Be BRAVE.

          2018. Four simple numbers. These numbers that add up to the next chapter in my book: life. Our lives are made of years, each year a chapter. Those chapters are full of moments and seasons. Seasons of joy, pain, growth and change. Life is measured by moments and memories. Happy (belated) New Year y’all! 2018 is my new chapter. We all hear “Happy New Year” the next word that comes to mind, is “resolutions”. Quite honestly, I’m sick and tired of New Year’s resolutions. (If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs the past 2-3 years, my first blog of 2016 was about resolutions and goals: “GO!”: A New Look at a New Year posted January 2016). I prefer to set goals and find new adventures, especially trying new things. Trying new things can be intimidating and scary but that’s what makes it fun and makes life beautiful too. So, I’ve heard many people now choosing a “word for the year” each year instead of “resolutions”. My friends and I have been doing this for a few years now. My dear friends on the She Matters Team were briefly discussing it last night at our meeting. The word I have picked and prayed over had been bouncing around in my brain and stirring in my spirit in the latest season of my life. My word I chose is BRAVE.
           BRAVE. Five simple letters. Bold, Radiant, Adventurous, Valiant, Endurance. These are words that just popped into my mind when I think of attributes related to bravery. The definition (according to Dictionary.com) of brave is “possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance”. When used as a verb, it states “to defy, challenge; dare”. I’ve always loved a challenge and growing up with boys I rarely turned down a dare. You better not tell me I “can’t” do something. To me, the word brave means stop letting things hold me back. Fear used to be something that crippled me but no longer has a place of residence in my life. Brave and bold to me means trying new things, new goals, new beginnings, new adventures, and new chapters. Stopping procrastinating and excuses. As a little girl who dealt with fear constantly… I dealt with anxiety, shyness (that was a very brief season in my life), and nervousness crippled me at times. I would find excuses and let things hold me back. When I was a teenager, the anxiety had weakened but depression was more on the forefront. I would get nauseous at the thought of getting up to speak or even sing in front of an audience. Fast forward ten years later, I speak and sing and teach all the time now. It’s as natural as breathing. I went through short periods of depression on and off throughout years, I’d be happy and cheerful on the outside but cry when I was alone. God conquered my fears and doubts with growing my faith. Fear and faith can’t exist in the same dwelling place. God has been teaching me throughout the last few years that change is a normal part of life. In the past few years, I graduated college, changed careers, lost loved ones, and blessed with a beautiful relationship with an amazing man who loves Jesus, laughed, cried, struggled and became more brave. Life is full of change. How we adapt to change is how we learn and grow.

          To me, in the latest season of my life “brave” means making changes and stepping out in faith: Two years ago, I left the retail and restaurant industry and went into child care, the world of early childhood education and preschool. Last year, I took a promotion as position of assistant director. I accepted a dream position of children’s director at my home church. Now, by the end of 2017 I had accepted a new job and a new direction at another child care center. Sometimes in life you have to step into uncertainty and trust in God’s direction when all you have is faith. In 2014, my last semester of college I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica: my first flight, my first mission trip, my first trip out of the country. On that trip, I was out of my comfort zone speaking Spanish, learning a laid-back culture, helping the poor and serving alongside brothers and sisters ministering through a church vbs and local church family. On that trip, I literally took a leap of faith and jumped off a zip line platform hundreds of feet in the rain forest canopy through the mountains and over the beaches in Jaco, Costa Rica flying about 40 mph about 600ft. What an exhilarating feeling! Crazy, scary, adrenaline-pumping, freeing and so much fun. Something I would have never known if I had let fear grip my life.

      So, being brave doesn’t have to mean zip lining through the rain forest. Brave could mean taking the initiative to do something different, to say hello to the neighbor or help someone who needs it, making better choices daily, making changes, taking a new direction. Anything that encourages adventure! So this year chase your dreams, knock out your goals with passion and fervor! Be FEARLESS! Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you aren’t willing to move your feet! You have to make the first step after seeking Him and praying, to step out. Sometimes being brave means having the courage walking away from something that was not meant for you. Sometimes being brave means facing whatever storm, for example battling cancer, head on like a warrior.  Whatever it may be (in light of resolutions and goals) going to the gym, grabbing a salad or fruit instead of that burger or candy bar, walking more places, start writing that book, start that blog (like I did), go back to school finish that degree, put down your addictions and habits one day at a time, travel to new places and adventures, apply for that dream job, go on a mission trip, don’t be a afraid to go on a date, pick up your bible and read it, take the time to cherish your family and friends, whatever it is! I’m knocking things off my bucket list in 2018! Be spontaneous. Be adventurous.

        Joshua, was one of the only two out of twelve young men who weren’t afraid of the so-called “giants” in the land that was promised to them. Joshua and his bestie, Caleb were leading the rest into uncertain territory. They gathered their armor and gear, all they knew is that God said this land was theirs and that He said go get it! I can’t imagine every thought, excuse that said nah man turn around but courage had set in. So I leave you with, Joshua 1:9 my verse for 2018 “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Be courageous, Be fearless, but always be faithful!

Be BRAVE.

With love, and the spirit of adventure,
-Heather 

A glimpse at a new hobby Wes and I found to do for a DIY date night: woodworking and engraving. [Joshua 1:9] 

I had already decided my “word for 2018” but just for fun one day I took this quiz and I kid you not, it confirmed what I already knew: my word was BRAVE. Listed below is a screenshot but go to www.dayspring.com/yourwordquiz

Once again, Happy New Year! #2018 

Advertisements

A Little Hope Filled Update

Hey there friends! This post is a little like a newsletter just for you! I have all kinds of exciting new ideas and a fresh vision for Hope For Her Heart and some more news about She Matters Journal!

So you’re probably wondering when you were going to read another blog post from H4HH, well they are back! I do apologize for the unintentional sabbatical, but we’re picking up right where we left off with the Women of the Word series! The first of the series was “Eve: The Nature of Womankind, The Life-Giving Mother”. The latest piece is about two women are a little bit of a “compare and contrast”: one story, two wives, and two different perspectives. The newest blog “Sarah and Hagar: When Jealously Makes its Plan, Promise vs. Compromise”. The next one is a two-part segment “The Matriarchs: Women Birthed a Nation” in the works is also about three women: “Rebekah: A Mother’s Mischief and A Brother’s Deceit”, a mama who picked favorites between her sons and helped her son Jacob steal his twin brother’s birthright. The other women are Jacob’s two wives who happen to be sisters, “Rachel & Leah: A Tale of Two Sisters-Love & Duty “. If you get a chance, pop on over to “like” or “follow” our social media pages: Facebook & Pinterest ( search Hope For Her Heart Ministry), Twitter (@hope4herheart) and Instagram (@hopeforherheart). I also have a lot of new ideas and fresh perspectives, you’ll just have to wait and see! I would like to ask you ladies for your input, what are some topics and discussions you would like to see on Hope For Her Heart? Leave a comment on this post or email me at heatherhopeforherheart@gmail.com.

Lately, it has been super, crazy busy in life….sometimes a tiny bit overwhelming but the Lord is my strength! Since February, I was promoted to Assistant Director at the childcare center I work at. It has kept me extremely busy the past six months without a lot of training and hands-on learning. I have lost tow dear family members, my cousin Crystal in a car accident and my Uncle Earl in August to a long battle with cancer. In February we gained a new pastor at my home church. Since, April I have had the honor and blessing of being the Children’s Director at my church. Also, I’ve been helping plan a baby shower for my newest niece, Ava due to arrive in September, co-planning with my bestie Phyllis, a bridal shower for one of our dearest and best childhood friends, Joanna getting married in December, being a bridesmaid in my nephew’s wedding, (4 weddings between to attend from September-December!) helping out with VBS at church with Kailey & Kelsey, and also working with She Matters Journal (more about that in a minute!), and of course spending time with my family, friends, and my sweetheart Wes. I have not stopped writing, I’ve been working on material little bits at a time when inspiration comes. This season of life has also been so full of every emotion: from over the moon happy, joy, laughter through tears, stress, struggles, lessons, busyness, quiet time of restoring my soul, and so many answered prayers and so much goodness!

So, let me tell you about She Matters Journal. My cousin (more like a sister really) Bridgett started a subscription box a little over a year ago called She Matters Box-a monthly box of goodies and devotional gifts to help women grow in their relationship with Christ. Fast forward a year later, the “box” has now reformed and evolved into a quarterly journal called She Matters Journal. The very first fall issue is on the website now! You can order yours or gift someone you love with one. I have the blessing of working with a team talented and beautiful women: Bridgett Martin, Megan Goff, Erica Peake, Shannon Nicks, Danielle Morris, Marianne Martin, Lindsay Lybrand and now Katie Watson. Many stories of hope, testimonies, strategic bible study and journaling tips to dig deeper in the Word as well as plenty of space to answer reflection questions, and journal your thoughts and prayers. Order yours at http://www.shemattersjournal.com as well as cute shirts and tote bags!

There are so many ideas, hopes, dreams, and visions I have for Hope For Her Heart- the bigger picture. As I mentioned in my last blog article “There She Goes Dreaming…Again”, when you let God take hold of your dreams in His hands, He makes them bigger than you would’ve imagined. So, pray with me along this journey and tag along for the ride! I’m so thankful for each and every single one of you sisters!

-Love, Heather