Tag Archive: reminders


Sometimes you wonder if you screwed yourself with that last jump

But then as quickly as you thought that, you realize its time to question whose building this thing called your life…. your fame.

Am I building my life & my fame? Or am I building God’s house & His fame?

Self Check number 1.

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See that kid? Yup that’s me. I was probably 7 years old in that pic. It was taken with my friend/cousin Natasha in Mighty Kids, the children’s ministry at Faith Landmarks.

Today, I had a moment of clarity wherein I realized you don’t have to say everything you think, fix everything that’s broke. You learn as you mature that the more adult thing to do, sometimes, is to leave things where they lay. You learn we don’t need to address everything, comment just because thoughts are in our heads, fix every broken pot or glass, you learn to hold your tongue and your peace.

I guess that’s a grown up thing….

see this chick? Yeah, that’s me now, or me six months ago.  Supposedly I’m an adult. At least I’m trying to act like one.

So this week i’ve been on autopilot. I go on autopilot when things get rough and I don’t have time to process anything.

I go on autopilot when I don’t want to feel anything.

I go on auto pilot when im scared.

Needless to say I’ve been feeling very blah, and I’m not one to admit that to anyone. Reasoning is because in ministry, when you minister, your taught to remain copacetic, always strong, and blatantly not real. But in the two years I’ve been out of ‘ministry’ I’ve learned that God can work more in my realness than in my stoic perpetuation of myself.

[yes i do realize I’m writing some big words here, just left humanities class…]

Anyways, so driving to school it all kinda hit me. It hit me that the man who raised me, in absence of my biological father who died before I was born, had a heart attack this week and almost died. It hit me that I’m not ready to face the idea of mortality with my parents. On the way to school I was sure my heart couldnt take this all, because for awhile I’ve felt to so strong. Driving down Staples Mill I began blinking back the tears forming in my eyes, telling myself to suck it up. You’ll be ok.

But that’s not ok. In the past two years I’ve felt somewhat alone as I’m making a new journey in my life which caused me to leave my friends, ministry, my life as I knew it and start over. In my alone-ness I’ve learned things that God could only tell me in private, beautiful things. Beautiful things like REALNESS is ESSENTIAL, owning what we are feeling while talking to God. Things like I’m not alone, never alone, nunca solo, He is mine and I am His. Things like starting over is ok, because its starting over that wrecks you. It wrecks every perception of how to live you’ve ever learned. Learning to do old things again with  a new attitude. Learning to see things with new eyes is starting over.

So what made me smile when I felt blah?

My buddy John. I’ve known him since I 17, we led worship together for 2 years in the college ministry at NLOI. John has always been an awesome guy, but he used to annoy me. He used to annoy me because he could read me like a book, know my thoughts, feelings, irritations, insecurities in like two seconds, and call me out while being gentle and comforting. I in-turn would get pissed, accuse him of patronizing me, and walk away. Yes, I, Heather Nicole Toler was, and probably still is,  a certified brat.

So today I got a message from him basically saying I haven’t forgotten you and see you soon.

Wow! How does someone you haven’t seen in almost two years, be able to reach in and pacify what you’ve been struggling with.  Because that is always my struggle, being alone, being forgotten. Well here’s the how, God. He gives us all the right combination of words knowing the meaning to someone else.

So I’m choosing and learning to Disengage the auto pilot. Its like an old friend said, ‘ Feelings are niether good nor bad, its what you do with them.’  So own them, give them to God and allow his comfort.

You haven’t lost.

Its amazing the things that God will use to make you smile when you feel blah.

“Why Me?”

One of the most loneliest places in the world is to feel ignored by those you feel or felt most connected with, the only ones your connected with.

Its been a long while since I’ve written, few weeks maybe but thats long for me.

One of my constant struggles in this new season of my life is feeling ignored or forgotten, by people in my life and sometimes by God. Now please, remember this one thing when reading my blog: God is big enough to handle my questioning heart.  So let me be honest here about what I mean:

I left one place and moved to another.

Now I’m almost 2 years on the other side of this thing and I still feel alone, not connected, by myself.

So instead of dwelling on ‘poor me’ and getting angry with people and refusing to work with them or make advances to be nice to them, I dwell on the eternal factor. Not the ‘why me’ of a victim mentality, but ‘why me’ as in what are you allowing me to learn through this.

I sit here today, a writter, encouraging you to ask the Lord ‘Why Me’ as in what can I learn from this.

Peace and chicken grease!

Previous Post: and everything for a reason

First lesson of the new year:

When your spidey sense is gone, you just…….. be.

I’m not even sure what day it was, Saturday maybe Friday, not sure, check the previous post, but I’m resolved to simply trusting. Trusting God completely for my family.

Granddad took a spill and was rushed to the hospital and now on a Vent. I tweeted, and texted everyone I knew. I sat in shock. I threw on worship music. I waited. I played my guitar, stringing out some ‘tomlin’ and ‘the river’ by springsteen, I moved in and played quickly. I played and played, regretting my inability to know something was amiss in my family, especially sense I was up since 2:30 am and now it was 1pm. So I played a distorted A-chord, and played it again. And then came G, D, Am, before I knew it –  there was a familiar spirit tune coming out. All I could match to the music was, ” I will worship you’ and ” We lift you up, above all things.”

Sitting here now I realize the depth of such a simple lyric. Months ago, maybe even a year now I sent out a text to many friends declaring, “Give God your ‘All – things’, so He can take those ‘all – things’ and work them to our good and His greater purpose.” Rounding the fear and pain in my heart the other morning, I really can’t remember what day it was, I did nothing and could do nothing but give it ‘All’ to Him. I wonder what other ‘All – things’ He’s waiting on me to give up.

So I’ve learned: When the spidey sense is gone, you just be His. Give Him praise, wait, and trust that He’ll turn those  ‘all-things’ into Good things.

btw: Granddad did wake up. Not only did he wake up, but he made the nursing staff take the vent. Not only did he make them take the vent out, but he asked when he could get back home.

God is good!

Dark Night of The Soul Series: 3

Oppression…….

When the cares of life are placed on you, taunting you. When those things you used to do out of the love of your heart, now ‘darkens’ your loveliness. You are now hardened, and unlovable. You are in a dark night…. you want love… you want to move forward… you want the new opportunity…. but your scared of the jump.

The Woman – Kiss me—full on the mouth!
Yes! For your love is better than wine,
headier than your aromatic oils.
The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook.
No wonder everyone loves to say your name!
Take me away with you! Let’s run off together!
An elopement with my King-Lover!
We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing,
we’ll make great music.
Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine.
Everyone loves you—of course! And why not?
I am weathered but still elegant,
oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem,
Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents,
time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings.
Don’t look down on me because I’m dark,
darkened by the sun’s harsh rays.
My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields.
They made me care for the face of the earth,
but I had no time to care for my own face.
Tell me where you’re working
—I love you so much—
Tell me where you’re tending your flocks,
where you let them rest at noontime.
Why should I be the one left out,
outside the orbit of your tender care?

and alittle while later, he silences her, proclaiming:
The Man – Oh, my dear friend! You’re so beautiful!  And your eyes so beautiful—like doves!

So she worked all her life, grazing and working the fields for everyone else, and now its her turn…..

What’s a girl to do when the king sets his gaze on her. What do you do when the king sets his gaze on you?

The Shulimite women, the one Solomon pursued in our lovers psalms, was too afraid of intimacy. Intimacy is thought to be easy by some. But the true meaning of intimacy is to be bare before another, nothing sheilding, covering, or cloaking you, just you and you alone , out in the open. For many of us in the beautiful dance of love be it relational with siblings, friends, or parents, physical love with a spouse, or the highest love with Father God we think we can truly love and have intimacy without nakedness. And then on the other hand some of us are find being naked and bare before Him until his gaze turns to us, and then we run and hide.

Why do we run and hide, what is it that we are feeling isn’t good enough or pretty enough to be seen before man, and more importantly our father?

What  vineyards you’ve been caused to toil – in  with the hot sun at your face?

I recently had a conversation with a friend, she was going through some changes and needed the change to be reflected physically so she “darkened” her hair. She began to explain the details of a relationship I knew all to well, because I myself experience something similar. She professed to me how she felt “dark”. It hit me in that point in time that another beautiful woman, waiting and yearning to be loved also felt that way.

Song of Solomon 1:6

Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I have neglected.

Maybe your set in the sun trying to plant seed for a harvest your parents forgot all about? Maybe your the caretaker whose been tricked into caring for everyone else’s harvest but your own.
even though circumstances caused me to have to set my “flock” or my heart or my body, my emotions on the side of the field that the sun would beat down on it. Somehow, someway we are all  still lovely, with our  “darkness”

This woman, who should have been a woman of leisure was caused to deal with the vineyards of everyone else, because she had to work those vineyards it darkened her skin as she toiled in the hot sun day after day.

From her toiling she identified herself and unlovely, and unworthy.

We’ve all been there, but its time to let go.

Friend,

I don’t know where you are, what is going on, but one thing I do know:

regardless of the life circumstances that have darkened the condition of your heart, your hope, your future, know that he finds you lovely because of who you are now and forever. He’s not turned off by the darkness that has invaded your life, but he desire to move in you and love you.

Receive that won’t you, and live out another year in the fullness of hope and love.

Bless you!

Dark Night of  The Soul Series: part 2

This one is on the G-word: Grief.

Grief is something I’ve never done well with. I stay consistently stuck in two of the said stages of grief: Pain/Guilt and Depression/Loneliness. I normally have some kind of upside to my posts, but again, I’ve never done well with grief.

So my best hope with this one is simply to let it be what it is….

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Today is Christmas Eve.

I’m not a  traditional person, so this isn’t a christmas post, at least I don’t think it is.

This morning I googled myself, pretty weird I know, looking for my old Blogspot Blog. Looking for the old me. 2005-2006 I went through the ringer of sorts. I experience a near fatal car crash, lost a nerve in my hand, lost five people who were dear to me, and was in and out of the hospital because I was sick and they didn’t know with what.

Life sucked back then.

in the almost four years since then I have had a constant struggle of fear. Fear of loss. Fear of depression, fear of myself and what I’ll turn into. I didn’t want to get close to people because you know what happens then…. I didn’t want to fall in love, because my best friends fiance soldier boy, left, promising to come home, and that he did in a body bag. So somehow in that time I stopped living, and started existing.  I walked around a shell of a person, needing to keep busy, needing to do the next BIG THING , scared of being alone and in the moment. Then about a year ago I ran into myself.

When I was 11 I went from children’s church to our youth group at FLM. Got connected with an awesome youth pastor, worship leader, and a fabulous spiritual mom and dad.

Howard and Diane Hawkins were/are the best folks I ever knew. Howard was just cool, funny guy, who deemed it his job to make us all laugh and love us with God’s love.  and Diane, well, she was just herself.

Diane was the one person I couldnt hide from. I was alittle actress back then, and still am to an extent. Diguising my depression and need for pain with humor and theatrics, and yet, like always she saw right through me. Engaged my broken winged personality through the ministry of dance. and thats where it began. My heart was reawakened to the 4 year old who dance with and before her father. Before everything was broken.

Diane died in August of 06, in the middle of my ‘GOD WHERE ARE YOU’ experience. Thats what did me in, truely. Out of everything I lost and endured in that time thats what broke me. I realize now I never grieved over her or any of the things I went through in that time, but I was slowing breaking apart, slowly fading. I have also come to know that in that moment of driving the hour distance to say goodbye, driving in my car alone, I choose to be alone. I now see that I have to catch myself, because if I’m not careful I’m in that car alone again, driving back from a funeral.

I used to think dying scared me, when in actuality its not true.

Its living that scares the hell of me, causes me to turn and run with my tail caught between those short legs of mine.

So what do I say to end this…..

I don’t know.

But I do know that life is a dance, and either you cut in or you sit down.

So thats what happened about a year ago, I ran into me, started dancing again and didn’t even know it.

happy christmas

God Bless You Derek Loux – even now continue to dance!

Dark Night of The Soul Series: 1

So here’s the story of me being left at the altar…..

Its a perfect setting, me, my friends, family are all gathering joyously celebrating my impending nuptials . We have the dress, wedding  site,  the bridal party, myself – the bride, my fiance – the groom, the priest.  Life was ready to be had or so I thought.

It was the morning of the wedding, a Saturday in fact, I walked through the church, walked to my place on the altar, all dressed up in white. And he wasn’t there. He wasn’t coming.

I HATE, HATE, HATE COMMITMENT!

Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, so lets me honest….. I FEAR IT.

It scares me, scares me because I’ll give my all and in return, Heather gets jipped. Left out. Forgotten. Heather commits to others – and she gets left at the altar.  or so it seems.

As of recently, I’ve come to realize I’ve been keeping a part of my heart away from God. The same part of heart I’ve kept from him all my life, the same part of my heart I’ve kept from the relationships,  the part I keep from my family, friends alike. I keep it only for me all because of fear.

Fear of giving my all – and its still not enough. That I’m not enough.

So thats been my struggle in my christianity. I’ve been afraid to totally commit certain aspects of my heart to God- and its put a real damper on my mood this last year. See I’ve made it a practice to, whenever I am struggling in particular area of my walk with God, ask for a dream, ‘cos I’m too pig headed to hear it directly. So the Lord usually appeases me and gives me dream/vision of sorts for me to chew on and then I get it. So thats the above story of me getting left at the altar.

OH! You thought that was real, no way, you kidding me? I wouldn’t dare get that far to the altar, lol.  I’m afraid of commitment remember? Told my ex he’d better be prepared to fight for me cos I’ll be the first to run.

Anyways, back to the point at hand.

I have come to realize that the biggest problem in my relationship with God, is my lack of trust in Him. See we can all be honest right? I’ve had my feelings hurt by God – haven’t we all? I’ve had to deal with the hurt of Him tearing down the kingdoms I’ve built in my life. I’ve dealt with the hurt of my prayers not being answered the way I wanted and expected them to be answered, but haven’t we all….

So I realized, I had a problem with God. As they would say in my mafia-esque familia: ‘we gots a beef wit chu!’ heavily accented in meatballs.

I had problems commiting to God, because I couldn’t see the commitment he made to me. And me being me would rather self-destruct, than take a chance, love God, let Him have all of me, and go for the ride.

I’ve come to realize that the scenes that invade my eye closed hours – normally exalt my worst fears.

And that is it

My worst fear is to be forgotten by God – and forever be the worker bee.

My worst fear is to someday realize that God is that cruel giant in heaven, with a magnifying glass, burning up his minion humans.

My worst fear is everything I’ve lived to disprove – will be found out as truth.

My worst fear is being pushed by tragedy so far away from God I’ll never come back.

So over the years, over this year, recent months, days even – self destructive tendancies (sin) has tried to enter and convince me to run, and tear apart what could last forever, ‘cos you may be let down, and why not have a second plan.

See I don’t know who this all is for…. I know maybe 1. But the point is, don’t run out on God because your afraid he may run out on you.

The point is also, not to run out on human love, human existance, because your afraid. No one ever got anywhere being afraid, being overly cautious.

For God sakes: JUMP!

even when circumstance feels like you’ve been left at the altar by God Himself!

Saturday afternoon, while driving from spending time with my pastors, I received a tweet from a pastor in Seattle.

The tweet in its essence was asking for prayer, as he was dealing with 2 tragedys less than 48 hours apart. I scrolled down to see the replies, and one stuck out to me so deeply. The tweet simply said:

I am praying for your mental and emotional stability

I kept driving down Hull St, met up with a friend and her daughter for some coffee. We began to chat about ministry, and its slipped out of my mouth, how if your not careful ministry can be a depressing place. I say that with ease, as I was volunteer staff at a church in which we dealt with many deaths, drug /alcohol addicted men and women, broken families. We saw stuff, and heard stuff, felt stuff. See most people think its hard to be a cop, which is it, because of the dangers you face, the things you see. In the same frame of mind , many think its hard to be a Dr/Nurse because of the lives you save and the ones you lose.

Truth be told, its hard to be human.

Life is full of anomalies in which we experience things that shatter our heart if we have no one to turn to. With that said, with all the love and kindness in the world, can I ask you one question?

and who supports the pastor?

The pastor dedicates babies, baptizes people, on a weekly basis they watch as God snatches another soul from hell, they marry, they bury, the do their best to love theirs, their flock, the body. The pastor serves as counsel, but who counsels the pastor?

Who is there for the pastor?

I’ve never operated in the official capacity of “pastoral staff” , and if I have the choice I will not, so I cannot say, from experience as a pastor I know hurt. But was I was leader. I was a leader who saw the rebellion and saw obedience. One who saw the joys, and who experienced loss.

So again, who is there for the pastor?

When I was a kid, my parent unknowingly taught me never to complain or ask for help. Through comments like, “We’ll talk to God about that.”, when they didn’t have the time or whatever the case may be. And truthfully, working in a college and career ministry I did the same. Being a member of a church whom people respected my opinion – I did the same. The truth is when people reach out to us, we should at the least:

1.Listen – few seconds, minutes, hours, a life.

2. Embrace them – be it emotionally, offer a hug, a king word.

3. Pray with them that God shows up!

The comfort of God is an amazing thing, nothing, NOTHING could ever be as effective as His love covering us. But, BUT, there are times in life wherein you’d like someone with skin on – to relate to. Times in life, in which God uses someone with skin on to minister to you.

Unfortunately we are building a generation of people – pastors- who feel if they can’t handle it- it is a sign of weakness as opposed to humanity. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Nothing.

This springs out of my heart being broken over a pastor committing suicide, an amazing pastor who had an amazing ministry, wife, children, success- or so it seemed.

So who supports the pastor?

This blog isn’t to place blame, but to hopefully evoke a response in the body that says,

” YES, Pastor, I Support You!”

“Pastor, How Can I Help You!”

“Pastor, I Am Praying For You”

Who supports the pastor?

How can you support your pastor….

God bless.

I’m a procrastinator by nature. I tend to borderline having a rebellious behavior, prone to fit throwing, so basically I’m peter.

Well another flaw I forgot to mention is….. I don’t like waiting.

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I once heard someone say that life is a series of waiting rooms, which suck for me because I don’t like waiting remember?

Oh by the way, I don’t like hospitals, doctors offices’, waiting in someone office waiting areas, and umm guidance counselor offices…. having to wait without knowing the outcome.

Bingo!

Thats it, I don’t like having to wait not knowing the outcome.

So life is a series of waiting rooms huh…. I’m not sure its a bunch of waiting rooms, but I can agree there are certain times where its apart of the process for us to be in a waiting room.  Waiting fun stuff… not really, but its completely necessary. COMPLETELY!

Because if we don’t wait, well what we want and need will not be complete. God is a God of completion, so wait.

I’m not talking out of my head or bible here, although I am, but I’m talking out of a right now season.

I’m waiting

I’m waiting on God to move on somethings. I’m waiting for the doors to open up for my business. I’m waiting for the say so to pack up and move. I’m waiting for the full time ministry position. I’m waiting to finally go to Ghana. I’m waiting for my house. I’m waiting for my family. I’m waiting…. waiting… waiting on my life to start.

We are all waiting, but we are promised that those who wait on the Lord, shall renew they’re strength. Here’s the scripture:

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

I don’t like to wait, nor do I know anyone who does it for leisure, but waiting is good. Its not fun, but its for our good.

Lets establish another thing…. I like food. I like food a lot, as you can probably can tell. But in the words of a dear friend named Jared,” I’ll wait for my fully baked cake!”

I’m waiting