USE ME BUT

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We say “USE ME” to God. Then we get rattled when he asks us to get up and move.

USE ME GOD… But …. 

Use me how I want to be used.

Heavens no, don’t ask me to do that.

I cannot be inconvenienced.

Use me Lord. But. 

I am not equipped. That would be awkward. Somebody else will do it.

USE ME LORD. SEND ME. What? Me? That might be messy.

USE ME LORD. HERE I AM. SEND ME. Woah. Not there God. That might put me in an uncomfortable position. One that might look strange to everyone else.

Take me deeper. Wait, I didn’t mean that deep.

Lead me where my trust is without borders. Hah. Wait, that means I’m going to really have faith and trust in YOU and YOU alone. And do I really trust in YOU and YOU alone?

We say the words. We sing the songs. We think that we really mean it. Because we sing it and speak it with passion. I mean we really really mean it. Or do we?

When the rubber meets the road, do you really mean it? Do I really mean it?

Do my actions line up with my words? Am I, Are you, really meaning the words that we sing and say?

I want to shine Jesus. Not reflect the world. (And friends I fail. But grace.) And like my Daddy wrote in his bible, “I pray that I am never able to say no to those who need and ask for help.”

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And y’all, that is a dangerous prayer to pray. Don’t pray it if you don’t mean it. Because when you come before God with a heart that truly means it, you will be asked to do some things that aren’t easy. There will be times that you will be inconvenienced.

Use me God. No ifs ands or buts about it. And when I want to run and hide, keep pulling me back to you Father. May I never be able to say no to what you have truly called me to do. Thank you for that stirring in my soul. Thank you for keeping me straight. Thank you for grace. Amen.

Isaiah 6:8 ~ Here am I, send me.

Until Next Time…

SHINE ON,

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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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A LETTER TO MY DADDY

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Psalm 84:10a (NIV) ~ Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

It’s been one year since I’ve seen your face, your smile, and felt your hugs. One year since I have heard you say “I love you”, or been able to ask you for advice, or just sit with you and visit. The longest and shortest year of my life. Time is a funny thing. Seems like just yesterday and at the same time feels like forever.

One whole year that you’ve been in the presence of our Savior Jesus. One year of eternity for you and feels like 100 years for us. But, I rejoice in knowing that even if you could, you wouldn’t want to be on this earth again. Because heaven, it’s so much better. So today I will try to rejoice more than I mourn…I’ll try my hardest for you. Because I know that you lived while you were here. You really lived. Even through struggles and bad health, you lived life to the fullest. You lived fully and loved deeply.

So each day I will choose to honor your memory with living. Even when it is so very hard.

Because really, each day on this earth, we are either living or dying.

I choose joy. I choose life. That’s what you chose. When you suffered deep loss, you still chose to live fully and love deeply.

So as much as I do grieve and mourn and have mourned the loss of you…and watched everyone else mourn too…I hope that I can live the rest of my days the way that you lived yours. Living not Dying. And really, you are more alive now than you ever were here. You are with JESUS. And what better place to be. So while our feelings are real and our hurts are deep, I pray that I honor your life by living and bring glory to God in the process.

Each holiday or birthday or event that is a first without you…we dread those days..and really, I have found that it is the day after that it hits me the hardest. Except this big one. It hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. The anxiety rolled in on a huge wave yesterday morning, the day before. I didn’t choose joy immediately. I had to remind myself that God was enough at that very moment just as he has been every single moment throughout this journey of grief. And you know what got me through? Remembering that God is my strength. My ever-present help. My refuge. My rock. Thank you for bringing me up in church and modeling Jesus for me.

Psalm 46:1 (NIV) ~ God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

And I will see you again. Because heaven is my home and I am just passing through. This life is a gift and it can be beautiful and I choose joy. Just like you. Maybe not immediately, but I am trying. As you used to say when I asked you if you were having a good day : “Every day is a good day.” So while the ache is deep and always there, my hope and prayer is to live fully and love deeply and SHINE Jesus while I am here. Living like “Every day is a good day.”

Always ….

Love,

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Heart Issues

 

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heatherdawkins.com

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23-24‬ NIV)

 

My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.

Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.

Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.

What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.

Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.

Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.

Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!

Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love

You get the point.

Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though. 

I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.

I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.

My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.

And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.

Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.

We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.

If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.

No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.

I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.

Maybe it’s time for a heart check.

Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.

 

We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter. 

 

 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV) 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

 

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heatherdawkins.com

 

Spending Time Alone

 

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What happens when you don’t really want to BE PRESENT?

You know…

The days that you want to be alone. Zoned out. On an island even. The days that you just want to withdraw into the shadows.

The days when you are just completely mentally drained. Feeling like you are pulled in a thousand directions.

What about those days?

Do it. Spend some time alone. Just you and Jesus.

Alone time is necessary. It is for me. I recharge with alone time.

Look at Jesus. He went off by himself to get away from crowds and to pray. Sometimes he took his disciples with him and sometimes he went all by himself. He needed time alone as well.

Mark 7:17 ~ Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used.

Luke 5:16 ~ But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

Matthew 14:21-23 ~ About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray, Night fell while he was there alone.

You see, it is OK to spend time alone. Away from the crowds. Time spent away in prayer is vital for recharging, refocusing, and connecting with God.

The LORD rested on the seventh day when creating the heavens, earth, sea, and everything in them. HE blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. (see Exodus 20:11) Don’t you think that a day of rest is important then?

Mark 2:27,28 ~ “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

What are ways that you find solace? Ways that you rest on a busy day? Or do you? It’s important to find those little moments each day. Moments to feed the soul, focus the mind, and connect with our Heavenly Father. Real rest is found when we meet with HIM.

{ New here? Let’s be blog friends! I would love to encourage you.. Sign up here. This is Day 10 in the 31 Days series that I am joining this month. There are some really great writers who are participating! If you have missed any of the previous posts, you can find them all here in the first post.}

Until Next Time,

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Wishing Our Lives Away

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“I can’t wait until summer.”

“I wish it was the weekend already.”

“I am so ready for spring.”

“Can’t wait until next year.”

Wishing our lives away.

Not living in the here and now. Focusing on the future. The future that we aren’t even guaranteed. Instead of living where we are right now.

As I was thinking about what I was going to share on the blog today, my Daddy’s words came to my mind.

I can see myself sitting on the sofa in their family room. Talking about some future plans. Can’t remember just what. Other than saying: “I can’t wait until….” To which Daddy replied with something like: “I don’t want to hurry time up..my days seem to fly by..time is just flying by for me.” He was so right.

He knew how precious time was. He knew how fast life here on earth could be over. He lived life to the fullest. He loved with everything he had and he taught me to really live and really love.

I learned from the best. To not wish my life away. To enjoy each moment. To not rush time.

I am learning to be really present, not distracted by technology or tv or even good things and people who may take my focus off of who I am with at the time.

The little things in life really are the big things. Especially when the memories are all that you have left. The simple things. The times that you were all there and not distracted. Those moments are precious.

What are you learning during this 31 Days of Being Present? Share in the comments. Would love to hear from you. 

If you are new here or have missed any of the 31 day posts, you can find them all on the Intro post to 31 Days here. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Until Next Time,

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Always Daddy's Girl
Always Daddy’s Girl

Beauty in the Ordinary

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http://www.heatherdawkins.com

Beauty in the ordinary. Ordinary beauty. It’s everywhere.

Beauty tends to be a term that is reserved for the PERFECT things that we deem beautiful by our standards of judging.

There is beauty in the ordinary.

I step onto the pavement, and the breeze is blowing cool and crisp air, and I look down and see a very unique cone of some sort. At first glance I think it is just a pine cone. I pick it up and it is so different and beautiful. Beauty in the ordinary.

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http://www.heatherdawkins.com

The weeds growing in the empty lots along the way, covered in a raspberry colored flower. Beauty in the ordinary.

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I realize that when I am out in nature that I feel closest to God. He speaks to me through the ordinary beauty. Is it really all that ordinary?

I can’t create a pine cone. I can’t make the wind blows through the trees and make that beautiful breezy tune. God can.

I can’t create real life flowers on a simple old clump of bushes. God can.

How many times do I miss the ordinary beauty? How many times during the day do I miss the beauty in the ordinary everyday things?

I look down at my phone. Check pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and twitter. Oh, let’s not forget email. I look down and away and miss the beauty as I walk right past it.

Do you? Do you miss the beauty in the everyday ordinary?

I quickly put my phone down away from my face as I walk. I intentionally look around and see all of the beauty that I would miss otherwise. Reminding myself to be present in the now. Smell the air. See the beauty. Feel the crisp breeze.

I pass an older gentleman walking. He nods, and I intentionally say hello. He asks: “How’s it going?”  I reply: “It is a beautiful day and feels so great this morning.” He smiles and nods his head in agreement and we keep on walking our separate ways.

There is beauty in the ordinary. Ordinary hellos. Ordinary walks. Ordinary fall days. Ordinary weeds. Ordinary pine cones.

In the Bible, it even says that Jesus was ordinary looking. But Jesus is the MOST beautiful to me.

Isaiah 53:2 NIV ~ He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Read that verse again.

No beauty or majesty. In man’s opinion.

And, this is the only place in scriptures where we are directly told about what Jesus looked like while he lived on earth. It doesn’t tell us what he looked like. Maybe because that didn’t matter. It says what he did not look like. He didn’t look majestic or beautiful. Jesus had an ordinary appearance.

Ordinary is beautiful. Jesus…He is beautiful to me.

We have to look up and see it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say. Will you choose to see the beauty in your ordinary today? Whatever that ordinary may be, there is beauty to be found in it.

Linking up at Missional Women on Faith Filled Fridays

Until Next Time,

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The Harvest IS Plentiful

I don’t know about you, but for me, normally when I can’t stand the place I am visiting, I don’t ever want to go back.

Like ever.

For those who don’t know, my family went on a mission trip to New Orleans this summer. People warned me of the smells, and even the fluids that were commonly found on the sidewalks. They warned me of the darkness that seemed to hang over you like a cloud. They hinted at the free-spirited living. The smells didn’t bother me as much as I thought. And I have a sensitive smeller. No, it was the sights that broke my heart.

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From the countless homeless people to the small children roaming the streets, things were different just a few hours away from home sweet home. It didn’t take going thousands of miles away or even crossing oceans to do mission work. I didn’t even have to learn another language. Well, maybe I did. Maybe the new language was to See The Unseen with different eyes. Hearing their stories. Taking time to care. Hold a hand. Say a prayer. Give out a water bottle and a snack. Maybe that is a language. A love language.

Matthew 25:35 (NIV) ~ For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) ~ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

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Our team worked together so well. It was a God thing. He definitely put us together. It was a beautiful experience. One that forever changed me. The person that doesn’t need people around. The person that tends to be a loner. The introvert. I learned that community is so very vital. When one falls down…the other helps him up. You know that verse. It is so true.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT) ~ If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

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They say that once you go on a mission trip that you get the fever to keep going back. After a solid week of staying in a room with our team of girls and then a whole lot of girls that we did not know, and sharing 2 showers with them and their hair, I was ready to get home. I know that sounds spoiled. Remember my sensitive nose? Smells? Let’s just say Praise Jesus that my buddy had one of those laundry detergent pods. I slept with it on the middle bunk one night. Somebody above me from the other group drank too much water or something before bed, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Praise Jesus for detergent pods and smell good thingamajiggers.

I was so blessed by every single experience that God allowed on the NOLA recon team UNSEEN trip. Yes, even the yucky ones taught me something. Come on, if Jesus traveled from place to place and slept wherever he had to, so could I for one single week. At least we had a bed. Some of the UNSEEN slept on the concrete. Every single night. When I was tempted to complain, I quickly reminded myself of this. So spoiled and so blessed. I don’t deserve anything I have. That woman, that mother, she could very easily be me.

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Then there was Bourbon Street. The Midnight Outreach through The Dream Center reaches out to the women who work in the strip clubs, and the owners and bouncers as well. Whew. Only a few of us went on this mission. Let me clarify that our team stayed out of the clubs, but what we saw on the street was plenty. I only lasted through the orientation and about 30 minutes on the street. At first I felt like a quitter. But then, I accepted that I was obedient to go and I was obedient to bow out when God led me to leave.

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I saw what he wanted me to see. No more. No less. I saw women who had to get all drugged up and drunk to even be able to work. I saw families walking through the street with small children. Children exposed to nudity, sexual innuendo, alcohol, and all of the people who support it. I saw a young boy playing a drum on the sidewalk..on BOURBON Street. Where was his momma? Maybe across the street working in one of the clubs. Maybe standing half naked in the window as if she were for sale. Wait, she was. There were the men working the doors and trying to entice people to come in to their business. There was the man coming out of the strip club and the dancer coming out after him, clearly completely strung out. She would have to be I’m sure of it. She’s a person. With feelings.

Forever changed.

My eyes were opened. I saw the teenage girls talking to the bouncer and then walking in to the strip club. Were they runaways? Were they looking for a job? Did they know that they were about to be forever changed by their choices?

I’m not a crier by nature. I tend to hold it in. Cry in private. Act tough in public.

My tears came like floodwaters escaping through a breached dam. I couldn’t contain the emotions welling up within me. I can only explain it like this: The Holy Spirit within was broken…Jesus in me..I felt what HE must feel when seeing sin. Complete and utter grief. I know what grief feels like. I recently lost my Daddy. These were tears of grief. Heartache for those girls and women. Heartache for the people who treated other people like merchandise. MERCHANDISE! It shouldn’t be so.

Story after story I could share with you. God blessed me so much by allowing me to be a part of that trip. As much as I was ready to get home to Georgia, and even though I told my husband and friends that I had no desire to ever and I mean EVER go back to NOLA, guess what I miss? I miss NOLA. I miss being on that mission trip. Even though I had to wear flip flops in the shower and sleep with a smell good thingy, I miss it.

I don’t know where God will call my family to serve next. We are going to be obedient though. Obedience truly leads to blessing. I can’t wait to serve wherever HE leads us to serve.

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The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few… I promise you, the HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL. Every act of service is important. Don’t think that you can’t do anything because of age or a handicap or even because of finances. Can you pray? That is mission work too!

Matthew 9:37 (NIV) ~ Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

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The mission field is not just overseas. The mission field is in your home, your work, your school, your neighborhood. If you can’t go out of town, don’t use that as an excuse to not serve. Everyone who is a child of God, an authentic believer and follower of CHRIST, is called to serve. I pray that I never forget those whom I met and the stories that I heard while on the New Orleans trip. Even though the stories aren’t always beautiful, there is beauty in remembering the stories.

I leave you with a few questions:

1~ Is there something that I am ignoring and that I need to be obedient to God and respond about in regards to serving?

2~ Is there sin in my life that I need to come clean about? Do I have a relationship with Jesus?

3~ Am I being faithful to God with the gifts that HE has blessed me with? Am I hoarding my talents instead of using them to SHINE Jesus?

4~ Am I expecting everyone else to serve while I sit on the sidelines and cheer?

{If I can pray for you about any of the above questions, please feel free to respond. I would love to pray for you and help you or guide you to someone who can help you.}

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

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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