BEAUTIFUL GRACE

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I lost it the other morning. Like from 0-60 in 5 seconds lost it. My poor husband was the victim.

He informed me of an important matter and I took it as one more thing added to my plate or stack of plates. They all came unbalanced and toppled to the floor.

I have 5 or 6 jobs and you have one!!! I don’t need one more thing to think about!

And like bullets being fired from a machine gun the words exploded.

And it felt GOOD!
For a minute.

He left for work. I kept folding the piled up laundry, planning out my homeschool day, thinking of the work that needed to be done and errands and talking to myself as I did:

I’m just not appreciated. My jobs don’t end. I’m not paid for my jobs. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…… (yeah, I know..insert eye roll here..me too) 


Then God…

Like almost immediately. HE gently nudged me.

I picked up my phone..
Called his cell. Thinking, well, this may not go well. But, I have to obey and apologize. Shame on me, I am so blessed.

He answered. I apologized and he offered grace.

 

Grace. Undeserved. Beautiful. Grace.

 

Just like Jesus. My husband just offered me grace. That is love. That is loving like Jesus.

Grace. Forgiveness. Undeserved. Yet freely given.


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Ephesians 1:7 ~ He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Colossians 3:13 ~ Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.


REFLECTION

GRACE looks a whole lot like forgiveness.

How many times have I withheld grace when I should have offered it freely?

Do I extend grace just as God has extended HIS grace to me?


Until Next Time,

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Welcome To My Monday Morning

(One of my favorite verses. I even wear it daily on a bracelet I had made.)
Romans 12:12 ~ Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

As I start my day, I am so blessed to look at this Thankful Tree on my kitchen table and see the leaves of thanks that my family has hung on the limbs. Now… When I first woke up this Monday morning, I wasn’t so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It takes me a few minutes or so to wake up.

Nevertheless …..
Truly a beautiful and refreshing sight to see gratitude in even the smallest things. Makes me want to leave it up all year long. Definitely a tradition that I plan to keep going for years to come.

Traditions are something that I’ve been mulling over for a little while now. For those who are new here, my Daddy died April 1st of this year. Yeah. Man.. Seems surreal to even type that sentence out. We are all still grieving and going through the motions and emotions. Don’t even know what Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years will look like this year.. Except.. Different.

For my mother, it’s even harder. As her daughter, it’s so hard to watch her suffer and being that God gifted me with highly sensitive empathy, I feel the emotions around me times 10. I am a fixer. A doer. Tell me what to do and I’ll try my best to make it better. But, this is something that I can’t make better. For her. For me. For my children or my siblings.

We are all different. Grieving different. And that is OK!

For those of you who have lost a parent or husband or wife, and if you were extremely close to that loved one, you know what I’m saying.

So back to the traditions. Honestly, I don’t know what it will look like. I just know that I want to bring glory to God even in the midst of grief. I know my family has been held in HIS arms for the past 7 months. There’s no doubt that my God has sustained us.

I don’t know how people who don’t know Jesus personally survive.

I know I’m not alone. I know we are not the first family to have been through these kind of hard times.
I know.

I ask you to pray for us. Especially momma. I also ask for ideas and advice on how you may have coped during the holidays while grieving. Seriously.. Share. It may help more people than you know.

Before I go, I want to say a special Thank You to those who have reached out when it wasn’t convenient. To those who have shared their hearts with me about their losses and offered prayer and support. Thank you to those who have encouraged me and been there through it all. You may not even realize that you did anything at all. But you have. Thank you for the prayers most of all.

We know where Daddy is.. So we have peace and comfort and hope. But… Anyone who knows the loss that we feel knows that the grief comes in waves and so if you see someone who is sad or has tears in their eyes or even who is laughing and smiling, know that there is NO TIME LIMIT for grief. There really is no end point honestly. Those who have told you that it ends or goes away.. They either had a different relationship with their lost loved one or they just don’t know what to say. It’s ok. Listen to your heart. I’m listening to mine.

Until Next Time,

Heather

P.S. I am not on social media right now. Sometimes you hear a still small voice during your morning quiet time and you know you must be obedient. I’ll only be on my photography page to post for clients as needed. If anyone needs to reach me you can comment here on the blog, text or call me, email me, or visit 😉 .

I also want to recommend a book that someone I highly admire wrote. I just know that we would be great friends if we lived in the same town! She speaks boldly. She writes her heart out. She doesn’t pussyfoot around. She is Lisa Whittle and the book is : I WANT GOD.
I received the book probably six weeks ago but GOD.. Yes, God knew when exactly I needed to read it. It challenged me and convicted me to seek HIM even more than I already do. Which led to breaking away from social media. My blog will still post to it but I will not be on to check comments, etc. If you want to comment.. Comment here. Love you all! ~HD

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Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

 

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 Today, as promised, I am continuing the message : What Are You Filling The Voids With? , and if you missed the first part you should click on the title/link above.

  To begin this second part of the message, I need to ask you again, if you know HIM and if HE knows you. As I said in yesterday’s post, there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.

Here is another really simple and you may think “crazy” way to look at it…….

  Are you a SHEEP or a GOAT?

Jesus is often referred to as The Shepherd in scripture, and if you are saved, you would be referred to as SHEEP.  Sheep needed the shepherd to guide them and show them where to eat and drink. Sheep needed protection from wolves, and the shepherd often slept in the pen with the sheep and stretched across the entrance to keep them safe from wolves while the sheep slept. Every sheep mattered, and the shepherd went to great lengths to find even just ONE lost sheep.

Seeing any parallels yet?

Sheep and goats often “hung out” and grazed together. Yet when it was time for the sheep to have the wool sheared off, the shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats.

God will separate the sheep from the goats as well. 

The true follower from the great pretender.

The real from the fake.

Matthew 25:31-34 ~ When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

 

Here’s some good news though, If you are a GOAT you can still become a SHEEP!

God’s love is unfailing, unchangeable, immeasurable, and AMAZING! His grace is enough! Our small minds cannot comprehend how deep HIS love is for us!

 

1 John 1:9 ~ If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

  Hebrews 7:24,25 ~ But Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

God loves you as you are. He loves you too much to leave you that way though. He sees you, loves you, and wants a relationship with you.

 

If you do know Jesus, and heaven is your home, then I ask this : ARE YOU SHINING JESUS?

Or is there some junk that you need to clear out of the way so that others can see HIM in you again?

Shine Jesus or shine the world…and the world doesn’t shine.

Make a difference for GOD or make a difference for the devil.

You are always making an impact on others around you. Are you making a positive impact or a negative impact? I am asking myself these same questions.

NO, you won’t be a perfect little shining star all of the time. You will mess up. I do. We all do. What we do when we mess up matters. Do you make it right? It matters.

What we fill the voids in our lives with MATTERS. Our actions (words, walk, talk, text, tweet, post,etc..) reflect what is in our heart. What we FILL UP with will show.

 

Luke 6:45 ~ The good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.

 

In life we have TWO choices in relation to eternity.

  Heaven or Hell. Both places are real and both last for ever and ever.

SHEEP or GOAT

 

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for?

If you are saved, Are you shining Jesus? Do others see Jesus in you? Or do they just see all the junk that you have filled the voids in your life with?

 

True freedom. True peace. True love. They are found in JESUS.

To know Jesus you have to spend time with him. He doesn’t force his way in, because a forced love isn’t love. He wants to know you. He wants you to know him. He wants you to want him.

 

I know I have written a lot of questions in this post, but questions make you think. They make me think.

 

I leave you with these questions and yes they may already be in this post :

 

~ Do I shine Jesus or the world ?

~ Do I really know HIM and does HE know me?

~ Do I just know about him and “think” that I might be saved..but not 100% ?

~ Is there anything in my life that I am using as a substitute for Jesus?

 

God loves you.

 

  Blessings to you all, and I pray that this message, both parts, touches your soul. Share it with someone if you think it will touch their soul. All Glory to God, because this message is HIS..not mine.

 

Until Next Time,

 

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For the Whole World To See

For the Whole World To See

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One dog is sitting practically on my head. One is on my legs. The computer in my lap…Chili in the crock pot. The sound of the water running into the aquarium beside me.

There are to-do lists. Places to be. Schedules to keep.

But first, a message to share.

The messages that I share with y’all come to me at the strangest times and places. I’m sure that my other “writer” friends can relate. Especially when it comes to sharing the message that God lays on my heart to share. Sometimes I put it off due to the fact that it seems strange to me. That’s just how it is. I don’t even know why I am writing on a certain topic sometimes…other than the fact that I JUST HAVE TO.

You may not like what I’m sharing today. That’s okay. I don’t write for the approval of man..I only write for God. So, I offer no apologies today. I do love you all though and that’s another reason that I choose to share the hard truths.

I was getting dressed yesterday and this title pops in my head: “FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE” , Then little details and thoughts start emerging.

Like…..

~ Does your (my) appearance on Social Media match your  (my) appearance in person ?

(and I’m not talking about our profile pictures)

~ Do you (I) talk BIG on FB or Twitter or wherever else, and sit in a corner talking to nobody in public ?

~ Do you (I)  profess Jesus all over the Social Networks and project another image in other settings ?

~ Does your (my) walk match your (my) talk or text or tweet or post ?

~ Do you (I)  wear your (my)  “Christian” t-shirt in public and act like the devil at home ?

~ Do you (I) wear your (my) “Christian” t-shirt in public and put the word “Christian” to shame ?

~ Do you (I) post Bible verses online but never really open your Bible to study it and read it and learn?

Just some thoughts. For all of us to soak on…marinate in. Just being real. Because it MATTERS.

We are the only BIBLES that some people ever read. (Yes, that is someone else’s quote)

It matters how we represent our Jesus.

My pastor said something that really struck me last week during the message. He said that we have really messed up the word: CHRISTIAN. It basically means nothing anymore.

See there are people that say “I’m a CHRISTIAN” and yet they really aren’t. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. The fact that your parents made you go your whole life doesn’t  make you a Christian. Doing good things doesn’t make you a Christian. Knowing about Jesus doesn’t make you a Christian. Wearing a Christian t-shirt doesn’t make you a Christian. Posting bible verses doesn’t make you a Christian.

So, what makes you a Christian? I mean a REAL AUTHENTIC TRUE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

JESUS.

Jesus is what makes you a CHRISTIAN. Knowing HIM and HIM knowing you. It takes FAITH. It takes surrender. It takes admitting that you are a sinner and that you NEED HIM. It takes faith and believing that Jesus is the Son of God. It takes confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

John 3:16,17 (NIV) ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It’s simple. Yet we make it hard.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you are all done. It is a daily surrender and choice to FOLLOW God. To learn and study and read The Word. It’s vital that those of us who ARE Christians disciple new Christians or Christians that are not as mature in their walk as they could be. It’s vital that we serve like Jesus.

It takes water for a seed to grow.

Hebrews 5:13,14 (NIV) ~ Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But the solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

CONSTANT USE.

Let’s get to watering! Let’s be real and be willing to make sure that our walk is matching our “talk”. It matters. People are watching. Big people and Little people. 

Now, I did not say that we have to be “PERFECT”…I just mean that we have to stop pretending that we are. ( I’ll be the first person to tell you that “I AM NOT PERFECT” and “I FAIL DAILY”… I mean…even writing this post is hard for me..because I know that I am not perfect.)

Leaving you with these two verses…

James 2:17 (NIV) ~ In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

1 John 3:18 (NIV) ~ Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Until Next Time…Seeking to Shine,

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Not So Excellent At Times

 

 

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Recently, I completed a bible study on a book called, The Excellent Wife. Martha Peace is the author. This book was very convicting and challenging at times. There were even days when I wanted to throw it out the door. (haha) Why? Because…SELF didn’t feel like being that EXCELLENT on that day. But…God would nudge me and convict me and lovingly prod me to KEEP ON.

It’s not always easy to look at yourself..I mean, REALLY look at who you are. The Excellent Wife was filled with Scripture to back up the truths that I was learning about myself..and who God is calling me to be. Not so fun to admit at times. Very necessary though.

I began to see that I needed to make some changes. Change isn’t always welcomed. Some people are terrified of change. Change is so very necessary in order to grow and mature. I guess since I love a good adventure, I was a little bit more welcoming with this new change that God was stirring deep within me. To look at my priorities. To be sure that my husband truly was FIRST in my life. Not second. First. Well, after God, of course. 🙂

 

Genesis 2:18 ~ Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

 

I really began to notice areas that I needed to change and improve in order to be in God’s will for my life. God wants me to be my husband’s helper suitable, or “just right for him”. To support him. To love him. To put his needs first. To respect him.

 

Please..don’t close the blog post yet… I know this sounds like a lot. BUT guess what..basically, all it boils down to is being selfLESS.

 

Period. Loving your neighbor as you love yourself. YES, you really do love yourself…even if you don’t always like yourself. How do I know this? Because..we all make sure that we are comfortable..right? Maybe not all the time..but when we aren’t..we aren’t very happy are we? Our husband or wife is our closest neighbor. That means we should treat them as good or better than we treat our other friends. This hit a nerve with me as well.

 

James 2:8 ~ Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

I realized that after I finished studying and reading this convicting book that I still have a long way to go. I am persevering, keeping on, striving to be that EXCELLENT WIFE. I cling to the promise that “HE’S not finished with me yet!” I can’t do this on my own. Thank goodness, I don’t have to.

 

Philippians 1:6 ~ And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

 

By the way, I never actually threw the book out. (hahaha) 🙂 In fact, I am about to start another one by Martha Peace. It’s called “Tying the Knot Tighter: Because Marriage Lasts A Lifetime.”

Putting things in the right order requires discipline and perseverance and lots of seeking after God. It’s HIS will that I want to be in.

 

Proverbs 3:6 ~ Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

 

If you know that your priorities are out of whack..I encourage you to seek God. Seek His Word. Ask yourself if there are some changes that you need to make in order to put God first and center..then your husband or wife, if you are married. Of course. if you have children they definitely come next. Then, everything else will fall into place. This isn’t to say that you won’t have resistance from some…because change isn’t always readily accepted.

 

How are we to spiritually grow and mature in our walk with Jesus if we never change?  Change is necessary. Change is vital. If we never change, then we never grow. If we never grow and mature, then we are like a stagnant pond. Ever seen one of those? They aren’t real pretty. They aren’t healthy at all. 

Thank you for sticking with me through this hard and possibly convicting post. I pray that you are challenged to look deep within. Sometimes the problems in our relationships are because of our selfish desires and our unwillingness to change. (I know that not all problems are caused by this..but some are) It won’t always be easy. But it is so worth it. Don’t try to do it on your own. Only with God’s help is it possible. Expect setbacks. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Know that some days you won’t feel like being selfLESS. Those are the times when you say, “God..I need you to create in me a desire to be obedient to you.” He already knows. Whatever you do…don’t give up on trying to be the person God has called you to be and what HE has called you to do. (bring GOD glory in everything)  {Don’t throw the book out..hahaha :D}

 

1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

 

Even when you don’t feel like you are so excellent at times..keep trying.

 

Until Next Time,

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Thankful Thursdays ~ March 21st

 

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I decided to start posting these “Thankful Thursdays” again. See, it is easy to get out of the habit of practicing thanksgiving, and I need little reminders from time to time. Maybe you do as well.

While doing one of my morning daily devotions, One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp, I just really became convicted of my lack of daily thanksgiving. I mean, it’s easy to give thanks in the exciting and good things that occur on a day to day basis. Yet, we are commanded to give thanks for the not so good stuff too.

Believe it or not, I actually found myself thanking God today for the not so great things that I face …and it wasn’t that hard after all. When we thank HIM for the yuck, we realize that HE is greater than any circumstance that we may face. We are truly TRUSTING God to be enough. And, isn’t HE really enough?

These words in my devotion today really stuck out to me:

I’m not sure how my life stands. How my inner and outer walls stand, how I make a home. Unless we make it a habit to give thanks, we habitually give our family grief. Unless we consistently speak praise, we consistently speak poison. Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling. ~ Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts Devotional..Devo 40)

 

It takes being intentional in order to bring God glory. Gratitude must be continuous. Our words are either pleasant or like poison. POISON. Convicted.

Matthew 12:35-37 really hit home this morning..and really made me want to be more intentional about my giving of thanks to God. Read it and really think on it…This is JESUS talking..

 

Matthew 12:35-37 (NLT) ~ “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

 

May our words be words of grace…and thanksgiving..bringing glory to God. May we always give thanks in everything..even the yuck. May we think before we speak..and not use words carelessly.

 

 I am thankful for the sweet friends that God has blessed me with..who send me random messages and let me know that they love me and are praying for me. I am thankful for the gift of prayer and that I can pray for others and talk to God anytime and anywhere. I am thankful for healthy children.

What are some things that you are thankful for today?

 

 Colossians 4:2 ~ Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

 

 

              Until Next Time,

 

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Slow Down

SLOW DOWN...or you'll miss the beauty around you. ~HD
SLOW DOWN…or you’ll miss the beauty around you. ~HD

 

Psalm 90:12 ~ Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom

 

There are times when I can be so impatient with my husband and daughters..especially our youngest. She’s the one who is most like him. I find myself rushing our girls. Hurry up. Come on. Let’s go. RIGHT now.

Time. It’s a precious commodity. Why do I rush it so?

I savor each moment with them. I love them so. Yet, I rush..rush…rush..

I don’t want the things that my children to remember about their childhood to be a bunch of “rush”. Now, mind you, some of the time, it is their fault for lagging behind. BUT, I still can choose to not let “time” make me frazzled. I can choose to live at a more relaxed pace. To be easygoing and “come what may”, when we are running behind.

I want to not live a “hurried” life.

Because…when we hurry..we miss things.

I don’t want to miss a thing.

In my devotion that I am doing daily, Ann Voskamp writes these thought-provoking truths:

   “Doesn’t all the hurry make us hurt? Slow never killed time. It’s the rushing and racing, the trying to catch up, this is what kills time – ourselves. WHY IN THE WORLD DO WE KEEP WOUNDING OURSELVES? Life is not an emergency.” { DEVOTION 11 ~ One Thousand Gifts Devotional, Ann Voskamp}

Might you, too, need to slow down?

Living life at a slower pace can really be a good thing.( Shhhhh. Don’t tell my kids and husband that. 🙂 )

   “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

               Until Next Time,

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