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

Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

 

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copyright: heatherdawkinsphotography
heatherdawkins.com copyright: heatherdawkinsphotography

 Today, as promised, I am continuing the message : What Are You Filling The Voids With? , and if you missed the first part you should click on the title/link above.

  To begin this second part of the message, I need to ask you again, if you know HIM and if HE knows you. As I said in yesterday’s post, there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.

Here is another really simple and you may think “crazy” way to look at it…….

  Are you a SHEEP or a GOAT?

Jesus is often referred to as The Shepherd in scripture, and if you are saved, you would be referred to as SHEEP.  Sheep needed the shepherd to guide them and show them where to eat and drink. Sheep needed protection from wolves, and the shepherd often slept in the pen with the sheep and stretched across the entrance to keep them safe from wolves while the sheep slept. Every sheep mattered, and the shepherd went to great lengths to find even just ONE lost sheep.

Seeing any parallels yet?

Sheep and goats often “hung out” and grazed together. Yet when it was time for the sheep to have the wool sheared off, the shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats.

God will separate the sheep from the goats as well. 

The true follower from the great pretender.

The real from the fake.

Matthew 25:31-34 ~ When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

 

Here’s some good news though, If you are a GOAT you can still become a SHEEP!

God’s love is unfailing, unchangeable, immeasurable, and AMAZING! His grace is enough! Our small minds cannot comprehend how deep HIS love is for us!

 

1 John 1:9 ~ If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

  Hebrews 7:24,25 ~ But Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

God loves you as you are. He loves you too much to leave you that way though. He sees you, loves you, and wants a relationship with you.

 

If you do know Jesus, and heaven is your home, then I ask this : ARE YOU SHINING JESUS?

Or is there some junk that you need to clear out of the way so that others can see HIM in you again?

Shine Jesus or shine the world…and the world doesn’t shine.

Make a difference for GOD or make a difference for the devil.

You are always making an impact on others around you. Are you making a positive impact or a negative impact? I am asking myself these same questions.

NO, you won’t be a perfect little shining star all of the time. You will mess up. I do. We all do. What we do when we mess up matters. Do you make it right? It matters.

What we fill the voids in our lives with MATTERS. Our actions (words, walk, talk, text, tweet, post,etc..) reflect what is in our heart. What we FILL UP with will show.

 

Luke 6:45 ~ The good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.

 

In life we have TWO choices in relation to eternity.

  Heaven or Hell. Both places are real and both last for ever and ever.

SHEEP or GOAT

 

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for?

If you are saved, Are you shining Jesus? Do others see Jesus in you? Or do they just see all the junk that you have filled the voids in your life with?

 

True freedom. True peace. True love. They are found in JESUS.

To know Jesus you have to spend time with him. He doesn’t force his way in, because a forced love isn’t love. He wants to know you. He wants you to know him. He wants you to want him.

 

I know I have written a lot of questions in this post, but questions make you think. They make me think.

 

I leave you with these questions and yes they may already be in this post :

 

~ Do I shine Jesus or the world ?

~ Do I really know HIM and does HE know me?

~ Do I just know about him and “think” that I might be saved..but not 100% ?

~ Is there anything in my life that I am using as a substitute for Jesus?

 

God loves you.

 

  Blessings to you all, and I pray that this message, both parts, touches your soul. Share it with someone if you think it will touch their soul. All Glory to God, because this message is HIS..not mine.

 

Until Next Time,

 

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What Are You Filling The Voids With?

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As promised, today I am sharing with you all the message that I shared with the girls last weekend at the “Girls Night Out” event. Of course, this will be more of a summary of the entire message. In fact, there will be two parts to this post, and I will post Part Two tomorrow.

My husband  let me know that I spoke for 40 minutes. EEEEK. I so did not even realize it! They were actually paying attention too! It was God’s message, so I spoke as long as HE let me and when it was over, it was over. 🙂  {and I thought I wasn’t a speaker 😀 }

So, here goes.

What are you filling the voids in your life with?

  What do you worship and obsess over?

Here is a list of “things” that I listed and that they told me that night:

Twitter ~ FB~Instagram~VINE~Texting~
Food~Shopping~Cheerleading~
Fashion~Clubs~Keeping up with the latest trends~Boys (because I was speaking to girls)~Girls (because this is a message for boys too) ~Friends~Internet~TV~Netflix~YouTube~Music~Tennis~Sports~Clubs~
Alcohol (I said this) ~S*x (I said this because YES inappropriate relationships happen) ~ Drugs (another one that I listed because they won’t say it but the reality is that drugs are in this world) ~Books~Hobbies~School~Work~
Getting the MOST Likes~Getting the MOST followers

You get the picture.

The above “LIST” does NOT just apply to teen or college age girls. It applies to us all. The reality is that we all have too much junk or have had too much stuff packed into the voids in our life that only JESUS was made to fill.

After they saw the visual of JESUS being covered up by all of the things on the list, they were able to see that JESUS couldn’t SHINE through with all that other stuff in the way. HE gets crowded out or covered up.

He gets crowded out when we don’t put him first and center. Filling up voids with meaningless junk or even good stuff leaves little room for Jesus. Then we wonder why we end up feeling so empty and alone or stressed.

When you are really close to someone you normally know their likes and dislikes, what they hate and what they love. Why? Because you spend time getting to know them. You MAKE THE TIME to get to know them.

The thing is, NO person, NO drug, NO friend, NO food, NO social media, NO hobby, NO relationship will EVER permanently fill the void. They may be a temporary “fix”. They may dull or ease the pain, but it’s like trying to fill a heart-shaped hole with a square-shaped piece. JUST WON’T WORK.

You start expecting those things and people to fill your voids and they can’t! Only God can.God created you. He knew you before you were born. HE loves you the same today as HE loved you yesterday and HE will love you the very same amount tomorrow. HIS love doesn’t change.

God made you for a purpose and with purpose. YOU were NOT an accidental creation. God made you, but he made you to love HIM and to SHINE for Him.

PSALM 139:13-16 ~ For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

God loves you and me not like our friends and “followers” do. His love is not based on anything that we can or cannot do for HIM. His love is not based on who your “friends” are, how many you have, what you wear, your style or lack there of, or what your talents are.

His love doesn’t change. It can’t.

HEBREWS 13:8 ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.

Nothing in or of this world will ever bring you lasting and true peace, because you were not made for this world.

If you are a true follower of Christ, an AUTHENTIC Believer, then this earth is just a pit stop on your way to HEAVEN.

He will never let you down. He will never abandon you. He will never unfollow you.

We tend to let others down, abandon things and people, and we get let down and abandoned as well. Not by GOD.

TRUE PEACE. TRUE FREEDOM. TRUE LOVE…. Is found in Christ alone.

To know HIM you have to spend time with him. There is a HUGE difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. Even the demons knew who God was.

JAMES 2:19 ~ You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

Do you know HIM? Does HE know you?

I’ll leave you all with that for now. The rest of the message will be on the next blog post, Part two. I hope you’ll be back for the rest. 🙂

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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Not Good

~ Short and Sweet Simple Truths ~

I had my mouth set on it. A NEW hot chicken salad casserole. I went to the grocery store (which I don’t love doing), and prepared it. I’m telling ya…it looked and smelled so good! Shoot, I got the recipe from a “trusted” site..a pretty famous chef. What could go wrong?

We sat down for supper. Our youngest had already taken a bite and she sat there with a smirk on her face. I automatically respond with: “Let me guess..you don’t like it. Well, guess what? If you don’t like this, YOU can fix yourself something.” My husband backed me up…except he was even more strict.. He said: “No, you won’t get so much as a bowl of cereal.”

AND then….. The moment of truth. We prayed. Our youngest still smirking. Then my husband and I both took a bite at the same time. Oh My Word. What in the world was that strange…distinct taste. Almonds? Too many almonds maybe? Maybe too much cheese? Needless to say, little sister got a bowl of chicken noodle soup. It was HORRIBLE. It was a waste of our money and my time. It was NOT good.

Never trust that just because it looks good and smells good and sounds like it would be good..that it is good.

I can’t help but relate this to SIN.

It looks good sometimes. It may even smell good. Shoot, it might even taste good. BUT, it isn’t good.

It wastes our time. It tricks us. It entices us. Even looks easy and harmless sometimes.

But the aftertaste … Oh boy that aftertaste… It’s NOT GOOD.

Ephesians 6:11 (NIV) ~ Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Blessings my friends!
Heather 🙂

Just Take That Step

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Planting & Transplanting

I have gotten into the habit of saying that I have a “brown thumb”. Truth is, I have had a LAZY thumb. Yes, you heard that right.

It’s a matter of discipline. Remembering to water, feed, and weed these plants. It’s a choice. To watch them grow to their full potential or let them starve and die. Before my girls were born and even when they were tiny, I used to love planting and taking care of my yard. Then….I gave it up. Weeds started to grow. Flowers died or either went out of control. It’s really quite amazing to me..how God can take something like gardening and turn it into a teaching moment for me.

Weeds taking over.
Weeds taking over.

 The things the I choose to care about are the things that I spend the most time taking care of. The things that I choose to nurture will in turn produce a beautiful harvest.

I CAN have a “green thumb” if I CHOOSE to! It isn’t a matter of being naturally good at it. It is a deliberate choice. Water, fertilize, feed, nurture, protect….and I will see growth.

I am 2 years into reading and studying the ENTIRE Bible from Genesis to Revelations. TWO years of self-discipline. The reward is KNOWING my Savior like I have never known before. My roots are growing deeper. I LOVE it and I already have a plan in place to read it all the way through again. I am in Ephesians now and when I finish with Revelations, I plan to use my Chronological Life Application Bible next.

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I tell you this not to boast..because it is only by the power of The Holy Spirit in me that I have kept at it. As I begin each day reading through, making notes, and studying it, I pray and ask to read it through HIS eyes and not mine. I also pray that HE would give me the desire to be obedient and the time to do so. If I can do it..You can too!

Gardenias from our yard
Gardenias from our yard

In my previous post, Cutting Loose, I talked some about change… and one thing that I am changing is my LAZY thumb. I planted another gardenia bush in my yard yesterday…Gardenias are my absolute FAVORITE flowering plant. I also planted several other pretties in our yard. Then…after getting the “fever” for mint from my precious friend (she knows who she is), I planted mint and hot oregano and a cucumber plant! ME! The self-proclaimed plant killer. The woman whose husband asked her not to buy any more plants to kill,  for the front porch. 🙂

Why? Because I know that I can keep these plants alive. It’s a choice. (if you feel like praying for those plants, feel free 🙂 )

I encourage YOU to step out of your comfort zone and commit to something that you’ve always wanted to do. Just take that step. You CAN DO IT!

Philippians 4:13 says it best, “I can do ALL things through HIM who gives me strength.”

Until Next Time,

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My Family <3
My Family ❤

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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