Comfort for Those Who Mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

It has been seventeen years since the terrible day of 9/11. It is a day I will never forget.

There was nothing special about the day of 9/11 initially. In fact, I would consider it an extraordinarily ordinary

day. I was in the third month of my new career and busy sorting through stacks of printed manuals. I had the monotonous job of separating and rubber banding the manuals by hand. It wasn’t the most exciting task, but I did it with the enthusiasm of a college kid entering the workforce for the first time (because I was).

On the way to my desk that morning, I visited three of my coworkers in the second floor conference room. They were preparing a plan for coordinating communications with South Florida offices for a tropical storm that was projected to hit Cape Coral, Florida. A small, old television on a cart was displaying the latest news cast, as they hoped to get an update on the storm.

A little over an hour later, David, one of the three coworkers from the conference room, peeked around my cubicle wall. “Would you like to take a breakfast break and watch some news with us? We have some donuts and juice in the conference room.”

I shook my head, “No, thanks. I have twenty more of these manuals to go.”

David nodded and disappeared back into the upstairs conference room.

A few minutes passed, and I suddenly heard the hallway along my cubicle become strangely silent. There had been plenty of the usual busyness and movement just a few moments ago. The stillness caused me to get up from my chair and walk the length of the empty hall.

Where did everyone go? I wondered, peering into the empty offices.

Sensing it had something to do with the TV, I ran up the stairs to the conference room where my coworkers were watching the news. To my surprise, several coworkers from my floor were crammed into the relatively small conference room. When I approached the doorway, I was met with stares of shock and disbelief.

“A plane just hit the World Trade Center,” one of my coworkers said, trembling. For a moment, I had trouble comprehending what she said. The words seemed off. Something didn’t feel right.

Everyone in the room was now facing the television, and I suddenly began to understand. Heavy smoke billowed from the side of the North Tower where a commercial plane had hit it only moments before. The news reporters were scrambling to figure out what had happened — was it an accident? It must have been an accident.

As the live camera feed on the World Trade Center towers was focused on the damage done to the first tower, another commercial plane struck the South Tower. A collective gasp and sudden stunned silence filled the room. It was suddenly painfully obvious: this was no accident.

Without warning, the towers began collapsing. People were jumping to their deaths. It was the most horrific event unfolding before my eyes that I’ve ever witnessed. My shock and terror only deepened as I heard later that morning a third plane crashed into the Pentagon, partially destroying the building. And I felt those emotions again as I heard about the courageous lives lost when a fourth commercial plane was hijacked. The passengers on that plane refused to allow the evil men to reach the destination of Washington D.C. and crashed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania.

I don’t remember much else from that particular day. I cried off and on. Offices and businesses closed. Schools and colleges shut down for the day. For a few days, it seemed the world stood still. My young, barely 18-year-old mind could hardly comprehend what happened.

A few days later, school resumed; and I was in a math class. But it was no ordinary school day. It felt like no day would be normal ever again as a young woman sat beside me, sobbing uncontrollably. She kept apologizing for the inability to control her tears and explained that she was a stewardess who was assigned to one of the flights that was hijacked. She wasn’t feeling well that day and switched shifts with another stewardess who ended up dying on one of the planes. Other students tried to comfort her, as another student talked about a missing uncle for whom first responders were still looking under the piles of rubble at the site of the World Trade Center.

My family was spared. No one close to me was impacted, but as I learned in the days and weeks that followed, many other people in my social circles had people dear to them or close to their families who lost their lives. As a result, I was thankful, but also felt guilt. I felt numb. I felt anger. I felt helplessness. I was traumatized. But I’m sure the grief and trauma I experienced paled in comparison to those whom were affected that day. I can’t even imagine what they must have felt and still feel.

Every year is a reminder of those who were lost, and the lives they touched that day. My heart mourns for those who still experience painful memories and for those who lost friends and family close to them. However, I am also reminded God reigns and is sovereign during terrible events like 9/11 (Romans 8:28), and I can be a light to others in the midst of tragedy as I allow Him to fill the broken and confused parts of me and heal and, in turn, help others through the healing process.

We cannot change the past, but we are not helpless as lovers of Jesus. We can encourage those are struggling. We can pray for them and over them for peace. We can hold their hands as they go to counseling and therapy sessions. For

those who are tormented by memories, we can speak to the spirit of trauma and cast it out in the name of Jesus (yes, Child of God, you can pray for deliverance for the oppressed). We can intercede and agree for the Lord to bring strength and inner healing to the suffering. We can lead others to an encounter with the Lord by asking them to pray and ask Jesus where He was in the middle of the painful event. The peace and comfort people experience through this sort of encounter is often transformational by understanding that He experienced the event with them. They were never alone (Joshua 1:9).

And, heaven forbid, should another event like 9/11 come in the future, we can and must be the hands and feet of Christ. We must not be paralyzed.

“He heals the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

Who Does God Say You Are?

What lies are you believing that are holding you back from becoming who you really are? People who know Whose they are and who they are powerfully impact the world around

them in lasting, life altering ways (i.e. aiding in freedom from addictions, fears, relationship issues, lack of life purpose, self-worth struggles, etc.). Conversely, lies and half-truths we believe about ourselves can muddy the degree of our power and influence.

For years, I jokingly called myself “Peter the Doubter.” Yes, I know — the Bible never calls him by that name. I called Peter the “Doubter” because I identified with his character flaws. He could be fearful, insecure, and impulsive at times. He was the guy who sank when he stepped out of the boat because he took his eyes off Jesus while attempting the impossible. He also denied Jesus three times out of fear. Ouch! I can’t believe I declared those things over myself!

An interesting side note about Peter, although he was very flawed at times, he was a close disciple of Jesus and part of the inner circle. He was a natural leader. Jesus honored him and positioned him as the cornerstone of the Church, and he was given special tasks. Peter was the first of the disciples to receive divine revelation that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. If only I could have seen those positive Peter character traits in myself instead of all of his flaws!

One day as I was sitting in a Sunday morning worship service at church, God got my attention about the lies I was believing. He tugged on my heart and asked me to sit quietly with Him. I heard Him clearly in my spirit. The room around me was alive with songs, people, and movement; but suddenly, it was just the Lord and I.

“Why do you call yourself ‘Peter the Doubter’?” Jesus asked.

Stunned, I sat there for a moment, unsure how to answer because it wasn’t something I had thought about in a while, and I was uncomfortably aware of how convicted I felt. Names are important to the Lord. The Bible is full of examples of names being used as prophetic declarations or revealing the nature of whatever is given its name. It knew the negative name was something God would never call me.

“I call myself Peter because I want to follow You, but I mess up a lot. You say to have no fear, to not doubt, and be full of faith. I doubt and second-guess everything. I can’t seem to stop myself from doing it no matter how many times I try or promise that I’ll do better. So, I guess I’m like Peter. I try to get out of the boat, but I sink.” I finally answered Him.

“You are not ‘Peter the Doubter’. You are ‘David the Warrior’.” Jesus declared firmly in my spirit. “Do not call yourself Peter anymore. That’s not your name.”

“David?” I repeated incredulously as tears filled my eyes. “He was the giant slayer and a mighty warrior. He was fearless. He was a great king of Israel. His bloodlines carried the promise of the Messiah.”

“Yes.”

“He made plenty of mistakes.”

“Yes.”

“But You called him ‘a man after your heart’.”

“Yes.”

I was overwhelmed and thankful for the tissue box underneath the church chairs. God just wrecked me.

“Write the ‘David’ inside the cover of your Bible so you will see it every time you open it. It will remind you who you are,” He instructed.

I grabbed the pen from purse and wrote “You are David, the Warrior. Love, God.” on the inside of my Bible.

That conversion with God has left a lasting effect. When I face trials or scary moments in life, I am reminded of David’s courage and love for the Lord. I’m reminded to stand firm and be bold. It’s the reason why my blog is now called “Love Roars.”

So, I’ll ask again — what lies are you believing about yourself? Do you speak harshly to yourself? Do you condemn yourself? Do you call yourself by the wrong name? If the answer is yes, find a quiet space and spend time with the Lord. Ask Him who/what He calls you. It will change your life.

Love,
Heather

Testimonies: Heart Palpitations Gone

Our God is still in the healing business! I’ve had heart palpitations and nerve ending issues since 2012. I was told I’d probably have it the rest of my life.

Since then, many close friends have prayed for my heart. About five weeks ago, the symptoms disappeared. I had been experiencing palpitations every

few minutes, every hour, every day. Suddenly, they were gone. The nerve ending issues also disappeared. It went from burning, tingling hands and feet and random sharp pains to none at all. I’ve been able to stop taking supplements to help with the misfiring nerve issues.

I went to the doctor on Friday and had an EKG done like I do every year. No heart palpitations were evident, and my heart showed “normal for my age range”! The nurse looked stunned and seemed genuinely shocked!

Nothing has changed with my medications for these improvements to occur. I just started getting better. I’m praising God for this miracle! He is so good to me.

I hope this encourages you if you’re waiting for your own miracle. ♡

– Heather

Finding the Gold

Starting a Journey
Over the last few years, the Lord has taught me about the importance of being a leader in different capacities of life. Honestly, it’s not a role I ever

aspired to become or wanted. Maybe that’s why He continuously draws me to do it? The role of a leader is a continuation of a theme in my life to become more engaged with a community of believers, understand the value of getting involved in messy relationships, and embody the call to build each other up. The goal of sharing my journey is to inspire you, fellow future and current leaders, to “find the gold” (recognize and encourage the strengths of others around you within your sphere(s) of influence).

About five years ago, I was living within my fairly comfortable bubble of shy introversion. I had the same small group of friends and the same familiar routines of life; but, as is often the case, God had other plans. That was about the same timeframe I began going to a new church and shortly after God had intervened in very real way in my life. God was setting me up for growth and self-discovery in ways that I could have never imagined.

Becoming a Spiritual Mother

My new church became home for me. It’s my family. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. It’s where I first encountered other people who are sensitive to the voice and move of the Presence of God and obediently respond. It was also where I was first called a “spiritual mother” (the first role of leadership that God would quickly instill and develop within me). The person who gave me that informal title was a young leader within my church; but, when he said the words to me — “God is growing you as a ‘spiritual mother’ and your husband as a ‘spiritual father'” — I laughed. I thought at the time he was mistaken. I told myself I didn’t have the personality to raise up other people, nor did I want to do it. I was not a mentor or a coach. But God was speaking truth to me through that church leader that day. His words spoke to the deepest parts of my heart, and he was absolutely right. God was about to show me the awakening of my true identity.

Awaking the Passion of Discipleship

The same year I joined my new church, I had the amazing honor of mentoring a close friend who was a new follower of Jesus. I had no idea where to even begin growing someone else in their spiritual walk, but the more I asked the Lord to guide our daily interactions, the more He provided opportunities. As a result, we both grew; and I discovered a passion for teaching about the Word of God and discipling others.

Shepherding and Coaching

A year later, I became a supervisor in a new career. Supervision wasn’t something I looked for, but it was something that found me at the right time. I agreed to do it, knowing it was

going to challenge me in uncomfortable ways. I had to be assertive and confident. It demanded the best qualities from me: grace and mercy; tenderness; modeling the right attitudes and responses to difficult situations; dealing with conflict; working alongside my employees and serving their needs; but, most importantly, shepherding and coaching.

In the moments when I felt like I was failing, God used my manager who hired me to push me further. She saw the gold within me and knew what I could become. Over the next three years, I grew into the role until finally one day, I felt like I was beginning to understand the most basic levels what being a leader actually meant.

Leading Others through Worship

The past two years have rapidly accelerated the growing process for becoming a leader. I left my supervisor job for a different role that no longer required the management of people. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved. Supervising people can be tough! But if I thought I was done with leading, I was

mistaken. Again, God had other plans.
I joined the temporary choir we had a church for about a year (our praise band took a temporary hiatus). I never sang in front of other people before that point. A few months later, I was asked to lead worship for a few songs. The act of leading worship radically shifted my perception of how to guide others into an encounter with the living God through words and songs.

The year before I joined the choir, I had a dream about singing and leading worship at church in the setting of a worship team. I truly believe the Lord was using that dream to prepare my heart and teach me boldness for the next step — co-leading worship as part of our newly revived praise band. What an immense blessing it is to see other people connecting with God in their own ways as they sing with us. It will mess you up in all sorts of good ways to see people singing their hearts out, crying, and praying during worship. It’s all for the glory of God, and has very little to do with me. I would not consider my singing particularly remarkable. I just have to be obedient, and God will use it.

Putting it All Together

Most recently, God provided opportunities to lead other young leaders within a small group and within my other spheres of influence.

The Lord is using the skills of leadership He’s been honing within me for the benefit of the Kingdom of God and the building of leaders. He’s showing me how to find the other “king makers” (leaders who raise up leaders) and to recognize the gold hidden within others and draw it out. I am a spiritual mother. I am a mentor. I am a shepherd. I am a worship leader.

Is God speaking to you about fulfilling the role of leadership? I challenge you to look for the gold in people in your life. Ask the Lord how you can encourage or disciple someone He highlights in your life.

Powerful, godly leaders leave a lasting influence and legacy on others the people around them. May you leave an imprint on others that lasts for generations even if no one remembers your name.

Love,
Heather

Find Your Tribe

God has taught me a lot lately about the value of “finding your tribe.” The word “tribe” in this sense is a tight-knit group of 

Friendspeople that are trustworthy, safe, share similar spiritual goals, and hold each other accountable. 

My personality type allows me to dangerously get too comfortable with being self-(in)sufficient — alone with my thoughts, alone with my goals, and lazy about my dreams. Although I have a few close friends from high school and college, my recent years as a young, married professional have been a barrage of busyness and distraction. There’s so much to do and seemly not enough time to get it all done. It’s so easy to disconnect if you don’t actively cultivate the friendships around you. Unfortunately, disconnection usually means slow or little spiritual growth and maturity.

The past year and a half was certainly full of changes in my life. I changed jobs during the summer of 2016 and greatly missed the daily interactions with a few close friends that I had in my previous workplace. My social circles at church also radically changed as many of the people my age moved away or left our church. None of these changes were necessarily bad. It just left my husband and me with a bit of a social-spiritual deficit, and we suddenly found ourselves craving a community of people looking for the same godly growth and interests we were. We felt an acute awareness that we needed more — more relationships with a body of believers outside of ourselves, more deep meaningful conversations about what the Lord is doing, and more stretching in all the healthy ways we were lacking.

Before I changed jobs, I was surrounded by daily interactions with fellow believers. It was a true blessing that I’m sure is very rare unless you work in some sort of ministry environment. I asked God to help me find 

Friends having funsimilar friendships in my new workplace — not to replace my other friends, but to grow my social circle and continue the daily interactions I realized I was craving so deeply. Our wonderful, giving Father God heard my prayer and placed me in a group of fellow believers; and the friend I interacted with the most became a reliable, trustworthy friend who embodies honor, leadership, spiritual discernment, and exhortation. 

In my church life, God introduced my husband and me to a powerful group of believers with similar Holy Spirit-given giftings and slightly different strengths. These people have become family. They are safe. They listen. They are prayer warriors. They are encouragers. They are challengers when you need to be pushed to reach higher. They are mentors. In addition, God is teaching me to see the same qualities within myself that I never knew existed. 

I challenge you, friend, to cultivate the friendships in your life. Find a community of people who see the gold in you and hold you accountable. Engage with people that are going after God because those are the people who will ensure your fire for God will never be snuffed out from the troubles of this life, and you’ll have opportunities to do the same for them.

Your Sister in Christ,

Heather

God’s Word for Your New Year

Happy New Year, friend!

As you think about the year ahead, have you asked God for a word to represent something He will actively do in your life during the

What is your word for the new year? coming year? This is a question I’ve asked Father God over the last few years, and the answers I received have been profound and life-changing.

The thought of asking God for a word for yourself may seem strange. I completely understand if you feel that way. The first time the idea was posed to me, I wasn’t sure what to think. It felt gimmicky. However, the idea apparently piqued my interest enough to try because I found myself asking God for a word one cold January night.

I wondered that night how long I’d have to pray to receive an answer. The funny thing is, I didn’t even get the question fully out of my mouth before I suddenly received an answer. The word was “warrior.” It wasn’t a word I audibly heard. Instead, it was a quick thought that flew through my mind so fast I almost missed it. It’s a bit hard to explain how to “hear” something that you can’t audibly hear with physical ears, but my spirit seemed to know “warrior” was my word. However, I wanted to make sure I really heard from God and wasn’t answering my own questions.

The next night, I found a quiet space in my house and sat down with my Bible. I thanked Father God for the word “warrior” and told Him that I desperately wanted to confirm it was the word He had actually spoken. Next, I asked the Holy Spirit to guide my hands and lead me to the passage that would somehow help confirm my word. To ensure I wouldn’t know where He might lead, I closed my eyes and opened the pages of my Bible. When I opened my eyes again, I couldn’t believe what I saw! Before me were the open pages of the Book of Psalms, and David was crying out for the Lord’s victory over his enemies who were pursuing him to kill him:

“My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me. Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord, for I call out to you for help. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them lie silent in the grave. Silence their lying lips — those lying and arrogant lips that accuse the godly.” – Psalm 31:15-18

It seemed to be no coincidence that I was reading about David. He was certainly a warrior. Was this the word that God was speaking over me? It seemed the answer I received was the first of several confirmations.

During the weeks that followed, I experienced many trials at the hands of cruel personalities. In years past, I probably would have given in to the circumstance and allowed myself to become the victim. But something rose up inside of me like a lion. I was determined not to give up, and I decided to fight the situation in the only way I knew: I prayed. I read Scripture. I spent many lunches during my workweeks with my door closed and my face on the floor asking God to intercede. I read several verses from Psalms out loud as declarations about the Lord’s victory over the circumstance.

Months passed. God did intercede. The trial ended. The cruel personalities never harmed me or my loved ones with any lasting wounds. I was delivered from that dark place. God used that year to teach me how to fight and how to pray. He taught me what it means to be a “warrior.”

Last year, I received the word “temporary rest”, and it was a welcome change from the chaos of the last several years. It was the first year in a very long time that I experienced

May the year ahead be filled with the goodness of Godemotional and spiritual healing through new godly friendships and the removal of the environment that had caused me so much pain. I am so grateful.

This year, my word is “new”, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store. It was clear before 2018 even began that the word for this year represents so many wonderful God moments that they can’t fit into one year! For example, recently, I’ve been learning new duties at my job; and as a result, I’m gaining new skills. The Lord has given me even more godly friendships that I’m sure will only grow closer as the year develops. I led worship at my church for the first time ever. Also, if you’ve followed this blog for a while you may have noticed the previous name “The In Place Missionary” has changed to “Love Roars.” Yes, that’s new too. I have wanted to buy that domain for over a year, and it finally happened!

I hope you will spend a quiet moment with the Lord and ask Him for a word for your year, and I hope the word you receive will provide you a sense of expectancy to see God move in very real ways in your life.

Your Sister in Christ,
Heather

God Wants a Hero like You not a Superhero

This post was written by my hero — my husband Clay White. ♡

Recently, I attended a Bethel Music concert. The event was worshipful and set a reverent tone for spending quiet time with the Lord.

However, as the concert concluded and the lights flickered on, the song “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay played through the sound system.  I remember thinking at the time, “That is an odd song choice to play after all of the worship music we just heard.”

I heard the song “Something Just Like This” again over the last few days and listened closely to the lyrics.  Suddenly, the song made since for the worship venue — at least to me.  The words reference heroes and legends like Hercules, Achilles, Batman, and Superman and how the singer doesn’t feel like he belongs in that list.  Reading these lyrics provided a profound revelation to my heart. I imagined God singing the lyrics about me: “How much you wanna risk? I’m not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts. Some superhero, some fairytale bliss.”

I have honestly felt several times in the past like everyone else in my Christian sphere of influence has more spiritual gifts, hears God better, is more connected, and so on than I am.  What I felt God saying through this popular music song was those people are human just like I am.  They are not any more special than I am.  God is not looking for a member of the Avengers or Justice League.  He is just looking for normal people who are willing to say yes to Him. He wants people who are open to stepping out in faith to be used for His purposes.  

If you step out in faith, God will show up.  It may not be in the way you expect, but I love that about God.  I love that He can take a pop music song or something that seemingly has nothing to do with God and blow your mind with a spiritual revelation.  

I want to encourage and challenge you.  You may feel like you have nothing to offer God. I know that I feel that way more frequently than I should.  There have been many times I had a word for someone that I was nervous about giving to them, but when I finally stepped out in faith and gave them the word, it was total confirmation for them.  Take a risk and step out in faith; God will not let you down.