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My Grownup Christmas List

154659_521031277916121_608422383_nThe little girl with the brown curly hair, sparkle in her blue eyes, and a little white nighty runs to see what is under the tree.   Her parents smiles beam ear to ear; its a full size doll house, with little plastic figures, excitement stirs inside.  The same excitement is in her brother  – he too receives his perfect gift.   But the most important that they all share was the love for one another.

The love that resided within the home was lasting, deep, and strong.   The mother that loves her children so much and wants them to have the best was quick to sacrifice her needs for her loves.  A father that works hard to provide for his family to give them more than the pennies his family had, and wants to be the father he never had a chance to have.    Two children unaware of the challenges behind the scenes, all they feel is love every day and have parents that care so deeply for them.   Challenges come there way as they move from place to place, but the bond is never broken.  The gift that grew was inside their home.

As I look back in time, I have such admiration for the love that was built in our home.    We each have a story, the journey unique to each one of us.   My journey has been one coupled with challenges but always fought with victories, as I had Him in my corner.      My heart has been healed in so many ways, there have been hurts, pain, injury, illness, but as we moved through each of these valley’s the silver-lining always emerged –  the love for family.  Love.   A single word that carries so much meaning…So thankful.

Years ago my Christmas list was about material things, but in this 40th year of my life, my grown up Christmas list is so much more:

  • Good health within our family.   Healing of ailments quickly and strength to run through our veins.
  • Good health for our friends, and those that we interact with every day.
  • Protection and well being for all whom we love.
  • Protection of our sponsor kids and their families, may there lives be blessed and all barriers be broken so that they can have abundance in all things.
  • For peace to reign in times of uncertainty.
  • For those that are struggling for Hope to shine through. 
  • For people to replace anger with forgiveness, to have the ability to let go and enjoy every moment.
  • Forgiveness to always be present.
  • For our family to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
  • For the focus of all to be on how we can come together and care for one another.
  • For love to reign. 

We are so blessed, to have the son of God that came to this earth to bring new life, abundance, joy and to always forgive us in all things.   He leads us, loves us and helps us to navigate through this messy life. He is the reason that we have the good in our lives.  May you be blessed during this Christmas season and may love shine on you and yours. 

Dear Lord God, As I sit here today, thank-you for showing me the positive always.   I thank-you for the abundance you have given me as gifts in love, family and life.   May I always be grounded and focused on the people that matter, and may you guide me in times where I am uncertain of my focus.  I thank-you for a heart of love that I have deep inside.  I pray for all of those people today that are struggling, may you bring them light and peace father.  If there are people that have lost loved ones during this season, help to heal the pain.  You are the healer Lord.  You know best, may we always trust you to make right our paths.   Thank-you so much for loving us the way that you do.  I pray for peace, love and joy to erode the earth.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

May you blessed,

Vanessa

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The Spirit of Christmas

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I remember a time when my husband and I struggled, we barely had enough money to pay the bills. Managing finances was a huge component of our day to day living. As time went on, we both progressed in life and career through hard work and determination. Looking back in time, I appreciate the learning that came out of struggling, but now am in a position to give beyond myself.

I have a huge heart and love for people. My hope is for all people to thrive. We are very fortunate in our lives, and I believe that God has given us our blessings so that we can extend a hand on another. Our treasures are not meant for us alone.

Have you ever asked yourself – “How did I get so lucky?” If you have, then you certainly have considered the flip side of what it would look like to go without.

During the Christmas season I have embraced a couple of new traditions. These two traditions are centred on the thought that it is better to give than receive.

The first tradition is to give to our sponsor children. We have two sponsor children, one with world vision Japhet who lives in Rwanda, and another Jenno with Compassion Canada who lives in the Philippines. I have grown to have a special place in my heart for these two boys. Every Christmas season, I decide on providing a gift to their families. The reason being is that although as a sponsor I am helping each of them; it is really through helping their families that will make all the difference. This action also occurs throughout the year at various times. I ask myself over Christmas, if I have been give abundance and security, then how can I extend the hand to them?

The second tradition that we began as a family last year was taking little Christmas packages to Elderly Care Homes in our city. I often find that the elderly get forgotten and Christmas is one of those times that hits home. Last year as a family we made little packages of ornaments, Christmas crackers and candy for the elderly. It was such an amazing feeling but also overwhelmed my heart. The looks in their eyes, the appreciation, and then came tears that flowed at various times. One day, I will be in their situation whether it be for myself or with my own parents, and if I teach my children now about the importance of not forgetting about our loved ones – maybe they will carry the tradition on.

These two items have filled my heart so much over the past year. They have made me realize that one small action creates a reaction. I believe in our culture we surround ourselves so much with our wants and needs, which lead us to sometimes forgetting about what we can do beyond ourselves. My hope is through these small actions, my children are inspired in their lives to continue to do small acts beyond themselves.

So this Christmas, although it is busy at times and can be tiresome at times, what actions can you do that will make a small difference in someone’s day?

May you be blessed my friends.

Vanessa

www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

Having Hope

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Sitting back in my easy chair, I glance out the bay window and see a road that is not yet travelled.   The path is unknown, full of wonder, experiences and hope that will bring new beginnings.  Along the road we cannot predict the weather, when the seasons change, the road bumps that will happen or how long it will take to travel.  The unknown brings anticipation and hope for the future.   There are times in our lives where we wonder how or why, and there are times where we see a glimmer of hope or a miracle that is unseen by the naked eye.  We know our Maker is at work and this restores our hope in the future to come.

We come together over this season in prayer and anticipation of new life.   Looking through the window pane, I see children laughing, people smiling, family and kinship.  The innocence in these moments take my breath away and bring much happiness, contentment and thanksgiving.  We are called to come together and give thanks for the life we have been given to live.   In the times when we endure, we are called to come together and unite.  During these times, we see the face of our Great God, and the mercy He brings us through our trials.  God asks us to rely on Him to direct our paths, and to relinquish control and trust in Him.

Although this road is not yet travelled, we can truly predict that we will be carried by Him along the way, and that the road brings hope and a new phase of life.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ” – NIV Hebrews 11:1

Along our path of life, there is so much opportunity.  There will be road blocks that divert us, but through reliance in Him and togetherness, our hope for a brighter future is restored.   We long for the coming of our Saviour on Christmas day and welcome Him into our hearts, to renew us and bring us hope for our bright future.

The road may be bumpy, attacks may come, but our Saviour brings us a longing for Hope that is indescribable.  Togetherness, unity and reliance in Him through love.  In Him all things are possible.

 “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” – Proverbs 3:25-26

Hope in Him

He comes to us as a babe,

Innocent, pure, to bring New Life.

He brings freedom, and assures us of a future free of strife.

He brings Hopefulness

Optimism

Peace

Everlasting life.

We trust in Him.

We look to Him to direct our paths.

And in Him we will be renewed and restored.

We are His children, and come together in Hope.

My hope for you is that you see that sparkle in your life, you see the shimmer of light beyond the darkness, and feel the warmth on your face.

A new year begins, enjoy every moment and live in the present!

Dear Vanessa ~ Birth of a babe

st1144Dear Vanessa,

I am expecting a new baby very shortly and do not know what to expect.   Ever since I have been pregnant I have been worrying about this little bean inside of me.   I pray that my baby is healthy, and think often about the kind of parent I want to be.   I have purchased a lot of resources that have been helping me with some of the questions that have come up through the pregnancy… There is so much unknown.   Any suggestions?

~New mommy to be

 

Dearest New Mommy to Be,

What an exciting time!   New life, new beginnings, and yes the unknown.   This is a miracle all on its own.

An absolute miracle…..

Leading up to the big day, it is almost like time slows down, and for most new mommy’s to be –  they pray for their little bundle of joy to be born healthy.

Most of this life is beyond our control and this event is included.   So how do we calm our nerves during this process?

  • Be good to yourself, don’t overthink things – you could send your mind into a tailspin.
  • Rest, read, and enjoy the time and pamper yourself, before long you will have another gift wanting your time.
  • I look back on this time for myself, and I read so many materials “what to expect when you are expecting”, “what to expect in the first year” – remember each individual is different and these books, while they have some useful information also can cause the mind to head into overdrive.
  • It’s ok to say “no” to things, remember you are carrying a little one you can’t do it all.

When moment arrives to give birth to your child, all of the pain and worry will disappear.   In that moment, your breath will be taken away and you will feel this overwhelming feeling of perfect love.

Perfect…..

Love…..

Every mother and father feel it, when they see their little one for the first time.   A miracle given to us from above.

The first few weeks are a blur, as the new mother tries to get a handle on this new life.    Give yourself some grace and apply the points above.   You cannot do it all – it is ok not to be 100% in all areas of your life. Remember there will be times where you feel stretched and that is ok too.   Also, things will happen, but you will get through.   Ask for His Grace to help you along and you will feel complete Joy along the way.

Larry Crabb wrote in his book 66 Love Letters that in addition to relying on themselves rather than God, the thing that kept His children out of the Promised Land was not believing God. In God’s voice, Crabb writes:

And they wouldn’t believe that I could overcome every problem, the ones inside them, as well as the difficulties in their circumstances that stood in the way of real joy. So they refused to walk the narrow road of belief that welcomes exposure of failure and conflict, knowing I have a plan to overcome them.

God can overcome anything, He gives us these amazing gifts in our lives to see His face, and the love that He has for us.  Yes there will be times when we sit at the end of the day, and feel like we have fallen flat on our face.  But He picks us up.   His grace has promised us love, and eternal life through bringing Jesus to us in this world.

I wonder, how Mary felt as she trucked along on the donkey to a stable.  I am sure her mind was full of worry, and wonder.  But she knew God was in control of the moment and had faith.   She gave birth to the perfect miracle we have been given in this life.

Remember, mommy to be, you are not alone.   We have a Father that carries us, and is there for us in all things.

Give yourself some grace beautiful lady and rest your mind.

Dear Lord God,

Thank-you so much for the gifts you give us in this life.  Help us to sort through the mixture of feelings we have in this life, and help us lift them up to you so that we can experience full joy.  Help us to see the moments of miracles you give us.  Help us to look to you.  We thank-you so much for loving us and giving us your Son.    During this season Lord God, help bring peace and fulfillment into our lives.  Help us to refocus.   In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

May you be blessed beautiful lady.

Vanessa

 

If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at nesschesters@gmail.com

 

 

Advent Week 4 – Renewal

imagesOver the past four weeks, I have written about the following themes:

1)    Rest

2)    Reflection

2)    Hope

3)    And now, Renewal

God wanted me to hear the words I was writing, especially in this season.  My heart has been heavy over the past couple of months.   Heavy with burden, heavy because I feel the pain that others are going through.    My heart has been softened by the hand of God, and sometimes I just wish I could take the pain away.   I know that this is not my role, it is God’s.  He is in control, and He will relieve the suffering in His perfect time.

Matthew 11:28-29 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

Is your heart heavy this time of year, especially when we see such turmoil across the land? 

Or is it light? 

Have you lifted up your thoughts, worries and prayers? 

Have you stopped making lists and allowed the peace, joy and serenity to fill your mind?

May I trust in You, Lord, and do good;

May I dwell in the land and feed from Your faithfulness.

When I delight myself in You,

You will give me the desires of my heart.

I will commit my way to You and trust in You,

And you will bring it to pass.

You will bring forth my righteousness like the light,

And my justice like the noonday.

May I rest in You and wait patiently for You;

I will not fret because of those who prosper in their way,

Because of those who practice evil schemes. (Psalm 37:3-7)

 

We are entering the most wonderful time of the year. This is a time when our Saviour was born to bring us peace, understanding, and freedom from the shackles.    All we have to do is Trust, and give it all to the Divine workings of our Maker.   

During this Christmas Season, renew your mind; allow the peace, joy, understanding to consume your thoughts.    Remove the lists, the running, and enjoy every moment.    Immerse your thoughts in love and joy, and thanksgiving.

As I close before the Christmas season, I am going to give my worries, thoughts and fears to God so that I can concentrate on the “right” things this time of year.   So thankful for you Jesus, thank-you for always being there and coming into this world to save us.

 

My Christmas Note to God

Where are you Christmas?

Why is there so much pain?

I pray for those families who are dealing with loss of a loved one.  I pray for You to bring them solace and peace of mind during this season in their lives.  I know You can –  our wonderful Saviour.

Where are you Christmas?

Why are so many in need?

I pray for You to bring hope to those in need during these difficult times.

I pray for my family, bring them strength during this season in our lives.

I come to you Lord and I must lay down all of these burdens, expectations and requests at your feet..  They are too much for me to carry, I don’t have the answers but I know You do.

I pray for Me Lord God, fill my mind with your peace, understanding and wisdom.  Teach me Lord to walk in your ways and to set an example for others in all I do.   Give me strength when I feel like I have nothing left.

Where is Christmas?

Christmas is here, everywhere I look.

Christmas is inside our hearts, and in the hearts of those we love and care about.

Christmas is that special sparkle in your child’s eyes.

Christmas is in the smile that a loved one or friend gives to you.

Christmas is in the laughter and love.

Christmas is in each one of us.

Thank-you Jesus for coming into this world to bring us love, peace and joy.   I pray for you to fill everyone in this world with your love in their hearts; soften them and let them rest and renew their minds and souls to concentrate on the “right” things.

May you be blessed ~Vanessa

Guest Post by Naomi Fata ~ Stressed or Joyful

untitledSnow falls softly Christmas Eve. The children are tucked into bed.

Mother and Father are busy wrapping last minute gifts, baking cookies and . They remark to each other that soon this busy season will be over. This year has been too stressful. All of December had been filled with holiday parties, school plays, baking and so much more. Once again they had overspent their gift  giving budget and dreaded the thought of the credit card bill which would arrive in a couple weeks.

On the mantle, dwarfed by the largess of the Christmas tree, sits the nativity as a quiet reminder of the first gift of Christmas. The Christ Child; whose birth brought the promise of peace, love and joy to our hearts.

Looking around at the stress-filled holiday season I wonder where is the promised peace. A precious gift given to our hearts, peace would mean stress free.

Snow falls softly. Inside wrapping last minute gifts Mother sighs. It has been a busy season, she’s exhausted. Looking at Father she comments that next year they should try something different. Maybe something different. Something simpler. Year after year it seems the holiday season is filled with more activities, more spending, and less joy.

……….

What are some things that you can do differently this year to reduce Christmas stress and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas?

Rather than worrying about the importance of a big gift can you give gifts of time, memories, and love?

During the advent season let’s all remember that it isn’t just the baking, shopping, and interior decorating that matter most. He has called us to be His light in this world. This is a season His light can shine most brightly if we rest in Him, allowing His joy and peace to fill our hearts and flow out of our lives.

Feel free to stop by our website at http://www.christianresourceministry.com and make use of our printable

Christmas cards downloadable at the bottom of this page http://christianresourceministry.com/the-
first-christmas/

By Naomi Fata

Guest Post ~ The Line to See Jesus by Naomi Fata

This is a guest post from a wonderful lady I have met through blogging Naomi.

Christian Resource Ministry

 
line to see jesus

 

Several years ago my church put on a Christmas pageant. One song from the play which has stuck with me was sung by a young girl, asking her mother “Where is the line to see Jesus?” The girl had observed the lines for Santa, and the lines for shopping, but she had been taught that Jesus was the reason for Christmas, and was wondering why there was no line to see Him.

It is true that during the holidays we are inevitably in a line waiting for something, whether at grocery store checkout stocking up for Christmas dinner, or standing for hours hoping that the store won’t be sold out of that newest piece of technology for our child’s Christmas present or waiting for a parking space at the mall.

In the midst of it all are our hearts in line to see Jesus? Once we get in…

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