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,

I’m Not a Good Christian

I was thinking of how often we use the term : “good Christian“. It’s become so cliche. “She’s a good Christian woman”. “He’s a good Christian”.

Are they even authentically a Christian?

Is there a good Christian? Is there a bad Christian? One implies the other. (Honestly, the term Christian is used incorrectly at times as well.)

There are different levels of spiritual maturity. There are saved and unsaved people, real and fake in regards to people. (“Good”unsaved. “Good” saved. )

Obviously there are different levels of wisdom. Hello. I’m not Rev. Billy Graham. I guess if I had to call someone a good Christian then he would be one of my top picks. But what I’m getting at is the worn out term “good Christian“. Again. I use it too. Not judging.

I don’t know about you, but I do know about me.

I’m not a good Christian. I’m a woman with a real relationship with THE Real GOD. He is good.

I am nothing. Zero. Nada. Without God. Only because of The Holy Spirit within am I empowered. Nothing without Jesus. I’m a wretched woman without my God. He is good.

Jesus in me is good!

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬ NIV)

Me. I’m just a woman who is pursuing holiness and chasing after who God is calling me to be. Christ-like. That’s who and what HE is calling me to be.

Some days I want to hide. Some days I want to just be normal. Or what I want to think normal is. Or maybe “disobedient” is a better word. But some days I want to blend in. Without that constant urge to do more. Because it can be tiring. It can be hard. It can be doggone exhausting mentally. Does that make me a bad Christian? No.

But God.

There’s that BUT GOD again.

He whispers ever so gently. Softly. He holds my hand. He reminds me that HE is good and HE is faithful. HE gives me strength. HE gives me courage and HE makes me want to be brave DAUNTLESS.

He says to not grow weary in doing good. HE says that he’s not finished with me yet. I’m reminded of who HE is and who I am because of HIM.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭9‬ NLT)

Not a good Christian. But a real Christian. A Jesus loving, needy of my Savior, redeemed, unfinished Christian.

Maybe a better way of saying it is that I’m an authentic follower of Christ that is pursuing goodness. Pursuing holiness. Pursuing God.

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬ NIV)

And the best part is that Jesus loves me. He loves me flaws and all. He loves me in spite of me. And HE can’t love me anymore tomorrow than HE already loves me today. His love isn’t performance based. He loves me and because of that love I’m sure of one thing. All that matters is what my Father God knows and thinks of me. He knows my heart.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Those who are authentic believers and followers of Christ should be on a journey of pursuing holiness and pursuing righteousness. The only thing we should compare our goodness to is to God. His is the standard of goodness.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (‭Luke‬ ‭18‬:‭18-19‬ NIV)

Just remember that if you are an authentic follower of Christ, you are unfinished. A work in progress. And so am I. Better than I was yesterday (sometimes). Hopefully closer to who HE wants me to be tomorrow. Growing. Always growing. Not becoming stagnant. Following in the footsteps of my Savior.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NIV)

Until Next Time.

Pursuing HIM,

Heather

{ Linking up with Faith Filled Friday }

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And I Am Sure Of This

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

 

Ever feel like a FAILURE ? An outright no good can’t do it right failure ? (yes, I am aware that I just wrote a run-on sentence )  Yeah? ME TOO. 

Examples of feeling like a FAILURE  (may or may not be MY personal examples..just sayin’) : 

– Trying to be obedient and encouraging and then not being very “encouraging” with your (my) spouse.

– Having a negative attitude.

– Not sticking to what you said you weren’t going to do anymore.

– “Falling off the wagon”

– Not being as successful in your own eyes as you want to be.

– Not shining Jesus.

– Not meeting the expectations that others place on you.

– backsliding

 

You get the point.

 

That is when I am even more grateful for the mercy and grace my Jesus FREELY lavishes on me! Ahhhh! Don’t you agree with me?

SO. DO. NOT. DESERVE. IT.

 

That is BEAUTY my friends. Real life down to earth BEAUTY.

Grace is beauty.

Mercy is beauty.

Forgiveness is beauty.

I’m sure of it.

 

Satan says (I am guessing) : “You have sinned and you fall short. Take your ‘damaged goods’ stamp or sticker or tattoo and give up sister (or brother). Just lay down and have yourself a good ole whiny pity party. Better yet, stay there.”

 

God says (as is written in HIS Word, THE B. I. B. L. E.  and what scriptures say and yes I am paraphrasing,  *scripture reference below)  :“All have sinned and fall short. Accept my GIFT of forgiveness and redemption and walk WITH me. Take your ‘REDEEMED by the blood of JESUS’ stamp and STAND my child. You are loved. You are precious. You are MINE. I am not finished with you yet. Trust me, nothing you have done or will do surprises me.”

 

* For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 3:23,24 (ESV)

 

I don’t know about you, but I prefer God’s truth over Satan’s lies.

 

When you fail, and you will, don’t lay down and roll all around in it. Get up and brush your self off and start over. Stand up.

 

AND I AM SURE OF THIS :

HE IS NOT FINISHED.

HE keeps on keeping on and offers us mercy and grace that is so stinking beautiful. Like rainbows on a cloudy day beautiful.  Like the sunshine peeking out after days and days of thunderstorms beautiful. You get the picture.

It is almost too hard to believe it.

Failure is only failure when you give up. Failure is only failure when you don’t learn something from it. Isn’t that how we learn? By making mistakes? (I am not saying that you should fail on purpose. No, not giving you permission to do that.) Just don’t lose HOPE and do NOT give up. STAND UP and rest in JESUS.

 

You might want to listen to this…

07 Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave :

 

 

Striving to SHINE,

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Picture Perfect

Can I speak bluntly for a moment?

Women need to stop wearing masks and stop assuming that everyone else has it all together. We need to be real and transparent and share the good the bad and the ugly. (No, I don’t mean to rant or tell all.. Face it, nobody wants to hear it all) I’m saying share the real you, not just the “highlight reel” or the “photoshopped version”. And we also need to quit comparing what we assume others are to how we think of ourselves.

None of us are perfect. None of us have it all together. Just because we have a great photo that looks like we do..doesn’t mean it’s real. Or maybe it is at that moment. What about after? Is it always picture perfect?

And I’m not saying that a great photoshopped photo is bad! Trust me.. I love them. I’m just saying that if we want to reach other women for Christ, then we might need to let them see that we don’t have it all together all of the time either.

How can one relate to someone that pretends to be perfect? Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. Why do women,especially, believe the lies that we tell ourselves? Why do we compare our wrong thoughts about ourselves to what we assume to be real about another woman?

What if instead of assuming, and comparing, and being prideful, that we were real?

It is a pride issue ladies.

Call it what it is.

You can’t pull a weed from the top and expect it not to grow back. You have to dig deep and pull the weed out at the root.

And I’m not saying that we should vomit negativity. I’m saying that we need to deal with ourselves. Deep digging. Get real with the root. Take off the masks. Stop assuming. Quit comparing. Walk in faith.

Walk in belief.

The belief that God is enough and that he doesn’t make junk.

The belief that not every other woman has it all together.

Yet, if they do have it more together, then what is their secret?

I’ll tell you the secret. It’s found in Philippians. The secret to contentment is belief and faith in Jesus.

Paul found the secret to being content.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

The truth is that we are all dealing with our own insecurities. Yet, we don’t have to be in bondage to those insecurities. God doesn’t talk to us the way we talk to ourselves. Why do we?!

Faith is the secret.

Faith that Jesus is enough. That Jesus provides all that we need and at just the right time.

And honestly, we as women, need each other.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT)

Maybe, just maybe, if we would stop assuming and take off the masks, we would see that we are not all that different.

To me picture perfect is showing the real you.

The real you (or ME) that messes up. Fails daily. That Desperately needs Jesus every single second of every day.

Love,

Heather

To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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26 Things To Remember

A list for Mothers or anyone who plays the role of mother.. Or anyone who has a mother. Basically a list for everyone.

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12 NIV)

#1 – You can be their mother and their friend. As long as they respect you as MOTHER first. Friendship is important too. As long as you are parent first and foremost. {Be sure you read this again.}

#2 – Honesty is always best. I mean, why in the world would you let your child embarrass himself or herself on the American Idol auditions? Yes, tell them you believe in them.. Support them fully.. But don’t lie to your child.

#3 – Just because all the other moms or dads are doing it doesn’t mean you should too. Stand firm. Stand strong. Stick to God’s way.

#4 – Yes, you will hear your child at least Once (unless they mumble it) say that they hate you. Don’t take it personal. You probably said it to your mother too. You didn’t mean it either. But.. Don’t let it slide. Use it as a teaching moment. Love them through it. They don’t really hate you… Even if they don’t realize it yet. Grace.

#5 – Time is the best gift you can give to your kids. Time can’t be replaced.

#6 – When you think your gonna pull your hair out because of the messes and tantrums and did I say messes? Well, those are precious moments that pass by so fast. One day there won’t be messes and toddler tantrums..

#7 – Teens are great. No, really.. They can be.. If you give them your time and pay attention. Teens are mini adults with teen brains trapped in teen bodies and it’s a confusing time for them. Handle with care. I love having teenagers. Even though we still have messes and tantrums. FYI: we were all teens once. Remember this.

#8 – Train your children up to respect others, to forgive, to not judge others, to show grace. Teach them to be kind by modeling kindness. Teach them to love by modeling love. You get the point.

#9 – Understand that your biggest responsibility in terms of “discipling” begins with your children. They were entrusted to you.. How are you doing with that? I know I’m far from perfect in this area.. I fail daily.. Which brings me to..

#10 – When you mess up, and you will, apologize. Yes. Why? Because you are teaching your children to own up and apologize as well. You are showing them humility & allowing them to show you grace.

#11 – Each child is different. Therefore each child expresses love differently. So pay attention to your kids and love them the way that they will feel loved.

#12 – Believe in your children. Don’t force them to fit a mold you have for them. Allow them to be who GOD wants them to be.

#13 – Tell your kids you love them. Show them with your actions. Really listen to them.

#14 – Be dependable. They are gifts.

#15 – Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your kids.

#16 – Keep God first and center.

#17 – Laugh. Often. Even at yourself.

#18 – Take lots of photos! Don’t forget the 2nd, 3rd kid.. Take lots of photos! Memories. You will be glad you did. Did I mention? Time passes so fast.

#19 – Eat a meal at the table together daily.. At least weekly. Without cell phones. It can be take out!

#20 – Unplug. Be all there. You are teaching your kids to do the same. Plus, in a world where talking on the phone is becoming extinct like the pay phone, unplugging forces you to interact and truly communicate. We all need this. I’m just as guilty.

#21 – Love deeply. Forgive freely. Give grace just as God has given grace to you.

#22 – Life is short. Live life to the fullest.

#23 – Whisper more than you raise your voice.

#24 – Let them make mistakes. Life lessons are the best teachers.

#25 – But when they fall, be there to help them up. Not with an “I told you so” either.

#26 Oh and PRAY!! Pray for your children. Pray for their present and for their future. Pray. Pray. Pray. (This should be number 1 but I’m too lazy to change the post now)

This list is in no special order. Just a few things that I’ve learned as a Momma to our 2 blessings. Things that I learned because of my Momma and Daddy. We live what we learn. I know I could have added many more things to the list.. But, I didn’t.

Even if you are an Aunt or an Uncle, or have no children of your own, you still have influence. It truly takes a village.

Happy Mother’s Day early to all of you mothers and mother figures.

Until Next Time,

Heather

P.S. It’s ok if you don’t agree with the list.. If you take one or two things from it that’s great! Definitely not forcing it on you.. Just my views..and things I have learned.

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Time Doesn’t Stop For Anyone

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15 ESV)

When I knew my Daddy was definitely dying, (I believe he had coded 2 or 3 times by this point) as we all surrounded him in the hospital, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “Zippity Doo Dah” in his left ear. (He used to sing the last one loudly around the house when I was a little girl) .. Softly, as I rubbed his hair and gave him kisses and cried, because I wanted to comfort him and for him to not be afraid; because he was always my comforter. Even though rationally I knew that Daddy was already being held by Jesus.

After the 4th code blue, we knew we had to let him go. He was already gone. Shock was among the emotions I first felt, and denial and anger and overwhelming grief and heart ache.

Heart Ache. Literal aching.

Losing my hero and the first man I ever loved was a change that I wasn’t ready to make and would have never been ready to make. I learned some things about myself while watching my Daddy die. I learned that when choosing fight or flight mode in an awful tragedy that I stand and fight.. Like my daddy. That when someone I love most is in danger that I will stand and fight.

I learned that by God’s grace I can face loss and not be alone. That GOD truly supplies all of my needs. I learned that grief cannot be stopped at a certain time no matter what anyone says or what I’ve ever said to anyone about not staying stuck in a phase of grief. There are no time limits.. Every loss is different.

My daddy and I shared a special bond, and at age 40 I was still Daddy’s little girl. I felt like part of my heart went to heaven with him. Only someone who has had the exact relationship as I did with my Daddy or a similar one will understand.

My mother’s loss is different than mine. My brothers and sister and the children each are experiencing their own loss. Every person who’s life was touched by a loss experiences their own grief. Grief is different for everyone.

When it was over, I asked “is that it? Is he gone?” Just like that.. Everything changed. One breath to the next.

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I knew he was gone was: “what happens when your Daddy dies and you were Daddy’s little girl? Are you still Daddy’s little girl?”

And the answer to that is: “ABSOLUTELY”

Whatever any of us were before in relation to any loss, doesn’t get deleted like a file on a computer just because they no longer walk on this earth with us.

I say all of this to share with you that time doesn’t stop for anyone. You think you will have tomorrow to handle things or to say hello or to go visit. You think that because yesterday you had tomorrow that today you will too. Think again. Nobody is promised tomorrow.

But even though I never went more than a week without seeing my Daddy, I still wish I had visited more. Like one of my brother’s said: “no matter what, we would always want one more time.” One more visit, one more hug, one more “I Love You.”

It’s been 3 weeks, and if you see my family and we are smiling or laughing, it’s not because we are over it. No, we smile because we know Daddy is with Jesus. We smile because God is providing strength and peace because of HIS love and grace and mercy. Undeserved.. But freely given.

My family and I are truly grateful for the love shown to us by so many friends and family members. We are so rich in family and friends. Gifts from God. That peace.. That strength.. Gifts from God.

All men are destined to die once. For authentic believers, that death leads to eternal life. That’s where my hope lies.. That’s where my comfort rests. You, too, can have that hope and peace and assurance as well, if you don’t already. It comes from trusting in Jesus and following HIM.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, (Hebrews 9:27a ESV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Until Next Time,

~ Heather