Awaken Courage and Beauty in the Family of God

My beloved is radiant and ruddy,  outstanding among ten thousand….(So 5:10).

Every man wants to be known as a warrior, doesn’t he? Just like every woman wants to be seen as lovely, adorned and beautiful. There’s something about God’s image we reflect as we exhibit such things as courage, strength, bravery and beauty.

It is now our job to awaken those things to its fullest potential in one another. Yes, men, awaken beauty in the daughters of God and yes, women, encourage the men in your life to their fullest potential as warriors in the Kingdom.

It is so sad when the daughters of God melt away the strength and vigor of the men of God through their words and actions. Dear sister, be careful and choose your words with wisdom. Even a glance of disapproval can cut away a man’s strength and courage.

Brothers, be careful how you treat women, made in God’s image in your life. Her body is not a trophy to win. Truly, her most beautiful assets are not external. Her beauty comes from within. Pull that out for the world to see so they might experience Christ in her.

I have spent too many years chasing the wrong conception of beauty and I have spent far too many years cutting men down. In the past few years God has been reshaping me and teaching me how to awaken beauty and strength in my brothers and sisters. I can’t say I’m all the way there, but I have learned how to say to the men in my life- I am so proud of you, you have what it takes, I believe in you, you are strong and courageous. To the women, instead of being jealous or threatened by them, I have chosen to be a shepherd who helps awaken their beauty from within. I have taught myself how to say, you are beautiful and lovely, your heart is captivating and kind! Your smile lights up a room. All of those words, I have found, have truly awakened something in my brothers and sisters.

More than anything I want people to say of me, “Heather cares about me.” That’s what I want more than any kind of success. I want a line of people who know that they are loved by me to say that God used me in their life to awaken within them strength and beauty.

Friend, the only way you and I can get to that point is to heed the words of Jesus and make ourselves a lowly servant. Truly, as we die to our pride the Father raises us up for Kingdom work as we find one more sheep to love.

Lord, make me like you. I want to awaken strength and courage in the men in my life. Help me to do that through your love and grace. Use my life to be of good cheer to everyone that I meet. I want women to feel beautiful. I want them to experience you, in Jesus name, Amen.

In the Midst of Chaos….Find Rest

I delight to sit in his shade….(So 2:3).

Dear friend, does your heart feel like it is at rest? Is there worry, anxiety or any trouble that meets you? There are parts of me still that worry. In fact, this current pandemic has certainly spun a web of anxiety into our atmosphere hasn’t it?

Yet, there is a resting place for all of God’s people in the midst of this world, each and every day. Truly, it is not found in any solution, vaccine or political party, it is only found in His promises and His presence.

As we get closer and closer to the end of days things will only get worse. Christians will have to learn how to rest and abide in the midst of great calamity, pestilence and chaos. Therefore, we must start preparing ourselves now as we teach our hands, feet and heart how to rest. Dear friend, His rest is the only shade that brings life to your bones. It’s the only place we can go to let our souls be emptied of all our troubles so that we might be refreshed in His love.

So today, I’m taking those little worries and areas I’ve dwelled on out of a desire to be in control and I’m placing them before the Father of truth. There in His presence. Yes, there with Him in His trusting arms of grace and love. Won’t you join me there?

Lord Jesus, I am here, all of me. Forgive me that sometimes parts of me run off into somewhere else because I’m running towards my idols and my love for something other than you. Grow me up in grace and thank you for establishing within me a beautiful city of your grace so that others can come and find shade in the places of rest you have built up in me, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Enemy Loves to Attack My Thought Life About My Husband…..

How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming!….(So 1:16).

Yesterday I sensed a great attack against my thought life in regards to my husband. That’s the plate the enemy loves to spin in my mind whenever I am walking in faithfulness and fullness. He tries to do his best to empty me of God’s goodness and right thinking and fill me with ignoble, critical thoughts towards the one my soul loves.

“Why isn’t he___________.” “He should be more____________/”. “Why can’t he just ______________.”

As these words start spinning in my head my thoughts are never taken to a place of admiration for my husband, but always to a place that loves to tear down the things that God has built up.

Friend, don’t be alarmed when this happens, but he alert. If you’re not, than alarming things will happen as your relationship starts to fall apart and yes, you will have played a hand in its destruction.

It is very, very difficult for me at times to think right thoughts. To think about things that are heavenly, honorable, praiseworthy and true. It is beyond easy for me to have critical thoughts towards the ones I love the most. I can have extreme grace for my friends at church and believe the best in them, but I can very easily throw the ones I love the most into places of my own critical and negative thinking .

The Lord is trying to rewire something in me. He’s trying to write a new song in my heart, one that believes the best in all people. Truth be told, my husband is a very good man. He works exceptionally hard. He is faithful to the Lord. He’s a wonderful daddy and a supportive husband. Sometimes I just get so caught up on the stumbles in between that I forget to rejoice and be glad.

Because you see, dear friend, gladness of heart comes alongside a glowing heart. Every man wants to see and experience a woman with a glowing heart towards him. I’m sure, on many occasions, my heart has not been glowing, but instead, has been sucking any bit of vigor and strength from my husbands bones. That is why, more than anything in this life, I need greater humility as I seek to put others, especially those I love the most, before myself.

The only way, for us, dear friend, to get on the other side of a critical heart is to replace it with a heart of thankfulness and praise. I remember a number of years ago, asking my husband to attend a marriage retreat with me and I was so angry the whole time because I felt like his attitude was poor while we were there. I just kept stewing about his poor attitude and a friend came up to my husband during one of the breaks and said, “I’m proud of you for making the commitment to be here.” Immediately the Lord struck my heart with conviction. Instead of rejoicing in the fact that my husband was there and highighting that with a joyful heart I spun the plate of critical thinking as I allowed my own heart to get stuck in a place of negative thinking.

Friends, if we want to have healthy relationships we must start to believe the best in others. If they are a Christian, we what is true of them in Christ. That is what I’m choosing to do as I run towards love and right thinking. Won’t you join me on that journey?

Lord, I want to honor you. I know that ones of the greatest ways I can do that is by honoring my husband and the ones I love the most. I want to have right thinking about all people. Help me now to have a heart that glows with gladness towards all people, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Be a Good Teammate in God’s Church

For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow?…(Ec 6:12).

I love to watch players pass the ball to another teammate. No one likes a ball hog. But then, there are other players who aren’t ball hogs, they’re just afraid to take a shot.

Truth is, when I was younger, I was afraid to shoot for fear of missing. I was afraid of what my teammates would say. You see, it wasn’t so much about what was best for the team. It was more about me avoiding something. Avoiding someone talking about me or putting me down behind my back, so I passed on a lot of shots I should have taken.

We do that as adults too, don’t we? We either want to be a ball hog and not pass the ball or we’re deathly afraid to take a shot for fear of missing. The main focus isn’t the team (God’s church) it’s us and our image before others.

Just like our Rabbi, Jesus, we must understand and play our role with confidence. Sure, Jesus got killed for playing His role, but did He not also experience the Father’s resurrection? Friend, you may think that playing your part means looking foolish, getting put down by others or not getting ahead the way you want, but more than likely, those messages are simply distractions sent from the enemy to knock you off course. The Lord has given you the weapons of warfare to fight against such distractions. It’s just, we have to hop off the throne we want to sit on and be willing, just as our Lord did, to make ourselves a living sacrifice before God and man.

So friend, today, I’m going to look for opportunities to pass the ball when it’s not my turn so that someone else can shine. Then, when it is my turn, I’m going to pray for the confidence to take the shot, even if I miss. Knowing that when I miss is when I grow the most. The Lord meets me with the grace to go for the rebound and try again.

Lord, you are so good and kind. I love you. Life just isn’t about me. Forgive me for making it all about me. I want to be a good teammate in your church and shine for others to see your glory and be led to your throne, in Christ name I pray, Amen.


18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war…. (Ec 9:18).

How does one gain wisdom? Does it grow in their heart as they age? Does it come and go like the wind or the latest new fad within the Christian market? Does it wear out when we do? Is it only for well learned people and those who have a track record of faithfulness behind them? Who gains wisdom and who keeps it? Who becomes what the Bible describes as full of wisdom?

That’s the question I’m wrestling with this morning. I want to be one of those considered to be faithful and full of light. Thus, building within me a beautiful city, full of wisdom for others to see that points them to Jesus.

I think those who are most wise are those who simply listen more than they speak. At least, that’s what I’m learning. Is that I’m exhibiting the most wisdom not when I’m sharing my knowledge, but when I’m holding my tongue. Truth be told, when my mouth starts moving, my tongue very easily can say words that lack wisdom or that simply try to point others towards myself. God has used me the most in people’s lives when Ive listened for an hour and responded with very few words

Have you ever just simply sat and listened to another human being? Not distracted or feeling the need to fix al their problems, but just simply be present with them by offering verbal affirmations? I think, that’s a sign of a heart that is growing in wisdom. I also think that wisdom grows when we learn how to suffer and endure with joy and gratitude. I think iron walls of love and wisdom become erected in our hearts when our willingness to stand strong in the heat of the battle in Christ’s love becomes the anchor we place ourselves upon. The strength of the Lord Jesus, whose wisdom becomes our strength as we place ourselves in His loving hands of grace.

So today, I want God to meet me, not because I need more of something, but because I want to grow in Him. The only way for me to grow closer to Him is to become like Him. To let go of my foolish ways and embrace the goodness of His love so that His wisdom might abound in me on this day and for all days.

Merry Christmas dear friends, God loves you more than you could ever dream.

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Thank you for your kindness and grace. I want to grow up in wisdom and love. I long to hear your voice and meet with you. Shower me in your love and wisdom today, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Living “With” Instead of Living Above Others

But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.,,,(Ec 4:10).

Last year, during my baby shower I was surrounded by truly tremendous women. Women who had been there for me during some of my darkest hours in life. Women who had supported and loved me through them. It was such a special time for me as I expressed my thanks and gratitude for their prayers and support for me during one of the hardest seasons of my life.

My bridal shower was not like that, because you see, I was still living above people at that time. Sure, I knew those women who went to my bridal shower. Many of them were the same women who attended my baby shower years later, but, I didn’t “know” these women and they certainly didn’t really know me.

You see, when suffering hit in my life, everything changed. The covers of my life came off and for one of the first times ever, I desperately needed help. Many of these women supported me through their prayers, cards, and some even sent me money. You see, something changes in your heart when the covers of your life get ripped off and you become exposed and vulnerable. I made the decision to not hide myself, but to free myself through transparency.

This simple change has radically altered my life. Yes, truly, it has changed me. I mean, really changed me. From that day I have continued to try and live my life as a women of transparency. I have tried to value deep relationships, being there for others in their own times of personal crisis and caring for people in the places God has put me.

It is amazing how many people will be in your corner when you stop living above them and start living with them.

I have learned that the most valuable leaders aren’t the ones who have it all together. Everyone gets super excited about someone who’s published a book or had a lot of “success” in life. In my experience as a published author, at least in real life, no one really cares all that much. What they care more about is how you treat them. They’d much rather you sit with them in their pain then have you show them your book.

Friend, this is one of the most valuable gifts we can give another human being. The gift of our presence lived out in transparency. You’ll be amazed at how many people will flock to you, not out of your success, but because of your willingness to be a friend who showers them with love.

Lord, I love you. Thank you for changing me into a different person. I don’t want to live above people. I want to live with them. Truly, Lord, you are so good and we trust you, in Jesus name, Amen.

This Simple Shift in My Prayer Time Kills My Critical Nature

He has made everything beautiful in its time…(Ec 3:11).

I feel this little wedge starting to form in my life. It’s one of those wedges that would love to cause division between me and my loved ones.

Truth be told, I’ve been plowing in good things into this relationship in my life for a number of months. I’ve seen good and great fruit from that investment. It is remarkable to me how quickly my mind can forget all the good that’s been sewn and start to uproot the things I’ve been planting out of discouragement.

I can have a fairly critical nature. One that quickly sees a lot of bad things in a person. Especially those people who are closest to me. It’s really unfair how quickly I can throw them into my “all bad” place if I don’t feel like they’re meeting my expectations.

I’m not sure where it comes from, the “all bad” place. I imagine in stems from something within me that feels entitled or like I know better. Some sort of self-righteous place in my heart that wants to believe that they’ll never be like me, so I’ll just have to pray for them…, that’s such gross pride in me.

A friend of mine, not long ago, challenged me to pray differently for believers in my life. Because you see, whenever we pray prayers for fellow Christians like, “Lord, change that person’s heart! Help them see their stubbornness and pride! Make them more _________________,” we have convinced ourself that person is bad. Yes, that’s really what’s underneath those prayers, isn’t it? At least, that’s what I find can be true of me most days.

Instead, my friend challenged me to pray what was true of them in Christ, not what I believed they lacked on the surface.

Something like “Lord, I pray that in Jesus name they would walk in the fruits of the Spirit. Thank you that you have given them the fruits of love, joy, and patience. I pray that _________________ would walk in those things today, because that is what’s true of them in Christ.”

Changes your attitude towards that person when you pray for them like that, doesn’t it? So maybe instead of bringing the spiritual hammer down on them in your prayer closet, hoping to reshape them with God’s judgement, why not instead build them up as you pray what is true of them in Christ’s love?

Father, forgive me for the selfish ways I pray. Forgive me for how I’ve been seeing my loved ones. I don’t want to see them with a critical heart. Thank you God for the fruits of the Spirit. I want to walk in them today and pray those kinds of prayers over the people I love, in Jesus name, Amen.

Ok, Tell Me More

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed… (Lk 23:32).

The other day I was officiating a basketball game with two gifted veteran officials. One gentleman had been officiating for 41 years and the other, who was younger than me, had 15 years under his belt.

The neat thing was, they took the entire game not to just officiate a basketball game, but to invest in me. I had told them that I wanted lots of feedback on my officiating because I wanted to get better. They gave me lots of feedback, in fact, so much that they just kept pouring it on. Telling me all the things I did wrong.

Years ago, I couldn’t have handled that. I would have tried to defend myself or offer a long rebuttal for why I did something after receiving a critical remark. But the other day, I simply shook my head and said “Ok, please tell me more.”

In fact, during another game, knowing other veteran officials were watching me I felt this pressure to be perfect and look really good to them. Truth be told, I wasn’t investing myself in the game with the right motivations and I just wanted to look really good to someone else. I forgot that my best asset is not always my performance, but my humility.

Friend, we cannot grow as disciples if we do not say to loved ones and to the Lord, “Ok, please tell me more,” after they offer us some wisdom about needed areas of growth in our life. I know it hurts. I know it hits at your pride. I know you’re worried about looking foolish to others. I know you care a lot about your image. I get that. I’ve been there.

In fact, if you really want to grow as a leader in God’s kingdom be the first one to say, “Ok, please, tell me more.” It’s the only way that you and I can grow, not just as people, but as image bearers of God.

So today, I’m coming with an attitude of humility in my life with those who have the kind of wisdom that I need so that I might grow all the more into His image and for His glory.

Lord Jesus, thank you that I don’t have to defend myself or try to look good to others. Thank you for loving me in all my weaknesses. Thank you that you give me strength for each day. Today, I want to give you glory in all things, in Jesus name, Amen.

Look At These Real Criminals!

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed… (Lk 23:32).

Jesus just astounds me most days.

As He is being led out to be crucified He was put beside two criminals. Yet, He doesn’t fancy Himself to point things out like, “Hey! These two are the real criminals! I’m innocent! Look at them! They are the ones who did wrong, not me!”

Instead, He chooses to have compassion on these men. He looked for ways to bless them and when one showed humility He extended mercy and grace. If you were dying, would you do the same? I know in the seasons of my life where God has called me to die, wow, it’s so easy to look at all the “criminals” around me and start to blame them or compare myself to them so I feel more righteous and holy. Especially if they wronged me in some way.

Friend, there are no criminals except the one you favor the most and person is you.

Yes, you are the darkest criminal you will face. It’s the one that must die a thousand deaths so that you and I can experience true resurrection.

It’s time to stop pointing the finger everywhere and it’s time to be like our Lord who kept loving and serving mankind even when life become terribly unfair. Beloved, it’s not about you. It can’t be. It was will be and it was never as to begin with.

If we really want to be like Jesus, we have to sit still with Him as we await our resurrection. Truly, it’s there in the dying where we learn how to love deeper, forgive more and walk in further humility and grace. Of course, if we’re willing to love the criminals next to us instead of use them in some way to make us feel better about our situation.

So friend, no matter where life has thrown you; love. Yes, love, not where you’ve been, but love who is with you wherever you are so that you can learn, just like I am learning that life is so much more about my growth in humility than it is about my need to defend myself to other people.

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. You hung on the cross so I could be free. You were not a criminal, but you loved the criminals next to you. I would be one of those criminals. Jesus, today I die to my self-righteousness and I ask that you might be Lord of my life, in Jesus name, Amen.

Friend, Get Yourself Ready For What’s Ahead

Pray that you will not fall into temptation… (Lk 22:40).

Whenever I know bad news is coming, I get really focused on myself. For example, if I’ve got a trip back to the dentist to get some work done, it’s hard for me not to focus in on me as I count done the days until the procedure.

The wild thing is that when Jesus got bad news, He didn’t stop doing Kingdom work. In fact, He ramped it up. He poured even more time and energy into His disciples on His way to the cross. He knew that He would have to suffer and die a horribly painful death, but regardless of the bad and painful journey that was ahead of Him, He kept staying faithful and He kept preparing His disciples.

Can we all just sit on that for a moment?

He kept preparing His disciples when He very easily could have entered into “woe is me.” Friend, there are many difficulties and challenges we have all faced in 2020, but we must continue to prepare ourselves and our disciples for what’s ahead. Kingdom work is never done, even in the midst of a pandemic, heartache or loss.

God’s church must ready herself for what is coming. As we start racing toward the end of days, it will not get easier for the church, but friend, we must remain steadfast and be found faithful. That is what our Lord did. Now, that is what we too must do, no matter where this life takes us.

So if you’ve become discouraged, defeated and entered into “woe is me,” please, look up and look out. Get yourself out of there and start doing what our Lord did on His way to the cross- praising, worshipping, praying and preparing His disciples.

Father, I want to be found faithful. Please use my life for your glory. I want to go and make disciples. Use my life to do that. God, I am yours. Thank you for your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.