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

When The Memories Hurt

It’s hard to share personal pieces of my life. There was a time when I was extremely private. I still am even though I share lots of my family and life moments through photos on social media. I share bits and pieces of myself with the world through this space here called Simple Truths. I share in hopes of reaching someone for Christ, and to let you know that you aren’t alone. With that being said, today I am sharing a piece of my heart with you. Raw. Real. Transparent. Not for pity. Only to let whoever needs to hear it know that they are not alone and that there IS HOPE. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the memories. Sometimes though, they hurt.

Like being punched in the gut. They hurt. Because, I don’t want them to just be MEMORIES. I want to still be making memories with my Daddy.

It’s very selfish. I know.

I should be happy to even have the memories, and I AM. They don’t always hurt. They bring me joy. They comfort me. BUT, sometimes the “wanting to make more memories” hurts.

I am learning to roll with the feelings as they come and go. Like waves in the ocean. I don’t fight them, I just make my way through them.

I have cried more in these past six months than I have my entire 40 years of life.

This is real life. This is a part of life that we can’t avoid. Death. Grief. Loss.

The emotions that come with them are normal as well.

As the holidays approach, the ones that I always spent with my daddy, I can’t predict how I will handle them. As some of you have been there and done that, you know what I mean.

When the memories hurt, I will try to choose joy. When the memories make me ache deep within, I will praise my LORD for the memories and that my Daddy is with HIM and I WILL see him again.

How? Because my Daddy knows Jesus and Jesus knows him. I know Jesus and Jesus knows me. That is how I KNOW that I will see my Daddy again. I know Jesus personally and I KNOW that HIS WORD is true.

John 3:36 ~ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

John 6:47 ~ Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

John 10:27,28 ~ 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 will snatch them out of my hand.

GOD is good all the time and ALL the time GOD IS GOOD. When the memories hurt, GOD is good. When we experience loss, GOD is good. When we don’t understand life, GOD is good. All the time.

Psalm 37:39 ~ The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

 

 

Until Next Time,

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This world, for followers of Christ, is a pit stop. Just passing through. Heaven is our home. We will face adversity and loss as well as lots of wonderful things on this earth. While we are here we are to bring glory to God and make disciples. Through the good times and also through the difficult times. 

Do you know my Jesus? Is he your Heavenly Father too? Do you think that you have to clean up your act first and then begin your relationship with Christ? You don’t. Jesus wants you just like you are. HE is the only way to heaven. He is the only ONE who can make you righteous. YOU can’t get righteous without HIM. He is the only ONE who can wash your sins as white as snow. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone. Life is short. No time like the present to KNOW that you KNOW Jesus and that HE knows you. Jesus is THE source of HOPE.

 

 

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Beach Trip
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Daddy visiting

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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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For the Whole World To See

For the Whole World To See

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One dog is sitting practically on my head. One is on my legs. The computer in my lap…Chili in the crock pot. The sound of the water running into the aquarium beside me.

There are to-do lists. Places to be. Schedules to keep.

But first, a message to share.

The messages that I share with y’all come to me at the strangest times and places. I’m sure that my other “writer” friends can relate. Especially when it comes to sharing the message that God lays on my heart to share. Sometimes I put it off due to the fact that it seems strange to me. That’s just how it is. I don’t even know why I am writing on a certain topic sometimes…other than the fact that I JUST HAVE TO.

You may not like what I’m sharing today. That’s okay. I don’t write for the approval of man..I only write for God. So, I offer no apologies today. I do love you all though and that’s another reason that I choose to share the hard truths.

I was getting dressed yesterday and this title pops in my head: “FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE” , Then little details and thoughts start emerging.

Like…..

~ Does your (my) appearance on Social Media match your  (my) appearance in person ?

(and I’m not talking about our profile pictures)

~ Do you (I) talk BIG on FB or Twitter or wherever else, and sit in a corner talking to nobody in public ?

~ Do you (I)  profess Jesus all over the Social Networks and project another image in other settings ?

~ Does your (my) walk match your (my) talk or text or tweet or post ?

~ Do you (I)  wear your (my)  “Christian” t-shirt in public and act like the devil at home ?

~ Do you (I) wear your (my) “Christian” t-shirt in public and put the word “Christian” to shame ?

~ Do you (I) post Bible verses online but never really open your Bible to study it and read it and learn?

Just some thoughts. For all of us to soak on…marinate in. Just being real. Because it MATTERS.

We are the only BIBLES that some people ever read. (Yes, that is someone else’s quote)

It matters how we represent our Jesus.

My pastor said something that really struck me last week during the message. He said that we have really messed up the word: CHRISTIAN. It basically means nothing anymore.

See there are people that say “I’m a CHRISTIAN” and yet they really aren’t. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. The fact that your parents made you go your whole life doesn’t  make you a Christian. Doing good things doesn’t make you a Christian. Knowing about Jesus doesn’t make you a Christian. Wearing a Christian t-shirt doesn’t make you a Christian. Posting bible verses doesn’t make you a Christian.

So, what makes you a Christian? I mean a REAL AUTHENTIC TRUE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

JESUS.

Jesus is what makes you a CHRISTIAN. Knowing HIM and HIM knowing you. It takes FAITH. It takes surrender. It takes admitting that you are a sinner and that you NEED HIM. It takes faith and believing that Jesus is the Son of God. It takes confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

John 3:16,17 (NIV) ~ 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.

It’s simple. Yet we make it hard.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you are all done. It is a daily surrender and choice to FOLLOW God. To learn and study and read The Word. It’s vital that those of us who ARE Christians disciple new Christians or Christians that are not as mature in their walk as they could be. It’s vital that we serve like Jesus.

It takes water for a seed to grow.

Hebrews 5:13,14 (NIV) ~ Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But the solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

CONSTANT USE.

Let’s get to watering! Let’s be real and be willing to make sure that our walk is matching our “talk”. It matters. People are watching. Big people and Little people. 

Now, I did not say that we have to be “PERFECT”…I just mean that we have to stop pretending that we are. ( I’ll be the first person to tell you that “I AM NOT PERFECT” and “I FAIL DAILY”… I mean…even writing this post is hard for me..because I know that I am not perfect.)

Leaving you with these two verses…

James 2:17 (NIV) ~ In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

1 John 3:18 (NIV) ~ Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Until Next Time…Seeking to Shine,

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Don’t Be A Blessing Robber

 

Photo: HDawkins
Copyright 2013

 

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

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

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

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

To see the truth!!

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2013
Jeanie Burkett

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

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

 

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

 

There IS HEALING in JESUS!

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

Amen!

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Blessings to YOU!

 

Humbly HIS,

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Reflections

 

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Like a lot of others, as this year comes to an end, I am reflecting.

Reflecting on the past year. The choices made. The changes that need to be made in the coming year.

There is always room to grow. Room for improvement. We have never “arrived”. We have to keep growing in our spiritual walk..and keep striving to be better than we were the day before. Not for ourselves, but so that our walk matches our talk.

I began making a list of “goals”. Not “New Year’s Resolutions”, but GOALS. Yes, I know that they are just about the same thing. But, not really. New Year’s resolutions are made and everybody has in the back of their head..“I’ll never fulfill this one.” Goals are more serious in my opinion. Goals are necessary.

My list looks something like this:

Budget/Household Goals:

~ Create a budget

~ Pray over the “budget”…for obedience and determination to stick to it.

~ Work towards buying mostly necessities. (truth is, a lot of money is wasted on “wants” )

~ Make a plan to take each room of our home, and eliminate clutter. 

 Physical Goals:

~ Eat healthier

~ Continue to work out 4-5 days a week

~ Try to cut down on sweets and breads, and eat cleaner.

 

Spiritual Goals:

~ Finish reading and studying the entire Bible..I am currently in Matthew 3. (Genesis to Revelations plan)

~ Begin to read the entire Bible again..using my new Chronological Bible.

~ Trust HIM more fully.

~ Be a better leader.

~ Establish a family devotional time and stick to it.

~ Be a better encourager to my husband.

 

These are just some of my “goals”. .

 

The most important goal is this:

John 3:30 (NLT) ~ He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

That is what it all boils down to. God HAS to be first. HE has to be the center of everything. HIS will HAS to be of most importance in my life. I HAVE to get in the passenger seat. I MUST let HIM drive. TRUSTING HIM FULLY. Even when life isn’t what I planned. Even when times seem tough. TRUST HIM.

 

Until Next YEAR 🙂 ,

 

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When You Go

We stood outside. Taking pictures with our cell phones before we went in to eat at the busy restaurant. Out of the corner of our eyes, we saw him. Long, scruffy looking beard. Hat on and carrying some plastic bags. Talking to random people in the parking lot. We assumed he just wanted money. We headed on inside. Pshh..none of us had any extra money..

Then, I looked out of the glass door and saw what he had in his hand. He was selling handmade crosses. Immediately I stood up and said: “I have to go out there. I have to take him this money and buy a cross.”

There’s more to it than that..

About 2 years earlier, my husband met a man who wandered around making these same crosses. He met him at our local flea market. He sat down, struck up a conversation with this man and heard a man witness about Jesus.

So, I just thought that maybe this was the same man. Had to be. So, that is what drew me to him. Or, I should say..That is what GOD used to draw me to him.

I walked straight up to him. Looked him in the eye and told him that I wanted to buy one of his crosses. He looked at me, kind of shocked and said: “Well, ok..if you want one then I’m gonna make you one.”

We sat down opposite of each other on these concrete benches. We began what turned into a 20-30 minute conversation. He shared some about himself. I asked him where he was from. He shared about his family, a momma that had just died. He said: “Mommy died.” I didn’t make him tell me these things. He just needed someone to talk to.

I was still curious as to if he was the same man who my husband had met. He had to be. So I asked him if he had worked the flea market. His reply: “No, there’s no money there.”

Okay…. Alright God, evidently You made me come out here to talk to this man. AND, You made me feel comfortable first! Wow.

So, the rest of the crew had joined me by now. They listened as we talked. There were lots of people sitting outside. I’m sure they were watching and listening. Honestly, I didn’t even notice anyone else. For those few minutes, it was just us and that lonely man..talking. Talking about God, this man’s life, and some more about God. I asked him if he had a relationship with Jesus. He said he was saved at age 11. I believe him.

I asked him to tell me the story behind the crosses. He shared a little, and then said that he already knew that I was a believer. He asked me if I knew how he knew..to which I just looked in his eyes and said..“well, it’s like with you..I looked in your eyes..they told your story and then I saw it in your actions..” he just shook his head “YES”.

I offered him my Bible..I had one in the car. No matter how many times I offered, he refused it. He said he couldn’t see it good..he needed reading glasses. I offered to get him some from Dollar Tree.. he said that he had plenty of money.. See, this man was NOT asking for money.

Man, CONVICTED. As soon as we walked inside earlier, God had convicted me of turning away & I praise HIM for the fact that HE made me go back outside and seek this man. This man who could have been dangerous. We didn’t know. We were doing what most women SHOULD do when they are alone. Avoiding possible danger. BUT, see..God convicted me and then, God used something that would make me feel safe to get me back out there. He used a cross made of palms and cedar…A symbol of HIMSELF. HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD??!!

When he finished with the cross,I asked him if I could pray with and for him. He just smiled and said: “SURE, as long as you let me pray for you when you get done.” Talk about blessed! I began to pray, the kids there with us..and he said, “HANDS! Hands!” So, we all sat there, holding hands with this man and praying. I prayed and then he prayed. People all around. Maybe, just maybe..more than one life was changed that night.

We learned to never judge a book by its rough draft or cover. We received the blessings from being obedient and just getting up and going when God says to GO!

Was that man put there that night for us to learn from him? Were we put there that night to be a blessing to our new friend? Were we (myself, and those with me and our new friend) put there that night to be a witness to those that were watching? Because, trust me..they HAD to be looking and listening..and wondering if I was completely nuts. 🙂

I honestly don’t know the answer. I’m okay with that.I left that place a better person for having met Butch.

He just so happened to wait for us to eat so that he could tell me another piece of info about the moment that he got saved. He said that when he went down to that altar, that his “Mommy” screamed so loud. He said that he had never heard her scream..because his Daddy wouldn’t allow it. We told him goodbye..He asked us to keep praying for him. He wanted to stay on the right track. I promised him that I would hang that cross in my house and pray for him by name every time I saw it. He was completely shocked that I remembered his name. For those of you who know me well..you are probably shocked too! 🙂

All I know for sure is that God used something that he knew would make me feel safe and HE got my behind up and out of that door. I may never know the why..but I do know that all of us were impacted by it. Just remember that when you obey God and just GO, there will be blessings for all involved.

He said that the Bible was in his heart. I still pray he gets a copy that will fit in his pocket so he can pull it out and just soak in God’s Word. Here is the one verse that Butch quoted for me..

Isaiah 1:18 ~ “Come now let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Forever Changed,

P.S. I know for a fact that he wasn’t the same man.. I took video of part of our conversation so that I could share it with my husband later..He confirmed that it was NOT the same man. 🙂

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The cross on the left is the one that our new friend made.. The cross on the right is the one that Spencer brought home from his new friend..