Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grateful for a Missionary Right Here in My Own Town

Looking forward to a cup of coffee... and so much more.

I have a very special friend, Jennifer, and she is coming over for a visit shortly. It is amazing how in a short time God can knit your heart with someone.

As my husband, Bob, was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery, Jennifer first appeared. “Just came by to check on you guys,” she would say, and my heart would sing, “Thank-you, thank-you.” Jennifer has a master’s degree in exercisology and works with heart patients. Her kindness and her laugh, along with her expertise, brought us much comfort and joy in those “hospital days.”

Jennifer is leaving soon on a mission trip. I know it will be a wonderful time for her and for those she ministers too. I know that because she was a missionary right in her own hometown, right in the midst of an ordinary day, just being Jennifer, God used her in our lives… and we will always be grateful for her gift of friendship.

If we would all be missionaries in the everyday, this world would be a better place!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Things Missing, Precious Prayers, and Things Found

It’s so cold in Fairhope today, though I dare not complain when my son’s family in West Point, NY, have been and still are dealing with 3-4 feet of snow on the ground! YIKES! It can get really gray up there in the winter months! So, I am grateful for heaters, warm clothes, and cozy blankets... and also hot coffee and tea!

I had lost a library book. I hunted high and low for it and then finally realized I probably left it somewhere. But as I have searched for it, my 6 year-old granddaughter’s words from Christmas vacation have been ringing in my ears.

We had lost the DVD to Toy Story 3, and we had been planning on watching it all day long. All seven of us were looking for it everywhere and were guessing that our 20 month-old little busy, busy boy had stashed it away... and he wasn’t talking.

I heard Natalie’s voice call out, “O Lord God in the highest, PLEASE help us find the DVD!”

Of course, lots of laughter from her prayers ensued, and soon afterwards the DVD was found inside a little riding toy belonging to the 20 month-old... and it was found by his 4 year-old sister.

I am grateful that she was serious about her little prayer. It reminds me to simply stop and ask the One on High!

Good news, the library book was found at a friend’s house. It was given to another friend to return to me, someone that I have wanted to connect with and we did. And now the book is safely home at the library.

So... I'm not sweating the small stuff and not missing the goody in it all!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Kitchen Counter

I smile to myself as I think about a conversation I heard over the holidays one early morning between Amelia (Mia) age 4 and Bob (Big B) 60, while they were sitting at the kitchen counter. It was just a few days after our youngest son, Stuart, announced his engagement to Ashley. Mia and her sister, Natalie, had just been asked to be flower girls in their upcoming June wedding. Mia was so excited, and just waking up -- still a little early morning dreamy -- she said to Big B, “You know, Big B, I gonna be a flower in the wedding and toss petals too…… and you, Big B, YOU are gonna be a handsome prince, so you need to be sure and show up in your best costume.” How adorable! Big B and I laughed, and I thought to myself, “This is going to be so much fun!” Glimpses of a wedding through the flower girls eyes!

For the simple joys of loving life, I am grateful. Conversations around our kitchen counter always encourage me to ponder and consider different perspectives of life. I would say most of the “Kitchen Counter Therapy” at our house is easy, fun, and insightful. Occasionally, there is that difficult conversation, challenging everyone not to react, but to prayerfully listen, respond with respect, and consider needed changes to the challenges of the day. But the early morning kitchen encounters at the counter can easily set the tone for the day and of course laughter is always the best medicine!

For my kitchen counter… I am grateful!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gloriously Grateful!

Isaiah 9 (from The Message) His name will be Amazing, Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness…

This is so beautiful. For these words of light and truth I am so thankful and gloriously grateful!!!

For all the answers we need in our lives, our bodies, our relationships… HE is AMAZING COUNSELOR.

For all of the battles we fight on our home fronts, in our businesses, churches and even our nation… HE IS STRONG GOD!

For every lonely heartbeat, for every silent sorrow and deep need to be held, and more… we are loved… HE IS ETERNAL FATHER!

For every sin, every shame we bear, for every pain we carry, for every loss and every hopeless thought we can ever have… HE IS THE PRINCE OF WHOLENESS!!!

Gratitude, upon gratitude, upon gratitude… unto the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Isaiah 44 (from the Message)

This chapter is such a reminder to me that God wants and loves me; He doesn’t need me to help Him be God. He does miracles because HE is God. He is quite capable of running the universe without my direction. I am grateful that I can remember this as I go through these days of advent preparing my heart for Christmas.

My friend, Susan, tells me about our dear friend, Naomi, a faithful servant of Christ. She was commenting on a conflict between two people involved in a power struggle for leadership, “I just think everybody needs to stay in their own lane and serve God.” WOW!!!! I am grateful today that I can run the race in my own lane, the one God has called me to, with my eyes on the high prize and not on someone else’s lane!

We can trust God to be GOD, faithful, true, good, kind and always with amazing love!

Gratitudes today for Christmas Ease!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Psalm 103 (The Message)

As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out and keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.

Have you ever said, “I feel like mud.” Well….. God had that thought about us first, and He didn’t forget it. He knows we need his “sheer mercy and grace and his rich deep love to cover our muddy tracks.”

This week I will give thanks with a heart of gratitude that God remembers that I am mud. This will make me smile as I realize how much I need to him as my Savior and my Lord. Not just for me, but for all my loved ones. Why are we surprised when we or “they” act up? We all need a double dose of His saving love.

Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers are all gone and we enter into the season of advent, may we hold in our hearts the promise of hope that He came for us so we could be washed from our muddy condition and experience the “joy of HIS salvation today.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitudes

Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.     Psalm 77 (from The Message)

When I hear the phrase “she made me feel so bad” or “he caused me to be unhappy,” I am so reminded of the scripture that says, “Lift up your eyes unto to hills; that is where your help comes from.” (Psalm 121). And, that is just the beginning! You’ll love reading the rest of this Psalm.

I am so grateful that God loved us so much that He gave us choices… the freedom to choose in this life. We can choose whom we will allow to “make us feel like… whatever.” To me, that is so powerful and so basic to having a healthy concept of “who we are in Christ.”

I have heard it said, “Imagine Christ is standing between you and everyone else, (and I added this) …then continue to relate.” I am grateful for that insight. How powerful it is to take responsibility for our own emotions and draw holy boundaries around our hearts.

As we head into the holidays of Thanksgiving, we all know it can be a struggle to always find that “Happy” part. But this year from the mouth of my 4 year-old granddaughter, Amelia Claire, the word “THANKSLOVING” trumpeted a call to my heart, “Nancy, that’s it:  ‘Thanksgiving’ is ‘Thanksloving.’”

So, today I bless you with the power to see Christ in all of your relationships.

I am grateful for my family and friends who live their lives with their eyes lifted up to the hills of His help…….

With deepest gratitude,
Nancy

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trumpets for God

In The Message in 1 Corinthians 1 it says, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God!"  How great is that!!!   So, today I pray my life will be a loud trumpet of praise to God.

My gratitude today is for the soldiers from Fairhope who are preparing to deploy. May God bless them and their families. I pray Psalm 91 over them.

I am thankful for a "spiritual reminder" of an important dream I had long ago about someone very special to me. I believe the fulfillment of that dream is drawing near. And, it will be a loud trumpet blow for God! 

How will you blow your trumpet for God today?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gratitudes

"Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts."  -   Psalm 77 (from The Message)

I started to call this page of my web site “Devotions” — but the more I thought about this, the more I was reminded that gratitude is the best starting place for my devotion to God. And isn’t that what “devotions” are supposed to do — increase our devotion to God? They are not just to make us feel better and do better, but inspire us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind.

So, on this page you will read “Gratitudes” from me and from some of my dearest friends who are deeply devoted to God.  And, I am so honored and grateful to call them my friends. As we go along, I will introduce them to you and share some of our wonderful stories.

My first Gratitude:

Recently, my husband, Bob, built a “dream play house” for our eleven year-old friend, Frances Grace. She drew her own plans for this house. She and “Uncle Bob” talked about this house throughout her chemo treatments during her second fight with leukemia. He wanted to wait until she was strong enough to help drive a few nails.  So a couple of weekends ago it all came together. Talk about gratitude… just pure joy spilling over for everyone, family, friends, neighbors and mostly my heart.

As I wrote the lyrics to a new praise song, “May Our Praise Pour Over You,” this was my prayer:  gratitude that displays devotion.  True worship is always rooted in gratitude. How can we ever thank God enough for His amazing love poured out on us?

God gives us time. God gives us choices. God gives us grace to walk through “days of delay.” (Kirk Dearman, I borrowed that one from you).  What looks like delay to us is just HIS perfect timing bringing us to be more like Him.  Gratitude is more than just a positive attitude. It is a deep appreciation that is stamped with devotion. Today, I will find many things to be grateful for as I ask of God, like a little child, "What do I get to do with you today, Abba?"