Do You Spend Your Days Doing What Really Counts?

I’m now reading Randy Alcorn’s 50 Days of Heaven Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light and am more inspired than ever that Christians must live every day with Eternity in mind.

I’m often asked why I keep writing so many books–seemingly back to back–and my answer is always: I have no idea how many days I have left, only the Lord knows that, and I want to spend every one of those days doing something that has Kingdom value.

My friend Grace did exactly that. She had many things on her calendar for the day, week, month… after she died, but she had done all the Lord required. She finished well. She had her spiritual account in order. That is what she wanted her tombstone to read and I know that is what the Lord said to her: You fought the good fight. You finished the race. Welcome to your Eternal home.

Since the death of my “Grace Abounds, I wake up often in the night thinking about her. Last week at 3 am I was doing just that when I “heard”: “I’m fine Janet. I’m home. Let me go and I’ll be waiting for you here in Heaven.” I said, “Thank you Grace” and went back to sleep.

Lest you worry I’m losing it and talking to the dead, my morning devotional for  the next morning was We’re Headed Home from Philippians 3:20 “Our citizenship is in heaven. ” Don’t you just LOVE it when God, who is alive, talks to you and confirms His presence. To those who don’t think God talks to us today… they’re just not listening.

Rejoice That Your  Names Are Written in Heaven–Luke 10:20! Who do you know whose names aren’t written there that you could share the Good News with today. Approaching Easter is a perfect time to share from where your hope comes from.


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Letter from a Mommy-in-Waiting

Dear Janet,
 I really want to thank you for being obedient in writing the book, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby. God really is using it to minister to my broken heart and encourages me to not give up for He is faithful. Thank you for your servant heart!
I would like to share with you my story and how I came across your book. I had a mighty plan that after I finish my MBA, my husband and I can start a family. At that point, I didn’t do much research; I just believed that we would conceive right away. Well, a year and one period later, we still didn’t have a baby. In that year I went through wanting a baby, hurting for a baby, being angry with God because everyone around was getting pregnant but us (facebook doesn’t help maters either ).
 I went to see a fertility specialist, who told me that I don’t ovulate on my own and that we can start taking pills to help me. I was so excited, only was disappointed when I found out at the beginning of our treatment that my husband was leaving for 4 month to AZ for officers military training. But the date was moved and I ovulated while he was still home. I was absolutely positively sure that the date was moved by God so we could conceive, yet when my period started on time I was crushed. I was angry, upset and depressed. How could God do that?! Why is He not giving us a baby?
My husband has been gone for a month now and I have my bad days and good days. I came to peace that my husband was gone and we would have to wait for 4 months. But the enemy started to throw seeds of doubt my way, when all people were suggesting adoption. That’s not quiet what I wanted to hear at that moment…considering we only had one chance to conceive. I know people meant well, but I just wanted them to pray with me and not give me every suggestion on what I should do.
 I was desperate to find a book on infertility, so I started to search. The story in the Bible that I absolutely love is story about Hannah.  So I thought that I would start searching for a book on Hannah.
I kept on searching and finally typed in infertility in the search box of a Christian Book store site. Your book came up and the title really captured my heart. After work I bought a copy and started to read. Right away I was crying and laughing as I could so relate to stories of many women, who shared their journey. I also love your encouragement in journaling. And after one chapter you suggested to try to write a poem. So I did and want to share with you.
Written by God and me! 
Dear God, I want a child so unbelievably bad,
Yet the doctor tells me that I have problems, which makes me so sad.
Why does it have to be this way that I must wait a while,
Don’t you see my broken heart that is longing for a child?
Dear God, I am hurting, when I look at facebook posts.
All my friends are showing baby pictures that’s when I am jealous the most.
Belly bump, a dirty diaper, crying baby all night long
Oh how much I long those moments but my hope is gone.
Dear God, I am angry as I wipe another tear
The pills are finally working, but the stress won’t disappear.
Anxiously I wait to test hoping to see a plus sign
Yet another disappointment breaks my heart for a hundredth time.
Dear God, I am hopeful as I am remembering Your sign today
That You’ll bless us with a child along the way.
Help me trust Your plan completely knowing that Your plan is best,
Because You promise us in the Bible that’s when we find rest.
Dear God, I am trusting as You tell me in Your Word
I am tired, weary, anxious, please give  me strength, Lord.
Give me joy to serve you humbly, loving others while I wait.
Use me fully for Your Kingdom believing Your plans are never late.
Dear God, I am peaceful and my mind can’t understand at all.
I am joyful while waiting for our miracle to hold.
Thank You, Father, for the baby You will bless us with one day
Help me keep my eyes on You through the sunshine’s ray.
The message that I am hearing lately through godly people, Christian radio station, Scripture and devotional is to TRUST and BELIEVE for He is FAITHFUL.
Mommy in waiting,
Oxana 
For tips on what not to say to an infertile couple and loving response for the couple check out the article I wrote in MTL Magazine:  http://www.mtlmagazine.com/mtlmagazine/departments/articles.php?cat=my_life

 

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In Memory of My "Grace Abounds"

 
 I’ve lost my “Grace Abounds”. Grace Marestaing mentored me through breast cancer and we became life-long friends & sisters-in-Christ. Grace was selfless and always there for me and others

My book Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer is dedicated to my “Grace Abounds” and she wrote the “Dear God,” for Single and Sick and the closing poem “Step by Step.”

I gave Grace the nickname “Grace Abounds” after the Mentoring Game skit used in the Woman to Woman Mentoring training. There are three mentors vying for a mentee: SuperMom, I’m a Saint, and Grace Abounds.

I met Grace at the breast cancer center when I was first diagnosed. She was a patient advocate and I had written on my health application that my employer was “The Lord.” She commented that was an interesting employer and I asked if He was hers too and she said “Absolutely!” 

On the way home from that appointment I called a friend and told her I had my own “Grace Abounds.” I wrote a poem about Grace which I included in the book and I’ll share with you here.


Grace is with Jesus whom she loved so dearly, but I miss her dearly too….

GRACE ABOUNDS
                                             Feelings flow.
                                                   Stories told.
                                                   Waiting answers.
                                                   Ah, it’s cancer.
                                                   Unshed tears.
                                                   Over years.
                                                   Held inside.
                                                   Ah, such pride!
                                                   Building, building.
                                                   Yielding, yielding.
                                                   Now release.
Ah, such peace.
Pain, sadness.
Grief, madness.
Not fair.
Ah, many care.
“I’m Grace.”
Kind face.
“Interesting employer.”
Ah, “I’ll mentor.”
“I cried.
But survived.”
Dr. West,
Ah, “the best.”
Life’s dear.
No fear.
God surrounds.
Ah, Grace abounds.
           
                            Janet Thompson    12/02
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Listen to a live podcast interview with me on the topic of “When God Goes Silent.” /http://www.newhopedigital.com/index.php/2012/02/janet-thompson-when-god-seems-silent/

Featured is my new Bible study Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah. 

http://womantowomanmentoring.com/2012/02/listen-to-live-podcast-interview-with/

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Author Janet Thompson on Pleading with God (Plus Book Give-away!)

Author Janet Thompson on Pleading with God (Plus Book Give-away!)

Here is an interview I did with fellow author Jocelyn Green on her Faith Deployed blog. Leave a comment on her blog (link above) for an opportunity to win a free copy of Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God!

Have you ever found yourself pleading with God? Most of us would probably answer yes to that question, which is why I’m so glad my friend Janet Thompson’s new release is on this very subject. Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God is the latest in her series of books designed for women to study together in mentor-mentee relationships (she calls them M&Ms). The book is also great for small group study, or for individual use. You can find out more about the book here. Janet is graciously offering us a copy for a drawing, so stay tuned until the end of the post to find out how to enter!

First, let’s talk to Janet more about pleading with God.

What’s the difference between asking God for something, and pleading with Him?

Janet: Prayers can metamorphosis into begging God to perform in a way we think is best. Even a woman of strong faith can experience a crisis of faith when life doesn’t turn out as she expects and she knows God could intervene on her behalf. When we plead, we’re usually desperately invested in the outcome.

Is it wrong to plead with God?

God definitely wants us to pray with sincerity and passion. Many life issues, especially crises, naturally lead to pleading with God. How we react when He doesn’t immediately respond, or we don’t like His answer can lead to bargaining and negotiating with Him, or like Sarah and Rachel in the Bible, taking matters into our own hands. Learning to rest in God’s sovereignty and wait on His timing—as Hannah did—is our goal.

What is the best way to cope when God’s answer is “wait” or “no”?

Knowing God and believing that He is good and gracious and wants the best for us is the key to patient perseverance. He’s waiting to reap the maximum harvest from our situation: maybe it’s to show His glory in a miracle or discount Satan. Perhaps someone will accept Christ through the outcome, what a blessing. Or maybe He’s working on our character and spiritual maturity or growing the faith of people viewing our circumstances.

If we feel He’s gone silent, we could be expecting Him to respond in a particular or familiar way. He is talking—we just need to listen and remember that His perfect timing might not be our preferred timing. During times of pleading, experience peace with God by discovering a purpose in your pain.

Can you share with us a personal story about when you pleaded with God for something? What happened?

Praying God’s Word back to Him and personalizing Scriptures helps in hearing God because He speaks to us through His Word and it also helps focus on God’s will and not our own will. In another of my books, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share the story of praying God’s Word back to Him for my prodigal daughter, Kim, every day.

After three years, it seemed like God wasn’t listening. He had gone silent. Then one day I heard from Him, I want her back more than you do. That was all I needed to continue earnestly and persistently praying for her even though I didn’t see any changes. I knew God was working behind the scenes and He was expecting me to keep praying because I trusted Him, not because I saw or heard Him.

It took almost three more years before she made the turn back to God and to me and today she’s a godly woman, wife, and mother. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on God or Kim.

What did you learn while preparing this Bible study that surprised you?

Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah, each pleaded with God for a baby, but I wanted to include other life circumstances where women might plead with God, so I sent out a request for stories. I was amazed at the response and the variety of stories I received. Women were graciously willing to share their vulnerable experiences to let other women know they were not alone. That’s the heart of mentoring: sharing those been-there-done-that experiences and with God’s help I made it through and you will too.

Could military wives benefit from doing this study with a mentor/mentee or a group of friends long-distance? Do you have any tips for making the online study successful?

Definitely! The Face-to-Face Bible study series has M&M questions for two women to do together and there’s also a leader’s guide in the back of each book for studying as a group.

To study online, I would suggest each woman have a copy of the book and agree how much of the study they want to cover when they virtually meet. There are 5 sessions and each session consists of 5 days.

They would each do the study on their own and then arrange a time to either chat online via email, yahoo chat, Facebook message, Skype, conference phone—whatever means they all have to communicate back and forth. They can discuss their answers to the questions or utilize the Leader’s Guide for areas of focus.

My daughter-in-law is a military wife, and I have seen how valuable it is for her to spiritually mentor other military wives, and also be mentored by wives who have been in the military longer than her. Sometimes it’s awkward to know where to start and doing a Bible study together provides that needed conversation opener.

To enter the drawing for Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God, please leave a comment sharing why you’d like to read it. A winner will be drawn at random on Friday. Feb. 24.

About Janet:
Janet Thompson is a speaker and author of two new releases: Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God and Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family. There are 5 additional Face-to-Face Bible studies in the series.

Other books by Janet: Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents; The Team That Jesus Built: How To Develop, Equip, and Commission a Women’s Ministry Team and Woman to Woman Mentoring Resources.

Janet is also soliciting stories for her March 2013 book Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-At-Home Man. To contribute a story, email ahw@sbcglobal.net. She is especially interested in stories from military wives of reintegration. Visit Janet at www.womantowomanmentoring.com

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Ways to Know Where Your Money is Going

It’s essential that Christian’s know what their money is supporting and financing. Because there are so many middle men involved in investments, some investors might not think it’s important or possible to know individual companies comprising their portfolio. But it is important and you can know.

My husband and I told our financial adviser that we did not want ANY of our money being invested in a company that we did not approve. We discovered that some of our money was in a mixed portfolio where one company was a builder of slot machines and even a tobacco company was involved. Your adviser, or yourself, can pull up on the computer every company involved in your portfolio; it isn’t complicated or difficult.

When we told our adviser we wanted a listing of every investment and told him our parameters his first response was that we would be limiting our financial return. We assured him that we did not want to make money off of a company we would not knowingly fund or support. God would honor our decision and that was enough of a reward for us.

He shook his head, but agreed and after several meetings when he began to see that we only chose investments that did not go against our morals and values, he soon screened everything before showing us. You can do the same thing.

Here are other areas to consider:
1. Interview a new OB/GYN as to whether or not he/she believes in abortion and or performs them. If a doctor tells me yes, I choose another doctor. I always know the faith standing of all my doctors. I just ask.
2. If you learn that a business supports something you do not believe in, stop supporting them financially. Support them with prayer.
3. Pray before making any financial decision.
4. What other ideas do you have? I’d love to hear them and so would others reading this post. Let’s get the discussion going.

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The Pink Ribbon and the Dollar Sign | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

The Pink Ribbon and the Dollar Sign | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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5 Ways to Spiritually Nurture Your Grandchildren

The only woman in the Bible referred to as a “grandmother” is Timothy’s grandmother, Lois.
She and her daughter Eunice received accolades from the Apostle Paul on their rearing of his protégé and future pastor, young Timothy: “I [Paul] have been reminded of your sincere faith which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV).

He later adds: “And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15 NIV).
As a grandmother of 11 grandchildren who all know about Jesus (and some know Jesus as their Savior), here’s what I’ve learned from Lois:

  1. Pray for, mentor, and nurture the faith of your adult children—the parents of your grandchildren.
  2. Give with a purpose. Choose gifts that introduce grandchildren to Jesus at an early age. Shop at Christian bookstores or online to find age-appropriate games, books, DVDs, CDs, and toys.
  3. Look for opportunities to talk to grandchildren about Jesus and His love for them.
  4. Be a role model that family members admire and respect.
  5. Assume an active role in your grandchildren’s lives, even if you live far apart. Stay current and don’t criticize the things that interest them. Learn their communication style and method—email, texting, Skype or FaceTime, cell phone, social networking, etc. Remain relatable and relational with each generation.

Lois and Eunice were intentional in raising Timothy in the faith. The world didn’t set standards for their home, God did. They knew God’s Word and taught it to Timothy. I’ve found songs are one effective means to help children (and their parents) learn Scripture. Most kids love to sing along to CDs in the car and soon Mommy and Daddy are learning the words too.

Parents are often so busy raising their children that they rely on the church to educate the kids spiritually. We grandparents are usually at a stage of life where we can help parents nurture faith in the home. If relationships are strained with adult children or you don’t live close, you can still pray for them and/or keep in touch in different ways.

My prayer is that my legacy to my grandchildren will be: Grammie taught us about the Bible and Jesus, and she lived what she believed.
What spiritual legacy are you leaving for your family?
“This article first appeared online at NewHopeDigital.com. Please visit for more articles, podcasts, videos, and other content from New Hope Publishers authors.”

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January is National Mentoring Month

 Well it’s the last day of January and I just discovered that the president declared this month National Mentoring Month! But it is timely that two new Face-to-Face Bible studies release on January 31, just in time to still be part of the national recognition month.

Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice:Nurturing Faith in Your Family

Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel and Hannah: Pleading with God

 Both studies have questions for doing on you own, two women or M&M’s to do together, and  leader’s guide for group study. They are 5 sessions and each session is 5 days.

These are # 6 & 7 in the Face to Face Series. To order go to http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=janet+thompson&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCQ&nav_search=1&cms=1

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Inspiration for Breast Cancer Survivors

As many of you know, I am a three time breast cancer survivor and praise God every morning for another day of life. I’m also always looking for ways to encourage and support other breast-cancer sisters. A friend of mine told me about Trudy, a two-time breast-cancer survivor who submitted an inspirational phrase to the American Breast Care Company who makes prothesis. If selected, Trudy’s phrase would be imprinted on ABC’s products for the upcoming year. What a blessing for the women and for Trudy! 
 
Here’s a little information about Trudy and the contest, and if you feel led, go to the site and vote for her phrase, or one of the other phrases in the contest. I looked around the website also to learn a little more about ABC:
 
Trudy is one of 6 finalists in a Breast Care contest by American Breast Care Company.  Breast cancer survivors were encouraged to submit a phrase that helped them get through breast cancer and other tough times.  
Votes will be taken until May 31st.  The winner will go to Georgia where the company is located and her phrase will be printed on the breast form and be part of a marketing campaign for the product.
Trudy has had many many struggles in her life including breast cancer twice.  And, yet she remains apositive and joyful person.  After cancer she spent years as a volunteer and spokesperson for the American Cancer Society’s “Reach for Recovery Program” for breast cancer patients.  
 Please vote for Trudy.       www.tfaforms.com/230838   
Trudy’s quote is “Behind every door is a miracle.  Be brave enough to open it”

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