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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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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Even When

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Even when…things are falling apart, God is still God. HE remains sovereign. HE is always good, and only capable of LOVE.

 

Even when…things fall and break into tiny pieces…like one of my favorite coffee mugs did this morning..it’s not the end of the world.

 

God knows all. HE is in control of ALL. HE is over ALL.

 

When friendships or any relationships shatter, He is still God.

 

When tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis occur, He is still God.

 

When we find ourselves hanging on by a thread financially or emotionally… HE. IS. STILL. GOD.

 

This earth will pass away. But, with GOD there is the promise of a better place…and it is FOREVER.

 

The things of this earth are temporary. The problems AND the good things….they are all only for a moment. AND…we cannot get stuck and bogged down with the trivial things. We MUST think on things above (heaven). We MUST be thankful..and we have got to be in The WORD. That is the recipe for true peace. It is really quite simple. It is FAITH. It is TRUSTING GOD and the promises that are found in HIS Word.

 

 Psalm 119:143,144 ~ As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so that I may live.

 

Even when you feel like everything is falling apart. And you WILL feel this way at some point or another in your lifetime. If you are really honest…you will feel this way more than once or twice. Even then….you can REALLY LIVE. You can have peace. You can experience joy…even when things break, shatter, and fall apart all around. True peace only comes from Jesus.

 

 Philippians 4:6,7 ~ Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand, His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

Just remember that you aren’t alone..and there is comfort found in The Bible..His Word is alive

 

 Even when you don’t feel like it…set your sights on the realities of heaven..

 

Colossians 3:1-3 ~ Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

 

That is truth. Rest in that….

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

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HER TESTIMONY

No spirit of fear here!
No spirit of fear here!

Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength.

Isaiah 40:31 ~ but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 34:4 ~ I sought The Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

I have something really amazing to share with you today!

I have just returned from an awesome weekend retreat with 60 something women. We feasted on HIS Word and lives were changed! I am so blessed by new friendships made and old friendships being strengthened. GOD is GOOD!

The story that I am sharing today, is not my own. I asked this sweet woman if she would allow me to share it. Why? Because….I want you all to see that there is POWER in prayer and that FEAR has no hold on you when you fully trust God. THIS IS HER TESTIMONY..all glory to GOD. ALL GLORY TO GOD!!

Thank you, Tawanna, for allowing me to share your story…I love you and I am so very proud of you!

In her words:

The Bridge

Every year, our church holds a women’s retreat at Epwroth by the Sea on St. Simon’s island. The retreat has been a blessing to me and my family because every year, I leave something on the island, and bring home something new that I have learned about the goodness and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to this yearly ritual that we have come to have where we spend the weekend in fellowship and worship. We sang, we prayed, we danced, we laughed, we cried. Trying to put the weekend into words is a bit challenging but if I had to chose one word, I would chose the word blessed because that is how I feel every time I am on that island.

The one struggle that I have is crossing that bridge that connects the island to the actual town. The first year that we went, I was riding with 2 of my dearest friends. As we started to near the bridge I looked to my left and at first I didn’t know that it was an actual bridge. From a distance, it looked like a big building, I thought to myself and said out loud, “Hey guys, check out that bridge. The blue is so beautiful it almost looks like the color of the sky. As we got closer to the turn my friend in the back said, “That’s not a building it’s a bridge.” As I burst into laughter, I told my friends that I was so glad that we wouldn’t be going over that contraption. I then started to laugh and make comments about the courageous people that went over it daily and I started to thank God that we were not amongst them. The more I talked the more my friends became quiet. They had no idea that I had a fear of bridges, being over water, and certain high places. As I am talking and laughing and talking and laughing, I realized that the turn that I was making towards the left, led me right towards that bridge. Well I started to yell and scream and panic. I started to drive in the middle two lanes, so the people behind me and the people that were trying to come down on the opposite lane, had to merge into one lane. As they honked their horns and yelled at me, and some made obscene gestures and said obscene things, I panicked even more started yelling back and telling everyone that I am on a retreat and that they cannot yell at me. You see I was like Peter in Matthew 14:29. We were all doing fine as we were driving and God was leading us, but I took my eyes off Jesus and started to let fear abide in me. This caused me to panic and to start driving in the middle of the bridge.

On the very last day of the retreat, our beautiful pastor’s wife Lanelle Rogers, asked that the ladies of the retreat pray for and with me, that I may conquer my fear and successfully cross that bridge. I crossed it, but I wasn’t trusting God. I allowed my friend to drive while I sat in the backseat sobbing with a huge sweater wrapped around my head. I placed the garment over my head as soon as we left Epworth by the Sea and did not take it off until I was told that we were well across the bridge. I didn’t want to see what was going. That weekend I had learned so much and was filled with so much love for Christ but I still was not trusting in him.

This year I was blessed to go back. I was so excited that I was able to attend. I asked my girlfriend and fellow sister in Christ Kim Wade to drive as I started to speak fear into my life. I told her that I just knew that I wouldn’t not make it on my own and made her drive. We had agreed that I would sleep the entire way there, and I had gotten up at 2am that morning so that I would be tired and would want to sleep. Kim and I have not seen each other in months so we did what ladies do best. We talked, and talked, and talked. Before we knew it, my phone rang and it was the member of the church that we were following, Lisa Colburn. She called and said that we were approaching the bridge and that she wanted to warn me because she knows of my fears.

We were approximately 5 minutes away and I allowed fear to take over my body. As we crossed the bridge I pulled my shirt over my head and started to scream and holler. The more I hollered the more I panicked. I started to hyperventilate and then before I knew it I was unable to breathe. In the midst of me trying to catch my breath, I became nausea. I closed my eyes, open the car door (not knowing that we were going 55 mph) and started to vomit until my stomach was empty.

I then spent the first night of the retreat staying up until 2am trying to find alternate routes off of the island so that I could avoid the bridge on the way home. While staying up I missed the fellowship that was going on downstairs right beneath me and later discovered that there was only one way off of the island, and it was over that bridge.

This weekend we learned how to abide in God and to allow Him to abide in us. I really paid close attention to the messages that were brought, the testimonies that were shared and on the last morning, once again, my sisters in Christ wrapped their hands around me, surrounded me and prayed on me and for me. Prior to leaving God sent an angel in the form of Heather Dawkins. As she hugged me she prayed for me and that I would not only make it over the bridge, but that I would open my eyes and look at the beauty that God has created all around me. As she prayed, I thought to myself, “how could I be afraid of God’s beauty?” It was then that I started to think about the bridge and what it represented. That bridge and my fear of it, represented the chains that had me in bondage. I then wrote down things that had me in bondage on several slips of paper and folded them into little pieces. As my friend and I crossed the bridge, I cracked the window. Although nervous in the beginning, I started to quote the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7, for God did not give us the spirit of fear. And I just kept reciting that scripture as I threw the slips of paper out of the window. When I looked at both sides of the bridge, I became humbled by the beauty that surrounded me, and how awesome God’s works are. That bridge no longer represents my fears, but the relationship that I have with Christ as his daughter. I am set free, no longer bound, no more chains holding me.

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

WOW!!! Isn’t GOD good!!!!???!!!! So many people were praying for Tawanna…and they never ceased to pray and care… The BODY of Christ lifted her up…and allowed God to use them in her life. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell Tawanna what you thought of her awesome testimony…and share it with others..so that GOD can receive the glory that HE so deserves. 🙂

Until Next Time,

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Objects In Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

You probably are wondering why in the world I chose the title above. Truth is, I didn’t. In fact, I woke up around 3 A.M. and God gave me this title. So, here we go.

Never say never. The “objects” that you are seeing occur in other people’s lives can very easily occur in yours as well. I had a vision of a mirror with many different words written on it. Picture it with me:

SIN. LOSS. BETRAYAL. HURT. FEAR.

SIN…ADDICTION…IDOLATRY…GREED..GOSSIP…HATRED…SLANDER

ADDICTION…LUST, EXCESSIVE SPENDING, OVEREATING, ALCOHOL ADDICTION, DRUG ADDICTION, PORNOGRAPHY, ADULTERY and the list goes on and on.

The objects in the mirror can be closer than they appear.

 

 

Closer than they appear to you. Closer than they appear to others.

They all are a part of the battle we are in..against Flesh. SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Satan wants us to fail. He wants us to be separated from God.

 

Ephesians 6:11 ~ Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

 

Never say never my friends. Always be on guard against the Devil and his schemes. Your mirror may appear to be clean..but is it really?

If there is SIN in your life that you think is “HIDDEN”, you are mistaken. Forgive me for speaking so boldly. It isn’t meant to sound judgemental in any way, shape, or form. I say these things because I truly care. I know what it is to be truly surrendered to God. AND… I know what it is to not be surrendered.

You can say, “Oh, I HAVE surrendered to GOD.” Your actions will prove it though. You know. God knows.

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

 

When you face a trial, do you have true and complete peace in knowing that God really is enough? Do you truly feel that you are filled with Joy that can’t be explained any other way? Are you able to smile when the “world” would tell you to hide and fall apart?

There is a difference. In the way you handle life’s awful storms. When you finally…truly…SURRENDER ALL.

There’s a peace…an Anchor, if you will. To be able to smile and have hope…when before you might have done the opposite. It’s the result of full Surrender.

”  Oh, nobody knows about my “little” sin. ” “It doesn’t hurt anybody but me.” ” I still love God.” ” I am saved, so I can do it and just ask Him to forgive me..I mean..it says He forgives when I ask.”  AND here’s a huge one.. ” I am just too weak.”

Those are all lies. Satan wants you and me to believe those things. The fact is, SIN is anything that separates us from God. Separated.

Separated…think about it. To be apart from…cut off…

I don’t ever want that. I need my Father God. Every minute of every single day.

It is a conscious CHOICE. There is that word again that I seem to use a lot in my posts.

The moment you decide to follow God, the Holy Spirit comes to guide you. Sin that you don’t get rid of is like a wall of heavy stones. The stones are stacked one on top of the other. With each stone the wall gets higher and higher. Each time you CHOOSE sin over righteousness, picture that wall being built that separates you from God. Leaving you miserable and ineffective for His calling on your life. Ineffective only until you SURRENDER to God fully. When you do, you’ll be able to resist the temptations and even laugh at them.. Not because YOU are resisting, but because YOU are allowing God to finally fight your battles!

 

 

Ephesians 5:11 (NIV) ~ Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of the darkness, but rather expose them.

 

Honestly, I would like to write out the entire portion of Ephesians 5…but, instead…just read it if you will..

If you want to truly follow God, you have to make a choice to pick Him over that temptation. God knows we aren’t perfect…and He knows we can’t do life alone. We need HIM. He doesn’t NEED us.

It’s a DAILY CHOICE…minute by minute…second by second… A Daily Walk.

 

Galatians 5:16 ~ So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

 

   I leave you with this last passage of Scripture. Read it …soak on it..and believe it. His Word is Truth..His Word is Alive.

 

1 Peter 5:7-11 ~ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered for a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

   Standing Firm!

   Until Next Time,

 

  

 

  

A Beautiful Metamorphosis

  Here in South Georgia, we are FINALLY getting some REAL Fall weather! To us, a day with a high in the upper 60’s or even low 70’s is amazing! Especially, with a nice cool breeze.

   Changes can be nice sometimes. Other times, not so much.

   Life is ALL about change though. Think about it: from conception to birth, and from birth to death. Always changing and always growing and learning in some way.

   The best way I can think of to describe it is the process of caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Bear with me as I try to describe it for you. I am not a brain..so my description may not be “perfect”. A butterfly lays her egg on a leaf. The egg hatches and becomes a tiny caterpillar. BUT…it molts 4 TIMES and then, on the 5th and final time it molts, it is in the chrysalis stage (pupa). During that chrysalis stage, a lot is going on even though it appears from the outside to be doing nothing. During the 10-14 day period, the adult butterfly is forming! Inside the chrysalis (pupa). Then…a beautiful butterfly emerges! How awesome is that! I have always been fascinated with that process. I had NO clue until recently that it had to molt that many times.

Our oldest daughter found a butterfly...

   This brings me back to changes we go through. The process of change isn’t always fun or comfortable. It is always necessary though. The process of change isn’t always “pretty“. With God in control (and He is), the end result can be pretty. Pain and discomfort are sometimes a necessary part of the process to change us for the better. I have been there and done that…with the wishing the painful parts away. But now that I can look back, I see that they were necessary to grow me in my spiritual walk.

   1 Peter 4:16 (NKJV) ~ Yet, if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  

   Some changes in our lives don’t seem fair…some really don’t make sense to us. However, as one of my favorite verses states: He makes ALL things work together for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose..(not our purpose). Look it up: Romans 8:28.

   There is nothing more beautiful to me than to see the change in someone who is growing in their walk with Christ. It is a BEAUTIFUL metamorphosis. It is a process. It is not without some discomfort or pain either. To grow in your walk with Jesus, you have to make it a priority. You have to make changes. You have to change old ways of thinking, doing, acting, speaking. You have to choose Light or Dark, there is no riding the fence when you are truly walking with Jesus. Sure, people will even wonder what is going on with you…why you have “changed“.  Then, you get to tell them about your Jesus and the process of caterpillar to butterfly just might begin again with them. 🙂

   Change……it can be a BEAUTIFUL thing.

   What might you need to change in order to grow in your walk with Jesus? Maybe, you need to surrender finally. If you don’t know HIM as your Savior, what are you waiting for? Salvation is a free gift to you..just waiting for you to accept. He makes ALL things work together for good….

 

   Until Next Time,

 

  

  

  

A Big Three-Letter Word

    I have not published a post in a week, not because I had nothing to share, but because there is so much I want to share. Sometimes it is like an information overload and I have to slow down and process it.

   What I feel the need to share with you today, is something about a little three-letter word. That little word is something big though…the word is SIN. Do you know what sin is? I don’t mean specific acts..but what sin really is. SIN is anything that separates us from God. Sin breaks the fellowship we have with Him. Just the word…SIN…can make us feel uncomfortable.

   Now the fact is, we all have sinned…and we all fall short. What about those of us who have acknowledged that we are sinners and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives? Yes, we still  struggle with sin…we are still in need of Him every single minute of every day. 

    Romans 3:23 ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 

    It is a fact that when we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit is given to us..to guide and direct our ways. The Holy Spirit is Jesus in us..the conviction we feel when we do something wrong. However, God has promised us a way out of temptation when we are His children. It is our choice. Fleshly desires or Following after God. If  Jesus is truly the Lord of your life, sin won’t have the same appeal to you as it did before.

     1 Corinthians 10:13 ~ No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

    Romans 6:18 ~ You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

   Once you are God’s child (authentic believer), yes…you will sometimes still struggle with temptations to sin. As long as we live on this earth where Satan is free to roam..you better believe that he will try to entice you and trip you up. I am not saying that when and if you do wrong, that it means you aren’t saved. (If we were perfect then we would be like God..and we wouldn’t need a Savior. We are all sinners and we all need Him everyday.) The difference now is that sin should convict you and repulse you.  The desire to sin should be replaced with the desire to please God.

     Galatians 5:16 ~ So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

     The tug in our soul when we feel we should say or do something to help another. The strength we feel when we have no strength. The comfort and peace that overcomes us in the midst of turmoil. Those are all things that the Holy Spirit ( Jesus in us), gives believers.

   I want to , I desire to please my Jesus. I desire to be in fellowship with Jesus..walking with Him..feeling His presence. God cannot be in the presence of sin..Satan can though. When I made the choice to follow Him, I chose LIGHT..not darkness.

    1 John 1:7 ~ But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

   I chose eternal life in Heaven. Did it cost me? Of course it did..it costs daily..a daily dying to self..and sometimes even more. Anything worth having costs something.

    Proverbs 4:7 ~ Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

    It cost God His only Son…It cost Jesus persecution, pain and death on the cross. We are worth something to our Savior. Is He worth everything to us?  Do we realize that even though it is a free gift, that it did cost? Do we realize that Jesus is so worth the cost of dying to self on a daily and even minute by minute basis?

   Blessings to you all. May you all know my Jesus personally. There is nothing better.

  

   UNTIL NEXT TIME !