Black Friday… Cyber Monday….Deal after Deal….Crazy whirlwind of spending frenzy…Today I feel compelled to express my heart on the gift of gift giving. With the Christmas season upon us, the concept of gift giving has a special light shone upon it. There are spoken and unspoken expectations from every direction. From a Jesus Girl perspective, I see this light as Jesus, He was The Light born on Christmas for our salvation, but for some this area my feel like a prickly pear. I want to spend just a moment today expressing my heart and possibly giving you an idea as you walk out this glorious season!
Gift giving has been ‘my thing’ since I was little. I not only loved the special surprises on my birthday and under the Christmas tree as a young girl, but I remember the pure excitement I had to give gifts. As I got old enough to earn money, I recall how I could set aside money to shop for my family members. I was not portioning from a $20 bill, it may have been $5 or $10, but by golly I was going to squeeze every little dollar type store gift out of it that I could.
Fast forward to my adult years up to now. Obviously earning a paycheck and/or a spouse that completed gift purchases with me always adds a new dynamic. As I was growing in my faith several years ago, I was challenged on several occasions to be obedient. I was hearing God tell me to bless others in various ways, but I was not honoring God. I was scared, what would the person think, and a lot nervous, what if they didn’t like xyz. However, as I started being obedient to Father God, I realized the blessing was in the giving. I was honoring Him, growing my faith and realizing this gift He gave me was for me!
So for these past few months or so I have been pressing into this question…
Why has God created me to be a Gift Giver and not necessarily others?
Asking this question out loud may seem prideful or like I’m in comparison to others or better than others, but if you know me and my heart, that is not true. I am simply pondering with God. So let me turn the thought upside down.
If we believe God has entrusted us each with different gifts as Romans 12:6-8 describes…
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with yourfaith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Then can we shift this thinking over into actual gift giving? Point being, if God gave you the gift of hospitality, generally you are the person who hosts and loves to have people gather at your home. Or what about the gift of being awesome at mechanics, generally you are the person fixing cars. And on and on.
Spiritual gifting come in similar ways and I like how 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 states it…
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
My faith tells me that the Holy Spirit gave me the gift of gift giving. Possibly when I was young, possibly when I was older, that is not of concern to me. However, if the Holy Spirit gives gifts (read more concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit), then through Him, the Holy Trinity, we shall freely give.
With all that put out there, here is my Heida lesson.
- Why do I give? Because He tells me to.
- Who do I bless? Who He tells me to.
- When do I bless them? When He tells me to.
- What do I bless them with? What He shows me.
When you operate out of your gifting, what you offer may look completely different than what the person next to you does. See, God created us uniquely…equally yet uniquely. It goes back to my initial pondering question to God and it is answered, we are all different. Different with a unique, God given gift inside each of us to express. I might add, I am not perfect! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve not listened or been to tired to fulfill what has been asked of me, but God is loving and forgiving every time.
If you are curious about blessing others through gifts or food, but feel thwarted for some reason, here is my challenge for you today during a few minutes of prayer time or even while cooking dinner.
- First, ask God to reveal someone in need. Maybe this is someone you work with or someone in your family…possibly a friend or neighbor.
- Once you have this name, pray for them. Ask God to reveal the ‘why’. Now just know He may not tell you any or all of ‘why’ but you possibly have an idea or a nudge in your gut.
- Next, ask God how you can bless this person. Is it a meal? Is it coffee time to talk? Is it watching their kiddos? Is it an actual gift?
- Possibly you don’t get a specific of what to do, so reach out to the person and give them options; let them help you in deciding if this makes sense.
- Lastly, be respectful. The Holy Spirit Himself is respectful and loving. Sometimes we are so compelled to give, we forget there is a person on the other end. They maybe hurting physically or emotionally; take time to really hear what will bless them while being respectful of their space and needs.
- Then don’t delay, make whatever it is happen AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
There you go! My processing steps when I know I’m to utilize my gift of gift giving! Let me end today with a prayer…
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for today. I thank you for creating us uniquely with gifts to use that will lift up others around us. I pray that as those who read this become compelled to give out of their hearts first. I ask that they are equally blessed as they give and know you are the Ultimate Creator. Thank you God for sending your Son to Earth. I pray that as we walk through this Christmas season our hearts will become full of your love and we become vessels of love to be poured out on others. Amen
Many Blessings, Heida
Photo Credit to my amazing husband and artist, Tim Hill
Today is the day. The day our lives forever changed. I woke up with words streaming through me like hot water, ready to spill out on to the page. What do I say? Who is my audience? How will they feel as they read this? Then it hits like a wave…maybe these words are for me. A day of rememberence and honor.
On this day, 5 years ago I lost my late husband, friend, partner in silly things, expert in all things technical and most importantly father to our son, Connor. It was approximately 8pm according to the autopsy report, however I as look back on this day I recall each moment that took place leading up to the tragic phone call.
Over the past 3 months I have writing my book proposal. The book will be about inner healing intertwined with my testimony of God’s love and faithfulness. As I sit typing today, I ponder how I can be so struck, yet again, as I have writing, processing, and mourning all over again for several months. Yet here is what I believe to be true…I will take you on a quick journey.
Take a deep breath in. Can you smell the air? Maybe like me you smell some coffee too, but take another whiff. If smells like November. There’s a coolness and dampness in the air. Not yet Winter and no longer Summer. Next, image your front lawn. If you live in Ohio or somewhere North, our leaves are almost completely off our trees. There is a crispness to the leaves as you walk across them. I can hear the leaves tumbling across the road and crunching under my tires. Lastly, feel your clothes. Again, if you are like me, I am in several layers of clothing this morning. There is a chill in the air even with the heat on, layers are a must.
I call these my environmental reminders. I can never change them or get away from them, and honestly I don’t desire to! I absolutely love Fall. However, when you have experienced great loss those simple reminders will bring a tidal wave of emotion. Simply recalling that November was here the other day brought me to my knees.
Some of you may kinda think twice about how I could be processing the loss of my late husband and yet be married again. And maybe I am assuming. And maybe I simply have the same question. Another truth I have found along this journey is that grief is not time limited. There are peaks and valleys, literally in our brain. As traumatic events happen we travel those peaks and valleys when memories (or as I described above-environmental reminders) happen. There are other clinical terms I will spare you of for now, however my radar in this area is always up especially when it comes to our son Connor because the simplest issue can quickly become a valley due to the way his brain is processing the memory of seeing his dad, face to face, not alive.
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
Psalm 56:8 NKJV
So today is the day. The day each member of our combined families lost someone dear to them. The day I lost my husband. The day Connor lost his dad. We will always remember Bill in our hearts and the impact he made during his brief time on Earth.
This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 NKJV
So back to Today…
Today is also the day that the Lord made! I will rejoice and be glad in it! I will rejoice for my healing. I will rejoice for my marriage to Tim and the heart he has for our family. I will rejoice at our double blessings, Jeremiah and Micah. I will rejoice that God has us all in the palm of His Hands. I will rejoice that He has collected each of my tears and carried me through this journey. I will rejoice for our family and friends that have walked this journey with us.
Until we meet again Bill – We will keep on keeping on – Living, growing and loving
Did someone say, Another Giveaway?!? Well, I figured since the last giveaway blog was such a hit, Brave Beauty – A Book Giveaway For A Brave Beauty, that we should do another! So I am excited to say that today we will take a look inside Faithgirlz Backpack Bible.
*Stay tuned to the end for details on how to be entered to win ONE new copy of Faithgirlz Backpack Bible!!*
Faithgirlz Backpack Bible is an NIV compact Bible and is published by Zondervan. This Bible is geared for young girls, ages 8-12 and grades 3-7. It is beautifully covered with a fun pink imitation leather and is super soft. It also features a lay-flat binding so that when opened it literally lays open rather than flipping shut! If you are like me, this is a simple but wonderful feature as I’m prone to loose my page!
Being a parent myself, I recognize how having a compact Bible for school, church and bible studies is imperative to toss in any backpack. Especially as a younger girl who tend to carry lots of other goodies, having something compact makes it more likely to be used on the go! And what girl wouldn’t want a Bible that speaks right to her heart with a splash of pink! The outside cover is adorned with a simple statement:
Follow Your Heart
To make the Bible even more special, it features a twelve page section titled “Beauty of Believing!”. These sections are broken into three parts – Introduction, Old Testament, and New Testament. My favorite excerpt is found in the Introduction. It says this:
The Faithgirlz Promise
I promise to always…
- Focus on my inner beauty.
- Remember that God loves me always.
- Love myself the way God made me.
- Look at others’ gifts without jealousy.
- Treat other people the ay I want to be treated.
- Love my neighbor.
- Forgive others when they sin against me.
- Love my enemies.
- Seek God’s will in all that I do.
- Focus on the inner beauty of others.
Amen and Amen! What powerful words being spoken to our young girls and what momma wouldn’t love that?!?
Speaking about girls and mommas, I had the opportunity to get this Bible into one of my great momma friends hands, Zoe! She is blessed with two sweet girls, one of them being Zyra who is 11 years old and just started 6th grade. As I presented Zoe with the Bible, I had no idea that Zyra was about to start a Bible study at her school and was in the market for a new compact Bible! Say what?!? Yes, that is how awesome God is! So of course, after a few weeks I asked Zyra for her feedback and she was thrilled to tell me her opinion! Here are some of her thoughts:
What I liked about the new Follow Your Heart Bible was this it gives tiny life lessons like how to show other people your faith. I liked it because it is not King James version but NIV, and I think it really suits teens… Overall, I would say this Bible is a 10 out of 10 and would recommend it. It is little enough to fit in your purse or your book bag so you can take it everywhere with you and even your school Bible study. And if you don’t have a school Bible study, make your own!
Here is a picture of Zyra packing up her bag for school! And don’t you love her encouragement to make your own Bible study? She is such a sweet heart!
As with my most recent blog and giveaway, I will say the same thing…what a perfect time of year as we approach the gift giving season to have a giveaway! I would love for you to win, but if you don’t, jump over to Amazon or your local store and pick up a copy for a young girl!
To enter the giveaway please follow these steps:
- Like the post on Facebook
- Share post on Facebook
- Subscribe to my website
Easy peasy! One of my little guys will draw a winner on Tuesday 10/31/2017 and I will announce on Facebook!
Lastly, thanks again to The Blythe Daniel Agency for this amazing opportunity!
During today’s blog I will take the time to review a book titled Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell.
**Stay tuned to the details at the end as I will be giving away a new copy of this book to one lucky winner!**
Brave Beauty – Finding the Fearless You, published by HarperCollins – ZonderKidz, is such an awesome way to start younger girls off on the right foot with a daily devotional. The book is geared for young girls ages 8-12 years old. The author, Lynn Cowell is a known author for speaking to women of all ages and is part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. The book is full of 100 impactful mini chapters which are broken into three sections – I Am Loved, I Am Brave, and I Am Confident. The theme of the book is taking a younger girl through the process of Finding the Fearless You. Each section and chapter are a journey to unravel the various parts of girlhood and stepping into their identity as a daughter of Father God.
I love how each mini chapter starts off with a relational story to engage the reader. Lynn does an amazing job at connecting with the reader; she shares stories from her childhood through adulthood. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 16: I Am His
Coming back from lunch break, you sit down at your desk , holding back the well of tears threatening to spill from your eyes. Why would she say that about me? you can’t help but wonder. You keep thinking back over the conversation you heard between the girls at the table next to yours.
Before going any further, as an adult woman, I can immediately relate to the feelings expressed here. As a young girl I certainly struggled with my own identity and would have loved to have a book such as this to walk me through my awkward feelings. After each initial excerpt, she then dives into those feelings, reveals the truth of what God would say, and then lays out various Bible verses to support the conversation. The mini chapter is then brought to a close with either a Becoming Brave section or Getting To Know You then followed with a Courageous Call. For the end of my excerpt Chapter 16, here are her words of encouragement:
When mean words come your way, chances are you are not going to be near your Bible or this book to help remind you of what God has said about you. That’s why I put God’s truth everywhere, where I can read it over and over again. When we feel rejected, God’s words remind us that we are accepted. But not just accepted – we are the ‘apple of His eye.’ (Zechariah 2:8)
She then prompts the reader to memorize one of the Bible verses and ends with a prayer (Courageous Call). How powerful! Chapter by chapter filled with these rich truths!
I am blessed to have several young girls in my life! Being a mom of three wonderful boys, I definitely enjoy having girls to shop for on special occasion. My heart is that of a giver, I love to give gifts to show my love. Since I knew this book was geared toward a younger girl, I gifted it to my best friends daughter, Madison. Madison is in 6th grade and is 11 years old. Wow…Middle School is tough. My son is in 7th grade, so without diving into specific issues, boy or girl, we know that our kids need encouragement to get through those self discovery years.
Sweet Madison wrote me a special letter to express her thoughts on Brave Beauty. So straight from her heart, here are some thoughts!
I have enjoyed Brave Beauty so much! I love how the author introduced herself, and how she uses her personal experiences. When I read it, it feels like I’m reading a letter from a friend.
When asked about the ease of reading and length of the devotions Madison states:
I love how she (the author) does little sections, and does lots of them. That way I can read them before bed, and it doesn’t take a long time.
Regarding the content, Madison states:
I really enjoyed how she (the author) had a special prayer for each different section. It’s also good because the prayers go along with the section. Another thing I love is how the author asks questions and has places to answer.
Such powerful words from a Brave Beauty herself! Here is a picture of Madison during her Brave Beauty devotional time!
So there you have it, Brave Beauty. A wonderful collection of devotionals for young girls to find the fearless in them. I highly recommend this book and will be looking to bless others as the gift giving season approaches!
With that said, I am giving away a FREE copy of Brave Beauty to ONE lucky subscriber! Be sure to subscribe to my blog with your email address so I can pick a random winner! I will have one of my little guys help draw a name on 10/16/17 so be sure to get subscribed! I will post results on my blog and FaceBook page!
And special thanks to The Blythe Daniel Agency for the book review opportunity!
Why Not Revival?
I have a burden to share. Many of you share the same one. Our country, the hearts and souls of so many that are hurting. These were my thoughts the other morning as I was getting ready. And I heard the Holy Spirit say ‘Why Not Revival?’. Then I question it myself… why not?!?
Over the past few years it’s almost as if in the Christian community the word revival has gotten a bad rap. We immediately think of scheduling the routine revival services and how that will fit into our already jammed packed life. As you speak about revival there seems to be this almost autoformatted response of ‘revival starts in the heart’ (meaning individually). So to that I say, I can’t argue that. It’s true! I remember the personal revival in my heart, body and soul when I got saved! I remember how to get back to that place of the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit and can now foster that in my home. But I’m still left asking, Why Not Revival? Why have we set up a ‘no’ response to an actual community outbreak of God’s enormous love falling on many?
As Christians don’t we have a duty to see the presence of God fall so heavy on those that are hurting that their lives are changed? Don’t we desire to see others run the race and not grow weary? Do we still desire addictions to cease and diseases healed? I would assume most answer ‘Well of course Heida!’. But yet we have the response to revival as stated above. What I hear is ‘Do it yourself; find God on your own and then we can get together and celebrate’.
On the contrary when great revivals of the past have broke out it is within the context of community. Let’s take for example Azusa Street Revival
. It broke out in 1906 and lasted almost 10 years! This, along with many others, are characterized by a community of believers, offering up prayers and petitions to God where the mighty presence falls and others are consumed by His great love.
My heart is burdened for revival, yes within myself, but for others. I pray that hearts are set on fire for God. I want to be on the look out for God and all of His wonders. I want to run to where the overflow is happening and take all my friends and family with me, don’t you?
As we step into September I can’t help but feel an expectancy. With Awaken The Dawn
just a little over a month away, what will God do in preparation for America’s Tent of Meeting? What will He place on your heart to prepare you for this shift?
I leave you with one last question… What If? What If Revival? What If Now? Why Not?