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.

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. 😉 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. 😉 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?

I Am A Child of God

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls

My sweet girls,

Today I began thinking, “I wish I knew more about my grandparents.” These are the thoughts most of us don’t consider until they are gone. So, my thinking turned to what I’d most want you to know about my life. The first thing to pop in my head was the day I became a child of God.

First, let me give you some background on my road toward knowing the God of the Universe and His beloved son, Jesus. If I haven’t already told you, the home I grew up in was dysfunctional. Alcohol and constant fighting filled our home with fear and insecurity.  My father had an explosive temper, and we never knew what would trigger it. It was a very scary world for me and my siblings. I longed for deliverance.

At age fifteen, I had seen enough of life to wish I hadn’t been born. I did not want to grow up and live the life my parents were living. I felt no hope, no joy, and no purpose for my life.

One day, feeling lost in a fog of despair, my thoughts turned to questions about the existence of God. I reasoned that If there was a God who made me, the world and everything in it, then He must hold the answers to life.

I wanted to know if He existed, but I didn’t know how to find Him. My thinking process soon transformed into a heart wrenching cry to know if He was real and if he cared about me. A desperate yearning welled deep within my soul.

Next thing I knew, I was laying face down on the floor. I cried out, “God, if you are real, I need you! If you created me, you must want to know me like I want to know you. I feel abandoned and alone. I don’t know how to find you. Please reveal yourself to me.”

God did not answer that prayer right away. Instead, He used the next year to open my eyes to the emptiness of a life apart from God. Part of that discovery was the fulfillment of one of the deepest desires in my young life.

At fifteen, I finally got accepted into the ‘popular group.’ Popular boys invited me out to all the parties with the cool kids. But I ended up disgusted by what went on at their parties. I was equally appalled by what guys tried to get from me. I saw the shallowness, cheapness and emptiness in all these relationships. These friends seemed consumed with their own desires. It felt like they didn’t really see or know me. Although I found the thing I thought would fill the hole in my heart, it was a BIG fail!

After that year and after my prayer to God, He answered through my best friend’s dad. I had never known if God was real, nor that He had a specific plan for my life. That night I learned that God wanted me in His family.

That day began with my best friend Debbie asking me to spend the night at her house. I was in the midst of a battle at home and I didn’t want to go anywhere! Debbie persisted. She urged me to spend the night at her house. She would not take no for an answer, so eventually I caved and reluctantly accepted her invitation.

That night, I watched with longing as her dad took the younger kids to bed piggy-back style. Afterwards, he made his way to his favorite chair. He then turned to me, with eyes that held a world of kindness. He said, “We asked you to come tonight because I have something very important to tell you.” I was taken aback, thinking, “Who me?” At the same time, a warm sense of being valued washed over me. “Who am I that he should care for me?”

As I sat quietly, Dad Haworth opened God’s word and spoke words of truth and life. He explained to me that God really existed, and He was the creator of the whole universe. My heart raced as I inwardly declared I knew it!

He told me that God uniquely created each person. He said God had created me on purpose for a purpose (tears welled in my eyes and the deepest longing to know God squeezed at my heart).

He knit me together in my mother’s womb.

He explained that the Lord God is a Holy God who cannot tolerate sin in His heaven, “Oh, I knew all about the ugliness of sin – though I didn’t call it a sin.” He then leafed through his Bible and read:

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

That night, I opened my heart with such eagerness. I was blown away that God wanted to me to be his daughter. He wanted it so much that he gave up (through death on the cross) His one and only, precious son to purchase me and save me from a sure eternal death. “The payment for sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

I prayed, asking God to forgive me for my sins. He did. I invited Jesus to be the Lord of my life. As I prayed, I felt an immediate lifting in my Spirit and I experienced what scripture describes as …. “Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

My whole world and direction in life changed that night. I never looked back. The despair I had lived with was gone, and I knew I would never again walk alone. I belonged to God and had been adopted as a daughter into His family.

God answered my desperate prayer to know Him; my soul came to rest, and I was fully at peace. I finally knew that my creator God loved me, pursued me, and had a plan for my life here on earth.

I’s been a journey of up’s and down’s, as it is for all of us humans here on earth. But I have God with me who directs my steps as I seek Him. He filled the hole in my heart and I know I am loved, always and forever. He gives me opportunities to share His love with others and there is no greater joy than seeing God at work in their lives.

There is even a bigger JoY that bursts in my heart, girls. It is when I see God at work in your lives. I pray for you; you know? I know God answers and it’s my greatest blessing to witness His work in your lives. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey.

because I love you, Nana