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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Gospel According to Cinderella


 Life in the almost-Amish country this week:

1.   I had to use my windshield wipers to clear leaves off of my car before I could see to drive.
2. On the way to work yesterday, I had the revelation as to why it is called a leaf blower!!! In New Mexico they are only used to blow dirt out of the garage…WOW. 
3.  I was asked to guest blog for One Hip World, the organization that raises funds for the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. I said yes.
4. Two schools from my hometown have asked me to share my testimony in chapel while I am home during the holidays. This answer was a bit harder, but I did say yes.
5. The east coast is bracing for a hurricane. Ironically it is named “Sandy.” I know sand. This is not it.
6. Considering I endured the Lubbock, Texas haboob last October, I am more confident of my survival skills.
7. Don’t worry... I bought rain boots, a canoe and a life jacket.
8.  Four-year-old Kierstin, “Hethy, are there giraffes in your country?" 

______________________

  
I am so thankful that God teaches each one of his children so individually. This week, the Lord met me through Walt Disney. Don’t you love God for the way He does that?!

I have been in a funk for the past couple of weeks; struggling with emotions, lack of closure, faithful love that went unreturned, and the pending uncertainty of what the holidays might bring as we are both from the same small town. I have not seen him since he lovingly said "I will see you soon," in the airport. I am terrified to run into him, we had so many memories during the holidays… the list could continue but I will spare you.
I allowed this fear to replace my excitement about Thanksgiving and Christmas!

The heart is a direct reflection of what we focus our eyes on. I have been guilty of doing exactly what Peter did. I took my eyes off of Jesus and started to look at my circumstances. As a result I was filled with fear and doubt and began to sink; placing my heart in a very compromising position.

Through the story of my favorite Disney princess, Cinderella, Jesus reached out to pull me up above the waves.

I was browsing through Pinterest early one morning and found the iconic picture of Cinderella rushing down the stairs as the clock struck midnight, leaving the glass slipper behind her. I stopped to look at it for a moment because I love Cinderella (and secretly desire to be her someday!)


The Lord spoke to my heart. “Heather, what would have happened if she went back for the slipper?”

WHAT? I am blessed to be able to discern the Lord’s voice, but many times I still don’t have a clue what He is saying! Knowing it was important as the Father awakened it in my spirit, I pondered the question all day.

The answer that God revealed to me is precious. I desire to share it with you. The gospel according to Disney and Heather:

Cinderella possessed a servant’s heart. Following a moment of desperation, betrayal, shattered dreams and brokenness, the fairy godmother came to her in the midst of her tears. She transformed Cinderella from rags to glory. She blessed her – with the stipulation that all magic ended at midnight.

At the ball, Cinderella was not fake, she was not posing; she still possessed the same humble, servant’s heart. Yet, she was spell-bindingly beautiful.

She was given everything she ever wanted. She had the Prince, the attention, the gown, the fairytale. And yet, almost cruelly, the clock struck 12. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling. Cling.

Obeying the fairy godmother, she walked (no, ran) away from her dream come true. Any girl knows that running in heels should be an Olympic event. Poor Cinderella had a battle with her slipper. She left it on the stairs and kept running. Yes, she paused and looked; a moment of hesitation. But, she didn’t go back.

Enter now the question the Lord asked me. What would have happened if she went back? The simple answer is,
she would have never become a princess.

Had she gone back, she would have risked being exposed. Would the Prince have viewed her differently? Maybe. Maybe not. Would others jeer and sneer? Possibly.

Had she gone back, she would have reclaimed the one piece of evidence that led the Prince in his passionate pursuit to find her.

Had she gone back, she would have clung to the temporary and unknowingly sacrificed her destiny. Her destiny to become a Princess.

This week I was in Cinderella’s “pause” moment. I glanced back. I took one last look at my dream and considered whether or not I would keep running in obedience with the godmother’s wishes.

In hindsight, at that dramatic “pause” moment, Cinderella had no idea she would become a Princess. But, she obeyed, displayed her faith, and trusted. I almost went back to get the slipper.

This would have been disobedience to my Father. It would have been selfish. I would have sacrificed the eternal on the altar of the immediate. I would much rather become a Princess than hang on to an old shoe!

I desire the Prince to find me. To seek me out with all of his heart. To fight for me no matter the cost. My Prince, Jesus, has already done this for me (and you)!

I do pray that one day God will send an earthly prince into my life to love me as Christ loves the church. To lay his life down for me. Marriage is a picture of the Lord’s relationship with His bride. When the earthly picture of marriage is tainted and broken, the Gospel is diminished.

I desire my future relationship to highlight the Gospel. To point clearly and boldly to our love relationship with the Lord. Partners in ministry.

“Have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”
– A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, Cinderella


Had I gone back to get my shoe…. Who knows, I could have given up my tiara. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cutting Goliath's Head Off (and other adventures)


My blog is a little late this week simply because I have had so much going on! I will try my best to catch you up!

This week I have gained clarity on the ministry I believe God has given me as a result of my brokenness. I have watched another young woman I deeply admire step out in faith as she begins to reach people at Penn State through her own ministry. Also,

                                                  I cut the head off of Goliath.

Before you are grossed or creeped out, let me explain! Last Tuesday I met with Dannah and another amazing woman of God, Kim. The Gresh’s made it clear when they hired me that I was not only coming to Pure Freedom to work, but I was coming to heal.

For the next two and a half hours, these amazing women led me through an indescribable time of prayer. The dialog began with me identifying my fears and the lies I have believed as a result of being cruelly and painfully rejected by the man I loved and trusted with all my heart.

Only ten minutes in, they instructed me to quit thinking – quit justifying and quit explaining. “You know, it is ok to feel Heather…” (I didn’t realize I needed the freedom to feel but I did) At that, the waterworks flowed; something I had not allowed to happen since I arrived in central PA in early August. Through tears I spoke of the hurt. The women guided me to truth in the Word. I could feel my spirit lifting as I finally verbalized my heart’s fragile condition. After eight months of clinging to it (why I have no idea) I decisively deleted the text that brought my world crashing down as well as the loving Valentine's poem I had received just one week earlier. Kim then moved on to the last prayer point for the day. She said the F-word.

 Forgiveness.

Granted, this was my least favorite topic and I dug my heels in deep. “How am I supposed to forgive without any semblance of closure?!” I pleaded. Of course, they prayed their way through that obstacle and helped me realize that my closure ultimately comes from above. They tried again.

Forgiveness.

The deep and painful emotions rushed to the surface. The burning anger – the kind that makes your jaw clench. HOW?! “It’s simple Heather, just fill-in-the-blank.” This sounded doable to my teacher-brain…I’m listening..........  Just fill it in: “I forgive ‘him’ for_____________.” This process was like pulling teeth for me! 

Forgiveness is a matter of the heart; a releasing of the past; a relinquishing of the man I loved. It is a choice that for the rest of my life I will need to make on a daily basis. Kim held my hand. “I forgive ‘him’ for lying to me…” For the next five minutes the Lord brought my hurts to the surface. Some were far more difficult to verbalize and release than others. I said his name and forgave him for each specific hurt. 

Freedom filled my heart. I have always heard pastors say that forgiveness really frees you from bondage… they are right. I cried my makeup off and left with a box of tissues. As I walked out of Dannah’s office, I felt like I had finally cut the head off of Goliath. David had to. I had to. It is done. The job is finished. (1 Samuel 17:51) In David's day, to prove that someone or something was really dead, they were decapitated.  The monster of bitterness and unforgiveness is dead. Who do you need to forgive? Will you finish the job? It is ugly and gross and you will get messy and probably shed some tears… Do you want freedom?

 My definition of forgiveness has been changing. I thought for the longest time that forgiving someone meant never thinking about it again, never talking about it again, etc… just forgetting about six years of my life is not possible, nor is it necessary. This is now my testimony. I will always have a scar on my heart from what happened. My hip is covered in scars that will remain until I die and the Lord gives me a new body. But, my scars don’t still hurt – they are reminders of pain; they are a badge of honor; they remind me that I am strong. The scar on my heart will one day be the same. Right now it is raw and stitches are still holding the wound together.

Growing up, I hid the scars on my hip. I dreaded swim parties and went to great lengths to make sure no one saw my leg. In junior high, someone shared with me the beauty of Jesus’ scars in a way I had not considered before… I will forever see my own differently. What if Jesus tried to hide His scars?! Could you imagine? Jesus hiding the fact that He died for me – for you? Absolutely not. His scars are what make Him flawlessly beautiful. They are what give us life. Jesus would not be the Savior of the world without them!

This week has been one of healing wounds. Wounds eventually turn into scars. Scars don’t still hurt! Does this mean I don’t still hurt? Not in the slightest, but it does mean that I am allowing the Lord to doctor my wound. To clean the stitches and wash the scar with warm water and soap… It is a process that takes time and effort - and tends to be uncomfortable.

On his way out of my life, my ex-fiancĂ© made it known that he was unhappy with the appearance of my hip and that it would negatively affect his active lifestyle… Those words hurt deeply and have been hard for me to release. Do not let the negative words or actions of others affect your healing process. You must see yourself through the eyes of the Great Physician. Each and every scar on your heart and on your body makes you unique and beautiful. What scar doesn’t come with a story?!


Also this week, Erin Davis, founder of Graffiti Ministry, operates the Lies Young Women Believe blog. She asked me to share the story “In His Sunrise” with her thousands of weekly readers as a guest blogger. I was honored at the opportunity and have been blown away by the comments and emails I have received as a result.

Many of you asked questions that I truly do not know the answer to. I wish I did! Questions like “Why didn’t he do it to your face?” “Was their another girl?” “Why did God give you all the signs and confirmations and then allow things to fall apart and hurt you?” “Was he even a Christian? Christians don’t do things like that.” Some of these questions stung… they are hard to read and even harder to answer. I don’t know! I doubt that I will ever receive a face-to-face apology for the way it was done or an explanation as to why he would recant every “I love you” and “I can’t wait to marry you” that he ever uttered. I don't know!!!!

I just know that God is the answer to every question. He is my Comfort. He is my Peace. He is my Groom and my Lover. Normally I fight for answers and closure. My heart is softening and thankfully I realize that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that God knows, and I trust Him. “All things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Don’t sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate. 

I remain confident that he was the one and God had appointed the time. However, he chose to walk another path and embraced the things of the world. Why? I don’t know – Why did Eve eat the apple? Why did Lot’s wife look back? Why did David lay with Bathsheba and then have her husband killed? Why did Abraham and Sarah believe God for a child and then try to orchestrate it on their own terms? I don’t know – Free will, maybe?! Selfishness? Doubt? Fear?

To me trying to comprehend why the all-knowing God of the universe would allow men to have a free will is like trying to understand the concept of infinity…. I don’t get it and probably won’t on this side of Heaven.

I was able to be reunited with my family, friends and my puppy this weekend. I enjoyed Sonic and green chili on the south plains of Texas. Never before was I happier to see the wide-open spaces of nothingness that is west Texas! I was reminded of the extravagant love and support of my family and friends.

Mom, Dad and Ky… I love you all so much and couldn’t have been blessed with a better family. Thank you for being my rock and biggest cheerleaders.

Haley and Chelsea… You went from maids of honor to helping repair my broken heart in a split second. What would I do without you two? I love you sweet sisters.

To the hundreds of others I see cheering in my corner, thank you all so much for holding my hand and praying me through this battle. Your words of encouragement have been the biggest blessing of many of my days!

Love you all so. God is incredibly amazing.

Go cut off your Goliath's head... and take a long look at that beautiful scar of yours in the mirror.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Transition to Fall...


How Happy Valley, Pennsylvania is different than the Southwest..

  1. ·        Hobby Lobby is a luxury store that people here dream of. The nearest one is west of the Mississippi… this is a hard loss for me.
  2. ·        An even harder loss is the absence of Diet Dr. Pepper. Thanks to the God-fearing people of Chick-fil-a, I have found the one fountain diet DP in the city.
  3. ·        The most difficult thing I have to live without is Sonic… the nearest one is an hour and a half away. 
  4. ·        An umbrella is a dome-shaped object designed to be held open over your head to keep you dry when it rains. I bought one. I use it at least twice a week.
  5. ·        On the back of the menu at the one and only “Mexican” restaurant here, there is a pronunciation key. En-chee-la-da…
  6. ·        There are actually four seasons in Pennsylvania. We are entering into one called fall… the leaves on the trees turn amazing colors of red, yellow and orange before they fall off and decorate the green grass like confetti. 

 Just thought I would let you know a few of the differences that span 2,000 miles! 
Now for what I am learning this week:

I am blown away by what God can do with us in the height of our pain and brokenness. Over 500 of you read my blog last week – I was speechless - Thank you for sharing it with others! Never did I intend for so many people to be interested in the goings-on of Heather Bullock. I have had multiple emails this week from girls who don’t feel “good enough,” girls who have had a similar situation happen to them asking how will life ever go on… I have been able to correspond with girls in the US, Canada and Europe about the hope of the Lord’s promises.
 
I did a photo shoot for the cover of a new book. Next week I along with a few other young women will be appearing in a high-profile television interview with Dannah. God is moving and doing amazing things, right? Yet, why do I still cry myself to sleep? Why is the pain in my heart as raw as it was six months ago?

My southwestern friends, I wish you could see the trees here. Pictures don’t begin to do the beauty justice. Earlier this week, I sent my mom a photo of the red and orange tree outside of my office window. (This following a particularly emotional conversation in which I expressed my frustration about the lingering love I still possess for the man I once knew.)

I think she hit the nail on the head; she replied, “Just like that tree, your love is turning and the leaves will fall off. Winter and it’s cold will come, but if you hang on and resist disease, spring will return. Even now, new sap is forming in you that will enable this process to happen… How much longer will you long for the past, Heather B.? What would God be able to unleash in your life if you would completely let go? Spring and its new life is coming, don’t give up, and don't hang on to dead leaves”

Six years is an incredibly long time to be devoted, committed and in love. He might have been able to easily say, “I haven’t loved you for a year,” but, I am not able to comprehend that. I don’t think it’s possible to fall out of love; God is love. Falling out of love is falling out of God. (In my mind at least!) My "letting go of love" has been and will continue to be a slow process. Each leaf, each memory, will slowly begin to change color and gracefully and beautifully fall to the earth.

Thank goodness not all the leaves fall in one day! Who would want to rake that? Little by little, God is replacing the love I have for that young man with a love for girls who have been betrayed, those who are broken, the precious girls who don’t feel “good enough.” My heart is in transition – just like the seasons.

But, spring is coming and I can hardly wait to see what new life comes forth! 

Where are you in the spectrum of seasons? Are you experiencing the blessing of new life that is spring; the consistency and heat of summer; the transition and chill of fall; a desolate and dormant winter? Each season is necessary... some just happen to be more pleasant than others. 

Each and every year, we are able to witness a miracle - a "dead" tree in January comes back to life again in April. Why do we doubt that God is able to do that with the seasons in our life? I promise, I am preaching to myself here as well. I am experiencing a season of bone-chilling transition and "loss." I have wondered what new life could ever spring forth from this.... but every year, He remains faithful. 

Embrace your season, whatever it may be. The Lord is faithful... Once again friend, the joys and squeals of summer will come. Don't rush past the beauty in the changing trees and falling leaves. You won't pass this way again for a while. Transition is necessary for something to become gloriously beautiful.