A Note From the Author About Life Lessons:
In August of 200l, I began writing a series of devotional articles.
I quickly became consumed with this type of writing, a much more serious
discipline than my first book. I am bringing life experience together
with the Word of God and finding that each complements my appreciation
of the other. That is, the Word of God was never meant to be read in
a vacuum but rather in the context of real life. Life experience opens
up the soul to receive the Word. And conversely, the Word brings meaning
and hope, understanding and direction, to life. I so enjoy this challenge:
Not only must I take care to be scripturally sound, but I must work
to articulate thoughts and intuitions which cannot be as easily or as
casually communicated as a real-life anecdote.
And if the things that I relate turn on the lights for
It would make it so worthwhile to have reached out beyond myself
Life Lessons has now grown to include 6 booklets, available individually
or as a complete set, a full six month’s-worth of daily readings.
Here is a sample reading from Life Lessons:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
When I still had only three children,
I recall having tea one morning over at my neighbour's. As we sipped
and chatted, her five-year-old daughter came through the kitchen. My
friend stopped her and asked her to please go pick up the toys in her
"No!" responded the little girl, then
she spat in her mother's face and walked away. My friend crossed her
arms, sighed, and rolled her eyes at me. I smiled sympathetically, but
inside I was absolutely indignant. How dare you let your child treat
you like that! I thought. I held my tongue (for a change), but my opinion
of her as a Christian parent fell dramatically that day. I couldn't
respect anyone who wouldn't stand up to a five-year-old child. And I
carried this judgement for quite some time.
Our first son was strong-willed, but I
felt we had him quite well in hand. Our second son was pretty easy-going.
Our third, a little girl, was such an easy baby that once we'd had her
home from the hospital a week, she didn't even wake me up in the night
for those awful, bleary-eyed feedings. I somehow concluded that it was
a reflection of my parenting skills that made this one so easy to manage.
And then God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me Rachel.
Rachel had been in this world less than
two minutes and I was fumbling ineffectually in my post-delivery exhaustion
to get her nursing when she fixed angry eyes on mine, doubled
up her tiny fists, and bellowed her frustration at me.
When she was old enough to utter her first
word, it was an imperative "MA!" She didn't speak; she demanded.
By the time she was two, she had picked
up some nasty phrases and understood their context precisely. I would
ask her to please pick up her toys and she would roar at me, "No, I
don't feel like it, you stupid butt!" Spankings became a way of life
while the other three were off at school. I tried to be firm, biblical,
level-headed —- all the right things-but nothing seemed effective.
Sometimes there were six major spankings in a day. In between, I tried
everything else time-outs, reasoning, removing privileges
all of the tactics of those who choose not to use, or need alternatives
to, corporal punishment.
There are those who argue a case for the
intrinsic good in the heart of mankind. I would have to conclude, however,
that such ideological philosophers have never tried to stare down the
sin nature in the eyes of a willful two-year-old.
I will never forget the evening that my
husband first saw her use some of her full-blown attitude and language
on me. It had been a long day and I was too tired to fight anymore.
I crossed my arms, sighed, and rolled my eyes at my husband.
"Don't you dare let her speak to you like
that," he said.
"I've been spanking her all day," I replied,
"and it hasn't made any difference. It's your turn now."
Rachel is now a delightful ten-year-old,
still strong-willed, still requiring a firm hand much of the time. She
is also possessed of a quick wit and a terrific sense of humour, and
there will be other times to share of the great blessings she has brought
us. But in context of what I am writing about today, let me say this:
I believe that God sent Rachel to humble me. My feelings have changed
toward the friend I judged so harshly ten years ago. I'm not sure if
she has risen again in my estimation or if I have fallen. It doesn't
matter: either way, we now stand on level ground with one another. I've
heard it said that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross. I would
like to suggest that giving us children is one of the ways God gets
God resisteth the proud but giveth grace unto the humble. (James
What some people are saying about Life Lessons:
"Keep on writing. I very much enjoyed your first issue. The personal
stories are interesting to me I've always loved other people's
stories. And the lessons you brought out of them were good and helpful.
I find myself re-reading them often. MB
"Thank you for my copy of Life Lessons. I read it in one sitting! .
. . I especially enjoy your style of writing, namely the full-bodied
vocabulary, which always seems to leave one satiated as though a full-course
meal was just enjoyed. The round words and description (are) delightful.
I am not an experienced writer and definitely not a critic, but I can
compare writing to visual art and I think they are quite similar. I've
always enjoyed writing that "paints a picture." I look forward to subsequent
writings. EC, artist
I have read a lot of "devotional" books over the years, and yours compares
very favourably with all of them. Often I find even the work of well-know
writers to be very disappointing yours is not. . . . I could
recommend (this) to anyone and know they would be blessed. . . . I appreciated
your careful and wise use of scripture, your willingness to make yourself
vulnerable, your insight . . . , the poetry, etc. So carry on, Nancy.
I am sure your writings will bless many others. BF,
I am really, really enjoying your devotional. It’s wonderful.
(Life Lessons) is fabulous. Gave one to a friend and she phoned me next
day in tears. She had read (Day 1, the Second Month) about placing family
before God and she identified with your story. The Holy Spirit is truly
working through you. Thank you!! BC
I am totally appreciating your wonderful and sentimental writings about
experiences and God! Awesome! LF
The testimonies were great, the preaching good, but maybe a bit of an
“edge” at times. Thought I should share that with you. Would
like your next installment. KL
I want to tell you how much I have appreciated your Life Lessons . .
. . Just last night I was feeling chilly so I poured a hot bath and
soaked in warm bubbles and Life Lessons—again. There are good
reads and then there are good reads, and as I have said before, I really
appreciate your style. More than once I've had this mental picture of
enjoying a bowl of fresh, juicy fruit salad as I read your writings.
I love the abundance of Scripture you weave into your stories. They
stand strong alone but so often the perspective that comes with the
landscape that someone other than yourself has put around it, can bring
the scripture into sharp focus. And sometimes it feels as though I've
removed my sunglasses and the brightness hurts a little. EC
I haven`t read it all yet but . . . what I`ve read is forthright and
provides light reading to light others’ way to God. KE,
Your style of writing is very much like your song writing—very
good, and easy for the reader/listener to understand your message. I
am writing because I greatly enjoyed the first (booklet); it was simple,
thought-provoking but Wow! your second (booklet) was more of a hard-hitting
“sword” and went to the spiritual core of some issues. I
hope that your “third lesson” doesn’t end up like
a hacksaw to my sensitive, spiritual complacency! MKS