Watching and Waiting: You Can’t Microwave a Turkey!
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You may have heard of the recent prank played on unassuming mothers everywhere (well, everywhere there are microwaves).

My darling Aaron (son #2) texted me a few days before Thanksgiving in a panic:

“Mom, I have people coming over for ‘Friendsgiving’ and my oven broke. How do I cook a 25-pound turkey in the microwave?”

My ninja-Nancy instincts kicked in. I texted with rapid fire: 

“You CAN’T cook a turkey in the microwave!”  I then picked up the phone and coaxed him to try anything but that. He finally laughed and told me the whole thing was a joke. Nice, Aaron.

This wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. We’ll butcher just about anything to have what we planned for, or what we want here and now. Quickly!  We live in a microwave world.

You know how especially at Christmas, some things you bake will be ruined if you open the oven before they’re fully baked? Like Yorkshire pudding (OK, Americans call these pop-overs, but they’re Yorkshire pudding☺) If you open up the door of the oven before the Yorkshires are baked, they’ll flop. 

So, you patiently gaze through the glass, watching and waiting for them to puff up just right in all their pudding splendor. They’re SO worth the wait!

As it is with God.

Repeated throughout the Christmas accounts, we see the phrase “when it was time,” or “the time came.”  As in the birth of the long-awaited for Messiah:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born…Luke 2:6

God entered our time, rearing His God-head exactly as planned. At the perfect time. God’s timing is impeccable. Not a minute early. Not a smidge late. So be patient. There’s no rush.

And as Christmas Day approaches, here’s a fun, tangible reminder of God’s perfect timing: my family’s Yorkshire Pudding recipe. (We’ll be eating these babies on Christmas day!)

Be patient and enjoy every timely moment this Christmas, dear friend. 

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.


Nancy’s Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

(Makes 12, so I double it, ‘cause we love them!)

  • 1 1/2 cup milk 

  • 1 ½ cup white flour

  • 3 eggs

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • Vegetable oil

MIX

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. 

Gradually stir in milk.

Mix in eggs one at a time. 

Tip: Make the batter in advance, cover and refrigerate. (Anywhere from over night to 1 hour. It’s best chilled.)

HEAT oven to 450 degrees.

POUR approximately 1 tsp vegetable oil into medium-size muffin or pop-over pans. Tip: If using muffin pan, oil the sides of each muffin section.

PLACE pan in the oven for a couple of minutes. (Get that oil and pan hot!) 

REMOVE heated pan from hot oven.

SPOON chilled batter into each slot. 

BAKE approximately 15 minutes (ovens vary). Don’t open that oven door ‘til they’re done. (Puffed and golden.)

REMOVE from oven and serve immediately. 

The perfect side to roast beef. Eat with hot gravy. 

ENJOY!



Nancy Hicks
Watching and Waiting
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Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays) dear friend!

Advent is the four weeks that lead up to Christmas. It’s for those who are watching and waiting for Jesus, the Christ, or Messiah to arrive. Of course, today, we remember that first arrival. Today, we call that the first “Christmas.” As we prepare for Christmas 2018, we join with the early Jewish community in the watching and waiting. 

When I think about watching and waiting, I get antsy. My MO isn’t to watch and wait. It’s to move! Truth is, while driving, if I see a red light or a bit of traffic up ahead, I’ll turn and zig-zag more slowly through back routes, just so I can keep moving. Do you relate? Stand-stills can be hard. 

Zechariah the priest knew what it was like to watch and wait. He and his elderly wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children for decades. In an honor-and-shame society, having children meant great blessing and honor. Having none was excruciating. They must have begged God for years to have a baby.

While performing his priestly duty, Zechariah was visited by an angel who announced to him, “your prayer has been heard…” Luke 1:13

While he was having this life-altering encounter with an angel, just outside “the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple…” 

Everyone was watching and waiting.

If you’re watching and waiting for God to show up in some way, my love, you’re in good company. Trust me, God always shows up.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.


CALLING

Sit quietly and ask yourself: What am I really waiting for? Sometimes in the quiet, you’ll hear the deepest longing - the true desire - that often gets missed.








Nancy Hicks
Are You Full?

I’m full! We’ve all just come off a lot of family, friends and food. Hopefully you’re full, too.

All around, I, like you, see a lot that causes my heart to sing, “Thank you! Thank you, Lord.”  Thank you for:

  • The father-in-law that moved his whole family to a whole new level of kindness and generosity 

  • Nana, that still shows us how to play board games and laugh herself silly.

  • The newest member of the family that arrived just in time for the season.

I just feel full.

At our place, you never know who’ll be around the Thanksgiving table. I’m from Canada so our family - all still back home - doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving this time of year. On any given year we have a wonderful mixture of visiting family, my boys and Rachel, close friends and others.  What others, you ask? Depends. Honestly, we just pray and see who God brings. It’s never the same and it’s always good. People fill me up.

Maybe the only “full” you feel is in your stomach. You may be coming off a time of pain. Maybe you were pinched with reality - ouch! - and it hurt.  Sickness, job loss, weight issues, church issues, relational trauma. You’re not “full,” you’re fed up!

But, now that the Thanksgiving turkey’s been turned into soup, I want to remind you: still…there’s so much to be thankful for.

I love Nehemiah. What a leader. I like a guy with guts who knows how to take charge if he’s in charge (getting chills).

Here’s what he says to the people of God who start to grieve and mourn when it wasn’t time for that:

“Do not mourn or weep... Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our LORD. Do not grieve…”

Nehemiah 9:10

There is a time for grieving of course. But surely, as we move into this season of deeper, fuller hope, you can heed the great leader’s advice:

Do not grieve. Celebrate! 

If you missed it last week…December dawns. Get full, my friend.

Giving thanks,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING:

Sit quietly with God and allow Him to fill you by praying this way: God, fill me with you. Fill me with as much of you as I can take. Turn my mourning into music making, I pray. Amen.

Nancy Hicks
Give Thanks for Her?
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Here in the U.S. Thanksgiving is tomorrow! (Which is weird ‘cause my second-born arrived on Thanksgiving Day in October. In Canada.)

As you hop in the car or on a plane or over to the grocery store one last time, think about this:

Think about the ones that will be sitting around the table. Aren’t you so grateful for them? Sweet nieces and nephews, fun big-brothers, and grandma that makes the best pumpkin pies!

Now, think specifically about the one you’re not all that excited about. The one you find difficult. Maybe it’s an obnoxious cousin, a picky mother, or a child that’s so disruptive.

I thank God He didn’t give us lofty ideas about how to “just feel good. Just be nice. Just get along.” He gave us practical steps in handling these situations:

Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:17,18

I want to challenge you:

Today, and all through tomorrow as the family gathers:

Pray for that difficult person. Give thanks for every good thing about them. Don’t quit praying about them, even as they “go off” or do their thing. 

Pray. Giving thanks.

Blessings to you, and each one around your table this Thanksgiving season.

Much love,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

Identify that person. Write down their name if it helps. Sometimes the people that struggle with these kinds of exercises are the ones that know what to do (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know), but just will not do it. Don’t be that one. Pray. Give thanks. 

Nancy Hicks
Note From Nashville: Some Wisdom
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Just home from a conference in Nashville, and was thinking: 

The more I move into this world of Christian speaking, the more I’m learning about landmines. You know, the traps and trip-wires I have to navigate. 

Here’s something I’m learning: be careful. Be careful of triggering words (names) that lead to barriers. The climate in the U.S. is tense and skittish.

Here’s an example: When you write a book, it’s a good idea to get people to endorse your work. Of course depending on who endorses you, you can label yourself and in the blink of an eye, be deemed irrelevant. This happens everywhere, but it certainly happens among Christians. 

What I find frustrating is I’m not only one thing. 

“Oh, she reads this author. She’s this.”

“Oh, she’s friends with this person. She’s that.”

Liberal. Conservative. Republican. Democrat. Evangelical. Heretic.

It’s all just so darn annoying!

Someone recently heard me say one thing, and went off on what he assumed I therefore felt and believed about everything. Wrong. Flat out wrong. 

Now, just because I don’t grand stand on any of these labels doesn’t mean I have a grab-bag theology. Every issue I continue to wrestle with through prayer, engaging with Scripture and people, all kinds of thinking, living, loving people.

I’ve got you in mind, ‘cause you’re gonna be facing the same issues over turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. Know what I mean?

The division in society, in families and in the Church around politics, or just a totally different world-view, is real. So what do we do?

  • Pray before you show up. Ask God to give you a humble, loving heart.

  • Listen. Seek to understand where people are coming from. Even forfeit your need to be understood.

Finally: 

Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  (Proverbs 2:1-6)

Just thought I’d share what I was thinking.

Much love,

Nancy


I’m real because God is so real.

Worship: Part 5 - Get Up and Go!
 
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Why is it such a hassle to go to church?  

I know there are a boat-load of reasons - emotional, big, real reasons why it’s such a hassle sometimes. But, there are also an equal number of nasty little issues that get in the way. Let’s begin with the nasty little issues, then go after the bigger stuff in other Nancy’s Notes.

Showing up for church is half the battle. Today, in North America, it’s a tough part of the battle. Church competes with sports, speedy lifestyles, shuffling kids back and forth, work as usual on Sundays, etc. But in it all, you have choices. 

How can we make church (meeting together) a priority this fall?

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Find a church. Church is not listening to a podcast. It’s not pulling up another YouTube video of Tim Keller or Andy Stanley (as much as we love you, guys!). That’s hearing a sermon, and it’s powerful, but it’s not church, my love. You need to mix and mingle, meet and share with the people of God. Your gifts are missing. YOU are missing. And YOU matter. Church can be a pain, I know. People can be pains. I’m a pain! (I write this with the backdrop of politics creating genuine schisms in families and church communities, but THAT’s a bigger, separate, but related issue.) Still, we come together in it all, and declare: we need you, God! We want you!

    Look for a church that does three things: 

    • Holds high the name of Jesus. 

    • Shares the Bible as God’s written and reliable word to us, and 

    • Loves all people. (Of course I hear the sneers. But these are the things to unpack with the people of God, not without them.) 

  2. Put it in your calendar. Basic, right? If going to church (whether you meet in a field, a home, a movie theater, a coffee shop, or a “traditional” building), isn’t a regular habit, everything will push it out. Have you noticed? Especially if group worship is not a regular habit, put the stake in the ground around where and when. Like sex with your spouse. If something so important is getting pushed out, then schedule it.

  3. Ditch the excuses. 

    • I’m tired. 

    • It’s the only day I get to…

    • I don’t like…

    • My kids have…

      Would you do this with your children’s education? Your employment? Oh, I see, those are valuable and risk-free? Face your excuses and handle the Life suckers. (No, I’m not talking about your kids!)

4. Prepare.

  • Prepare your heart and mind all week so that you come ready to offer up all that you are to God’s service and glory.

  • Prepare your kids, “We’re getting up earlier, so …” (You’re the parent. You’re in charge.)

  • Prepare your clothes. (This from a fashionista.)

  • Prepare your body. (Get to bed at a decent hour.)

If I came across in this post as a bossy pants - sorry. I’m not trying to. I’m trying to nudge us to respond to God’s call to LIFE. 

Much love in Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

What’s the hardest barrier I mentioned (or missed) for you and/or your household? Face the issue. God in you has what it takes to face it and handle it.

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worship: Part 4 - Roaring Rocks!
 
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What do you yell about? What gets you going? Good or bad, does anything call out a voice in you?

Sometimes we can surprise ourselves at what prompts a visceral response. An image on T.V. (another sex abuser?), your mom who picks and picks and picks one too many times until something comes out of you that shocks you both! And what about politics? Does this get you fired up enough to express something above a gentle word?

Don’t forget the good stuff, too. Your kid on the soccer field will get you going. She finally has the ball. She’s running. Pony tail is flying! And you, the doting parent just sit there on your hands, right?

Right.

I watched the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl last year while sitting in a pub in New Zealand. Even the mostly non-Americans cheered and made some noise. But back home in Philadelphia?

Puh-lease. WILD! Parades, high fives, body slams, kissing, community and noise. Lots of good noisy noise.

Even if you’re the docile type - quiet, unassuming, tame - does anything, good or bad, get you to roar?

But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!”

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they remain silent, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:39,40)

The disciples (people following Jesus), saw Him and praised Him. They were loud and joyful. They’d been with Jesus and seen Him do so much. They were beginning to get the picture of just who Jesus was. 

Today I sit wondering: Are earthquakes what Jesus meant about the rocks crying out? 

Quaking. Splitting. Roaring: Somebody’s gotta praise Him! 


In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

What excites you about God? Anything? If so, think about that. Sometimes, you just gotta’ ditch the decorum. Read a Psalm until your pores pour out praise.

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worship: Part 3 - Let ‘Er Rip
 
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Can I get your opinion on something?

Let me describe a dilemma:

Say God’s given you a great singing voice. Like, not only a voice that mama says is “real nice” but others affirm (as much as we love our mamas, they can be a bit biased in these things).

Now, say you love, love, love God. Like crazy love Him. You enjoy His company regularly, you go wild when you see Him move in people’s lives. You know and have proven His promises. Tested them. You’re sure those promises are sure.

Now comes Sunday, or whatever day you gather with people who celebrate God. 

So you - the one with the singing voice - are singing and feeling alive and bold. You imagine you’ve somehow found yourself among the angelic beings. They’re letting it rip, so you do, too.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:2,3)

Only, you’re not actually in the heavenly realms, are you? (Or are you?) You’re on earth. In your church. 

And you’re standing out. It’s for Him, but you’re not alone. And some sitting around you love it. But, your family’s laughing, or embarrassed and nudging you to pipe down.

But you’ve got passion and God’s given you a voice.

Do you sing full voice and let ‘er rip? Or do you not? Do you hold back the force of your adoration and expression of it? 

Of course, if you’re only and always fully out there, I suppose you want to check that. We are after all a group of worshipers. And each of us, after all, is prone to wander (at the worst times), into see me, hear me. Or, God are you happy? Do you see how much I love you? Are you happy with me?  

How it can so easily become about us.

Still. It’s a dilemma, don’t you think?


In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

We want to praise God with everything we’ve got, but we don’t want to distract, do we? What say you?

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worship: Part 2 - The War For Worship
 
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We’re made to worship. And worship we must. Everything in us desires, craves, longs to worship God.

And we see a battle, a war in us when it comes to worship.

We place our adoration, attention and praise on people: kids, parents, spouses, friends, heck, even our pets (ok, they aren’t “people” but sometimes we treat them like they are). I don’t know what I’d ever do without you, we think or even say.

We accidentally worship things, too: trees, stars, jewelry, special places, etc. 

We revere them. Our admiration is high.

God built us to find our everything in Him. And He knows we misplace our worship, too. It’s why He set the standard for His people (notice, for HIS people not for everyone), right after He brought the Israelites out of slavery: 

“ No other gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am GOD, your God …”  (Exodus 20:3,4)

That’s the first commandment. Look how it’s reiterated in Deuteronomy:

“Deeply respect GOD, your God. Serve and worship him exclusively… Don’t fool around with other gods, the gods of your neighbors …” (6:13,14)

Then drawing on these passages while rumbling with Satan in the wilderness, Jesus shoots back, 

“Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.” (Luke 4:8)

Now, if you don’t worship the God of the Scriptures (Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit) you may be thinking: God sounds demanding. Insecure even.

Not at all. He knows there’s always a war for worship. And He’s showing us where to find the culmination of our cravings. 

Worship of God is truly life’s climactic experience! 

In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

Notice the language you use and longings that rise up in you when you’re around certain people and/or things. Are they potentially warring for your worship?  Just notice. 

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Well, Well, Well
 
Well, Well, Well

Well, Well, Well

[Jesus] told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 

John 4:1-18

I don’t know about you, but most of what I’ve ever heard about the woman at the well involves her sleazy past. Five husbands! And living with a guy now.

It’s often read with inflection that conjures up raised eyebrows, slight head shaking, tsk, tsk, tsk. Who would dispute Jesus’ unearthing her checkered past? If you read beyond verse 18, you’ll notice she changed the subject to the topic of worship, and sort of takes a jab at Jesus.

When I studied performance and sang for years back in Canada, one thing I learned: always read a script or a lyric in loads of different ways. Put emphasis on different words, like 

I have no husband.

I have no husband.

I have no husband.

This is the woman’s response when Jesus brings up her current living arrangement.

Also, consider the context. Does the context allow sadness? Anger? Pride, shame, etc.? Thinking through historical, literary and theological contexts, what makes the most sense? This is one among loads of moments from the Bible, where we wish we could see her face. Hear her tone. But we can’t. So we do our best, and sometimes make assumptions.

Think about this:

This woman at the well has a past, but maybe everything is not as it seems. 

Remember, women weren’t the ones who had power in first century. They were property. They were subject to divorce for any little thing. And when they were divorced, they were destitute. A man could make or break a woman’s reputation.

Perhaps her husbands died. (But five? Probably not.)

Perhaps her sin wasn’t a “love-them-and-leave-them” attitude. Perhaps it was more she had undesirable traits (anger, resentment, who knows?), creating issues in her marriages that caused men to send her away.

The point:

Be very careful to not make assumptions about people based on only raw facts. Be very careful to not make assumptions about the voice of Jesus speaking into these things.


In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

Is there someone in your life you’ve made assumptions about? Even if you are correct, is it possible that you could be making assumptions about the way God is speaking into the situation?

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Nice
 
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My boys once worked at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt Shop. It’s some of the best ice cream in our area! I remember them coming home and telling us tales of their experiences in the scooping business.

“It always amazed me how people order and receive their ice cream. Some just say, ‘I’ll take,’ or ‘give me’ - it’s weird. Then they sometimes take it and don’t say, ‘Thank you.’”

We as a family would talk about the basics of civility. “It’s so basic, boys, but so overlooked,” Cam and I would empathize.

Nice is nice. But as much as I like manners, I’m not interested in helping people be nice.

I think that’s what a lot of modern Christianity has turned into: a bunch of nice people. (Well, actually, there are a bunch of not-so-nice Christians you may have noticed, too.) Be nice. Look nice. Play nice. 

I mean, don’t be a jerk. Say “please” and “thank you,” and for Pete’s sake, don’t slam doors in people’s faces. But don’t think that this - this basic act of being human - makes you a Christian. 

Jesus didn’t die to make us nice. He “died to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8. And we join Him in that work! 

“THY KINGDOM COME… ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” Matthew 6:10

That doesn’t take nice people. It takes all the power of heaven brought down to destroy hell.

In Christ,

- Nancy

 

 

Your Calling For Today

Have you fallen into the trap of being nice? Don’t be unkind or unloving. But do check to see if your brand of Christianity looks like Jesus.

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Let's See Watcha Got
 
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You know how you can read certain passages in scripture over and over and then one day, BAM, it hits you in a whole new way? That happened to me with this passage I recently shared with you:

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.

When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:18-20

Last time I zeroed in on the fabulous friends. (I hope you actually did something with what I talked about. :-) )

Now, I want us to imagine Jesus’ face as he looked up and noticed these guys lowering the paralyzed friend down through the roof, crowd watching, and situated him right in front of Jesus.

Jesus’ response tells us a lot. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

I’m not focusing on the “sins are forgiven” part. That’s a topic for another day. However, imagine the look on Jesus’ face as “he saw their faith” that moved him to say what he did.

I believe he was thrilled. Excited. Optimistic. Just look at them. Look at their faith!

Here’s my point: Do something today that stretches your faith. That demonstrates you know God can do more than you typically ask or imagine.

I believe it thrills God’s heart.

Otherwise, it’s “ho-hum” for God and for us.

“Why are you asking me for things you already know I do? Why do you pray for things I’ve already confirmed in scripture will be? “

Example: why do we ask God to be with us when He said, “I will never leave you?” It’s like asking your employer daily to please pay you. Uh, yeah!

Have faith for greater things!

In Christ,

-Nancy

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Ask God for His heart on a matter you’ve got on your plate right now. Don’t tell him what you want. Ask Him how you should pray/what you could do that would excite His heart by your faith in Him!


 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Fabulous Friends
 
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Take a look at these friends in the Gospel of Luke:

“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.

When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.”

Luke 5:18-19

Let’s stop right there.

Couple of things:

1.   Do you have friends that would pick you up and carry you somewhere? Anywhere? Never mind pick you up and take you where you need to be.

2.   These friends are carrying this guy to Jesus and there’s a bump in the road. Not just a bump - gridlock. No way through. I’ve been in areas of the world - some Asian countries, for example - where I’ve been pressed on every side by people. Trust me, getting through the barrier with a small group while carrying someone would have been extremely difficult.

But look at them:

“Not that way guys. We’ll try something else!”

Can you picture them?

“Try the roof! Hold him steady… Steady…OK, we got it!”

One guy’s balancing on the roof while removing roof tiles. Dirt’s falling in on people inside as they look up and wonder, ‘what’s going on up there?’

I’ll tell you what’s going on up there: guts! Friends with great faith who stick together and know where to get what they need…for their friend!

Why all the fuss? Why such tenacity?

“We need to get our friend to Jesus. We’ll do whatever it takes, but we know Jesus has what he needs.”

Get yourself at least one of that kind of friend. They’re gifts. They’re worth their weight in gold. I know, I have a small handful of those closest to me who know me.

We don’t just need a shoulder to cry on. We don’t just need someone to pat us on the back and tell us we’re terrific. We need the kind of friend(s) who’ll pick us up and carry us - drag us if they must  - to the only one who can meet our deepest, impossible, insatiable needs

In Christ,

Nancy

 
 

Your Calling For Today

If you want a friend, be a friend. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be a taker. Get in there and love the friend God has given to you.


 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Benin
 
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This week’s Note was to be from Benin. But I’m not in Benin.

 (If you saw my video on Facebook or Instagram, you already know that.) 

After over a year of planning, I didn’t. Get. To. Benin. For those who worked with me to prepare and welcome me, again, I’m incredibly sorry that we didn’t share together as we had planned. But, I genuinely trust God’s leading in all things. 

I hate it when people shoot lofty ideals at us when things go wrong. In fact, if some well-intentioned person has said something too soon to you when something shocking and painful has happened - you broke up with the one you loved, got cancer, got divorced, lost a child - I’m so sorry.

They give you a quick Bible verse. A hasty mantra. Anything too soon that’s true, almost “true,” or should be true, to fix it.

“Chin up. Get happy!” as if to say.

(And do remember, you and I have done that, too.)

Even if what’s said is true, for example, “God is in control,” don’t speak too soon! Let the sadness and shock sink in a bit before you try to lift it off by giving truth and hope.

I promise you, if you own the sadness (not wallowing in it, but realizing and owning it), the Truth and Life that God calls you to in the midst of the sadness, and well beyond, will, at surprising times, gush like water breaking through a dam!

It won’t be manufactured and artificial. It’ll come from a deep sense of what truly is, without spiritually bypassing feelings, and the reality that we live in a world that’s muddled and mysterious.

As I sat for a few minutes in the airport in Paris, France, after being told I would not get on the plane because of a clerical error on my visa for Benin, I sensed a deep Peace. 

All my issues were coming up in me: I’d disappointed people, wasted time and money, was embarrassed and far away from home. All of it “tsk tsk-ed” me. 

But I was not overwhelmed. I had Peace.

Right before I’d left for Benin to fly out of Washington’s Dulles International, I’d read John Chapter 1.

And here’s what stood out to me:

“Jesus found Phillip. And said to him, ‘Follow me’.” John 1:43

Jesus found Philip. He found him and called him to Himself, and told him, “stay with me.” 

And he did. He followed Him everywhere.

God was with me all the way to France. Was with me as I stood dumbfounded when things didn’t go as planned.

And God is with you in your murky place and the place that seems so clear. He is always finding. Always calling. Always leading.

I’m unbelievably grateful.

Nancy

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Are you somewhere feeling lost? Feeling disrupted or alone? God is with you. He’s already found you and calls you to Himself.


 
Respondez S’il Vous Plait
 
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Ever had a time when you put out an invitation and people didn’t respond?

Some RSVP-ed and then pulled out at the last minute. Some didn’t respond at all. Some said, “I’ll let you know when we get closer to the time,” giving you the impression if they got a better offer, they’d take that instead.

There's also the genuine dilemma of people not even knowing what RSVP means. Let me help you with that: “Respondez s’il vous plait” is French for “Respond If You Please.” Whether you can make it or not, you respond.

Ok, now that that’s cleared up, let’s get back to the real issue - people not accepting the invitation.

Whether it’s a shower, a wedding, a backyard BBQ or girl’s night out, we put out our invitation: “Please come!” And sometimes it’s met with, “meh.”

God gets it.

A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests…But they all began to make excuses.
— Luke 14:16,18

Jesus is telling this parable.

He’s teaching the realities of the kingdom (or reign) of God. God holds out this invitation to a lavish final banquet in heaven, and constant not-to-be-missed cocktail hours and appetizer courses this side of heaven:

Come! Join me. Join the celebration and the feast!

And then, just like today, busy, “important,” in-demand people say, “meh.”

So two thoughts for you today:

  1. If you’ve been dissed by a less-than-favorable response to your kind and generous invitation, know that you are more acquainted with God. You are, therefore, in excellent company and you will know Him in that place.
  2. Don’t delay in your RSVP to His constant invitation to feast with Him - here and now, and oh, yes, later, when the place card has your name on it for the Feast of your Life!

Respond to God with a whole-hearted, “YES!”

IN CHRIST,

-Nancy


I'm real because God is so real

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Read Luke 14:15-24. Sit with it. There are always several points in a passage of scripture, but there’s also a main one: say, “yes.”


 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worth It
 
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The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
— Matthew 25:40

I wiped the tears streaming down my cheeks. How could this be? How could I cry over this?

But on the drive to the theater to do matinee and evening shows each Saturday and Sunday, I’d cry.

Crazy! I was doing what I’d always wanted to do. Perform. Sing. Now here I was living it out in the professional theater world, and I was crying like the babies I’d left at home.

All the years I put into performing and preparing for a career in music, I never really factored in children. Sure, I wanted a family, but I didn’t think really hard about the particulars. But how can you really?

Then those little ones came along…I just found it too hard to do both as well as I’d like.  And I really didn’t want to miss out on them! So I stepped aside from aggressively pursuing performing. I traded in costumes for jeans and cute shoes.

Over the years, I remember telling my boys, when the topic my dreams and my career came up, “You were so worth it. It wasn’t easy, but I’d do it again.”

And I meant it.

To you mom of little ones, I have three thoughts:

  1. If God’s called you to motherhood, give it your all.
  2. While parenting those young ones, make sure you also do something that pours into who you are as a woman apart from being their mom. Trust me. Everyone involved needs it more than you know.
  3. God will take all that you do during this time - as a wife, a mother, a woman - and raise you to more of who He’s called you to be.

I’d trade in what I believed I was giving up to gain what I now have: the evolution of my calling, and two grown sons who are the delight of their dad’s and my life.

Totally worth it.

In Christ,

-Nancy

I'm real because God is so real

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Think about the one thing you do to honor the woman God’s created you to be while you raise your children. If you’re going to honor their worth, you need to experience your own..


 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Women and Church
 
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What if I told you that women today are finding it increasingly tough to fit in in their local church?

Maybe you’re one of these women, and you’re like, “Yes! That’s me.”

One reason is that for many women, what they do in the home or workplace (running a business, setting broken bones, annually accumulating ridiculous air miles, or managing a household and Lord knows all that entails) calls for them to reach into the deepest parts of who they are, and by the power of God in them, do the thing!

It demands that we live out the Scriptures real time:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
— Colossians 3:23,24

If you’re like me, I take that verse, and a heap of other passages like it, very seriously.

These places and experiences beyond “church” buildings afford women opportunities to spread our wings and do our thing. They call us to dig deep. To build. To lead. To be creative and work with other like-minded people to get the best out of us.

I wonder - do a large number of women today feel like racehorses in the marketplace, who are then confined in the church to a small, fenced-in yard? “Walk around here, little filly.”

This should not be!

Dear women, look at your gifts, your skills and expertise.  As soon as you’re able, go to someone in leadership at your local church and offer who you are to the service of God.  I know it can be frustrating, but do it anyway.

The blood, sweat and tears we pour into other areas of our lives, God is reclaiming for His Church to build His kingdom!

 

In Christ, 

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Ask God to make a way for you to use all that you are in your church. Maybe you’ve tried. I know. Try again. First, offer your heart and all to God. Then with a humble, tender, but strong posture, make known what you hold for use in His Church.


 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Letting Kids Really Go
 
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David’s almost home!  After two-and-half years of living in Shanghai, China, our guy’s coming back!

When David, our first-born son, sat down with us over three years ago to express his thoughts on heading to China, Cam and I were surprised.

“Tell us more, honey.”

He did.

God has much in store for your life. Go! As long as you’re moving towards something and not away from it, David.”

Next thing you know, he’s cracking the Mandarin language and buying a one-way ticket to China.

Many people have asked me how I could be ok with this. “Don’t you find it hard? Don’t you miss him? I could never do that,” they say. Of course it’s hard. But since when does, “it’s hard” mean you shouldn’t do it?

So here are a few thoughts I have for those of you who are preparing as your child heads off to their next milestone, be it college, study-abroad, marriage, missions, or first grade:

1. Your job and honor is to discover who they are and call them out. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

This verse is all about discovery. You get to discover your unique child’s way. It’s not cookie-cutter.

2. Get out of God’s way. God has called your son or daughter. They’re on a journey with Him regardless of whether you know it, see it or like the way it’s shaping up.

3. Resist fear. Look that kid in the eye and tell them, “With God, all things are possible. Go with God.” Don’t let your fear hold them back.

4. Don’t control them. That’s about your fear. Love them. Cheer them on. Speak words of life and truth over them. Side coach. Bless, and don’t control.

5. Pray. Pray. Pray some more.

Are you going to cry? Maybe.

Will it hurt to say “good-bye?” Of course. But, do it anyway.

And in most cases, it’s not like they’re moving to China!

Much love in Christ,

Nancy

I'm real because God is so real

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Prepare your words of en-courage-ment to that son or daughter. You have the opportunity to be a part of what God’s doing in their life.


 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Disappointment
 
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Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
— 1 Peter 5:6-7

I remember watching a movie several years ago where the nastiest trick was played on a girl turning sixteen.

A bunch of “popular” teenage girls said they’d come to her party. The single mom - with little resources but all the love and anticipation of celebrating her daughter’s sweet sixteen - had gone all out. She’d arranged the guest list and invites. She decorated their little, unimpressive house, made all the food, and like a giddy teen herself, pranced around nervously, awaiting party time!

7:00 came and went. 7:15 - still no partiers. 7:30. 8:00. No one showed.

Heartbreaking. 

No friends. No gifts. No “Happy Birthdays,” no “thanks for the great party.”

Nothing. Nothing but the realization that people can be so cruel, and life is full of disappointments.

Maybe you relate.

  • Maybe you’ve made a plan this summer that didn’t quite pan out.
  • Maybe you hoped to take time with family, but couldn’t get the schedules pulled together. 

  • Maybe an unexpected expense crashed in.   

  • Maybe it rained

  • Maybe the hotel you booked didn’t look at all like the website.

  • Maybe something broke, like an arm or a relationship.

It wasn’t as you’d expected.

And expectations can be demands.

So make the plan. Hold it lightly. Watch it happen - now or later, or not as you thought it was to be. Then when you’re disappointed, because of course you will be, communicate with grace and love.

IN CHRIST,

-Nancy


I'm real because God is so real

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Tell God about your disappointments. If it’s a “someone,” go gently and prayerfully to the one who has disappointed you. Share your heart, but make no demands.


 
3 Most Important Things in Growing in God
 
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You’ve heard it over and over, I’m sure: when you buy a house, the three most important things are:

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location

OK. Seems pretty important.

The same is true for growing in God. The three most important things are:

  1. Relationship
  2. Relationship
  3. Relationship

There’s no getting around it.

You may say, “Wait a minute, Nancy! What about love? What about Scripture? What about prayer and church?”

Oh, no, I’m not forgetting. All of these serve to nurture the relationship that God called us into when He dreamed of us. Crafted us. Breathed His life-giving breath into us.

“Look at you. Just look at you. Let me love you and lead your life, dear child,” He tenderly says to each of us.

Relationship is central to God. He’s not interested in your rules and religion. He’s not impressed or warmed by them. He also knows how twisted and screwed up you’ve been. How wayward and nasty you can be.

None of that scares Him away.

He’s interested in you turning to Him and letting Him love you to wholeness. How incredibly kind of Him.

 

IN CHRIST,

 
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I'm real because God is so real

 
 

Your Calling For Today

Think about the healthiest human relationship you have. What’s it like? Now apply the good things you’ve learned about that to God.

  • Talk and listen
  • Laugh
  • Tell Him everything
  • Go for a hike together

You get the picture.