Bitter or Better

Bitter or Better

•Moment of transparency•

There are many areas in life that I could apply this verse to. Many areas where I need to apply this verse. Here is what I’ve learned and finding this verse is a result of looking for an answer in His Word.

In life there are seasons and not just seasons of people. There are people that come and go and seasons that are high and low. There are people who stay. There are those who hurt us and who we hurt. Some accidentally, some on purpose. You learn that you can only fix you and you can only change your heart.

There are those who are like sandpaper and those who we mesh with. But we don’t get to choose who we should be kind hearted to… even when they hurt us. Then there are those who are oblivious to the fact that they pour salt in our wounds over and over. But we can’t live in a bitter state and rise above at the same time.

Bitter or Better. I remember Granny Shiver saying: “You can let it make you bitter or better.” when sharing about life issues. It’s always stuck with me. In the back of my mind. And praise God that His Word is always available to me. When I want to wallow and try to figure out why… I can just turn to the Word and find “why not” or why to not wallow in my feelings. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Sometimes it’s my last resort instead of first instinct. That’s real life.

There’s more to this thought of mine that I’ll be sharing here on my blog. Until then, maybe you needed this reminder, too.

People will let us down, but God NEVER will. Grace. He gives it to us abundantly.

The seasons and people in our life can grow us, if we choose to let them make us better and not bitter. I’m working on becoming better. It’s only possible with God.

Seeking Him,

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,

Heart For Missions

Heart For Missions

She watched and listened from afar. Her young but wise soul taking in every ounce of their conversation. Her eyes were open and ears tuned in and most importantly, her heart was moved.

The young man of about 16 or 17 was aggravated with his father. The father said to not get pizza rolls because that wouldn’t fill him up. The young man was frustrated with the situation. The father said that they had a 15$ budget and 5$ was for gas.
She listened and her heart and soul was moved. The Holy Spirit tugging ever so gently. Tug. Tug.

She listened to the language that was spoken out of heartache and lack. She didn’t judge. Her eyes saw. Her heart and soul saw and felt.

I was nowhere around. In a different area of the Dollar Tree store that we were in. My youngest was in a world of her own. Well. Not her own. She was in the world of a homeless father and son.
She gave the father 5$ of her own money. She listened to his story. A story of a wife of 26 years leaving them and that they needed help and were homeless. A state that so many of our own American people are in.




“John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” ~Luke‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

Something that we share is a heart for missions. That’s my family. That’s our heart. Where we feel joy and alive is when we are serving Jesus by loving on the hurting, the homeless, the person in need.
She gave him her own money. He said thank you so much. And she didn’t just walk away. She saw him. She treated him like the person he is. Because Jesus loves each one of us the same. No more and no less.

“He doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor. He made them all.”‭‭ ~ Job‬ ‭34:19‬ ‭NLT

“The rich and poor have this in common: The LORD made them both.” ~‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

My youngest daughter didn’t stop there. As she was walking away she TOLD the father this: “I love you and Jesus loves you too and I’m going to be praying for you.”



A day later she shared this story with me. With pained eyes and I could feel the hurt that she felt for him. That missionary heart. That heart for others. That Jesus shining heart.


“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” ~Hebrews‬ ‭13:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬


I hugged her and I told her how proud I was of her. That I knew the pain she felt. Because I pray for Nya in New Orleans still. And I told her that I understood that feeling of wishing you could do more and that she could definitely pray for him still. Because prayer isn’t just something little that you can do as an afterthought. Prayer is the most important thing.

I’m so thankful for my children and husband and their hearts for missions. I’ve never felt more alive than when serving together on missions. That’s what life is about.

 

“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”‭‭ ~ James‬ ‭2:26‬ ‭NLT

Until Next Time,

Heather

USE ME BUT

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We say “USE ME” to God. Then we get rattled when he asks us to get up and move.

USE ME GOD… But …. 

Use me how I want to be used.

Heavens no, don’t ask me to do that.

I cannot be inconvenienced.

Use me Lord. But. 

I am not equipped. That would be awkward. Somebody else will do it.

USE ME LORD. SEND ME. What? Me? That might be messy.

USE ME LORD. HERE I AM. SEND ME. Woah. Not there God. That might put me in an uncomfortable position. One that might look strange to everyone else.

Take me deeper. Wait, I didn’t mean that deep.

Lead me where my trust is without borders. Hah. Wait, that means I’m going to really have faith and trust in YOU and YOU alone. And do I really trust in YOU and YOU alone?

We say the words. We sing the songs. We think that we really mean it. Because we sing it and speak it with passion. I mean we really really mean it. Or do we?

When the rubber meets the road, do you really mean it? Do I really mean it?

Do my actions line up with my words? Am I, Are you, really meaning the words that we sing and say?

I want to shine Jesus. Not reflect the world. (And friends I fail. But grace.) And like my Daddy wrote in his bible, “I pray that I am never able to say no to those who need and ask for help.”

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And y’all, that is a dangerous prayer to pray. Don’t pray it if you don’t mean it. Because when you come before God with a heart that truly means it, you will be asked to do some things that aren’t easy. There will be times that you will be inconvenienced.

Use me God. No ifs ands or buts about it. And when I want to run and hide, keep pulling me back to you Father. May I never be able to say no to what you have truly called me to do. Thank you for that stirring in my soul. Thank you for keeping me straight. Thank you for grace. Amen.

Isaiah 6:8 ~ Here am I, send me.

Until Next Time…

SHINE ON,

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Life On Mission

 

      Longing For Home

 

  When on a mission trip in Nola.. I loved it but longed for home. Now that I’m home, I long to be back on mission. Somewhere. I think of the people there every single day. I am a foreigner now when I’m not doing missions.

My home and heart for missions have coincided and it’s like longing for heaven. 

 

  
This world is not my home.. I’m just passing through. And I now long to be on mission and that’s where I feel at home while I’m here, in transition, waiting to pass through to my real home. Heaven.

I feel closer to my true home, Heaven, when I’m actively serving. 

 

  
 Whether it’s using a weed eater or picking up  trash.Whether it’s leading a Dstudy or just taking the time to listen and counsel. That’s missions. That’s my home away from home.
   {Where’s your home away from home?}


    I’ve realized that I can live life every single day on mission. No, really, I can. You can too.
  There have been times in my life that I felt dead. Those were times when I was living life my way. You know what I mean? You get me?



  {Ever wonder why you feel dead? Maybe that’s why.}
  
I feel the most alive when I’m serving or active in missions. Makes sense. Jesus… JESUS came to serve and not to be served. If Jesus came to serve, and He did, then it makes perfect sense that I would feel closest to HIM while serving.
 Living life on mission can be as simple as visiting a loved one who is sad or fixing up a building for a mission project. 
Life on mission will look different for each one of us.
 Life on mission is life on purpose. Life with HIS purpose in mind. Eternal purpose. 

   REFLECTION

~ Do I feel empty?
 
~ Am I living life my way or HIS way?
 
~ Am I serving actively?
 
~ Am I being the hands and feet of Jesus right where I am at?
 
~ Am I ignoring a specific call that God has placed on my life? 


  While we are here, in our home away from home, we can make a difference. An ETERNAL difference. Choosing to live each day following hard after Jesus.
Life on mission.. Life with purpose. 

RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 12:26 ~ Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.


Matthew 20:28 ~ just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.


Ephesians 6:7 ~ Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people


Until Next Time,

  

 

 

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Heart Issues

 

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23-24‬ NIV)

 

My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.

Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.

Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.

What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.

Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.

Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.

Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!

Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love

You get the point.

Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though. 

I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.

I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.

My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.

And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.

Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.

We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.

If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.

No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.

I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.

Maybe it’s time for a heart check.

Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.

 

We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter. 

 

 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV) 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

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heatherdawkins.com

 

I’m Not a Good Christian

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

Are they even authentically a Christian?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus in me is good!

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

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

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

But God.

There’s that BUT GOD again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time.

Pursuing HIM,

Heather

{ Linking up with Faith Filled Friday }

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