Finding My Father

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

Ya’all have been on my heart today. Sometimes I get so tickled when I think how much God has blessed me with you grandgirls. You are each so unique with your own set of special gifts. You add so much interest, value, and love to the family. I treasure you!

I have a story to share with you today. I may have previously shared bits and pieces with you, but today, I’m writing it down in hopes that you will see God’s hand in drawing me to His heart.

My Childhood

I grew up in a very dysfunctional, unstable home. My parents were alcoholics and they fought all of the time.  My father had an explosive temper. We never knew what would trigger it. It was a very scary and insecure world for my mom, my siblings and me. I wondered why no one rescued me. I longed to be rescued.

When I was only fourteen, 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.

A Longing to Know God

One day, as I was folding clothes, I began to think about the existence of God. I reasoned that If there was a God who made the world and everything in it, there must be a way to know him.

The more I thought about it the more I wanted to know if he was real. If he was the creator, did he care about me? After all, he wouldn’t create me, throw me on this earth place and say, “Now, go fend for yourself! would he?”  Suddenly a desperate yearning welled up deep inside my heart.

Next thing I knew I was laying face down on the floor. I was crying out, “God, if you are real, I need you!  I’m afraid and I feel abandoned and all alone. I want to know you but I don’t know how to find you, will you please show yourself to me?”  I lay there a long time as the silence surrounded me.

Confusion, Disillusionment and Deep Sadness

A year later God revealed Himself to me but not before he took me through a year where he showed me that life apart from God is meaningless. That year was  filled with disillusionment, confusion, and deep sadness.

I  sought to fill the God-shaped void in my heart. The void only God could fill.

The way I went about doing that was to seek significance through popularity.  I wanted so badly to be noticed and accepted.  After observing the apparent happiness of all the popular kid’s at school, I made it my goal to become one of them.

Well, I got my wish and it was empty! The popular kids, whom I thought were my friends, proved to be extremely self-centered.  They only cared about being number one. Being popular did not fill my hearts cry for meaning or purpose.

I was consumed with emptiness.

What next?

Was there no purpose in this life?

A Friend Who Cared

As I was struggling with deep emotional pain, one of my friends, from Junior High, was observing me. Debbie was concerned when I pulled away from everyone.

As Debbie’s concern for me grew, she decided to talk to her Mom about me.  As a result of that talk, Debbie asked me to spend the night at her house. I turned her down.

I didn’t want to be anywhere or with anyone.

Debbie persisted and kept urging me to stay at her house. She would not take no for an answer so eventually, I caved and reluctantly accepted her invitation.

Finding my Father

That night I observed a different home life from mine. There was a sweetness in the atmosphere.  My heart warmed as I watched Debbie’s Dad take the youngest kids to bed, piggyback style. After all the kids were tucked in, he made his way to his favorite chair.

Sitting comfortably, with a big black book in his hand, he turned to me. There was a world of kindness in his eyes. He spoke to me gently as he said he had something very important to share with me.

I was taken back thinking, “Who me?” At the same time, I felt an unfamiliar sense of endearment. A sense of being valued washed over me. “Who am I that he should care for me?” I thought.

Sitting in anticipation, Dad Haworth opened God’s word and spoke words of truth and life. He explained to me that God did indeed exist and He was the creator of the whole universe. I felt the darkness lifting. My heart filled with excitement and Joy … “Oh, thank you, God, you ARE real!”  

Goosebumps ran down my spine.

He continued, “Susie, God created everything and every person. He created you on purpose for a purpose.” (tears welled in my eyes and the deepest longings to know God squeezed at my heart).

He said 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 sin.” 

He opened the word to John 3:jesus-hugging16 and explained that because God so loved me, He gave His only son to die for my sins so that I could live eternally with Him.

The only one who could die in my place was the spotless son of God, He who knew no sin became sin for us. 2 Cor. 5:21.  It was Jesus in my place.

That night I could barely wait to ask Jesus to wash my sins away. I accepted God’s gift, the gift of His son Jesus who willingly gave up His life to pay the price for my sin.

He chose death on that cruel cross so I could live with him eternally.

I opened my heart eagerly to the one who had given His all to redeem me. I prayed asking God to forgive me for my sins. He did. I invited Him to be the Lord of my life.

As I prayed I felt an immediate awakening in my Spirit and I experienced what scripture describes as ,“Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”

My whole world changed that night. The despair was gone and I knew I would never again walk alone. I belonged to God. He  adopted me as a daughter into His family.

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

Rescued

Girls, if you ask your parent’s they will tell you that one of their favorite groups, in their growing up years, was Acapella.  I’m including a link, by Acapella, for you to hear a song that expresses my heart that night and to this day.

From a life filled with fear, despair, and purposelessness … God came to my Rescue!

p.s. Play this out loud and watch your parent’s reaction, I guarantee they’ll look at you like, What???  It will be a BLAST from their past.

You Came to My Rescue By Acapella

because I love you,

Nana

 

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About Being Quarrelsome

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

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How are my girly’s today?

Did you think I forgot you?  Not on your life!  😉   Been busy with writing and book stuff, but YOU my dears, are more important than ALL of that.

Today, I’ll share a very vivid word picture through this verse:

Proverbs 21:9  It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

nagging-wife

It’s really true girls; A man would rather live in a small corner of an attic than to live with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely, even orderly home.

I want my husband to be happy to come home.  I want him to feel that being in my presence is SAFE.

The title, quarrelsome is not something I want as a descriptor connected to me.  I looked up some synonyms for a better grasp of the word. Listen to these unattractive labels girls; argumentative, nagging, confrontational, hotheaded, combative, antagonistic, snappy, belligerent, cantankerous, scrappy.

Even though I don’t want to be quarrelsome, to be honest, sometimes I slip into that mode of behavior.  It’s not pleasant for your Papa or me.

When I see this enemy of peace through God’s lens, I realize how totally self-centered it is. Here are some attitudes that stick out of a quarrelsome spirit.

When I am quarrelsome, I’m saying, me before you. When I am argumentative I care more about being right, than about being loving. When I am obstinate I take on an attitude of superiority and become my fella’s worst critic.

Girls,  an attitude that is constantly quarrelsome has the power to emasculate a man. He may seek peace at all costs thereby taking a back seat instead of the leading role God intends.

Nagging is deflating, frustrating, annoying, unkind, and just plain wrong. “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike;” Proverbs 27:5

Jesus is our example. He placed himself last. He gave himself up for us, he loved when it was inconvenient and he served when he was beyond tired.

Selfishness comes out of a heart of pride (as with most sins). Self-importance happens when we think much too highly of ourselves and much too lowly of everyone else.

When my mind is set on pleasing God, I look for ways to show respect to my husband. When I am set on getting my own way I fail at being the woman God created me to be. I also fail to love my husband and be the helpmate he so desperately needs.

So, my girls, let’s read some attributes God wants to cultivate in the hearts of His girls:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”             I Peter 3:3-4

“Gracious (friendly, kind, tender) words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” Proverbs 16:24

The best time to practice graciousness is before you marry. Learn to be gracious with your family and friends.

Remember, without Him, we can do nothing.  It is Jesus that does the work in our hearts. Don’t carry the weight of change BUT don’t ever think change is impossible. Surrender to Jesus and have faith to trust that He is at work in you, to perfect you.  Surrender and trust Him, He will bring the change that will make you pleasing to God and so desirable to the man you will someday marry.

GO to Jesus, HE longs for you to ask Him to work graciousness into your heart.

“I can do ALL things through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Phil. 4:13

because I love you,

Nana

 

Jesus in my Place

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

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Hi my girls,

I am thinking about and praying for you all today. I wish I could convey to each of you how priceless you are to me. I feel so blessed to be your Nana.

As much as I want you to grasp your value to me, I want you to know, even more, your value to Christ.

Whenever I take communion at Church, as I hold that bread in my hand, a pain stabs at my heart. Tears well up in my eyes as I think about what Jesus did for me.  Jesus, the one who knew NO sin became sin for me.

Looking down at the bread, I am grieved, yet so thankful, that His body was broken for me.

He didn’t have to do it but His unabashed, boundless love compelled Him to do it for you and for me. We would not go to Heaven if He did not give up His life, Jesus in my Place.

The penalty for sin is death. Yet, our own death could not pay for our sins. Only a sinless, spotless God could pay that price. “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Col. 2:14 NLT

As I look down at the cup I hold in my hand, again pain stabs at my heart. Why did He do it?  Why would He do it? I am so humbled. It was His Love.

He shed His blood for me, for you! His precious blood paid the price for our sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

He took our black sins in his body and nailed them to the cross. He paid the price we should have paid for our sins. He gave us spotless, radiant, white garments in return.

Though we did nothing to deserve it, He laid down His life to save ours. “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” Isa. 53:6 NLT 

There is a song I hear in my heart when I think about Jesus sacrifice for me. Perhaps you remember our Family Christmas a few years ago when we viewed this video together:

What can I give Him – Give Him my heart. What does that look like for you?

What does it look like to be wholly surrendered to Jesus? Is there anything in your life, more important than honoring the one who gave His life for you?  You can trust Him, girls. He made you, He’s a good, good Father.

My girlies, as much as I love you, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the Love Jesus has for you. Let that thought fill your mind today as you worship Him.

Allow His thoughts to replace your earthly clutches. May you be brave enough to lay it all down and be counted as a follower of Jesus!

Because I love you,

Nana

Hidden Treasures

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

The inspiration for my first note comes from Proverbs 2.

“IF you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding IF you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures … then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord GIVES wisdom, he stores up sound wisdom for the upright he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.”

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Good morning girlies,

As I was reading my Bible this morning, I thought of you.  My prayer for you is the same prayer I prayed for my kids, (your parents). I pray that you will grow in your understanding of Father God and that you find your identity in Him.

When you find your identity in Christ, you are free to be ALL God created you to be.  You are a child of the King, His princess.

I also pray that our family’s next generation (YOU) will seek God and that God will use the light that shines within you to reflect His glory and His love to a very dark world.

I will be emailing you love notes to encourage you in your walk with Jesus. As I share the Love of God and the wisdom He imparts, I hope it encourages you. I also hope it creates a hunger for His word which will lead you to dig for truth as for hidden treasures.

When I was a brand new Christian (15 years old) I read the verses below.  My heart welled up with the deepest longing and I begged God for wisdom:

“IF you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding IF you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures … then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord GIVES wisdom, he stores up sound wisdom for the upright he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Prov. 2:1-7

“Ask and it will be given you seek and you will find knock and the door will be open to you.” Luke 11:9  Jesus

God loves you, my girls, He is waiting for you to dig for the gold nuggets found in His word. Call out to Him, He is waiting and He longs to give you His wisdom.

Because I love you,

Nana