Closed Door Blessings

IMG_3396
©️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

 

banner[1] (4)

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 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

IMG_0531

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.”

IMG_5732

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,

banner[1] (3)

IMG_6814

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,

  

 

 

 IMG_0660
IMG_0681-0
IMG_0678
IMG_1954

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,

 

 

IMG_6814
heatherdawkins.com

 

The Beautiful Remembering Kind

“Leave behind footprints in concrete not footprints in sand that wash away…” ~Heather Dawkins

A thought that came to me the other day.

I was on the treadmill.

Provoking thoughts usually come to me at the strangest times. While mopping or vacuuming or exercising usually.

That might provide some insight into why there have been so few posts lately.. 💁😂

Anyways.. For some reason the poem about footprints in the sand came to mind. I immediately thought of my life & the footprints I am leaving. And just like that, The “footprints in concrete” thought appeared.

I think it’s because of the large amount of time I’ve spent reminiscing since my Daddy died. Replaying events over and over again. Thinking on those footprints he has left that are like concrete in my mind.

Footprints in the sand wash away. The footprints in concrete remain. Daddy left some beautiful concrete footprints.

Which led to me thinking on just what kind of footprint was I going to leave.

Some will be the sand kind. Some will be the concrete kind.
But will they be the beautiful remembering kind?

I’ve not lived a perfect life. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve failed. I’ve fallen.. But I have learned. Isn’t that the blessing?

Even the ugly footprints that we hope will wash away can be where the largest blessings emerge from. The blessings of lessons learned, growth, and hopefully maturity as well.

The concrete footprints are the legacy we leave behind. The lessons learned. The love we gave. The lives we touched along the way.

So I can’t help but wonder, just what kind of reminiscing will be done when my footprints in concrete are left behind.

Do you wonder about your legacy too?

We live here for such a brief moment in the whole scheme of things. Time is such a mystery. We toil and worry and rush around.. But in all the rush, are we doing what is lasting? Are we making lasting footprints? The kind that live on and on and on?

I want to leave behind footprints in concrete not footprints in sand that wash away.

The beautiful remembering kind.

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭26‬ KJV)

Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! (‭Nahum‬ ‭1‬:‭15‬ a ESV)

Until Next Time,

Heather

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fa8/20973265/files/2015/01/img_6769.jpg