How to find a Good Man, Personality Traits Vs. Character

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes

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Hi Girlies,  It’s been a busy season.  A season filled with family time, birthdays and lots of fun!  I so enjoyed being with you and celebrating the JOY we experience because we serve Jesus.

Today I want to share an article I just read by one of my favorite Christian writers, Henry Cloud. I’ve highlighted some of his really awesome comments in this post. As you read this article, make sure you don’t only look at the person you are dating or want to date.  Open your eyes, evaluate your own heart.  Do you see the character qualities needed to sustain a long-term relationship?

Henry’s words are pure gold girlies.  You’ll need to click on the link below to read more.

“Most people who date are looking for preferences rather than character. I hear people say, I want someone who’s witty. I want someone who likes to hike. I want someone who is ambitious in their career. I want someone who is good looking. I want someone who reads a lot. I want someone who is physically strong. These preferences are superficial and will not hold a couple together.

The types of things that cause relationships to end are things like being a bad listener. Having unrealistic expectations. Irresponsible spending. Lack of emotional identification. Inability to just be real. Temper flare-ups. Perfectionism. Tendencies toward controlling behavior.

We often rationalize these character flaws as personality quirks even though they are BIG RED FLAGS. When you contrast that with the comparatively lightweight nature of the criteria that we select people by — the kind of superficial traits that comprise our tastes — it starts to seem like dangerously shortsighted behavior.

What good is a witty person who can’t make you feel safe?

What good is an ambitious, career-driven person if they can’t be real with you?

What good is a person who reads a lot but doesn’t hear a word you say?

What good is a handsome or beautiful person if they are conceited, self-centered or blow up every time they don’t get their way?

Are your concrete, but ultimately superficial preferences preventing you from dating someone who could be really good for you?

You will save yourself a whole lot of heartache if you consider the kinds of things that you’re NOT looking for with the same weight of the things that you find attractive.”

Above all girls, pray that God opens your eyes to the man He has for you.  A man filled with character with a passion for God.

To read the rest of Henry Cloud’s wise words go to his article entitled:

The Difference Between What You Want And What You Think You Want In Dating

Christmas, Joseph’s Song

Merry Christmas!

Lives Changed

baby jesus and joseph

Today I came across a music video by vocal artist Mark Masri.  The title of the song is Joseph’s Song.  This precious song is a very tender and beautiful reflection of what it must have been like to be the earthly father of Jesus.  This song has become one of my very favorite Christmas songs.

God chose Joseph ahead of time to become Jesus’ earthly father.  The writer of Joseph’s Song explores the thoughts and questions Joseph must have held soon after baby Jesus was born.

What was it like for Joseph?   As you listen to this song allow yourself to enter into Joseph’s world.  Feel the conflicting emotions.  As he held his newborn babe close to his heart, surely he remembered what the angel told him about this child.

In my mind’s eye, I envision Joseph reverently studying the face of baby Jesus.  Looking tenderly into his baby’s eyes…

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The Miracle of Answered Prayer

dA series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes

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Hello my sweet Grandgirls,

I got off track after I told you I was going to share some miracles God has performed in my life.  I’m back on track and ready to share.

Miracles happen when God steps in and does what only He can do.  God has answered my prayers, so many times and so specifically that I know that I know that I know, He did it.

When God answers prayer in a big and miraculous way it touches our lives and we are never the same.

Prayer Miracles

As a new Christian, my heart filled gratitude and hope. I wanted to tell everybody about Jesus. I soon learned that nobody, in my world, really wanted to know or hear about Him. Not only were they not interested but many took offense when I tried to tell them.

I was only 15 years old when I came to know the Lord. I felt bewildered and confused at the reactions I was getting. I did not understand why people would not want to know about the one who created them and loved them so much. What caused this revulsion when I spoke the name of Jesus?

As I grew in my faith I began to understand that the enemy of God’s kids causes blindness and revulsion toward God’s son. I needed to talk less and pray more for those who turned deaf ears to the message of God’s love and Jesus sacrifice. There is power in prayer. Divine power from a God who hears and longs to answer our prayers of faith.

Prayers for Family

As a new believer, I was experiencing a deep peace and joy for the first time in my young life. My family did not get it. In fact, some of them gave me a hard time. They made fun of me and called me a religious fanatic. They laughed at me when tears would burn my eyes because of their insults. Deep down I only wanted them to know Jesus like I did. I knew that their lives were just as empty and purposeless as mine had been.

Soon after I gave my life to Jesus, I led Aunt Cindy to understand the love of God and to accept His gift of salvation.

As you know, during my Senior Year God provided a way for me to attend a Christian College. When I left my family, to go to college, I was heavy-hearted and ached for them to know the peace I had found. Who would be there to live Jesus love before them?

I prayed consistently and urgently for my parents and brother. I was no longer at home, there was no more opportunity to convince them that God was real and that He loved them. Though I was three hours away from home I continued to pray for them with all my heart.

As I jumped into college life, fervently invested, I began receiving letters from my Dad. He was telling me some pretty remarkable stories. He said that the carpenter who was building our deck was a Christian. Dad told me that this man was continuing to visit even after his work was completed. Dad really liked him! Next came the plumber, the insurance man and the old friend who all shared their stories of personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Tell me do you see the miracle? I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all of these people were being sent by God to tell my family the good news. I have no doubt about it. In all of my years, before I heard the good news of God’s plan, I had never even met a person who shared the story of salvation. Christians were coming out of the woodwork and into my parent’s lives. Only God could do this.

Prayers for my Son

danielAs you know, your Dad and your Uncle Daniel went through a very long period of rebellion. During that time I thought my mother’s heart would literally break as I cried out to God time and time again. One of my constant prayers was that He would send believers into Daniels life. What happened, in answer to my prayers, is nothing short of astonishing; I kid you not …Christians followed Daniel everywhere he went. Believers spoke to him at work, in restaurants at the doctor’s office and in the most unusual places. They were all holding out hope to my son. I have told Daniel that I have never known anyone who was so chased by God. It was a miraculous answer to prayer which eventually led to your Dad and Uncle surrendering to God’s will.  JOY!!
 

Prayers for my Daughter

Renee was growing up fast. She was very naïve and trusting. I was concerned about her because she was drawn to the bad boy type. I prayed for her and asked God to direct me in guiding this whimsical, fun-loving girl.

One night Papa and I attended a dinner and a concert at Gull Lake Bible Conference Center. We sat across from a Physician and his wife. As we were getting to know them, the Doctor pointed toward the banquet table at a handsome young man with a beautiful smile. The doctor beamed as he said, that’s my son. He spent quite a bit of time bragging about his son David. As he was talking I was sending up prayers. I prayed, “God, please sedavereneend Renee a young man like David. She needs to understand what a ‘good guy’ looks like.”

About a year later a young man came to our Church as the leader of the college-aged youth group. As this young man got to know Renee and our family, he began hanging out with us. One night as he was cooking something up in the kitchen he started telling me about his family. He said that his father was a Doctor and his mom, a nurse. He told me where they lived and that they spent a lot of time at Gull Lake in the summer. I was stunned as the realization sank in. It was David, the doctor’s son I had met a year ago, and he was standing right there in my kitchen. God did not send me someone ‘like’ David, he sent me David! I told David that he was a direct answer to my prayer.  He looked confused but he was listening.  I told him the story of meeting his parent’s.  I said, “David, I don’t know what role you will take in my daughter’s life, but I do know God sent you.”

Two years later Dave and Renee were married. David does an incredible job of loving your mom, Aunt Renee, and providing the stabilizing effect on her life that she so needed.  Only God!

Prayers for my Youngest

christyThis writing would not be complete without mentioning your mom and Aunt Christy. This, my youngest child, has possessed a heart for God from the time she was little.  We did not experience the struggles with her that we had with her siblings.

My prayers for Christy were answered as I watched her make hard choices. She even had a whole youth group come against her when she confronted them on their heart issues.  It broke her heart, she did not budge from her convictions.

Though she too, was strong willed, she took her orders from her Loving Father and chose to follow in His footprints. At a very young age, she brought her friends to me so I could share Jesus with them.

I share these miracles of answered prayer, within our family because I want you to know how specifically and lovingly God has blessed our lives.

You girls are blessed to be born into a family where God is actively at work. You have a family that pulls together to speak into your lives and to love you well.  It’s rare these days girls!

May these words give you a reason to pause and offer thanksgiving to the God who answers miraculous prayers and bestows blessings on our family.

I love you forever and always,

 Nana

Love Cups Need to be Filled

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes

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Good Morning Girlies,

In this post, I’m opening a piece of my heart to you. It is a piece that I tucked away in the recesses of my mind.  Today, the Lord brought it to a conscious level so I could remember a small yet significant piece of all He has done for me.

heart-broken

I grew up in a family where affection was not given. I never felt loved as a child.  My parent’s had so many problems and their problems were the focus in our home. Heated arguments were ‘normal’ and they took place on a daily basis.

At night, as I tried desperately to sleep, I could not. Instead, I was captive to hateful words, accusations, and drunken banter

Many times I would intervene by pulling my little Mother out of the room as my Dad screamed, “Get her out of here!”

I have no memories of feeling special. I did not receive hugs, kisses or words of affirmation.  I wondered what was wrong with me.

During our dating years, God used Papa to help me see it wasn’t me, it was my parent’s who failed to care for me.

A huge weight lifted when I realized It wasn’t me it was them

When the Father reached out to save me, I was only 15 years old. I was lost and so alone. My life was changed the moment I received the message of salvation. I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and the deepest joy I had ever known. When I heard about Jesus sacrifice, it blew my mind that He would actually give up His life so I could live eternally. “Greater love has no man than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

greater-love

I had never in my life, known such love

In the Church I attended, as a young believer, the people were wonderfully warm and God fearing. They took me in and tried to love me.  I was prickly.  I did not know how to receive hugs. I bet you find that hard to believe ;).  I did not feel worthy of a hug. When someone wrapped their arms around me, my body stiffened, I could not relax to receive their embrace.

I did not feel worthy of a hug

God healed those wounds. It took time but bit by bit, His love was poured into my ‘love cup’ and it overflowed. Do you see how miraculous it is that today I receive and give hugs freely?

Since you all were tiny, I talked to you about your love cup. When you were sad, or angry or out of sorts, I asked you if you needed your love cup filled. You all delighted in those words and eagerly opened your arms to receive a hug from Nana.

coffee-cup-heart-love-favim-com-267461

Kristin told me that she actually thought she had a coffee cup in her heart that I filled up when she needed love

Do you girls ever think about how BLESSED you are?  As I watch you, I revel in the love you have for each other. I have soaked in all of the treasured memories of you, growing up, hugging each other and delighting in time spent together as cousins. To this day, the first thing our family does when we see each other is to exchange enthusiastic hugs.

I share this with you to give you just a peek at what God has done in my life and how much He has blessed me through all of YOU!

Thank God for the love of family, girls.  Never take it for granted. Remember there are children everywhere who do not feel loved and have no one to hug them.

Spread the gift of being cherished by your family.  Thank God, and know that you are deeply loved.

because I love you,

Nana

p.s.  and as for the rest of the story … both of my parents came to know Christ and our relationship was reconciled. They are in Heaven now, enjoying God’s love like we’ve never experienced it. I can’t wait to see them again.😉

Lilly’s Colorful Spots

Hey Grandgirls, I posted the book cover and a promo of Lilly’s Colorful Spots on my kid’s blog. Do you like the cover? There are a lot more pictures inside.  I did a photo shoot with Brooklyn and used the pictures for illustrations throughout the book. So, Lilly is actually Brooklyn. 🙂

Aunt Christy is even featured in one of the photos.  Thanks to those, who live nearby, who patiently listened, critiqued and helped me put the story of Lilly’s Colorful Spots into a Book. You’re the BEST encourager’s!

Click below to read my process in creating my first Children’s Book.  Thanks in advance to ALL my friends who are willing to help me get the word out!  🙂  Feedback, I need lots of feedback and sharing.

Click Below to read the rest on Moral Stories for Kids

Source: Lilly’s Colorful Spots 

What are the Words Coming Out of your Mouth?

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes

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“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Good morning my precious girls,

As I was getting ready this morning, the Lord dropped His word into my heart and my thoughts. It is the verse you read above.

Allow me a moment to personalize this verse, will you? What if Jesus showed up and said, “Hey Kristin or Hey Jessie, Hey  Mya, Hey Kenzie, Hey Maddi, Hey Bri, Hey Bethy let’s have lunch.”

What if your Savior had a heart to heart talk with you. What if He played back all of the words you used last week?  What if He flashed all the thoughts you had the previous week up on a big screen?

Ahhhhhhh that would be revealing, wouldn’t it?

The truth is girls, Jesus does hear your words.  He knows your every thought.

The Psalmist David, talking to His Lord says, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”  Ps. 139:2  and  “Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.” Ps. 139:4

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let no filthy talk be heard from your mouths, but only what is good for building up people and meeting the need of the moment.[a] This way you will administer grace to those who hear you.” Eph:4:29  and “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Col. 3:8

I pray you will always choose to walk in His steps and obey His will.

He has given us boundaries because He knows what is best for us. When we live within those boundaries we find peace and fulfillment!

You are the light of the world girls, you are set apart by your Father, He has called you to be His kid. God’s children must not act like, talk like or look like the world.

because I love you,

Nana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake Hunters Real Christians

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes Image result for free page divider clipart

Morning Girls,

Today, I have a treat for you.  I am sharing a heart searching illustration from Pastor Dave.

For those who are reading this blog, let’s just say, there are many miracles connected to the fact that today, as a family, we are where we are.

Only God could have brought us together in one place to worship. All of my children and their children attend Harvest Spring Lake. We are so blessed to be in a Church where we are consistently pointed vertically.

The fact that we all hear the same inspired messages gives way to some great conversations. God’s grace has worked in our lives and He has blessed us above and beyond what I could ever hope.

Without further ado, here is a message from our beloved Pastor, David Wisen:

My Second ‘Once-in-a-lifetime Hunt”

I spent Monday – Wednesday this week experiencing my second “once-in-a lifetime” “hunt”. Hunt is also in parentheses – this is not real hunting. This is a controlled hunt with a guide who puts you on massive deer that have been fed and allowed to live to old ages without being threatened by real hunters. I understand I am not a real hunter. I am a pastor, and as I sit in my stand waiting for my guide to spot deer I cannot see, my mind wanders back to the church and my concern for people who get confused and maybe misled into thinking they are real Christians when they are not.

Here are three things that every fake hunter and every real Christian knows to be true:

1. Fake hunters worry about how they are perceived –  real Christians understand grace.

As I packed for the “hunt”, I wanted to make sure I had the right gear and looked the part. The problem is, even looking the part, can I talk like a real hunter without looking stupid? Fake Christians have the same fear. Real Christians understand they will never measure up to any competency test – they know they continually fall short. However, they rejoice that although they are not “righteous” on their own, they can rely on the credentials of their Guide and his righteousness to accomplish the task.

“…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Titus 3:5-7

2. Fake hunters wonder if their gun is loaded – Real Christians have the proper ammo.

I can never remember if I put a bullet in the chamber – I am constantly double-checking. My fear is when the test comes, I will not be ready. Real Christians know that when the tests of life come, they have a God who never changes, who loves them unconditionally, who will never leave or forsake us, and who is sufficient in every circumstance.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness….”  2 Corinthians 12:9

3. Fake hunters brag about their accomplishments – Real Christians brag about the    Guide.

The deer always grows as the story is retold. The difficulty of the shot increases over time. Real Christians are quick to defect all the praise to the Guide. My guide understood the movements and tendencies of deer beyond what I thought was possible. He knew to stalk a deer from an up-wind position (“Is it windy”?). Real Christians look back over their lives and see that the Guide put them in the position to have success.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Some things to think about next time you are stuck in a stand.

Choose a Man After God’s Heart

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes Image result for free page divider clipart

Hello my girls,

It’s been awhile since I’ve sent you a note.  Life has been busy and my writer’s brain seems set on off. 😉

But my heart for you never goes off.  I pray throughout the week that God will drop a message for you in my lap.  When the words formulate in my brain, I begin to write.  Such is the case today. 🙂

As I watch each of you living out your lives, my heart fills with JOY sometimes, and at other times sadness.  How I wish there was a fast forward button so you could see how each little choice, you make today, will affect your future.

As an older woman “Let the older women teach the younger women,” referred to in Titus 2, I come to you in humility.  I come to you as a Nana fully invested in you.  I pray you flourish, that your life shines for Jesus in this dark world.

Today’s topic, A man after God’s own heart, is heavy on my heart.  I want you to marry a godly man.  Not a good man, or a man who treats you good (while you are dating) but a man whose heart is on fire for God.

a-man-after-gods-heartDo you know why I want this for you?  Because I know that a man who loves God will ALWAYS love you.  He will love you with the Love God puts in His heart. He will lead you because he knows his role is to be your rock. Marriage is hard, make no mistake about it. A man who loves God will weather each storm and love you through it.

Years ago, God laid it on my heart to break up with my high school boyfriend because he was not a spiritual leader. Oh, he was tall, dark, handsome, he spoiled me and was so good to me.  But God kept whispering in my heart.  He does not love God like you do.  This is not my choice.

Breaking up with my boy was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I agonized, argued, pleaded with God to change His mind.  But He was telling me, “Choose me, trust me, allow me to lead you to a man such as you never dreamed possible. You all know him as  Papa.  His love for God and his unshakeable convictions attracted me to him … well, that and his extremely good looks. LOL

Jesus gave His life for you, there is NO greater sacrifice. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  This is what He asks of you.

Taking it one step further; don’t be fooled.  You should know that a man’s heart is revealed through his choices, his conduct, his actions. Does he give lip service to being a Christian? OR is his life transformed by the power of God.  Has he been redeemed and is he growing in his Faith?

As I ask you these questions, let me urge you to turn that light on your own heart.  A godly man seeks a godly girl.  It’s that simple.

God’s ways are not our ways, NO, they are better than anything we could ever imagine or hope for.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isa. 55:8

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isa. 55:6

I love you, girls, I will always love you.  I cannot choose for you.  God has given each of us a free will, otherwise, we would be puppets.  I pray you choose God;  and choose a man after His heart.

because I love you,

Nana