Hosanna! {Now and Forevermore}

palm branches

He came as predicted. (Matthew 21:4-5)

And still they did not see. For their hopes were not set high enough. Wrapped tightly in political bondage, they were simply asking for a new leader. One to overthrow the Romans.

So when they shouted “Hosanna,” they were taking it literally. “Save us now.” Now. From the Romans. Not from forever. Not the world. Just us from the now.

But God knew.

God saw their need. And He promised to fulfill it.

Through Jesus.

Friends, Jesus took ‘Hosanna’ to a whole new level.

I’m sharing more about it this over at my 2nd home: 5 Minutes for Faith. Won’t you join me? Simply click on the button below!

The time is coming…Can you feel it?I hope to see you over there so I can hear how you are preparing…

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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The Living Word

Bible

I may never get over how His Word breathes life into my soul. How, even though it was written so long ago, it becomes relevant to my daily struggles.

It’s the promises I cling to most. Because I know and believe in the very fiber of my being He will never change. His Word will stand true.

So today, over at my second home, 5 Minutes for Faith, I’m sharing 5 promises I’ve clung to lately. I’d love to have you stop over and share what other promises you’re thankful for. Simply click on the icon below!

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Nubby {A Story of Redemption and a GIVEAWAY!}

Nubby Quote

We met on a youth group trip in high school. She sat window-side with her nose pressed in the newspaper, seeming too preoccupied and uninterested in removing her new-girl status.

Fresh out of braces, my new perm smell nearly gone, I sat directly behind her, determined to crack this puzzle before me. I aimed to show her what God’s love was capable of. She was going to walk off this church van as my new best friend.

For I had decided…she needed me.

Little did I know the tide would turn as I was reeled in hook, line, and sinker.

We hadn’t even made it to the edge of town before she had me looking in the classifieds for livestock. And I would squeal with delight when I would find what seemed to be a good deal. (Keep in mind, I didn’t even know the difference between heifer and Herefords.)

It took me longer than I care to admit to realize she was completely fooling me. I saw then how it was quite possible she didn’t need me — I needed her. And our friendship began as we laughed about my vulnerability, both sitting on level plains.

I tasted redemption firsthand.

Nancy is hilariously complex. That’s how I would describe her. For the fibers of God run deep within her and it’s pure joy discovering how He has made her to be.

Fast forward 20 years and you’ll find us both in different states with not-so-different missions. Though our lives appear opposite, we both aim to show what God’s love is capable of. We both have no trouble admitting we’re nothing without Him. Everything we have is because of Him…

Neither of us deserve it. Except, to me, she does…

And now, I’ve discovered Nancy putting her complex talents to good use in new ways for His glory. She has written her first novel. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I had no idea what to expect. But I knew it would be worth it…

Nancy gifted me with a copy and I devoured it in less than 2 days. Even though I knew how intelligent and unpredictable the author was, nothing could have prepared me for where this story took me.

It was wrought with the kind of evils I try to stay away from and keep my mind clear of. And yet I couldn’t look away. Because He was there. Every step of the way.

The characters gripped tightly from page 1. Some I wanted to adopt while others I wanted to sentence to death.

And in true Nancy fashion, it took me longer than I care to admit to realize all the characters looked the same in God’s eyes. Oh how He loves and offers to save each one…of us.

While I was reading, I kept thinking:

  • I’m no better.
  • I’m as sinful as they are.
  • How does He see hope in a wretch like….me?

That’s when you discover the main character of the book: Redemption. In true Godly fashion.

Nubby by author Nancy Paul

Friends, if you enjoy reading novels laced with glory. If your heart is drawn to others whom have suffered and lack more than you dared imagine… If you’ve ever prayed, “Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours”, this book is for you.

Because it will peel a piece of you away. It will lower you to a level plain. It will reveal a glimpse at the full weight of the cross. But more importantly: It will show you how God can use you. No matter how small it may feel to do something so big that one could only describe it as glory. By His grace.

And now that Nancy has once again shown me He doesn’t need us, but will use us if we’re willing, I find myself looking with eyes wide open. Anticipating His next move.

I have no idea on what to expect. But I know it will be worth it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Worth mentioning:

  • I received a free copy for my review, but Nancy didn’t ask me to write all this. This post is entirely my own.
  • THIS IS WHERE you can read more about Nubby and pick up your own copy (I’m not an affiliate).
  • THIS IS WHERE you may follow the story of the book on Facebook.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some might be surprised to find a few swear words in this book. Nancy has addressed this well, so I will quote her directly:

I am a follower of Jesus and my book has decidedly heart of the Father themes. When I was writing NUBBY I wrestled with foul language being in the book. I changed some choice words to G-rated ones at one point but it just didn’t work. The evil character represents an insidious, genuine depravity. I had to portray her as such and I made the decision, with the Lord, to keep those words in there, even though I knew it would offend and I couldn’t submit it to Zondervan or whatever. That’s maybe why I kept it, too…it should offend, just as some of the subject matter introduced should offend. I felt that as I portrayed darkness with some accuracy, it added to the strength and awe of the Light penetrating. This is an explanation, not an apology. It is the same one I gave to my little Baptist granny and to my pastor.

NUBBY author Nancy Paul

~~~~~GIVEAWAY~~~~~
NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congrats, hugapoohlouise, for winning!

Because I love Nancy and a good redemptive story, I am giving away a hard copy of this book!

The rules are simple.
Just share in comments you’d like to read this book and you’ll be entered.
I will draw on Sunday evening (Aug 4th), 9pm Central Time and will notify the winner.
They will have 48 hours to respond before another person is drawn.
I’m sorry my out-of-state friends…this is only available in the US of A…

How about you, friend? Have you seen the story of redemption unfold lately? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

The Journey of Independence {A Love Story}

NOTE: This was originally written for a friend’s blog series: Love Stories Only God Could Have Written. Her blog has been taken down for now and I didn’t want to lose this memory of how God grabbed hold of my parents. And what I learned about love and independence as a result.

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It was the eve of Independence, 1972, and she was finally clenching freedom in her hands.

Fresh out of high school, her long, amber hair glistened under the neon lights. Her captivating laugh turned heads, especially his, making bowling the last thing on his mind.

Fireworks were not seen, and strikes were not rolling his way as she declined his offer to meet again. More than once. Time has altered the memory of what persuaded her otherwise, but I’ve seen the Holy Spirit work in ways this large before.

Somehow this audacious, accomplished track star managed to lead her down the lane of love. And on April 27th, 1974, they pledged their independence to each other.

Yet who could have seen what lied ahead. On the outside, two kids, a dog, and a budding new business with a womb to match — it all looked like the American dream. It was his dream for certain. Minus the bottle that altered his vision and the ego that refused to lay dormant.

I was nearing four when whispers of divorce started filtering through my wallpapered walls. My finger would trace hearts around its tiny flowers and I would wonder how something like love could ever wilt.

Dying leaves crunched under foot as she made her way to the side door. The cooling breeze caught her breath and she almost turned back with it. In a way only He knows how, God managed to escort her down the asbestos-tiled maze to the ladies’ luncheon where His love awaited.

You see, there’s no telling what can happen when women captivated by Christ gather ’round. This auburn beauty with love in her womb saw what she’d been missing all along.

It’s hard to share the same bed when virtues collide. Even harder when a bottle lay active in-between. And though it pained her to admit, the option of separation still seemed the best solution. Because when love takes the shape of human form, it lays its life down to set another free. And when three lives are compared to one, you always choose the children.

Still, there’s no telling what can happen when a child grabs hold of faith and makes a plea to The One who bids her to come.

Snow began to concede as brown gave way to green. Rain began to nurture the barren earth as God began to fill her scarred and weary heart. And while away on a last-resort retreat, she grabbed hold of His waiting hand. His grip has never severed.

I traced the wallpaper again as she told me Whom she’d found while away. This Man who loved so deep and so wide. She had given her independence away again. This time for keeps as she handed her soul to her Savior. Because the love He offered made sense. And His grace allowed her to accept it.

One would think having a nature that never gives up would be a good thing. But when that drive steers with a bottle in hand, it becomes another thing entirely. I was young, but smart enough to know it would take the kind of miracle my Sunday School teacher talked about to change my father.

And that’s what I got. I knew it the instant I saw my daddy’s eyes.

The fog cleared and a sparkle bounced about as he told my brother and I what he had done. It was the first time we had ever heard of him submitting to anything let alone anyOne.

It was then I realized freedom is always traded for something else. And I knew I wanted to exchange it in for eternity, too.

Apologies followed, but the bottle never did. Divorce papers were never signed. Three decades of trials ensued, and my parents still walk hand in hand.

I was four when I discovered love only wilts if you don’t set it free. Love blossoms when you choose to lay your own life down. And if you daily quench it with the Living Well, it never runs dry. For it’s in His love that freedom runs rampant. Hearts are mended. Ever after becomes a reality.

How about you, friend? I’d love to hear your thoughts on love, independence…freedom. Feel free to share in the comments below!

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki