HOPE ~ My One Word 2019

For many years I have prayed, contemplated, and waited each “beginning” of each year for MY WORD. The word He wants me to focus on in order to be in His will. His will is the only place that I ever feel peace.

This last year I’ve grown, changed, and learned. I have discovered things and pondered things. Life is always changing. That’s the only thing other than salvation that’s guaranteed on this side of heaven.

I truly believe that through my Pastor’s message this morning that I felt clearly the word I need to focus on.

HOPE – I need to believe that the BEST is yet to come.

I need to let the things GO that I’m allowing to make me bitter. Bitter or Better. It’s a choice.

I need to remember that all of my life has led up to this point. Everything I’ve learned, discovered, been through will help me where I’m going. As long as I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Hope.

One Word.

Multiple ways to describe it.

Hope. Anticipation. Belief.

Faith is necessary.

I must believe that the best is yet to come.

This one word…. HOPE, it forces me to let go of the hurts and fears and bitterness and look forward to the BEST.

You see, the WORD of God never fails. It never will fail. (See Luke 1:37 NLT) With God, nothing is impossible.

#oneword

Seeking Him,

Listen With Your Heart

God simply told me: Comfort Her.

I was disappointed when I realized how much student loan debt I would have if I began college this Fall to pursue a dream. See, I knew that I was supposed to pursue a degree in counseling. I just knew that it was finally going to become a realization. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to burden my family with student loan debt at my age. I’d be in the nursing home before it would be profitable for us.

Fast forward a month. A certain ministry peaked my interest. After researching it I was struck with the fact that what I would be doing would be a form of counseling.

Fast forward a few more days.

My favorite day of the year was today. Special holiday? Birthday? Nope. It was my annual appointment at that place that all of us ladies just LOVE to go. {insert sarcastic laugh}

Not only was it my favorite day, but I had to miss the second week of my BSF (bible study fellowship) group! Ugh.

That waiting room (the second one that they take you to) was packed. I sat down at the back wall that allows me to face the entrance and other people. You know, to people watch.

This young girl came back from the third place we ladies get to go. The area where we get to stand fully clothed with all of our jewelry on and wait for the magic number to appear. She was alone. She was talking on her cell phone to friends.

I thought: “she’s talking on her phone and all of us are sitting here listening or pretending we were not listening.” Why in the world. People these days.

I began to listen. She was sitting on the seat right beside me. I couldn’t help it.

Then it struck me. She was serious when she said she was about to cry. She repeatedly said it. Among other things. She was alone.

I’m a Momma. It’s the best “job” I’ve ever been blessed with. My favorite job. I’m also a little older than I used to be and I hope a little wiser.

I was filling out my forms. Yes, we are so lucky that we get to fill out the same forms every single time. Do they lose them? Asking for a friend.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I have never heard God speak audibly. Like I haven’t heard an actual voice with my ears. Did you know that you can listen with your heart?

Then came that nudge. Could not ignore it. Meanwhile, everyone else can hear what’s going on and can tell she’s upset while looking over or not looking over their cell phones. (I’m guilty sometimes too.)

Today I purposely chose not to scroll through my phone and ignore my surroundings. (Don’t pat me on the back. I normally scroll.) I took my Sudoku book to keep me occupied and I worked on an advertisement for the business.

The voice I heard, the voice I always hear, is a whisper in my head and a stirring in my chest. It is a voice that I cannot ignore in good conscience.

God simply told me:

“Comfort Her”.

I thought about it a second… or two.

Instinctively, I reached over and rubbed her right arm. She just looked at me with tears in her eyes and stopped talking on the phone. I asked her name and asked how old she was. Just a baby herself. I stroked her arm while saying: “It’s gonna be okay. It’s all gonna be ok. This baby will be a blessing. You may not have been prepared for this and you may not have expected this, but God knew. And it’s going to be ok.”

That’s all I said. Then I went back to what I was doing. She went to the room to see the doctor. I never saw her again.

Y’all, I did not have those words prepared. You know, just in case this type of incident ever takes place. Nope. Sure didn’t.

Could have heard a pin drop in that room. I swear that either we were invisible or everyone else was blind or had earplugs in. I pray that I always pay attention to the opportunities around me where I can comfort and encourage others.

I’ve been that person that didn’t see. Oh what blessings I must have missed along the way.

This is NOT about me at all. Whatever you take from this blog post, remember that this message is not about ME. It’s about God. It’s a message about the comfort that he gives us. The comfort that God gives us through the obedience of others.

I’m so thankful for the people in my life that have been obedient and brought me His comfort.

She was all alone. In a crowded room. All alone and terrified.

The instructions were simple.

COMFORT HER

Just two words. No more, no less.

God is The God of Comfort.

How does he comfort us?

Through the obedience of His people. Through the hugs, the prayers, the smiles, the words of wisdom. So many ways. He comforts us. And HE cares! So much so that he will whisper little commands to us. Commands that are meant for bringing HIM GLORY.

There are many times in my life that He has asked me to say or do something that at times seemed so tiny to me. But when I obey… WHEN I obey. I don’t always obey or listen. But when I do, I realize the reason.

Listen with your heart. We all have fallen short. We all still fall short. BUT God. But Grace. But…COMFORT HER.

At the same time, God comforted me. Again.

He reminded me. Again. You don’t need a degree to love people. You don’t need a degree to care. You don’t need a degree to counsel and encourage people. You just need to open your eyes and listen with your heart and use your gifts wherever I place you.

Open your eyes. Listen with your heart. Use your gifts wherever God places you.

I pray that you never feel alone. I pray that you know the love of God. I pray that you use your gifts wherever God places you.

Seeking Him,

The Beauty In Different

 

It’s sad to say, but it’s true.. Too often Christians are known for what we are against.. Not for what we are for. Not all of us.. Not all of the time.. But a lot of the time.

Sometimes people are turned off by the church in general. And hear me when I say that THE CHURCH is not the building. Sometimes it’s because they feel judged by those in the church. Other times it’s because of a past incident in the church where they were treated like an outcast. An outcast. Cast out.. think about it. We, as Authentic Followers of Christ Jesus should not cast someone away just because they are different.

We are called to love like Jesus. Is it always easy? I think you know the answer to that. It is only possible if we let Jesus love through us.

I love my church. One of the reasons I love it is because it is diverse. Diversity is beautiful.. Diversity is a gift.

God made each one of us unique. He didn’t mass produce us in a cookie cutter mold.

 

We are all different. My different is ok. Your different is ok. And the person who walks in and loves Jesus with all their heart and soul and mind but looks different from me or you is OK. Read the above quote again. The one about cookies. 😉

 

Just because someone looks the part on the outside does not.. I repeat does not mean that their heart looks the part.

 

God looks at the heart. Man looks at outward appearances more often than at the heart.

 

Take time to see the beauty in different.

 

If we are authentic Christians then we are called to love like Jesus. Without conditions placed on our love.

 

 

Love God, Love People, Shine JESUS.

 

That is what you will see in my bio on my social media pages, that is what I strive to live daily. It is my anthem. My life’s mission. When I write my book, I am pretty sure that my anthem above will be the subtitle. It is what we are called to do.

Jesus is about relationship not religion. Love not law. Sure, we have standards to live up to. As Christians we should look like Christ to others. On the inside and on the outside reflecting JESUS to the world. Our bodies are HIS temple if we are HIS. Reflecting Jesus to the person in line behind us, to the cashier, to the waiter, to the Physician, to the hard to love people, to every single person in our path. We should reflect God in all that we say and do.

It is all about the heart. I keep thinking of that catchy commercial. The one that says “What’s in YOUR wallet?” You know the one I am referring to? An insurance commercial. Well I keep hearing.. “What’s in YOUR heart?”  

 

WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART?

 

Love or Hate?

Un-forgiveness or a sweet spirit?

Bitterness?

Mercy?

Grace?

Anger?

A Judgemental Spirit?

Malice?

Joy?

Kindness?

Jesus?

 

What is in our heart comes out through our actions and words.

 

But the good news is….GRACE.

 

Oh I need that GRACE because the truth is that I have had all the above in my heart at times. The good and the bad. I need that GRACE that God so freely pours out on me every single day. I need to be pouring out that same grace in turn to others. You do too. We all do. Oh that GRACE. It is so beautiful.

 


 

Judging others because they are a different skin color, have tattoos, have piercings, don’t have tattoos, don’t have piercings, listen to rock christian instead of old hymns, listen to old hymns instead of contemporary christian music. Maybe it is even judging others because they are quiet and reserved or loud and outgoing.. Maybe it is judging someone because of their choice of education or vocation..The list goes on and on. It is not our job to judge. Can we lovingly in a grace laced way speak biblical truth into someone’s life? Sure, if our motives are pure and we have prayed about it and are prompted by The Holy Spirit to do so. It is about the heart.

Love like Jesus.

Don’t assume.

Take time to love.

Heal not hurt.

Look at ourselves before we look at others.

Check our motives.

Keep it shut.

Love not wound.

Heart check time again.

Grace Time. 

Oh that beautiful GRACE.


REFLECTION

~ What’s in my heart?

~ Do I need to declutter and purge some junk that I have been hoarding in my heart?

~ Am I being judgmental and if I am, do I need to rid myself of that way of thinking?

~ Do I truly love others the way that God has commanded me to love?

~ Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

~ Do I look like a Christian on the outside but need to clean up the inside?

~ Do I make others feel welcome in my church or community or place of work or home?

~ Do I shine Jesus?

 


RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Proverbs 4:23 ~ Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.

1 Samuel 16:7b ~ The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Psalm 51:10 ~ Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Matthew 7:2 ~ For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

 

 

 

Until Next Time,

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I’m Not a Good Christian

I was thinking of how often we use the term : “good Christian“. It’s become so cliche. “She’s a good Christian woman”. “He’s a good Christian”.

Are they even authentically a Christian?

Is there a good Christian? Is there a bad Christian? One implies the other. (Honestly, the term Christian is used incorrectly at times as well.)

There are different levels of spiritual maturity. There are saved and unsaved people, real and fake in regards to people. (“Good”unsaved. “Good” saved. )

Obviously there are different levels of wisdom. Hello. I’m not Rev. Billy Graham. I guess if I had to call someone a good Christian then he would be one of my top picks. But what I’m getting at is the worn out term “good Christian“. Again. I use it too. Not judging.

I don’t know about you, but I do know about me.

I’m not a good Christian. I’m a woman with a real relationship with THE Real GOD. He is good.

I am nothing. Zero. Nada. Without God. Only because of The Holy Spirit within am I empowered. Nothing without Jesus. I’m a wretched woman without my God. He is good.

Jesus in me is good!

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬ NIV)

Me. I’m just a woman who is pursuing holiness and chasing after who God is calling me to be. Christ-like. That’s who and what HE is calling me to be.

Some days I want to hide. Some days I want to just be normal. Or what I want to think normal is. Or maybe “disobedient” is a better word. But some days I want to blend in. Without that constant urge to do more. Because it can be tiring. It can be hard. It can be doggone exhausting mentally. Does that make me a bad Christian? No.

But God.

There’s that BUT GOD again.

He whispers ever so gently. Softly. He holds my hand. He reminds me that HE is good and HE is faithful. HE gives me strength. HE gives me courage and HE makes me want to be brave DAUNTLESS.

He says to not grow weary in doing good. HE says that he’s not finished with me yet. I’m reminded of who HE is and who I am because of HIM.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭9‬ NLT)

Not a good Christian. But a real Christian. A Jesus loving, needy of my Savior, redeemed, unfinished Christian.

Maybe a better way of saying it is that I’m an authentic follower of Christ that is pursuing goodness. Pursuing holiness. Pursuing God.

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬ NIV)

And the best part is that Jesus loves me. He loves me flaws and all. He loves me in spite of me. And HE can’t love me anymore tomorrow than HE already loves me today. His love isn’t performance based. He loves me and because of that love I’m sure of one thing. All that matters is what my Father God knows and thinks of me. He knows my heart.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Those who are authentic believers and followers of Christ should be on a journey of pursuing holiness and pursuing righteousness. The only thing we should compare our goodness to is to God. His is the standard of goodness.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (‭Luke‬ ‭18‬:‭18-19‬ NIV)

Just remember that if you are an authentic follower of Christ, you are unfinished. A work in progress. And so am I. Better than I was yesterday (sometimes). Hopefully closer to who HE wants me to be tomorrow. Growing. Always growing. Not becoming stagnant. Following in the footsteps of my Savior.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NIV)

Until Next Time.

Pursuing HIM,

Heather

{ Linking up with Faith Filled Friday }

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The ME God Sees

Nya didn't think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.
Nya didn’t think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.

When did I grow up? I’m pretty sure that I still think I’m like 20 something. Until I look in the mirror. Or wake up with an ache. Or somebody that must be not much younger than me says “Mrs. Heather” or “yes ma’am.” Maybe it’s because in my 40s (41 to be exact), I’m learning to like me. Learning to slow down. Learning to breathe.

Maybe it’s because 41 is honestly better feeling than 25 or 29 or even 35. I’m okay with the bad hair days. I’m okay with the lines .. Well, I’m better than I was at 38 about them. I’m good with whatever you think of me now. More so than I was in my 20s or 30s. I have gained wisdom and life experiences by the grace of God. I’m realizing the beauty of God’s love. I have experienced HIS grace and that is beautiful. I have experienced raw grief and felt HIS LOVE so strong. A love that truly did and does the same for me as HE did for David in the Psalms. A love that lifts me out of the miry pit. A love that restores, renews, and refreshes.

I’m learning to love me because Jesus does.

It’s a process. Learning to embrace ME. The ME God sees.   I mean think about it. {Insert yourself into the ME statements.}

JESUS knows me. The REAL me. AND. HE still loves me!

How awesome is that?!?! Pretty awesome if you ask me. I mean come on. I know I am hard to love at times. Aren’t we all? You know what? That same love that HE has for me, HE has for you. He loves you, the real you, the you that HE created you to be.

He loves you just the way that you are. You don’t have to get all fixed up in order to impress HIM. He made you. God knows exactly what you are capable of through JESUS. In fact, you can’t fix yourself up in your own strength without him. He already knows every single thing about you. AND He loves you still.

His love is deep. His love is wide. His love is grace-filled. Grace upon grace upon even more grace. His love never ends. His love never fails. His love never runs out. His mercies are abundant. He loves you and me more than we could ever even fathom. It is a miraculous love. A true love. A love without borders. One that cannot be matched by any other.

  If you are feeling sad or unworthy or unloved, think for a moment about “The ME GOD sees”. Stop focusing on the negative. And then, believe that YOU are worth it.

You ARE loved. (Read that again.)

20121214-205458.jpg HE loved you so much that HE willingly went to the cross. For you and for me.

It says that even in our sins, he loved us.

Enough so that he let them wrongly accuse him, mock him, call him names, beat him, spit on him, strip him of his clothes, publicly humiliate him,make him carry a heavy cross, hammer very large nails into his body, and hang him up on that cross.

Then, those moments of complete separation from God the Father before he died. ( You can read about it in Matthew 26 and Matthew 27) And then…oh praise GOD! Three days later HE AROSE! HE IS RISEN. HE lives. HE loves, and HE will come again.

But that’s not all. HE didn’t just go to HEAVEN and leave us. HE lives in each one who follows him and believes in HIM. Sound like a fairy-tale? It’s not. The love of JESUS is evident in those who are HIS. In those who are surrendered to HIM. (John 14:1-4,6 see below in Relevant Scripture)

Through HIM alone, we are able to love others. God is love. Period.

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                                    REFLECTION

Oh friends, I have to ask…

DO you know HIM? Does HE know YOU?

We aren’t promised the next breath..much less, tomorrow. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, what are you waiting for? I don’t care what you have been told or led to believe. JESUS CHRIST loves you and desires a real relationship with you. It isn’t complicated. If HE is whispering to you..If you feel a pull or a curiosity and want to know more, please don’t wait. There is freedom and peace and a joy like you have never known that can only be found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that you aren’t worthy of the love that Jesus so freely offers you.

He loves you. God sees you. He sees the YOU that HE created.

To my friends who do know HIM:

Are you living like you believe that HE LOVES YOU? He does.

The ME (you) God sees. That ME (you) is loved. Treasured. Precious. Worthy. 

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                              RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 14:1-4 (NIV) ~ “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:6 (NIV) ~ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV) ~ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Psalm 40:2 (NLT) ~ He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

1 John 4:19 (NLT) ~ We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:8 (NLT) ~ But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


LINKING UP with 3-D Lessons for Life on Thought-Provoking Thursday

Until Next Time,

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BEAUTIFUL GRACE

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I lost it the other morning. Like from 0-60 in 5 seconds lost it. My poor husband was the victim.

He informed me of an important matter and I took it as one more thing added to my plate or stack of plates. They all came unbalanced and toppled to the floor.

I have 5 or 6 jobs and you have one!!! I don’t need one more thing to think about!

And like bullets being fired from a machine gun the words exploded.

And it felt GOOD!
For a minute.

He left for work. I kept folding the piled up laundry, planning out my homeschool day, thinking of the work that needed to be done and errands and talking to myself as I did:

I’m just not appreciated. My jobs don’t end. I’m not paid for my jobs. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…… (yeah, I know..insert eye roll here..me too) 


Then God…

Like almost immediately. HE gently nudged me.

I picked up my phone..
Called his cell. Thinking, well, this may not go well. But, I have to obey and apologize. Shame on me, I am so blessed.

He answered. I apologized and he offered grace.

 

Grace. Undeserved. Beautiful. Grace.

 

Just like Jesus. My husband just offered me grace. That is love. That is loving like Jesus.

Grace. Forgiveness. Undeserved. Yet freely given.


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

Ephesians 1:7 ~ He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Colossians 3:13 ~ Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.


REFLECTION

GRACE looks a whole lot like forgiveness.

How many times have I withheld grace when I should have offered it freely?

Do I extend grace just as God has extended HIS grace to me?


Until Next Time,

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Tuned Out and Tuned In

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

Quiet. Unsettling. Different. I like it.

One week into the social media break and it’s funny how it came after my 31 Days of Being Present in Real Life series. The one that I purposely did NOT complete. Yeah. God does have a sense of humor.

So, here I am. Learning things about myself. Listening so much more to God. The noise is tuned out much better now. More “spiritual whitespace”. And while I am on that subject, I read a book by Bonnie Gray called Finding Spiritual Whitespace a few weeks ago. AH-MAZING. She is a beautiful soul, I can tell by her comments and sweet replies to my comments..It’s so neat how this internet works isn’t it? You can reach through the world-wide web and virtually meet people..but, I am digressing. That book was written from the depths of her soul. She writes so poetically and beautiful and from her heart.


 

I am learning what my version of “spiritual whitespace” looks like in comparison to God’s idea for me. I do want GOD. I want HIM more than the way I used to make time for HIM. I want GOD more than that mindless scrolling through a newsfeed that really  isn’t “news”. I want GOD more than likes or comments or replies or fame or fortune or knowing what everybody is doing. I want GOD more than I want me and more than my idea of wanting God looks like. Then and only then can I be completely at peace.

A soul one with GOD, with nothing in between, is a soul at peace. 

I am learning that obedience truly does lead to blessing. Even when obedience means cutting away some good things in your life. Even when it means removing for a short time something that isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing..just a distracting thing. Because GOD said so.

I am learning that even though I do have a good time of study in the Bible and a quiet time every morning, that God still requires more.

Because my idea of what is enough really isn’t enough at all.


 

I can look back over the past year or so and see where God is working and moving in my life and the life of my family and I am so excited to see what is next! Maybe a little scared too if I am honest. Maybe anxious is a better word. I just feel it in my bones and I am ready and I can’t wait to see what all God shows me and speaks to me through this time with HIM. Sweet time with my Savior and Lord. Tuned in to HIM.

I believe when GOD speaks we better listen. When GOD commands we had better obey. And that….

When GOD whispers, if the noise is too loud, I can’t hear HIM.

 


 RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

James 1:22 (NLT) ~ But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Romans 2:13 (NLT) ~ For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.


 REFLECTION

~ Is it too loud for me to be able to even hear God? Too much noise?

~ Do I really WANT GOD or just my idea of what wanting God looks like?

~ Am I willing to focus more on God than on other stuff?

~ Is God calling me to fast anything in order to hear HIM more clearly?


 

Until Next Time,

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