-16 ~ For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

God loves you and me not like our friends and “followers” do. His love is not based on anything that we can or cannot do for HIM. His love is not based on who your “friends” are, how many you have, what you wear, your style or lack there of, or what your talents are.

His love doesn’t change. It can’t.

HEBREWS 13:8 ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.

Nothing in or of this world will ever bring you lasting and true peace, because you were not made for this world.

If you are a true follower of Christ, an AUTHENTIC Believer, then this earth is just a pit stop on your way to HEAVEN.

He will never let you down. He will never abandon you. He will never unfollow you.

We tend to let others down, abandon things and people, and we get let down and abandoned as well. Not by GOD.

TRUE PEACE. TRUE FREEDOM. TRUE LOVE…. Is found in Christ alone.

To know HIM you have to spend time with him. There is a HUGE difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. Even the demons knew who God was.

JAMES 2:19 ~ You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

Do you know HIM? Does HE know you?

I’ll leave you all with that for now. The rest of the message will be on the next blog post, Part two. I hope you’ll be back for the rest. :)

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.

I Hear You God

I recently spoke at a “Girl’s Night Out” event that was held at  Redland Baptist. Not because I am a “speaker”, but because of a youth director’s obedience to God and because I knew that when she asked me to do this that it was definitely God wanting me to. Like I said, I am NOT a speaker by nature. I’m a writer. I was totally relating to Moses…the Moses who said “I’m not eloquent of speech..please send somebody else.” (paraphrased from Exodus 4:10 and also from Exodus 4:13)

However, God had been whispering to me that one day I would be “up there speaking and bringing HIS message”. HAHA! I of course replied with: “who? ME? Pshhhh. No. Thank. You.” When I was asked to do this, I immediately said out loud, to God : “I hear you God. You told me.” 

That’s not all I said either. Hahaha! You could say that I was scared to death. Not about speaking in front of people. Not about looking stupid. Not even about the fact that my audience was to be teen girls. Well, yeah, that WAS a bit unnerving. I was so afraid that I would mess up HIS message.

Anybody relate?

This was a FIRST for me. Sure I had taught sunday school, sang solos when I was a teen, led Women’s Bible studies, and put myself out there for HIS glory by writing and blogging. BUT…giving a message to a group of impressionable teen girls, from the pulpit, like for real, this was a FIRST.

I learned through this experience that GOD is so faithful. He provides. HE provided prayer warriors, friends and family who lifted me up and interceded on my behalf, time  to prepare for this day, and HE provided the message. God provided the girls to be there and for their hearts to receive it! God provided the music that fit perfectly with HIS message. HE provided!

(Oh, and I also learned that a 20 minute message can turn into a 40 minute message real fast. LOL)

Hearts were changed and touched that night. Mine included. There is nothing more beautiful than to see girls at the altar, praying alone, praying together, lifting their voices in song.  And honestly the most beautiful thing was to see the love that their youth pastors and leaders and volunteers have for them.

God speaks to us. We just have to listen.

Obedience and Surrender are scary sometimes.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary.

What’s even scarier is DISOBEDIENCE.

I am so very thankful that everyone involved was obedient. Obedience leads to blessing. I was definitely blessed by bringing HIS message to those precious girls. I was definitely blessed by their response to HIM.

Wanna hear something funny? Now I can’t wait for another opportunity to bring whatever message God wants to whatever audience HE wants. I am not afraid anymore. I know that MY GOD provides. I am actually praying for opportunities because honestly, my heart’s desire is for others to know Jesus and know that HIS grace really is enough.

I will be sharing the message (that I shared with them) with you all on the next blog post. I’d love for you to tune in and check it out!

I leave you with these questions:

Are you listening to God?

  Are you being obedient or are you trying to tune HIM out?

Joshua 22:5 ~ “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

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.

  

Knock Knock

Heather Dawkins Photography

Heather Dawkins Photography

During my morning Bible study/quiet time, I read and soaked on Revelation 3:20.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. ~ Revelation 3:20 

Let me give you a little background on this verse. Jesus was speaking to the church of Laodicea. It was a rich and complacent church. One that seemed to have no worries or troubles.

They had trouble though. BIG trouble. Their lack of noticing their NEED for Jesus. They were happy just as they were.  Plenty of material possessions, food, and whatever else.

What they DID NOT HAVE was Jesus Christ’s PRESENCE among them.

Yet, HE clearly stated in REVELATION 3:20 that he was KNOCKING on the door.

Why couldn’t they hear HIM?

Was the music up too loud? Were there too many distractions? Did they not realize that the pleasures of the moment were not going to last? Were they too obsessed with SELF?

If God, His Word (the BIBLE), and church are of no interest to you, that means that you are shutting HIM out.

He is knocking.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

Patiently waiting to spend time with you.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

He won’t force HIS way in. You HAVE to open the door.

The only way to have lasting joy and peace is to open the door and let HIM in.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

He is NOT ONE who forces us to love and accept HIM. He gives us the choice to open the door.

Until Next Time,

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New Year New Me

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NLT)

It’s been quiet here on the blog. Not because my mind has been quiet.. Because it has not. My mind and soul have been overloaded lately. When that happens, I still write, I just don’t publish. Sometimes it’s quiet on here because God is allowing me some time to learn and grow and even rest.

Learn and grow … I’ve definitely been doing that.

Last year God pulled me back from leading a women’s bible study. I wasn’t quite sure as to why at the time. I still obeyed. Around that time, our oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, began expressing an interest in being in a private school or being homeschooled. She’s a wise teen with big plans and dreams for her future. We looked into both, prayed about it, and sent her back to the public high school.

Still praying. Still growing. Learning new things about myself. Learning that boundaries were biblical and good and healthy. Studied a book called Boundaries by Henry Cloud / John Townsend. I did some bible studies on my own, and completed reading and studying through the entire Bible for my first time ever.

Through the last half of last year, I had shingles.. Which was very rare for someone my age. Stress can cause them to appear to anyone who has ever had chickenpox. I was definitely under some stress. My husband had a back injury that had him confined to the bed and then with a walker for several weeks. Things fell apart in different areas and other things fell together.

I got well, He was healed while on vacation. I mean healed. Instantly.
God was good and always faithful.

We also suffered a tragic loss of a family member in December of 2013. God has been faithful and good to our entire family through that as well. Our family’s faith in God is what has sustained everyone. I honestly don’t know how those who don’t have a relationship with God survive the hard, tragic, and trying times in life.

Now on to 2014. After much prayer and research and more prayer, we signed our oldest up with a wonderful Homeschool group… Classical Conversations. She had her first official day of school this Thursday and we couldn’t be more pleased! Never say never… No, really.. Because that’s what I had always said.

God orchestrated every event and meeting and circumstance in a way that led me to meet with a fellow blogger, friend, and homeschooling mom. Which in turn led to us following HIS call on our life. To begin this journey with one of our children. Praying that our youngest will decide on her own to join as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention something. I was asked in the fall to speak at a girl’s conference at a local church. Talk about out of my comfort zone. The thought scared me to death. Me? Yes, HE said.. me. So, after much prayer and seeking wisdom from other Godly women, I agreed. Why? Because praise GODHE uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Thank goodness, HE also equips the called. AND… Because I don’t plan on speaking MY words. I only want to speak HIS. If one girl’s life is impacted, then I can handle a little stage fright.

I’ve learned to balance my life. Put my husband first, after God. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no. That it is NECESSARY to eliminate stress. I’ve learned that it’s okay to set boundaries. I’ve learned that I do not have to allow negative opinions to affect me. I’ve learned that sometimes God requires me to do things that make no sense to me or anyone else at the time. I’ve learned that I do not have to make everyone happy and that I can’t. I’ve learned to be still and bridle my tongue. I’ve learned to set limits. I’ve learned to trust HIM more.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn this New Year!

It’s a New Year and each day HE is making a new me.

As a quote I found yesterday on Pinterest says: “I may not have always known what I wanted to be, but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”

I’m on my way.

I’m living for God.

I’m not backing down.

I’m not entertaining negativity.

I’m seeking HIS WILL in everything.

I’m stepping out, even further out, of my comfort zone.

I’m NOT feeling guilty for saying no to negativity or drama or for eliminating stress.

Lots of new changes this year. One homeschooled by me, one still in public school ( middle school). A 16 year old with a driver’s license… (Learning the real meaning to praying without ceasing). Speaking at an event for the first time, (In front of teen girls). Who knows what else.. I do know that whether it be good or tragic, God is good and will hold me and my family in the palm of HIS hands.

One last thing, I wrote a list of my goals for this year in my journal. Maybe you have already done the same thing, if not, maybe you should.

Just know this… Your goals are great but be willing to let God interrupt your plans. For HIS plans are much better. Even if we don’t always understand them.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)

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 NIV)

Seeking HIS Will,

Heather

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