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,

THE THING ABOUT GRIEF

The thing about grief is that while you are suffocating, the rest of the world seems to be going on without you. But that’s just it. The rest of the world, the people you see smiling and laughing, they may be grieving as well.

The thing about grief is that you can feel so lonely in your grief at times. Leaving a hole. And yes, God fills that hole, if you let him, but you still hurt deeply.

The thing about grief is that you are forever changed. Seeing things in a completely different way than before. You truly get the brevity of life. That person that I was on April 1st, 2014 at 5 am (pre phone call that my Daddy was having a heart attack) is different from the person I became that night on the same day. And I’m forever changed. More serious and more intentional about every aspect of life.

If you’ve lost a loved one you know. The thing about grief is that it’s different for everyone. It’s a personal thing. Words don’t heal.. But love sure helps.

The thing about grief is that there really is no getting over it. No time limit. No easy 1 2 3 fix for it. You live. You have a good day. You have a bad day. You suck it up and you keep moving forward. Because every single one of us will experience grief. It’s part of living in this temporary home.

And I realize that the tears are a gift. The memories are a gift. Even grief is a gift.

The ache in the heart…that physical pain.. it just means that you are holding them really close to your heart. What better place to keep them until you meet again.
The thing about grief… It can hit you anywhere and at anytime. Like walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, or during a worship service. And you can’t control it anymore than you can control the wind. It’s like a catch in your throat and it hits you like a punch to the gut. That’s grief.

It’s different for everyone. No two people can or should grieve the same. You grieve when you’ve had a personal relationship with someone or something. There is no way that you could have the same exact relationship with someone as I do or vice versa. It’s personal. That’s the thing about grief.

The joy I feel comes from God and God alone. The peace is a direct result in resting in the arms of my Savior. Reality is that at times I feel alone in my utter sadness. Alone in my remembering. Like being in a crowded room but still feeling alone. But God. He is my strong tower and refuge and deliverer. And I know I’m not alone. You aren’t alone. 

The thing about grief is… Everyone has been there and if you haven’t yet, you will. We can’t expect the world to stop. It just won’t. And it shouldn’t. I look back and recognize the change in the “before” me and the maturity and the living life to the fullest attitude in the “after” me. Because that’s what a deep loss will do to a soul.

Loss changes you. But sorrow really does produce a better you if you let it. It makes you look at the simplest of things in much deeper ways. It changes you.

Life on earth really is but a moment. A brief moment in time. The best gift that you can give the ones left behind is a legacy of love. Not just any legacy of love, but one of loving God most. 

We shouldn’t compare how one person grieves to how another might. There should be no judgement in grief. And let me make something clear. You can experience grief even if the object of your grief is not dead. There are so many types of grief. Because everyone is unique, and every circumstance is unique, every loss will be unique as well.

And just because you may be a “veteran griever” (yes, I made that term up), doesn’t mean that you are exempt from grieving. It doesn’t mean that you even know how to grieve. 

Time does not heal all wounds. Only God can do that. Even when the wounds scab over and the new skin covers it, doesn’t the skin look different? It’s ok. It’s supposed to. That scar becomes beautiful when we let the light of Christ shine through. Even if it is only a little light at a time. 

Those broken places can be mended. The mending occurs when we let God fill up the cracks and the deep cuts. Maybe our scars are there for a purpose. Maybe they can be seen as beautiful. Like a mosaic that’s pieced together. When we let His light shine through. When we let HIM do the mending.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” ~‭‭Psalms‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭
Until Next Time,

Heather

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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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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Hidden Away No Longer

Hidden Away No Longer

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{Let me preface this post with this…I originally wrote the main part of this post 2 days before God spoke to me through the obedient vessels who are my sweet sisters in Christ. (they know who they are). If you don’t believe that God still speaks to you through others and by The power of The Holy Spirit, well that’s your opinion. Because I’m here to tell ya that HE STILL DOES. AND, the very SAME POWER that conquered the grave lives in those who know HIM personally. HE still speaks. HE still moves. GOD still answers prayers. HE is the same today as HE was yesterday and tomorrow HE WILL NOT CHANGE. }

I have these dreams. I allow myself to believe that I can achieve them. Then I allow myself to believe that I cannot achieve them.

It’s crazy really.

I have faith. Then I let doubt take over.

I profess that “I’m really gonna do ____ ”
Then I hide the dreams calling. Hidden away for a little bit longer.

And then there’s the things that I don’t know the answers to yet that puzzle me. They freeze me in my tracks at times. When I don’t know exactly what is next and I want to know. What do I do next? I do the next right thing. I do. I go. That is what we are called to do. The next right thing that brings God glory. Doesn’t have to be big. Doesn’t have to stand out.

The thing is, I’m not promised tomorrow. You aren’t either..and if you’ve lost a loved one you know this truth all too well. And if I don’t start acting I may miss out on a blessing that comes with obedience. Not only that, I may miss out on allowing God to use me to be a blessing to someone else. Same goes for you too.

The dreams aren’t really all that far-fetched. I’ve even spoken them out loud. I’ve had others ask when I’m going to _____…

I know I’m supposed to. I know the steps to take.

What’s stopping me?

Me. Just me. I’m stopping me.

AND IT IS TIME TO STOP.


 HIDDEN AWAY NO LONGER

 If I don’t step out in faith and do whatever HE asks of me then I will grieve HIM.  When we know what we are supposed to do and we choose to not obey, we are being disobedient or rebellious. That is sin. Sin grieves The Holy Spirit. I don’t want to grieve him. Grief is a terrible feeling. I want my life to look radical, obedient, and for others to see Jesus when they look at me. {don’t let me fool ya…it is scary just typing that sentence out.}

That is a prayer that I have prayed for many years now. Some days I fail HIM. His mercy remains through it all.

Jesus suffered. Jesus was selfless. Jesus was a servant. So if you choose to pray the same prayer as me, remember what you are praying for and adjust your attitude accordingly. {because I sure have to adjust mine as well}

I long to walk in the path that HE has called me to. I know that HE is calling. He has used sisters in Christ to give me HIS message. There is really nothing more beautiful than being prayed over and feeling The Holy Spirit and hearing HIS message through the obedience of Godly women. 

It really is a true picture of just how much Jesus loves us. That HE cares enough to speak to us if we will just open ourselves up to it. It is a picture of grace and mercy and patience in the way that God will give you the SAME message from more than one person. How generous and patient my God is. He knows I’m a hardheaded soul. But HE loves me. He loves you too.

I’m stepping out of that box sister. You told me that I had to because God told you. I’m stepping out. Trusting HIM to hold my hand and the walls are torn down my sweet friends. Thank you for your obedience. God is so good.

FAITH >FEARS


REFLECTION

What about you?

Have any dreams?

Anything that you feel that you should be doing in order for God to receive the glory?

What’s stopping you?

Do you know Jesus and does HE know you?

Is it time to take that next step of faith?

Is your faith bigger than your fears? 


RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Luke 11:28 ~ Jesus replied. “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

 

Ephesians 3:20 ~ Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Hebrews 3:19 ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Until Next Time,

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Tuned Out and Tuned In

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Quiet. Unsettling. Different. I like it.

One week into the social media break and it’s funny how it came after my 31 Days of Being Present in Real Life series. The one that I purposely did NOT complete. Yeah. God does have a sense of humor.

So, here I am. Learning things about myself. Listening so much more to God. The noise is tuned out much better now. More “spiritual whitespace”. And while I am on that subject, I read a book by Bonnie Gray called Finding Spiritual Whitespace a few weeks ago. AH-MAZING. She is a beautiful soul, I can tell by her comments and sweet replies to my comments..It’s so neat how this internet works isn’t it? You can reach through the world-wide web and virtually meet people..but, I am digressing. That book was written from the depths of her soul. She writes so poetically and beautiful and from her heart.


 

I am learning what my version of “spiritual whitespace” looks like in comparison to God’s idea for me. I do want GOD. I want HIM more than the way I used to make time for HIM. I want GOD more than that mindless scrolling through a newsfeed that really  isn’t “news”. I want GOD more than likes or comments or replies or fame or fortune or knowing what everybody is doing. I want GOD more than I want me and more than my idea of wanting God looks like. Then and only then can I be completely at peace.

A soul one with GOD, with nothing in between, is a soul at peace. 

I am learning that obedience truly does lead to blessing. Even when obedience means cutting away some good things in your life. Even when it means removing for a short time something that isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing..just a distracting thing. Because GOD said so.

I am learning that even though I do have a good time of study in the Bible and a quiet time every morning, that God still requires more.

Because my idea of what is enough really isn’t enough at all.


 

I can look back over the past year or so and see where God is working and moving in my life and the life of my family and I am so excited to see what is next! Maybe a little scared too if I am honest. Maybe anxious is a better word. I just feel it in my bones and I am ready and I can’t wait to see what all God shows me and speaks to me through this time with HIM. Sweet time with my Savior and Lord. Tuned in to HIM.

I believe when GOD speaks we better listen. When GOD commands we had better obey. And that….

When GOD whispers, if the noise is too loud, I can’t hear HIM.

 


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

James 1:22 (NLT) ~ But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Romans 2:13 (NLT) ~ For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.


 REFLECTION

~ Is it too loud for me to be able to even hear God? Too much noise?

~ Do I really WANT GOD or just my idea of what wanting God looks like?

~ Am I willing to focus more on God than on other stuff?

~ Is God calling me to fast anything in order to hear HIM more clearly?


 

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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