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,

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

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

YOU TALKING TO ME ?

Psalm 18:31,32 (NLT) ~ For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.

 

I have to be honest. Sometimes I really do find myself talking back to The Holy Spirit. When I feel there is something way out of my league that HE is calling me to do. I really do say.. in my head.. “You talking to me?”

{As if HE would get me confused with someone else. Not possible. HE is GOD.}

The truth is, I don’t feel comfortable doing every single thing that I am prompted to do. That’s where HE comes in. If HE calls then I can obey or disobey.

I can shrink back in fear, and I have been guilty of this, or I can rest in the fact that HE is who equips anyone who HE calls. If it was ME…then it wouldn’t be HE.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) ~  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

Me…messes up.

Me…gets scared. Really scared. Like, terrified.

Me…wants to sit back and just do my thing..quietly.

BUT.

HE…asks me (and you) to obey.

HE… says “I’ve got this and you are just my tool of choice for this task.”

HE…equips those who HE calls.

 

All of that being said, God has really been working on me lately.

It began back in about April of this year. He pulled me back from leading a women’s bible study for a time. Something that I love doing and still miss! He taught me about getting my priorities in the right order. GOD, My husband, My children, and THEN everyone else. He led me to work on me and the areas that I needed to surrender to HIM.

I obeyed. Not knowing why..just that I HAD to. I waited somewhat patiently for an answer to several questions. I waited some more. Still digging deep into HIS WORD.

Then, HE began opening doors that I never knew would really ever be opened. Doors that scare me. Doors that HE wants opened. Read that again. DOORS that HE wants opened.

There are things that God will call us to do in our lives. If we aren’t listening, we won’t hear HIM. If we aren’t seeking HIM we will miss it. If we are TOO BUSY even with the good stuff, we may miss it. If we say no then we will miss out and at the same time be disobedient. (If you’ve never read some of the history in the Old Testament, you should..you’ll see how disobedience worked out for them.)

It’s really amazing to me how even the Bible studies that I was led to do during this time of alone time are just what I needed. I am currently doing one that has to do with discerning HIS voice. Imagine that! 🙂

God has led certain people into my path who have been obedient to HIM as well. They have spoken truth and wisdom into my life. All because of obedience and answering HIS prompting.

I have lots more to share with you in the days to come, when it is the right time. I am so excited and nervous and scared…but I know that by being obedient to GOD, I am doing what is right and pleasing in HIS sight. That is what matters. 🙂 {AND, I’m reciting 2 Timothy 1:7 over and over in my mind.}

Do I think I am capable on my own to do anything that HE asks me to do? DEFINITELY NOT. That is awesome though! Because of that FACT, HE gets ALL of the glory! 

As I close, I would like to ask you some questions. Questions that are between you and GOD.

Are you intentionally seeking HIS will for you and your family, or are you intentionally not seeking it because it scares you ? (Hey, that is a valid question..)

Are you ignoring HIS voice, or are you making time to hear it ? (it takes intentionality)

Just know that if you find yourself asking, “You talking to me?” , that there is a good chance that HE is. However, to be completely sure, know that HIS voice matches HIS WORD.

 

 

Until next time,

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Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

You Know It’s Time

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Walking closely with Jesus, listening for his voice, and then knowing that you’ve just got to take that step and obey.

But…..

Is that MY voice I am hearing?

Is that HIS voice?

Is it because I. Am. Tired. ?

Is it because It. Is. Right. ?

How do you know what to do…where to go..which answer is right?

Walking closely with God. Training your ears to listen…your eyes to see…your spirit to feel.

That’s part of it…. And, praying…praying…praying.

Your heart feels when it’s right.

You have a nervous feeling in your stomach maybe.

You take that step. You obey.

Because…. the alternative is disobedience. Obedience leads to life. Disobedience leads to death.

Romans 6:16 (NLT) ~ Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

Because bringing glory to GOD is what we are CALLED TO DO.

In every little thing. BRING HIM GLORY. It all matters. It’s ALL that matters.

YOU JUST KNOW IT’S TIME.

Time to move forward. Growth isn’t an OPTION when you are truly FOLLOWING GOD. Standing still and following are two entirely different things.

You can’t stay a seed forever. You’ll rot if you do. Seeds that aren’t watered obviously don’t grow. The seed has to grow. That is the NEXT STEP.

Growth is not optional in the TRUE CHRISTIAN’S life. 

SO.… even when it seems scary. And it probably will.  Even when we aren’t quite sure of the next step. Other than the fact that we MUST MOVE FORWARD… Then we just obey. We keep growing. We keep glorifying the ONE who is causing the growth in us. We help others to grow. We just obey.

Maybe you have been wondering if it was your voice or God’s voice that was talking. I’ve found that God is so awesome in that HE often repeats HIS message to me in different ways. Through messages, texts, songs, emails, signs…etc.  He uses HIS obedient children to give us messages sometimes.

Sometimes. We are TOO loud to hear HIM. Sometimes, we are TOO busy. Sometimes others are TOO loud around us. Those are all called DISTRACTIONS. We have to be intentional about listening and creating times that we don’t have distractions.

AND, when YOU KNOW IT’S TIME... whether it be time to step out of your comfortable little spot, or time to dig even deeper in HIS Word, or time to take a huge leap of faith… may YOU JUST OBEY.

 

Look at Noah… 

Genesis 6:22 ~ So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

 

People probably ..no, definitely… thought he was nuts. Building a HUGE ship with 3 decks and for what? They had never seen rain. All of the vegetation was watered from below the ground until the flood. Noah just obeyed. The rest of the story…the whole story can be found in Genesis 6-9…  Noah wasn’t perfect, but he did obey God and he did have faith. AND he was protected because of that faith and obedience.

Obedience to God always leads to blessings. That’s a fact.

             Until Next Time,

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When You Are Hurting

by: Heather Dawkins Mt. CrossPointe (future home of CrossPointe Church)
by: Heather Dawkins

I wish I could give a simple answer. An AHA!! type of  answer..that could make things make sense to people who are hurting.

 

I can’t.

 

I can only point the hurting to the ONE who heals all hurt. In HIS time..in HIS way. The ONE who promises to never leave us. The ONE who gives wisdom and knowledge to all who ask.

 

I can tell them that I don’t understand. I can be real and honest. I can give all that I can..but nothing more. God is the only ONE who can heal our hurts. Dry our tears. Bring us REAL joy. God is the only ONE who is not capable of letting us down.

 

I can share how I have found comfort during times of struggle.

 

Prayer. Studying..reading..digging deep into God’s Word. Asking for fellow sisters and brothers in Christ to pray. 

 

Romans 15:4 (ESV) ~ For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 

 

When health is bad. When times are tough financially. When precious children leave this earth too soon. When tragedy strikes all around. When our hearts are breaking because of hatred, murder, death, and our own selves that we battle. GOD is the answer. Not people.

 

The ONE who also wept. HE cares.

The ONE who suffered loss. HE cares.

The one who was spat upon and beaten. HE cares.

He suffered willingly. THAT IS HOW MUCH HE CARES.

 

Even though this world brings heartbreak sometimes… We can cling to the promise that THIS WORLD is NOT our home. We are strangers…just passing through. Heaven bound. If Jesus knows you. AND that’s a promise. A SIMPLE TRUTH…. That the troubles in this world are momentary..

 

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) ~ When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

 

Until Next Time,

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Psssssstttt: In case you didn’t know.. I have written several other posts about struggles, etc..

Click here for another.

Just Take That Step

new plants collage
Planting & Transplanting

I have gotten into the habit of saying that I have a “brown thumb”. Truth is, I have had a LAZY thumb. Yes, you heard that right.

It’s a matter of discipline. Remembering to water, feed, and weed these plants. It’s a choice. To watch them grow to their full potential or let them starve and die. Before my girls were born and even when they were tiny, I used to love planting and taking care of my yard. Then….I gave it up. Weeds started to grow. Flowers died or either went out of control. It’s really quite amazing to me..how God can take something like gardening and turn it into a teaching moment for me.

Weeds taking over.
Weeds taking over.

 The things the I choose to care about are the things that I spend the most time taking care of. The things that I choose to nurture will in turn produce a beautiful harvest.

I CAN have a “green thumb” if I CHOOSE to! It isn’t a matter of being naturally good at it. It is a deliberate choice. Water, fertilize, feed, nurture, protect….and I will see growth.

I am 2 years into reading and studying the ENTIRE Bible from Genesis to Revelations. TWO years of self-discipline. The reward is KNOWING my Savior like I have never known before. My roots are growing deeper. I LOVE it and I already have a plan in place to read it all the way through again. I am in Ephesians now and when I finish with Revelations, I plan to use my Chronological Life Application Bible next.

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I tell you this not to boast..because it is only by the power of The Holy Spirit in me that I have kept at it. As I begin each day reading through, making notes, and studying it, I pray and ask to read it through HIS eyes and not mine. I also pray that HE would give me the desire to be obedient and the time to do so. If I can do it..You can too!

Gardenias from our yard
Gardenias from our yard

In my previous post, Cutting Loose, I talked some about change… and one thing that I am changing is my LAZY thumb. I planted another gardenia bush in my yard yesterday…Gardenias are my absolute FAVORITE flowering plant. I also planted several other pretties in our yard. Then…after getting the “fever” for mint from my precious friend (she knows who she is), I planted mint and hot oregano and a cucumber plant! ME! The self-proclaimed plant killer. The woman whose husband asked her not to buy any more plants to kill,  for the front porch. 🙂

Why? Because I know that I can keep these plants alive. It’s a choice. (if you feel like praying for those plants, feel free 🙂 )

I encourage YOU to step out of your comfort zone and commit to something that you’ve always wanted to do. Just take that step. You CAN DO IT!

Philippians 4:13 says it best, “I can do ALL things through HIM who gives me strength.”

Until Next Time,

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My Family <3
My Family ❤