About the Author

Heather is a busy-and-blessed wife and mom to four and the author of Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God's Questions and Anywhere Faith: Overcome Fear, Insecurity and Excuses, and Say Yes to God. She loves good books, hot tea, and discovering God in the everyday.

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  1. Heather,
    Beautiful…your post makes me ask the question, “Am I withholding, or do I withhold parts of my heart from God?” God wants, and can handle it all. Even when I am in painful dialogue with Him…I am still IN the relationship. God can work with that. He can’t work with closed hearts. Great reminder for all of us. So thankful that I have a God who is bigger than my questioning and who continues to work things into completion in my life and my heart.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • I love how you said, “God can’t work with closed hearts.” I confess I’m tempted at times to withhold my heart as a way of self-protection, but I know I can bring Him my everything, every mess or concern, worry and doubt. I don’t need to protect myself from Him! He is faithful and gentle and definitely bigger than our questioning as you said! Thanks for sharing!

  2. The part you mentioned about withholding really hit home for me. For years, in my mind, I told myself I just didn’t want to deal. But I know the truth now and there was an uncertainty on my heart as to whether He could “deal” with my frustration and bitterness. Only in the last few years have I identified with this and can stop it before it gets out of control. I lay it at His feet, hot tears and angry, bitter mess, so He can begin the work on my heart.

    He’s never failed me yet.

    • It really is a journey to vulnerability with God as we learn to trust Him with everything in our hearts rather than holding back or hiding. Thank you so much for sharing this reminder that He is faithful and will not fail us!

  3. Beautifully written and tugs at the heartstrings! Sharing this! I know it will bless many, especially those wrestling with their faith. Love the story of Ruth and Naomi and that our God is faithful and He is a God of love, peace, and restoration. What a testament to that peace your friend has shown. God’s blessings of joy and peace to you all xoxo.

    • Thank you so much, Doris! I’ve always loved the story of Ruth and Naomi, but it seems to be especially powerful for me this past year. I’m so thankful He is our God who redeems and He is faithful, just as you said!

  4. As I read this I thought that maybe I hold back from God because I have a deep-down fear that, with the growing of faith, I will be tested or afflicted in ways that I am too scared to deal with. Sickness, for me, is a huge anxiety trigger, and I am terrified of illness in my own body, but that fear is magnified times 10000000 when it comes to my child. I have a difficult time with all the suffering going on, and I tend to fear God’s judgment especially because of all the increasingly disturbing nonsense going on in the country today, so all I think of in my heart and soul is a God that is just waiting for the other shoe to drop before we are destroyed. I can’t reconcile this image with a loving God for some reason, and so I can’t move forward because I don’t want Him to thrust me into a situation that I fear will totally break me.

    Thank you for this devotional, because it really hit home to me that I have some stuff that I need to deal with.

    • Oh, thank you so much for sharing your heart! I know that my struggle takes a different shape/form, but I too have sometimes felt like holding back from God for fear of the cost. What if it means testing or affliction like you described? Years ago, though, I heard one of my Christian teachers say, “I’m always waiting for God’s other shoe to drop and then I realized God isn’t wearing any shoes.” He carries us right through any difficulty or trial, but we can trust that if He can mold our hearts gently, He will! If He can grow us into Christ gently, He will do that also. He isn’t intent on hurting us or bringing us sorrow. So, my prayers have transformed—I pray that I will be yielded and easily moldable. I’m praying for you now as I read your comment so that you can have a renewed understanding of God’s deep and abiding love for you and your children!

    • MillenialMom,

      Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Don’t fret or worry about what might or might not happen. Spend time in prayer asking for His perfect peace. Find a quiet “war room” and just sit in silence listening for His still small voice. He will calm and comfort you.
      Praying for you now to feel His peace wash over you!
      Blessings 🙂

      • Beth, you’re right. God gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding. If we just retreat into a quiet place & surrender to Him… He will minister to our hearts. His still quiet voice brings peace to my soul. Many Blessings.!

  5. Perfect timing for this. Life is a struggle. I am divorced so have to face things on my own (yes, friends are great but it’s not the same as a husband). I lost a lovely friend to cancer just before Christmas, cutbacks at work mean our jobs are threatened and we all have to apply for our own jobs (& nobody will tell us anything), my Dad is in hospital 120 miles away and has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I have just been hit with a second virus days after recovering from a bug picked up at the hospital visiting Dad. Being ill with some thing infectious when you’re single means you don’t risk giving it to visitors so I have spent many days alone. I haven’t a clue where God is in all this, yesterday I shouted at him, today I decided maybe He doesn’t exist. And then I read your post. Thank you. I needed to read this.

    • Oh Emma, I have been, am in some ways, where you are and I can tell you that this is when Jesus is there most. Praying that you lean and press into His love today, struggle with Him, that He will bring peace in the storm. Hugs!

    • Oh Emma, I am praying that you have an incredible, overwhelming sense of God’s presence right in the middle of all that you are enduring. May He wrap His arms around you and bring you His peace, His comfort, and reminders of His love in the very moments when you feel lonely or feel like giving up. It seems that He is already at work showing that He hears you and your cries to Him by bringing you here today at just the right moment. I pray that’s just the beginning!

    • Hi Emma, I can understand to a degree where you are at. I pray that you will carry on, reminding yourself that God loves you and has made you lovely and capable of doing what needs done. I am in a similar situation, being stretched by God until I feel ready to break yet reminding myself and by others that God is still with me despite the storm. May God bless you abundantly.

  6. Heather, I give thanks to the Lord for this much needed post this morning. Thank you for writing this-I needed it so much, this, the replies. I have learned, painfully, over time that He wants to hear it all, for us to lean in on Him, casting it all. I appreciate how you replied that its hard at times to be vulnerable with the Lord, how you recognize when you are putting walls between you. He died so that we could be vulnerable with Him for His love bears all things, endures all things even when we don’t believe that we can. He never leaves or forsakes us, even when we aren’t sharing with Him. May each of us seek Him today in all the joy and all the mess 🙂

    • Oh, I love the encouragement you shared about casting it all on Him! That verse promises, “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Yes! Amen! The promise is right there that we can bring all of our fears, worries, doubts, struggles, even our anger—to Him because He does indeed care for us! Thank you so much for sharing today!

  7. LOVE that quote from Paul Miller!!!!! We are walking through a season of unemployment and I want to wait until the end of the story. I know He was faithful last time and is faithful still!

    • We also walked through a season of unemployment many years ago and this was definitely one of the lessons God taught me during that time. This season will not be forever. He will bring us to the other side of the valley. He won’t abandon us on the way. At some point, I will look back and say, “Look what God did!” Here’s the great news—my husband celebrated his 8-year anniversary this week at the very job God brought him at the end of that difficult season. We rejoice every year in His goodness. Praying that God also gives you that completed testimony for His glory!!

    • Oh, I forgot to say that I love that quote from Paul Miller also! He had a lot to say about the story of Ruth that I had never considered before in “A Loving Life.”

  8. Heather, thank you for this wonderful message today. I am thankful that God hears my prayers, even if the prayers are just a whisper. He knows my heart. He knows what I need. Yes, I agree…” Even if you can’t see the ending yet, God is writing your story to completion.”Amen 🙂

    • Thank you, my friend! It’s so wonderful to see you here today. There are definitely times when my prayers are a whisper or even just a shout of “Help!!” He is the God who hears us and knows our heart, just as you said. Thank you for that reminder!!

  9. Heather,
    Insightful. Never thought about my not praying as withholding parts of my heart from God! He wants to converse with us daily-hourly!

    • Yes, what an amazing gift He gives us in this invitation to deep relationship, vulnerability and honesty! We truly can talk with Him throughout the day and I’m just in awe of the access He grants us to His presence. More than that—the way He invites us into His presence and wants to be with us! Thanks, Beth!

  10. Thank you so much for this post Heather. While I don’t believe bitterness or unforgiveness are part of my picture the part about holding on in faith for the rest of the story is. My husband had a heart attack on Thursday and they found blockages that require open heart surgery. This will be the second one he will go through. He is 71. I needed this today. God has spoken some mighty promises that we’ve not seen yet, so the story is yet to be completed. Bless you Heather.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s heart attack and his upcoming surgery. Praying right now for him and for you as you hold onto God’s promises!!

  11. Heather, thanks for sharing today’s message. It was exactly what I needed today. Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s hands in the midst of our everyday struggles & trials. But I must always remember that He has His hands on me. ..guiding me & protecting me. Even when I don’t know how things are going to end, I can trust that He’s still writing my story…& oh what a story it will be when He completes it.

    • What a beautiful image of Him using His hands to guide and protect us. Yes, the testimony in the end will be God-glorifying and beautiful to behold!

  12. Just wanted to share my dad had a glioblastoma. xoxoxoxo Much love and this post is beautiful~~so honest.

    • Thank you for sharing that! I’m sure that you have experienced so much of this faith-walk with your own family when your dad was diagnosed.

  13. Heather, this is beautiful and so important. We’re not comfortable with the language of lament here in North America, and we need signposts like this pointing toward the raw words of Scripture in which people howled their brokenness to a God who hears and mends.

    • I agree! When I read the lament psalms, Job’s prayers and Jeremiah’s writings, I am compelled by their honesty!

  14. Heather, I love the reminder that we can be completely true and honest in our struggles when we bring them to Jesus. Too often I feel as if I have to have the rights words, a proper template for my prayers. Thank you for this reminder that God wants to have a relationship with us daily, and that includes sharing the daily joys and struggles. Blessings to you for this message.

    • It’s so true that if we try to attain some perfect standard in our prayers–the right words, the right setting, the right amount of time, the right formula—it often keeps us from talking to Him at all! He just wants us just as we are. Thanks for sharing!

  15. He sees our hearts, whether they are pure, closed or made of stone or or evil. Hebrews 3:12. That was a shock to me, I did not want to allow the enemy’s lies or oppression to turn me Mara, bitter or evil, unbelieving. I’m sure that must be why Jesus says ” Don’t be afraid, just believe. ” It’s okay to get messy with God, soak your tear towel, He understands and keeps those precious tears. Prayers for your friend..

    • Thank you for your prayers and for sharing that image of ‘soaking your tear towel.’ I love that! You are so right–I’m so glad we can get messy with God.

  16. Thank you Heather! By far, the hardest prayer for me to keep praying is the one for which the answer seems to be silent. It is also a prayer far too important for me to quit praying. I think continuing the prayer helps to keep the bitterness from settling in.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to visit the post here and leave a comment! I think you’re right—persevering in these prayers can keep the bitterness from settling in. I think just keeping that communication open with Him restores hope!

  17. “As long as I’m still praying, even if the prayers are messy, I’m still in this and I’m still turning to Him.”

    • Miriam, I appreciate you sharing so honestly! I have also had times when I realize that I haven’t been praying about a long-term request. Have I forgotten? Had I resigned myself to defeat instead of continuing to have hope? Those realizations usually are a way that God draws me back to prayer. I used to chastise myself for not praying as ardently as I originally did. Now, I try to use that sense of urgency whenever it comes to renew my prayer and renew my heart in the places where I’ve grown doubtful or maybe complacent. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Well, that resonated with me deeply. yes, I cried. and you made me realize that I need to cry out to God in my desperation, my pain, my everything. not judge him, but have a relationship with Him. When I am struggling, I run away from God. When I should be running to Him. Thank you for the wisdom.

  19. I so needed to hear that message. I was just speaking to a friend last night. Both of us were talking about how certain areas of our lives are not where we’d like them to be. She said something that encouraged me and this post sealed it for me. She said that everything doesn’t have to happen at once. You don’t have to accomplish all of your goals at once. The same message is here. God isn’t finished with our story, there is still more to come. Amen.

  20. Again, such a powerful insight! A little over a year ago, I was where Naomi was – bitter, without hope, sure that God had shattered my every dream.

    However, as I worked through a book and workbook by Larry Crabb titled “Shattered Dreams,” I began to see that God had a different and far better dream for me! I’m so, so grateful to Him for restoring the joy of my salvation. I’ve found that all I want, really, is more of Him living in me and shining out of my life into others’ lives. As Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    Also, in John 7:38, Jesus says, “whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” I want the water Jesus gives me to splash onto others!