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

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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To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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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

How Will It Ever Stop

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Ever been the NEW person?

The only person in the room who doesn’t know anybody?

Ever felt like everyone was staring at you? Judging you?

Ever judged anyone?

Ever been judged?

Fairly or Unfairly?

I think it’s safe to say YES to all the above.

There’s a difference in judging and being wise and making wise choices. We MUST judge situations that we are in and weigh them against THE WORD. We must be wise…But we CAN’T play GOD!

To judge another person based on our opinions is wrong. To judge someone based on our feelings is wrong. To judge someone based on the opinions of others is wrong. To judge someone and label them before we have even given them a chance to show us who they are is wrong.

Matthew 7:2 (NLT) ~ For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

When are we going to stop? Stop judging whether someone is CAPABLE or WORTHY,  in our opinion. How will it ever stop?

It starts with you. It starts with me. One person can make a difference.

The difference between a weed and a flower is what? Perspective and JUDGEMENT.

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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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Knowledge Alone Won’t Catch A Fish

Knowledge Alone Won’t Catch A Fish

 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

~ Romans 2:13 (ESV)

   I can watch Cooking shows on TV, collect recipes, buy cookbooks…but that doesn’t put dinner on the table.(just ask my sweet husband..:) )

   I can read God’s WORD, but just “reading” it isn’t enough. I can even memorize scripture..but what good is that if I don’t put it into practice.

   If you buy the bait for fishing, and you don’t put it on your fishing pole..How do you expect to catch a fish?

   I can own 5 or 6 Bibles… BUT, if I am not studying HIS Word..the BIBLES are just decoration or dust collectors.

   Getting the picture yet? 

   Followers of Christ are called to ACTION. Complacency isn’t an option.

   What good is it to KNOW GOD personally and keep that knowledge to yourself?

   If we keep God hidden, then we are NOT doing…we are simply hearing.

   I always feel the closest to God when I am serving others. I feel the closest to HIM when I am giving of my time and resources to others..in an effort to further HIS Kingdom. There is NO BETTER feeling!

   Why do you/I feel so good when we help others..monetarily, with our time, etc.. ?

   I believe the reason is that we are letting Jesus SHINE through when we serve. We are putting HIM on display..not ourselves..but JESUS.

   It is important to remember that if you are serving with the attitude of: “look at me”, that you are not shining for Jesus. That is shining for yourself. Yikes. Reality check. Been there and done that.  Don’t want to do that again. Who hasn’t? Unless you are perfect, that is.

   Are you hiding Jesus?

   Do you need to come before HIM and be honest about anything?

   As I shared yesterday, He already knows. AND..He is merciful and He is a forgiving God!

   I guess that the point I am trying to make is this:

   KNOWLEDGE WON’T CATCH A FISH…

   You (or I) can know all the right things to say and do, but if we don’t DO it…what good is that?

   We (those of us who know, believe & trust in our Savior) are called to be Fishers Of Men. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus tells Peter and his brother Andrew to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men.

   Matthew 4:19 ~ “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

   Jesus is the light that shines within us..the light that we are supposed to shine for others to see and come to know Him. Jesus tells about this “light” in Luke 8:16.

   Luke 8:16 ~ “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

   I love how Jesus speaks to us. He uses stories..illustrations..so that we can “get it.” The verse above is as clear as it gets. That’s what it’s all about friends! Letting our light(Jesus) shine! By living what we profess to believe. By serving. By loving. By giving. By forgiving. In every way..to let our light SHINE. Knowing what to do and DOING it are two different things.

   Matthew 5:16 (ESV) ~ In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

   Love this song by Kari Jobe… listen and enjoy! 1-02 We Are

  Striving to SHINE for Jesus!

  

P.S. The links that are scattered through this post are of previous posts that I have written. You may want to read them again. I especially love the one about the Fishers of Men… Also, feel free to share my blog with others..It is my hope that others are reached for Christ through the writings in this blog. Blessings to you all! Shine on! ~ Heather 🙂