The Gift of Mercy

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

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Hey my sweet girls,

Today I wrote an article on Hubpages about The Gift of Mercy.  I have always been fascinated with the Gifts of the Spirit.  I think it is so awesome that God specifically chose gift(s) of the Spirit for each of his children.

When you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit gave you a gift.  It is a gift that enables you to minister to and bestow blessings on others.

As I think of you girls, I believe at least two of you have the Gift of Mercy.

If you are interested, hop on over to my article on Hubpages now to read more about The Gift of Mercy.

I love you more than you’ll ever know …

Nana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Sticks Together

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

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Hi my sweet Grandgirls,  It’s Nana coming to you out of some deep thoughtful places.  As I raised your parents, my desire was to parent them in the ways of the God I surrendered my whole life to. As you know I came to know Jesus when I was fifteen years old.  My home life was anything but Christian.  It was insecure, filled with turmoil and it messed with my sense of security, identity and purpose.

It was so clear to me that Jesus ways were totally opposite of the world.  Do you see that too?

Jesus changed my life!  I knew that Jesus died for me … for me!  I surrendered everything to Him. Before I was a lost child trying to find my way in the world. I was hearing messages that confused me, tempted me drew me in.

After accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my life was bent on pleasing Jesus and glorifying Him with all that is within me.  Do I fail, yes!  Do I receive conviction and great sorrow when I sin, absolutely.  Do I repent, yes, because my heart is broken when I grieve Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

One of my deep concerns, as I raised your parents, was that my kids would not get the significance of His death and His claim on their life.  It is a concern I have for you too.

I considered the vast difference in their home life in comparison to my upbringing. My kids were surrounded with love and support.  Would they know they had a big hole in their life .. a hole that only God could fill?  Would they see the great sacrifice Jesus made in order to claim their heart, their lives, their everything?

It occurred to me today that growing up with support and love does not have to take away from the fact that Jesus died for you and wants your all.  Though you are surrounded with love, you also face trials of many kinds.  Living in the world brings with it many opportunities to see the world for what it is.  Self Serving, Deceptive and Empty!

You have each other. I delight in the bond I see between you. 🙂    I have watched you all struggle with the world, I have seen your pain. I have seen you give in to the world’s philosophies and prayed God would draw you back. But I have also watched you soar like an eagle as you choose to magnify Jesus with your lives. I cannot begin to tell you the JOY it brings to my heart when I see you walk away from sin and choose Jesus.

You, who have turned your eyes upon Jesus, have been changed. I see it and you shine brightly.

There is a grave responsibility for you ‘older’ girls.  The younger ones are watching you and they are learning, believe me they are.  They need you, they really do!  They love you and they desperately want to look up to you.

When Jesus died, he did it to set us all free from sin. I know each of you have learned this as you have grown up. When we receive Jesus .. Our life is not our own ..  It is no longer ‘I’  big capital ‘I’ but Christ who lives in me.

“God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” I Corinthians 7:23

The world you are growing up in is filled with messages that are opposite of what Jesus teaches. Are you seeing the difference between God’s kids and those who have chosen to live the world’s way?  There are not many who choose Christ – so those who do stand out, they are different from the rest.

FRIENDSHIPS

When my kid’s were entering their teen years I prayed for God to send them godly friends.  I pray the same for you. When I refer to ‘godly’ peers, do you have someone in mind? Let me encourage you to know this person and pursue a friendship. Here’s why:

“He who walks with the wise will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

and

“Do not be mislead, Bad company corrupts good morals.”  I Corinthians 15:33

GOD’s Word

I pray you spend time in His word because in it you will find purpose, peace, direction, fulfillment and great Joy.  His word is LIVING and it is HIS word to his children.

The Psalmist shares the heart of God’s child:

My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times” (Ps. 119:20) Not a popular thought in a world that hates rules, eh?

“Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them” (v. 129).  Convinced that His word is life, we willingly, gladly submit to His ways.

The greatest gift I can pass down to you, my beloved grandgirls, is to point you to Jesus through his word.  If you say you love him, you will obey him.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Eccl. 12:14

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” John 14:23a

“If you love me, keep my commands.”  John 14:15

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”  Matthew 10:38

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” Romans 12:2

I pray you will take up your cross and follow Jesus and never take for granted or reject the one who died to give you abundant life. May you chose Christ every time and soar like an Eagle.

That’s it for today girls.  Remember, I am your Nana! For better or for worse, I love you fiercely, I pray for you always.

Love,

Nana

 

 

 

 

 

Everything in Its Place

Hi Girlies,

It’s been awhile.  So much to do and life takes over.  Know that you never leave my heart and I love you deeply.

My post this month, on The Glorious Table, is up.  I thought I’d share it here with you.  Your Nana is far from perfect. This writing is a vulnerable peek into some of the messes I waded through in my younger years.

I pray God uses the messes of my life to be a message to you and all those who desire to live godly.

“The Christian mother has boundless opportunities to use her gifts and abilities. But how is she to know what God wants her to do with all the opportunities to serve Jesus and others in our busy and fast-paced world?

It’s enticing to choose admirable opportunities to serve, even though it might mean neglecting our God-given appointments. For example, as I raised my children, I allowed myself to be pulled in every direction imaginable. I was a wife, mom, teacher, counselor, pastor’s wife, friend, employee, leader, and more. I remember feeling confused about how to order my life. My home of origin had lacked order and been dysfunctional, and as a result, I often felt aimless as an adult, like a boat without a rudder.

I look back and think, Girl! What were you thinking? You didn’t have a clue.”

You can read the rest at The Glorious Table

picture credits: https://pixabay.com/en/baby-caucasian-child-daughter-20607/

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

A 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

I was 15 years old when I came to know Jesus.  I was a new creation. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops – It didn’t take long for me to learn 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 did not understand their reactions. Why wouldn’t everyone want to know the good news about the one who created them and loved them so much. What caused this revulsion when I spoke the name of Jesus?

As I began to grow as a child of God, my understanding of the enemy’s tricks grew too. He was the enemy of God and of God’s kids and he causes blindness and revulsion toward God’s son. It was then I knew I needed to talk less and pray more for those I loved, those who turned deaf ears to the message of God’s love and Jesus sacrifice. There is power in going to our Father, in prayer, because he hears and longs to answer our prayers of faith.

Prayers for Family

I experienced a deep peace and joy for the first time in my young life. My family didn’t get it. In fact, some gave me a rough time. I got made fun of and they called me a religious fanatic. As the tears burned my eyes, they laughed. My greatest grief, though, was that they didn’t get it.  I wanted them to know Jesus, they needed him just as much as I did.

I’ve shared with you the miracle of provision for College, right? God made a way for me to attend a Christian College.  A group of people from my Church promised to give money each month to make my first year possible.  Talk about humbling!!  Carried away by the love of God, I also carried the weight of leaving my family. Who would be Jesus to my family?

Once at college, I continued to pray consistently and urgently. I was no longer at home, there was no more opportunity to share God’s love.

After being involved in college life for awhile, I began receiving letters from my Dad. He was telling me some amazing happenings. He told me the plumber, carpenter, the insurance man and an old friend were telling him about personal faith in Jesus Christ.

It was absolutely miraculous! All of these people were being sent by God to tell my family the good news. I have no doubt about it. You see, in all of my life, before I heard about Jesus, no one had ever shared the story of salvation.  It was like Christians were coming from everywhere and into my parent’s lives. Only God could do this.

Prayers for my Son

danielThen there’s the story ya’all know.  The story about my handsome boy, your Dad and your Uncle Daniel, who went through a crazy walk of rebellion. I thought my mother’s heart would break. I cried out to God over and over again. I prayed was God would send believers into Daniels life. Once again the answer was mind blowing.
Dan told me that believers were everywhere. Christians shared their faith with him at work, at appointments, in restaurants, and in the most uncanny places. These children of God, were all holding out hope to my one and only son. Honestly kids, I  have never known anyone who was so chased by God. It was another miraculous answer to prayer that eventually led to your Dad and Uncle surrendering to God’s will.  JOY!!
 

Prayers for my Daughter

Renee was a quiet kid.  She was a trusting child. As a teen I was grew worried because she was interested in the bad boy types. I prayed and asked God to help me in guiding her.

One night Papa and I went to a concert at a Christian Conference Center. We sat across from a Doctor and his wife.  As the Doctor talked he pointed toward the banquet table at a handsome young man with a beautiful smile. The doctor beamed saying, that’s my son. As he continued to brag on his son, I sent prayers up. I prayed, “God, please give Renee a young man like this one. She doesn’t know what a ‘good guy’ looks like.  

It was the following year that Renee met a young man who came to our Church as the leader of the college-aged youth group. Soon, he showed an interest in Renee and began to hang out with the family. One of the things he liked to do was cook for the family. One night as he was doing his thing, I asked him about his family. He told me his Dad was a Doctor and his mom, a nurse. He went on to tell me they spent alot of time, in the summer, at a Christian Conference ground near their house. The bell went off!!  Oh my goodness, this was the young man the Doctor had bragged about. Here he was – right before me. God did not send me someone ‘like’ David, he sent me David! I looked at David and said, “David, I don’t know what role you will take in my daughter’s life, but I do know God sent you.” I then revealed how God sent him to Renee as a direct answer to my prayer.

David married Renee two years later. David is excellent loving your mom, Aunt Renee, and he provides such a stabilizing effect on her life.  She needed that – God supplied it. 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