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 Space Between

That space between Before & After.

That sliver of time between the unknown and the now known.

That tiny AND between the here and now. It’s profound what that AND holds.

It’s the moment between what you didn’t know and what you know now. It’s the moment between your life before a discovery and the life after the discovery. It’s the space between. The door that is separating the “life as I knew it” and “life as I know it”.

That tiny space between that we are clueless to what is going to happen next. It can be a great place and a place of anxiety.

The only thing that makes the “space between” bearable in this life is Jesus.

He has to be what we rest in and hope in and trust in, or that space between will be the robber of our joy and the source of our anxiety. And rightly so.

We can either trudge in our fears and anxiety in that space between or we can rest in Him. Rest sounds much more peaceful than trudging. Trudging makes me think of being stuck in mud and unable to walk easily through. I’ve been in both places. I’ve wished for the before while in the after.

What will you do in that space between the before and the after? Will you trust and rest or will you trudge and falter? I’m known to do both. One works much better than the other. Praising God that He is not finished with me yet and that he promises to continue to work on me.

I pray that you find rest and peace in the spaces between. I pray that you choose Joy and find Joy in those spaces between.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I wonder, why do we not believe Him?

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 

 

And Give Us Thankful Hearts

 

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I received a message.. “Do you remember what Daddy said for Grace?”

MY mind started reeling. Repeating it over in my head.. Again and again. Was it this? Wait, was it that?

Then I finally got it. As close as we can remember. He’s in heaven now. We are left with memories.

We are thankful for the memories. A father who said grace before each meal. I often wondered why it was the same prayer. Now, I’m so glad it was. Repetition drives it deep into our minds and hearts.

My husband was impacted by a line in the prayer. He said that our Daddy must have really had a lot to be thankful for and knew it because Daddy always said : “And give us thankful hearts for all those our many blessings.” I’m still not sure if it was thankful or grateful. It’s crazy how the smallest things matter now.

Today, on my family’s first Thanksgiving with Daddy in Heaven and the rest of us here, I’m choosing to be Thankful for all those our many blessings. Daddy taught us that.

So, here is Daddy’s “Grace” as good as I can remember:

(Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to thy service. And give us thankful hearts for all those our many blessings.
Amen.)

I may not remember it all.. Perfectly.. But what I do remember is this: Daddy was thankful. He loved life. He didn’t waste a single moment of his life. He was selfless and his hearts desire was to never be able to “say no to those who need and ask for help.”

 

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I’m choosing thankfulness today and every single day.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I love you! Most importantly, JESUS loves you. He commands us as CHRISTIANS to give thanks in all circumstances. It’s not a little suggestion.. It’s a command.

Truth is, you can’t give thanks and not be filled with joy at the same time. Try it.


 

RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.


 

REFLECTION

Today I am thankful for:

1) The grace and mercy that Jesus shows me.

2) A legacy of a father who modeled thankfulness and a true heart for Jesus by his actions.

3) A husband who loves Jesus and loves me.

4) Our daughters. They make my heart swell.

5) My Momma…she models The Proverbs 31 woman. She’s my momma and my friend.

6)  All of our family…sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins.

7) My husband’s parents..who have always been so good to me and treat me like their own. They both Love The LORD so much and model Jesus to everyone.

8) Friends…so many who bless me in so many ways. Near and far, old and new. I am blessed.

9) My church family..Missions..

10) That Jesus would choose an ordinary person like me as HIS vessel for serving. 

What are you choosing to be thankful for today?


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Until Next Time,

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A Way of Life

For the past two years I’ve done Thankful Thursdays here on the blog. I’ll be doing them again this year as well.

Thankfulness is a way of life.Being grateful is a choice and attitude. For Christians it’s a requirement as well.

Ephesians 5:20 ~ And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:2,3 ~ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

 

To give thanks in ALL circumstances. To count it all joy. To have an attitude of gratitude.

On November 1st I’m going begin the weekly Thankful Thursday posts. These weekly posts will supplement something that I try to do daily, a thankful list in my journal. These intentional practices help remind me to be thankful no matter what.

I also plan on making a Thankful Tree. The Thankful Tree will be a great way to include my husband and our daughters. I’m going to make one similar to  one that I saw on Pinterest. It’s the cutest thing!  {Branches from the yard, a mason jar filled with nuts, and pretty card stock for leaves.} 

My sis in law did a thankful tree last year and I just loved it! It was a great way to teach her children about giving thanks. (She’s a wonderful mommy) Discipling my niece and nephew every day. Being present with them and teaching them about Jesus.

Maybe you’ll join us on Thankful Thursdays or even with making your own Thankful Tree. Thanksgiving really shouldn’t just be a November thing. It’s a way of life.

There are so many cute ideas for trees on Pinterest. I have pinned a few on my HOLIDAYS board on my Pinterest page. I’ll share a picture of mine when I make it.

{New here? Lets’s be blog friends! Sign up here for email updates and/or Like my FB page. Still planning a giveaway on the FB page. Over halfway to the goal.}

Until Next Time,

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What are 3 things that you are thankful for this week? 

I am thankful for:

1) Thankful for each one of you! That you take the time to read these words that I share.

2) Thankful that Logan wanted to be homeschooled and wouldn’t give up until I said YES. She is now a college student at age 16 with 3 college core classes under her belt and signed up for 3 more next semester..FREE because of the Accel program. 

3) Thankful that I was able to take my Momma and daughters last week to North Ga. and spend time with family up there! 

My Place of Solace

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{My spiritual whitespace, my place of solace this morning.}

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{A Psalm of Thanksgiving}

I hope you find your place of spiritual rest today.

It looks different for everyone. That’s the beauty of it. In fact, it looks different for me each day too.

Until Next Time,

Heather 🙂

P.S. You should check out Bonnie Gray’s book, FINDING SPIRITUAL WHITESPACE.

Wishing Our Lives Away

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creds to Pinterest

 

“I can’t wait until summer.”

“I wish it was the weekend already.”

“I am so ready for spring.”

“Can’t wait until next year.”

Wishing our lives away.

Not living in the here and now. Focusing on the future. The future that we aren’t even guaranteed. Instead of living where we are right now.

As I was thinking about what I was going to share on the blog today, my Daddy’s words came to my mind.

I can see myself sitting on the sofa in their family room. Talking about some future plans. Can’t remember just what. Other than saying: “I can’t wait until….” To which Daddy replied with something like: “I don’t want to hurry time up..my days seem to fly by..time is just flying by for me.” He was so right.

He knew how precious time was. He knew how fast life here on earth could be over. He lived life to the fullest. He loved with everything he had and he taught me to really live and really love.

I learned from the best. To not wish my life away. To enjoy each moment. To not rush time.

I am learning to be really present, not distracted by technology or tv or even good things and people who may take my focus off of who I am with at the time.

The little things in life really are the big things. Especially when the memories are all that you have left. The simple things. The times that you were all there and not distracted. Those moments are precious.

What are you learning during this 31 Days of Being Present? Share in the comments. Would love to hear from you. 

If you are new here or have missed any of the 31 day posts, you can find them all on the Intro post to 31 Days here. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Until Next Time,

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Always Daddy's Girl
Always Daddy’s Girl