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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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

Tuned Out and Tuned In

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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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Streams of Living Water

{Day 16 of Being Present in Real Life. New here? Missed any of the posts? Click here for all of them in one place.}

 

John 7:38 ~ “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

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copyright 2014 Heather Dawkins

The water rushes swiftly across the rocks. The music of the waterfall sings like rain through the trees. The fall crisp air feels so fresh and clean.

So grateful for eyesight to see the beauty all around me today.

When my camera is not with me I use my eyes as shutters. Imagining snapping photos with each new sighting of the landscape around me.

Holding the images in my mind. Forever. Memories in my heart & soul.

Until Next Time,

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copyright 2014 Heather Dawkins
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copyright 2014 Heather Dawkins

Better Is One Day In His Presence

copyright 2014 heatherdawkins.com
copyright 2014 heatherdawkins.com

 

I’ve loved the Psalms ever since I can remember.

As a young girl in Sunday School class, I remember an assignment from our teacher. Come back next week and tell what our favorite book of the Bible was. Mine was Psalms.

I remember well, going to vacation bible school with my cousin out of town. We memorized Psalm 23.

I imagine that reciting a Psalm back to God is a beautiful way of praying to Him. His words, God-breathed, right back to Him.

Psalms are so beautiful aren’t they?

So applicable in our everyday lives. They are timeless. Beautiful.

Some mornings while sitting at my kitchen table, I will flip my Bible open, and read wherever I feel led to read.

Today it was Psalm 84.

Absolutely beautiful. These words. They are deep and my heart overflows with warmth after soaking in these words.

Rest a moment. Be Present. Soak in these scriptures.

Psalm 84:1-12

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

I long..yes, I faint with longing…to be in the presence of my LORD.

Better is one day in HIS presence..

What joy! What joy…for those who can live in HIS presence.

Nothing better. Nothing more important. Than being in the presence of God.

Father God, 

Please forgive me for the times that I don’t seek your presence first. I long to be in your presence. All day long. I need your presence. You never leave or forsake me. You are faithful and just and good and always present. There is nothing more important than being aware of your presence each day, and all day. Help me to be obedient in seeking you first. 

Love, Me

Do you know HIM? Is HIS presence most important to you? Are you intentional about BEING PRESENT with GOD? He loves you. 

Until Next Time,

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Seeing Those Around You

Day 2 of 31 Days of Writing

 

We were heading out for a free day. We had been doing mission work in New Orleans for a few days straight. Looking forward to walking the streets and seeing the sights. Off duty.

A young woman sitting on the steps outside of the church we were staying at. Her hair braided up pretty. “I did it myself” she told me.

Her voice so sweet and childlike.

She asked for some chips or something to eat.

We had no food on us. Not that kind of food anyways.

I couldn’t just walk past her. I stopped and knelt down in front of her and so began a very long conversation.

My daughters and their friend were with me. They all were engaged in the conversation that we were having.

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They were present. Real life. Face to Face. Present.

We made a real connection that day. She prayed to ask Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. She smiled for probably the first time in a long time. She was fed and full.

 

John 6:35 (NLT) ~ Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

 

We were just the messengers. Jesus did all of the work. All I know is that if I had passed her by with only a nod at the most, that I would have missed the blessing.

Being Present in Real Life means seeing those around you. Really seeing them.

Being Present means that you might just be inconvenienced.

Being Present means connection.

I’m not the same woman who I was before that mission trip. I don’t want to be the same. I have received the blessing that comes from really being all there.

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I’ll never forget Nya. Or her voice. Or her smile. I’ll never forget the beauty of listening to our girls share Jesus with her.

 

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psst… If you are new here, I would love to encourage you with posts from my blog. You can sign up here. Let’s be blog friends. When you click here you will be taken to the intro post and all of the 31 day series is found there at the top of the post. 🙂

Until Next Time,

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Beauty in the Ordinary

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Beauty in the ordinary. Ordinary beauty. It’s everywhere.

Beauty tends to be a term that is reserved for the PERFECT things that we deem beautiful by our standards of judging.

There is beauty in the ordinary.

I step onto the pavement, and the breeze is blowing cool and crisp air, and I look down and see a very unique cone of some sort. At first glance I think it is just a pine cone. I pick it up and it is so different and beautiful. Beauty in the ordinary.

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The weeds growing in the empty lots along the way, covered in a raspberry colored flower. Beauty in the ordinary.

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I realize that when I am out in nature that I feel closest to God. He speaks to me through the ordinary beauty. Is it really all that ordinary?

I can’t create a pine cone. I can’t make the wind blows through the trees and make that beautiful breezy tune. God can.

I can’t create real life flowers on a simple old clump of bushes. God can.

How many times do I miss the ordinary beauty? How many times during the day do I miss the beauty in the ordinary everyday things?

I look down at my phone. Check pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and twitter. Oh, let’s not forget email. I look down and away and miss the beauty as I walk right past it.

Do you? Do you miss the beauty in the everyday ordinary?

I quickly put my phone down away from my face as I walk. I intentionally look around and see all of the beauty that I would miss otherwise. Reminding myself to be present in the now. Smell the air. See the beauty. Feel the crisp breeze.

I pass an older gentleman walking. He nods, and I intentionally say hello. He asks: “How’s it going?”  I reply: “It is a beautiful day and feels so great this morning.” He smiles and nods his head in agreement and we keep on walking our separate ways.

There is beauty in the ordinary. Ordinary hellos. Ordinary walks. Ordinary fall days. Ordinary weeds. Ordinary pine cones.

In the Bible, it even says that Jesus was ordinary looking. But Jesus is the MOST beautiful to me.

Isaiah 53:2 NIV ~ He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Read that verse again.

No beauty or majesty. In man’s opinion.

And, this is the only place in scriptures where we are directly told about what Jesus looked like while he lived on earth. It doesn’t tell us what he looked like. Maybe because that didn’t matter. It says what he did not look like. He didn’t look majestic or beautiful. Jesus had an ordinary appearance.

Ordinary is beautiful. Jesus…He is beautiful to me.

We have to look up and see it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say. Will you choose to see the beauty in your ordinary today? Whatever that ordinary may be, there is beauty to be found in it.

Linking up at Missional Women on Faith Filled Fridays

Until Next Time,

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