Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours, and a very Happy New Year! The day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 28, the kids and I started to decorate our home for Christmas. We did very small touches of decorating in each room throughout the house. Here’s a fun, quick tour of a few of those rooms:

We took down our Fall wreath and hung our Christmas wreath on the front door. Then in our family room we added some poinsettias to the mantel. That red vase on the center table is there year round but it does add a festive Christmas look to the room.

Living room

In our dining room, I added some more poinsettias and candles on top of the piano…

piano

…and also on the dining table.

table

The above picture is our dining table after we decorated for the holidays, and below is  right before Christmas dinner.

dining2 dining3

 

dining1

In the Kitchen we hung a small home made wreath by the window facing the backyard.

kitchen island

And that’s it!

Simple, but very enjoyable to our family. Oh! And how could I forget to mention that my husband has been streaming Christmas music through the house since before Thanksgiving 🙂

This Christmas was jammed packed with activities! I’ll be back soon to share with you some of these activities and pictures as well. Until then, enjoy these last few hours of 2014 with your family. What a blessing that God has spared our lives to see another year, in Jesus name.

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resistance builds character…

Full page photoSo much has happened… where do I begin? I’ll start with my grandmother Norah Douglas, who passed this year. I loved my grandmother very much, and she loved me. She was a great lady, a woman of prayer. Since her passing, I have prayed that the mantel of prayer that rested on my grandmother and on so many other great ladies like; Nona Freeman, Priscella McGruder, and Shirley Cole, would somehow rest on me.

Is it apostolic to say that I have grown? I’m not sure, but the truth is, deep in my heart I know I’m not the same woman I use to be. I’m not sure if it’s because of the two wonderful, challenging years I spent praying for my husband and the Youth of our church in youth ministry, or the burden of raising three children, all with different personalities, in this Christless society. Maybe it’s a result of the crippling challenges I’ve faced in my own life that have driven me both to my knees in prayer, and to the bible seeking desperately for a word of encouragement from the Lord. Whatever it was, somehow I feel my roots have sunken deeper and created an anchor, a foundation that holds me even when I think “for sure, this one is going to uproot me”, but my God in His mercy allows my roots to remain. Even in the storm, my house still stands.

Somehow resistance builds character.. wisdom… understanding and humility. I remember being a young teen and crying out to God on my knees at the alter. Praying a prayer I would pray many times over in my life, “Lord Jesus, if there was no hell to shun or no heaven to gain, I would still serve you. If you can use anything Lord, please use me.”

There were days I wondered why the emotional pain was so severe, I wondered why the rejection was so cruel, and the rebuke so strong. And even worst, where was God? I prayed the prayer Rebecah, Isaac’s wife,  prayed when she was pregnant with her twin boys, “If it be so, why am I thus?” If it be so – because I knew even from a young age that i was pregnant with a call, with a purpose and with a burden. So, If I am called of the Lord, why so many road blocks? surely my gift would make room for me. So I was confused; God, why am I thus – I thought you would use me because I so desperately want to please you, I dream about being a soul winner – a missionary.

What I didn’t understand then, that is becoming crystal clear to me now, is that God’s ways are not our ways. Moses, one of the greatest leaders this world has ever seen, started his ministry with murder. Joseph, who God used to save the entire then known world, started his ministry in a pit, then slavery then prison. His failure in our eyes, was His ascension / his growth in God’s eyes.

I have learned to rejoice and be thankful in every situation. Because my steps are ordered by the Lord. For when I thought He was destroying me, He was only pruning me, and molding me. Though the refiner’s fire hurt so severely, when I come out, I’ll be as pure as gold! So though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Stay in the fight brethren. Don’t despair, those mountains may be a result of answered prayers. He has to purge us before He can use us! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

Paula Nelson Logo 1