Archive | May, 2017

7 Examples from 7 Decades

17 May

D&NToday would have been my sister’s 70th birthday. Quite the milestone.  I’ve been anticipating this birthday and what I wanted to write about it. I had thought I might write “70 Lessons I’ve Learned from Nancy,” but decided against that. Instead I thought I would share 7 examples from Nancy’s 7 decades of living.

  1. Enjoy a good laugh – even if it’s at your own expense! Nancy loved a good joke. I would frequently get calls or texts sharing a funny story. Many fell into the “only Nancy would have done this” category, but I cherish these stories. She brought so much joy and gave us great memories to chuckle over again and again. She was also kind to listen to the jokes children would tell her at school and laugh with them – making that child feel special and of value. (Proverbs 17:22)
  2. Strive for excellence in all you do – Nancy was an outstanding teacher. Some of her students became teachers because of her example. She was a great cook, meticulous housekeeper, and an award-winning quilter. She made each of us quilts for significant events that we cherish today. She did as Paul admonishes – “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23 NAS).
  3. Obey – My sister had a track record of obedience. She obeyed as a child. She followed doctors’ orders to the “T”. She obeyed Christ. Was her obedience perfect? No. But the trajectory of her desire and heart were to do what she was called to do. She was also faithful to lovingly confront those who weren’t obeying if needed. (I might or might not know this from personal experience!) (1 Samuel 15:22)
  4. Don’t be a complainer – Nancy was born prematurely and was a surviving twin. She had immunity issues all her life that made her easily susceptible to illness. She had both of her knees replaced at the same time. She had a heart condition – to name a few. Yet, for the most part, she did not complain (2 Timothy 2:3-4). She endured a difficult childhood, in no small part to a little sister whom she practically had to help raise! Yet I never heard her complain. (She would say this was because she knew she’d get in trouble if she did!) I was included in many activities that for any teenager would have been embarrassing to have your younger sister around. I never knew it if she felt that way. Oh, we would have dog & cat fights like many other siblings, but for the most part, she included me with great grace. (Philippians 2:3-4)
  5. Be passionate about the things you enjoy and the things that matter – Nancy was a staunch Denver Broncos fan and a Texan through and through. She was passionate about her family. I don’t know of a time she did not support me, encourage me, pray for me. I watched her do this and more for her daughter Claire and husband Weldon. I observed her enter into the joy of friends and other family members. She “over-the-top” loved being a grandmother to Gibson and Lincoln. She was passionate about her relationship with Christ. She loved the Lord with her whole being. She held up God’s Word as the standard of truth for her life. She fought the good fight. (Mark 12:30-31)
  6. Pray – This example was the hallmark of her life. I was looking at some past texts from her. They were full of prayer requests or telling me she was praying for me. Prayer made her sensitive to others. She listened when someone was having a rough day and wrote notes or gave little gifts to encourage others in whatever they were going through. She didn’t just say she would pray. She followed up with a text or a call to see how God answered the prayer or if she needed to continue to pray about the matter. The margins in her Bible and her prayer journals were full of her heart cries to the One she knew would listen and answer (Psalm 62:8).
  7. Seek to have a life that counts for eternity – Today my niece sent me something Nancy wrote in her prayer journal on her 67th birthday. “I don’t have long years left, and truly don’t want to come to the end with a waste.” Bless her heart, she rarely wasted a minute, let alone the life God had given her. (2 Timothy 4:6-7)

Thanks, my sweet sister, for setting decades of examples for me to follow. I miss you and love you. I look forward to seeing you with our blessed Savior one day soon.


Let It Go – Part 2

5 May


Study BibleI have a favorite study Bible – the Hebrew/Greek Key Word Study Bible, edited by Spiros Zodhiates. I was first introduced to it when the hubster purchased one at our local Christian bookstore. It combines key words in a text with the corresponding Strong’s Concordance number and will give a bit more commentary on what that word means and perhaps its usage back in the day. This study Bible is perfect for me since I love to find out meanings of words when I study a passage.  It even gives some user friendly indicators on the tense of verbs that open more of the riches to be found in God’s Word.

Our first version of this great tool was King James, then Rock was given a very nice New American Standard, which is our “standard” translation at the Hails’ home. My dad, who loved God’s Word, decided to buy one that he could use. His purchase was more a hard paperback version, not the leather one Rock owned. When he passed away, I was given his Bible where he’d carefully written his name and address on the front cover in case it was lost.

I tell you all of this to say that I treasured that Bible – not just because it was God’s Word, but it was my go to study Bible, AND it belonged to my dad. It was one of the few things I had of his that made me feel connected to him somehow. This Bible was such a great study tool. God showed me many things through using it. But having the Book he loved so much was a privilege.

Then I. lost. it. Not just “misplaced” lost, but “absent mindedly left it where I would not get it back” lost. I had forgotten it once before at a women’s retreat, but it was found, and I picked it up. This time, however, I left it either at an event arena or worse yet, on top of my car as I was juggling several things to get in after the event. I called the venue multiple times, but to no avail. They had not found it and no one had turned it in. I even begged to come there and look for myself in their lost and found, but was told I couldn’t. I called the office where my parents had once lived (the address he’d written inside), but no one had mailed it there. The Bible was gone, and I was devastated. My “connection” to my dad through this blessed Book was now broken.

Many people trying to encourage me after this loss would say something to the effect that the person who found it needed it more. I have to be honest. My heart was not comforted by that. I wanted MY Bible back. I wanted my dad’s Bible back. And that selfish attitude of clinging to what’s mine continued for months. The disappointment of losing a prized possession had gone from a natural response over  loss to way into the sin category. Jesus even addressed this sort of hold-on-tightly-and-not-let-go attitude with His disciples in Luke 14:33. “So no one can become My disciple unless he first sits down and counts his blessings—and then renounces them all for Me” (TLB).

Several months passed and I was bemoaning the loss of the Bible for the umpteenth time to my family, when my daughter gave me a loving rebuke in the form of a reminder about my dad – his passion to see people know Christ as Savior and Lord. She wisely reminded me that if I had to lose it, and someone picked it up, no other person than my dad would have been more thrilled to know that God could use it to draw someone into His kingdom. That reminder was enough for me. I released any hope of getting that Bible back because of the possibility that someone could know Him, could grow in Him, or could even share it with another to help that individual. I let that particular Bible go with this knowledge:

 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

This Christmas I received a new study Bible from my children – a great treasure indeed because of those who gave it to me, but still one to hold with an open hand. May I remember to hold all of my life…and my new Bible…before Him with that openness (Romans 12:1).

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