Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Because of God's great love.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.”  Remembering a dear friend who danced her way into Heaven two years ago today.  She taught me about the kind of person that I wanted to be. I am a better person for having known her.  I am so thankful to God for the gift of her friendship. I am forever changed because of her friendship and influence on my life.   

My life verses come from Lamentations 3:21-23, 32-33 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”  In the past 2 years I have experienced God’s love, grace and healing in so many ways.  It has been a journey, that is for sure.  Yet, it has been a journey, that I would never change.  

My heart and body have known deep pain… But today I testify that God has been very faithful.  He has proven his love over and over again, to someone who at times doubted God and His goodness.  He has brought healing to places in my life that at times when I lost hope, I truly felt these places would never heal. I felt hopeless about finding relief from the excruciating pain in my back.  For the last 8 months I have experienced such a reduction in pain, that I can once again function in my day to day activities.  God has healed a grieving heart that questioned if I would ever want to “go deep” in my friendships and relationships again.  God taught me to see people and situations through his eyes. His compassions never failed!  Great is His faithfulness!  His love never failed! God is so very good!  I am a better person today, I am closer to God today, My love for him has grown to a depth I never knew existed because of the journey that he has walked with me on and many times carried me through.  I am trying to find words for something that my heart cannot express and I think that is ok….. 

I am going to let this song speak for me today. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Overflowing With Thanksgiving

Colossians 2:7 – “Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.” 

I am overflowing with thanksgiving this week!  For the better part of the last year and a half I have had very intense pain in my back. This year I have had Dr. appointments every 2 to 4 weeks at a pain clinic. Many times I prayed (begged, pleaded with God) to take away the pain - to heal me.  After all of this doctoring we were left with one option. About a month ago I underwent a procedure that burned the nerve roots, so that I would not feel the "pain" that is still there. It worked!  I have been given relief from the pain.  I am SO grateful for this feeling of being pain free.  It is amazing how pain can change your outlook and your "feeling" about life in general. Many times I felt forgotten by God. Many times I wondered where he was and why didn't he "fix it"?  But I can tell you today... God does care. GOD IS FAITHFUL. 

This experience with pain, has been a growing experience for me. God became so real to me, even though my prayers seemed to be "unanswered".  I look back through my journal and realize He answered my prayers, in ways I didn't understand, but now as I look back I see it. 

As I mentioned before, a nerve was burned interrupting the message that was being sent to my brain telling it that my back hurt.  As I think about that, I think about God protects us in life from things that would hurt us.  There are experiences in life that would surely change our lives if they were allowed to impact our lives. However, I believe that God puts a hedge around us many times to protect us, a hedge that is unseen, but still there. Psalm 91 tells of us God's protecting arm around us, when it says among many things that "[God] will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands."  I encourage you to read Psalm 91 today and see what it means to you today. 

I leave you with this song today, it has given me strength and encouragement many times.  Chris Tomlin "I Lift My Hands"  Praying that you will know that God is love and God cares today, in whatever area of your life you need to see it. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.”  Psalm 17:6

Lately, I have been realizing how powerful it is to know God’s Word and hide it in your heart.  I have memorized many verses in my lifetime, but never really realized the blessing of that until these past few years.
Trust has always been a hard thing for me and it still is, but in the past year I have been amazed at how God has taken care of our family.  In this tough economic time, we owned 2 houses. [If someone would have told me 2 years ago that 1) we would own 2 houses for 15 months, 2) I would not be working for part of that time, but we would be ok – I seriously think that I would not have believed them.] We bought the second house truly believing that God was telling us to do so. We moved over a year ago, and just recently sold our other house!  [Yep, that’s a big PRAISE THE LORD! ]  God provided in ways we would have never anticipated.  He showed up every time there was a need, sometimes very clearly and other times we realized it later. 
God increased my trust in Him through this difficult year.  Many times I doubted that we would be ok, I worried that we would lose everything.  We prayed and we begged God to  “move” – to do something, to show us he was there. We truly believed we had been obedient to Him.  At times I even doubted that God knew our situation and wondered if He even cared.  I have realized in the last few months that God was increasing my trust in Him.  God always hears our prayers. I picture Him bending close to me to listen to the prayers that are whispered out of desperation or pain. God will always answer our prayers in His time and in His way.
My heart has found peace in knowing that God knows our needs. He knows my kid’s needs.  And He has it all figured out.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Remembering Who I Am

Several times in the last few days, the same verse has been given to me.  "He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way." (Psalm 25:9, NLT)  That verse was mentioned in 3 of 5 email devotionals that I received yesterday.  Then today this one: "The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God's help be encouraged." (Psalm 69:32 NLT)

I have been feeling lately, like I have become something I am not.  Like things are just not in sync, like something is missing and I have become someone that is really not me, not the "me" that God intends me to be. I think sometimes life has a way of throwing us a curve ball, that seems to make us chase the ball rather than focus on the goal.  We go off on some "tangent" and suddenly, it's like how did I get here?  I can not tell you for sure, how many times in recent months I have said those words in regards to my life or situations around me. Then this comes: "He leads the humble, teaching them His way" and "the humble will see God at work" and "Let all who seek God's help be encouraged".

I want to see God at work in my life and all around me.  I want to walk in HIS way, not my way.  I want to be encouraged and be an encourager.  That is what I so love about God, no matter where we are, He is there.  No matter what we do, He is there.  He molds us, and shapes us into what He wants.  He allows us the freedom of choice.  When we choose unwisely He is there - when we turn back and run hard after Him.  Humility is the key.  If we are proud, we can not be taught or led. Humility is what I seek.... and God knew that I needed to be reminded of that.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking Back. Moving Forward.

This past week I have “re-lived” memories from a year ago.  This year, I find it interesting that last week was Holy week.  April 18-25, 2010 seemed to be a very holy week, too, as I spent that week in the hospital with a friend who was battling cancer.  There were many times when God was so clearly present in her hospital room. My heart still hurts when I think about her and the memories that we shared.  Many of the biggest memories we shared, we never really got to talk about them again here on earth. I know that someday we will be able to do that.  What a blessing those memories are today.  

A scripture that God gave to her and I in that last week was 2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."   I imagine what those first moments in Heaven were like.  I imagine how it must have taken her breath away to see and experience all of it. I imagine how it felt when God put his arms around her as He welcomed her home.  I imagine her joy in receiving a new healthy, pain free body.  I imagine what she looks like with her crown.  

In November 2010, I was able to share the story of Deanna and my friendship with a group of women. The beauty of the honesty, love and openness that Deanna and I shared in our friendship.  The laughter, the tears (and sometimes we cried and laughed at the same time). God used her and I in each others lives to make both of us better people.  God used a community of believers – “Jesus lovers” - to impact her life and mine to make each of us better people.   God used each one in that community of friends to draw each other closer to Him.  

When I was finished talking to these women about this story, a group of friends were praying for me and one of them said “God, you grew her (Nancy) up this year.”  And that phrase has gone around and around in my head.  It is really so true.  God opened up a deeper place within me that is a place where God and I often “go”.  A place that I didn’t know existed until this experience.  And it's not really something that I can put into words today.  But I know that God taught me things I would have never known about Him, about loving from the heart, about His grace, about serving others, about His love, about trusting Him enough to let go....had it not been for this experience with Deanna. 

I still miss Deanna today.  However, it's a different kind of "miss you" feeling.  I would never wish for her back, when I think of the pain that she was in.  Life does go on.  It has to.  We can not live our lives holding on to the past and expect to move forward.  That's the difference in the how I miss her today.  It is not in a grieving type way that I miss her.  I miss her.  I miss talking to her, I miss seeing her, I miss hearing her laugh (usually her laughter was at me about something I had done or said)  :)   I am ok.  I know that she is ok.  And I WILL see her some day and that is what I hold on to as I look forward to that day. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enough Evidence to “Convict”.

The evidence piled up.  It didn’t matter where I looked - I saw it.  Evidence of changed lives.  Evidence of God’s love.  Evidence of God’s grace.  If this were a court case where someone was accused of being loving and serving beyond “reason” – we would have won by a landslide!
 I worked at a retreat this past weekend and I have to say it was one of the best weekends of my life. Seeing God in everything and everywhere. The fingerprints of His work. The messages that said “I am here.” I still wonder what God felt like KNOWING the “surprise” He was going to spring on us through a song that “suddenly” played as the pastor was talking to us about how we leave such an unforgettable weekend and go back to our daily lives? The pastor was rolling the radio dial showing us the static and mixed up messages that would surround us when we go home. Suddenly the radio played a song loud and clear – beginning with these words:

“Jesus carry me,

You Are strength in my weakness

You are the refuge I seek

You are everything in my time of need

You are everything, You are everything I need”

[Song by Kutless: Everything I Need]

God must have smiled from ear to ear! I imagine that he called his angels around him, just to watch this scene unfold.

There were many stories of lives that were so broken and so messed up – then God entered. When God enters in He makes all things new. We are all on our own separate journey. And sometimes life is just hard.  No other way to say it.  I don't know who said this but "God never promised life would not be hard, but he did promise we would not be alone."  We, as people going through life together, might experience the same things in our lives, but at different times. God has his own time table for each of us. He has His own plan and everything is in HIS time.

I saw evidence of His plan unfolding in many lives this past weekend. I saw evidence of people extending (and receiving) grace and love. I saw God at work in such a way that it has left my heart burning to be more intentional in my walk with Him, serve Him and be His hands and feet to others as God’s plan unfolds in my life and theirs.

The theme verse for the weekend was Luke 24:32 -

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

The weekend retreat left me with a holy and I hope incurable heartburn for God and a desire to share God’s love with others as we walk along the road together - through life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Child Shall Lead Them

“Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day!” I read the words and my heart stopped as my body felt a cold sweat. Reading the words you would never have guessed that the birthday girl had “uninvited” her to the party that most of the girls in her class went to. I was not able to say those words to the birthday girl…. But this young lady could. And when I asked her about it, she said… “Well, I hope that she did, it was her birthday after all.”

I looked at this young girl on the threshold of her teen years. All I could think of was Isaiah 11:6 – “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

I have watched her grow from this tiny little baby girl, who followed 3 older brothers. I have watched her go through 5 years of ridicule, because she had to have her 4 front teeth removed and she had the 1st grade “all gums” smile all those years. I have watched her be stepped on, pushed out and excluded, bouncing from one friend to another, trying to find a safe place to land. A safe place to share her heart. A place that could be trusted. This mother’s heart ripped and tore each time that she was hurt… it seemed I felt it 10 times worse than she did. She bounced back each time.

She found that safe place in the past year. She found it in 3 young ladies who have found the friend in her that I knew was there all along. They found in her someone who made them laugh and cared and brought joy to their lives. She found a home for her thoughts, feelings and her heart.

But more importantly she found a “forever” place to land in the One who binds our wounds and heals the broken-hearted. She found the One who loves her unconditionally. She found the One who loves her just the way she is… because He created her just the way she is. That was His plan all along. I have had the wonderful privilege of watching her grow into such a beautiful young woman with a heart like her Father’s. With eyes that see what others don’t see. With a heart that loves in ways that amaze me. With a forgiving spirit that outshines me many times.

She will walk out the door to school this morning. She will walk back into the school where the school week ended 3 days ago in much pain for her. She will be ok, I know. Because she has an army of people praying for her today. She has a Father who “will command his angels concerning [her] to guard [her] in all your ways.”

As I was typing that last sentence I found out from my very excited son that school has been cancelled today (due to the ice we are experiencing here). Isn’t God good? To give her one more day? To give things one more day for the excitement of the party to calm down?

Father, thank you for your love and care over us. How everything that happens to us in this life, only comes to us after it has been through your hands. You planned our days long ago; you knew where each of us would be this day, at this time. You knew what we would be experiencing right now at this moment. Thank you for being the God we read about in Psalm 91, Psalm 55, Psalm 56, Psalm 103 and many more Psalms that speak to the needs in our lives and the praise that overflows from our hearts. We love you so…