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.  I must admit it has been a concern I have for you too.

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 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. You can be each other’s biggest fans and cheerleaders.  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.  As cousins, I hope you use the freedom you have, as family, to speak into each other’s lives. If you see your cousin making bad choices, I hope you will love her enough to speak up. You have a responsibility to encourage and point each other to Jesus.

There is a grave responsibility for you ‘older’ girls.  The younger ones are watching you and they are learning, believe me they are.  Is your life pointing your younger cousins to Jesus?  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

This writing is very direct because there is no time to dance around important issues in life.  You know your Nana, (and I thank you for loving me, just the way I am) I will always be honest with you and speak the truth in love.

Don’t think I am old fashioned, I am God fashioned and believe every word He says. 😉

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 – I hope you have someone in mind when I ask you this question…  I pray you seek to know this person.

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

I pray you spend time in His word because He gives very clear direction.  His word is LIVING and it is HIS word to his children.

In this writing, my goal is to point you to Jesus through his word.  If you say you love him, you will obey him.  As you read these verses know they are not my opinion or my values … these words are from God Himself.

I hear the words, “you are judging me” flying around a lot as though they have validity. God does judge us girls and He tells us to hold each other accountable.  Listen to these words from Jesus.

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

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done.” Romans 2:5-6

“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

Once you know the truth girls, you are accountable.  You will either take up your cross and follow Jesus or you will reject the one who died to give you abundant life. May you chose Christ every time and soar like an Eagle.

If you have questions or specific debates going on in your head, I will welcome any and all quandaries.  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

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