HOPE ~ My One Word 2019

For many years I have prayed, contemplated, and waited each “beginning” of each year for MY WORD. The word He wants me to focus on in order to be in His will. His will is the only place that I ever feel peace.

This last year I’ve grown, changed, and learned. I have discovered things and pondered things. Life is always changing. That’s the only thing other than salvation that’s guaranteed on this side of heaven.

I truly believe that through my Pastor’s message this morning that I felt clearly the word I need to focus on.

HOPE – I need to believe that the BEST is yet to come.

I need to let the things GO that I’m allowing to make me bitter. Bitter or Better. It’s a choice.

I need to remember that all of my life has led up to this point. Everything I’ve learned, discovered, been through will help me where I’m going. As long as I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Hope.

One Word.

Multiple ways to describe it.

Hope. Anticipation. Belief.

Faith is necessary.

I must believe that the best is yet to come.

This one word…. HOPE, it forces me to let go of the hurts and fears and bitterness and look forward to the BEST.

You see, the WORD of God never fails. It never will fail. (See Luke 1:37 NLT) With God, nothing is impossible.

#oneword

Seeking Him,

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,

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

 

The ME God Sees

Nya didn't think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.
Nya didn’t think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.

When did I grow up? I’m pretty sure that I still think I’m like 20 something. Until I look in the mirror. Or wake up with an ache. Or somebody that must be not much younger than me says “Mrs. Heather” or “yes ma’am.” Maybe it’s because in my 40s (41 to be exact), I’m learning to like me. Learning to slow down. Learning to breathe.

Maybe it’s because 41 is honestly better feeling than 25 or 29 or even 35. I’m okay with the bad hair days. I’m okay with the lines .. Well, I’m better than I was at 38 about them. I’m good with whatever you think of me now. More so than I was in my 20s or 30s. I have gained wisdom and life experiences by the grace of God. I’m realizing the beauty of God’s love. I have experienced HIS grace and that is beautiful. I have experienced raw grief and felt HIS LOVE so strong. A love that truly did and does the same for me as HE did for David in the Psalms. A love that lifts me out of the miry pit. A love that restores, renews, and refreshes.

I’m learning to love me because Jesus does.

It’s a process. Learning to embrace ME. The ME God sees.   I mean think about it. {Insert yourself into the ME statements.}

JESUS knows me. The REAL me. AND. HE still loves me!

How awesome is that?!?! Pretty awesome if you ask me. I mean come on. I know I am hard to love at times. Aren’t we all? You know what? That same love that HE has for me, HE has for you. He loves you, the real you, the you that HE created you to be.

He loves you just the way that you are. You don’t have to get all fixed up in order to impress HIM. He made you. God knows exactly what you are capable of through JESUS. In fact, you can’t fix yourself up in your own strength without him. He already knows every single thing about you. AND He loves you still.

His love is deep. His love is wide. His love is grace-filled. Grace upon grace upon even more grace. His love never ends. His love never fails. His love never runs out. His mercies are abundant. He loves you and me more than we could ever even fathom. It is a miraculous love. A true love. A love without borders. One that cannot be matched by any other.

  If you are feeling sad or unworthy or unloved, think for a moment about “The ME GOD sees”. Stop focusing on the negative. And then, believe that YOU are worth it.

You ARE loved. (Read that again.)

20121214-205458.jpg HE loved you so much that HE willingly went to the cross. For you and for me.

It says that even in our sins, he loved us.

Enough so that he let them wrongly accuse him, mock him, call him names, beat him, spit on him, strip him of his clothes, publicly humiliate him,make him carry a heavy cross, hammer very large nails into his body, and hang him up on that cross.

Then, those moments of complete separation from God the Father before he died. ( You can read about it in Matthew 26 and Matthew 27) And then…oh praise GOD! Three days later HE AROSE! HE IS RISEN. HE lives. HE loves, and HE will come again.

But that’s not all. HE didn’t just go to HEAVEN and leave us. HE lives in each one who follows him and believes in HIM. Sound like a fairy-tale? It’s not. The love of JESUS is evident in those who are HIS. In those who are surrendered to HIM. (John 14:1-4,6 see below in Relevant Scripture)

Through HIM alone, we are able to love others. God is love. Period.

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                                    REFLECTION

Oh friends, I have to ask…

DO you know HIM? Does HE know YOU?

We aren’t promised the next breath..much less, tomorrow. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, what are you waiting for? I don’t care what you have been told or led to believe. JESUS CHRIST loves you and desires a real relationship with you. It isn’t complicated. If HE is whispering to you..If you feel a pull or a curiosity and want to know more, please don’t wait. There is freedom and peace and a joy like you have never known that can only be found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that you aren’t worthy of the love that Jesus so freely offers you.

He loves you. God sees you. He sees the YOU that HE created.

To my friends who do know HIM:

Are you living like you believe that HE LOVES YOU? He does.

The ME (you) God sees. That ME (you) is loved. Treasured. Precious. Worthy. 

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                              RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 14:1-4 (NIV) ~ “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:6 (NIV) ~ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV) ~ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Psalm 40:2 (NLT) ~ He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

1 John 4:19 (NLT) ~ We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:8 (NLT) ~ But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


LINKING UP with 3-D Lessons for Life on Thought-Provoking Thursday

Until Next Time,

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The Harvest IS Plentiful

I don’t know about you, but for me, normally when I can’t stand the place I am visiting, I don’t ever want to go back.

Like ever.

For those who don’t know, my family went on a mission trip to New Orleans this summer. People warned me of the smells, and even the fluids that were commonly found on the sidewalks. They warned me of the darkness that seemed to hang over you like a cloud. They hinted at the free-spirited living. The smells didn’t bother me as much as I thought. And I have a sensitive smeller. No, it was the sights that broke my heart.

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From the countless homeless people to the small children roaming the streets, things were different just a few hours away from home sweet home. It didn’t take going thousands of miles away or even crossing oceans to do mission work. I didn’t even have to learn another language. Well, maybe I did. Maybe the new language was to See The Unseen with different eyes. Hearing their stories. Taking time to care. Hold a hand. Say a prayer. Give out a water bottle and a snack. Maybe that is a language. A love language.

Matthew 25:35 (NIV) ~ For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) ~ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

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Our team worked together so well. It was a God thing. He definitely put us together. It was a beautiful experience. One that forever changed me. The person that doesn’t need people around. The person that tends to be a loner. The introvert. I learned that community is so very vital. When one falls down…the other helps him up. You know that verse. It is so true.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT) ~ If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

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They say that once you go on a mission trip that you get the fever to keep going back. After a solid week of staying in a room with our team of girls and then a whole lot of girls that we did not know, and sharing 2 showers with them and their hair, I was ready to get home. I know that sounds spoiled. Remember my sensitive nose? Smells? Let’s just say Praise Jesus that my buddy had one of those laundry detergent pods. I slept with it on the middle bunk one night. Somebody above me from the other group drank too much water or something before bed, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Praise Jesus for detergent pods and smell good thingamajiggers.

I was so blessed by every single experience that God allowed on the NOLA recon team UNSEEN trip. Yes, even the yucky ones taught me something. Come on, if Jesus traveled from place to place and slept wherever he had to, so could I for one single week. At least we had a bed. Some of the UNSEEN slept on the concrete. Every single night. When I was tempted to complain, I quickly reminded myself of this. So spoiled and so blessed. I don’t deserve anything I have. That woman, that mother, she could very easily be me.

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Then there was Bourbon Street. The Midnight Outreach through The Dream Center reaches out to the women who work in the strip clubs, and the owners and bouncers as well. Whew. Only a few of us went on this mission. Let me clarify that our team stayed out of the clubs, but what we saw on the street was plenty. I only lasted through the orientation and about 30 minutes on the street. At first I felt like a quitter. But then, I accepted that I was obedient to go and I was obedient to bow out when God led me to leave.

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I saw what he wanted me to see. No more. No less. I saw women who had to get all drugged up and drunk to even be able to work. I saw families walking through the street with small children. Children exposed to nudity, sexual innuendo, alcohol, and all of the people who support it. I saw a young boy playing a drum on the sidewalk..on BOURBON Street. Where was his momma? Maybe across the street working in one of the clubs. Maybe standing half naked in the window as if she were for sale. Wait, she was. There were the men working the doors and trying to entice people to come in to their business. There was the man coming out of the strip club and the dancer coming out after him, clearly completely strung out. She would have to be I’m sure of it. She’s a person. With feelings.

Forever changed.

My eyes were opened. I saw the teenage girls talking to the bouncer and then walking in to the strip club. Were they runaways? Were they looking for a job? Did they know that they were about to be forever changed by their choices?

I’m not a crier by nature. I tend to hold it in. Cry in private. Act tough in public.

My tears came like floodwaters escaping through a breached dam. I couldn’t contain the emotions welling up within me. I can only explain it like this: The Holy Spirit within was broken…Jesus in me..I felt what HE must feel when seeing sin. Complete and utter grief. I know what grief feels like. I recently lost my Daddy. These were tears of grief. Heartache for those girls and women. Heartache for the people who treated other people like merchandise. MERCHANDISE! It shouldn’t be so.

Story after story I could share with you. God blessed me so much by allowing me to be a part of that trip. As much as I was ready to get home to Georgia, and even though I told my husband and friends that I had no desire to ever and I mean EVER go back to NOLA, guess what I miss? I miss NOLA. I miss being on that mission trip. Even though I had to wear flip flops in the shower and sleep with a smell good thingy, I miss it.

I don’t know where God will call my family to serve next. We are going to be obedient though. Obedience truly leads to blessing. I can’t wait to serve wherever HE leads us to serve.

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The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few… I promise you, the HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL. Every act of service is important. Don’t think that you can’t do anything because of age or a handicap or even because of finances. Can you pray? That is mission work too!

Matthew 9:37 (NIV) ~ Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

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The mission field is not just overseas. The mission field is in your home, your work, your school, your neighborhood. If you can’t go out of town, don’t use that as an excuse to not serve. Everyone who is a child of God, an authentic believer and follower of CHRIST, is called to serve. I pray that I never forget those whom I met and the stories that I heard while on the New Orleans trip. Even though the stories aren’t always beautiful, there is beauty in remembering the stories.

I leave you with a few questions:

1~ Is there something that I am ignoring and that I need to be obedient to God and respond about in regards to serving?

2~ Is there sin in my life that I need to come clean about? Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

3~ Am I being faithful to God with the gifts that HE has blessed me with? Am I hoarding my talents instead of using them to SHINE Jesus?

4~ Am I expecting everyone else to serve while I sit on the sidelines and cheer?

{If I can pray for you about any of the above questions, please feel free to respond. I would love to pray for you and help you or guide you to someone who can help you.}

Until Next Time,

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Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

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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