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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Time Doesn’t Stop For Anyone

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15 ESV)

When I knew my Daddy was definitely dying, (I believe he had coded 2 or 3 times by this point) as we all surrounded him in the hospital, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “Zippity Doo Dah” in his left ear. (He used to sing the last one loudly around the house when I was a little girl) .. Softly, as I rubbed his hair and gave him kisses and cried, because I wanted to comfort him and for him to not be afraid; because he was always my comforter. Even though rationally I knew that Daddy was already being held by Jesus.

After the 4th code blue, we knew we had to let him go. He was already gone. Shock was among the emotions I first felt, and denial and anger and overwhelming grief and heart ache.

Heart Ache. Literal aching.

Losing my hero and the first man I ever loved was a change that I wasn’t ready to make and would have never been ready to make. I learned some things about myself while watching my Daddy die. I learned that when choosing fight or flight mode in an awful tragedy that I stand and fight.. Like my daddy. That when someone I love most is in danger that I will stand and fight.

I learned that by God’s grace I can face loss and not be alone. That GOD truly supplies all of my needs. I learned that grief cannot be stopped at a certain time no matter what anyone says or what I’ve ever said to anyone about not staying stuck in a phase of grief. There are no time limits.. Every loss is different.

My daddy and I shared a special bond, and at age 40 I was still Daddy’s little girl. I felt like part of my heart went to heaven with him. Only someone who has had the exact relationship as I did with my Daddy or a similar one will understand.

My mother’s loss is different than mine. My brothers and sister and the children each are experiencing their own loss. Every person who’s life was touched by a loss experiences their own grief. Grief is different for everyone.

When it was over, I asked “is that it? Is he gone?” Just like that.. Everything changed. One breath to the next.

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I knew he was gone was: “what happens when your Daddy dies and you were Daddy’s little girl? Are you still Daddy’s little girl?”

And the answer to that is: “ABSOLUTELY”

Whatever any of us were before in relation to any loss, doesn’t get deleted like a file on a computer just because they no longer walk on this earth with us.

I say all of this to share with you that time doesn’t stop for anyone. You think you will have tomorrow to handle things or to say hello or to go visit. You think that because yesterday you had tomorrow that today you will too. Think again. Nobody is promised tomorrow.

But even though I never went more than a week without seeing my Daddy, I still wish I had visited more. Like one of my brother’s said: “no matter what, we would always want one more time.” One more visit, one more hug, one more “I Love You.”

It’s been 3 weeks, and if you see my family and we are smiling or laughing, it’s not because we are over it. No, we smile because we know Daddy is with Jesus. We smile because God is providing strength and peace because of HIS love and grace and mercy. Undeserved.. But freely given.

My family and I are truly grateful for the love shown to us by so many friends and family members. We are so rich in family and friends. Gifts from God. That peace.. That strength.. Gifts from God.

All men are destined to die once. For authentic believers, that death leads to eternal life. That’s where my hope lies.. That’s where my comfort rests. You, too, can have that hope and peace and assurance as well, if you don’t already. It comes from trusting in Jesus and following HIM.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, (Hebrews 9:27a ESV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Until Next Time,

~ Heather

I Hear You God

I recently spoke at a “Girl’s Night Out” event that was held at  Redland Baptist. Not because I am a “speaker”, but because of a youth director’s obedience to God and because I knew that when she asked me to do this that it was definitely God wanting me to. Like I said, I am NOT a speaker by nature. I’m a writer. I was totally relating to Moses…the Moses who said “I’m not eloquent of speech..please send somebody else.” (paraphrased from Exodus 4:10 and also from Exodus 4:13)

However, God had been whispering to me that one day I would be “up there speaking and bringing HIS message”. HAHA! I of course replied with: “who? ME? Pshhhh. No. Thank. You.” When I was asked to do this, I immediately said out loud, to God : “I hear you God. You told me.” 

That’s not all I said either. Hahaha! You could say that I was scared to death. Not about speaking in front of people. Not about looking stupid. Not even about the fact that my audience was to be teen girls. Well, yeah, that WAS a bit unnerving. I was so afraid that I would mess up HIS message.

Anybody relate?

This was a FIRST for me. Sure I had taught sunday school, sang solos when I was a teen, led Women’s Bible studies, and put myself out there for HIS glory by writing and blogging. BUT…giving a message to a group of impressionable teen girls, from the pulpit, like for real, this was a FIRST.

I learned through this experience that GOD is so faithful. He provides. HE provided prayer warriors, friends and family who lifted me up and interceded on my behalf, time  to prepare for this day, and HE provided the message. God provided the girls to be there and for their hearts to receive it! God provided the music that fit perfectly with HIS message. HE provided!

(Oh, and I also learned that a 20 minute message can turn into a 40 minute message real fast. LOL)

Hearts were changed and touched that night. Mine included. There is nothing more beautiful than to see girls at the altar, praying alone, praying together, lifting their voices in song.  And honestly the most beautiful thing was to see the love that their youth pastors and leaders and volunteers have for them.

God speaks to us. We just have to listen.

Obedience and Surrender are scary sometimes.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary.

What’s even scarier is DISOBEDIENCE.

I am so very thankful that everyone involved was obedient. Obedience leads to blessing. I was definitely blessed by bringing HIS message to those precious girls. I was definitely blessed by their response to HIM.

Wanna hear something funny? Now I can’t wait for another opportunity to bring whatever message God wants to whatever audience HE wants. I am not afraid anymore. I know that MY GOD provides. I am actually praying for opportunities because honestly, my heart’s desire is for others to know Jesus and know that HIS grace really is enough.

I will be sharing the message (that I shared with them) with you all on the next blog post. I’d love for you to tune in and check it out!

I leave you with these questions:

Are you listening to God?

  Are you being obedient or are you trying to tune HIM out?

Joshua 22:5 ~ “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

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.

  

Some Days are Hard

SHORT and SWEET SIMPLE TRUTHS

 

Some days ARE harder than others. Harder to choose joy. Harder to be patient. Harder to believe that things will get better.

ROMANS 12:12 ~ Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

I don’t know about you, but on those days, I’m even more heaven ready.

That’s where the “joyful in hope” comes in.

There is a peace that comes with knowing that this earth is not my permanent dwelling place. That HEAVEN is my permanent home and that is only because I know my Jesus and my Jesus knows me.

Do you have that assurance? That joy that only comes through knowing Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord.

Here’s the thing… What separates the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls… How well we shine Jesus when the days are hard.

What makes us think that we are so special? What makes us think that we should be exempt from the HARD DAYS? Jesus wasn’t.

The term “CHRISTIAN” means little Christs.. Like Christ.

Let me ask you this…

Did Jesus suffer?

Did Jesus have some HARD DAYS?

You better believe HE DID.

Way more than any of us. And.. Here’s the kicker, HE SUFFERED ON PURPOSE and FOR A PURPOSE.

Isaiah 53 tells us of the suffering and the glory of Jesus. Please take a moment and read the whole chapter..it’s only 12 verses.

Isaiah 53:3 ~ He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:5 ~ But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

So… When Some Days are Hard... I’m going to remind myself that any of my seemingly tough times don’t even compare to what Jesus willingly suffered for me.

 

Until Next Time,

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Don’t Be A Blessing Robber

 

Photo: HDawkins
Copyright 2013

 

There are times when we least expect it that GOD reaches out and loves on us. We don’t deserve it, none of us do, but HE freely gives us HIS LOVE. I don’t know why it still shocks me sometimes…

My FATHER GOD, HE loves me! So much that HE speaks to me in a language that touches my soul. Through the obedience of a friend that HE gave me..even though we have never met in person. As she said, ” Jesus is KOOL like that.”

Right at the moment when I needed it most, my friend sent me this poem that she wrote…right then… For ME. She said that the words kept coming and she stopped what she was doing and had to type them out. She said that she knew that I had to see it right then. That’s obedience friends! That’s using her gift to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Here is her original work.. She’s a published author.. A talented poet:

To see the truth!!

Oh how some see it!
That look in your eyes!
That feeling of hurt!
That you try to disguise!

The smile you send!
To hide those tears!
The laughter you give!
To fight your fears!

Just be yourself!
For you are loved!
Your healing will come!
From Jesus above!

Despite feeling weak!
You are very strong!
Jesus will help you!
Find where you belong!

Your heart was broken!
Your life has been a mess!
Jesus is healing!
You are beautifully blessed!

Copyright 2013
Jeanie Burkett

Still completely blown away by how my Jesus cares. Time AND Time again. HE is SO GOOD!

My life is blessed. Even in the messy times. Even when times are tough. Aren’t we all a mess sometimes? My life IS blessed. Even on days that I feel weak, HIS SPIRIT IS STRONG IN ME. All of us have fears and All of us hurt at times.

 

Maybe this poem is for you, too. I have a feeling I’m not the only one that ever feels weak or smiles through the struggles, or has yuck days.

 

There IS HEALING in JESUS!

James 5:16 (NLT) ~ Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Amen!

 

God uses us… HIS children, to speak to others and to serve others with whatever spiritual gifts HE has gifted us with. It’s the Holy Spirit using our bodies and the talents that HE enables us with, to BLESS others and to in turn BRING HIM GLORY.

Romans 11:36 (NLT) ~ For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

 

I pray that you don’t refuse the gifts that HE has given you. That’s saying NO to God. That’s refusing to let God love others through you. That’s robbing others of a blessing. I’ve been guilty of that as well. I’d bet that most of us have.

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) ~ God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

My hope in sharing this with you is for you to reflect on times when God blessed you through the obedience of someone. Then, I hope you will remember how you felt and use your ears to listen for when God wants you to obediently serve someone else with your gift.

Blessings to YOU!

 

Humbly HIS,

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When You Are Hurting

by: Heather Dawkins Mt. CrossPointe (future home of CrossPointe Church)

by: Heather Dawkins

I wish I could give a simple answer. An AHA!! type of  answer..that could make things make sense to people who are hurting.

 

I can’t.

 

I can only point the hurting to the ONE who heals all hurt. In HIS time..in HIS way. The ONE who promises to never leave us. The ONE who gives wisdom and knowledge to all who ask.

 

I can tell them that I don’t understand. I can be real and honest. I can give all that I can..but nothing more. God is the only ONE who can heal our hurts. Dry our tears. Bring us REAL joy. God is the only ONE who is not capable of letting us down.

 

I can share how I have found comfort during times of struggle.

 

Prayer. Studying..reading..digging deep into God’s Word. Asking for fellow sisters and brothers in Christ to pray. 

 

Romans 15:4 (ESV) ~ For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 

 

When health is bad. When times are tough financially. When precious children leave this earth too soon. When tragedy strikes all around. When our hearts are breaking because of hatred, murder, death, and our own selves that we battle. GOD is the answer. Not people.

 

The ONE who also wept. HE cares.

The ONE who suffered loss. HE cares.

The one who was spat upon and beaten. HE cares.

He suffered willingly. THAT IS HOW MUCH HE CARES.

 

Even though this world brings heartbreak sometimes… We can cling to the promise that THIS WORLD is NOT our home. We are strangers…just passing through. Heaven bound. If Jesus knows you. AND that’s a promise. A SIMPLE TRUTH…. That the troubles in this world are momentary..

 

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) ~ When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

 

Until Next Time,

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Psssssstttt: In case you didn’t know.. I have written several other posts about struggles, etc..

Click here for another.

Even When

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Even when…things are falling apart, God is still God. HE remains sovereign. HE is always good, and only capable of LOVE.

 

Even when…things fall and break into tiny pieces…like one of my favorite coffee mugs did this morning..it’s not the end of the world.

 

God knows all. HE is in control of ALL. HE is over ALL.

 

When friendships or any relationships shatter, He is still God.

 

When tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis occur, He is still God.

 

When we find ourselves hanging on by a thread financially or emotionally… HE. IS. STILL. GOD.

 

This earth will pass away. But, with GOD there is the promise of a better place…and it is FOREVER.

 

The things of this earth are temporary. The problems AND the good things….they are all only for a moment. AND…we cannot get stuck and bogged down with the trivial things. We MUST think on things above (heaven). We MUST be thankful..and we have got to be in The WORD. That is the recipe for true peace. It is really quite simple. It is FAITH. It is TRUSTING GOD and the promises that are found in HIS Word.

 

 Psalm 119:143,144 ~ As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so that I may live.

 

Even when you feel like everything is falling apart. And you WILL feel this way at some point or another in your lifetime. If you are really honest…you will feel this way more than once or twice. Even then….you can REALLY LIVE. You can have peace. You can experience joy…even when things break, shatter, and fall apart all around. True peace only comes from Jesus.

 

 Philippians 4:6,7 ~ Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand, His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

Just remember that you aren’t alone..and there is comfort found in The Bible..His Word is alive

 

 Even when you don’t feel like it…set your sights on the realities of heaven..

 

Colossians 3:1-3 ~ Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

 

That is truth. Rest in that….

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

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HER TESTIMONY

No spirit of fear here!

No spirit of fear here!

Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength.

Isaiah 40:31 ~ but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 34:4 ~ I sought The Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

I have something really amazing to share with you today!

I have just returned from an awesome weekend retreat with 60 something women. We feasted on HIS Word and lives were changed! I am so blessed by new friendships made and old friendships being strengthened. GOD is GOOD!

The story that I am sharing today, is not my own. I asked this sweet woman if she would allow me to share it. Why? Because….I want you all to see that there is POWER in prayer and that FEAR has no hold on you when you fully trust God. THIS IS HER TESTIMONY..all glory to GOD. ALL GLORY TO GOD!!

Thank you, Tawanna, for allowing me to share your story…I love you and I am so very proud of you!

In her words:

The Bridge

Every year, our church holds a women’s retreat at Epwroth by the Sea on St. Simon’s island. The retreat has been a blessing to me and my family because every year, I leave something on the island, and bring home something new that I have learned about the goodness and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to this yearly ritual that we have come to have where we spend the weekend in fellowship and worship. We sang, we prayed, we danced, we laughed, we cried. Trying to put the weekend into words is a bit challenging but if I had to chose one word, I would chose the word blessed because that is how I feel every time I am on that island.

The one struggle that I have is crossing that bridge that connects the island to the actual town. The first year that we went, I was riding with 2 of my dearest friends. As we started to near the bridge I looked to my left and at first I didn’t know that it was an actual bridge. From a distance, it looked like a big building, I thought to myself and said out loud, “Hey guys, check out that bridge. The blue is so beautiful it almost looks like the color of the sky. As we got closer to the turn my friend in the back said, “That’s not a building it’s a bridge.” As I burst into laughter, I told my friends that I was so glad that we wouldn’t be going over that contraption. I then started to laugh and make comments about the courageous people that went over it daily and I started to thank God that we were not amongst them. The more I talked the more my friends became quiet. They had no idea that I had a fear of bridges, being over water, and certain high places. As I am talking and laughing and talking and laughing, I realized that the turn that I was making towards the left, led me right towards that bridge. Well I started to yell and scream and panic. I started to drive in the middle two lanes, so the people behind me and the people that were trying to come down on the opposite lane, had to merge into one lane. As they honked their horns and yelled at me, and some made obscene gestures and said obscene things, I panicked even more started yelling back and telling everyone that I am on a retreat and that they cannot yell at me. You see I was like Peter in Matthew 14:29. We were all doing fine as we were driving and God was leading us, but I took my eyes off Jesus and started to let fear abide in me. This caused me to panic and to start driving in the middle of the bridge.

On the very last day of the retreat, our beautiful pastor’s wife Lanelle Rogers, asked that the ladies of the retreat pray for and with me, that I may conquer my fear and successfully cross that bridge. I crossed it, but I wasn’t trusting God. I allowed my friend to drive while I sat in the backseat sobbing with a huge sweater wrapped around my head. I placed the garment over my head as soon as we left Epworth by the Sea and did not take it off until I was told that we were well across the bridge. I didn’t want to see what was going. That weekend I had learned so much and was filled with so much love for Christ but I still was not trusting in him.

This year I was blessed to go back. I was so excited that I was able to attend. I asked my girlfriend and fellow sister in Christ Kim Wade to drive as I started to speak fear into my life. I told her that I just knew that I wouldn’t not make it on my own and made her drive. We had agreed that I would sleep the entire way there, and I had gotten up at 2am that morning so that I would be tired and would want to sleep. Kim and I have not seen each other in months so we did what ladies do best. We talked, and talked, and talked. Before we knew it, my phone rang and it was the member of the church that we were following, Lisa Colburn. She called and said that we were approaching the bridge and that she wanted to warn me because she knows of my fears.

We were approximately 5 minutes away and I allowed fear to take over my body. As we crossed the bridge I pulled my shirt over my head and started to scream and holler. The more I hollered the more I panicked. I started to hyperventilate and then before I knew it I was unable to breathe. In the midst of me trying to catch my breath, I became nausea. I closed my eyes, open the car door (not knowing that we were going 55 mph) and started to vomit until my stomach was empty.

I then spent the first night of the retreat staying up until 2am trying to find alternate routes off of the island so that I could avoid the bridge on the way home. While staying up I missed the fellowship that was going on downstairs right beneath me and later discovered that there was only one way off of the island, and it was over that bridge.

This weekend we learned how to abide in God and to allow Him to abide in us. I really paid close attention to the messages that were brought, the testimonies that were shared and on the last morning, once again, my sisters in Christ wrapped their hands around me, surrounded me and prayed on me and for me. Prior to leaving God sent an angel in the form of Heather Dawkins. As she hugged me she prayed for me and that I would not only make it over the bridge, but that I would open my eyes and look at the beauty that God has created all around me. As she prayed, I thought to myself, “how could I be afraid of God’s beauty?” It was then that I started to think about the bridge and what it represented. That bridge and my fear of it, represented the chains that had me in bondage. I then wrote down things that had me in bondage on several slips of paper and folded them into little pieces. As my friend and I crossed the bridge, I cracked the window. Although nervous in the beginning, I started to quote the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7, for God did not give us the spirit of fear. And I just kept reciting that scripture as I threw the slips of paper out of the window. When I looked at both sides of the bridge, I became humbled by the beauty that surrounded me, and how awesome God’s works are. That bridge no longer represents my fears, but the relationship that I have with Christ as his daughter. I am set free, no longer bound, no more chains holding me.

2 Timothy 1:7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

WOW!!! Isn’t GOD good!!!!???!!!! So many people were praying for Tawanna…and they never ceased to pray and care… The BODY of Christ lifted her up…and allowed God to use them in her life. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell Tawanna what you thought of her awesome testimony…and share it with others..so that GOD can receive the glory that HE so deserves. 🙂

Until Next Time,

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Just Passing Through

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalms 34:18 NLT)

There are things in this world that happen, that I’ll never understand. I won’t claim to understand.

This I know, My Savior.. My Redeemer, is GOOD.

The truth is that this world that we live in is broken and sinful. So much so, that God sent His one and Only Son, JesusImmanuel.. To save us.

John 3:16,17 ~ “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Jesus means, The Lord Saves.

Immanuel means, God With Us.

When trials come.. And they will…

When circumstances are sometimes awful.. And that’s a guarantee…

When bad things happen to good and innocent people and children, we can rest in the fact that this is NOT our home. If you know Jesus, and most importantly, if HE knows you… This broken and sin-filled world is only temporary. Our real home is HEAVEN.

John 16:33 ~ “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

While we are here though… Let’s live right. As my father in law shared at Granny Shiver’s funeral; When asked if she had any advice for us on living our lives.. She said : “Just Do Right..Do right.”

That’s pretty good advice if you ask me.

Just do right. Just forgive. Just live. Just let bygones be bygones. Hold the ones you love close. Tell them you love them.. Show them that you love them with actions. And.. JUST DO RIGHT.

Even when you don’t understand the why’s… Just Do Right.

And remember… We are just passing through. There’s two final destinations.. Heaven or Hell. Although those are great words of advice.. “Just Do Right” won’t get you to Heaven. Truly knowing and following HIM will. So, do you know HIM and as Granny witnessed.. Does HE know you?

See, when asked if she knew for sure about her place in eternity, she said “oh yeah, I know Jesus and HE knows me.

Trust HIS promises that are found in The Word. Rest in HIM. “The Lord Saves” AND “God With Us”

Hebrews 13:6 ~ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

We don’t have to understand.. We just have to trust God.

Until Next Time,

Heather

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