To live is Christ, to die is gain..

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tomorrow is a day I have been dreading for about 2 weeks now. It is just an ordinary Friday except for me it marks the day my son Caedmen died. I hate that a day can shake me to my core and quite literally break my heart. I am grateful that I have the hope of seeing him again someday. That he is with Jesus. I do miss him. The following words are for Him, my son,
Caedmen Issac Williams June 12, 2002 - December 30,2002

I've been living for your memory

carrying you with me

holding you in arms that only ache from nothing there

trying desperately to cling to you as a floatation device

just treading water for so many years

my legs have kicked and kicked

my mouth has gasped for air

inhaling bits of the sea with each breath

I can feel it you know

feel it pulling me under

There have been times I have stopped struggling

and have allowed my head to sink beneath the waves

I have opened my eyes under the water

the salt stinging my eyes

yet I keep them wide and try to look for you...

look for any sign of you

and I chicken out as I feel the urgency to breath

I surface once more

and resume the struggle

the struggle to live

to live for your memory

words straight from my heart...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I couldn't sleep last night.. I sat awake and wrote these words down. I didn't even think they were anything other than the ramblings of a girl sitting underneath stars with poetic juices flowing .. But I just re-read them and have tears in my eyes as I recognize the hearts cry as my own... even sleep deprived. I love you Jesus! I am not ashamed of you! I long to live for You and You alone! Thank you for saving me!

These are the words I wrote:

Oh awake my soul
and voice take flight
and proclaim the one
who saved my life

Oh lungs breathe in
this life anew
that He alone
has proved as true

How can I sleep
How can I dream
When alive I am
in Him who died for me

Oh world
your chains
I drop and flee
for the one
the one
Who died for me
for the one
the one
who died for me

Oh feet stand firm
and never sway
or walk a path
that leads away

oh arms be open
to embrace
all who long to seek
His face

Let me race
steady on
towards the finish line
and hear well done

Oh world
your chains
I drop and flee
for the one
the one
Who died for me
for the one
the one
who died for me

-heather williams

Baking that manna....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We have an action Bible. A full blown, comic drawn with bubbles coming out of mouths and heads with appropriate bubble and or slant lines depicting the "action". It makes nightly devo's very fun. We are just staring on the Israelites and their desert party. As we read the complaining grumblings about food I do not know why it peaked my interest but it did. I started going over and over in my head the idea of Quail at night and Manna in the morning. I mean, God just handed them food. QUAIL no less..not under glass but, hey.. And this manna. A frost like covering on the ground harvested each morning. Some of the Israelites tried to "store" it; thinking that they would need to store up enough just in case the manna was not there tomorrow. This is where I was like "hold up.. say what?!" I mean, God makes it rain sweet bread and you are questioning if he is going to take care of you. Wow. I then start drifting off into my own little ADD world and start thinking about times I have attempted to "store up manna" or even worse.. throw it away and try to make my own "bread". I mean, we all have been there. We want something, a dream, a relationship, a family, a job, recognition, people to say we are awesome at what we do. We all think about such things. At one point or another we make the choice to either trust God that He will bring into our lives HIS plan and HIS BEST plan or attempt to put together our own plans or as I like to call it.. settle for less. There seems to be a lesson here for all of us. Which is just this.. Let's not throw away the manna and try to bake our own bread.

Do you hear what I hear...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Christmas season is upon us... (screech) ok, that just sounds like the beginning of a hallmark commercial or a speech given before the Christmas offering.. so I will start again.
I love Christmas. I do not mean that I "like" Christmas..that I am excited about Christmas..or that I hope to consume large amounts of cookies in the next 12 days. I mean that I LOVE Christmas. There is something about the reminder that Christ came as a baby. A baby, a helpless baby. Dependant upon people to care for His every need. Came down to us as a gift. It blows me away. It brings tears to my eyes like nothing else.
I just finished up a week of rehearsals and two days of performances of the annual Christmas "pageant". My daughter sang in the show and it was cute as can be. They sang Rudolph the red nosed reindeer and a song about hearing the angels sing of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. I sang... wait for it.... "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." Now, I am not in any way saying that this is a bad song. It is one of my favorites to listen to when driving in my car going Christmas shopping. I even sing along to it. But I have to be honest with you all today. I have been sick to my stomach all weekend over this. It is actually funny, because I am not some high horse better than you person..but I am sad to my core that I was in front of over 2500 people and the song I sang on a stage in a spotlight was "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire". I actually was talking to God about it last night and could not sleep. It may sound silly. It may even make some of you mad that I am even saying it.. but I felt ashamed that I took that platform and glorified anything other than Jesus. I am in tears as I am typing this. This was not a song I chose to sing.. but I agreed to do it. I believe that we are given platforms in our life for one purpose only. To glorify God. It may sound drastic. It may get me labeled a jerk, a Jesus-freak, a whiner, a loser, a weirdo, an idiot. But I do know that I lived a large portion of my life glorifying ME and living for ME.. and it left me empty. I know that when I made the decision to die to self and to live for Jesus that I truly began living. I know that He saved me from the depths and I am grateful beyond words. Why would it be worthy of anything less than my whole life and my whole heart given to Him?
I guess I am just using this blog as a therapy session this morning. Honestly it is probably not going to make me very popular with the people I sang on a stage with. But I have to speak the truth. I have to be willing to say I was wrong about something. I have to be willing to stand up and say that I am not going to just entertain. I am going to use what HE has given me.. a voice.. to Glorify HIM and HIM alone.

Merry Christmas Everyone..


Weakness is the new strength...

Monday, October 3, 2011

As I am sitting here typing my body is pretty tired. The kind of tired that reminds you that you are no longer 22 and that the commercials for pain relievers are more interesting to you now. My coffee is practically my life raft today as I float through my morning routine of catching up on 500 emails in my inbox, phone calls to return, dinner to get in the crock pot and the ever present laundry to be done and put away. It is in this short blog break that I am going to "rest".
Why am I so tired? I just got back yesterday afternoon from a weekend in Illinois. An all night Women's prayer and worship event on Friday and a concert to benefit a homeless shelter on Saturday night. Note the ALL NIGHT part of the last sentence. I am admittedly NOT a night owl. I am proudly a morning person(as long as their is coffee) and get cranky if I do not have my 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Save the "7-8 hours?! well, I have a newborn I sleep 2 blah blah..." yes, I know.. I had babies too at one point.. 3 to be exact I am aware of sleep deprivation.. I am no longer in that phase (maybe will be in the future again) but for now I am blessed to usually get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. (note that last sentence and use it as a reference point to the "i get cranky with less sleep" statement). So, as you can imagine the all night prayer event had me a little intimidated. I was anxious and in prayer all last week for God to help me be able to stay awake. Looking back I realize what a silly short viewed prayer that was. Let me tell you... not only did He help me stay awake.. He showed up in ways I could not have imagined. At one point we were in our break out prayer groups and sharing the cards that were given to us at the beginning of the night. These cards were given to us with a characteristic of God typed on them. They had been prayed over specifically for the person who would receive them. Mine said... Strength. I was unable to contain the tears as I read it to the group. I was so thankful that God allowed me to receive THAT card in THAT moment. We prayed, as we did repeatedly all night. I had God move in my heart in amazing ways. I prayed specifically for an area in my life I have been struggling with over the last couple of years and He removed the burden from me and I can say that this morning even though I might feel physically weak and tired I feel spiritually lifted up by the Strength of God. He tells us in His word that He is our strength; that it is IN our WEAKNESS .. HE is STRONG. I am reminded of the song, Jesus loves me... the line that said.. "we are weak but HE is strong" We even had over enthusiastic hand gestures of us have wimpy muscles as we sang the " we are weak" and then popeye-esque physique when "HE is STRONG". That is how I am today.. OVERLY enthusiastic about the Strength of GOD. I am childlike in my admiration of HIM today. So, as I will stop typing now and sip more coffee I will be GLAD and let the JOY of the LORD be my STRENGTH today. I encourage you to not be afraid of your weaknesses.. rejoice in them.. for in them HE will be your strength.

<3 heather

Give a little bit..

Monday, September 19, 2011

Was reading in Luke this morning.. Chapter 21 specifically. I find myself reading the familiar story of the Widow's offering. I gloss over it almost, after all I have read it a hundred times. I had began this day in prayer asking God to reveal something to me in His word and I figured it had to be AFTER this story.. seeing that it is just the same old story as last time. But I am finding myself drawn to the word Widow. I am literally underlining and highlighting it and tears come to my eyes. How had I not even pondered the thought that not only had this woman given EVERYTHING in her offering but she obviously had already lost so much in her life. She has not husband... he has died. She appears to have no family at all... she has NO money to speak of. No one seems to be caring for her. It is not mentioned that any sons or daughters are with her at the time. I am just overcome with emotion for this woman. She had every "right" to be bitter, to be angry. She could have any ones sympathy if she held onto what she had, what little it was, and not even want to give anything to God. I wonder if people around her pulled a "Job's friends" with her and said anything to her about "why would you even WANT to give to God?" An entirely different scene is playing out in my head.. and then I read the story again. With no drama, no speaking, no fanfare.. she comes in and gives her ALL to God. wow. I am humbled in this moment. To have a heart where no matter how life has tattered me I would be willing to give all to God.

Short and sweet this morning.. my prayer for the day .. and my life.


But I don't want to feel the pain.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There seems to be a little more calm in South Florida today. You see, the hurricane is not projected to not hit us. The sigh of relief is almost an audible from the entire state. I glance over the feed on my twitter and facebook and read anywhere from "Praying that this storm goes away" to " God, move this storm away from us and keep us safe". It is a mix of pleading, politely asking and downright having camp meeting and "claiming" that the storm WILL move. I sip my coffee and read this:

James 1:2-4
The Message (MSG)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Hmmm.... SERIOUSLY?! consider it JOY? Surely, James, you MUST be joking?! I mean, I live in America, where we are promised a dream and a house with 2.5 children and happiness. I consider THAT a joy.. not these challenges you speak of. I mean, why in the world would I want to be happy about being in trials? There seems to be some sort of mix up in our thinking when it comes to stuff not going exactly "our" way. I know for me my prayers are a mixture of "Lord, please keep my children safe today" and "God, help me get through this day and keep me from danger, give me favor". It is a long way from the prayer I probably should be praying something like.. "God, whatever your will is for me today..whatever purpose I am to serve today...whatever my children's purpose is today.. fulfill it by whatever means you have prepared for us." I, in all honesty, am not even quite comfortable typing it out right now. It is terrifying all the more when I include my own children into this prayer. It is almost "unnatural" for me to say such things. I am a firm believer in God's love and His care for us. But I am also aware that He has a plan for me and for us. How can I expect Him to fulfill this plan if I am the one calling the shots.. even in my prayer requests of Him. It is almost as if I am "telling" Him what to do by how I pray. Is that even wise of me? Is it smart to take the wheel and then act as if I am letting Him be in control. I have to say this is something today that I am going to be thinking on and trying to change. I want Him to have control...i think.. right? I want Him to shine through me and get out of the way... i think.

My prayer today is that I embrace whatever I face with the knowledge that my life is completely God's. That whatever I face He is in control and I am willing to consider it Joy and grow through it... I don't want to be afraid of pain. I want it to be used BY GOD to change me and allow me to Shine for Him.

Handing out binkys to believers..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If I see one more "self help" make me feel super fluffy and tingly Church group I just may throw up. Yes, I intend to be confrontational in this post. Yes, I intend to be "in your face". The fact of the matter is, where the heck is the American Church? Where are we in our community? Are we a presence? Are we a lighthouse that send out rescue boats? Or are we a club of people that sit in our buildings, maybe venture out now and then for parades or "outreach performances"? If we preach from our pulpits that the end times are what we are living in.. why then are we not RADICALLY reaching out and preaching the Gospel to anyone and everyone we meet? Why are we still content to just sit on our backsides and LISTEN about all the signs of us being in the end times. Is it just so we can make sure WE are ready for Jesus to return? I am going to say absolutely not! If that were true He would never have had to stay away so long. The disciples could have just sat there on that mountain for a few minutes have one of them stand up and talk about how they needed to make sure they were ready for Him to return and then.. He could have come back and taken them with Him. Jesus was PASSIONATE about the lost. He was PASSIONATE about making them FOUND. He spent His life here on earth being an example of how we should be. He never stayed inside a building and just talked about the kingdom of God and kept the truth from people. He walked among us and spoke the Truth of God to everyone He met. He was not afraid of the world. He was heartbroken for it. He died for it...for us.
I read this scripture this morning and pretty much this is what got me fired up.

Matt 9:10-13(MSG) Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?"Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."

I am so sick of complacency.. I am PASSIONATE about people coming to Christ and I can't do that sitting around waiting for the church to pacify me and make me feel all good and fluffy. I need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in this life.

aaaaaaaaaaaand scene...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ever feel like there is a competition for "heavens academy awards" going on when you step into Christian circles? When the question arises "so, how are you?" The responses are staggering.."oh, I am so BLESSED!" "God has just poured out BLESSING on me this week" "Everything is just wonderful! Couldn't be better!" "I am just going to break my face from smiling so much.. I am just so HAPPY and doing so GREAT!"
Wow, I am at a loss of what to do.. do I stand and clap or run away because my week was not so stepford wifish? I really am confused. These ARE the same people I talk to during the week right? These are the same people who a few days earlier were telling me about their crappy jobs and their struggles and pains and even the ones who were bad mouthing other people.. right? I mean ... I AM in the right place.. no? I am confused. We are so salty and lightly IN church yet, it seems sometimes we are not that way OUTSIDE of the church walls. It is backwards no?
I am a control freak. There, I said it. I like to be in control of what is going on. I like to know what is going to happen and when. I then like to be the one who is telling other people what is going on and when. It is pretty hard for me to let go of this. Here's the thing..If GOD is in control why do we freak out about the little things? I find myself getting flustered about things that in the grand scheme are controlled by Him. Psssst....We all do it..we all pretend that we don't.. we all think that if we act like we have no control issues or struggles that this makes us more "spiritual"..well, I am here to tell you I am NOT that "spiritual" I struggle.. which is good.. because if I had it all together I would not have any need for God.I am so glad HE holds me together.
There seems to be a lack of genuine yearning for God. It seems that we apply a mask to our problems instead of applying GOD to them. It is a funny thing, but when GOD is applied to our struggles, hurts, situations we are not in any way responsible for it. We HAVE to give over control. Which means the bragging rights are HIS not ours. Which means that all the "oh, I am just fine" has to melt away. The times that God has used me the most are the times I have been humbled enough to admit a struggle to another person and then share with them the power of GOD and the power of CHANGE in my life. It never ceases to amaze me to see GOD do the work... and me not to take the credit.

It is so important for us to be REAL. It is so important because if we just pretend we are all right we are allowing pride and self to rule and not God. We are allowing our need to please OTHERS over ride our call to please God. It is funny, we think that all the charades are pleasing to God, when He sees our hearts and longs to know them.

So, I am now tearing up my acceptance speech for the "church Oscars" and giving back the chocolate filled statuesque. thank you.

hanging out in the proverbial Church Drain...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I had a crazy busy clean day this weekend. The kind where your children live in fear up in their, because you keep assigning them chores and two, because you are acting like a lunatic and not so pleasant to be around. That was our Saturday morning. I started in the laundry room. Un-Assembling the clothes rack was my first priority. I then started on the breakfast nook and family room. I dusted, straightened, and vacuumed. I turned around and gave the kitchen a look and grabbed my bucket and Murphy's oil soap and got ready to rumble. I go to the bucket of supplies and pick out my sponge. I dip the bone dry tiny thing into the water and POOF it soaks up twice it's weight and size and I go to work. I almost feel like this post should be a musical and I should burst into a cleaning song complete with singing animals and such..but no, I had to make due with my ipod and the shuffle button. It was about the time Bono was singing about streets having no name when I noticed something. The water in my bucket was getting pretty filthy and I was allowing this sponge to get saturated with the crud and wiping my floors with it. I went and emptied the bucket and got fresh water and soap and started fresh. I cleaned the kitchen, got the laundry partially done and the house was in good order. It struck me later that night as I lie in bed waiting for sleep to eventually show up for our date that I realized something. We are like sponges. Each of us. We soak up more than we can imagine and can hold it quite well. But there is only so much we can hold until we have to be wrung out. Have you ever left a sponge in your sink or laundry room sink for many days? It is putrid! It stinks to high heaven and can even start growing mold and bacteria. It is not able to be used for anything useful and usually gets thrown out. We are like that too you know. I mean, sometimes we go to church, or Bible study and soak in the word. We soak in teachings, we go to all sorts of events and programs filling ourselves to the brim. All good things mind you..but sometimes that is where we stop. We then lie around the proverbial Church drain and just start to stink. We start to grow mold and mildew and just are not useful for anything other than sitting there. We need to be wrung out! I am a firm believer in SERVING! If you are a member or even an attender at a home church you should be SERVING! And not just AT your church. If your church has outreaches into your community DO IT! If they don't have these programs CREATE ONE and INVITE OTHERS TO SERVE WITH YOU! What good is it to fill up on Jesus if we do not allow Him to wring us out to reach and serve others? What good is that? We should be reaching out to our communities, our neighbors and sharing the good news with them. We should be more concerned about that than our order or worship or what our next great "plan" for our church is. I mean, come on. Why in the world would we put the lost and hurting on the back burner to stuff like that? I want to be wrung out. I want to be available to share Jesus with others. I want to be comfortable being UN-comfortable. I don't want to be a putrid, moldy sponge not able to be used.. I want to be used BY God FOR God. talk...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I am reading in my Bible this morning and THIS scripture pretty much reaches out and shakes me.. It encouraged me in so many ways.. mostly that I am not to just TALK about everything God has done for me and all He wants to do int others.. I am called to DO what He has told me to do. I love the worsing in the Message translation of this chapter.. the way it starts out just addressing that our lives are just ordinary.. Wow. That is so not how we think sometimes in the "church" world. We think that if we are doing things or leading things that we are "important" people. We have the "good life". But we are just ordinary. It is only THROUGH God working..(note the word WORKING) in and through our lives that it becomes extraordinary. It is all about Him! The concept of not just sitting around thinking about all the cool "things" we can do as a church, all the great songs we can sing, all the cool sermons with tricked out stages we can stand on. Please hear me, these things are not in and on themselves bad things.. but if they are ALL we do .. we are missing it BIG TIME! Like it or not we actually have to DO not just SAY. I know it is long but I encourage you to read Romans 12.. (yes, the entire chapter) below. Let it encourage you, energize you and inspire you to allow God to take your ordinary life and use it for His purpose.. whatever that may be.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Be encouraged
<3 -h

really real....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There seems to be this mis-conception that just because someone is on a stage that they have everything "all together" all of the time. Well, I hate to shatter any dreams or burst any bubbles but I am not what you would call the most "put together" person. I struggle with the same insecurities we all struggle with. I look in the same mirrors and see the same flaws. I hear the same discouragments and fight the same battles that we all face on a daily basis. I feel the same hurts and cry the same tears. I laugh and smile the same as you, sometimes even when I really feel like crying. I find myself at a place however; where I do not feel the need or even HAVE the need to hide any of this. I actually feel as if God has placed me in the position I am in as a woman who sings her songs on a stage to then be real with people. I know that God has called me to do what I do.. not for me... but for His glory and for Him to reach others. I find myself praying a lot lately to not allow the enemy to come in and steal from me. I ask God to help me guard my heart, for me to remain strong in my faith in Him.. to not waver in my devotion. It can be hard at times to pray these things.. I face life and circumstances.. I understand. But I know that the times I have chosen to step outside of God's will and God's plan for my life I have missed out on His blessings. I have missed out on being a part of what He is doing. I also allow the enemy to begin to whisper lies to me that I am not good enough or worth God's love. This is a lie... a lie that I will not believe.. and do not want you to believe. God's word tells us that NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of Christ..
Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We all have stories we have lived out and are going to live out.. God Himself is the author of these stories. His hand holds the pen. His blood is the ink and we are His. His to hold. His to love. His to stretch, mold and use. Be encouraged today.. we are brothers and sisters TOGETHER in Christ... maybe slightly different circumstances but united and the same in CHRIST JESUS.


Double Vision

Friday, July 1, 2011

I have to admit. I can be; at times, a little bit of a procrastinator. I can have all the best of intentions and end up looking like a wishy washy girl who does not do what she says she is going to do. I have to say this is one of my least liked qualities. I often find myself making lists of things to get done, people to call, cards to send, meals to make..and on and on. It is actually, come to think of it, hilarious. I mean, how do I expect to become a NON-procrastinator just by making a "list" and laying out a "big plan". I have been really working on focusing on one thing at a time. Beginning with making sure my priorities are straight.
I say all this to start off with the playing field leveled. Because what I am about to say might upset a few people.. but then again, what else is new? :)
Is it just me or is it frustrating to have all these "movements" within our churches? You know, the ones that get us all "hyped up" and then fizzle out with no more mention of it...ever?! How can we as a church get anything done if all we do is make "to do lists" into sermons and then not really follow it up with anything.
I have been so encouraged lately while traveling and meeting such amazing people who are not just saying they are going to change the world for Jesus, they are doing it, living it .. and I did not see any "lists" in thier hands.
I guess what I am trying to conveigh is my own frustration in MY actions and the reflection of these same actions in the church. I don't want to be this way, I don't want my walk to be a pep rally or a "plan" or a "movement" I want it to be a life changed by Jesus Christ so radically that I can not help but LIVE it out and have those around me affected and changed.

ok, rant over.. now off to make a list ;)


SUMMER OF SERVICE: Week 3-Dig deeper than yourself

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Serving can sometimes become a way that we "show" other people we are "good" people. It can be a way that we advertise our church, or give accolaids to an company. It can be a way of using what is meant to be a selfless act and point blank shoot a spotlight on us in a darkened theatre. I have been there. I have been the person "helping" someone and then telling them about a church service or someother self serving thing. It never left me feeling anything other than a pat on my own back and self satisfaction for a "job" well done. I have been challenged in my own personal life on this front recently and I have asked God to help me and I have seen Him, and felt Him beging to scrub out of me some ugly traits and He has laid it on my heart that I am not called to live a "comfortable Christian Life" I am to become "comfortable with being uncomfortable" I am to not be seeking out my own comfort in any situation I should be entering it with the attitude of "God, use me to fulfill your purpose in whatever way you see fit..amen". I have been blown away at how quickly He has answered this prayer, I actually was not happy about it. He brought me into a pretty uncomfortable situation that I was just wanting somehow to squirm my way out of..but I allowed God to work in spite of my selfishness and He used that situation to bless someone in a way I never even knew they needed. GOD wants to be able to work through us..but if we are not able to seperate SELF from SERVING then I am convinced it can not be done... at the very least not be done to the capacity that He wants it too.
So HERE is the CHALLENGE.. Let's pray that prayer. Let's make ourselves available for GOD to use us to fulfill HIS purpose in whatever way HE sees fit. Let's shed the cage of self and embrace the uncomfortable and see how GOD can touch lives. I would love to get feedback from all of you on how GOD answered this prayer for you.

Be encouraged by this verse. Let it kindle a fire and passion to see GOD move in your life:
James 1:2-4
The Message (MSG)
2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

<3 heather


Sunday, June 12, 2011

tI recently decided to take up gardening...sort of. I mean, I was not out there knee deep in soil and tilling soil in order to grow my own lima beans. Close. Not quite as involved. The kids and I went to the local nursery and picked out some vegetable plants and an orange tree. (Ok, ok.. I guess "gardening" is a stretch) We took all afternoon planting our new "projects". We sweated, dug until our hands were filthy and calloused. Gideon even helped dig the big hole for the orange tree. We then went inside to enjoy a cool drink and wait for our tomatoes and oranges.
We have been in drought conditions here in south Florida over the last couple of months, and despite my efforts to keep up with watering I found this morning that one lonely little tomato plant that had been planted in the corner of the front yard withered and appearing to be dead.
I dug around the poor plant and pulled it out of the bone dry soil. The roots; exposed, made me sad. I made it my goal to save it's life. I gently brought it to the front porch where I had some potting soil and a few extra pots. I went inside, got some water in a cup and began to gently pour some water on the roots. I then went to work getting the pot ready for it's new occupant. I took soil in my hands and placed in the bottom of the pot. I then, again, took the water and poured a little into the bottom soil. I then, carefully placed the poor tattered thing in the pot. I began handing soil to pot again. Methodically I watered, handed soil, and well, as odd as it may seem, began talking to the plant. I know that they say it helps, and I will admit I was emotionally involved at this point so I was talking. Telling "it" that "you are going to make it.. I am going to take care of you". I finished the "extreme tomato plant makeover" session with a good misting of water and left it outside as I went in to clean up. I came back out an hour later and to my surprise the little withered plant was perking up. I smiled ear to ear! I was so happy. I bent down and talked to it again, encouraging it, breathing on it. I misted it again with water and went back inside. An hour later I went out and this little guy was a brand new plant. No more withered leaves. No more pathetic stance. It stood tall and refreshed.
Now, there is a spiritual application here. We are this plant, yes I could go there. I could talk about how God breathes on us and waters us and we grow. How we are dead in sin, but he transplants us, and we can truly grow and thrive. But I am going to come at it from another angle. The angle of serving others. You see, we are surrounded by withered plants. We walk by them every day. Desperate for water. Desperate to have someone talk to them. Desperate for someone to encourage them and plant them into good soil that will feed them. Tears come to my eyes as I type this. WE CAN BE THIS TO THEM! WE CAN BE JESUS TO THEM! Why do we walk by when this simplest of things like just stopping to talk to someone can be the difference (sometimes LITERALLY) between LIFE and DEATH. I am throwing down the gauntlet. I am saying let's stop SAYING we want to change this word and let's DO IT! Jesus, everywhere he went.. never ignored a need. He never said, .."no, just don't have time. I have this whole sermon on the mount thing in a couple hours, so... yeah." OR.. "You know I am not a short order cook and it is not my fault these 5000 people are hungry.. I AM HUNGRY TOO YOU KNOW!.."
He met needs. He spoke truth. He breathed life. I don't know about you, but I want to BE like Jesus, not just be a follower of His. I want my life to reflect His LOVE .. His TRUTH.
My challenge is this... FIND A WAY TO BE HOPE TO SOMEONE THIS WEEK. Some suggestions are as followed:
-Buy a meal for that homeless person you pass everyday
-Call that friend you have not spoken too in forever and just say I love you.
-Volunteer at your church
-Sit with someone who in mourning
-Volunteer to babysit for a single mom on a regular basis

THESE ARE JUST SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS I would love to hear how you implement this! Post and let others know, we can be an encouragement to one another to serve.

Serving together with you in Christ,


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer of Service- What if we actually DID something?

Have you ever stopped to think about the great calling you have on your life? The calling that GOD himself spoke of... to SERVE. There are numerous verses in the Bible that speak to this. One of my favorites is:

Matthew 5:14-16
The Message (MSG)
14-16"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

It let's us know that by us showing the Light of Christ that we will be "prompting" or inspiring others to "open up with" or in the NIV to "GLORIFY" God. We can do this by SERVING. I don't know about you but this excites me and challenges me. I have been working my way through a book called Crazy Love by Fances Chan and one area he challenges believers is the area of SERVING others. I was moved to tears as I read because I became acutely aware of the fact that my life was not being poured out in service to others the way it should be. I prayed about it and feel like God is pressing on my heart to SERVE more and not just to do it myself but to use my influence to INSPIRE others to SERVE as well. So this summer I am going to be challenging you weekly to SERVE in various ways. I want to hear feedback with stories, pictures, video etc of you and or your church group serving. I think as we share our stories we will be like that city on a hill and inspire others.. it will become a contagious movement of SERVING others and shining the LIGHT of CHRIST!

THIS week is WEEK ONE:
My challenge is one that is near and dear to my heart so I am going to lead off with it. I am a mom who has lost a child. The pain of going through that is heartbreaking to say the least. It is an ache that never goes away. Going through that has given me such a burden for children who are in situations that require help in order for them to thrive. My family has taken up the challenge to sponsor a child. We feel like it is a small way we can SERVE a child with a minimal amount of money. I am partnered with Mission of Mercy, an amazing organization that helps children everyday around the world through sponsorship. I am challenging all of you who are reading this to SPONSOR a CHILD! Jesus told us in:
Matthew 25:40
The Message (MSG)
37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—
you did it to me.'

Below is a link you can go to in order to get more information about how YOU can SPONSOR a child! I pray that you take up this challenge with me and that we SHINE like a city on a hill!


Serving together with you,

Things that go "thump" in the night.....

Monday, May 9, 2011

I was awake most of last night. I don't know if any of you have ever had a panic attack but I am pretty sure I was in and out of the brink of one the entire night. I could not stop my mind from racing. I needed to get this done, I needed to call that person, I needed to make sure I responded to that invitation, and on and on and on. I then went into fears. What if I am not doing a good job as a mom? I should not have snapped at the kids that way just because they did not pick up their toys. I need to write the perfect song. I should be a better organized person. I am sinking in a hole of procrastination and it has be breathless. I literally could feel my chest tightening and my heart thumpng out of control and I don't even understand why or what is triggering this panic, but it is so real it is scary.
I am just now this morning, after my quiet time processing it all. I obviously went right to verses in the Bible that speak of peace and of course I go right to Isaiah 26:3. It is a verse I have taped to my laundry room cabinet.. yes, the most appropriate place I think. It reads:

" People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit."

Isaiah 26:3 (The Message)

I read this about 15 times and I have to say it kind of made me feel a tad better but then I was still feeling a nagging in my heart. The part about "steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit." ouch! This hurt... because it convicted me. I have been keeping my mind set on God and trying to focus on Him but I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off so much that I am STARTING a bunch of stuff but not COMPLETING it.

I continued reading in Isaiah 26 and stopped again on verse 12...

"God, order a peaceful and whole life for us
because everything we've done, you've done for us."

I am in tears when I read this. Has that ever happened to you? You read the most simple of verses and it cuts to the quick and speaks directly to your soul. Well this verse did that. "because everything we've done, You've done FOR us".
What truth. What humbling Truth.
I am worrying about all that I.. ME... I have to do or what I.. ME ... I have not done. I am attempting in my own strength to do things, even all the while thinking.. earnestly thinking that I am keeping my mind set on GOD. Somehow the stresses and worries of life were substituted for the peace that comes with allowing GOD to have control. I can tangibly feel the stress leaving my body even as I type this post this morning. ALL that is done "by" me is done BY GOD. HE alone directs and orchestrates my steps and I have no need to stress or to fear. I can rely on Him to be my strength.

I need to address one thing in all of this. Procrastination. I am convinced that it's definition for me is ..

Procrastination: (verb) Pro-crass-ti-nay-shon
An action or lack there of because of fear of failure.

It is my own fears of failure that keep me from finishing things that I start. But the only reason I have these fears is because I am not trusting the TRUTH that GOD is ordering my steps and that I need to rely on HIM and trust HIM in all I do.

This is my prayer today and my focus. I want to be in perfect peace because my mind is set on Him and then i want to TRUST Him to keep me and direct me as I walk and live to honor and worship HIM.

Happy Monday to all of you and I hope that you too can rest in the Peace of trusting Him.


Random PSA.. the more you know....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ever had a moment where you can't remember what you were going to say? Like, for instance, one time I could not remember Steve Yzerman's (used to play and captain for the Detroit Red Wings..that's hockey for all my Florida friends) name. I literally blanked. Which is odd seeing that we were engaged once (in my mind) for a short period of time when I was 13. I stammered and stuttered and could not say the name. It was at 4 in the morning when I shot up out of nowhere in bed and shouted "STEVE YZERMAN!!!" As you can imagine my husband got the scare of his life and did not appreciate my "torretts syndrome" moment as I affectionately call them. It seems that I find myself having these moments of "clarity" more often as I get older.
My daughter Skye(7) tends to favor me in a lot of ways. She seems to have picked up this charachter trait of mine, but on a "softer" level. Take for instance the time she announced to everyone on our row in the airplane, that Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man and some mean white people killed him.. and that was not nice and she thinks that people should not hate people because of their skin color. Or the time in the grocery store when she decided to ask a woman about the red blotches on her face and asked if she could look at it closer because it was (and I quote) "an interesting pattern". Ah, yes.. she has moments of "clarity" and voices it. So, last night while our friends and their boys were over, and we were all outside playing Skye announced some facts to all of us while swinging on her swing. "If you are on a boat you should make sure you wear the right life jacket. Too small of a life jacket and you will drown. Too big of a life jacket and it will go over your head and you will drown. If the jacket is just right you will float and not drown." After the information was shared with us....quite randomly... I promise you I saw the star and heard the music play from those PSA's that random actors do. You probobly have even seem some parady's like the one's the actors from the office did a while back. Such as, "People say that you should enjoy all jelly beans.. DON'T the black ones taste disgusting." Cue the star and music and words on the screen reading THE MORE YOU KNOW. Funny stuff. I am laughing now recounting it. But in my quiet time this morning I began wondering how often does God try to speak to us in random moments and we just discount them as funny or uncofortable "thoughts". I can think of a time even in the last week where I am thinking I chose to ignore what God was speaking to me because in my mind I already had another plan and was executing it in MY timing. It's a shame really that I can be so caught up in my own agenda that the voice of GOD can be confused with just a "silly thought." I prayed about it this morning and then came across a beautiful quote:

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men-CSLewis

So so true. It is important to remain in a state of worship at all times. It is not easy, and it takes some concious thought. But I am going to try and impliment this even more in my life. I am ging to take the next 30 days and journal and pray then come back and maybe even along the way share with you about it. I encourage you to do the same. Take moments ON PURPOSE to focus on your WORSHIP of God. That means in ALL things. In the way you speak to your children, husband, co-workers, friends. In the way you drive.. or what you do while driving. In the time you are all by yourself. In the times you are stressed. In ALL things. I am curious to see what will come of this and am excited to see it change me.

Funny, who knew my daughters random boat safety tips would be what God used to speak to me.


a childs prayer...

Monday, March 14, 2011

I was just tucking my children into bed and was praying with them when my oldest; Skye, who is 7 prayed this:

Dear God,
Thank you for the beautiful people of Japan. I am so sad about the tsunami and all of the people who were swept away. I am sad that they were not saved. I am sad for the people who got hurt and have scars. But God, thank you for their scars because that means they were not swept away and they can be saved.


I was so moved by these simple, honest, true words of a child that I HAD to share.
God, THANK YOU for our scars.


copy cat ....

Monday, February 7, 2011

When I was first starting out on this "mommyhood" journey I was all about hanging out with as many new mommies I could. I even started a Mom's Bible Study and had 4 friends who had just had babies too join. It was fun getting together talking about changing diapers, sleep deprivation and so on. Then a couple months in talk turned to weight gain, weight loss, whose child was hitting what milestone etc. It kind of became this let's see whose baby can drool better and be the first to cut teeth, sit up and walk...(which is funny because as all of us now "long time mommies" know.. when they learn to walk they can run away from you ... not good LOL) I began catching myself being nervous about bringing Skye to the group.. she was almost six months old and had not sit up on her own yet. What was WRONG with my child. Did I need to enroll her in some sort of support group to teach her proper posture and encourage her to be just like the other babies.. no NOT just like them.. BETTER.. It really was pathetic. Here is my poor almost 6 month old daughter just doing her "baby thing" and I was her paranoid mother.. already. ugh. So then the day Skye turned 6 months old.. literally the day..June 25.. I take a pregnancy test and BINGO it is positive. I was ecstatic! I remember thinking.. well I can not believe that I am going to have another baby... this is AWESOME! It got me thinking, well that was pretty much all there was to do once the puking for three months commenced.. I started thinking about how ridiculous I had been and that I just needed to chill out and let the milestones come as they should... naturally.
I think in my relationship with God I have been guilty of attempting to reach "milestones" at the same "pace" as other Christians. I think I have compared myself to others and found myself lacking miserably and have even been guilty of faking it to appear that I was just as "good" as them. All in the attempt to be what I was "supposed" to be.. or where I was "supposed" to be at in my walk. It has been one insight I gleaned through losing Caedmen, that life is too short to worry about what others do or think. It is what God thinks and what God calls you to do that is important.. more than that.. it IS what is supposed to be. There is a line between being influenced,encouraged and in being pressured or compete with. I think in women we do this more. We see another woman who has one or more kids than us, she seems dressed nicely all the time, her husband has a great job, her kids are all adorable and even her dog is well behaved. We put pressure on ourselves to BE that. To emulate THAT. But in the word we are told to imitate God... not people..

EPHESIANS 5: 1-2 (The Message)
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”

I think the heart of this message is that our father LOVES us. Our Daddy... LOVED us extravagantly... the way we are.. the way he made us. He gave each of us a uniqueness and has called us for a purpose. If all we do is try to be like other people than we are robbing ourselves of the LOVE of the Father. We are replacing that LOVE with the longing for "acceptance" by a person. That will always let us down and make us feel not worth anything. But if we imitate GOD and LOVE like Him we are walking in what he has called us to do and we can let go of all the hangups and comparisons and be FREE in Christ.

panic attacks and other distractions from "real"ailty...

Friday, January 21, 2011

I have the most adorable 5 year old son. He is the most joyous, playful, snuggly, and all boy little boy in the world. (I just MIGHT be a tad bias here.. but deal.. please) He seems to know just how to melt my heart. You see, ever since the boy learned to talk he has always had a way of speaking that just made me feel the need to hug him and kiss him. I know you mommies out there know what I mean. It is the little voice articulating with the slight babyish tonality and articulation that is mommy drug. Needless to say for most of his (talking) life he has found a way to make me want to protect him from everything and be there for him. (Don't worry, he isn't going to be a Mommy's boy but it will be borderline on it..)
Yesterday I received a phone call from Gideons school and it went a little something like this..ahem...
Gideon has had a complete meltdown about his "seatwork"... now let me give you a little back story on this thing I am referring to .. you know, the "seatwork". "Seatwork" is work that the kindergartners have to do in their seats, in class, on time. Gideon, who has also always been my perfectionist child, has been working himself up over this "seatwork" for weeks now. It is odd, really, because he always finishes it. He always finishes it on time and pretty much always beautifully, yet he still has such anxiety about it day after day. So, the call yesterday did not come to me as a surprise. I felt for him, I really did. But I have made up my mind that if I coddle him the situation will only get worse. So, he went back to class and did his seatwork.
It breaks my heart. I mean, we tell him all the time he just has to do his best. We are not your "my child will be the best at everything" type of parents. We believe in fostering an atmosphere of creativity and expression with discipline, support and encouragement. It is not as if the child is getting pressure from us to be perfect. So, the one thing that DID surprise me about the phone call is that Gideon told his teacher that "mommy will not like me if I don't do good at my seatwork" and "mommy is going to scream at me if I do bad on my seatwork". Now, I have to admit, when I was told this I actually giggled on the phone. I know my son, he uses this trick on me, as many of you mommies know. But after I hung up I really started to thing about it. I thought, you know he really believes that he has to do the BEST and be the BEST to earn love. Why is that? I began to then think about how I used to live out my Christianity many years ago. I walked around head held high trying to do everything perfectly. Trying to make sure people SAW my good deeds; that people HEARD me sing for God. I made sure that people KNEW I was reading my Bible and doing a Bible study and going to church and being at potlucks and parties and on and on and on. I would read "Christian self help" books and Women's books on how to be a better pastors wife or how to be a better "woman of God" or how to "Love God more". It was this never ending cycle of attempting in some ways to "earn" God's love and "earn" my salvation. I got to tell you. I do NOT read "Christian self help books" anymore. I do not attend "Let's learn to love God more and be perfect women of God" conferences or studies either. I stopped running in place on a treadmill of trying to earn brownie points with God and started running, sometimes walking sometimes falling down on the path and just resting for a moment race towards God. I rest each day in knowing that I do not have to "earn" God's love. I do not have to "be the BEST" Christian wife,mom, woman in order to have a relationship with God. Just like Gideon with his seatwork, I would work myself up into thinking I was under the oppression of having to be something that I can never be.. perfect. I am perfected only through Christ. I am only strong when he is strong, and I can only BE who HE created me to be. And that is ok with my daddy so it should be ok with me.
Gideon is at school today, a little less stressed and hopefully not having a panic attack about now. I am so thankful that God is a father who loves us unconditionally. I shared a little of all this with Gideon last night before bed. I want him to know that not only do I love him and not expect perfection but even more than I ever could, GOD loves him and is always going to be there when he needs him, no matter what.