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
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!
Do you ever get into a seasonal cooking rut? For me, I’m not too interested in hot, all day cooked meals in the summer. Give me something grillable and easy any day of the week when the temperatures rise!
Today I’m sharing something simple, you guessed it, homemade Tex-Mex yummies! I absolutely love tacos! I could eat them everyday of the week! Soft shells, hard shells, on a bed of lettuce, with tortilla chips, seriously the options are endless! Then add the meat and topping choices…dinner for days!
Tonight we are having our go-to taco dinner:
- 1lb ground beef with taco seasoning of choice
But I’m adding a few new favorites:
And why not have a refreshing iced coffee on the side! I just brew up my favorite beans on espresso, pour over ice and add my favorite creamer. Easypeasy!
Seriously, the peach salsa is amazing! The only variation I have is that I add another jalapeño for some extra heat. It’s easy and definitely makes enough for a meal.
I hope this inspires you to use your kitchen gadgets and make something fresh for your family on a hot summer day! Enjoy!
When life’s messes can be summed up in a heaping pile of canned ravioli on the floor, it’s time to chat.
As I was wiping, and wiping and wiping, up the mess leftover from my boys lunch I started processing. I was thinking ‘I would have never let Connor eat like this’. Connor being the almost 13yr old with his two youngest brothers Jeremiah (21mths) and Micah (11mths).
Thinking of my younger self by 11 years or so, things were different. I was grasping at controlling absolutely everything in our lives. My job, my marriage, growing a tiny human and my relationship with God. If I could keep this part tidy and neat, all would be right with the world. Many things transpired over the years, but what finds me here today is this ravioli.
When Bill, Connor’s father, my late husband, passed away in 2012 the figurative ravioli hit the fan. My life, our lives, were turned upside down for the world to see our mess. The small things seemed not to matter anymore. I was more concerned with how I was going to raise a son on my own rather than what the sink looked like. My perspective shifted. My life shifted. My relationship with God became the closest thing to reality I had to hold on to. Day in and day out we made it. God provided and healed.
Now being almost 3yrs into my new marriage, I watch in awe at what God has done. I look at the messes as a blessing, something so very simple to clean up that it barely phases me. My boys are happy and fed. More importantly they have a momma who is happy and being fed by the Word of God; one who has her perspective shifted to recognize what really matters.
Photo by jcreed