Dance like no one’s watching; sing like no one’s listening, those are ways you might be reckless in your service to God.
~ Our web chapter begins with King David and his willingness to be even more undignified in his worship of God.
~ Martha and Mary tee up our next section as we determine it’s often necessary to keep singing even when no one is listening and you get no credit for your work.Note: Once you click the download button below, you should see the tab for the pdf at the bottom of your web browsers. Right-click the tab and open the document, then save it from there. Or for Mac users, you should be able to drag the item onto your desktop.
When you’re finished with this month’s chapter and Takeaway, let me know your thoughts. Leave comments here and/or at the YAL Facebook Community. If you haven’t joined us there yet and would like to, click the link below to join:
It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve released a fiction title. For those of you who’ve contacted me and asked when I’ll release something new, Room to Grow will release May 31. The image above isn’t the book cover image, just a place holder until that’s available.
I wrote this spring-inspired story last year with the idea of it being a smaller book, but even when I was done, I knew the story wasn’t finished. Josh and Sophie had a next phase of life that needed to be captured. I’m glad I held out until their story was complete. I love each book as if they were a unique child of mine, but there’s something about the ending of this one – melts my heart with pure sweetness.
I’ve been intrigued by this couple and how they break the traditional mold of what a couple should look like. Sophie is beginning a new life, feeling defeated and ill-equipped. Josh is still holding onto his first love from more than a decade before. A chance meeting at a coffee shop redefines life for them both.
Room to Grow is the first book in what I’ll introduce as the Nashville Series. Because Nashville and the local towns have been my home my entire life, I’m excited to capture the uniqueness of the areas and share with readers worldwide just how fabulous our city it is.
Stay tuned for more info. Pre-sales of books will begin sometime in May.
And remember, stay tuned for You. Are. Loved. Live the Love Song, my first nonfiction book. The release is scheduled for April 19.
Blessings to you all,
I missed this month’s blog on purpose. I had a decision to make: come up with some random topic or keep rolling on with my current nonfiction project. I’m glad I chose to power through. I can say with a big grin that the manuscript is completed with only a few edits remaining on some final chapters. If you would have asked me a few months ago if I would ever finish, I would have said no way. The moment I hit print on my final chapters to give to my editor, I nearly sang a happy song.
This is just a little glimpse of what’s next in my world as I see it now:
- Next month in February, I plan to make the official You. Are. Loved. book announcement and offer a free look at a sample chapter. I am still on track for a spring release and ready to hear your feedback.
- The new website for You. Are. Loved. is currently in production. For now, book release updates can be found here at lisaheatonbooks.com.
- I have a new fiction book in the works, something I began last year and hope to complete for a spring release. The working title is Room to Grow. To revisit this project only makes me long even more for spring. It’s a light and happy book, filled with unlikely love and romance – just what spring of 2019 needs if you ask me.
- I will have a free download offer for Deceiver soon if you know of anyone who might want to check it out. I will give you more details on that when the timing is set. Notices will be here and on social media.
- I’m excited to speak to the ladies of The Journey Church in Lebanon in June. The topic will be related to the new nonfiction book release, its focus on how knowing we are loved drives our every action and shapes how we live out our lives. Others are invited to join us for this Saturday morning event on June 22nd. Space will be limited, so registration for this free event will be required.
- One element of 2019 that I’m most excited about is my ability to follow through with ongoing discipleship through web-based teaching. After the book release, beginning in June or July, I will be offering free stand-alone topics on the youarelovedbook website. Each month through 2019, I will tackle a new area of our faith walk as it relates to God’s love for us.
So, yeah, a lot is underway. Much of this is the culmination of a vision that began over 18 months ago. Then, I could have never imagined how so much would come together to create a ministry that would alter the course of my life.
This is the point where many working parts must come together: the web presence, social media launch, print book publication and ebook conversion. Collectively, it feels like too much to wrap my mind around. So I ask that you pray for me. Pray that I have tunnel vision over this next few months to stay tuned in to how God leads.
You are always loved and appreciated.
Blessings over your new year,
I usually try to pull together some thoughts and get them sent out the first of each month in the form of a blog. I won’t be doing that this month. For us all December is such a busy month. I’m trying to decide what to buy grown kids and a Scrooge for a husband.
I have a trip planned to see that precious grand baby this weekend, so Christmas will come early in South Carolina. I’ve been prepping for that, buying little-kid toys for the first time in over a decade. Too. Much. Fun!
If all that wasn’t enough, I am trying to complete the manuscript for my new, nonfiction book this month. Almost there! Now that I’m on the down-hill slide, I can better establish a timeframe for publishing. Though I had hoped for a February release, it will instead be Spring of 2019 before I have the print version ready. If all goes as planned, we will have preview chapters available in February, the month of love.
All that said, I’m hoping your hectic month is filled with peace that only Jesus can bring. It takes effort on our part to stop and breath and remember that Jesus is the reason for this season. So in between Hallmark movies, shopping, and planning for family gatherings, grab hold of small moments of peace and joy by leaning into Jesus.
Many blessings to you and yours this season.
Grace and peace,
I can be one of those people I hate most – a know it all. I get so entrenched in what I believe and wonder how anyone else might not see things the way I do. If it helps, I’m getting better, or at least I’m getting better at hiding it. In my early adult years, I had to prove I was right. These days, I’m more able to let things slide, especially the inconsequential issues.
What changed in me? One phrase: Do I want to be right, or do I want to be like Jesus? Not that Jesus didn’t speak the truth; He absolutely did. I notice, though, in His dealings with people how He would lay out the truth and then allow them to process His words. He didn’t scream and yell to make His point. I sincerely believe He wasn’t making backhanded comments on Facebook or calling people out on Twitter. He spoke the truth in love and left it there for the person to grapple with on his or her own.
I think of the case of the rich young ruler found in Mark 10. When he asked Jesus what must be done to inherit eternal life, Jesus began by listing a few of the Ten Commandments. The man said he had done all of those things. In his mind he had followed all the laws and figured that would be enough. Then Jesus took the conversation to the next level by peering into the man’s heart and challenging what was most important to him, his money. In the account Mark tells, the young man went away sorrowful.
What happens next is Jesus using the moment to teach His disciples. He didn’t run after the guy, trying to hammer home His point or guilt the man into falling in line. That’s not what love does. Love speaks the truth and then loves the one who may not yet believe that truth.
We all come to understand deeper revelation at different times. So when we know something, especially a spiritual truth that someone else hasn’t been enlightened to, our only option is to tell and even show what we believe when possible. Beyond that, it is the work of the Spirit to open the eyes of the person in disagreement with you. Or maybe the work of the Spirit will open yours. I can’t count the number of times I’ve dug in on a matter only to be led towards a new or varying perspective over time.
I just know this: When we care more about being like Jesus and less concerned with being right, love wins every time.
Love is victorious when we love unexpectedly. I have seen the result of that in two cases recently when the surprised person was moved nearly to tears by unexpected love from someone of whom they expected the worst reaction.
Love declares a win when we look more like Jesus and less like a know it all. We can know it all and know little of love.
I pray I learn to love more unexpectedly and demonstrate it more willingly. Just because someone doesn’t believe what I believe, love freely given may win them back. That’s a lesson we could all stand to learn, especially us know it alls.
It’s okay to know stuff. Just be kind and love one another until they get a clue. 😉
Blessings to you and yours,
Recently, the road in front of our house was repaved, a long overdue project. Prior to repaving, the crews widened the road a little, so now our narrow and often treacherous road is safer. The first few days I drove on the newly paved road, I was excited – chalk that up to a less than adventurous life. Soon, though, within days of the new pavement, someone lost a paint can out of the bed of their truck and left a big splatter of blue paint on the road just a few doors down from me.
Now, my fresh new road is smeared and doesn’t feel quite so fresh and new. I know the painter or do-it-yourselfer didn’t mean to lose that paint can. It wasn’t intentional, but still, they were careless and paint happened.
I’ve considered that splatter in regards to life. Just when things are going well, someone comes along and splatters your life with unwanted drama or takes advantage of your kindness or wounds you with their careless choices. Those things happen all the time, leaving us with a mess to clean up. Some messes can’t be cleaned and leave a lasting residue right where you have to look at it each day.
When it comes to the road, time will fade the color. Years from now that blue spatter of paint will wear away and leave only a hint of color. Given enough time, a road crew will come along and repave altogether.
It’s the same with life. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but wounds eventually scar over. It may take years or decades, but the hurt that others cause will become part of your past. If you’re wise, you will choose forgiveness early on even when forgiveness isn’t sought by the offending party. Forgiveness frees you. Forgiveness allows the splatter to fade faster. In the long run for the believer, repaving will come as we spend eternity in a place where blue paint spatters no longer matter.
It’s sad to say, but I’ve been the blue paint splatter in the lives of others. My choices and actions have hurt the people I love. Most likely, you’ve done the same. Now, I try to be more aware of how my words and actions can cause harm. I still fail and imagine I always will, but I am working toward the goal of greater kindness and wiser choices. May the same be said of you.
Paint happens to us all. We splatter. We get splattered. What we choose to do with it makes all the difference in whether the paint mars our lives or becomes part of some greater masterpiece of color.
What can you do with this today? Consider the blue paint splattered around your life. Are you harboring damage-causing bitterness? Have you splattered the lives of those around you? These are questions which should lead you to pray and ask for direction. I’m in a position now where I need to consider some actions of my own. I’ve prayed but still don’t know what steps to take to make amends. In that case I will continue to pray. I want to choose obedience, but since I don’t yet see what that requires of me, I will wait. I do commit, however, to be obedient when the answer comes. I pray you will do the same.
If you have a paint splatter to share, I am always interested in hearing back from you.
Life is coming at me fast these days. Not only am I working on a new book, I’m launching a new ministry. From the overflow of the book, You. Are Loved. – Live the Love Song, ongoing ministry through speaking, online discipleship, and video posts are on the horizon. There are occasional moments when it all seems overwhelming and I panic, but for the most part, I’m energized and loving every minute of all that’s happening.
Except when I’m thrown a major curveball.
I’m a planner, like, a crazy, obsessive planner. I’m so bad that I even have a vacation checklist that I print every year for vacation. I have columns for all of us travelers, even for Zoe, my pup. (Yep, you read that right.) Planning comes naturally for me since I love lists and thinking ahead.
In my normal, pre-planning way of preparing for a speaking engagement, I began working on my speaking notes on Monday for my last event, five days in advance. That gave me plenty of time. When I’m not actually planning the event myself and just have to show up and speak, the notes are the only stressful part for me, otherwise, I love to speak to groups of women. I’m not the least bit nervous. I am always, I say always stressed over prepping the notes and sticking to them.
I’m a bit of a wildcard. I like telling stories that come to mind. I love sharing all that God has done in and through me over the years. Once I get started, I can hardly stop. Thing is, when you have notes to follow, you have to keep some kind of order to the way you present the material. If I go too far off-script, then it’s difficult to find my way back. Those are my most frustrating moments. I feel led to share something but fear I’ll leave vital information out if I do. Then after the event, I beat myself up for forgetting to say this or that.
Back to my last time to speak, my first time to talk about the new book topic:
I began working on my notes Monday, and over four hours into making meticulous notes with all kinds of complicated “say this here,” “move to this place next,” highlighted critical text, and colored-coded sticky notes, I finally took a break to eat lunch. My chest was tight, and I could do nothing but dread that part of my time to speak.
I’m not sure how it began, but while I was making a quick sandwich, I felt the Lord prompt me to rethink my notes and my plan. The word Unscripted came to mind. A sense of absolute terror came at that thought. What, no notes, no guide to make sure I said all the right things at the right times? That was crazy!
It took less than a minute for me to say, “Okay, I’ll try that.”
Before I tell the rest of the story, I have to interject something here. That was probably my fastest act of obedience and submission I’ve ever experienced. Usually, I do the little Okay and No Way dance. You know the one where you say okay at first and then back out, then back in, then back out? That’s usually my style when facing something so frightening. I didn’t do that, not even one time.
The moment I said yes to speaking unscripted, I felt a tremendous sense of peace flood over me, a peace I’ve never experienced when preparing to speak. I take what I say seriously. If ladies are going to take the time and effort to come and hear what I have to say, it better be worth it for them. Time is precious for all of us.
That Monday, I went back to my desk and took a leap of faith: I deleted four hours’ worth of notes. I typed up a few “jumping-off statements” to keep a decent flow. Plus, I had some lists of things I knew I would need to read directly from the page, but for the most part, I spoke unscripted. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed speaking more than that day. It may not have for the ladies who listened, but for me and my walk of faith, the fire fell. I found an entirely new level of trust in what God asks of me.
“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very
hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:12
When Scripture is proven in such a mighty way, I take notice. Tiny trust steps lead to medium trust steps, then medium to large. That was a giant step for me that day, and as usual, God proved Himself trustworthy.
Now, I can look forward to my next speaking engagement without dread of note prep and following a plan. Instead, I can follow a Savior by way of His Spirit.
I would love to hear back from you. Do you have a story of how a trust step, either small or large, has led to a deepening level of trust in Jesus?
I look forward to sharing more about the new book with you. I’ll do that over the next few months through my blog.
Always remember – You. Are. Loved.
First, happy August to you. Many are now sending kids back to school and getting back to normal life. While I’m not sending a kid off to school – first time for that in over 20 years, I am getting back into the swing of things.
I’ve been off the grid over the summer and pecking away while working on my next book, my first nonfiction project, Live Loved. I’m still heavy in the writing process, so I can’t give you a time of publication. I would think a 2019 release is to be expected.
I can honestly say, I am more excited about this project than anything I’ve ever written. Nonfiction is different in many ways. The creative process is wildly different. Stories steal my imagination when I’m working on fiction, but this, this has consumed my every waking thought it seems. I find myself emailing myself from bed at 3:00 in the morning with a new idea. I hope the finished product matches up with the hype I have going on in my mind.
Already, I have a couple of speaking engagements where I will get to share my heart on the topic of living loved. I hope to flesh out concepts and watch them settle into the hearts of women. What I am attempting to capture on paper is, in many ways, my own journey of becoming a loved woman. No matter how loved I was in my early walk with Jesus, I simply never received the truth of it into my belief system. Many are still in that same boat.
If you will, pray for this endeavor. Every moment I’m writing I know it’s bigger than me. The scope of the project and all I need to say is beyond me. Simply, I’m not capable of doing this. Thankfully, I got over that fact and have allowed the resurrection power of Jesus to do through me what I can’t do myself. You’re welcome for that. On my on I could easily make a mess of even something as magnificently simple as God’s neverending, soul-quenching love for us all.
I will leave you with this thought: The enemy is still a liar. He hasn’t changed his tactics since his encounter with Eve in the garden. He lies to me daily. Over the past few months, his lies have only grown with ever-increasing intensity. His activity and schemes against me are unparalleled in this season. That confirms I must be on the right track with this new book. So I press on to win the prize of sharing what I’ve witnessed in my own transformation.
Ask yourself this today: What lie is the serpent feeding you?
The greatest weapon in your arsenal against his attack is fighting lies with God’s truth. Open your Bible today and search out what your Father says about you. Lean into Jesus so that His love and truth will demolish any stronghold that keeps you ineffective. That’s the enemy’s plot against the child of God, to render her powerless to do what she was created to do – glorify a holy God.
I am praying for you now and ask the same of you. We are attacked from all sides, but that affects us not when we rest in the shelter of the Most High.
You. Are. Loved.
I may be a little late with this, but Happy Spring!
If you read last month’s blog, then you know I had a dark, gray winter – both spiritually speaking and with work. It was tough, but I endured. Spring came early for me as it usually does since March 1st is spring to me. I’m not sure why. The calendar tells me otherwise. People tell me spring comes later, but for me, there is something magical about the beginning of March that wakes my heart up from a long, gray winter.
This year, my wake up wasn’t just a date, it was a new project. I’ve mentioned the tedious revisions that I’ve been working on. I’m on my last one and nearing the finish line. One day, while working on it, I just buckled. I couldn’t revise one more word. What I did on March 7th broke my cycle of revision and ushered me into the spring of a brand new book, Room to Grow. My character in the novel, Sophie, is still living a hard winter when one simple encounter ushers her into an early spring.
I can’t give a time of its release since this book will take a different publishing path from my others. That’s not really the point of this blog. The point is this: Has spring come for you this year, or are you still dragging through a life of gray winter days – in a spiritual sense?
A phrase from this new book has taken on a life of its own in my heart.
“You are spring to me.”
Even when the worst is happening in my life or when I’m blah and not up to the task at hand, Spring has come in the person of Jesus. He is Spring to me, new life and hope and a future. He reminds me that the past is behind me, the future is out of my control, but today He is Spring to me. Each day can be filled with new hope and purpose if I walk in that day and no other.
A verse that is my focus for this season is this:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
For too many years I spent my life hindered by the past. That’s not so much the case right now. Then for the past few years, I’ve focused on the future. Pointless! Now, I’m walking in today’s light. I like it here.
Spring has come. The Son is shining. God’s Word leads me in today’s light.
Grace and peace be yours today!
I find I write often about discouragement, too much really. I can stay in such a cycle of discouragement that I get tired of hearing my own voice talk about it and reading what I write on the topic. Still, it comes. You would think I would be past it by now after the years filled with peaks and valleys in my walk with Jesus.
Today’s blog comes after another bout with discouragement and my calling out to God from the pit. Just this week I sent an email to a friend about my latest climb out and wanted to share some of what I wrote to her. Even as I typed the email, I realized it would make for a good blog.
My words to my friend:
“It doesn’t matter how far I travel with the Lord or how many “gifts” I’ve been given. Discouragement is the devil’s favorite tool to use against me. I’m so like King David. Not the good man of battle and great leader stuff – you know, the ups and downs in the Psalms. I’m quite sure David was the second bi-polar king recorded. (Saul was just nuts.) I’m like that, on the mountain one day and sprawled out in the valley the next, crying, “Lord, come and save me from the pit.”
Good news is: I’m outta the pit. I’m not my normal passionate me right now, but that’s something Jesus and I are working on. At least I’m on stable ground and back on mission. Something happened Monday that set me straight. It was one of the most blatant answers from God through Scripture (supplied by a reader who wrote to me at the exact right time) that I’ve ever encountered. Hebrews 6:10.”
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” NIV
- As if all that I’ve done has meant nothing
- Aimless and unsure about my new direction
- As if I’ve missed His voice and direction
- Like I’ve wasted the past few years
- Ready to stop chasing this dream and just veg on the couch
- Like it wasn’t fair that I would devote my life to this pursuit of Him, yet I must have missed Him
I poured out my heart in my Quest journal, asking God to be specific in His direction. I whispered in prayer that it hardly seemed fair. I belly-ached all kinds of whys and where are Yous. In that same day’s devotion, I wrote: “I’m tired, Lord. I’m just so tired of chasing after this and seeing so little in return.”
Now you see what I meant by being in the pit. It wasn’t the pit of sin. It was the pit of self-pity. I’m seriously tired, and when I’m tired, negativity and discouragement rage in my mind. When I say tired, I don’t just mean physically. Yes, I had just gotten over the flu, so there was a physical element of depletion. The main issue, though, was that I was drained emotionally. I felt defeated.
I can look at it all now with more objectivity. For one the grey days of winter have taken their toll. What was more likely the culprit regarding my mental and emotional state was the past year I’ve spent revising all my old work. I am currently working on book 5 of 5 in a complete overhaul of every book I’ve published. That was over 600,000 words that I have poured over and reshaped and revised. It’s been taxing to say the least. Add in the fact that I’ve not worked on anything new to spark my creativity, and my low emotional state makes perfect sense.
Back to the point.
While I sat there with my study book in my lap, after all my crying out to God, I noticed I had a message from a reader. She has contacted me before, but this time was something special. Her message told of a friend of hers, an abuse victim who had recently read Unmending the Veil. This reader who contacted me had suggested the book to her friend at least a year before the woman was ever to read it. It touched her in many ways, I’m told. The message I received shared a few details about her ministry to abuse victims and how she always recommends my book to them. It reminded me that flesh and blood women out there, those who have been hurt by the one who should have protected them, read this story and God speaks to them through it.
That would have been enough to shake me out of my discouraged state if that had been all the message said. But she also said,
“I just wanted you to be encouraged and to know that people are really benefiting from your work. Keep on pressing into the Lord and doing as He asks.”
She ended her message with:
“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.”
Whaaat?! Are you kidding me? I had just eye-rolled that verse! It’s one thing when you see a repetition of a verse like, “For I know the plan I have for you, declares the LORD.” That’s a commonly used and shared scripture. But Hebrews 6:10? Nope. It’s way too obscure to be a coincidence. God gave me His reconfirmed Word through this precious reader. He literally spoke His words of encouragement through the study and then through His servant when I ignored His first attempt with a childish eye-roll.
I could spend the next hour dissecting this verse and how powerful it all was in its specific answers to my accusations and questions. I’ll try to simplify with my major takeaways:
- He is just. In my rambling accusations, even if I didn’t mean it, I called Him unjust. He was quick to remind me differently.
- He hasn’t forgotten me or what I’ve done for the ones He loves.
- He hasn’t overlooked how much I love Him and how that’s my motivation for doing what I do.
- “… in still ministering to the saints” reminds me to keep doing what I’m doing. I haven’t missed His leading or missed the way. I asked Him to be specific, and He was.
I want to share more but don’t want to bore you. I’ll leave you with a few thoughts:
- God speaks through His Word. If you aren’t digging into the Word of God on a regular basis, then you are missing God’s voice speaking into your life, answering your questions, and guiding you in this mixed up journey called life.
- He speaks to us through other believers. We matter to each other. Our obedience matters when we feel a tug on our heart to reach out. Fun fact: The reader, Alyce-Kay, let me know that she had wanted to send that message to me later in the day but felt prompted to send it on early. God knew I needed to read that message while my study book still sat on my lap and while my eye-roll at His verse would still be fresh on my mind. His timing is perfect. It will do me some good to remember that when discouragement over timing begins to take its toll next time.
- Ask questions of God. Call out to Jesus. Don’t settle for a faraway relationship with the One who died to draw you into an intimate relationship with HIm.
Grace and peace to you. May you hear the voice of the Lord. May encourages encourage you. May you encourage others when the Spirit moves. You never know whose grey winter you might put an end to or who you might lend a hand out of the pit.
Much love to you,