Closed Door Blessings

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©️heatherdawkins.com

 

Maybe, just maybe, we look at closed doors all wrong.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: ” when God closes one door he opens another.” We just tend to think that it is going to open immediately. Like, right when we want it. We pace and huff and get down in the dumps all while we are claiming to “trust” God. It’s much easier to tell someone else to have faith and wait on God. When we have something occurring in our own lives we see how difficult the waiting can be. But there truly is beauty and growth to be found in the waiting.

 

There IS beauty to be found in the waiting.

 

There is also beauty in the closed doors.

 

You see, when it seems as if no doors are swinging wide open for you and that no clear answers are coming your way, that’s when God is holding those doors shut so that you won’t walk through the wrong one.

 

Yes, HE gives us free will, but I truly believe that when we are HIS he gives us protection as well.

Thank God for the doors that don’t seem to be opening. Be still and know that HE is God and HE is sovereign and HIS ways are so much better.

 

When we jump ahead and try to pull the steering wheel out of his hands, we often cause a wreck.

 

Waiting is hard. I know. I’ve been in a season of waiting myself. I get it. This is for me as much as it is for you. As we wait, let’s be grateful. I’m going to start my gratitude list again. Joy is found in a grateful heart. Maybe you want to join me?

Just start somewhere. Giving Thanks is a command that’s repeated many times in the Bible. It’s not just there to make God feel better. I truly believe that it’s there to remind us that there’s beauty in being thankful and joy comes from a heart of thankfulness.

 

There are blessings to be found in closed doors and in the waiting.

 

Learning to be still & thankful at the same time.

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

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Tuned Out and Tuned In

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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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New Year New Me

New Year New Me

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NLT)

It’s been quiet here on the blog. Not because my mind has been quiet.. Because it has not. My mind and soul have been overloaded lately. When that happens, I still write, I just don’t publish. Sometimes it’s quiet on here because God is allowing me some time to learn and grow and even rest.

Learn and grow … I’ve definitely been doing that.

Last year God pulled me back from leading a women’s bible study. I wasn’t quite sure as to why at the time. I still obeyed. Around that time, our oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, began expressing an interest in being in a private school or being homeschooled. She’s a wise teen with big plans and dreams for her future. We looked into both, prayed about it, and sent her back to the public high school.

Still praying. Still growing. Learning new things about myself. Learning that boundaries were biblical and good and healthy. Studied a book called Boundaries by Henry Cloud / John Townsend. I did some bible studies on my own, and completed reading and studying through the entire Bible for my first time ever.

Through the last half of last year, I had shingles.. Which was very rare for someone my age. Stress can cause them to appear to anyone who has ever had chickenpox. I was definitely under some stress. My husband had a back injury that had him confined to the bed and then with a walker for several weeks. Things fell apart in different areas and other things fell together.

I got well, He was healed while on vacation. I mean healed. Instantly.
God was good and always faithful.

We also suffered a tragic loss of a family member in December of 2013. God has been faithful and good to our entire family through that as well. Our family’s faith in God is what has sustained everyone. I honestly don’t know how those who don’t have a relationship with God survive the hard, tragic, and trying times in life.

Now on to 2014. After much prayer and research and more prayer, we signed our oldest up with a wonderful Homeschool group… Classical Conversations. She had her first official day of school this Thursday and we couldn’t be more pleased! Never say never… No, really.. Because that’s what I had always said.

God orchestrated every event and meeting and circumstance in a way that led me to meet with a fellow blogger, friend, and homeschooling mom. Which in turn led to us following HIS call on our life. To begin this journey with one of our children. Praying that our youngest will decide on her own to join as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention something. I was asked in the fall to speak at a girl’s conference at a local church. Talk about out of my comfort zone. The thought scared me to death. Me? Yes, HE said.. me. So, after much prayer and seeking wisdom from other Godly women, I agreed. Why? Because praise GODHE uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Thank goodness, HE also equips the called. AND… Because I don’t plan on speaking MY words. I only want to speak HIS. If one girl’s life is impacted, then I can handle a little stage fright.

I’ve learned to balance my life. Put my husband first, after God. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no. That it is NECESSARY to eliminate stress. I’ve learned that it’s okay to set boundaries. I’ve learned that I do not have to allow negative opinions to affect me. I’ve learned that sometimes God requires me to do things that make no sense to me or anyone else at the time. I’ve learned that I do not have to make everyone happy and that I can’t. I’ve learned to be still and bridle my tongue. I’ve learned to set limits. I’ve learned to trust HIM more.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn this New Year!

It’s a New Year and each day HE is making a new me.

As a quote I found yesterday on Pinterest says: “I may not have always known what I wanted to be, but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”

I’m on my way.

I’m living for God.

I’m not backing down.

I’m not entertaining negativity.

I’m seeking HIS WILL in everything.

I’m stepping out, even further out, of my comfort zone.

I’m NOT feeling guilty for saying no to negativity or drama or for eliminating stress.

Lots of new changes this year. One homeschooled by me, one still in public school ( middle school). A 16 year old with a driver’s license… (Learning the real meaning to praying without ceasing). Speaking at an event for the first time, (In front of teen girls). Who knows what else.. I do know that whether it be good or tragic, God is good and will hold me and my family in the palm of HIS hands.

One last thing, I wrote a list of my goals for this year in my journal. Maybe you have already done the same thing, if not, maybe you should.

Just know this… Your goals are great but be willing to let God interrupt your plans. For HIS plans are much better. Even if we don’t always understand them.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Seeking HIS Will,

Heather

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Thankful Thursdays ~ December 6th 2012

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV84)

Today… I am thankful for so many things and Granny Shiver tops the list.

Our Granny Shiver passed this earth and entered into HIS presence this morning. I guarantee you there’s a party going on!!

Granny.. Or Grandma.. Or Mama or Hilda.. However you may have known her.. I knew her as a strong and loving woman. A lady who accepted me as one of her own.. (Even though I wasn’t her grandchild by blood) She loved life and she loved the Giver of Life! It was evident. Her actions proved what her lips professed.

Granny possessed a strength that can only come from a real relationship with her Heavenly Father. That strength got her through many losses..many tough times in her life. That strength was Jesus in her.

But you know what? I’m gonna quote her: “I can let it make me bitter or better.” She chose better!

She knew how to live. She lived with no inhibitions. She loved with all she had & would even give you whatever she had. Granny was loved by many.

I’m better for having known her. She lives on through her children, grandchildren, and great grands… Her legacy will remain!

See.. God was first. She had her priorities straight. She missed her husband every single day since he left this earth and entered into the presence of Jesus. She took care of him while he was here. She raised her family.. And she did it well.

She could make the best homemade lemonade… Banana pudding.. Cobbler.. Mayhaw jelly. (Remember the room filled with jars) .. The list goes on.

Her thumb was green.. not brown like mine. She loved her flowers.

Oh and her grapevines! Man..

She loved her family! All of us.. Blood or not.. She loved!

I’m not even going to try to list everything.

Too many memories.

Too many things and funny stories to list.

I’m thankful to have married into this family.

Something tells me that she and Granddaddy danced a little jig and ran into each others arms when she took her last breath here. I bet it was beautiful!

The Bible says:

John 10:27-29~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Those verses bring comfort and assurance.

I’m thankful that God put my husband and I together. Through a friendship that I had with his cousin. I love our family. I’m blessed with my family and my family by marriage..

I’m so proud of our family. We may not get together as often as we used to, but when there’s a reason to celebrate or a tragedy strikes.. This family unites and stands behind one another. Unity.

I can’t close without saying that I’m so thankful that Granny was an authentic Follower of Jesus! What comfort to know where she is and that all who are also authentic followers, will see her and Granddaddy (or Pepa) again!

So.. I have to ask…Do you know my Jesus? Are you really following Him? Don’t waste another minute of uncertainty.. Don’t waste another minute living with doubt or living without the peace and assurance of truly Knowing HIM.

And one more thing: Do you really love?
Do your actions prove what your lips profess? It’s not too late.. To love.

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Thankful and Blessed..

Until Next Time,

Heather

An Empty Package

What if you got a gift bag and you filled it with pretty tissue paper and put a beautiful bow on the outside?  BUT…you didn’t actually put a present inside the bag. It sure is pretty. Decorated just gorgeous. BUT..it’s empty.

Pretty much a waste isn’t it? What’s the point of it? Would you want that gift?

Now..

In life, we all pretty much do the same thing sometimes. Sure, we look like we have it all together. Hair fixed. Decent outfit. A home with manicured yards (with my house being the exception.. 🙂 ). We all may look like we have it all together.

Five Bibles in the house. “Praying” before each meal. Going to church. You know..doing the “right” things. To look good.

How’s the inside look? See..God looks on the inward appearance.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) ~ But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man look at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Everybody sees our outward appearance. Only God and (me or you) can see what is on the inside.

Will you take a look on the inside with me? Will you look within..like I am doing..and see what may need to improve with the attitude of the heart?

Otherwise, we are just nicely decorated..empty packages.

I don’t want to be an empty package that just looks like it should. I want to glorify HIM in ALL things. HE sees the inward appearance. We can’t fool HIM.

 

“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”~ Hans Urs von Balthasar

 

 

Questions for you and for me:

1) What are some changes that you may need to make? 

2) How’s your attitude?

3) Do you realize that we can’t fool our God?

 

 

Until Next Time,

Come a long way…

So…lately, a certain word keeps popping up. Like all the time. In my quiet time. In my “digging deeper” study time in HIS Word. In life in general.

Have you ever had this happen? You probably have. Do you try to ignore it..just a little bit? I know that I do sometimes. Why? Because, that means I can put off making a change.

Well, I’m sure you are wondering what the “word” is.

Drum roll please: OBEDIENCE

This word is popping up everywhere. Making me question myself and search to see what I need to change so that I can be completely obedient to God.

Obedience doesn’t always come naturally. To be even more blatantly honest, it hardly ever comes natural. Who doesn’t want it “my way”.. ? Who wants to be obedient when it’s hard? Who wants to ruffle feathers (that’s a southern slang).. 🙂 ?

I’ve been studying a lot in the Old Testament lately. It kills me when people say that the Old Testament is boring, etc.. Even though I once didn’t think it was really interesting. Then, I began really reading it. Really studying it. Really “getting” it. Folks, there ain’t (yes, I said “ain’t”) nothing boring about the OT!

In my studying, I’ve come across a ton of things that have to do with obedience and disobedience.
Point blank, OBEDIENCE to God leads to blessing and DISOBEDIENCE to God leads to desolation, despair, and turmoil. From Genesis to Jeremiah… (because that’s where I’m at with my “reading through the whole Bible” plan right now) there is true story after story of God’s grace and mercy and patience. AND story after story of the people just completely choosing sin and refusing to repent and turn to God.

I can’t help but think of the world we live in today in comparison to ancient times that were before Christ! I can’t help but think of myself..and the times that I have let HIM down. I can’t help but think of this one word: OBEDIENCE.

Verse after verse in HIS WORD is referring to being obedient to God. In everything. Not just the big things. Not just the things that seem do-able. But. In. Everything.

So, after putting off writing for a few weeks, I picked up my iPad and said “Here goes”. I know that this blog is not “mine”… It’s His. I must write.

So, after putting off the hard questions that I must ask myself… I began to look within. I asked myself.. What is it that I need to do or not do in order to be completely obedient to HIM? AND… Why is it so hard sometimes?

The answer to the second question is: It’s hard to be completely OBEDIENT if I am being selfish in ANY area of my life. Just being real with y’all. Obedience isn’t just about saying “Yes sir and Yes mam”.

Obedience is about being completely… COMPLETELY… willing. No matter the cost. No matter the sacrifice.

Don’t get me wrong, I have come a long way. I’ve got a long way to go still, though. How about you? If you have ever read one of my posts, you know that I will ask you questions and make you think. So, how about it? Maybe “obedience” isn’t your word. Maybe another word keeps popping up for you. But, let’s stick with my word. Is there any area in your life that could be better if you were more obedient to God?

God didn’t “play” when it came to disobedience back in the Old Testament times. God never changes. He is always the same. So what makes you (and me) think that He feels any different about obedience today?

In the book of Jeremiah, Jerusalem was destroyed because of sin. (see Jeremiah 39)

Take a look at 2 Chronicles 31:20,21… You’ll see why Hezekiah prospered.

Just look in the book of Isaiah…glance there and see… all of the times God warned the people.

Then.. Take a look at Deuteronomy. Especially chapter 28.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (NIV)~ See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

What do you see in these books of the Bible? Do you see the truths that I see? Obedience is a must for those of us who profess to be authentic followers of Christ!

Striving to be obedient!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

HEATHER 🙂

Listening For HIS “WHOA”

   The other morning I was telling my husband about something that happened earlier that week. He immediately quoted John 10:27 to me. That is where this post began… 🙂

   John 10:27 (NIV) ~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

 

   Our oldest daughter barrel races and loves horses. She proved to us that she was serious about it, and we were able to lease a horse for her. My hope was that she and the horse would bond.

   I got a “wild hair” the other day and decided that I wanted to just ride her to the area where she warms her up in the field. I hopped up and let her lead me out there. Then, I decided that I wanted to hold the reins and do it myself. So…I did. When I wanted the horse to stop …I did what my daughter does…but the horse didn’t stop. Until…my daughter very quietly and calmly said “Whoa“. I mean she stopped immediately. My daughter wasn’t holding the reins and she didn’t even raise her voice. Amazing! I was so excited! At that moment I knew that they were forming a bond.

 

   My daughter had been spending a lot of time with her horse. Devoting afternoons and evenings and free time to her horse. Grooming her. Training with her. Feeding her. Loving her. Talking to her. As a result, the horse “knew” her and followed her and listened to her.

   We are the sheep. If we are truly God’s children, we will listen and follow Him.

   We must devote quality time to HIM. We have to Listen to Him. Letting God groom us into what and who He wants us to be.

   We can’t do ALL the talking.

   We have to be consistent.

   So many times we want to “take the reins” from God. We must learn to listen for His “WHOA“…  A bond formed with our Father God is one of lasting value.

   Blessings to each and every one of you. I am thankful for YOU.

 

 

   Until Next Time,