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

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

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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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BEAUTIFUL GRACE

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

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

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

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

And it felt GOOD!
For a minute.

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

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


Then God…

Like almost immediately. HE gently nudged me.

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

He answered. I apologized and he offered grace.

 

Grace. Undeserved. Beautiful. Grace.

 

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

Grace. Forgiveness. Undeserved. Yet freely given.


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

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

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


REFLECTION

GRACE looks a whole lot like forgiveness.

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

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


Until Next Time,

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Welcome To My Monday Morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,

Heather

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

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

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When The Memories Hurt

It’s hard to share personal pieces of my life. There was a time when I was extremely private. I still am even though I share lots of my family and life moments through photos on social media. I share bits and pieces of myself with the world through this space here called Simple Truths. I share in hopes of reaching someone for Christ, and to let you know that you aren’t alone. With that being said, today I am sharing a piece of my heart with you. Raw. Real. Transparent. Not for pity. Only to let whoever needs to hear it know that they are not alone and that there IS HOPE. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the memories. Sometimes though, they hurt.

Like being punched in the gut. They hurt. Because, I don’t want them to just be MEMORIES. I want to still be making memories with my Daddy.

It’s very selfish. I know.

I should be happy to even have the memories, and I AM. They don’t always hurt. They bring me joy. They comfort me. BUT, sometimes the “wanting to make more memories” hurts.

I am learning to roll with the feelings as they come and go. Like waves in the ocean. I don’t fight them, I just make my way through them.

I have cried more in these past six months than I have my entire 40 years of life.

This is real life. This is a part of life that we can’t avoid. Death. Grief. Loss.

The emotions that come with them are normal as well.

As the holidays approach, the ones that I always spent with my daddy, I can’t predict how I will handle them. As some of you have been there and done that, you know what I mean.

When the memories hurt, I will try to choose joy. When the memories make me ache deep within, I will praise my LORD for the memories and that my Daddy is with HIM and I WILL see him again.

How? Because my Daddy knows Jesus and Jesus knows him. I know Jesus and Jesus knows me. That is how I KNOW that I will see my Daddy again. I know Jesus personally and I KNOW that HIS WORD is true.

John 3:36 ~ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

John 6:47 ~ Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

John 10:27,28 ~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

GOD is good all the time and ALL the time GOD IS GOOD. When the memories hurt, GOD is good. When we experience loss, GOD is good. When we don’t understand life, GOD is good. All the time.

Psalm 37:39 ~ The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

 

 

Until Next Time,

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This world, for followers of Christ, is a pit stop. Just passing through. Heaven is our home. We will face adversity and loss as well as lots of wonderful things on this earth. While we are here we are to bring glory to God and make disciples. Through the good times and also through the difficult times. 

Do you know my Jesus? Is he your Heavenly Father too? Do you think that you have to clean up your act first and then begin your relationship with Christ? You don’t. Jesus wants you just like you are. HE is the only way to heaven. He is the only ONE who can make you righteous. YOU can’t get righteous without HIM. He is the only ONE who can wash your sins as white as snow. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone. Life is short. No time like the present to KNOW that you KNOW Jesus and that HE knows you. Jesus is THE source of HOPE.

 

 

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Beach Trip
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Daddy visiting

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Tea Leaves AND Time

Tea leaves…Time…Laughter…Memories.

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The whole group

I’m normally a coffee drinker. Love my coffee. Every morning.

My momma, my daughters, and I are enjoying a girls trip. We are visiting my aunt and family in North Georgia. My aunt and cousin love to go to tea at the neatest little place. {Tea Leaves & Thyme}

So much fun! They even provide hats to wear! Of course, I HAD to wear a hat. {2 hats actually}

There’s something about getting away. Doing different things. Trying new experiences. It refreshes and renews your soul.

My sweet aunt purchased my first tea-cup and saucer at an antique shop today. I let my girls pick the cup and saucer that they wanted so that we can have our own tea parties at home. {whether they like it or not} 🙂

Being present looks different on each day. Today it looked like a tea party. Tomorrow, who knows. I plan on BEING PRESENT whatever the day brings our way.

Time is a gift. Time is valuable. When it’s here it’s here and when it’s gone it’s gone. Spend it wisely.

Until Next Time,

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sisters…that’s a chocolate cherry “mouse”

 

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Me having Peach and Flowers tea in hat #2.
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Tea party in hat #1.
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Tea party with my daughters.
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Momma and Jillian

 

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My tea-pot and Aunt Lori’s tea-pot..Rock sugar in the background.
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Our antique tea cups and saucers for future tea parties.

 

Fun facts about Tea and Tea Parties:

Tea is a natural antioxidant, and rich in vitamins and contains vitamins B2, B1 and B6.

Tea is also rich in potassium, manganese, folic acid and calcium.

At 11 o’clock in the morning, to stay alert, in England it’s common to take a break with a cup of tea and some cakes: Elevenses is what they call it. Before dinner, however, you can take ‘high tea’: a kind of reinforced snack.

There are many different kinds of tea, but they are all derived from just one plant: Camellia sinensis. The color and variety of the tea (green, black, white, oolong) depends, however, on the way the leaves are treated.

Tea bags were invented in America in the early 1800s, and were initially used to hold samples of teas brought from India. Today, 96% of all cups of tea served around the world were made using teabags.

The first tea used in England came from Dutch sources between 1652 and 1654. When Charles II of England married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, she introduced the pleasures of tea drinking to the English Court.

 

 

Missed Blessings

That nudge I get, the one that I can’t ignore, that’s The Holy Spirit. My JESUS living in me. Convicting. Pushing. Nudging. HIS presence.

Every single time that I obey whatever it is that God lays on my heart, I am blessed.

Usually the obedience is preceded with an uncomfortable feeling of SELF fighting with The Holy Spirit.

I.E. : “you should really go say something.” “But they will think that I am weird.” “What if they reject me?” “I’m probably just imagining that God is telling me to go.” Combined with a nervous feeling in my stomach. Accompanied by my heart pounding.

Do I go? Do I ignore it?

Sometimes I respond in obedience. Sometimes I ignore the feeling.

All I know is this, when I don’t obey I miss a blessing.

Being Present In REAL LIFE
Being Present
In REAL LIFE

Here is an instance where I listened to the prompting from The Holy Spirit and received a blessing… Read this post for the story.

Just recently I felt God nudge me to go pray with someone { in front of other people}. I just couldn’t ignore that still small voice telling me to go pray with this person. Afterwards, she thanked me several times. She said that she had been praying about some physical pain that she had been experiencing. I had no clue what I was praying for when praying with her. She said that when I touched her shoulder and held her hand that she felt a rush of heat. I didn’t feel that. My hand felt very sweaty afterwards. If she hadn’t told me this I wouldn’t have known. It was ALL GOD. Not me. I tell you this as a testimony to how God uses us as his vessels if HE so chooses, when we are obedient to HIM.I told her that it was God who led me to pray with her. All glory to GOD. The same power that conquered the grave lives in you if you are a child of God, and HE lives in me.

You may not believe me. Trust me, even I was skeptical at first. Then I remembered the verse below.. WHY SHOULD I DOUBT MY GOD AND HIS ABILITY ?! 

 

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) ~ 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.

Being obedient just feels right. The blessing of joy and peace follows.

I’m sure you have your own stories of how obedience led to a blessing for you or someone you know. Share them. By sharing your testimonies you point to GOD and bring glory to God. Share them here in the comments or wherever…but share them.

{This is Day 13 of the 31 Days of Writing challenge. If you would like to see the other posts in the series, click here.}

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.

Without JESUS

I’ve found that with grief comes moodiness. Some days I’m more irritable than others. Some parts of the day I’m “ok” and at other moments I’m not.

Not many people see those sides of my grief. Or if they do, I don’t even realize it.

Truth is, I don’t know when the low moments will occur. Anything can trigger them. They may last 5 minutes. They may last 5 hours.

I’m learning that it’s part of the process. Riding the waves of grief. Learning to swim in it. Getting better at holding my head above the waters so that I don’t drown in it.

If I drown in it then I’m not shining Jesus like I should.

As the saying goes: “My lifeguard walks on water.”

I’m so thankful for this TRUTH.

Without JESUS I’d surely drown in grief.

I don’t share these truths for pity. I share them so you’ll know that you are not alone. Everyone will experience their own losses.

We are all appointed once to die. Eternal life is a gift promised to all who believe and call upon The Lord to be saved.

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NIV)

That’s where my hope rests.
That’s where my source of peace is found.
JESUS.

Without JESUS I’d have no hope.
Without JESUS I’d have no peace.

Grief is real. You never “get over” the loss of those you were closest to. You just don’t. Nor should you. They are a part of you. You just learn to swim in the ocean of grief. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes the water is choppy. You just learn to navigate through and soon it becomes your new normal.

With JESUS it is possible to smile through the tears and shine through the rain.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8, 9 NIV)

Believe me. It’s true. But only WITH JESUS.

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

Striving to SHINE,

Heather

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