The Beauty In Different

 

It’s sad to say, but it’s true.. Too often Christians are known for what we are against.. Not for what we are for. Not all of us.. Not all of the time.. But a lot of the time.

Sometimes people are turned off by the church in general. And hear me when I say that THE CHURCH is not the building. Sometimes it’s because they feel judged by those in the church. Other times it’s because of a past incident in the church where they were treated like an outcast. An outcast. Cast out.. think about it. We, as Authentic Followers of Christ Jesus should not cast someone away just because they are different.

We are called to love like Jesus. Is it always easy? I think you know the answer to that. It is only possible if we let Jesus love through us.

I love my church. One of the reasons I love it is because it is diverse. Diversity is beautiful.. Diversity is a gift.

God made each one of us unique. He didn’t mass produce us in a cookie cutter mold.

 

We are all different. My different is ok. Your different is ok. And the person who walks in and loves Jesus with all their heart and soul and mind but looks different from me or you is OK. Read the above quote again. The one about cookies. ;)

 

Just because someone looks the part on the outside does not.. I repeat does not mean that their heart looks the part.

 

God looks at the heart. Man looks at outward appearances more often than at the heart.

 

Take time to see the beauty in different.

 

If we are authentic Christians then we are called to love like Jesus. Without conditions placed on our love.

 

 

Love God, Love People, Shine JESUS.

 

That is what you will see in my bio on my social media pages, that is what I strive to live daily. It is my anthem. My life’s mission. When I write my book, I am pretty sure that my anthem above will be the subtitle. It is what we are called to do.

Jesus is about relationship not religion. Love not law. Sure, we have standards to live up to. As Christians we should look like Christ to others. On the inside and on the outside reflecting JESUS to the world. Our bodies are HIS temple if we are HIS. Reflecting Jesus to the person in line behind us, to the cashier, to the waiter, to the Physician, to the hard to love people, to every single person in our path. We should reflect God in all that we say and do.

It is all about the heart. I keep thinking of that catchy commercial. The one that says “What’s in YOUR wallet?” You know the one I am referring to? An insurance commercial. Well I keep hearing.. “What’s in YOUR heart?”  

 

WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART?

 

Love or Hate?

Un-forgiveness or a sweet spirit?

Bitterness?

Mercy?

Grace?

Anger?

A Judgemental Spirit?

Malice?

Joy?

Kindness?

Jesus?

 

What is in our heart comes out through our actions and words.

 

But the good news is….GRACE.

 

Oh I need that GRACE because the truth is that I have had all the above in my heart at times. The good and the bad. I need that GRACE that God so freely pours out on me every single day. I need to be pouring out that same grace in turn to others. You do too. We all do. Oh that GRACE. It is so beautiful.

 


 

Judging others because they are a different skin color, have tattoos, have piercings, don’t have tattoos, don’t have piercings, listen to rock christian instead of old hymns, listen to old hymns instead of contemporary christian music. Maybe it is even judging others because they are quiet and reserved or loud and outgoing.. Maybe it is judging someone because of their choice of education or vocation..The list goes on and on. It is not our job to judge. Can we lovingly in a grace laced way speak biblical truth into someone’s life? Sure, if our motives are pure and we have prayed about it and are prompted by The Holy Spirit to do so. It is about the heart.

Love like Jesus.

Don’t assume.

Take time to love.

Heal not hurt.

Look at ourselves before we look at others.

Check our motives.

Keep it shut.

Love not wound.

Heart check time again.

Grace Time. 

Oh that beautiful GRACE.


REFLECTION

~ What’s in my heart?

~ Do I need to declutter and purge some junk that I have been hoarding in my heart?

~ Am I being judgmental and if I am, do I need to rid myself of that way of thinking?

~ Do I truly love others the way that God has commanded me to love?

~ Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

~ Do I look like a Christian on the outside but need to clean up the inside?

~ Do I make others feel welcome in my church or community or place of work or home?

~ Do I shine Jesus?

 


RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Proverbs 4:23 ~ Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.

1 Samuel 16:7b ~ The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Psalm 51:10 ~ Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Matthew 7:2 ~ For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

 

 

 

Until Next Time,

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Life On Mission

 

      Longing For Home

 

  When on a mission trip in Nola.. I loved it but longed for home. Now that I’m home, I long to be back on mission. Somewhere. I think of the people there every single day. I am a foreigner now when I’m not doing missions.

My home and heart for missions have coincided and it’s like longing for heaven. 

 

  
This world is not my home.. I’m just passing through. And I now long to be on mission and that’s where I feel at home while I’m here, in transition, waiting to pass through to my real home. Heaven.

I feel closer to my true home, Heaven, when I’m actively serving. 

 

  
 Whether it’s using a weed eater or picking up  trash.Whether it’s leading a Dstudy or just taking the time to listen and counsel. That’s missions. That’s my home away from home.
   {Where’s your home away from home?}


    I’ve realized that I can live life every single day on mission. No, really, I can. You can too.
  There have been times in my life that I felt dead. Those were times when I was living life my way. You know what I mean? You get me?



  {Ever wonder why you feel dead? Maybe that’s why.}
  
I feel the most alive when I’m serving or active in missions. Makes sense. Jesus… JESUS came to serve and not to be served. If Jesus came to serve, and He did, then it makes perfect sense that I would feel closest to HIM while serving.
 Living life on mission can be as simple as visiting a loved one who is sad or fixing up a building for a mission project. 
Life on mission will look different for each one of us.
 Life on mission is life on purpose. Life with HIS purpose in mind. Eternal purpose. 

   REFLECTION

~ Do I feel empty?
 
~ Am I living life my way or HIS way?
 
~ Am I serving actively?
 
~ Am I being the hands and feet of Jesus right where I am at?
 
~ Am I ignoring a specific call that God has placed on my life? 


  While we are here, in our home away from home, we can make a difference. An ETERNAL difference. Choosing to live each day following hard after Jesus.
Life on mission.. Life with purpose. 

RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 12:26 ~ Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.


Matthew 20:28 ~ just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.


Ephesians 6:7 ~ Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people


Until Next Time,

  

 

 

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Heart Issues

 

heatherdawkins.com

heatherdawkins.com

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23-24‬ NIV)

 

My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.

Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.

Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.

What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.

Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.

Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.

Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!

Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love

You get the point.

Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though. 

I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.

I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.

My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.

And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.

Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.

We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.

If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.

No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.

I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.

Maybe it’s time for a heart check.

Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.

 

We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter. 

 

 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV) 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

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heatherdawkins.com

 

The ME God Sees

Nya didn't think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.

Nya didn’t think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.

When did I grow up? I’m pretty sure that I still think I’m like 20 something. Until I look in the mirror. Or wake up with an ache. Or somebody that must be not much younger than me says “Mrs. Heather” or “yes ma’am.” Maybe it’s because in my 40s (41 to be exact), I’m learning to like me. Learning to slow down. Learning to breathe.

Maybe it’s because 41 is honestly better feeling than 25 or 29 or even 35. I’m okay with the bad hair days. I’m okay with the lines .. Well, I’m better than I was at 38 about them. I’m good with whatever you think of me now. More so than I was in my 20s or 30s. I have gained wisdom and life experiences by the grace of God. I’m realizing the beauty of God’s love. I have experienced HIS grace and that is beautiful. I have experienced raw grief and felt HIS LOVE so strong. A love that truly did and does the same for me as HE did for David in the Psalms. A love that lifts me out of the miry pit. A love that restores, renews, and refreshes.

I’m learning to love me because Jesus does.

It’s a process. Learning to embrace ME. The ME God sees.   I mean think about it. {Insert yourself into the ME statements.}

JESUS knows me. The REAL me. AND. HE still loves me!

How awesome is that?!?! Pretty awesome if you ask me. I mean come on. I know I am hard to love at times. Aren’t we all? You know what? That same love that HE has for me, HE has for you. He loves you, the real you, the you that HE created you to be.

He loves you just the way that you are. You don’t have to get all fixed up in order to impress HIM. He made you. God knows exactly what you are capable of through JESUS. In fact, you can’t fix yourself up in your own strength without him. He already knows every single thing about you. AND He loves you still.

His love is deep. His love is wide. His love is grace-filled. Grace upon grace upon even more grace. His love never ends. His love never fails. His love never runs out. His mercies are abundant. He loves you and me more than we could ever even fathom. It is a miraculous love. A true love. A love without borders. One that cannot be matched by any other.

  If you are feeling sad or unworthy or unloved, think for a moment about “The ME GOD sees”. Stop focusing on the negative. And then, believe that YOU are worth it.

You ARE loved. (Read that again.)

20121214-205458.jpg HE loved you so much that HE willingly went to the cross. For you and for me.

It says that even in our sins, he loved us.

Enough so that he let them wrongly accuse him, mock him, call him names, beat him, spit on him, strip him of his clothes, publicly humiliate him,make him carry a heavy cross, hammer very large nails into his body, and hang him up on that cross.

Then, those moments of complete separation from God the Father before he died. ( You can read about it in Matthew 26 and Matthew 27) And then…oh praise GOD! Three days later HE AROSE! HE IS RISEN. HE lives. HE loves, and HE will come again.

But that’s not all. HE didn’t just go to HEAVEN and leave us. HE lives in each one who follows him and believes in HIM. Sound like a fairy-tale? It’s not. The love of JESUS is evident in those who are HIS. In those who are surrendered to HIM. (John 14:1-4,6 see below in Relevant Scripture)

Through HIM alone, we are able to love others. God is love. Period.

heatherdawkins.com

heatherdawkins.com


                                                                                    REFLECTION

Oh friends, I have to ask…

DO you know HIM? Does HE know YOU?

We aren’t promised the next breath..much less, tomorrow. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, what are you waiting for? I don’t care what you have been told or led to believe. JESUS CHRIST loves you and desires a real relationship with you. It isn’t complicated. If HE is whispering to you..If you feel a pull or a curiosity and want to know more, please don’t wait. There is freedom and peace and a joy like you have never known that can only be found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that you aren’t worthy of the love that Jesus so freely offers you.

He loves you. God sees you. He sees the YOU that HE created.

To my friends who do know HIM:

Are you living like you believe that HE LOVES YOU? He does.

The ME (you) God sees. That ME (you) is loved. Treasured. Precious. Worthy. 

heatherdawkins.com

heatherdawkins.com


                                                                              RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 14:1-4 (NIV) ~ “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:6 (NIV) ~ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV) ~ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Psalm 40:2 (NLT) ~ He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

1 John 4:19 (NLT) ~ We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:8 (NLT) ~ But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


LINKING UP with 3-D Lessons for Life on Thought-Provoking Thursday

Until Next Time,

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Hidden Away No Longer

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{Let me preface this post with this…I originally wrote the main part of this post 2 days before God spoke to me through the obedient vessels who are my sweet sisters in Christ. (they know who they are). If you don’t believe that God still speaks to you through others and by The power of The Holy Spirit, well that’s your opinion. Because I’m here to tell ya that HE STILL DOES. AND, the very SAME POWER that conquered the grave lives in those who know HIM personally. HE still speaks. HE still moves. GOD still answers prayers. HE is the same today as HE was yesterday and tomorrow HE WILL NOT CHANGE. }

I have these dreams. I allow myself to believe that I can achieve them. Then I allow myself to believe that I cannot achieve them.

It’s crazy really.

I have faith. Then I let doubt take over.

I profess that “I’m really gonna do ____ ”
Then I hide the dreams calling. Hidden away for a little bit longer.

And then there’s the things that I don’t know the answers to yet that puzzle me. They freeze me in my tracks at times. When I don’t know exactly what is next and I want to know. What do I do next? I do the next right thing. I do. I go. That is what we are called to do. The next right thing that brings God glory. Doesn’t have to be big. Doesn’t have to stand out.

The thing is, I’m not promised tomorrow. You aren’t either..and if you’ve lost a loved one you know this truth all too well. And if I don’t start acting I may miss out on a blessing that comes with obedience. Not only that, I may miss out on allowing God to use me to be a blessing to someone else. Same goes for you too.

The dreams aren’t really all that far-fetched. I’ve even spoken them out loud. I’ve had others ask when I’m going to _____…

I know I’m supposed to. I know the steps to take.

What’s stopping me?

Me. Just me. I’m stopping me.

AND IT IS TIME TO STOP.


 HIDDEN AWAY NO LONGER

 If I don’t step out in faith and do whatever HE asks of me then I will grieve HIM.  When we know what we are supposed to do and we choose to not obey, we are being disobedient or rebellious. That is sin. Sin grieves The Holy Spirit. I don’t want to grieve him. Grief is a terrible feeling. I want my life to look radical, obedient, and for others to see Jesus when they look at me. {don’t let me fool ya…it is scary just typing that sentence out.}

That is a prayer that I have prayed for many years now. Some days I fail HIM. His mercy remains through it all.

Jesus suffered. Jesus was selfless. Jesus was a servant. So if you choose to pray the same prayer as me, remember what you are praying for and adjust your attitude accordingly. {because I sure have to adjust mine as well}

I long to walk in the path that HE has called me to. I know that HE is calling. He has used sisters in Christ to give me HIS message. There is really nothing more beautiful than being prayed over and feeling The Holy Spirit and hearing HIS message through the obedience of Godly women. 

It really is a true picture of just how much Jesus loves us. That HE cares enough to speak to us if we will just open ourselves up to it. It is a picture of grace and mercy and patience in the way that God will give you the SAME message from more than one person. How generous and patient my God is. He knows I’m a hardheaded soul. But HE loves me. He loves you too.

I’m stepping out of that box sister. You told me that I had to because God told you. I’m stepping out. Trusting HIM to hold my hand and the walls are torn down my sweet friends. Thank you for your obedience. God is so good.

FAITH >FEARS


REFLECTION

What about you?

Have any dreams?

Anything that you feel that you should be doing in order for God to receive the glory?

What’s stopping you?

Do you know Jesus and does HE know you?

Is it time to take that next step of faith?

Is your faith bigger than your fears? 


RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Luke 11:28 ~ Jesus replied. “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

 

Ephesians 3:20 ~ 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.”

Hebrews 3:19 ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Until Next Time,

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Spending Time Alone

 

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copyright heatherdawkins.com

 

What happens when you don’t really want to BE PRESENT?

You know…

The days that you want to be alone. Zoned out. On an island even. The days that you just want to withdraw into the shadows.

The days when you are just completely mentally drained. Feeling like you are pulled in a thousand directions.

What about those days?

Do it. Spend some time alone. Just you and Jesus.

Alone time is necessary. It is for me. I recharge with alone time.

Look at Jesus. He went off by himself to get away from crowds and to pray. Sometimes he took his disciples with him and sometimes he went all by himself. He needed time alone as well.

Mark 7:17 ~ Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used.

Luke 5:16 ~ But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

Matthew 14:21-23 ~ About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray, Night fell while he was there alone.

You see, it is OK to spend time alone. Away from the crowds. Time spent away in prayer is vital for recharging, refocusing, and connecting with God.

The LORD rested on the seventh day when creating the heavens, earth, sea, and everything in them. HE blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. (see Exodus 20:11) Don’t you think that a day of rest is important then?

Mark 2:27,28 ~ “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

What are ways that you find solace? Ways that you rest on a busy day? Or do you? It’s important to find those little moments each day. Moments to feed the soul, focus the mind, and connect with our Heavenly Father. Real rest is found when we meet with HIM.

{ New here? Let’s be blog friends! I would love to encourage you.. Sign up here. This is Day 10 in the 31 Days series that I am joining this month. There are some really great writers who are participating! If you have missed any of the previous posts, you can find them all here in the first post.}

Until Next Time,

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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.

26 Things To Remember

A list for Mothers or anyone who plays the role of mother.. Or anyone who has a mother. Basically a list for everyone.

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12 NIV)

#1 – You can be their mother and their friend. As long as they respect you as MOTHER first. Friendship is important too. As long as you are parent first and foremost. {Be sure you read this again.}

#2 – Honesty is always best. I mean, why in the world would you let your child embarrass himself or herself on the American Idol auditions? Yes, tell them you believe in them.. Support them fully.. But don’t lie to your child.

#3 – Just because all the other moms or dads are doing it doesn’t mean you should too. Stand firm. Stand strong. Stick to God’s way.

#4 – Yes, you will hear your child at least Once (unless they mumble it) say that they hate you. Don’t take it personal. You probably said it to your mother too. You didn’t mean it either. But.. Don’t let it slide. Use it as a teaching moment. Love them through it. They don’t really hate you… Even if they don’t realize it yet. Grace.

#5 – Time is the best gift you can give to your kids. Time can’t be replaced.

#6 – When you think your gonna pull your hair out because of the messes and tantrums and did I say messes? Well, those are precious moments that pass by so fast. One day there won’t be messes and toddler tantrums..

#7 – Teens are great. No, really.. They can be.. If you give them your time and pay attention. Teens are mini adults with teen brains trapped in teen bodies and it’s a confusing time for them. Handle with care. I love having teenagers. Even though we still have messes and tantrums. FYI: we were all teens once. Remember this.

#8 – Train your children up to respect others, to forgive, to not judge others, to show grace. Teach them to be kind by modeling kindness. Teach them to love by modeling love. You get the point.

#9 – Understand that your biggest responsibility in terms of “discipling” begins with your children. They were entrusted to you.. How are you doing with that? I know I’m far from perfect in this area.. I fail daily.. Which brings me to..

#10 – When you mess up, and you will, apologize. Yes. Why? Because you are teaching your children to own up and apologize as well. You are showing them humility & allowing them to show you grace.

#11 – Each child is different. Therefore each child expresses love differently. So pay attention to your kids and love them the way that they will feel loved.

#12 – Believe in your children. Don’t force them to fit a mold you have for them. Allow them to be who GOD wants them to be.

#13 – Tell your kids you love them. Show them with your actions. Really listen to them.

#14 – Be dependable. They are gifts.

#15 – Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your kids.

#16 – Keep God first and center.

#17 – Laugh. Often. Even at yourself.

#18 – Take lots of photos! Don’t forget the 2nd, 3rd kid.. Take lots of photos! Memories. You will be glad you did. Did I mention? Time passes so fast.

#19 – Eat a meal at the table together daily.. At least weekly. Without cell phones. It can be take out!

#20 – Unplug. Be all there. You are teaching your kids to do the same. Plus, in a world where talking on the phone is becoming extinct like the pay phone, unplugging forces you to interact and truly communicate. We all need this. I’m just as guilty.

#21 – Love deeply. Forgive freely. Give grace just as God has given grace to you.

#22 – Life is short. Live life to the fullest.

#23 – Whisper more than you raise your voice.

#24 – Let them make mistakes. Life lessons are the best teachers.

#25 – But when they fall, be there to help them up. Not with an “I told you so” either.

#26 Oh and PRAY!! Pray for your children. Pray for their present and for their future. Pray. Pray. Pray. (This should be number 1 but I’m too lazy to change the post now)

This list is in no special order. Just a few things that I’ve learned as a Momma to our 2 blessings. Things that I learned because of my Momma and Daddy. We live what we learn. I know I could have added many more things to the list.. But, I didn’t.

Even if you are an Aunt or an Uncle, or have no children of your own, you still have influence. It truly takes a village.

Happy Mother’s Day early to all of you mothers and mother figures.

Until Next Time,

Heather

P.S. It’s ok if you don’t agree with the list.. If you take one or two things from it that’s great! Definitely not forcing it on you.. Just my views..and things I have learned.

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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

Our Daddy

For those who knew our Daddy.. For those who didn’t.. Below is WHO HE WAS and a little of what we (his children) wanted to share about him.

How do we even put into words, the depth of love we have for a man that modeled unconditional love and was the picture of love?

We were not ready to let him go, we were not prepared. But are we ever prepared to let the ones we love go?

He was a family man, a man who was humble and never complained. A true gentleman and a gentle man.

He worked hard his entire life and loved tinkering with all kinds of projects. If we needed something fixed, he could do it. If we needed help of any kind, we could always count on him.

He was always there for his family. We were always there for each other. That’s what family does, and that’s what our daddy taught us.

He loved to laugh. He loved to just be with his family and people, in general. He was a strong, brave, and beautiful man. Strong hands that could build, fix, or handle anything. Gentle hands that wiped away tears, hugged tight, and held us. His smile, his hugs, his laughter will be deeply missed. Pray for us as we try to figure out how to walk each day without him here.

The only thing that brings us peace and comfort is knowing that this is our temporary home. We are just passing through and heaven is home for those who believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Jesus.

Daddy loved God and loved people. He had a servants heart and a humble spirit. He made a difference in his time here on earth. He left big shoes to fill and a beautiful legacy. He was the toughest and strongest person we have ever known.

Daddy believed in living life to the fullest. He could literally do anything he set his mind to, possibly due to his hard-headed streak that he passed on to his children. :)

He never took for granted each moment he was given. He was a fighter, and that was clearly evident in the last day of his life. He fought hard. He fought the good fight. He loved us so much, we know this, and we loved and will always love him. None of us were ready to let him go. In the blink of an eye, everything can change.

Don’t waste yours…love with all you’ve got. Spend time with your family, because time is more valuable than anything else. When everything changes, your memories may be all you have left.

When looking through our Daddy’s bible, we found where he wrote in the front of his bible: “I hope I am never able to say no to those who need and ask for help.”

That is who he was.

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