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

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.

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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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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Being Real About Insecurity

I’m back!!!!! 🙂 As I was walking this morning through my neighborhood, I knew that I was supposed to share something today. I told you in my last post that I felt the nudge to be more TRANSPARENT and VULNERABLE with you all. So, here I am..and I hope this post blesses you.

There is a part of me that still struggles with insecurity at times. Thank goodness, it is nothing like before. BUT, every now and then..I listen to the negative voice instead of the voice of my Father God. That is backwards my friends..I should be able to hear God better than the enemy.

For many years, I struggled with feeling like I fit in. If you have known me a long time, you may not even know that about me. Why? Because, I hid it. Or, I tried to hide it.

Even up until a little over 2 years ago, the thought of going to a function with my husband (you know, the ones that you have to mingle and actually “talk” to people at) would make me sick to my stomach.

Those who didn’t know me well may have thought I was a snob. Why? Because, I don’t hide my feelings well. I am sure I looked miserable.  I just felt like I wasn’t good enough..and why in the world would they want to talk to me?

It was a MISERABLE place to be in…feeling “out of place”. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t feel comfortable like everybody else.

Then…it hit me…THEY MAY NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE EITHER. Or, maybe they do.

I was so shy, that even speaking to people as I walked past, was nearly impossible. Most of the time, I would just look down or away. Appearing..snobbish. Not at all who I really am.

Guess what?

After coming to CrossPointe Valdosta, I began to grow so much in my relationship with God. I came to the realization that I had only scratched the surface of the relationship I could have with my Savior. I had been lukewarm. Saved at a very young age…baptized at age 18…serving…teaching…but still, just lukewarm.

Praise Jesus! God wooed me to Himself. I fell in love with my Savior. I began to grow and God began to change me. I realized that I had never fully surrendered to HIM. I had been living a life of trying to be good and follow all the “rules”. I realized through teaching and preaching at CrossPointe, what a REAL relationship with Christ Jesus is! I went from lukewarm to ON FIRE for God! Surrendered and filled with Jesus!

I have a desire to speak to EVERYBODY now! I LOVE meeting new people now! I no longer dread “get-togethers”! I LOVE them! The only explanation is GOD!

 

2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) ~ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

God is LOVE. I now can truly say that it is GOD that is loving on people through me. It is God that is making me lift my hand and smile and wave or speak to strangers! In fact, the other morning as I was taking my girls to school, I waved at a car that was driving by. My daughter said: “Momma, who was that?” My reply:”I don’t know baby..I just felt like waving and being nice.” 🙂 It happens ALOT.

 

1 John 4:16 ~ And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

 

Listen, I still get called to get out of my comfort zone. In fact, at our women’s retreat, I was asked to be in charge of the Icebreakers. No problem..and then on the day of, I find out that I had to get on stage with a MICROPHONE to explain them, etc.. YIKES! That old voice of insecurity popped up…“Who do you think you are doing that? You can’t do that..That’s not you..” Guess what I did?! I told that voice (which, by the way, IS the enemy) to GET THEE BEHIND ME & Be quiet!

You know what? I loved every single minute up on that stage! It was a blast! 🙂 If I had not stepped out of my comfort zone then I would have never known how much fun it could be!

There are other times when that voice of insecurity pops up. Yes, sometimes I do listen to it. Then, through His merciful ways, He reminds me that I am HIS and that through Him I have overcome. I’m not who I once was…and by HIS mercy and grace I am moving daily in the direction He wants me to be. It is a conscious choice..a daily battle that we are in. To stand firm in GOD and keep moving forward. Persevering. Growing. Changing. Like a caterpillar..a Beautiful Metamorphosis.

I am so very thankful for the real relationship I now have with my Savior. My Jesus. My Heavenly Father and Best Friend. It IS REAL and if you feel loved by me..just know that it is God loving you through me.

I have to ask, Do you know my Jesus? Do you need to train yourself to listen to God’s voice,  instead of the enemy’s voice that speaks insecurity and negativity?

I promise to continue to “BE REAL” with you all. Share with you again real soon! Blessings!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

Transparent, Vulnerable and Unashamed

There’s just something about sharing the deepest parts of yourself with others. The ugly parts that God has turned into something beautiful. It’s a vulnerable place to be in. An out of your comfort zone place. Yet, it’s a place that God is glorified in.

I am reminded in Acts 22…when Paul asks to speak to the crowd that was accusing him and beating him, of how he used those moments to be honest and vulnerable and give his testimony. He didn’t get up and say, “I am perfect and that’s why you shouldn’t throw me in jail.” NO…Paul told of who he was before he knew Christ as his personal Savior and then he told of his transformation after coming to know God. He was transparent. He was vulnerable. He was unashamed.

How willing are we…as followers of Jesus…to be transparent?

Why is it so hard to just “be real” ?

We are called to “BE REAL” friends. We are called to LOVE. We are called to forgive. AND….we are called to be transparenthonest…to bring God glory.

Matthew 6:15 (NIV) ~ But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Luke 17:4 (NIV) ~ If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, “I repent,’ forgive him.”

John 13:34 (NIV) ~ “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

1 John 1:8 (NIV) ~ If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Why is it so scary to be “transparent” ? Well, one reason, is the fear of being judged by others. Let’s be real…we all fear that at some point or another.

If our transparency brings healing and hope to just ONE person, then it is worth it. When we let God use the mess that we made of things and turn it into HIS message, then who cares what others may think! That, my friends, is being obedient and transparent.

I’ll be completely honest with you. I don’t always WANT to be transparent. It is a lot easier to put a “smile” on my face and pretend things away. That doesn’t bring God glory though. I have to be willing to be obedient in sharing my testimony…when HE wants me to. Same goes for each of you.

Truth is, everybody has garbage. Everybody has made mistakes. It is what we choose to do with the mess or garbage that makes the difference.

So, I leave you with these questions.

Is there something that God has asked you to share with someone…and you haven’t yet because of fear of being judged?

Do you believe that God can turn your MESS into HIS Message?

First, I would advise you to pray diligently over it. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Be sure that your testimony points to God. That it only brings glory to God. Then, write it out. It is always changing…as it should be. Finally, pray some more and if you feel that nudge from God..GO FOR IT! Let Him be glorified!

I will be sharing portions of my testimony as I feel led, in the days to come. Why? Because, I know God wants me to. Because, I have been feeling the nudge to be even “more real” than I already am with you all.

Share more with you soon! Very soon..

Here is a link to listen to Mandisa’s song..What If We Were Real?

ENJOY!

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UNTIL NEXT TIME,