Covid-19 Thankful

Christian based letters to my Grandkids

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Hey, my Grands! How are you all doing? I can picture each of you tucked away from the rest of the world. I miss you! I bet you’re puzzled by the title of this love note, right? Are you thinking, “Nana, what are you up to?”

This title doesn’t seem to make sense, but let me explain. First, am I thankful for this virus? No, not at all. Am I afraid of this virus, honestly, sometimes-a teeny bit, but not much because I know, deep down to my toes, that God is in control, and he has my days numbered. No one and nothing can take me until he says, “Susie, it’s time to enter your forever home.” Years of walking with Him has given me a deep trust in who He is!

When you’ve lived as long as I have, when you’ve walked through the fire with Jesus by your side, you gain perspective. But let me tell you, in my younger years, Covid-19 would have scared me spitless! So, I’m writing you today hoping to lift you (if you are in a fearful place) into a place of trust and peace.

So what do we do about those blasted worries? They seem to creep into our thinking. Here’s what God says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5.

We need to take every thought captive, right? It says to make our thoughts obedient to Christ. That’s an action, something we do, right? Don’t be passive – grab that worry and pass it on to God. So God’s got the worry-what next? I have two suggestions. Fill the (now) empty thought with God’s word. Replace the worry with scripture. Or replace worry with thanks and praise.

I’m not saying it’s easy – it’s not! But with determination, commitment and practice, God’s living word will reach inside and build you up – it has the power change you. Covid-19 (worry) replaced by thanks. Here are some thanks I lift to God to change my thinking from worry to praise.

MY SECURITY IN CHRIST: Through the years Jesus carried me when I felt I couldn’t go on; He answered prayers so specifically it blew me away. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Jesus reached down and saved me and gave me eternal life. The security of being his child reaches every vulnerable corner in my heart.

PEOPLE GOD USED TO BUILD MY FAITH: During my teen years, we had a missionary intern leading our youth group. Jake challenged us to memorize scripture. The word of God got firmly planted in my heart during those two years with Jake. Today, God’s word enters the situation’s of my life. Like, BAM there it is answering my questions, counseling me on how to handle something. Jake knew what he was doing with his memory challenge. He was equipping us to face hardships in life. Jesus is my anchor. I’ve shared this memory site with some of you, but maybe not all. May I challenge you to learn at least one verse a week? Put it in your arsenal and wait to see what God does with it. https://learnscripture.net/

MY HOUSE: So thankful for this house. We would not be in this house, had God not prompted our friends to give us a very large gift to put toward it. When I tried to refuse it, my friend said I’d have to take it up with God, because God told them to give it to us. ūüėČ This house is larger than any home we’ve ever lived in. It was brand new when we signed the papers. It is so comfortable and it has housed each one of you at different points of your lives. So many memories of my family living in the apartment downstairs. I praise God that we had a place to offer missionaries and friends who were in a bad place and needed housing. What JoY to offer them our ‘prophet’s chamber.’ I am so thankful for God’s provision. Do you know that people say, when they walk through our door, they are met with peace? I believe with all my heart, it is God’s presence and His blessing greeting them.

FAMILY: Each member of our family holds a corner of my heart. When I birthed Daniel, I found a love my heart never knew; a Mother’s love. When I got pregnant with Renee, I felt sad because I couldn’t imagine loving another child like my firstborn. But guess what? I loved her just as much as Daniel. A Mother’s love expands, and it grows to make room for each child. By the time I was expecting Christy, I knew God would give me that same Mother’s love for her. It’s incredible how it just keeps growing. Now, I have each of you precious Grands. That, too, is a new love. My Nana love for you could fill an ocean. And it grows just like a Mother’s love – it expands with each grandchild. I feel like the most blessed Nana to have your affection and dedication. I love you each, goo-goo-plex.

FRIENDS: Throughout the years God hand-picked godly friends for me. They say a person is blessed to find just one kindred-heart friend in a lifetime. The person who has two is double blessed. God multiplied my blessing when he showered me with five kindred-heart friends. I did nothing to deserve them, but God rained down love with each one. I treasure each of them. My first kindred-heart friend came in high school. Her dad led me to the Lord. But we lost touch for many years. Now she’s back in my life, and I thank God! The rest of my kindred-heart friends came after I married and had children. Each of these women bless me with their own unique gifts, like sharing what God is teaching them, spurring me on in my walk with Christ, offering me hope in the midst of a desperate situation, believing in me when I wade through hardship, speaking hard things when I’m off base, mentoring me, by example, to love your Papa better, being my 911 person in an emergency, belly laughing with me and sometimes at me. ūüėČ They share my burdens and pray for me. These beautiful women share their lives with me – good times, bad times, hard times, we share them together. As I share the incredible blessings of kindred heart friendships, I pray God grants you godly friends who pour into your life. My friends have made my life so much richer. I also pray you prove to be a godly young person whom others can trust with their heart.

Okay, does anyone wish to share? I’d love to fill up this page with praises and thanks to God. In the comments, tell me what are you thankful for during this COVID-19 isolation time?

Family Sticks Together

Christian based letters to my Grandgirls 

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Hello 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. ūüôā ¬† ¬†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, ‚ÄúIf 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 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‚Äôt have a clue.”

You can read the rest at The Glorious Table

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

The Miracle of Answered Prayer

Christian based letters to my Grandgirls

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Hello my sweet Grandgirls,

This writing is about some miracles God has performed in my life. Miracles happen when God steps in and does what only He can do.  God has answered my prayers, so many times and so specific 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 accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My life was changed, and I was not who I once was. I was a new creation. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.¬† It didn’t take long to learn that nobody, in my world, wanted to know or hear about Him. Not only were they not interested, but many took offense when told 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 grew as a child of God, my understanding of the enemy’s tricks opened my eyes. He was the enemy of God and of God’s kids and it is him who 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. In my prayers I asked God to open doors of communication and He did! My family began to initiate and ask questions about my faith. 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. They made fun of me and 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 the miracle of provision for College, with most of you, 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 at college life a few months, 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 miraculous! 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 all of you know. The story about my handsome boy, your Dad and your Uncle Daniel, who went through a crazy time of rebellion. I thought my mother’s heart would break. I cried out to God repeatedly and asked God to 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 unexpected places. These children of God were holding out hope to my one and only son. I have known no one who was so chased by God. It was another miraculous answer to prayer that led to your Dad and Uncle surrendering to God’s will. Though he still struggles, God‚Äôs pursuit of his heart continues.

Prayers for my Daughter

Renee-Papa

Your Mom and Aunt Renee was so opposite to her brother. She was a quiet, introvert as a child. She was trusting and na√Įve. ¬†As a teen I worried because she was interested in the bad boy types. I prayed and asked God to help me guide 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 to God. I prayed, “God, please give Renee a young man like this one. She doesn’t know what a ‘good guy’ looks like.”¬†¬†

A year later 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 our family. One thing 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 told me they spent a lot of time, in the summer, at a Christian Conference ground near their house. The bells 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 David! I looked at David and said, “David, I don’t know what role you will take in my daughter’s life, but I 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 loves your Mom/Aunt Renee consistently, and he is a stabilizing force in her life.  She needed that РGod supplied it. Only God!

Prayers for my Youngest

christy

This 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 we had with her siblings.

I prayed for Christy as I watched her make hard choices. As a teen, Christy was committed to her faith and loved her friends from youth group. They hung out at our house and called me mom. But one summer, while she worked on staff at Lake Ann, her friends and boyfriend turned from following God to partying and indulging in sin. When she confronted them, the whole youth group turned on her. She lost her friends overnight. It broke her heart, but she did not budge from her convictions.

Though she too, was strong willed, she took her orders from God and followed in His footprints.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

ūüėČ

As for the rest of the story … both of my parents came to know Christ. Our relationship was reconciled. They are in Heaven now, enjoying God‚Äôs love like we‚Äôve never experienced it. I can‚Äôt wait to see them again.

Raising Polar Opposites

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Good Morning Girlies,

My article about raising Polar Opposites is published today on The Glorious Table.  I wonder if you can pick out your parent by my description?

I never took my role as a parent lightly.  My favorite role in life was in being a Mom, and when God gave me Grands, it is in being a Nana.

As I watch you living out your lives, I pray that each of you will grow in your love for God and for each other.  God has important work to do through you.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Click below to read my post over at The Glorious Table: 

Parenting Your Unique Children with Grace

because I love you,

Nana