Reader’s Thoughts on Love Never Dies

Hi Anna,

I was reading your blog and a few scriptures came to mind that I wanted to share with you. My heart goes out to you and your loved one. I’m praying for you.

In speaking of death and our heavenly dwelling, Paul wrote……

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:5

I find that strikingly beautiful and assuring. As believers in Christ, when the moment of our death comes, nothing will be left to chance. God, in Jesus Christ, has prepared a place for us AND Christ, by His Spirit, has prepared us for that place 🙂. He began preparing even before the creation of the world, before we were even born. When He sent Jesus, He was preparing for our death. When Jesus hung on the cross, He was preparing for our death. When He sent His Spirit and began to turn us around in repentance and continued to work in our lives…..HE was preparing us for our death. Praise God.

Also, this is one of my favorite sermons on death…..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaeLaqwJ5_c

I pray it will be a blessing to you.

Love and miss you!!

Jen

This same day, I was watching Narnia with my girls.  God is good to speak to us through all things.

Grace Home Ministries

If you read my previous post, you’ll remember my joy at finding my old Bible–Blueprint for Living.  The following paragraph was written at that time by Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade For Christ International, in the section called, “An Invitation to Abundant Living”

Christ engages in the hearts of His people.  He revolutionizes lives and, as His people are revolutionized in sufficient numbers, the world will be revolutionized–the world will be changed. Problems in the lives of individuals will be solved as He is given control.  Problems in the political, social, economic, and religious realms will be solved as He is made master in each area.

Grace Home Ministries is revolutionizing the world one person at a time.  As a school social worker I am faced with teen pregnancy, and they have shown up, supported, and creatively met the needs of students that I serve.  Nothing has been too hard or too complicated for them.  In the moment that a client may feel all is lost, they step in and offer hope, healing, and a future story.

Please support them through prayer, finances, volunteering, and by utilizing their services if you need them.  They stand ready to help.  Their strong mentor program is vital.  You can learn more about mentoring and volunteering.  Their services are confidential and will support you in your time of need as a pregnant woman, or man struggling with the news you are going to be a father.

The informational video below will give you a snapshot of the founder’s mission and personal story as well as the services they offer. I personally know the founder, Julie Carden, and she is a determined woman of God filled with the grace and beauty of Jesus’ love for us.  She is available to speak at any organization to share more about Grace Home Ministries, and she offers her testimony to celebrate how God revolutionized her life so she can serve others.

Rose of Sharon

A blog post from Louise Lloyd, my mother.  My mother and father have been living in the “Rose of Sharon” home with us for about nine years.  Her Rose of Sharon trees are blooming!

grandmaandpapa

Tom and Louise Lloyd, married 58 years this August 13, 2015

Every morning in my quiet time, God has a bouquet of fresh flowers for me to enjoy. This morning God gave me many thoughts about my love for the Rose of Sharon.

The Rose of Sharon blooms only live 24 hours. In the morning when  the sun comes up they open and greet the day with a full bloom. This is an awesome, good morning, if you have eyes to see and ears to hear the call of God. You receive them with open arms– a fresh bouquet.

Every morning, as the afternoon slowly pass into the night, so does the flower. It falls to the ground and another bud starts its life to bring me a fresh bouquet. In this time many impressions speak to my heart.   God,  thank you for your beauty. I remember when it made me happy to plant at least fifteen of these little trees around our home. I call this the home of Rose of Sharon.

013012

Remembering how I was told the original tree came from our Grand mamma Hankins, all my siblings have a Rose of Sharon in their yard. Just recently we visited the private graveside (on a farm ) where our brother was buried many years ago before I was born. My sister, Mary, wanted a stone on his grave. We all got together and got a marker. When the stone was placed we took a Rose of Sharon and planted it.

I remember Mary singing “When the roll is called up yonder, I will be there!” Eugene said I told him it would be standing on our next visit to help us locate the grave site.  It had been about 8 years since we planted the tree and there it was standing up above all the overgrown underbrush. Blooming. That was a good moment!

I was reminded of choices and intentional planning. Yes, God I get it! You were with me directing me about eight years ago–generational beauty  to pass on.  I get a fresh bouquet every morning in 2015. Thank you Jesus.

011 photo (4)

I have a friend I gave a tree to and she planted it in a pot and it sits on her deck. She texts me often telling me how many booms she has each morning!   Her own bouquet from God.

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.  Song of Solomon 2:1

Selfless Love

After some of our wedding posts, it may appear that everything is perfect in the wedding party household.  I received a text from a dear, precious friend, who acknowledged our joy with seemingly no stress.  After receiving this reply from another friend in regards to the Song of Solomon post, I had to be real with you.  Reality is filled with the presence of God.

Song of Songs 4:6
“Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hills of incense.”

Myrrh represents death and dying to ourselves. May our marriages be united by selfless love. –Tina

My daughter and I had a real conversation about communication, stress, and budget last Sunday.  After spending time in God’s Word and prayer, we were reminded that joy is a choice.  Humans say hurtful things.  Money is not available to satisfy all the whimsical, creative thoughts, and desires. Change is hard, and getting older has mixed emotions.  I could share with you the grim reality of a fallen world within my home–sinners striving each day to figure things out, but, I believe the list would be similar to most.  You understand.

I shared with my daughters that change, events, and stress will challenge us all.  We will have to choose peace and joy, and be in the state of forgiveness.   I talked situations and circumstances out with my daughters, and explained the art of forgiveness and apologizing for perceived hurts–even if you feel right in the situation. The Holy Spirit working in His time and in His way. How stressful it can be in the moment.  How beautiful it is to watch God at work over time.  We don’t see end results so that we can grow in the knowledge of Christ, and build our faith.  He is faithful.

I struggle; yet, God’s grace consumes me in the struggle.  He truly is ever-present in all things. We can choose joy.

May my home, mind, and soul be cleansed with myrrh–selfless love.

It’s okay to desire or want, but when that unfulfilled desire makes you unhappy, it’s time to examine your motives and heart.  Allow God to handle your problems, desires, and wants and watch HIM work!  Choose JOY and TRUST in the One who knows you best.  His love NEVER fails.

OH GOD! HOW I NEED YOU! WHEN SIN RUNS DEEP–YOUR GRACE IS MORE! GRACE IS WHERE YOU ARE…WHERE YOU ARE, LORD, I AM FREE! HOLINESS IS CHRIST IN ME!!!!!!!  Beautiful song below:

2013 in review: The Vivian Story

Crunchy numbers

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.  This was their report information–too cute.  I loved that Vivian’s story was the most popular post of the year!!!!!

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

In 2013, there were 220 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 407 posts. There were 631pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4 GB. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was January 2nd with160 views.005

The most popular post that day was The Vivian Story

You can click on The Vivian Story link to read again!  We love you Vivian!

Thank you to all my family and friends that read, comment and join me in the journey of grace.  It warms my soul to know we are reading, growing, and encouraging each other in His Name.

Click here to see the complete report.

Professionalism: In God’s Eyes

 

Victoria, 

3 John 1:4 “Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children live in the truth.” Love, Mom and Dad

Written by:

Victoria L. Hebb, RN, BSN

Within a clinic or unit, leadership sets the tone and example for nursing staff and other members of the staff.  If an establishment does not have professional leadership, morale can drop, dysfunction and frustration may exist within the team, and teamwork and staff satisfaction can decline.  This article looks at how those in nursing leadership positions can incorporate how God calls us to lead and how to take that understanding and practice professionalism.  Professionalism includes, but is not limited to, actions, speech, and communication of an individual.011

I have not been a nurse for very long, but I have been in nursing long enough to realize there is a great impact on a team, unit, or clinic created by the type of leadership that is in place.  I am currently in a Leadership and Administration Master’s Program, and I have been exposed to many different types of leadership styles over the past few years.  I have been able to come beside incredible mentors in the nursing profession who have shown me how true leaders are to act, to speak, and how to lead professionally.  I have also, unfortunately, seen how a leader should not behave, how a leader should not speak, and how negative leadership within a facility can decrease morale, create frustration among staff, and lead to a negative experience within the nursing profession.  I feel that my life experiences within the past few years have created a passion within me to be a leader who stands out, a leader who wants to positively impact the profession of nursing, and a leader who desires to create an environment where a team can succeed and thrive!  I feel I have been called by God to be a leader within the nursing profession and God says in 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

With my past experiences, sometimes negative and sometimes positive, it inspired me to really dive in and research how a leader and professional is supposed to conduct themselves.  With this being said, the one leader in my life who never fails me is God.  He is the ultimate leader, and is the ultimate example of a leader.  Proverb 11:14 (MSG) states, “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” So, how does God call us to act and behave as a leader?

Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) is a perfect example of how God expects us to act as a leader.  “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”   God literally tells us to give our lives, the ordinary, and our jobs to Him!  He says to not become so immersed within the culture of those around us that we just “fit in”, He wants us to stand out, to recognize what He wants for our lives, and He will develop maturity within us, that I believe, will create an outstanding leader.

Proverbs 16:18 simply explains how when you are prideful it leads to destruction, “First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”  Being humble within leadership, but also confident, will lead to success within leadership.  Remembering where you came from, where you started from, will often help to remain humble.  Everyone has once been a position where feeling vulnerable or insecure, having empathy for those feeling that way and showing compassion for those individuals is a wonderful leadership quality.

I have been in situations where negative speech, or inappropriate speech, has created negativity and low morale.  Ephesians 4:29 reminds us, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  God is telling us that we are to only speak if it is going to build others up, or help others.  This can be hard within leadership because sometimes a leader has to settle conflict, or talk about difficult situations with staff, but it is at that time where professional conversations and constructive criticism can come into play.

The ultimate example in the Bible where professionalism and appropriate behavior was displayed, is Jesus’ life.  Jesus was born to a humble family, but He knew that He had a purpose in His life, to change the world.  He grew up learning all He could about the culture He lived in.  He always showed kindness to each person He came in contact with.  Jesus always spoke truth when addressing those He was speaking with, but did it in a kind and compassionate manner.  Jesus helped all of those He could, even those He called the least of these.  Jesus’ ultimate example was His journey to the cross.  Jesus knew He was going to be crucified, when He knew the time was upon Him, He decided to pray on the Mount of Olives the night before.  He prayed for God to give Him strength to do the right thing, He also had his friends, the disciples, praying for Him. The time came on the Mount of Olives that the Roman soldiers arrested Jesus. The disciples defended Jesus and acted with violence, but Jesus stood his ground and commanded the violence to cease. He even healed a man who was coming to arrest Him, showing compassion to His enemies.  After this event, Jesus stood trial before Pilot, the Roman governor.  During his arrest and questioning, He maintained a calm and professional attitude, and stood for what He knew was truth, but not becoming angry or defensive.  Even Pilot stated that Jesus was not a criminal, but the council demanded Jesus to be crucified, and the people of the city shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”.  Even after they led Jesus to the place called The Skull, nailed Him to a cross, and mocked and spat at Him, Jesus cried out, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  Jesus knew that even though this ultimate act of sacrifice, giving His life for the world, was excruciating; He knew it was worth it to make a difference in the world.  He knew that glory and hope was on the other side!

What an amazing example of how we are to live! In  1 John 2:6 (NLT) it says,  “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”  So much can be learned from the way Jesus composed Himself and handled difficult situations.

Lastly, it is important to always remember that even if you are not in a position where you have a leadership title, such as nurse manager or clinical coordinator, every nurse is a leader.  Every nurse has someone who is looking to them as a mentor, or a patient who is looking to them to be a leader in their care and advocate for them, which means they need a professional nurse who is going to conduct himself or herself in a manner that reflects Christ.  Always remember Matthew 25: 35-40, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these. brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Angel’s Healing and Cathy’s Cell Phone Prayer

I’m so incredibly thankful that Anna wasn’t afraid to be outlandish for Him. She did literally stand in the gap for me. She gave the phone to that prayer counselor who told me just to close my eyes, relax, and receive God’s healing. I had been to so many doctors trying to figure out why I was so swollen. I had been in the hospital twice, but no one could help me. This had been going on for weeks and there was so much excess fluid in my body that it was hard to walk and even hard to breathe. I felt hopeless. It wasn’t until Monday when I got home from work and took off my shoes (expecting to see my huge ankles and lower legs) that I realized that I wasn’t swollen at all. That’s when I showed my mom who promptly reminded me to give thanks for answered prayer. I don’t know who prayed for me. I have never met this person, but I am thankful to Anna and thankful to her for listening to God’s prompting and not being afraid to be outlandish for Him.

A cell phone prayer from my outlandish friend Cathy:

Dear Lord, Please cover with your protection in every way.  Give her discernment and insight beyond her own knowledge.  Show her things she can’t know apart from you.  Minister healing to those she interacts with.  Show them her source of wisdom is You, even if she doesn’t speak a word of You.  I pray you are lifted up in this dark place, and in the dark places in all our hearts.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Although I can’t share my work story–God gave me such peace, and He delivered answers to the darkness!