Archives for category: Faith
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Sunflower in the Backyard July 2017

If a sunflower could wink, I think this is what it would look like. It’s slowly unfolding its petals and unveiling what’s beneath a little bit at a time.

Kind of feel like life is like that sometimes. Sometimes it takes a good good long while to see the bud turn to a bloom, and then the bloom to surrender all the petals to reveal what’s beneath. Sometimes it takes awhile to see hard work pay off, lessons be learned, efforts bear rewards. Sometimes, most times, good things just take….t i m e…

Just wanted to give a little reminder for those of you waiting to see the fruit of your efforts, the answer to prayer, the evidence of things hoped for.  Faith keeps its heart and eyes wide open even when there’s a slow unfolding of what may be hoped for or expected. Yes, faith keeps its heart and eyes wide open even when it can’t see any signs of what’s hoped for. Why?  Because faith doesn’t want to miss the moment of the unfolding, the unveiling, the revealing of the hope realized.

Yes, in a life of faith, it’s important to keep eyes and heart wide open even when circumstance screams to move on, shut down, and close our eyes. Faith opens its eyes and heart wide…regardless.

And when the unfolding comes, eyes of faith see what we’ve known and hoped for and believed was coming all along. Keep pressing on, praying through, staying free…you never know when the slow unfolding will reveal something even more beautiful than what you had imagined. ❤

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Sunflower Field in Kings Mountain, NC July 2017

Blessings ~
Heather

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”  Hebrews 11:1,3  

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Sunflowers ❤  Kings Mountain, North Carolina  July 2017

 

 

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I walked out of the house this morning and saw this…a leaf hanging by a thread. Literally.  And I smiled. Cause I get it. I know a bit about what that feels like. Am guessing we have all had our times of feeling like we’re ‘hanging by a thread’.  And the smile came because I also have a favorite verse as a result. “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33: 27a)

Underneath are the everlasting arms.  Like a Dad catching His child when he or she jumps in the pool. Like a fireman rescuing a child from a burning building.  Like a God who knows where we are and what we need more than we do, before we do, and anticipates where we’ll land or fall. Yes. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Love that. Good to know.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  My maiden name is ‘Hangen’, so growing up, one of my favorite go-to answers for how I’m doing was to say, “hangen in there 😉 ”  And through the years have appreciated the truth of just being able to persevere, to hang tough, to ‘hang in there’ when times get difficult. There’s so much value in not giving in or giving up.  Even if the end isn’t what we hope, the process can sure strengthen our hearts and minds and muscles. Just a thought.  Yeah, hang in there 🙂

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.”

Romans 5:3,4

P.P.S.  Gotta add a cool verse I read this morning about falling…It’s Jude 24, 25 and was one of my favorites years ago. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling (some translations say ‘falling’ 🙂 )  and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Amen.

 

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Isaiah 26:9  ~  “Cause my soul to yearn for you in the night and long for you in the morning.”

I read this verse this morning and just love it. I love the word yearn…to long for, to crave, to seek after and desire.  It’s a good word when that yearning can be filled. It’s not such a good word when it can’t be filled. The good news is that when the yearning is for God, He’s right there. That longing for hope and life and light and truth, no matter how hard the truth, can be filled. But even more, that yearning for His Presence can be filled as well…

I’m aware of so many needs in the lives of  sweet friends and family right now. Heck, our world is a mess and seems to be spinning out of control…on the global, world-wide political scale, and in the lives of everyday people. But sometimes the thing that causes our soul to yearn for Him are the very causes which we would never choose.  Illness, adversity, loss of loved ones or things, isolation, un-welcomed transitions…these can be causes that cause us to look outside of ourselves.  These causes can remind us that we are not all powerful and can’t change things in the blink of an eye. They can remind us that we are temporal…that life is fleeting and we are here for a short time. They can remind us that no matter how independent or successful or innovative or creative or whatever we are, that there are things in this life, in this world, that we cannot control.

Maybe the flip-side, the beauty, of these unwanted causes is that they point us to,  dare I say, make us long for yearn for, crave, the Presence of the One who is all that we are not. These unwanted circumstances can make us seek beyond what is seen. It’s almost like these causes are an unwanted path, a difficult terrain that is excruciating to navigate…but the walking of them can lead to an awareness, a place, a destination far beyond what we had ever hoped. Or, we finally get that on this difficult terrain, we have a willing and present navigator, guide to be present along the way.  All through the Bible are verses about God’s leading. One of my favorites is :Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

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Asheville, NC

 

And come what may, it’s good to know that we’re not alone and that He is accessible on any path, terrain, or circumstance. No matter the cause, if it causes us to yearn for Him in a new way, to seek Him, to crave His Presence, well, maybe the causes we fight so much wouldn’t be so bad. Because they are a gateway to greater things than what we could’ve gotten on easy street. I’m thinking there’s something in each of us that knows God IS. Maybe sometimes the things we would never choose are the very things which make us not only seek His Presence, but to see Him with eyes of faith all the more clearly.

Just a few thoughts from me this morning 🙂

Blessings~

Heather

 

I read this quote by Amy Carmichael the other day. Love the truth and simplicity of it.

“We say, then, to anyone who is under trial,

give Him time to steep the soul in His eternal truth.

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Go into the open air, look up into the depths of the sky,

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Wrightsville Beach, NC

or out upon the wideness of the sea,

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Wrightsville Beach, NC

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Malmo, Sweden

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Wrightsville Beach, NC

or on the strength of the hills that is His also; or, if bound in the body, go forth in the spirit; spirit is not bound.

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Shelby, NC

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Boone, NC

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Stockholm, Sweden

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Archipelagos, Sweden

 

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Boiling Springs, NC

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Stockholm, Sweden

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Shelby, NC

Give Him time and, ……as surely as dawn follows night,

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Shelby, NC

there will break upon the heart a sense of certainty that cannot be shaken.”

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Malmo, Sweden

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Backyard 🙂

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Boone, NC

– Amy Carmichael
Faith is perspective. It is belief. And sometimes a little stepping back to get some breathing room can do wonders for fueling faith, because in stepping back, we can better see the Wonder of the One we have faith in.  It’s not about faith in faith. It’s about faith in Him, the One True God.
The Heavens declare His wonder…and when I share in the wonder, well, my view changes my worldview, my worship changes my worry, my wonder changes the One I’m focusing on.  Yeah, am thinking Amy Carmichael had it so right when she wrote the above quote.   A little stepping back and looking up and looking out can awake in my heart “a certainty that cannot be shaken…”  Actually, for me, sometimes that certainty is shaken…but the good news is My God never is. Love that. When I show up, He is already there.  Just a few reminders to my self …

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11;1

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Taking the Scenic route to work…. Shelby, NC, June 1, 2017

If there is one thing I know, it is that you never know what is around the corner.

Thankful I know Who.

He goes before us and behind and is right there in the middle of it all.

Omni….omni present. Omnipotent. Omniscient. All of which I am so not.

Thankful He Is.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

 

 

 

DSCN2410Day is done. Love the calm that watching the sun go down brings…almost like there’s permission to stop, slow down, and rest. On a Friday night between the busy-ness of the past week, and the goings of of the weekend ahead, so thankful for the little bit of time right now to just be still. And I love that the verse that says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), well, it tells us to ‘be still’ before it tells us to ‘know’. Sometimes the ‘knowing’ comes when we stop ‘going’. And somehow, looking at that sun going down gives me a little time and permission to do just that.

Blessings~

Heather

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10

I love the zoom lens on my camera. The lens will go from a close up of one thing to a close up of another thing in the push of a button and then back again in a heartbeat. The camera is still pointed at the exact same place, but the whole perspective changes. (Nothing else changes, only the perspective…)

So this morning as I held up my camera, my view which started out as this…a tree just beginning to bud…

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….turned to this…blooms…full pink blossoms…in the push of a button. Voila!

DSCN2935.jpgAm thinking two things.

First, what we zoom into is what we see. There are a myriad of lenses to look through. Where we fix our gaze is what we see. Faith helps us fix our eyes on the unseen…to trust in God, and that filter can become a lens that helps us see the beauty beyond the bare. I don’t know about  you, but there’s a  lot of “bare” to see in my world. Zooming in helps me see the beauty…and the presence of God in the midst of it all.

Second…that our human eyes (and hearts) can only see so much, even with zoom lenses…. And that what we may see as bare branches and a teeny tiny bit of growth, God may look beyond to see as the beautiful thing that is yet to be.  He knows what is to come and He loves us right in the middle of it all. That’s a beautiful thing that I’m zooming in on today.

Blessings ~

Heather

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

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Anxiety. If you listen, or scroll, or read for any amount of time these days, that word will most likely pop up pretty quickly. Worry, anxiety, depression…these are battles  of the mind and heart that so many face in their lives. About a month ago, I was dealing with a lot of worry about a current situation in our lives. I couldn’t see how things would play out and it was really eating at me from the inside. It was pretty all-consuming, and I was making bold attempts to not feed the worry (cause yep, as I’ve said ad nauseum, “What we feed grows…”), but I was having a tough time. Worry seemed to be winning. But then, then… I read this quote: “Faith is rest, because it believes the work is done.” (Dan Bailey).

I stopped.  Rest.  I’m not sure why it hit me so incredibly hard, but it did. I smiled big.  Faith, belief leads to rest.  Not just rest like a nap. Rest like a quieting of the heart’s hamster wheel of worry. Rest like an ability to be ‘all in’ in the moment we’re in because we’re not pondering what the future will hold. Rest like a holding out of our empty hands instead of wringing them in anxious waiting. Rest in the soul that allows me to go all out in the daily stuff of life. Rest that says, “You’ve got this” not to me, but to the One who really does. God has got this.

He knew what would come before I did. He knows what is to come. And He’s right there in the middle of it all. When we take those situations, heartaches, worries to Him and lay it down, we make room for Him to do what we can’t. When we trust Him with it all, it frees us up to be wholly devoted to Him in the big and little stuff of our daily lives.

We are much more present living life with the people in our midst, working hard, loving well and reaching those in our world, when we’re not so busy trying to keep the world spinning…or worrying about it not spinning.  So, “Faith is Rest”.  Trusting is Resting. That’s been my new ‘go-to’ when worry crops up. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting.  When fears for my (adult) child crop up.  Trusting is resting.  When the uncertainty of future weighs on heart and mind. Trusting is resting. When my friend and her family were in a car accident yesterday and her neck was fractured. Tears were flowing, but my heart was knowing that God is in control and because of that I can trust Him with her and her family. Why?  Because trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. That’s what I spoke to my heart.  Truth. And Truth sets us free to rest in our hearts in situations that are difficult, trying, even terrifying.

If I believe God is who He says He is, I can trust Him with it all.  And the cool thing is?  He can use it all. For our good, For His Glory, He can use it all as we lay it at His feet. We put our spinning worlds down, and He, the Creator of All, can get our wobbly worlds back in sync.  When we put our worries into praying with faith, knowing that God can use it all, we put the reigns back in the hands of the One who Loves and Knows and sees beyond what we ever could. He’s a bit more adept at spinning the World than I am. That sun comes up every single solitary morning whether I see it (or worry about it!) or not. Just saying.

So, when worries crop up (daily, hourly, even momentarily!), am learning to speak truth to myself…to remind myself that I can trust God with it all.  Trusting is resting in His Sovereign Will, in His undying Love.  Trusting is Resting.

Blessings~

Heather

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”  

Romans 8:26-28

P.S. ( Always, right?  Sorry!)

Romans 8  I have  to include the link to whole chapter of Romans 8. It is so incredibly rich on any given day, but it is especially full when battling fears. No condemnation. He works all things for our good. He loves us. He has provided.  Yes, rich words and Truths indeed that can fill the heart that needs to remember who they trust and why they can rest.

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“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Matthew 6:26

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Sometimes waiting is hard. It just is.  But it’s a lot harder when we focus on what’s not there rather than the beauty that is.  Take this little branch for instance. It’s there.. Dormant. Sturdy. Barren. Little buds are just starting to  form. And pretty soon, it will be covered with leaves and the branches will be barely visible for all of the growth of the leaves.  But it will still be there…it will be the foundation that’s been there all along, the structure on which the delicate blooms sprout.

Maybe one of the sweet benefits of waiting for what is to come, is just being aware of what is…and seeing things as they are. Because sometimes the greatest foundations, the ‘bare bones’ of the structure of our lives are only recognized when all of the fluff and growth and answered prayer isn’t there…yet. Sometimes waiting in the barrenness of winter is such a good thing. Gratitude grows in the waiting. It grows in the winters of our lives because it has to search, to dig deep, to see and be thankful for what is…and still hope for what will be.

 “But as for me, I will look to the LORD;

I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

 Micah 7:7

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Maybe “sassy” looks like a 3 inch bird who stares down a 5’6″ human. Maybe it looks like diving into the whole cup of birdseed rather than teetering on the edge and reaching for a few kernels. Maybe it sounds like the song …the beautifully loud and clear tune from a tiny little bird that boldly breaks the silence and fills the air with a melody.  Maybe “sassy” is attitude that looks beyond stature and circumstance. Maybe sassy is a really good thing.  Because this kind of sassy sure sounds a lot like ‘faith’ to me.

… a few thoughts that came to me as I came eye to eye with this sassy little thing  just outside of my window.

 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?                                                                 The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”                                                Psalm 27:1

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