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

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 

 

Tips on Becoming Fit

As promised, I’m back with some tips and suggestions to help us all become more physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. 

Physically fit: 

Personally, I love spinflex and spin class & do that 3 times a week. The other 2 days I attend another fitness class and each day I workout at least an hour. That’s one hour of the 24 hours in the day that we are given! One hour. No excuses. This wasn’t always me though. I had to decide to make it a priority.

 If you aren’t physically active at this point, you can take that first step and begin. Just aim for 30 minutes to start with. Thirty minutes of some type of physical exercise. Walking, riding your bike, running, jogging, taking a spin class, kickboxing, or even a sport like basketball. Something is better than nothing. Your goal is to get moving. Then, you can increase intensity and time. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. You do what you can do as you get started. 

Mentally fit: 

Now, in my opinion, physically exercising does make me more mentally fit. When I’m spinning or lifting weights, I’m having to use the mind over matter thing. Sometimes my body wants to stop and I have to tell myself “no mam!” And keep going. 

When I used to run and was training for a half marathon, it definitely pushed me mentally. Any exercise if you do it hard enough, will stretch you mentally. Your body is capable of a lot more than you realize. It’s your mind that has to suck it up and push harder and get stronger.         

Also, surround yourself with things and people who lift you up and encourage you. If you are constantly around negativity it will soon rub off.  If you are the one who is negative, think of how you can change to better yourself and encourage those around you. 

Spiritually fit:

The best moments in my day are first thing in the morning. And I’m NOT A MORNING PERSON. However, those first few moments are just for me and Jesus. I get my coffee, sit down at my kitchen table, open my Bible and journal, and I pray and read and listen. 

Those moments fuel me more than coffee ever could. It’s that intentional time that I spend with my Savior that fills me up. My sustenance for the day.

I encourage you to begin your day with Jesus. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 35. Begin it with him.

With praise and worship music, a devotion, scripture, prayer… However you choose. Spend it with Jesus. 

All three aspects of fitness go hand in hand. 

If I want to serve Jesus like he calls his followers to do, then I’ve got to be physically, mentally, and spiritually in shape. 

If you are already there in all three areas then FABULOUS!!

If you are slightly off balance (most of us are), you can do something about it now. 

Take that first step. Then keep going. Don’t stop. Push yourself to be the best that you can be with HIS help. 

See you back soon with tips and ideas for each of the 3 areas. Maybe some healthy recipes, some ideas for your workouts, and suggestions and tips for studying God’s word. 

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” ~‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Until Next Time,

Heather

Becoming Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually Fit 

31 Days to becoming physically, mentally, and spiritually fit!
⬆️ That’s the title to the series I will be doing here on SHINE ON beginning October 1st, 2015. This is my 2nd year attempting to complete the challenge. I dropped out early last year. I plan on sticking it out this year. Fingers crossed. Here’s to trying!
Most of the time we think of the physical aspect when we hear the word FITNESS. I believe that it’s so important to be physically fit. It’s good for our physical bodies, helps us mentally, and it’s also good for us spiritually. 
You’ve heard the term: My body is a temple. You may laugh when you say it even. But… If you are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, then your body really is a temple.
“We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” ~Ephesians‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭NLT
So, I believe that all three aspects go together when being fit.
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” ~‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬
The purpose of this 31 days of writing challenge will be to help us all become more physically, mentally, and spiritually fit! 
I hope you’ll join me! I’ll be giving a few tips on each aspect of fitness as it relates to each of the three mentioned and hopefully you’ll take away something that helps you!
The actual 31 days will not begin until October 1st 2015, but I’ll be doing some preview posts in between to get ready. See you back here soon!

Until Next Time,
Shine On!
Heather

Peeling and Tossing

It struck me, as  I was thinking on The Mended Heart bible study that I’m doing, and I asked God to peel back the layers.  To show me “me” and to unearth the things that I’ve covered up in order to live “normally”. He wants to heal me completely. To peel back each layer and toss away the hidden junk that keeps me stuck. And he wants to do the same for you.
I think I have a fear of failure. Yes. There. I said it. Or maybe it’s called something else. I get these wild ideas and want to do something great and then feel like I can’t. So I don’t. 

I get asked to do something and turn it down because “who me?” Nobody would show up if it’s me. 
May go all the way back to a 5th grade pool party. I really thought that was no biggie. I invited lots of friends and my mom and I made snacks or bought them.. We had it all set up. And one person came with her mom (a new friend to be at a new school that I would be going to come August) and one of my old faithful childhood best friends. Two people. 2. And me and the mom and my momma.
Now don’t go feeling all sorry for me. I’m serious! Because the three of us had a blast! We swam and played and ate. Lots of snacks for us. And if you know me you know I like to eat. 
And maybe I covered up my sadness then too. I’m sure I did. But I’ve never forgotten that only 2 showed up and one because she had to. Haha!
Who knows why.. Could have been that the kids didn’t tell their parents or could’ve been that they just didn’t want to come. Could have been that I didn’t give them enough notice. 
I still had fun. 

But I’ve never forgotten that day. And when I lead a study or have a get together, in the back of my mind is “I wonder if anyone will come?” 

But they did. All those years ago. There were 2. And they made an impact on me. 

So, when I have a dream.. And it seems out of reach … I still have to fight that little voice saying ” nobody will care.. Nobody will read it.. Nobody will come..You don’t matter.”

That’s the voice of the enemy. He loves to take our weak places and magnify them with negative thoughts. 
My God says that I matter. He says that you matter. My God says that even just one person can make a lasting impact. 

He says that if HE puts that dream in my head and heart that HE will strengthen me and equip me to carry it out.


Thoughts to ponder:

What dreams are you shoving away and hiding because of fear?

Who can you impact by simply being there?

What are you afraid to do and will you choose to believe that God equips you?

What might you need to peel and toss? 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ NLT)

One More Thing…

As I continue to ask God to peel back the layers, some of the layers are painful. Some sting a little. But I know it’s for a greater good. To heal. 

I’ve come to realize that covering up things with a bandaid only means that they  will inevitably resurface. 

Got to peel and toss in order to heal. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (‭Psalms‬ ‭139‬:‭23-24‬ NLT)

Until Next Time…

Shine On,

Heather 

The Beauty In Different

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Take time to see the beauty in different.

 

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

 

 

Love God, Love People, Shine JESUS.

 

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

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

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

 

WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART?

 

Love or Hate?

Un-forgiveness or a sweet spirit?

Bitterness?

Mercy?

Grace?

Anger?

A Judgemental Spirit?

Malice?

Joy?

Kindness?

Jesus?

 

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

 

But the good news is….GRACE.

 

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

 


 

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

Love like Jesus.

Don’t assume.

Take time to love.

Heal not hurt.

Look at ourselves before we look at others.

Check our motives.

Keep it shut.

Love not wound.

Heart check time again.

Grace Time. 

Oh that beautiful GRACE.


REFLECTION

~ What’s in my heart?

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

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

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

~ Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

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

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

~ Do I shine Jesus?

 


RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Until Next Time,

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Life On Mission

 

      Longing For Home

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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


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



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

   REFLECTION

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


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

RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

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


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


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


Until Next Time,

  

 

 

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Heart Issues

 

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You get the point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe it’s time for a heart check.

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

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heatherdawkins.com

 

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