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,

Closed Door Blessings

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©️heatherdawkins.com

 

Maybe, just maybe, we look at closed doors all wrong.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: ” when God closes one door he opens another.” We just tend to think that it is going to open immediately. Like, right when we want it. We pace and huff and get down in the dumps all while we are claiming to “trust” God. It’s much easier to tell someone else to have faith and wait on God. When we have something occurring in our own lives we see how difficult the waiting can be. But there truly is beauty and growth to be found in the waiting.

 

There IS beauty to be found in the waiting.

 

There is also beauty in the closed doors.

 

You see, when it seems as if no doors are swinging wide open for you and that no clear answers are coming your way, that’s when God is holding those doors shut so that you won’t walk through the wrong one.

 

Yes, HE gives us free will, but I truly believe that when we are HIS he gives us protection as well.

Thank God for the doors that don’t seem to be opening. Be still and know that HE is God and HE is sovereign and HIS ways are so much better.

 

When we jump ahead and try to pull the steering wheel out of his hands, we often cause a wreck.

 

Waiting is hard. I know. I’ve been in a season of waiting myself. I get it. This is for me as much as it is for you. As we wait, let’s be grateful. I’m going to start my gratitude list again. Joy is found in a grateful heart. Maybe you want to join me?

Just start somewhere. Giving Thanks is a command that’s repeated many times in the Bible. It’s not just there to make God feel better. I truly believe that it’s there to remind us that there’s beauty in being thankful and joy comes from a heart of thankfulness.

 

There are blessings to be found in closed doors and in the waiting.

 

Learning to be still & thankful at the same time.

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

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Bitter or Better

Bitter or Better

•Moment of transparency•

There are many areas in life that I could apply this verse to. Many areas where I need to apply this verse. Here is what I’ve learned and finding this verse is a result of looking for an answer in His Word.

In life there are seasons and not just seasons of people. There are people that come and go and seasons that are high and low. There are people who stay. There are those who hurt us and who we hurt. Some accidentally, some on purpose. You learn that you can only fix you and you can only change your heart.

There are those who are like sandpaper and those who we mesh with. But we don’t get to choose who we should be kind hearted to… even when they hurt us. Then there are those who are oblivious to the fact that they pour salt in our wounds over and over. But we can’t live in a bitter state and rise above at the same time.

Bitter or Better. I remember Granny Shiver saying: “You can let it make you bitter or better.” when sharing about life issues. It’s always stuck with me. In the back of my mind. And praise God that His Word is always available to me. When I want to wallow and try to figure out why… I can just turn to the Word and find “why not” or why to not wallow in my feelings. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Sometimes it’s my last resort instead of first instinct. That’s real life.

There’s more to this thought of mine that I’ll be sharing here on my blog. Until then, maybe you needed this reminder, too.

People will let us down, but God NEVER will. Grace. He gives it to us abundantly.

The seasons and people in our life can grow us, if we choose to let them make us better and not bitter. I’m working on becoming better. It’s only possible with God.

Seeking Him,

To The Little Girl

To the little girl in the photo:

Life will give you many twists and turns. The ride will sometimes be smooth and other times will be bumpy. You will face things that you never expected. You’ll learn that not everyone is who they appear. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll scream. You’ll stand up and stand firm. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You’ll be shown mercy. Lots of it. God will be the one constant. He will be the only ONE who will never let you down. He’s the only ONE capable of that for anyone. You will face fears and you’ll face things that some will never know about. You’ll love big. You will be blessed so much. God will give you so many gifts. Life will reveal things that you never imagined. You will realize again and again that you are never the ONE that is in control. You will have moments of frustration. You will experience depression and anxiety. You will think it’s a secret to keep. You will speak up and be transparent. You will realize that life throws the twists and turns and that sometimes you will struggle. You’ll speak up and be bold. You will share pieces of your testimony at the right times. The times that God leads you to do so. You’ll share your struggles because you know the things you experience can help someone else. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll soar. You’ll fly. You will struggle with the deep thoughts and you’ll keep sharing. This is why you are here. Little girl. You keep going. Keep striving. Keep leaning. Keep standing. Your FATHER is always by your side.

Love,

Me

Listen With Your Heart

God simply told me: Comfort Her.

I was disappointed when I realized how much student loan debt I would have if I began college this Fall to pursue a dream. See, I knew that I was supposed to pursue a degree in counseling. I just knew that it was finally going to become a realization. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to burden my family with student loan debt at my age. I’d be in the nursing home before it would be profitable for us.

Fast forward a month. A certain ministry peaked my interest. After researching it I was struck with the fact that what I would be doing would be a form of counseling.

Fast forward a few more days.

My favorite day of the year was today. Special holiday? Birthday? Nope. It was my annual appointment at that place that all of us ladies just LOVE to go. {insert sarcastic laugh}

Not only was it my favorite day, but I had to miss the second week of my BSF (bible study fellowship) group! Ugh.

That waiting room (the second one that they take you to) was packed. I sat down at the back wall that allows me to face the entrance and other people. You know, to people watch.

This young girl came back from the third place we ladies get to go. The area where we get to stand fully clothed with all of our jewelry on and wait for the magic number to appear. She was alone. She was talking on her cell phone to friends.

I thought: “she’s talking on her phone and all of us are sitting here listening or pretending we were not listening.” Why in the world. People these days.

I began to listen. She was sitting on the seat right beside me. I couldn’t help it.

Then it struck me. She was serious when she said she was about to cry. She repeatedly said it. Among other things. She was alone.

I’m a Momma. It’s the best “job” I’ve ever been blessed with. My favorite job. I’m also a little older than I used to be and I hope a little wiser.

I was filling out my forms. Yes, we are so lucky that we get to fill out the same forms every single time. Do they lose them? Asking for a friend.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I have never heard God speak audibly. Like I haven’t heard an actual voice with my ears. Did you know that you can listen with your heart?

Then came that nudge. Could not ignore it. Meanwhile, everyone else can hear what’s going on and can tell she’s upset while looking over or not looking over their cell phones. (I’m guilty sometimes too.)

Today I purposely chose not to scroll through my phone and ignore my surroundings. (Don’t pat me on the back. I normally scroll.) I took my Sudoku book to keep me occupied and I worked on an advertisement for the business.

The voice I heard, the voice I always hear, is a whisper in my head and a stirring in my chest. It is a voice that I cannot ignore in good conscience.

God simply told me:

“Comfort Her”.

I thought about it a second… or two.

Instinctively, I reached over and rubbed her right arm. She just looked at me with tears in her eyes and stopped talking on the phone. I asked her name and asked how old she was. Just a baby herself. I stroked her arm while saying: “It’s gonna be okay. It’s all gonna be ok. This baby will be a blessing. You may not have been prepared for this and you may not have expected this, but God knew. And it’s going to be ok.”

That’s all I said. Then I went back to what I was doing. She went to the room to see the doctor. I never saw her again.

Y’all, I did not have those words prepared. You know, just in case this type of incident ever takes place. Nope. Sure didn’t.

Could have heard a pin drop in that room. I swear that either we were invisible or everyone else was blind or had earplugs in. I pray that I always pay attention to the opportunities around me where I can comfort and encourage others.

I’ve been that person that didn’t see. Oh what blessings I must have missed along the way.

This is NOT about me at all. Whatever you take from this blog post, remember that this message is not about ME. It’s about God. It’s a message about the comfort that he gives us. The comfort that God gives us through the obedience of others.

I’m so thankful for the people in my life that have been obedient and brought me His comfort.

She was all alone. In a crowded room. All alone and terrified.

The instructions were simple.

COMFORT HER

Just two words. No more, no less.

God is The God of Comfort.

How does he comfort us?

Through the obedience of His people. Through the hugs, the prayers, the smiles, the words of wisdom. So many ways. He comforts us. And HE cares! So much so that he will whisper little commands to us. Commands that are meant for bringing HIM GLORY.

There are many times in my life that He has asked me to say or do something that at times seemed so tiny to me. But when I obey… WHEN I obey. I don’t always obey or listen. But when I do, I realize the reason.

Listen with your heart. We all have fallen short. We all still fall short. BUT God. But Grace. But…COMFORT HER.

At the same time, God comforted me. Again.

He reminded me. Again. You don’t need a degree to love people. You don’t need a degree to care. You don’t need a degree to counsel and encourage people. You just need to open your eyes and listen with your heart and use your gifts wherever I place you.

Open your eyes. Listen with your heart. Use your gifts wherever God places you.

I pray that you never feel alone. I pray that you know the love of God. I pray that you use your gifts wherever God places you.

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

LETTER TO TEENS and Everyone Else Too

Letter To Teens and anyone who has ever been one or ever will be :
Let me preface this with mentioning a few important facts about myself. 
1- I am not a teen.

2- I once was a teen.

3- I have 2 teens.

4- The above 3 facts still don’t make me an expert.
Here’s what I know. 

I know that tomorrow’s not promised. I know that most of the time a rainbow comes out after the rain. I know that laughter is contagious. I know that a smile can change the course of a day. I know that what seems to be the worst thing in the world never usually is. I know that the “friends” aka bffs or bffl’s or tft’s that as teens we think are really for real and will last forever as in best friends forever, friends forever, best friends for life.. Seldom last forever. Some do and they are far very far and few… very few in between. I know that heartbreak feels like it’s the end of the world but I know that it’s not! 

How do I know?
Because I’ve been there and done that. Like most of you.

And what I want you to know.. Dear precious one, is that when (not if) your heart gets broken into pieces because someone cut you loose… That it is ok to hurt but remember that you aren’t alone in your hurt and most of us have been there in that same place of hurt. And that the hurt is only temporary and it’s not what defines you or your life. 
Find someone that will listen and guide you wisely and hold that head high and learn from this place of hurt. Learn what you don’t want to repeat and I promise if you let it, the hurt you feel will teach you many things. One of which is to show kindness towards others. Another is that it will make you stronger. Our trials can actually strengthen us if we let them.

Dear one, know this, whatever you are going through is not going to last forever. It may feel like it is. But listen to me. The embarrassment, the mistake, the breakup, the broken places… They are part of your story. The story that one day you’ll share with someone else. But you have to learn from it first, before you can share what you learned. 
Another thing. People really do care and we don’t think that you are strange or weird or crazy teens. Because most of us think we are still teens until we look in the mirror and hear the words “yes mam” or “yes sir” or try to get down on the dance floor with you and realize that we can’t get back up. I mean, talk about confusing. 

Us adults, with teens, and we can’t quite figure out how we got old enough and how you got old enough as well.
Give us some grace. We will give you grace as well.
We ask multiple times these words: “how was your day?” And guess what? It’s because we really do want to know. Because even though you are a teen and some of you are 18, we still think of you as our BABIES. Because to us, you are. I mean, we know you have to grow up and we respect that, but man it’s hard. One day a tiny bundle in our arms, one day crawling, the next day walking, then it’s running and then it’s driving. It’s crazy man. We can’t grasp it sometimes and so we fail. Or we cling too tight. Or we may even embarrass you. But gosh do we love you.
Teens… It’s a hard and confusing time for you. You have one foot in childhood and one foot dabbling in the confusing adult world. Because it’s thrown at you so very early now. It’s not your fault. We allow it. We even encourage it with words like “grow up”. Or “quit acting so childish”. Then we confuse you with treating you like our baby. Oh man oh man.. Grace. We need it. Because we sure aren’t perfect. 


So here’s what I want you all to know. A few really important things. Listen up. Take notes. Highlight them. Or whatever you do with notes on your phones. 


* You are never too far gone.


* Somebody does care.


* Tomorrow isn’t promised.


* Don’t take everything so seriously.


* Laugh at yourself.


* Just laugh.


* Forgive quickly even without an apology.


* Apologize. Even when it’s hard. Even though you may feel justified. 


* Smile at someone every single day.




* If you see someone who looks lonely, speak to or smile at them because I promise you that it makes a difference.


* Talk to your family. Talk, don’t just text. Actually speak to each other. 


* Give your parents (whoever is raising you) grace. Respect them. You may be in their shoes one day. 


* Remember what it was like to be a teen. (Adults) Grace.




* Forgive yourself. 


* Set goals and don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a long time to meet them.


* Don’t make a quick and permanent decision based on a temporary problem.


* Know who you are and Know for sure Whose you are. {see below for more info}


* Hold on to this truth: People will hurt you and let you down but there is ONE who never will and that ONE is Jesus.




I know this. I’ve experienced this. This is truth. Jesus has never ever let me down. He HAS lifted me up when I was down. He has forgiven me when I’ve failed him (over and over). And He never leaves or forsakes those who are HIS. 


So dear one reading this, I pray that you know that you didn’t happen upon this message by accident. It was written for you. Because God loves you so much. He sees your pain. He sees your hurts. He loves you so much. You are not too far gone. You aren’t too “bad” or sinful. Because all of us have sinned and fallen short. But God. You aren’t alone and you aren’t an accident. God made you on purpose and for a purpose. It’s time to start walking in that freedom.

Until Next Time,

Shine On!
Heather 
  

⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ {see below for more}

So I ask you this one last question. Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? He’s the best friend you’ll ever have. Through every and any trial you’ll ever face, He will be there. There is victory in Him. He is the King of kings and The Lord of lords, The Prince of Peace and The Almighty God. 
{There’s not a special prayer you HAVE to recite.. There’s not a written message you have to say. You just have to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. You admit you are a sinner (and we all are) in need of a Savior (Jesus) and believe that Jesus is the One and only Son of God and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Savior… We can’t earn salvation or we’d never make it to Heaven. But our faith is proven by our obedience to God and the works that we in turn do are done to point to God and bring glory to Him alone.}

* VERSES *


“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬