We are ALL IN!

Remember back last summer when I said we were building a house?  Well, it’s done!  And we are moved in!  It is beautiful, I love it, I feel absolutely blessed beyond my wildest dreams.  Here are a few of my favorite places so far:

My shoe shelf in my closet:   My shoes..  See those heels in the top left corner?  The teal ones?  Yeah those are my faves….however, my new yellow ones are now running a close second in the favorite department. I guess it’s obvious I have a slight obsession with shoes….  My closet is a dream.  Anyone that knows me knows that I love all things fashion. (My husband knows because of his shrinking wallet…ha!)  So, when my sweet hubby had this closet built for me, I was in heaven.  🙌🏻 Glory!!!!! 🙌🏻  Enough about my closet, the rest of the house is coming together and I just again have to brag on that amazing husband of mine – do you see the table in the dining room?  Yeah, he built that!  I have to tell you when he said he wanted to build this table, I kind of maybe said “yeah right, you don’t build things.”  And I really didn’t have high hopes.  I know that sounds terrible but really, he didn’t have high hopes either so I’m not being mean, I promise!  He isn’t necessarily a handy man…well I guess I have to say he wasn’t.  He seriously built this table y’all and it is AMAZING!  Anyone that has walked into our house, that is the first thing they notice and compliment!  He is so proud of it and I am too!  That is something we will treasure always.  Truly we will.  It is a place where we will enjoy family dinners and have friends gather.  It is a place we will make new sweet special memories.  I look at that table and think of years to come as our boys grow, our family grows and maybe one day long long(VERY LONG) from now, my grandchildren will even sit at that table and we can say “your grandfather built this.”  You know what though?  I have realized something.  All of this is ‘stuff.’  Simply ‘stuff.’  If we aren’t careful it can become our idol, or a mask or a bandaid.  Their was a time I can say that clothes, shoes and really ‘outer beauty’ was my idol.  I was consumed with new clothes, new hair and definitely new shoes!  Guys, I helped lead worship on a regular basis at our church and I was more worried about having a new outfit every Sunday than I was about the condition of my heart. -Frightening-  That friends is where we start to fall and fail.  I was complimented all the time about how beautiful I looked or how someone loved my new top or my sparkly heels and I began to feel really good about the outside.  Yet inside, was getting more and more dark.  Big head, ugly heart.  Eww……  I saw this quote the other day:  “How pretty your face is matters so little in comparison to how pretty your heart is.”  Oh….shoot.  TRUTH.  I recently had lunch with a precious woman whom I’d had a slight miscommunication with and over the last several years we just seemed to not really connect well.  So, she asked me to lunch.  And I went.  Nervous as all get out thinking this woman is going to tell me that she doesn’t’ like me, she thinks I’m shady, she doesn’t’ trust me and on and on and on my mind went.  *—yeah that anxious thing I’ve mentioned before, I still battle it from time to time.  Darn that enemy for creepin’ in, in our weaknesses!—*  Well, at our lunch she confessed to me that the awkward tension between us was because I intimidated her.  She shared with me that my outer beauty, how dynamic I am with people and my smile really intimidated her.  Umm, I was baffled.  Especially, ESPECIALLY because she witnessed what I went through.  She knows ‘the story.’  How could she possibly be intimidated by me!?!?!  -Remember, I failed BIG TIME!!!!-  Y’all I looked at her and said: “You do understand that all that stuff is on the outside and for a long time my inside was really ugly.  So their isn’t anything to be intimidated by.  At all.”   Praise the Lord, my heart is transformed now and I can say that the Lord is helping me ‘pretty it up.’   It is so amazing to me that he can create beauty from ashes.  — 🎤🎤“Grace, grace, God’s grace..”🎤🎤—

I tell you that story to say:  you can put on a good show but a show it is.  And do you know what shows do?  They end.  It may take 8 months, 8 years or 20 years, I don’t know – but your show will end.  You will fail.  You can have a pretty lil’ house, pretty clothes, a pretty face but until you bring it all to the throne of the Almighty it means nothing.  Until you surrender your ALL, every. single. stinkin’ piece of you, you will suffer.  And the sad thing is, people won’t know.  But you do and He(Our Great King) does – and darned if that isn’t THE WORST most sickening feeling ever to have ALL. THE. TIME.  On the outside you may smile, you may look pretty, you may seem like a beautiful happy family/person, but if you haven’t allowed the Lord to come in, turn the light on all your ugly and transform you, man life stinks.  It took a few years and a giant mess for me to come to that realization.  Yet, when you can walk in freedom and not in negativity or secrets – gracious it feels amazing.  I love my beautiful new house, but it isn’t my identity, I love all things fashion, clothes and shoes alike, but none of it truly makes me beautiful.  We must clothe ourselves in Him, consume ourselves in His Word and surrender our everything at His feet.  Then we gain a beautiful perspective on life and what it is supposed to be.  We have to gain understanding of the Bible in it’s entirety.  Until we are digging in scripture every single day and understanding His Word for all that it is, other ‘things’ are our idols, our focus, our lives.  I’m reading this book right now, “A Theology for the Church,” and I believe it sums this up beautifully.  It says, “When the doctrine(God’s Word) is understood in the context of its dramatic narrative, we find ourselves dumbfounded by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, surrendering to praise.  Far from masters, we are mastered; instead of seizing the truth, we are seized by it, captivated by God’s gift, to which we can only say, ‘Amen!’ and ‘Praise the Lord.’”

When we immerse ourselves in scripture, when we consume ourselves with Him, we fall more in love with our Savior and His words and in turn our hearts are transformed from ugly to pretty and we can’t help but worship Him with all that we have and all that we are.   We have to be ALL IN!

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thorougly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10

More later…….


Source:  Daniel Akin, Bruce Riley Ashford, and Kenneth Keathley, A Theology for the Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2014)

The Man. 


*He has no idea this picture exists.*

I remember that day so clearly. That day I met this man. Walking out of one of the administration buildings on the campus I was attending college at. I simply walked out of the old giant heavy wooden door and in my blissfully unaware stroll I let the door slam on the guy behind me. All I heard was a thud. I turned around to see this totally smokin’ hot guy I’d never seen on campus before and immediately wanted to crawl in a hole.  For real, I quickly scanned my surroundings for something to hide behind…. I apologized over and over and he repeatedly told me “it’s alright” in the cute Arkansan twang he had. Whoo, I was smitten from the gettin’ but to embarrassed to do anything about it! Just a short 5 minutes later I had gone to gather my mail in the student center and I hear a friend of mine yell out “hey Dawn, I want you to meet my friend that’s visiting!” I turned around and yep….it was Jeremy he wanted me to meet. While I was quite excited about the official introduction, I’m pretty sure my embarrassment  was shining right on through.  So after some good laughs and a little chatting we said our goodbyes and I was captivated. I went home to my apartment fell on my bed gazing out my window and said to my roommate “I think I met my future husband today.” A year and a half later; we were married. 2 young clueless kids skootin off into the sunset totally unaware of what life had in front of us. But I can tell you today I’m grateful more than ever that he is the one. That he is my one. That he is Gods one that was so graciously gifted to me.

He is his sons Hero. They admire and look up to their Daddy in a way that melts my heart. They crave time with their Daddy: even commenting that they wished Daddy didn’t have to work so they could play with him all day. They look forward to “Daddy talks” every night as they lay in bed. (I look forward to that too bc I secretly listen to the sweet questions they ask and the giggles they have). Tender moments I dare not forget. He is a picture perfect example of the kind of godly leader they should be in their household one day, the kind of husband they should be and the kind of father they can be. My hearts prayer is they are able to soak in all the nuggets of knowledge and growth and wisdom from their Daddy to carry through. I know and trust the Lord will help them do that.

This man: standing in the highest description I can give to you of Christ’s love. He is a God fearing man that has the highest integrity in all that he does in business and at home.  His tenderness and mercy seaps from every part of his being.  When he could have been my worst enemy, he was my biggest champion.   I stand in awe of how when his faith was tested in the biggest way – he fully and wholly relied on Jesus Christ.  He, with no hesitation, did what the Lord commands us to do and forgave me as Christ has forgiven us.  He forgave the man whom he called friend that I had an affair with as Christ has forgiven us.  His heart is awe-inspiring.  He allows the Lord to guide his every step.  He is loyal to his family and his friends.  He is selfless, humble, grace-filled and pure.  He is Jeremy.  My husband.  I wanted you all to know the man behind the story.  If you know him; consider yourself blessed.  If you don’t; let me introduce you.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I am most grateful for the privilege of doing life with this man.  The thought of almost losing him as a result of my actions at times still hurts my heart.  But then….God reminds me of redemption and grace.  And now friends, I can promise you, I will never again take him for granted.  Ever again.  I will daily stand in awe of a God that has blessed me with a man beyond my wildest dreams.

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Be Thankful.  Be Blessed.


More later………


**I could probably count this as a continuation from my previous post…as I touch slightly on the same topics**

As I gather myself and prepare for what’s to probably be a tough few weeks, I have had to gain some perspective.  Tomorrow, I’m going in for surgery.   A major surgery.  Me being the overly dramatic, worst case scenario person I am(I’m working on that…) the possibilities of bad things have been rolling through my mind for awhile now.  The worst being that I don’t wake up.  I try not to be so morbid and think this but I just can’t help it.  And at times these thoughts have overwhelmed me.  Silly me.  Yet over the last few weeks I have seen a young mother being taken into eternity as cancer overtakes her earthly body; leaving behind a precious baby girl and her husband.  I have seen a Dad and Grandfather fall asleep one night and not wake up the next morning; leaving behind a devastated wife and family.  Oh friends, these stories will rip your heart right out.  Yet at the same time, help you to gain eternal perspective.  This world is not our home.  Our lives are temporary and sometimes are taken much quicker than we could possibly imagine.  In James 4:14 it says “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James very matter of factly reminds us that we are simply a ‘mist’!  Our lives are fleeting.  We have nothing solid on this earth.  Nothing is forever here.  We are here only for a little while and then we are gone.  And life will go on without us.

Why so grim Dawn; you might say.   I don’t know.  Maybe I am being really dramatic and over the top.  It just seems that so many of us, myself included, so often get caught up in the trivial.  The he said, she said, stupid stuff.  We find ourselves worried about what is on a stupid red coffee cup.  We find ourselves tearing down the Kingdom of Christ.  We find ourselves worrying about what someone did or what someone said.  Why aren’t we finding ourselves praying over the sick, lifting up the broken, loving the unloveable, forgiving like Christ has forgiven us?  Why aren’t we finding ourselves in constant worship with the one TRUE and HOLY God?

I’m not perfect, you aren’t perfect.  And life is so short.  How about we try and invest our time in things that have an eternal meaning?  How about we show who Christ is in everything we do?  How about remembering that we are but a mist. We are here for only a little while so heed that.  Is their something you have been putting off, that you should do?  Is their someone that you need to go to and make things right with?  They may not be here tomorrow.

As I have prepared myself for surgery I have wanted to feel settled.  I do.  I have prayed that the Lord prepare my heart, that He place anything on my heart that I am to confess to Him, that I need to handle with others or to make right.  I have.  It doesn’t mean that all that I have done has been accepted by others.  It doesn’t mean I have received the responses I have wanted.  It doesn’t’ mean I got the happy ending on everything I had selfishly hoped for.   It does mean I have done all that I believe the Lord has directed me to do up to this point.  It does mean that I believe my heart is right. Therefore, I am settled.

This life is a but a vapor.  Eternity is forever.  Live for eternity today.  Can you start by praying for me?  Can you pray that all goes well with surgery tomorrow?  I would truly appreciate that.  And, I’d love to pray for you.  How can I do that?

More later………

Gifted with Words……

A title I was labeled with back in high school and it stuck.   “Gifted with words” was a title I carried proudly.  I owned it.   But not anymore.  That’s changed.  You see, I was given that title because I could ‘tell someone off’ in a second.  I don’t want to own that title anymore.  My temper is quick, my words can be brutal…….but that’s me.  ‘Me’ doesn’t live anymore.  Of the many things I’ve laid down at the cross over this last 15 months, my words is one of them.  Make no mistake, it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle and give way to my flesh sometimes but what it does mean is I am sure to be convicted if I do or say something that is not honoring to Him.  It means I will be uncomfortable if I find myself in a moment of harsh words or gossip.

I’ve been the topic of ‘gossip’ for awhile now.  Actually, the last several weeks it has come to my attention that a few people have been relentless in their attack on me as a person, my character and my integrity.  I thought that had stopped.  I thought the personal attacks were over regarding what I had done….apparently not.  Lies have been told, stories have been twisted and an all out character assassination has taken place…….again.  While it disturbs me and breaks my heart that people choose to continue to talk about me and others choose to believe it instead of coming to me seeking truth, it has been a big eye opener.  The Lord has taken me through ‘stages’ over the last 15 months.  Working on different things over time. Well, the last few months I have been working on my ‘words.’  How I speak to people, do I talk about people, what should I keep to myself and so on.  In the midst of my working through this was when it was brought to my attention the rumors and hateful things being said about me again.(Funny how that works!)  Yet, this time it was different for me. Six months ago, a year ago, two years ago it would have wrecked me:  I would have first been extremely hurt, balled my eyes out and wondered what was wrong with me – then I would have taken the defense and gone on a mission to shut it down, defend myself and give a piece of my mind.  I choose NOT to do that now and here is why:

  1. It isn’t my battle.  You see, I have realized that as long as I am right with the Lord, I am ok.  With a “people pleasing personality” this is a tough place to get to.  Just a few months ago I would have wanted to make sure everyone was happy with me.  I worried what people thought.(that is until you messed with me or my friends and then I’d chew you out)  I worried who was talking about me and took everything that was said to heart.  However, for the first time in my entire life I can say – It’s ok.  While it hurts and is heartbreaking to hear the things people are saying about me, it’s ok.  It isn’t my battle, it’s theirs.  More than that, it’s Satans.  And I choose NOT to engage with Satan.  Been there, done that – do not want to go back.  We battle against Satan not people.  The enemy is Satan, not people.  But Satan does a TREMENDOUS job at deceiving us into believing it is people.  ESPECIALLY in the body of Christ.  Friends we are devouring each other.  Satan is sitting back smiling as we gossip about and tear down the body of Christ.  It’s sad.
  2. A quote from one of my favorite authors, Lysa Teurkurst, says it perfectly:  “What comes out of someone else’s mouth is a reflection of their heart, not yours!”  Truth.  You want to know how I know it’s truth?  Because of ME!  I had a sick sick heart.  The affair I had was simply a symptom of a much deeper issue.  My heart was ugly…..my heart craved attention, acceptance, power and so on.  As I have said before, I had allowed evil to set up camp and from their I tried to fill the void where the Lord should have been with other things.  But in that sick heart of mine I chose to speak poorly about many many people, including those close to me. I chose to criticize on a daily basis and I chose to share things with people that I shouldn’t have.  All reflections of the person I was, not of the people I was speaking to or about.  Therefore, what I have recently heard being spoken about me, is a reflection of others hearts, not mine.  My heart has changed.  My heart is redeemed.  My heart was made new by an incredible heavenly Father that forgave me, cleansed me and made me new.  Because of that, the things being said haven’t destroyed me.   That is because I am confident in who I am in Christ.

So maybe in me saying all that you are still thinking, “do you think you are perfect now Dawn?”  “Are you saying you don’t ever speak negatively or lose your temper or gossip?”  Nope, I’m not saying that.  I am human and I screw up.  I get caught up in a ‘juicy conversation’ from time to time.  I snap from my temper on occasion.  But what I will tell you is my pride has been checked at the door and the Lord makes me miserable if I find myself in these scenarios.  Two examples – well three sordove.  One and two go hand and hand.  First, I have written more letters and met face to face to apologize and ask forgiveness from more people in the last 15 months than I have my entire life.  Some I wrestled with for MONTHS before sending and some I haven’t even sent yet because the Lord is still working in my heart on them.  Some were received with great acceptance and some were received with anger and bitterness and some I haven’t even heard back from.  But that’s ok.  Because again, I have settled in my heart that when the Lord directs me to do something, I do it in obedience.  He handles the rest.

Second, in meeting with people face to face –  I have had to do things I never thought I would/could do.  But really, I’M NOT DOING IT, the Lord is!  Just a month ago I went to someone that I have had ‘issues’ with for TWO YEARS!  It was someone that said something I didn’t like the first time I met her and from that point on – I shut her off, I spoke negatively about her and never gave her another chance.  To be honest with you, I have no idea what it even was that she said two years ago that ticked me off…..sad but true…and that reveals how SICK my heart was!  The Lord impressed upon my heart a few months back to go to her.  I fought it and I was miserable.  Well, a month ago, after wrestling with it – I went to her.  I told her flat out – “I didn’t like you, I talked negatively about you and that was so wrong of me.”  I apologized to her, asked her forgiveness and she accepted.  We ended up hugging and crying together.  Today I can tell you she is a friend.  I see her through the eyes of the Lord now and I value her in my life.  The Lord is amazing!  It is only through Him that happened.  While it was hard to go to her, share with her and apologize, it also gave me freedom in the end and I grew from it.  When you harbor hurt, bitterness or anger in your heart for someone – the Lord doesn’t work.  You cannot serve Him with that inside of you.  You can’t.  You can try and you can think you are (been there done that) but He doesn’t honor that.  He won’t.

The other example: (man I am being transparent……ha!)  A few weeks ago we had some car issues and our car ended up in the shop for the umpteenth time.  On one of the many calls regarding the car this precious girl was the unlucky one.  It had been a rough day, several other things were going on and her phone call landed at just the ‘wrong’ time.  I laid into her.  I gave her a ‘piece of my mind.’   After hanging up the phone, I didn’t feel good.  Used to, I would’ve hung that phone up with great satisfaction.  Instead, it was a pit in my stomach.  I was disgusted with myself.  You know what I did? I drove up to that Land Rover dealership and I asked for this girl and I apologized face to face.  I told her I completely disrespected her, that it was not honoring to my God for me to do that and I asked her for forgiveness.  I think she was completely baffled that I came and apologized but she thanked me and that was that.  I don’t know, she may think I am crazy but what I do know is that the Lord told me to do that and in obedience I went and I apologized.

It is our duty as followers of Christ to uplift and encourage instead of teardown and destroy.  When we teardown and destroy, we are filled with shame and regret and guilt.  Its a yucky feeling that if we aren’t careful becomes a ‘normal’ and doesn’t even phase us anymore.  I was there.   Today it is my hearts desire to uplift, encourage, invest and breathe life into my brothers and sisters in Christ and those that do not yet know Him.  My hearts desire is to see unity in the body of Christ not division.   In Ephesians 4 Paul urges us as believers to be humble, be gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He tells us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”   The only way we can do that is through Jesus Christ.  He grants us an incomprehensible love that is reflected when we extend grace where it doesn’t fit, when we are patient when our limits have been pushed, when we encourage and uplift instead of criticize and teardown and when we make every effort to love when someone just doesn’t seem to be lovable.

Friends, today I am a different person.  Some have even told me they feel my personality has been squashed with what I went through because I’m not as ‘spunky” as I once was.  Well, if that’s the case, it’s ok.  “Gifted with words” has taken on new meaning in my life.  It is no longer negative but instead it means breathing the Word of God into the lives of those around me.  I want to be an approachable person, one with a gentle grace-filled spirit that reflects Christ in all I do.

It is my hearts desire to make peace with the ones who still choose to speak negatively about me. It is my hearts prayer that those who still feel hurt by me or are still angry at me will come to me and share that with me instead of others so that hearts can mend.  So that Satan doesn’t win this battle.  (While he won’t win the ultimate battle, he can get the upper hand in our hearts sometimes…and when we allow bitterness, anger or hurt to fester, he’s winning)  I will never cease in praying for that reconciliation.

My hearts prayer is that if you feel defeated right now by gossip or harsh words, you will realize that you are a precious child of the King.  It matters not what others say to you or about you.  When you repent, when you ask for forgiveness, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and are living a life according to His will and His promises for you, that is what matters.  And that is it.

Dear one – You are chosen.  You are forgiven.  You are free.  You are loved.  Rest in those words today.

More later….

One year ago today………

One year ago today it all crashed.  All the plates I had spinning, the balls I was juggling….crashed.  Everything crumbled.  Betrayal, anger, hurt and heartbreak took over.  Hearts were shattered…..many many hearts were broken.  The feeling of desperation and hopelessness was overwhelming for a time.  It is a feeling of being lost and not sure how you are going to make it through until you finally grasp the depravity of the situation and realize the one and only thing you can and should cling to is the hope you find in a Savior.  That Savior is Jesus Christ.

This day has been looming the last few weeks.  I have a frighteningly good memory as far as specific dates go.  That is a blessing and a curse as you often remember things you really don’t want to remember.  Walking through these last few weeks knowing this day was coming, I have talked to my closest friends and encouragers in addition to talking it through with Jeremy.  Everyone has asked “how are you doing?”  “How are you feeling about it…”  Well friends, I can say I walk into it with freedom and peace.  Yes, a tiny bit stings thinking back on it because it was a horrible and tragic day.  However, looking back and reflecting and then evaluating today, I have nothing to hide.  Absolutely nothing.  Zero, zilch, nada.  I walk in a freedom today that only comes from total and complete surrender to the Lord.  What a beautiful feeling that is.  Today Jeremy and I walk hand and hand – nothing standing between us.  Jeremy and I both say we are grateful to have walked this path over the last year.  I am sure you are saying “WHAT?”  Yes friends, we are grateful.  The Lord has created such a beautiful place for us now in our walk with Him, in our marriage and in our everyday lives.  We have learned A LOT that I am excited to share with you in the coming days.  We walk in a peace and contentment that can’t be matched.   Our faith was certainly put to the test – we overcame a great obstacle.  It is only by the grace given to us through Jesus Christ that He has cleansed me and made me new and also made our marriage new.

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I have chosen obedience.  Jeremy has chosen obedience.  The Lord is still working and we are still learning.  Our journey is only getting better.  Through obedience you are blessed with reward.  Do you know what my reward is right now?  A clear conscience. Praise Jesus for that.

I’m excited to share more over the next weeks and months about what the Lord has done and is continuing to do.  Also, what His word says about many things that have transformed my heart over the last year.

Above all – above anything I have said over the last several months remember this:

The greatest reward is to live in God’s presence and enjoy His glory.  Do you know Him?  Let me tell you friends, He is hope.  He is peace.  He is joy.  The ONLY….the ONLY way Jeremy and I have made it this far is through Jesus Christ.  If you don’t know Him today, all it takes is asking Him to come in to your life.  Surrender all to Him and acknowledge He is Lord over your life.  It will be the best decision you have ever made and ever will.



I jumped as his knuckles hit the table and split open.  Blood began to pour out and drip from his hand as tears began to fall from his eyes.  I sat there, frozen.  Stunned at the words that had just come out of my own mouth: “I’m having an affair.”  I was thinking:  “this can’t be my life.  I didn’t really do this did I?”  Yes, yes I did.  After the initial confession, it took me an entire day to be completely, totally 100% honest & transparent with Jeremy about everything.  Once that happened……..I didn’t leave out a detail.  Three nights laying awake talking about everything.  Answering every question Jeremy had.  Friends, I owned every bit of what I did.  I blamed no one other than myself.  Naturally Jeremy wanted to blame the man more than he wanted to blame me.  It’s only natural to want to do that and no one can blame him.  Yet, I redirected him every time: I made the choices.  No one forced me, no one pressured me, no one manipulated me.   I did itI made the choice.   As I spoke these words, he wept.  He wept at the realization that I had chosen to betray him.  His knuckles bled, his eyes wept, his heart broke.  All because of a choice I made.

Choices.  We make choices every single day.  Choices not only affect you, they affect everyone around you.  When we choose to walk away from the Lord and walk into sin, we choose a path of wreckage.  It will destroy you.  And until you choose to walk away from sin and back into the arms of our Great King, unrest, anxiety and insecurity will rule you.  Through the schemes of the enemy, you may not realize the unrest, anxiety and insecurity that are ruling you at the time, however over time, it will expose itself.  Within 2 weeks of the affair crossing major boundaries, I lost 15 pounds.  I couldn’t eat.  I convinced myself it was just from the newness of the affair, the ‘butterflies.’(disgusting, I know.)  But that was a scheme, a lie straight from the pit of hell.  What it was was the unsettledness that had taken over my body.  I physically could not put food in my mouth for 2 weeks without vomiting.  People asked what was wrong, how and why I was losing weight so quick.  Since I had struggled with anxiety in the past, I just claimed I was going through a spell of anxiety which caused me to lose my appetite.  Oh I had anxiety alright!  It was the Holy Spirit saying WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING?  Why are you choosing to rebel and walk away from Me?  Over time when you walk further and further away from the Lord, it gets easier.  It gets easier to not feel conviction, justify your actions and harden your heart. It gets easier to convince yourself that this won’t hurt anyone and that things will be ok.  One choice is all it takes.  One choice to not guard your heart, one choice to not shut something down, one choice to cross a boundary.  It all starts with one.  Are you struggling with a choice?  Sometimes we simply want to say, “this won’t hurt anything.”  “It’s no big deal.”  Yes it is.  That one bad choice simply makes the next one easier.  I chose temptation over our God.

I challenge you today to choose Him.  Choose Him everyday.  Rest assured whatever you choose that defies the Lord may feel good in the moment but nothing, absolutely nothing compares to Him.  God is better.  Better than anything.  ANYTHING.  When you choose sin over Him, you are saying whatever that ‘thing’ is, is better than Him.  It’s not.  It’s just not.

We must fix our eyes on Him.  Remain so focused on Him that nothing absolutely nothing compares in our eyes.  Never compromise even the smallest of things for it only leads to bigger things.  Choose Him friends.  He loves us, He sent His only Son for us.  Surrender to Him today.  He.  Is.  Better.

“Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  For the joy set before him he endured on the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

More later……

A weekend to remember after a year I’ll never forget……..

image1  Yesterday morning I was sitting on my back porch praying over, resting in and reflecting on all that the Lord has and is doing.  The birds were chirping, the wind was blowing through the trees and I just sat there with tears in my eyes overwhelmed by all that has happened and is happening.  This past weekend was another step in ‘healing’ for me.  Words cannot describe what a phenomenal weekend I had.  So yesterday morning I just sat, taking it all in – marveling at the wondrous God we serve.

Last summer, I was in the darkest place of my life.  I had a central goal:  when can I see ‘him’ next, when I can I talk to ‘him’ next.  Unfortunately ‘him’ wasn’t my husband or even more importantly our God……it was who I had replaced God with in my heart (if you have no idea what I am talking about go back to my very first blog and read all blogs prior to reading this one).  My entire focus was ‘him’ – which included: keeping secrets, hiding things, swaying peoples focus, putting on a good front, trying to be a mom, trying to be a wife, trying to maintain friendships under false pretenses, more secrets, lying and so on.  To be really transparent:  I can honestly and sadly say I don’t remember much of anything having to do with my two sweet boys from last summer.  I look back on it now and wonder who that person was…I feel like I am looking at someone else’s life.  But I am not.  I am looking at mine.  I did it.  Evil had set up camp in my heart and I had allowed it to run rampant.

This summer, I am in the brightest most hopeful place of my life.  I have a central goal:  Jesus Christ.  When can I share about Him, what more can I know about Him, what can I do to honor Him.  My entire focus is my relationship with a God that loves me more than I can fathom.  This focus has no secrets, no “trying to’s”,  no persuasions, no lies.  This focus has freedom and hope and peace and joy!  This focus is clear and has a future.

IMG_2791This past weekend I had the honor and privilege to be Kay Arthurs “shadow.”  She came to our church for a Womens conference and I was asked to be her shadow and pick her and her assistant up from the airport and take her to and from the hotel and be by her side the entire time she was here.  Oh what a blessing this was!   What fun it was but what a blessing that was perfectly orchestrated by our God in heaven!  While the experience was ‘neat’…..it was SO much more than that.  I believe the Lord strategically placed me in that position this weekend.  I obviously knew who Kay Arthur was, I had seen her stuff and even read a few of her materials.  However, I had never heard her testimony.   It came as a shock as she spoke and I heard the similarity of some things in our lives.  Sitting in my car one night, I was able to share with her a small bit of my story.  I never planned on telling her but the opportunity presented itself and I shared.  After sharing with her, she looked at me, put her hand on my face and said “oh my precious Dawn, I love you dear.  You know our Lord has forgiven you and you now have to walk in that and live like you believe it!”  She went on to quote some beautiful passages of scripture to me and hugged me.  She is right – I have to live like I believe it!  I can say until I am blue in the face – “the Lord has forgiven me”, but I have to drop those chains and live out faith that I believe He has forgiven me!

Following the Kay Arthur conference, we had a concert at our church.  Big Daddy Weave came and did a concert to raise money for our missions ministry.  The energy and joy at our church this weekend was palpable.  I am SO grateful to be part of this church family.  Walking in on Sunday morning to worship, you could just sense the excitement still in the air.  My hearts prayer is we will carry on that same palpable joy for the Lord throughout the months and years to come.  I am excited about what the Lord is doing in our church!

Our weekend ended on a very positive note with an unexpected visit with some dear friends.  Just a few hours spent sitting on their back porch relaxing and chatting.  These are friends that we have been through struggles and heartache with but I am confident the Lord has purpose for them being in our lives and us being in theirs.  My hearts prayer is that we will mend and heal completely and grow closer, building an even stronger bond than before as friends.  They hold a dear and precious place in Jeremy and I’s heart.

All this to say friends that this weekend I took a giant step in healing.  How did I do that?  I am glad you asked.  Here is how:  This was the very first time, since last August when my world came crashing down and the affair came out, that I have had an entire day, and even more, two whole days where I did not think about my “situation” one time.  Two ENTIRE DAYS!   That may seem silly but it is honestly a HUGE victory for me.  It may seem hard to understand…..some think I should just be able to “put it out of my mind” or “just move on.”  Oh, if only it were that easy……even through healing and restoration we still have to live out the consequences of our actions.  Anyway, throughout the entire conference and concert I didn’t think about “who knew” “what people were thinking” or anything like that and everything just felt somewhat “normal” again.  While life has been moving on and I am truly healing I haven’t had a day where I didn’t think about what happened or think about the people involved at at least some point in the day.  I have not had a day go by where some thought didn’t cross my mind and make me sad for a moment or make me ponder etc.  This is one of those “consequences” I still work through.  Yet this weekend – it was a victory!  And in every victory, I acknowledge, He is Lord and He gave me that victory.  Because He already won the ultimate victory.

So, as I sat, reflecting on such a beautiful weekend, I was reminded of His faithfulness once again.  We are children of God, walking in His light, renewed, redeemed, restored.  This summer I am excited to walk in, not darkness, but in light.  Leaving the past behind me, walking forward in the freedom of His Truth – void of all hopelessness, lies, manipulations and secrets.  I will take this time to focus on the blessings HE has poured out.  Namely two precious boys that will be entering middle school next year.  We are going to spend lazy summer days together, doing lots of fun activities and relishing in those sweet moments that will be gone all to fast.

I am reminded of a quote from CS Lewis:  “There are far better things ahead, than any we leave behind.”   I concur.

More later……….

One of those days……

Over the past several days I struggled with sharing the words below.  I wrote most of this last week and then wavered on posting it.  I debated….is this a little to raw?  Is this a little to transparent?  Will people think I am crazy or stuck or will they get what I am trying to say?  I knew their was a tug on my heart to share it, just like their has been every time I have posted something, however this one was tough.  It was an event that happened now….like last week.  So, I worried.  Then, I began to pray over it.  Prayed over my intent, prayed over my words, over everything.  I so badly want to do everything to honor the Lord now.  To glorify Him and Him alone.  I want so badly to be pure in my motives with everything.  As I began to pray throughout a few days, the Lord slowly confirmed.  First, it was direction from the Holy Spirit.  I needed to take “I” out of the equation.  “I” worried.  “I” was scared.  “I” might be to transparent.  Instead, redirect my thinking:  He gave me the words.  He is speaking through me.  Second, yesterday at church, I had the most incredible experience.  Three different women that I don’t know all that well yet highly respect came up to me unsolicited and shared how my blog had touched their hearts, how they were encouraged by it and two of them specifically asked me to keep blogging.  They told me to please not stop, that my story shares such hope.  One even shared the hope of being in a bible study under my teaching again one day.  Umm, can you say ENCOURAGEMENT and DIVINE words?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE when the Lord uses others to speak to us.  {SIDE NOTE – the FIRST thing I reminded myself after this encouragement is:  Dawn, they are seeing the Lord through you….it is NOT about YOU!  I want to be so careful to NOT make it about ME EVER EVER again…} So, all that being said I came to a conclusion this morning after praying:  I will share the words below.  I said in my first blog that I wanted to share my heart through this journey.  Well, sharing my heart and this journey with you means sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.  I want to remain authentic.  So, if I only share happy moments that’s not right and not fair.  The purpose of this blog would be completely missed if I disguised it with just “the happy.”  I trust that these words were given to me through the Holy Spirit and because of that I trust that they will be understood in that respect.  So, here I go!

I had “one of those days.”   One of those days where I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor weeping, angry and overwhelmed.  Sitting there, completely wrecked by what I had done: the friendship I destroyed, the pain I caused my husband and so on.  Questions flowed in like a fire hose – “why did you do it?”  “How could you let your heart become woven with someone other than your husband?”  “Someone who was your best friends husband at that?”  “How could you lie to people?”  “How could you deceive so many?”  Agh….  And then those little lies creep in:  “you can never be a good wife” “you can never be a good friend”  “people don’t like you”  “People will never trust you”  and on and on and on.  I cried in the quietness of that moment where I was the only one home.  I had done my morning wifely duties and got my boys off to school, my husband off to work and now what?  Sometimes the silence of these moments is deafening.   So often when these moments come, they take me by surprise.  That enemy(Satan) is so sneaky……  After crying and wallowing in self pity for a few minutes I stopped.  I got up and turned on my little radio with my iTunes playlist of worship and began to sing.  Right there in my bathroom, I began to worship through song.  Worship through song has become even more precious to me now.  I cling to every word like I never have before.  I truly cry out those words to the Lord.  I let the words wash over me.

Then, I began to remember and recite some passages in scripture.  — “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1,  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”  Romans 15:13,  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!”  1 John 3:1.—

I am redeemed, He loves me SO much I can’t even comprehend, I have hope in Him.  STOP picking back up your guilt Dawn.  You repented, you asked for forgiveness, you have been made new!  Don’t let the enemy(Satan) destroy that!

I had also been reading about earthly wisdom vs. godly wisdom in James over the last several days.  James 3 to be exact.  It talks about the difference in what we get from the world vs. what we receive from above.  I love James 3:17.  It says “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  This verse is SO powerful and I believe can be a gauge on SO many instances in life, in our daily walk.  I have begun to call it my “heart gauge.”  But, let me come back to what was happening with me in this instance though.  I began to remember what I read about this.  These thoughts, these questions I was having in this moment – they are NOT from above.  Something was awry in my heart for a minute.  In this moment I had begun to look at what I didn’t have…I had begun to think I didn’t have a purpose right now and therefore began to dwell back on what I did, the destruction it caused.  I,I, I……me, me, me.  I was focusing on me, pitying me.  Selfishness, confusion, disorder, bitterness…these are NOT from the Lord.  It is evil, and comes from the worldly view, earthly wisdom.  The second your focus turns from Him to you, evil takes over.  Yuck!  It ain’t fun.  That’s why I want to jump, better yet, LEAP out of that awful spiral the second I feel myself going there.  I want to instead fill myself with godly wisdom.  Which in this verse speaks of it being first PURE!  PURE – nothing yucky in it…PURE.  No muck, not even a speck of dirt PURE.  Then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield and full of mercy.  Goodness what hope in this.  So, when I spiral, when I begin to doubt and be angry at myself, and wallow in the self pity pool – I remember that it’s not from the Lord.  He does NOT want me doing this.  He doesn’t want me swimming in this pool because it’s a muddy, nasty yucky one.  He wants me to jump out of that one and jump into the calm, beautiful clear waters of the pool above.  Living joyously in Him.  So, as I remembered all of this, still singing my songs…I began to feel the hands of the Lord wrapping around me, lifting me up saving me from that drowning nasty pool of anger, pity, bitterness and reminding me that I was His.  He has and continues to carry me through this journey not wavering in love, wisdom, peace and joy so neither should I.  He has purpose for me and He is definitely not finished with me yet.  That friends, completely transformed my day.

{SIDE NOTE – Please don’t confuse my anger with sadness. The sadness I have for losing a best friend is different than the anger and self pity I find myself in occasionally.  I still ache for that friendship and in those times pray desperately for that precious friend I had.   Anger is not where the Lord wants me to sit but I personally believe he allows me to be sad at times, to mourn that friendship so that I am reminded of hope once again.  I have written a letter and asked forgiveness from that precious friend.  But, I hope for the day I can stand before her and look her in the eye and ask for forgiveness.  And I find great hope in the fact that we will stand together in eternity one day with no sadness, anger or bitterness between us.  But instead rejoicing with a Savior together.}

So, while I hit that bump in the road, that little valley….I didn’t stay there.  I fought, I surrendered(as I do daily), I learned.  More of those will come, I know – but as I remain seeking Him every day, digging into scripture finding cherished little nuggets like James 3:17; my hope becomes greater, my joy becomes brighter, my faith becomes stronger.  And this journey……this journey gets better.

Hope friends, hope is the word that keeps poppin’ up.  I pray you find hope in the Almighty, One true King that stands waiting for us to grab hold and live for Him.  He has big plans for you, just like He does for me.  I don’t want to miss it.  I pray you don’t either.

More later……..

86,400 Seconds

Last weekend Jeremy and I got to go on a little getaway and had the privilege of seeing Matthew West and Colton Dixon in concert.  —AMAZING concert.—  One of the best we have ever been to, if not, the best!  The music of course was incredible but what made it more amazing was the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the night.  It was the fact that you could tell this man didn’t just get up there to sing and do a concert.  He was truly making a presentation of the Gospel.  Jeremy put it best when he said “this was a presentation of Jesus Christ with music mixed in…not music with a mention of Jesus.”  One of Matthew West’s new songs is called “Live Forever.”  As he talked about this song, it struck me.  So much so Jeremy and I sat and talked about it for a long while after the concert.  The song talks about the fact that we have 86,400 seconds in a day.  Every single day we have 86,400 seconds to live….what are we doing with those seconds?

Well…….a ‘few’ of those are spent sleeping of course.  Ha!  But what is happening between the moment our eyes peek open until the moment they fall closed to rest again?   The song says “I don’t want to live for now, I wanna live forever.”  How true that is!  So often we hear in this world “live for the moment” and things like “YOLO:  You Only Live Once”.  Sorry, but I believe that the YOLO statement is an excuse to getaway with doing stupid stuff. Ha!  Welp, I don’t know about you but I am kind of done with doing stupid stuff and “living for the moment.”  I want to live forever.  I want to live with intention.  I want to live with purpose.  By saying “I want to live forever” I mean I want to live for my forever.  My forever is with my God.

I have never had a bigger yearning and desire to see people come to know the Lord as I do now.  Their was someone in my life that was not a Christian when the affair came out.  They were of the mindset that they were a good person, so they would go to heaven.  They watched all of what happened, happen and are now not part of my life.  This person had even started attending church.  The door had opened.  I’m not sure that door is still open.  Oh how my heart aches for this, wondering and hurting for this person.  I pray for this person by name every. single. day.  I hope for this person just as I hope for every person that doesn’t know the Lord, that doesn’t have the hope of eternity that Christ Followers do.  While I have always had a desire to see people come to know the Lord, it had become stale.  Where my focus went awry clearly my yearning for this had too.  Now, it is more present than ever.  Knowing that I was a stumbling block for someone to come to know the Lord hurts my heart.  For that I pray.  I cry out to the Lord for this person.  I am determined to not be a stumbling block but instead a building block for anyone else that is part of my life from this point on.  In order to be that – I have started to evaluate how I spend every second of that 86,400 seconds each day.

A few things I am pondering:

First, my time with the Lord.  I have become ever so protective over my quiet time.  Every single morning, I spend time with my Lord.  I crave that time now.  I want nothing else before I have that.  My life had become so busy over the last several years that my time with the Lord suffered severely.  The frightening thing is that my “busyness” was mainly from doing ministry.  How in the world was I serving in ministry when I wasn’t spending time with the One who I was supposed to be ministering through?   That friends, is where I failed.  I failed miserably and the enemy snuck in.  That is where in the last 9 months, I have developed an intimacy with the Lord that I will not give up.  I never want to lose that.  Even as life starts to gain momentum again, as my life is becoming “busy” again, I will not waver in my time spent with Him.

Second, loving others.  How do I love others and love others well?  To answer that question see above. (haha)  By spending time with the One who is LOVE!  I screwed up and hurt many that I loved BIG TIME….NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER do I want to do that again.  I honestly wish I could take all the hurt that I caused to so many (my husband and my best friend to name a few) and put it on myself.   But, I now want to love others better.  Love them the right way, in a way I can’t do on my own.   Jesus commands us to love others.  He tells us we MUST love others.  In John 13 he says, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:34-35)  Do you see what He is telling us there?  He tells us to love one another so that people will know that we follow Him.  Love others like God loves us.  That is a supernatural love. That is a love that is only evident in a person that has been miraculously changed, filled with the Holy Spirit, living with a new heart and passion like no other.  It is through this love that when people see it, they cannot deny that it comes from something bigger than human flesh.  It is a love that gives us the ability to love people that we don’t really want to love, those that are tough to love, that have hurt us or whatever.  Yep, we are commanded to love those that don’t ‘deserve’ our love.  Just as we don’t ‘deserve’ God’s love.  I have people that are really really tough to love and I know you do too!  People have hurt me, people have lied to me, people have spoke poorly about me.  But, I am commanded to love them.  I know I am one of those people that is really tough to love for many: I hurt people, I broke peoples trust, I spoke poorly about people.  He commands us to love one another.  Not who we want, not the easy to love, but everyone.  It’s a command not an option.  So, I’m evaluating this in my heart and my life.  I want to be better at this.  Do I love others like He wants me to?  Do I love EVERYONE like He wants me to?  I want to, but do I?   I know people are watching.  I know the person I spoke of above is watching how so-called “christians” are loving, just like so many are watching all of us.  So many lost people ask the question, “How do these people who call themselves ‘Christian’ live differently than I?”  I want to live so different and love so big that it is blatantly obvious that something supernatural has to be going on.  The love we show for others is the evidence we have to show others that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.  I screwed that up – I want to fix it.  Only through Him can I fix it.

As I ponder each second and I mean each and every second, these are the two things the Lord continues to reveal to me over and over again.  It is an overwhelming since of “Love Him then Love others.”   I truly believe if we protect our time with Him, be intentional about seeking Him first,  follow the Word of God in through which we can love others as He commands us to – all other “things” follow suit.  It’s about priorities.  Him first, that’s it.  My priorities were so whacked.  Love for myself was put in front of everything else.  Goodness – that is awful.  But goodness am I thankful for the love my God has for me that He has given me grace and another chance and restored me to be a vessel for Him even through my yuckyness.   I want to make every second count.  I am praying for big things.  Let me tell y’all – I have been praying about some supernatural things that could only happen through Him, but what a testimony they could be if they did.  Things that are all about the love we should have for each other.  “Love Him then Love Others.”  We serve a big Big BIG God – He is all about doing big Big BIG things…I want to use my 86,400 seconds to be a part of those big things.  I want to see more and more people come to know Him.  I want to see radical things happen that blow our minds because no way could they happen without HIM!   When my eyes close to rest at night, I want to fall asleep believing that I used every second to honor Him and bring glory to Him through loving Him and loving others supernaturally!

Our time here on earth is just a blip in eternity….make it count!

More Later…..