Are We Shutting In or Shining Out?

Shut in or Shut outIt’s hard to believe it, but three months ago—Thursday, March 19th—Governor Newsom gave a statewide “Stay-at-Home” order to the residents of California. All of us went into our homes and shut the door. What did we shut the door against? Covid-19, yes, but also fellowship, camaraderie, freedom of all kinds, and meeting together on Sunday mornings.

Most of us have stayed in touch with our families and others through our devices: phones, iPads, emails, Zoom meetings, and social media pages. But a “virtual hug” or a wave doesn’t make up for human touch.

I have talked with mothers of school children, who are “done”. I mean really done. The stress of 24-7 kids at home, trying to understand the technologies needed to help their child continue in school, husbands who are working from home and needing quiet… what a challenge! I’ve talked with lonely widows who cry at the sound of a friendly voice. I’ve seen fear in the eyes of strangers in the supermarket as we maintain our 6’ social distance and try like heck to go down the aisle the right way. I miss the sound of laughter. I miss the smiles that I hope are behind all those masks. I miss the hugs from my grandchildren. I long, oh how I long, for how things used to be.

AND YET… through all of this, I have grown. I have rekindled my love for reading the Word. I have been drawn in once more to the promises of God and they have touched me deeply. I have learned to seek Him first in my day and I have been rewarded. One of the “fruits” of this time has been a new habit. I’ve started writing notes to people – friends, family, church goers that I miss. In those notes, I include a recipe card promise from the Word. Many have replied that it was just what the needed. Think about those people who could use an encouragement right about now and ask the Lord for a promise. Let His light shine in the darkness through you.

Dear Child

Sample Promises for Your Recipe Card
For the fearful: Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. 2Kings 6:16
For the unemployed: And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
For the brokenhearted: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
For the depressed: For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
For the discouraged: Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Psalm 43:5

Nana’s Nudge: Let your “little light shine”!
Music has sustained me these past months. Listen with an open heart:
Nana’s Songs
You Are Loved  |  The Blessing  |  Breakthrough  |  You’re Gonna Be OK  |  Our God  |  See A Victory  |  Dancing on the Waves
Nana’s Prayer:  Thank You, Father, that You are always near and You draw us close. Help us to see our brothers and sisters who are in need of encouragement. Give me Your inspiration, Holy Spirit. Jesus, shine Your light through us, Lord!

It is said that there are 7,000 promises in the Bible. I highly recommend Promises of God by Dr. Lester Sumrall – available for free in pdf format.

Restoring What Was Lost

Have you ever come across something from your past that produced a longing to revisit it again? I was putting away the towels in my linen closet and looked up on the shelf and saw that my mother’s highly-prized candelabras had turned from silver to  tarnished brass. The lurch in my breast caused me to bring them out to the patio along with gloves, polish, brush, sponge and finishing cloth. The whole process took two afternoons in the shade. I  enjoyed the gentle breeze, our Wellington tucked in his bed, and music to keep me company as I wiped, scrubbed, waited, buffed, washed and dried. All the while, the memories came flooding back…

The “back story” is perhaps more interesting. These candelabras graced my mother’s dining table ever since I was born. I regret that I never asked if they belonged to my grandparents or were a wedding gift. Mother changed the candles based on the season from white to red and along with a crystal bowl filled with flowers, they were the centerpiece of her elegance. To me, they meant home, very special family dinners, and holidays with my Nanas, Aunts, Uncles at the main table and siblings and cousins gathered at card-tables.

When my mother passed in 2004, the children had an opportunity to select items from her estate one by one until it was done. I selected the candelabras as one of my first choices. I wanted that piece of heritage on my dining table. When I received my selections, the first thing I did was to polish these precious memories. You can’t imagine my shock when I took the pieces apart and discovered that my father had carved his initials into the center candle holders. [You see, my father died suddenly when I had just turned 20 in 1970. He left my mother with 9 children from 21 to 6. Our lives were turned upside down that fateful day. What an amazing woman she was… but that’s another story for another day.] So, much to my delightful surprise, what I thought was an inheritance from my mother became an inheritance from my father as well.

The “in” look today is simple, clean, and (frankly to my mind) sterile — absent of history, lacking character, and pretty much looking like everyone else’s pristine home. I wanted to be in, so when we moved, I put away the old-fashioned and tried to transition to the new. And yet, something inside came alive when I saw those tarnished candelabras on the top shelf of the linen closet.

I finished the restoration of these heirlooms and placed them where they belong… on my dining table. Imagine my delight when some of my granddaughters visited yesterday just as I was drying them and I was able to tell them my story and Mother and Dad’s.

How will my grandchildren remember me? How will they know what their great grandmother treasured, if I don’t tell them her story and mine?

Nana’s Nudge:  Uncover your hidden treasures and share your heritage. Nana’s Songs:   We Gather Together | We are Family | My Best Days are Ahead of Me | Come to the Table
Nana’s Prayer:  Good Father, help me to treasure all You have given me throughout the years. Restore what has been lost. Revive what is missing in my life. Help me to pass on what is important to those I love.