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

 

 

 

 

 

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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.😉

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose a Man After God’s Heart

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes Image result for free page divider clipart

Hello my girls,

It’s been awhile since I’ve sent you a note.  Life has been busy and my writer’s brain seems set on off. 😉

But my heart for you never goes off.  I pray throughout the week that God will drop a message for you in my lap.  When the words formulate in my brain, I begin to write.  Such is the case today. 🙂

As I watch each of you living out your lives, my heart fills with JOY sometimes, and at other times sadness.  How I wish there was a fast forward button so you could see how each little choice, you make today, will affect your future.

As an older woman “Let the older women teach the younger women,” referred to in Titus 2, I come to you in humility.  I come to you as a Nana fully invested in you.  I pray you flourish, that your life shines for Jesus in this dark world.

Today’s topic, A man after God’s own heart, is heavy on my heart.  I want you to marry a godly man.  Not a good man, or a man who treats you good (while you are dating) but a man whose heart is on fire for God.

a-man-after-gods-heartDo you know why I want this for you?  Because I know that a man who loves God will ALWAYS love you.  He will love you with the Love God puts in His heart. He will lead you because he knows his role is to be your rock. Marriage is hard, make no mistake about it. A man who loves God will weather each storm and love you through it.

Years ago, God laid it on my heart to break up with my high school boyfriend because he was not a spiritual leader. Oh, he was tall, dark, handsome, he spoiled me and was so good to me.  But God kept whispering in my heart.  He does not love God like you do.  This is not my choice.

Breaking up with my boy was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I agonized, argued, pleaded with God to change His mind.  But He was telling me, “Choose me, trust me, allow me to lead you to a man such as you never dreamed possible. You all know him as  Papa.  His love for God and his unshakeable convictions attracted me to him … well, that and his extremely good looks. LOL

Jesus gave His life for you, there is NO greater sacrifice. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  This is what He asks of you.

Taking it one step further; don’t be fooled.  You should know that a man’s heart is revealed through his choices, his conduct, his actions. Does he give lip service to being a Christian? OR is his life transformed by the power of God.  Has he been redeemed and is he growing in his Faith?

As I ask you these questions, let me urge you to turn that light on your own heart.  A godly man seeks a godly girl.  It’s that simple.

God’s ways are not our ways, NO, they are better than anything we could ever imagine or hope for.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isa. 55:8

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isa. 55:6

I love you, girls, I will always love you.  I cannot choose for you.  God has given each of us a free will, otherwise, we would be puppets.  I pray you choose God;  and choose a man after His heart.

because I love you,

Nana

 

Be Ready to Give an Answer

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls, entitled, Nana’s Love NotesImage result for free page divider clipart

Hi my Sweet Girls,

I have a question for you today. Are you girls prepared to talk to an unbeliever or an atheist?  Let me share this verse with you, it’s a word from your Savior, the one who gave His life for you. 😉

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15-16

I know you all watch movies.  Would you watch this movie in order to be prepared to face questions from those who don’t believe in God? This guy, Ray Comfort, is brilliant and kind and respectful as he interviews atheists.  It’s sooooooooooo good!  I think you’ll love it.

 

I’m proud of you girls and I pray you make an impact in this world.  So many are searching for purpose and for a reason to live.  Let them know there is a creator who loves them and a savior who died so they can live in victory today and forever in a home, called Heaven, he has gone to prepare for those who love Him.

Because I love you,

Nana

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