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?
Do you have a pair of jeans that glisten in your closet? You know, those jeans you aspire to slide on with ease and button perfectly? The ones that call to you from time to time to try on to find yourself defeated? Well if you are like me, you can imagine the pair right now!
Some may ask why I talk about food, health and exercise so much. Like ‘c’mon lady, I know you make healthy food and you exercised, now let’s move on’. Today I will share a few roots of why this topic means so much to me and for so many of you as well. First and foremost, it sometimes feels like an insurmountable part of my journey. You see my size has always been an issue. I have very few memories of my younger years where I thought I fit in, literally. My weight has been like a roller coaster ride. I have had peaks where I feel like I’ve gained control, then valleys when I feel like it’s all for nothing.
In 2013-2014 as I gained my new identity as a widow, God also brought amazing insight to this area of my struggle. I finally felt like I was winning the race with my health. I was officially in my smallest size jeans (ever as an adult) and I was so much healthier. I was working out intensely, 45min-1.5hrs/3-4 days a week, then adding jogs in another few days a week. I was also on the right track with clean eating and supplemental protein shakes. God brought me to a place of new strategy. Not just for the smallest jean size, but for the play book on how to effectively be healthy in my skin.
I started the year 2014 in a fasting mindset which then carried me through the year. I had recognized that chocolate was a problem for me. You know the saying that cigarettes or alcohol are a gateway drug into something worse, well place chocolate there for me. One brownie led to three led to ‘why not the whole pan’ mentality. See food is the least talked about drug that people use everyday. ‘Hmmm I’ve had a rough day, I deserve a treat’ or ‘No one sees me eating, I will just eat all the chips’. Then we rationalize it further by sayings such as ‘well at least I’m not drunk’ or ‘I will just work out a little extra’, when in reality we aren’t dealing with the root at hand…addiction to food. Ouch.
January 2015 brought the wedding excitement with my husband Tim, still in my smallest jeans as an adult, until I became pregnant on our honeymoon. Those skinny jeans went sailing with the cruise ship we were on, possibly landed in Cuba! Deep down, besides the excitement of this new bundle of joy, was the looming fear of the bundle that would be left on my body. No sooner than seven weeks postpartum I was pregnant again now with Micah. Seriously, there was no time or ability in those seven weeks to lose anything except my mind trying. Carrying Micah became an extreme feat for my body to say the least. Looking back it feels like most of it was me on bed rest, going in and out of pre-term labor and making every effort to keep him from coming early. Those skinny jeans were LONG gone by now. The sinking pit of defeat crept along inside of me, never ceasing. I allowed the enemy to toy with my thoughts and tell me that I was less than, because of those jeans… staring at me from inside the closet, reminding me ‘you will never wear me again’.
Fast-forward to today. I can officially say I am one year postpartum! Some may smile at this and some may nod knowing the victory here. See when we celebrated Micah’s one year birthday in July, I was celebrating a new me. I had no clue what the next few weeks held but I felt the shift in my spirit. Tim had spoken over me time and again that one year was when the switch would flip…friends it has. After returning from the She Speaks conference just a couple of weeks ago, God has taken me back to these teachings He gave me just a few years ago. Realizing today looks way different then it did then, but the principles remain the same. It is simply not feasible for me to just go jog when I feel like it or leave family time for a workout class at the gym. Yet, it is feasible for me to squeeze in time before the boys are up or go for a jog early Saturday morning or better yet as a family.
When I sat down to write this blog today, I asked the Father about the title. The word ‘glistening’ stuck out to me when I thought of those jeans. I took a moment to look up the meaning. One of it’s synonyms is ‘glitter‘, this struck me:
an attractive and exciting but superficial quality
Wow. How bold is that to say these silly jeans are attractive and exciting, but are superficial?!? When was the last time you said you were excited to fit into a pair of workout pants? Or tank top? It always comes back to jeans. But in truth we should be asking ourselves, what am I clothing myself in? Am I chasing life in the flesh or life in the spirit?
The scripture I leave you with as a nugget to a healthy lifestyle and uprooting food addiction is Romans 8. Fitting title… Escape from Bondage. Here is an excerpt:
5 For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. 6 Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; 7 the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.
9 However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]. 10 If Christ lives in you, though your [natural] body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness [which He provides]. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.
I pray this message settles in your heart. I pray that God directs your path on how to handle food, exercise and health. He is a God that cares about you, all of you. In the meantime I am going to tuck away those silly jeans and realize I am on the right path, doing one day at a time and celebrating the daily victories over my flesh!