Beauty from Ashes…

Short, sweet and to the point…….

A few months ago I was asked to share my testimony at the Angie Smith conference the SBCV just had. I initially was going to say no as I was honestly a bit ‘scared.’ It was a seemingly daunting thought to stand up in front of 800+ women and ‘speak’ this testimony of mine… speak it is much much different than simply writing it. However, I came to the decision that how dare I squash an opportunity to point to the hope and unfailing love of our Savior. So, I did it. And can I tell you that when you are obedient to the Lord and do something that solely honors and glorifies Him, He will indeed give you an unexplainable peace in the midst of what could be an overwhelming moment. He will give you an opportunity that seems so undeserved.
IMG_6424This was a moment where I completely stepped aside and allowed the Lord to use me and speak through me. #lifechanging My hearts prayer in this opportunity was no one would see me or hear my story but instead hear a love story of Jesus Christ.
I share this to say, if you are in the midst of something that seems unbearable…hold fast my friend. He is there. He is faithful.
A time will come in your journey that causes you to realize that when you wept uncontrollably, when it didn’t seem light was at the end of the tunnel, when all else seemed to fail: The One you know remained, He did indeed remain. Because He is faithful and He does redeem and He does in fact use you for His glory. Even when you think it’s impossible, hope peeks thru.
Don’t give up friend, no matter where you are in the storm; you are loved and thought of…even in that moment you don’t think you can breathe….He is there. He is there waiting to breathe new life into the place that looks like it is beyond repair.
He loves you. He will mend you. He will make you whole. He is a good God. He is a faithful God.
He is a Redeemer, a Rescuer, a Mighty Fortress.
He is our God.

If you’d like to hear my testimony here is the video:

2016… were a good teacher.


The sun has set on 2016.  It has been a wonderful year beginning with moving into our beautiful new home.  Throughout the year many doors have opened, opportunities have been given and blessings have been felt.  And in the midst of it all, I have learned….A LOT.

I’ve learned a lot of about focus.  It’s very important to focus on the big picture.  The big picture being your relationship with the Lord and His will for you.  So often it’s easy to get tripped up on the little things or even the big messes.  These things we fixate on is where the enemy is waiting in the wings to grab hold of you.  When our focus sways, so does everything else.  Even when we are in the midst of trials, stress, messes or whatever it is –  God is there.  Our precious Lord is in the midst of that mess with you.  Don’t miss Him.  While in the midst of this trial you’re facing right now, it may be hard to even breathe sometimes yet we must not miss the fact the He merely wants us to turn to Him, focus on Him and cry out His name.   Focus on Him – never lose sight.  Seek Him with all your heart!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

-I’ve learned that there are a lot of hurting hearts out there and many times they are quietly suffering.  Oh how that makes my own heart hurt.   If you just bend your ear a little, you can hear the hurt and quite possibly be a voice of hope.  You see, when we live out grace and tender mercy our attitudes change and our understanding broadens.  It’s so easy to just give an answer of “I’m great” or “fine” when we are passing each other in the hallway or the grocery store aisle and so often that’s a lie.  And It’s even easier to keep walking and not truly dig in and say “no really, how are you?”   Why can’t we be more transparent?  Why do we feel like we have to act a certain way or pretend all is well?   In learning the magnitude of hurt out there, I’ve began to pray that the Lord will allow me to be a beacon of hope wherever He takes me.  I’ve began to pray that the Lord will stop me in my tracks of busyness if necessary to hear a heartache of a friend, a neighbor or whomever crosses my path so that I can come to the Throne of Grace with them and maybe just maybe they can experience that same peace, joy and freedom I do.  Let others see Jesus in you.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1

-I’ve learned a lot about friendship or rather I should say I have gained a renewed perspective.   Friendship is a sacred precious gift from the Lord that should be treasured.  It is something to invest in and something to not give up on. My circle of friends is a very small one but I am very okay with that.  It is about quality not quantity.  2016 was a year I spent praying specifically about and for friendship.  Can I share a sweet story about one of my dear friends and how the Lord used her to speak to me this year?   A few months ago I received a text from this precious friend that lives many many states away.   We don’t get to talk very much or see each other a lot but we often send text messages of prayer requests we have or just sweet notes of love and encouragement to each other.  Well this particular day she sent me a text that was totally out of the blue but totally perfect timing.  You see, for several days I’d been quietly hurting over a particular past friendship that I’d lost. I had been desperately praying for the Lord to help me see Him in this ugly mess that was made.  It was then that the Holy Spirit led my sweet friend to send this beautiful message that you may not quite understand all of but I just wanted you to understand that magnitude of it.

She sent me this text after a nudge from the Holy Spirit not knowing how I’d take it nor that I was struggling with this very subject at that very moment.  I sat in my car just weeping at the tenderness of it, the perfectness of it and the beauty of it.  She simply obeyed a nudging from the Holy Spirit to 1) pray for me and 2) send me a beautiful note of love and encouragement on the very subject that my heart was aching for.  In this very moment everything about friendship made sense to me.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a beautiful thing.  He used my precious friend to speak to me and send me a little love note that yes – He heard my cries and He is at work.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a valuable tool.  We can pray for each other, we can build each other up, we can sense the Holy Spirit telling us to reach out when our friends need and we can even pray over other broken friendships because we love each other.  ~~Friendship is incredible when we allow the Lord to be a part of it.~~

…….a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

I’ve learned that the Lord’s not looking for extraordinary ultra-talented squeaky clean people.  But instead, simply lovers of Him who lay down their own broken selves in order to point others towards Him.  Simply those who will bring glory only to Him not taking it for themselves.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:11

More than anything I know that I will never be perfect, but Jesus is.  I will never be strong enough, but Jesus is.  I will never be enough, but He absolutely is.

Two and a half years ago I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust and said “How did I get here?”  Today, as I look back over 2016, looking forward to 2017; I can look in the mirror and say with freedom and JOY “How did I get here?”  The answer to the first question was selfish, awful, evil motives where my focus had turned from Jesus Christ to Dawn Spicer.  The answer now is hard work, obedience, and more than anything a fierce, relentless, redeeming love of a gracious, life-breathing God.  It’s like looking in the mirror at the transformation and realizing that nothing I’ve done or am doing is changing me but instead everything He is doing is changing me.

And with that, as the sun rises on 2017, I say hello with great anticipation.


Two Years Later…


img_4884Sometimes I wonder how I even made it through that week.  I knew for a week’s time that I was going to have to confess to Jeremy.  I just had to wait for him to get home from a trip to tell him.  One night that week found me laying on the bathroom floor trying to get even a minutes sleep in between waiting for the heaves over the toilet to subside.  My entire being was distraught thinking about the fact that I may be days away from losing my husband, my children, basically my life as I knew it because of my choices.  Sin destroys you spiritually, mentally and sometimes even physically.  Confession and surrender redeems you entirely.

Today marks two years.  Two years of a journey that has gone from the greatest depths of heartache, betrayal and brokenness one could imagine to victory and hope.  You might wonder why I even ‘remember’ these specific days.  Maybe you are saying, “why don’t you just forget it and move on.”  Well, I’ve definitely moved on but let me tell you this:  trauma changes you – whether it be trauma you brought on yourself or trauma from a tragic accident, whatever trauma it is, it changes you.  That is why I remember.  I never want to sweep it under the rug, not talk about it or pretend it didn’t happen.  It’s my story, it changed me and I don’t ever want to forget it.

 I remember it for Grace:  I never quite understood what grace truly was until that is all that I could truly accept.  Grace upon grace upon grace.  My heart didn’t extend grace to others because I didn’t understand how much I needed it myself.  Yet, when it was extended to me from my God, my husband and many of those around me – it became clear what it was.   And so I remember this day so that I won’t forget how to truly extend grace to those around me.

I remember it for Hope:  Outside of grace the word I have clung to for these last two years is hope.  Hoping for different things at different times but always hope.  About a year before my world crumbled, I had bought a brand new devotional book by Beth Moore called Whispers of Hope. It was a devotional on prayer.  Yet, I never opened it.  You see, my heart was somewhere else, and I had a hard time praying.  How was I supposed to ‘pray’ when I was doing something so awful?  I felt like I couldn’t.  If I prayed, I would have to confess this thing and I just couldn’t do that.  So in those moments, because of myself, my lifeline to the Lord was quiet and that book remained unopened.  That is until everything was exposed; I was exposed and nothing was left to hide.  It was then that I came upon this book on my shelf and dared to open it.  When I bought that book, the Lord knew exactly when I’d open it. This book guided me on the days I was so lost for words, I didn’t know what to pray.  This book, which is also a journal, has written in it some of my most desperate heart cries and gut-wrenching thoughts from those first days and months.  Friend, I haven’t been able to open this book since I finished it.  I can’t bring myself to read the words I wrote.  I’m not sure I ever will.  But, what I know is that even in the midst of writing the agonizing thoughts and brokenness, I would still write out words of hope.  Just little bits of hope. “You are faithful Lord.”  “I trust you God.” Those words weren’t hard to write but at times they were hard to believe.  Yet, He was faithful.  And so, as I continue to walk this journey, I remain hopeful yet for many things.  But, I can say without any hesitation that the Lord has truly healed me, my husband and our marriage.  For that, I am eternally grateful. There are things I have hoped for over the last two years that I have yet to see happen.   When they don’t happen, I simply trust.  I trust that the Lord is working and in His time, I will see those things materialize.  I will not give up hope.

Through this journey I have learned to rely wholly on the Lord. I have learned to extend grace where before I would have rolled my eyes, judged in my heart and turned away.   I have learned that being obedient means completely surrendering yourself and doing what the Lord asks without doubt, hesitation or half-hearted effort.  So because of all I learned, I remember, I reflect and I continue to hope.

One final reason that I remember:  When I find myself hearing about someone in those same shoes, I can walk beside them in the depths of their darkness and say, “I understand.”  I can help them to know the hope of a Savior and the healing of surrender.  And before I start to judge, instead will be grace.  Always grace.


Two years and Hope later, I will continue.




Laced with Grace

Sarah Vanderford Photography

My second blog is now posted on the SBCV Women’s Leadership Blog!  This one was truly tough to navigate
through.  It is a subject that is heavy on my heart as I desire to see Godly women, myself included, be bold in their faith and live it out by stopping poisonous talk and instead encouraging and uplifting our sweet sisters in Christ. My hope is you can read it with an open mind and hear my heart and true intentions in it.  Read it here!


View More: was recently asked to write a series of blogs for the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia(SBCV) Women’s Ministry Leadership Blog.   I was asked to write with the focus on Helping Hurting Women.  I am excited to say that my first blog is posted!  This is truly an honor for me.  I am humbled and beyond grateful for this privilege.  Grateful that the Lord is taking something the enemy meant for destruction and using it for HIS GLORY!  Please check it out by clicking here.

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… 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….



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……