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

The Comparison Trap

  

 The Comparison Trap is just that… A trap. A trap that leads to feelings of worthlessness, envy, bitterness, and discontentment. It steals our joy.

“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” ~
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Comparing themselves to each other… Hmmm. Sound familiar?
How often do we find ourselves in this comparison trap?

We compare hairstyles. We compare relationships. We compare outfits. We compare how “busy” we are.(and that’s another message for another day). We compare occupations. We compare houses. We compare waist sizes. We compare cars. We compare how educated we assume someone else to be. We compare compare compare.
Then we feel worthless because we assume that we aren’t as good as… 

Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Did you get what was at the end of the passage of scripture?

“How Ignorant!”
(You know, the opposite of wise.)



The only thing we should compare ourselves to is Jesus! He is the standard of which we should measure ourselves to. Not each other. 
Comparison causes assumptions and assumptions are usually wrong anyways. Am I right?
You’ll miss the blessings and beauty in “today” if you are wasting it comparing yourself to others.
The question we need to be asking ourselves is “Am I measuring up to the standards God has for me?” And “Am I representing Christ well?” Not… “Am I as good at ____ as ____ is?”
Every minute.. Every hour that we are given is to be used to bring glory to God. That’s our job .. If you will.. As Christians. And if we are wasting away our minutes comparing ourselves to others then we aren’t focusing on bringing glory to God.. Because we are focused on me, myself, and I… The wrong trinity. 
It’s a daily.. Minute by minute choice. Choose to focus on God or focus on me.. Me… Me.. Or even on what ____ has that we think we need too.
Hey. I’m guilty. I’m not pointing fingers. I’m guilty. It’s thrown in our faces even more so because of social media and all the “perfect photos” Nobody posts the real ones or they rarely do… You know.. The ones where you were all just rolling your eyes at each other or saying through clenched teeth “I said SMILE dadgummit!” 

Guilty.
Comparing ourselves to other people is just plain silly. You never know what’s behind a smile. You don’t know the pain that another woman may mask with a smile. You don’t know the hurt that she may hide really well. That “perfect” person (you assume) is a person. Not Jesus. Some people hide their pain really well. Others wear their emotions on their sleeves.. Nobody has it all together and nobody is perfect.

Steven Furtick said: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our ‘behind the scenes’ with everyone else’s highlight reel.”



Everybody… Everybody… Has struggles. I think you’d all agree. So why waste our time trying to and wishing to be like other imperfect people?
The only ONE we should try to be like is Jesus Christ.
Think about it like this…. 

If you see an iceberg, you only see about 10% of it. The other 90% is below the surface. 
Same with us.

The thing is… If we are so busy comparing and assuming, then loving each other is more than likely going to be way down low on our lists. And if you are a child of God.. An authentic follower of Christ, you are called to LOVE. And love deeply.

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” ~1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Deep means… Deep. Not surface. Not fake. But deep. Real. Invested. Deep love is not easy. It takes work. And it’s only possible because of The Holy Spirit that indwells believers.

Because let’s be real… My love for others can sometimes be based on my emotions at the time. What about yours? 

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” ~‭‭John‬ ‭15:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Who else besides me is so thankful that God’s love is not based on emotions?? In fact HE loves you no more today than he loved you yesterday and he will not love you any more tomorrow than HE does right now. It says in the bible “how wide how deep is his love for us” and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~ Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬


His love never changes!!!! 
So… If you are a Christian then you are supposed to be aiming to be like Christ. Not like the woman or man next to you no matter how fabulous she/he  is. She’s not Jesus. He’s not Jesus. You are not Jesus. Aren’t you so glad??!! 

Let’s all commit to saying no to comparison. Comparison leads to envy and bitterness and let’s face it.. That’s no good.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” ~Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Let’s commit to building one another up instead. To throw out assumptions (like so and so has it all together).. Because she doesn’t. None of us do. That’s why we need Jesus. And we do need him. Every second of every day. He is love, truth, joy, peace, life.. He is the only ONE that we should aim to please and bring glory to. HE is the only one who will never let us down.

And I’m so THANKFUL that He loves me all the time. Even when I’m not very loveable. His love for me and for you is just the most beautiful thing. It’s GRACE. It’s amazing. I don’t deserve it. But it’s mine. His love… And that’s how we are called to live. A life that reflects that love. Not a life wasted on envy or assumptions that accompany comparison. 

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” ~Ephesians‬ ‭4:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sometimes as women, we have a hard time letting down our walls and allowing ourselves to be loved. It has to stop. We have to stop comparing ourselves and thinking that everyone else must be thinking something “bad” about “me”. 

It’s a TRAP. A trap that the enemy,Satan, wants us to be in. Because we can’t possibly love each other if we don’t even love ourselves. God loves you. Don’t forget that. He made you for a purpose and on purpose. You were not an accident. He made you and he doesn’t make junk. 
We need each other. We do. 

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” ~Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Maybe just maybe if we stopped assuming and stopped comparing ..and take off the masks (masks of perfection) .. We would see that we aren’t so different from one another.

Rest in that love that Our Heavenly Father so freely gives. He loves you so much. So much that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. That’s love. That’s ours. If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior then you don’t have to do this life alone and you don’t have to rely on your own strength to do anything.

Focus on reflecting Jesus to this world that so desperately needs him and his love.. Don’t fall into the trap that will cloud your ability to shine. 

So… Remember the part of 2 Corinthians 10:12 where it says that they were comparing themselves to each other and how ignorant that was…

Remember that it’s a trap. A trap that keeps you in bondage. And you aren’t called to live in bondage. You are a child of The Most High. You are redeemed and you are set free… To walk in abundant life.. To break the chains that hold you back. To turn and go towards living a life that brings glory to God. A life that SHINES Jesus in everything. Walk in that freedom. With his help you can. Only with his help is it possible. And when those thoughts pop up that cause us to fall into that trap, take them captive. (See 2 Corinthians 10:5)

It’s time to do business. It’s time to check ourselves. Are you sick of feeling weighed down by these feelings of “I’m not as good as”? Do you need to stop focusing on others and start focusing on Jesus? Are you harboring feelings of bitterness or envy or jealousy or resentment? Do you need to let it go? Do you need to ask God to forgive you for anything that’s causing a wall of separation between you and Him? Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? If not I’m available to walk you through it. If you do know him, is it time to start walking in freedom and stop measuring yourself up to other people?  It is time. 

I leave you with this last little excerpt about Comparison that I found. It’s written by Joyce Meyers (YouVersion Devotional)


Comparison says to God, “I want to limit your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.” But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring. 




Blessings.. Shine On,

Heather 

 

USE ME BUT

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We say “USE ME” to God. Then we get rattled when he asks us to get up and move.

USE ME GOD… But …. 

Use me how I want to be used.

Heavens no, don’t ask me to do that.

I cannot be inconvenienced.

Use me Lord. But. 

I am not equipped. That would be awkward. Somebody else will do it.

USE ME LORD. SEND ME. What? Me? That might be messy.

USE ME LORD. HERE I AM. SEND ME. Woah. Not there God. That might put me in an uncomfortable position. One that might look strange to everyone else.

Take me deeper. Wait, I didn’t mean that deep.

Lead me where my trust is without borders. Hah. Wait, that means I’m going to really have faith and trust in YOU and YOU alone. And do I really trust in YOU and YOU alone?

We say the words. We sing the songs. We think that we really mean it. Because we sing it and speak it with passion. I mean we really really mean it. Or do we?

When the rubber meets the road, do you really mean it? Do I really mean it?

Do my actions line up with my words? Am I, Are you, really meaning the words that we sing and say?

I want to shine Jesus. Not reflect the world. (And friends I fail. But grace.) And like my Daddy wrote in his bible, “I pray that I am never able to say no to those who need and ask for help.”

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And y’all, that is a dangerous prayer to pray. Don’t pray it if you don’t mean it. Because when you come before God with a heart that truly means it, you will be asked to do some things that aren’t easy. There will be times that you will be inconvenienced.

Use me God. No ifs ands or buts about it. And when I want to run and hide, keep pulling me back to you Father. May I never be able to say no to what you have truly called me to do. Thank you for that stirring in my soul. Thank you for keeping me straight. Thank you for grace. Amen.

Isaiah 6:8 ~ Here am I, send me.

Until Next Time…

SHINE ON,

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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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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

 

BEAUTIFUL GRACE

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I lost it the other morning. Like from 0-60 in 5 seconds lost it. My poor husband was the victim.

He informed me of an important matter and I took it as one more thing added to my plate or stack of plates. They all came unbalanced and toppled to the floor.

I have 5 or 6 jobs and you have one!!! I don’t need one more thing to think about!

And like bullets being fired from a machine gun the words exploded.

And it felt GOOD!
For a minute.

He left for work. I kept folding the piled up laundry, planning out my homeschool day, thinking of the work that needed to be done and errands and talking to myself as I did:

I’m just not appreciated. My jobs don’t end. I’m not paid for my jobs. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…… (yeah, I know..insert eye roll here..me too) 


Then God…

Like almost immediately. HE gently nudged me.

I picked up my phone..
Called his cell. Thinking, well, this may not go well. But, I have to obey and apologize. Shame on me, I am so blessed.

He answered. I apologized and he offered grace.

 

Grace. Undeserved. Beautiful. Grace.

 

Just like Jesus. My husband just offered me grace. That is love. That is loving like Jesus.

Grace. Forgiveness. Undeserved. Yet freely given.


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Ephesians 1:7 ~ He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Colossians 3:13 ~ Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.


REFLECTION

GRACE looks a whole lot like forgiveness.

How many times have I withheld grace when I should have offered it freely?

Do I extend grace just as God has extended HIS grace to me?


Until Next Time,

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Tuned Out and Tuned In

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

Quiet. Unsettling. Different. I like it.

One week into the social media break and it’s funny how it came after my 31 Days of Being Present in Real Life series. The one that I purposely did NOT complete. Yeah. God does have a sense of humor.

So, here I am. Learning things about myself. Listening so much more to God. The noise is tuned out much better now. More “spiritual whitespace”. And while I am on that subject, I read a book by Bonnie Gray called Finding Spiritual Whitespace a few weeks ago. AH-MAZING. She is a beautiful soul, I can tell by her comments and sweet replies to my comments..It’s so neat how this internet works isn’t it? You can reach through the world-wide web and virtually meet people..but, I am digressing. That book was written from the depths of her soul. She writes so poetically and beautiful and from her heart.


 

I am learning what my version of “spiritual whitespace” looks like in comparison to God’s idea for me. I do want GOD. I want HIM more than the way I used to make time for HIM. I want GOD more than that mindless scrolling through a newsfeed that really  isn’t “news”. I want GOD more than likes or comments or replies or fame or fortune or knowing what everybody is doing. I want GOD more than I want me and more than my idea of wanting God looks like. Then and only then can I be completely at peace.

A soul one with GOD, with nothing in between, is a soul at peace. 

I am learning that obedience truly does lead to blessing. Even when obedience means cutting away some good things in your life. Even when it means removing for a short time something that isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing..just a distracting thing. Because GOD said so.

I am learning that even though I do have a good time of study in the Bible and a quiet time every morning, that God still requires more.

Because my idea of what is enough really isn’t enough at all.


 

I can look back over the past year or so and see where God is working and moving in my life and the life of my family and I am so excited to see what is next! Maybe a little scared too if I am honest. Maybe anxious is a better word. I just feel it in my bones and I am ready and I can’t wait to see what all God shows me and speaks to me through this time with HIM. Sweet time with my Savior and Lord. Tuned in to HIM.

I believe when GOD speaks we better listen. When GOD commands we had better obey. And that….

When GOD whispers, if the noise is too loud, I can’t hear HIM.

 


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

James 1:22 (NLT) ~ But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Romans 2:13 (NLT) ~ For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.


 REFLECTION

~ Is it too loud for me to be able to even hear God? Too much noise?

~ Do I really WANT GOD or just my idea of what wanting God looks like?

~ Am I willing to focus more on God than on other stuff?

~ Is God calling me to fast anything in order to hear HIM more clearly?


 

Until Next Time,

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Welcome To My Monday Morning

(One of my favorite verses. I even wear it daily on a bracelet I had made.)
Romans 12:12 ~ Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

As I start my day, I am so blessed to look at this Thankful Tree on my kitchen table and see the leaves of thanks that my family has hung on the limbs. Now… When I first woke up this Monday morning, I wasn’t so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It takes me a few minutes or so to wake up.

Nevertheless …..
Truly a beautiful and refreshing sight to see gratitude in even the smallest things. Makes me want to leave it up all year long. Definitely a tradition that I plan to keep going for years to come.

Traditions are something that I’ve been mulling over for a little while now. For those who are new here, my Daddy died April 1st of this year. Yeah. Man.. Seems surreal to even type that sentence out. We are all still grieving and going through the motions and emotions. Don’t even know what Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years will look like this year.. Except.. Different.

For my mother, it’s even harder. As her daughter, it’s so hard to watch her suffer and being that God gifted me with highly sensitive empathy, I feel the emotions around me times 10. I am a fixer. A doer. Tell me what to do and I’ll try my best to make it better. But, this is something that I can’t make better. For her. For me. For my children or my siblings.

We are all different. Grieving different. And that is OK!

For those of you who have lost a parent or husband or wife, and if you were extremely close to that loved one, you know what I’m saying.

So back to the traditions. Honestly, I don’t know what it will look like. I just know that I want to bring glory to God even in the midst of grief. I know my family has been held in HIS arms for the past 7 months. There’s no doubt that my God has sustained us.

I don’t know how people who don’t know Jesus personally survive.

I know I’m not alone. I know we are not the first family to have been through these kind of hard times.
I know.

I ask you to pray for us. Especially momma. I also ask for ideas and advice on how you may have coped during the holidays while grieving. Seriously.. Share. It may help more people than you know.

Before I go, I want to say a special Thank You to those who have reached out when it wasn’t convenient. To those who have shared their hearts with me about their losses and offered prayer and support. Thank you to those who have encouraged me and been there through it all. You may not even realize that you did anything at all. But you have. Thank you for the prayers most of all.

We know where Daddy is.. So we have peace and comfort and hope. But… Anyone who knows the loss that we feel knows that the grief comes in waves and so if you see someone who is sad or has tears in their eyes or even who is laughing and smiling, know that there is NO TIME LIMIT for grief. There really is no end point honestly. Those who have told you that it ends or goes away.. They either had a different relationship with their lost loved one or they just don’t know what to say. It’s ok. Listen to your heart. I’m listening to mine.

Until Next Time,

Heather

P.S. I am not on social media right now. Sometimes you hear a still small voice during your morning quiet time and you know you must be obedient. I’ll only be on my photography page to post for clients as needed. If anyone needs to reach me you can comment here on the blog, text or call me, email me, or visit 😉 .

I also want to recommend a book that someone I highly admire wrote. I just know that we would be great friends if we lived in the same town! She speaks boldly. She writes her heart out. She doesn’t pussyfoot around. She is Lisa Whittle and the book is : I WANT GOD.
I received the book probably six weeks ago but GOD.. Yes, God knew when exactly I needed to read it. It challenged me and convicted me to seek HIM even more than I already do. Which led to breaking away from social media. My blog will still post to it but I will not be on to check comments, etc. If you want to comment.. Comment here. Love you all! ~HD

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Wishing Our Lives Away

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creds to Pinterest

 

“I can’t wait until summer.”

“I wish it was the weekend already.”

“I am so ready for spring.”

“Can’t wait until next year.”

Wishing our lives away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until Next Time,

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Always Daddy's Girl
Always Daddy’s Girl

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.