Archive for January, 2013

Holding Onto Faith…Again

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 31st, 2013mercy17 Comments

IMG_1358When I was a teenager, one of my friends died in a train wreck. I still remember the way my mother woke me that morning. She kissed me and said, “Well, we are going to have to hold onto our faith again…” Then she told me.

I didn’t really have much of a faith yet. Only the small kind that could repeat the 23rd Psalm and feel warm all over when we sang “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.” It was the kind of faith that could hold me through a hard time mostly because I saw it holding my mother.

But, eventually, mine grew. It got some exercise through the years. That is what it takes to grow a faith that can face the worst thing you could possibly imagine. I thought I had faced that at the death of our granddaughter. Then I thought I faced it with my husband’s drug addiction. And then I thought I faced it when one of our beautiful daughter‘s had cancer. Twice.

But now, Serenity needs surgery again. It may be nothing. Or it may be more cancer. And, I find that we are all holding onto faith again. I think for our whole family faith has grown beyond the thing you hold onto in a hard time. It has become the thing you live with every day. Whether the news is good or bad. Faith is the essence of who we are, and it boils down to a few simple things.

We believe that God is.

And that He is good.

And that lots of this earth-stuff will never make sense till we see it through a Heavenly translation.

Until then, we celebrate every day. And, we hold onto our faith. Again.

Read More

A Woman of Influence

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 24th, 2013mercy7 Comments

I just read a great post about common grammar mistakes. I don’t want to brag, but none of these were a surprise to me. (Okay, I needed the refresher on effect/affect. Who doesn’t?) So I tried to remember where I first learned about things like your/you’re and it’s/its.

Darlene Thompson. Sixth grade English. Atlanta C-3 School.

Then I wondered if my natural affinity for the written word is the reason I grasped those details and made them my own. (Don’t I wish.) I don’t think so. Instead, I suspect I grasped those principles because I loved the woman who taught them.

Mrs. Thompson wore bright, red finger nail polish and and a bracelet every day. She was what we called full-figured, and I think her personhood was even larger than her stature. Her classroom was upstairs in our K-12 school, so she represented our ascent from children to future adults. She was the last step of elementary school and the first step into wider horizons. And she led us there well.

Thinking of her now, forty-some years later, I can’t remember anything she ever actually said. I only remember the way I felt when she was in the room. Safe. Happy. Possible.

She probably never dreamed she was influencing future writers. Or world travelers. (Hi, Connie) Or that one of those giggly little girls would grow up to take over the high school English department in the same school — making hundreds of students feel safe. And happy. And possible. (Hi, Judy)

So, I’m grateful today for Mrs. Thompson. For her influence upon my writing and upon my friends. If she can see us today, I hope we have made her proud.

 

Read More

Making the Most of the Time

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 19th, 2013mercyNo Comments

IMG_1652My friends, Aimee and Lenna, are both making their own laundry detergent these days. I buy those little pods so I don’t even have to take time to measure. My friend, Jan, was inspired by Pinterest to make me this sweet brown paper package tied up with string and filled with a few of my favorite things. Just because. No occasion other than friendship.

I’ve never been on Pinterest, and I sent my children checks for their birthdays this year. I’m not even sure I included cards.

It isn’t that I don’t appreciate these kinds of things. I totally do. But, I’ve had to make some hard choices about time management in order to pursue this crazy idea that I could be a writer. (Okay. Deciding not to make my own laundry soap was not a hard choice. You go, girls.)

But deciding to stay home and write Saturday afternoon instead of going to a grandson’s ballgame an hour away? Yeah, hard choice. And the crazy thing is I’ve been making this choice since the 1980’s, and I don’t have a lot of literary accomplishments to show for it.

What I do have is a handmade card from my son. He was probably a second-grader at the time. And he made this little pop-up section in the middle with a woman sitting at a desk. He wrote, “Mom, I love you because you do all of your writing and still have time for us.”

Oh, man. I hope that was true. I hope it still is. I hope the people who matter the most know they are more important than the characters who populate my brain and sometimes make it to the page. And, most of all, I hope the whole thing pays off one of these days!!

(Just kidding about that last part. Mostly.)

Read More

Positioned for Prayer

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 13th, 2013mercy2 Comments

“Make Plans and Provisions for good things to happen in your life.” Joe Moore

Bell tower

One of the good things I want more of in my life is answered prayer.The kind of prayer that sees sick people get well and lost people get found and that helps me set a course for my life. At least for that day.

I start every morning by “centering down” as the Quaker’s say. I also try to collect a few prayerful thoughts at bedtime, so I can “hem the day in prayer” as an old sampler suggests. (I’m not so good at that one. I tend to dream my prayers instead.)

Once a week, I go to the prayer room set up by our church and spend my assigned Hour of Prayer. But I don’t think of those times as my prayer life. Those are just my prayer times.

Brother Lawrence, a monk of the seventeenth century, wrote that he didn’t think times of prayer should be any different than times of action. We ought to be totally aware of God at all times.This was his plan for reaching that goal:

Every time the bells chime the hour, think of God. When you’ve managed that, add a thought on the half hour. Then every quarter of an hour and so on until you are thinking of God every waking minute of every single day.

 

I’ve never completely conquered that. But I’m still trying.

Ruth Graham, who reared their children and kept their home while her husband was busy evangelizing the world, said basically the same thing. Only she called it “praying on the hoof.”

Some of the greatest answers to my prayers have come in moments like that. Unexpected moments when I am suddenly, fully, aware of God.  So, this year, I’m determined to position myself for more of those good things. I’m making provision to hear more answers to prayer.

And, I am listening more intently for the bells to chime.

 

 

 

 

Read More

Show Up

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 10th, 2013mercy2 Comments

“We have to make plans and provisions for good things to happen in our lives.”       Joe Moore

DSC00759

Among my plans and provisions this year is a simple concept: Show up.

I think life is like one of those raffles where you must be present to win. Nobody else is going to hold my ticket for the drawing while I go home to take a nap. I have to show up every day, all the time, with no idea whether or not I will win.

That is true of my morning ritual. This is not my chair. But it is such an inviting room, isn’t it? My own chair is in a similar corner, but it is never sunny outside when I settle into it.

I go there every morning, a smidgen earlier than I want to be awake. I open my Bible and start to read the selected passages for the day. I use a routine someone once called The Full Meal Deal. It includes a chapter from the Old Testament, a Psalm (or five if they are short), the Proverb of the Day (there are 31 in the Book of Proverbs) and something from the New Testament. (Our church is reading together this year. We’re in Matthew right now.)

Sometimes, I fall asleep. Or I read for thirty minutes and don’t remember a single thing. Or I slog through a long list of names and get lost in all the consonants. But, by golly, I showed up.

And then, one morning, with no warning at all: “This is the way, walk ye in it” explodes from the page. Something so true, so rare, so perfectly-timed for the needs of the day it seems to have been lifted directly from my morning prayers.

It isn’t easy to show up for life every day. But I’m determined to do it. Because I’ve learned good things happen there.

Read More

The Year of Good Things

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 6th, 2013mercy4 Comments

lamppost2013 is taking on a theme in my mind. I’ve never been able to settle on one word for the year, but I could go with a theme. This one started with a phrase from our friend Joe Moore when he was preaching one Wednesday night. He said that God wants the best for us, but,

“We have to make plans and provisions for good things to happen in our lives.”

Plans and Provisions. That phrase thrilled me. It fits with several things I’ve read recently about taking responsibility for life. If you want something to change, don’t wait for someone to hand it to you. Don’t wait for circumstances to unfold. Go out and do something. Get a degree. Write a book. Take piano lessons.

Disclaimer: I fully believe in hearing and obeying the voice of God through the Holy Spirit. So if you are worried He might have a different plan for you than piano lessons, at least have the gumption to ask Him! Then put yourself in a position to find out if Beethoven is for you. Rent a piano for three months and see what happens.

So, I’m on a journey right now to make plans and provisions for good things to happen. It is a typical New Year/Blank Calendar kind of project, but I’m not worried about being a cliche. I’m excited about the endless possibilities.

Thanks, Joe!

 

 

Read More