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,

To The Little Girl

To the little girl in the photo:

Life will give you many twists and turns. The ride will sometimes be smooth and other times will be bumpy. You will face things that you never expected. You’ll learn that not everyone is who they appear. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll scream. You’ll stand up and stand firm. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You’ll be shown mercy. Lots of it. God will be the one constant. He will be the only ONE who will never let you down. He’s the only ONE capable of that for anyone. You will face fears and you’ll face things that some will never know about. You’ll love big. You will be blessed so much. God will give you so many gifts. Life will reveal things that you never imagined. You will realize again and again that you are never the ONE that is in control. You will have moments of frustration. You will experience depression and anxiety. You will think it’s a secret to keep. You will speak up and be transparent. You will realize that life throws the twists and turns and that sometimes you will struggle. You’ll speak up and be bold. You will share pieces of your testimony at the right times. The times that God leads you to do so. You’ll share your struggles because you know the things you experience can help someone else. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll soar. You’ll fly. You will struggle with the deep thoughts and you’ll keep sharing. This is why you are here. Little girl. You keep going. Keep striving. Keep leaning. Keep standing. Your FATHER is always by your side.

Love,

Me

The Space Between

That space between Before & After.

That sliver of time between the unknown and the now known.

That tiny AND between the here and now. It’s profound what that AND holds.

It’s the moment between what you didn’t know and what you know now. It’s the moment between your life before a discovery and the life after the discovery. It’s the space between. The door that is separating the “life as I knew it” and “life as I know it”.

That tiny space between that we are clueless to what is going to happen next. It can be a great place and a place of anxiety.

The only thing that makes the “space between” bearable in this life is Jesus.

He has to be what we rest in and hope in and trust in, or that space between will be the robber of our joy and the source of our anxiety. And rightly so.

We can either trudge in our fears and anxiety in that space between or we can rest in Him. Rest sounds much more peaceful than trudging. Trudging makes me think of being stuck in mud and unable to walk easily through. I’ve been in both places. I’ve wished for the before while in the after.

What will you do in that space between the before and the after? Will you trust and rest or will you trudge and falter? I’m known to do both. One works much better than the other. Praising God that He is not finished with me yet and that he promises to continue to work on me.

I pray that you find rest and peace in the spaces between. I pray that you choose Joy and find Joy in those spaces between.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I wonder, why do we not believe Him?

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

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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Tuned Out and Tuned In

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

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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