HOPE ~ My One Word 2019

For many years I have prayed, contemplated, and waited each “beginning” of each year for MY WORD. The word He wants me to focus on in order to be in His will. His will is the only place that I ever feel peace.

This last year I’ve grown, changed, and learned. I have discovered things and pondered things. Life is always changing. That’s the only thing other than salvation that’s guaranteed on this side of heaven.

I truly believe that through my Pastor’s message this morning that I felt clearly the word I need to focus on.

HOPE – I need to believe that the BEST is yet to come.

I need to let the things GO that I’m allowing to make me bitter. Bitter or Better. It’s a choice.

I need to remember that all of my life has led up to this point. Everything I’ve learned, discovered, been through will help me where I’m going. As long as I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Hope.

One Word.

Multiple ways to describe it.

Hope. Anticipation. Belief.

Faith is necessary.

I must believe that the best is yet to come.

This one word…. HOPE, it forces me to let go of the hurts and fears and bitterness and look forward to the BEST.

You see, the WORD of God never fails. It never will fail. (See Luke 1:37 NLT) With God, nothing is impossible.

#oneword

Seeking Him,

THE THING ABOUT GRIEF

The thing about grief is that while you are suffocating, the rest of the world seems to be going on without you. But that’s just it. The rest of the world, the people you see smiling and laughing, they may be grieving as well.

The thing about grief is that you can feel so lonely in your grief at times. Leaving a hole. And yes, God fills that hole, if you let him, but you still hurt deeply.

The thing about grief is that you are forever changed. Seeing things in a completely different way than before. You truly get the brevity of life. That person that I was on April 1st, 2014 at 5 am (pre phone call that my Daddy was having a heart attack) is different from the person I became that night on the same day. And I’m forever changed. More serious and more intentional about every aspect of life.

If you’ve lost a loved one you know. The thing about grief is that it’s different for everyone. It’s a personal thing. Words don’t heal.. But love sure helps.

The thing about grief is that there really is no getting over it. No time limit. No easy 1 2 3 fix for it. You live. You have a good day. You have a bad day. You suck it up and you keep moving forward. Because every single one of us will experience grief. It’s part of living in this temporary home.

And I realize that the tears are a gift. The memories are a gift. Even grief is a gift.

The ache in the heart…that physical pain.. it just means that you are holding them really close to your heart. What better place to keep them until you meet again.
The thing about grief… It can hit you anywhere and at anytime. Like walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, or during a worship service. And you can’t control it anymore than you can control the wind. It’s like a catch in your throat and it hits you like a punch to the gut. That’s grief.

It’s different for everyone. No two people can or should grieve the same. You grieve when you’ve had a personal relationship with someone or something. There is no way that you could have the same exact relationship with someone as I do or vice versa. It’s personal. That’s the thing about grief.

The joy I feel comes from God and God alone. The peace is a direct result in resting in the arms of my Savior. Reality is that at times I feel alone in my utter sadness. Alone in my remembering. Like being in a crowded room but still feeling alone. But God. He is my strong tower and refuge and deliverer. And I know I’m not alone. You aren’t alone. 

The thing about grief is… Everyone has been there and if you haven’t yet, you will. We can’t expect the world to stop. It just won’t. And it shouldn’t. I look back and recognize the change in the “before” me and the maturity and the living life to the fullest attitude in the “after” me. Because that’s what a deep loss will do to a soul.

Loss changes you. But sorrow really does produce a better you if you let it. It makes you look at the simplest of things in much deeper ways. It changes you.

Life on earth really is but a moment. A brief moment in time. The best gift that you can give the ones left behind is a legacy of love. Not just any legacy of love, but one of loving God most. 

We shouldn’t compare how one person grieves to how another might. There should be no judgement in grief. And let me make something clear. You can experience grief even if the object of your grief is not dead. There are so many types of grief. Because everyone is unique, and every circumstance is unique, every loss will be unique as well.

And just because you may be a “veteran griever” (yes, I made that term up), doesn’t mean that you are exempt from grieving. It doesn’t mean that you even know how to grieve. 

Time does not heal all wounds. Only God can do that. Even when the wounds scab over and the new skin covers it, doesn’t the skin look different? It’s ok. It’s supposed to. That scar becomes beautiful when we let the light of Christ shine through. Even if it is only a little light at a time. 

Those broken places can be mended. The mending occurs when we let God fill up the cracks and the deep cuts. Maybe our scars are there for a purpose. Maybe they can be seen as beautiful. Like a mosaic that’s pieced together. When we let His light shine through. When we let HIM do the mending.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” ~‭‭Psalms‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭
Until Next Time,

Heather

Wrong Label

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Labels are for cans of food. Labels are for items of clothing. Labels are NOT for people.

They shouldn’t be…that is.

Romans 2:3 ~ Do you suppose, O man —- you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself —- that you will escape the judgement of God?

Hmmm. OUCH.

So…. we are all guilty? Maybe? Definitely?

GUILTY.

 

Psalm 9:7,8 ~ But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the people with uprightness.

 

See, GOD…HE judges out of LOVE. He is not capable of using labels on people…judging people from outside appearances. Unlike most of the human population. Myself included.

Our Lord looks at our heart. So why don’t we look at the heart first?

 

1 Samuel 16:7 ~ But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

Maybe you aren’t a judgmental person…..anymore. Maybe you never have been.

Maybe you have been the object of judgement. And it hurt. Deeply.

I wish that one blog post could change us all. It can’t. Real change only happens when we truly want to change.

If the heart isn’t right, then the behavior won’t be right. Upright. Like God. Christ-like.

Who wants to be labeled like a can of soup?

Who are we to label others anyway?

Being labeled as a snob because you aren’t as outgoing as the person labeling you hurts. To assign a label to someone before you’ve even talked to them is wrong.

Being labeled as stuck-up because you are just not confident or comfortable making small talk… hurts.

I truly believe that to judge someone before we’ve even talked to them is dead wrong. How can we do that?

How can we truly say that someone is “preppy”. “gothic”, “redneck”, “rich”, “poor”, “saved”, “not saved”, “shy”, “scary”, without even giving that person a chance to show us their heart?

We have to give others the chance to show us who they are. We have to teach our kids this. Labels hurt…especially when we are labeled wrong.

We have all been guilty of this behavior at some point in our lives. Hopefully we chose to STOP being this way. To give people a chance to show us who they are on the inside before assuming they are some other way by the outside.

It’s so heartbreaking to hear story after story of how teens and kids will even approach other teens and kids, BOLDLY telling them what they think the other teen is like…and they have never ever spoken to this person before. All based on appearance or heresy.

I wish I could say that it gets better with time. It doesn’t. Adults judge unfairly as well.

When is it going to stop?

Good news is this: One person CAN make a difference. One person can change. One can stand up for another. One can share of the hurt judging causes. One person CAN make a difference.

Will you be that person? Will you teach your children to be THAT PERSON? Will you choose to make a difference?

Until Next Time,

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When You Go

We stood outside. Taking pictures with our cell phones before we went in to eat at the busy restaurant. Out of the corner of our eyes, we saw him. Long, scruffy looking beard. Hat on and carrying some plastic bags. Talking to random people in the parking lot. We assumed he just wanted money. We headed on inside. Pshh..none of us had any extra money..

Then, I looked out of the glass door and saw what he had in his hand. He was selling handmade crosses. Immediately I stood up and said: “I have to go out there. I have to take him this money and buy a cross.”

There’s more to it than that..

About 2 years earlier, my husband met a man who wandered around making these same crosses. He met him at our local flea market. He sat down, struck up a conversation with this man and heard a man witness about Jesus.

So, I just thought that maybe this was the same man. Had to be. So, that is what drew me to him. Or, I should say..That is what GOD used to draw me to him.

I walked straight up to him. Looked him in the eye and told him that I wanted to buy one of his crosses. He looked at me, kind of shocked and said: “Well, ok..if you want one then I’m gonna make you one.”

We sat down opposite of each other on these concrete benches. We began what turned into a 20-30 minute conversation. He shared some about himself. I asked him where he was from. He shared about his family, a momma that had just died. He said: “Mommy died.” I didn’t make him tell me these things. He just needed someone to talk to.

I was still curious as to if he was the same man who my husband had met. He had to be. So I asked him if he had worked the flea market. His reply: “No, there’s no money there.”

Okay…. Alright God, evidently You made me come out here to talk to this man. AND, You made me feel comfortable first! Wow.

So, the rest of the crew had joined me by now. They listened as we talked. There were lots of people sitting outside. I’m sure they were watching and listening. Honestly, I didn’t even notice anyone else. For those few minutes, it was just us and that lonely man..talking. Talking about God, this man’s life, and some more about God. I asked him if he had a relationship with Jesus. He said he was saved at age 11. I believe him.

I asked him to tell me the story behind the crosses. He shared a little, and then said that he already knew that I was a believer. He asked me if I knew how he knew..to which I just looked in his eyes and said..“well, it’s like with you..I looked in your eyes..they told your story and then I saw it in your actions..” he just shook his head “YES”.

I offered him my Bible..I had one in the car. No matter how many times I offered, he refused it. He said he couldn’t see it good..he needed reading glasses. I offered to get him some from Dollar Tree.. he said that he had plenty of money.. See, this man was NOT asking for money.

Man, CONVICTED. As soon as we walked inside earlier, God had convicted me of turning away & I praise HIM for the fact that HE made me go back outside and seek this man. This man who could have been dangerous. We didn’t know. We were doing what most women SHOULD do when they are alone. Avoiding possible danger. BUT, see..God convicted me and then, God used something that would make me feel safe to get me back out there. He used a cross made of palms and cedar…A symbol of HIMSELF. HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD??!!

When he finished with the cross,I asked him if I could pray with and for him. He just smiled and said: “SURE, as long as you let me pray for you when you get done.” Talk about blessed! I began to pray, the kids there with us..and he said, “HANDS! Hands!” So, we all sat there, holding hands with this man and praying. I prayed and then he prayed. People all around. Maybe, just maybe..more than one life was changed that night.

We learned to never judge a book by its rough draft or cover. We received the blessings from being obedient and just getting up and going when God says to GO!

Was that man put there that night for us to learn from him? Were we put there that night to be a blessing to our new friend? Were we (myself, and those with me and our new friend) put there that night to be a witness to those that were watching? Because, trust me..they HAD to be looking and listening..and wondering if I was completely nuts. 🙂

I honestly don’t know the answer. I’m okay with that.I left that place a better person for having met Butch.

He just so happened to wait for us to eat so that he could tell me another piece of info about the moment that he got saved. He said that when he went down to that altar, that his “Mommy” screamed so loud. He said that he had never heard her scream..because his Daddy wouldn’t allow it. We told him goodbye..He asked us to keep praying for him. He wanted to stay on the right track. I promised him that I would hang that cross in my house and pray for him by name every time I saw it. He was completely shocked that I remembered his name. For those of you who know me well..you are probably shocked too! 🙂

All I know for sure is that God used something that he knew would make me feel safe and HE got my behind up and out of that door. I may never know the why..but I do know that all of us were impacted by it. Just remember that when you obey God and just GO, there will be blessings for all involved.

He said that the Bible was in his heart. I still pray he gets a copy that will fit in his pocket so he can pull it out and just soak in God’s Word. Here is the one verse that Butch quoted for me..

Isaiah 1:18 ~ “Come now let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Forever Changed,

P.S. I know for a fact that he wasn’t the same man.. I took video of part of our conversation so that I could share it with my husband later..He confirmed that it was NOT the same man. 🙂

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The cross on the left is the one that our new friend made.. The cross on the right is the one that Spencer brought home from his new friend..

Changes And Choices

Life is filled with changes.

It is definitely a fact that nothing stays the same. We age. We grow. Our minds change. Our bodies change. (not always a good thing.. 😉 ) Our opinions change. It is just a fact of life. CHANGE.

Change is not always fun and exciting. Sometimes it’s welcomed and anticipated. Other times, change can be really scary to us.

Changes in our health can be very scary. Changes in the health of those we love can be just as scary.

The thing about change, is that we have a choice in how we respond to it.

Life is filled with CHOICES.

Our Awesome God allows us to make our own choices. He doesn’t force us to love Him. He doesn’t force us to follow Him. He gives us free will. We get to choose to love and follow Him.

 Changes and Choices

 Two things that evoke a lot of emotions.

 Who do you turn to when you are going through a change?

 Who do you turn to when you need to make a choice?

God wants us to turn to Him. He promises to guide us. He is Sovereign, Good and Fair.

Psalm 48:14 ~ For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

 HE tells us to come to HIM…all of us..who are weary..burdened. HE promises to give us rest.

Matthew 11:28 ~ “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

 Do you need to rest? Do you want rest? Are you weary? Are you burdened?

If you are, now is the time to make a change…make the choice to cry out to Jesus and give it all to HIM. To pray. To intercede on someone else’s behalf. To trust that God has got whatever you are facing. To trust that no matter what, God’s way is right. To rest in the shelter of The Almighty.

Psalm 91:1 ~ He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

We will ALL face a valley in our lifetime. Some may face several valleys. Those times that we are at our lowest. I’m not trying to be gloomy. It’s just a fact.

I couldn’t imagine making it out of those desolate times without my Jesus holding my right hand and walking with me. Carrying me at times. HE alone is my strength.

Isaiah 41:13 ~ For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Do you know my Jesus? I pray that if you do not…that you will seek HIM now. You aren’t reading this by accident.

Life is filled with CHANGES and CHOICES. It’s up to each of us to make the right ones.

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

 

P.S.

This post was originally written on 5/21…but for some reason, I didn’t feel that it was the time to publish it. I do believe that now is the time.

I have a special prayer request. I am asking all of you to join me in prayer for a friend and her husband  from my church. They received some unexpected news this week about his health and would greatly appreciate your prayers! I would rather you hear any details from her..so go to her blog at www.amygking.com for updates and info. You can sign up on that site as well to receive her posts by email.  Thanks in advance for your prayers. You will be greatly encouraged by Amy’s faith .

Transparent, Vulnerable and Unashamed

There’s just something about sharing the deepest parts of yourself with others. The ugly parts that God has turned into something beautiful. It’s a vulnerable place to be in. An out of your comfort zone place. Yet, it’s a place that God is glorified in.

I am reminded in Acts 22…when Paul asks to speak to the crowd that was accusing him and beating him, of how he used those moments to be honest and vulnerable and give his testimony. He didn’t get up and say, “I am perfect and that’s why you shouldn’t throw me in jail.” NO…Paul told of who he was before he knew Christ as his personal Savior and then he told of his transformation after coming to know God. He was transparent. He was vulnerable. He was unashamed.

How willing are we…as followers of Jesus…to be transparent?

Why is it so hard to just “be real” ?

We are called to “BE REAL” friends. We are called to LOVE. We are called to forgive. AND….we are called to be transparenthonest…to bring God glory.

Matthew 6:15 (NIV) ~ But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Luke 17:4 (NIV) ~ If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, “I repent,’ forgive him.”

John 13:34 (NIV) ~ “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

1 John 1:8 (NIV) ~ If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Why is it so scary to be “transparent” ? Well, one reason, is the fear of being judged by others. Let’s be real…we all fear that at some point or another.

If our transparency brings healing and hope to just ONE person, then it is worth it. When we let God use the mess that we made of things and turn it into HIS message, then who cares what others may think! That, my friends, is being obedient and transparent.

I’ll be completely honest with you. I don’t always WANT to be transparent. It is a lot easier to put a “smile” on my face and pretend things away. That doesn’t bring God glory though. I have to be willing to be obedient in sharing my testimony…when HE wants me to. Same goes for each of you.

Truth is, everybody has garbage. Everybody has made mistakes. It is what we choose to do with the mess or garbage that makes the difference.

So, I leave you with these questions.

Is there something that God has asked you to share with someone…and you haven’t yet because of fear of being judged?

Do you believe that God can turn your MESS into HIS Message?

First, I would advise you to pray diligently over it. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Be sure that your testimony points to God. That it only brings glory to God. Then, write it out. It is always changing…as it should be. Finally, pray some more and if you feel that nudge from God..GO FOR IT! Let Him be glorified!

I will be sharing portions of my testimony as I feel led, in the days to come. Why? Because, I know God wants me to. Because, I have been feeling the nudge to be even “more real” than I already am with you all.

Share more with you soon! Very soon..

Here is a link to listen to Mandisa’s song..What If We Were Real?

ENJOY!

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UNTIL NEXT TIME,

 

 

It’s ALL About Love

 

 

Well, it has taken me a bit longer to process these thoughts and truths that have been jumping around in my head. I know that I have shared before, that I take this “writing” or “blogging” thing very serious. AND…Sometimes…that means just waiting and being still. Waiting for God. I have learned patience through this almost year that I have been sharing here on “Simple Truths”. I’ve learned that I am on HIS timeline…not mine.

I have learned that I am at peace when I am patient for HIS time.

I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t ever want these posts to be about ME. Oh no..not at all..I only want to shine for HIM. When I say I want to shine…I mean that HE IS LIGHT and I want to reflect HIM and HIM alone.

It has been a week ago today that I left to go on a retreat for women. We went away for two nights and oh how God touched me at the core of my soul. HIS presence was known. HIS words were spoken through many women (message, prayer, song, testimonies, sharing, etc..)  because of their obedience to HIM. It’s not always easy being truly obedient…because it really does take you out of your comfort zone. This I know. From experience. BUT…..oh at the blessings and complete joy that is felt when you are obedient. Blessings…not just for the other people…but for you as well.

I saw chains loosed last weekend…and chains are still being loosed because of the TRUTH that was spoken to us. GOD”S WORD is TRUTH dear friends. It IS HEALING for the soul.

 

Most importantly though…GOD’S WORD reflects HIS LOVE for US!! Friends…hear me when I say this…God LOVES YOU! He loves every single one of us!

We have got to start reflecting that LOVE. That TRUTH.

 

1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) ~ Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

 Deeply…it says. Not surface. Not fake. BUT….DEEPLY.

God’s LOVE….the love of Savior Jesus….covers our sins.

If you ARE a true follower/believer, you are CALLED to LOVE. DEEPLY.

I am called to love deeply. Do I always? No… Sometimes…the love that I show and you too (if you are being honest), is love that may be dependent on my emotions at the moment.

I am called to love deeply….not just when I feel like it. Not just when everything is “hunky-dory” (pardon the “old” phrase).

I am SO VERY THANKFUL that God loves me ALL the time. In fact, it still blows my mind sometimes that HIS love NEVER CHANGES. Seriously, you should do a search on your Bible app or in the dictionary and concordance in your actual Bible on the phrase “His love”. It’s awesome!

 

John 15:12~ My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

We don’t love in this way out of our own ability to do so. NO…that isn’t even possible. IF and WHEN we LOVE in the way God commands us to love, it’s because God is loving the other person through us. IT’S HIM.

 

1 John 4:19~ We love because he first loved us.

 

   I am so thankful for all the LOVE that was shown this past weekend at the retreat. Women sometimes have a hard time letting down our walls..and letting ourselves be loved. It has to STOP. We have to stop comparing ourselves and thinking that everybody else must be thinking something “bad” about “me”. It’s a trap. A trap that the enemy wants us to be in. BECAUSE..we can’t possibly love each other if we don’t even love ourselves. GOD LOVES YOU.

I LOVE THESE WOMEN!!!

 

It’s okay to recognize areas that you have fault…but give those faults and bad habits…bondage..to  GOD (repent and change). THEN and only THEN can you move on. When I say move on..I mean, STOP letting your past mistakes define you. Allow God to love you and in turn reflect that same love to everyone you meet.

 

1 John 4:8~ Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

It is ALL about LOVE. Isn’t that what we all want anyways?

I’ve got lots more on my mind and heart that I plan on sharing in regards to how my heart was touched during this time away. So, I’ll share again with you soon.

 

 

Until Next Time,