There She Goes…Dreaming Again. {a release and preview from the newest She Matters Journal}

There She Goes…Dreaming Again.

Have you ever had a dream? Not the kind that wakes you up at 2am or even the kind of fairy tale wishes like we dream up when were kids (thanks Disney, for making us all wish on stars). But a real, raw gut-wrenching, sparks a fire in your soul, and pulls at every nerve and fiber in your heart kind of dream? You can’t sleep, can’t think straight until you express it on paper or share it with someone, like a well-kept secret bubbling over and bursting at the seams. That kind of dream. According to Google, there are many different definitions. There are three that stood out to me: 1) an involuntary vision occurring to a person when awake. 2) A vision voluntarily indulged in while awake; daydream; reverie. 3) an aspiration; goal; aim: I love the emphasis on voluntary and involuntary, because sometimes your dreams take ahold of you and sometimes you have to grab ahold of them. An aspiration, a goal, a vision. Well for me, there was a dream that began a little over two years ago for me and has not let go of me ever since…all thanks to God.
This “dream project” or “vision” is something that God laid on my heart in the spring of 2015. He has not let me shake this idea loose from my heart or mind. After much prayer and a leap of faith that started as a small platform, I launched a blog ministry called “Hope for Her Heart” in June 2015. I have found that launching a blog to share and encourage others is the best way to express myself and spread the hope. What hope you ask? The hope found in Jesus Christ. The verse that God laid on my heart just kept whispering to me when I would try to lie down at night and it would keep me awake. I would be at work and daydream; it was a constant thought running through my mind. Hebrews 6:19 states, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” In this world, our hearts are hungry and our souls are searching. But for what? Something or someone to believe in, whether we realize it or not. The stranger on the street at the stoplight, the next door neighbor, the classmate behind you in your college, the girl whose locker is next to yours who gets bullied, the busy mommy with two toddlers in the Wal-Mart check-out line, the mom in the home room class who has PTA duty with you, the widowed elderly woman, the broken runaway pregnant teenager, the war-torn veteran struggling with PTSD, or even the family who sits on the same pew as you every Sunday. Each person has a story to tell, and each person needs someone to hear them. Searching for hope, something sacred, strong, and secure to hold onto. The Word itself says we have hope as an anchor for the soul. That hope is in Jesus, He’s sure and steadfast. He’s the one who tore the veil so we could enter His presence.
What defines you? Who defines you? Is it what you do that makes you who you are? You can be a doctor, lawyer, aunt, teacher, sister, musician, scientist, entrepreneur, manager, mom, daughter, coach, grandmother, or anything. We each wear multiple hats, because as women let’s face it…we are the queens of multitasking! Although multitasking can sometimes lead to overwhelm. Let’s just be honest for a minute, we could probably run circles around our male counterparts and coworkers backwards and in high heels! But of each role we play in our busy lives, every role is important but these roles aren’t what define you, the real you. These are things that drive and challenge you, and thrive to do what you know you have been called to do. Do you ever wonder why you feel so driven by and drawn to these certain passions?
Maybe you were born to be an artist using your God-given talents and passions for a great and beautiful purpose. You could be a lover of the classics, with a creative force inside you that can’t be tamed. You may have an eye for color or the aesthetics of natural beauty whether it’s abstract or not. You find beauty in everything, especially details. God is the maker of beautiful things, what a great way to glorify Him! You could have a distinct style and eye for fashion; you know what works and what doesn’t. You know how to match together a coordinated ensemble just with the snap of your fingers…and boom! You’re a fashionista! You could be called to be a famous designer. What could possibly be a better way to share about true beauty and modesty than using your inner passion for fashion? (See Erica’s story “Rags to Rubies” pg. )Do you have a love for science and how things work? Or what about a fascination with how the human body works? You may have the intelligence and dedication it takes to study medicine. Combine that with a love for people and wanting to help save lives, maybe you were born to be a doctor! God still works miracles in many ways, He might use you! Do you have a nurturing touch and giving heart that loves to care for others? You could be a nurse! If you have a passion for teaching others and helping them learn and grow, you could be a teacher! Has anybody ever told you that you’re “argumentative”? Use that feistiness for good! You may have a passion for debating and proving the right thing, and a way of creative crafting your words into solid logic. You can confidently defend what you know because you’ve done your homework and want to preserve justice. Maybe you were born to be a great lawyer.
There once was a man in the Old Testament, who was made fun of and called a dreamer by his own family. This man was Joseph. We see his story in Genesis as a young boy unfold into the plans that God unveiled before him in his dreams. The boy who dreamed became the man who lived out those dreams and visions. His own brothers resented him because of his God-given gift of prophetic dreams and interpretations, they hated him even more when they found out that he would be in authority one day. Joseph was beat up and picked on, thrown into a pit and left for dead, sold into slavery, and then his father was told he was dead. He was a slave, then a head servant, accused and thrown into jail, then set free only to become right hand man to the king. Through it all, Joseph remembered and never lost sight of his dreams.
Our dreams change throughout our lives as we grow and change. When I was a little girl I dreamed of being an Olympic figure skater or gymnast, and I had never taken gymnastics class or been on the ice at the point in my life. There was just something so graceful and fun about gliding or flying through the air. I also dreamt of being a country music star when I was little girl and that dream stayed with me well into my high school and early college years (probably because I fell head over heels in love with my guitar at 15 years old!). I wanted to go to college in Nashville and make in the music city. I still love music, I singing and playing but my dreams have changed obviously. I dreamed of being a fashion designer when I was about 10 years old, part of that dream became real when I designed my own pageant dress my sophomore year of high school for our Miss Falcon Pageant. But once again, my dreams changed. I never had a set plan or idea of what I wanted to do with my life at the pivotal time every teenager is excited for and nervous for at the same time…graduation! I knew I was going to college, but really who has it all figured out at 18 years old what they want to major in and do for the rest of their lives?! Not this girl! My dreams changed and my majors changed with them! I went from wanting to pursue a music career by majoring in music, to wanting to be a teacher pursuing music education (combining the two passions), then on to elementary education, but somehow one summer my heart and mind changed. It was the first summer I became a camp counselor at Camp Robinson, I was 19 years old. I had eight young girls in my care and counsel, to pray over them and play and guide them spiritually. I was at the altar praying over my kids and the camp deans, our local pastors were praying over us as counselors and said “if you feel the Lord calling you to ministry in your heart we’ll pray for you.” I felt the Lord whispering to me “You want to be a teacher; I want you to be a different kind of teacher.” Ministry is my first calling and passion, teaching is my second. So at age 20, I started at Columbia International University studying Youth Ministry and Family Culture, and a Bible degree. After many years of student teaching, volunteering, ministering, camp counseling, discipling and hanging out with kids and teens…I graduated in 2014. I have been a preschool assistant teacher, lead toddler teacher, and now an Assistant Director at a child care center. I am now currently serving as the Interim Children’s Director/Youth Director at my church. When I let my dreams and desires of my heart fall into God’s hands, I get to pursue both of my passions: teaching and ministry.
You may have a calling in your heart to be in ministry! If God calls you to teach or preach, then you go forth in that boldness to proclaim the Gospel! Ministry isn’t just in the church, or just being a “pastor”. God can use girls and women just like you, for anything! You may be called and prepared in your heart to be a loving mother and godly wife one day, or you may already be a wife and mother and want to grow more. Your ministry is your family! Maybe you’re an elderly lady, a seasoned and experienced woman of virtue and integrity that can pour wisdom and discernment to ladies of this next generation. Don’t put ministry in some type of stereotypical box, or believe that there is some cookie-cutter form of a career! Ministry is what you make it, the mission field is everywhere. As my friend Megan once said “Ministry is not a scary word!” No matter where you are in your, whether you think your mediocre minimum wage job as a cashier at the grocery store or Chick-Fil-A like I was; you make such a difference in the way you carry yourself and interact with others. You make that being a stay at home mom, or a caretaker of an elderly loved one that your “job” isn’t a big deal or that it will change the world. Guess what? You are making a difference in your loved ones life by compassion and care. And yes you little mama, you are responsible for shaping and forming the mind and protecting the heart of your little flock-your children. You’re ministry has already begun; God starts it from day one we just have to meet Him in the middle of our mess to realize it. I encourage you to step into your mission field every day with boldness!
God promises in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The dreams and desires that He plants in your heart, the Holy Spirit soaked ambition that’s encoded in your DNA is what HE uses to fulfill HIS purposes, all part of His greater plan. A plan greater than one we can devise for ourselves. Your goals and dreams that you set for yourself maybe well equipped, detailed, and thought out however, if we don’t put our dreams and desires in God’s hands instead of our own then they are in vain.
Just like every woman and girl is created differently; your life, your purpose, and your dreams are all different! Guess what else?! It’s okay to not have it figured out! Life is a beautiful unfolding plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for a hope and a future not for destruction.” When the prophet Jeremiah wrote this, the Israelites were in a time of captivity and exile. They felt stuck and trapped, and felt as if they had been waiting forever for something to happen! God kept His promises, and He still does! He will use the waiting period to prepare you for the big things He has planned for you. It’s who you are in Christ that defines you, not what you do…what you do is what drives you to be all that He has called you to be! Go ahead girlfriend, walk in your purpose! (*snap snap*)

So now it’s your turn…here’s your chance to write down your dreams and chase them! Here are some questions for your heart and mind.

Write Your Story (for a little added inspiration, check out one of my favorite songs “Write Your Story” by Franscesca Battastelli)

*What are some of your dreams you have for your future?

*What are somethings you dreamed of being as kid? What did you want to be “when you grow up”?

*What is the one thing you wish you could just turn over to God and let Him have control over?

*Spend some time reflecting on Psalms 34:7 and Jeremiah 29:11 write down your prayer.

*What are some practical steps you can take to reach your dreams?

CHECK OUT THIS STORY AND MANY MORE OF MY DEAR SISTERS ON THE SHE MATTERS TEAM!
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Go support Bridgett’s dream and mine! She Matters Journal. Headshot photo credit goes to the amazing Lindsay Lybrand! Lindsay Anne Photography (check out her work on Facebook, Lindsay Anne Photography. https://www.facebook.com/lindsayannephoto

The Dreamer, Heather

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Women of the Word: A Series of Women of the Bible and Their Stories

Have you ever wondered how it must have felt to be woman or girl living in Biblical times? Society and the world in general were much different. Customs and cultures were different. Family, your work, and your faith meant everything; much like it does today. Women however weren’t mentioned as much in ancestry and genealogy throughout the Bible because names and inheritance were passed down through fathers to sons. Women’s opinions and leadership weren’t discussed near as much, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a voice or leadership. There are many women in the Bible mentioned by name for their role they play in important, life-changing, historical events in the Bible. After all, without mothers who gave birth how would any of us be here?

Too many times throughout history, there’s a common misconception of the past that women were “to be seen and not heard”. In my humble opinion, I’ve seen numerous stories of women in the Bible and throughout the course of history worldwide that have challenged that stigma and rumor because they were called by God to make a change someway somehow. So we are going to take a little journey back through time and into the hearts and minds of women and girls who walked those same dusty roads that Jesus did. The women who walked, talked, and did life together with their husbands like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob-just to name a few! Scripture itself says God created woman to be a helpmate to man; neither inferior nor superior. Genesis 2:18 says “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Ladies, we were handcrafted carefully and uniquely by God. He doesn’t make mistakes; He saw that everything He made was good. He makes beautiful things, with beautiful purposes. So in this next series we are going to explore the depths of each of these women’s hearts. To walk in her shoes, or sandals so to speak. To feel what she felt. To know her story, not just her name.

Each devotional narrative will include an introduction to the chapter/book of the Bible, such as the setting, cultural context, and character as well as characteristics and virtues in her (or that describe her), perspective-telling her story from her own point of view-her hopes, her dreams, her fears, her struggles, her lessons learned, and most importantly her faith. Each section will highlight three aspects: Her Hope, Her Story, Her Prayer, and reflection/prayer with reflection questions, Scripture based guided prayer points just for you! Get ready to dig into the Word through the eyes and hearts of women who lived it!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: JANUARY 2017, WE BEGIN OUR SERIES!

-Your Sister in Christ,
Heather

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Just a lil bio from yours truly, the author.creator.founder: Heather Hutto

My Name is Heather and this is why I Started “Hope For Her Heart”

Welcome to “Hope For Her Heart”! I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Heather. I’m 25 years old and a May 2014 graduate of Columbia International University (also known as CIU, shout out GO RAMS!) where I obtained and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Youth Ministry & Family Culture with a specialization in Family-Based Ministry. I am the Girls Ministry Director aka “Girls of Grace” at my church since October 2014. This ministry includes all girls 1st-7th grade. I have also helped lead, mentor, teach many different ages in children’s and youth ministry at my church and throughout our summer camps for many years now. I work two part time jobs, one at Chick-fil-a and the other at Family Christian Store. I thoroughly love working for two great companies, but my heart and passion is teaching and ministry to children and teens. Ministry has been one of the greatest “teachable moments” of my life, it’s humbling and hard. It’s a beautiful way to get know and love people the way we are called to love. Ministry can be anywhere and everywhere. Open your eyes as well as your heart and you find where you are called to minister to others!

Here are a few little snippets about me. I am blessed to have been raised two wonderful godly parents who have taught me so much, always encouraged me, and prayed for me. I’m so grateful for them. I’m the youngest of three daughters. My sisters are great, I love them! I’m an aunt to six awesome nephews who are really more like my brothers since we grew up together. I am also a “great aunt” to three sassy nieces and four rambunctious nephews, all of them are just as sweet and loving as they are mischievous! I am a Clemson Tigers fan as well as a huge Kentucky Wildcats fan! GO BIG BLUE! I am definitely a Southern girl to a T…I love college football and basketball, sweet tea goes good with everything, country music is three chords and tells stories of the heart, anything camo, pearls and cowboy boots go with anything, flip flops are a necessity, and if it doesn’t move monogram it! Number one southern lady rule, always use your manners and be classy, but never afraid to be sassy! I love being outdoors, a true country girl at heart! I love to fish. I enjoy playing my guitar and piano. I consider music and art one of God’s greatest gifts to me personally; it is my outlet, my expression, my escape, as well as a way of worship and connecting with God. I am determined and dedicated when it comes to hard work and reaching my goals but I also love to cut up, goof around with family and friends, and I have a crazy sense of humor. I love to have fun. Life shouldn’t be so serious all the time. I have always had a passion for fine arts and performing arts. Ever since I could talk, I have been singing and I love it. In addition, whether it is poetry, short stories, songs and lyrics, or just writing thoughts and prayers in my journal, I absolutely love to write. When I start writing, the words keep flowing from my mind, heart and soul (another reason I started this blog!) I also have always had an interest and passion for drawing, sketching, and photography. Art is so therapeutic!

I love people, and try my best to see everyone through the eyes of love and grace, as Jesus calls us to “love thy neighbor as thyself”. The greatest commandment, aka number one life rule “Love God. Love People.”, simple as that. I love to talk and build relationships, but I love to listen twice as much as I talk! That’s why God gave you two ears and one mouth! Everyone has a story to tell, every life and heart is different but we are all created by a magnificent and beautiful Creator, our Father. Now that you know a little bit about me, I’d love to know more about you as well! Feel free to share stories, testimonies, thoughts and comments! This is a community and fellowship of sisters in Christ!

The purpose of this blog ministry: Hope for Her Heart, is just exactly what it means. Simple truths that give hope to women and girls everywhere. Who is she? Whose heart is being sustained by hope? Hope, here is something for every woman at every stage in their life. Encouragement. Love. A place to grow and share with other ladies. Every woman has worth, and needs encouragement, for SHE is a princess, a daughter of the King. This is HOPE FOR HER HEART. Eventually, one day I would love to build this simple blog ministry into a non-profit organization and ministry where women and girls can work together, caring for the needs of other women and girls who are hurting and struggling. Pray for this ministry, and I pray that it encourages YOU!

-In Christ Love, your sister Heather

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