Welcome to gracedtolive!

Wow.

I can’t believe I finally have a blog. I’ve prayed about this for so long. Being the technically challenged middle-aged woman that I am, though, I was having a hard time getting started on my own. Thank goodness my amazingly patient son, Jason, came to my rescue. We still have some work to do, but at least I can now write. I can share. I have a voice.

Quite a few years ago I believe God called me to be His “spokesperson.” I’m a huge fan of God’s Word. I love to dig deep into its pages. I love to ponder and meditate on what I read. I love to sit in expectation, knowing that when my heart is sensitive and ready to hear, God will speak to me. I want to know His heart. I want to know His plans and purposes for me. One day I came to recognize a passion inside of me to share with others what He shares with me.

My faith journey has taken me on so many twists and turns in my 55 years of living, but I look back on my life and know that I’m blessed, that God has graced me to live life to the full.   I’m both visually and hearing impaired. I lost my left eye in an accident as a child. I wear a prosthesis. I was also born with a hereditary, degenerative hearing impairment. I’m now severely hearing impaired. Hearing aids aren’t a substitute for normal hearing, in case you were wondering. Somehow along the way, though, God gave me the ability to read lips. Not perfectly, but enough to get by.

There’s a passage of Scripture that spoke to my heart many years ago and I believe it’s my life message:

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me,   ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’   Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’m going to be completely honest with you…I don’t always delight in my weaknesses. There have been many times in my life when I felt the loss of my eye and the loss of my hearing were thorns in my side…pointy, sharp and constant reminders that I have to try a little harder, strive a little longer, and forgive a little more just to experience this abundant life God has for me.

I admit my thorns don’t actually torment me, although when I was a teenager I cried a lot at the insensitive comments and curious questions I had to endure about my eyes. I faked a lot, too, when it came to what I couldn’t hear or understand. And I wore a mask to hide my insecurities about my physical limitations.

This visual God gave me has become my motto: My thorn….God’s glory. In my mind and in my heart I carry a picture of a crown of thorns all abloom with sweet-smelling roses. We all have thorns, but we have to remember that we can’t have the roses without the thorns. We can learn to deal with the pain of our weaknesses if we focus on the beauty of God’s grace. It will always be sufficient…it will always be enough. There is power in grace.

We have a choice to make when living with our thorns…we can either let Satan use them to keep us from being effective in the ministries God calls us to or…we can use those thorns to the glory of God!! I don’t know about you, but I’m going for the glory.

I hope to share with you through this blog some grace-bits….ways God helps me in my daily life. Maybe we can cultivate together a garden of roses that sends a sweet-smelling fragrance to the heavens…right to the throne of grace.

“By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.” 1 Cor 15:10

12 thoughts on “Welcome to gracedtolive!”

  1. Nina,
    I am looking forwrad to your blog site. I greatly appreciate your thoughts and always take something from them. I am very proud to have been your friend growing up. I know you will touch many lives with this new venture. Love you my friend. Sheila Roberson

    1. Sheila~Thank you! Who knows where we’ve been better than a childhood friend. I always remember you as one of the few who stood by me through thick and thin. So glad we’re still connected through all this new technology I’m still trying to learn and navigate around. Love you, too, dear friend. Nina

  2. YES! Finally you have a blog! I will enjoy every word written here that God places on your heart to share with us. You know I’m gonna be a big fan.. Love Ya–wanda

  3. I remember the day I met you…my life has been beautifully graced by your companionship on the journey back to God’s heart and I haven’t been the same since that moment. I know that the revealing of your heart and your vision of God written here will touch many others the way that you have always touched me. God’s hand of favor is always upon you…Much Love, sweet friend…

    1. What a treasured friend you are, Amy. I know that you share a like passion…to be God’s voice. May we always speak “worthy” words. Thank you for believing in me and giving me confidence to press on. Love back to you…

  4. Wow. I just saw your encouraging comments you made about my blog post and thought I’d stop by to see what your blog is about.

    What a powerful testimony about how God helped you see past your disabilities. “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Puts everything we complain about in perspective, doesn’t it?

    I’m already anticipating the powerful stories you’re going to tell about God’s goodness and grace. I love your simple writing style. Your voice shines though so sincerely, I know you’re going to touch lives.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen! I think I’m going to love making new friends like you through this adventure. As intimidating as this world of technology can be it’s heart-felt to know that it can cross boundaries and reach people all over the world. We have the ability to lift one another up and spur one another on with words of inspiration and kindness. Your response has done just that for me….Blessings!

  5. Nina, I am so impressed. You write so eloquently. Your words are so moving. God has blessed you with a talent that not many have. It is so wonderful that you are sharing your talent with the world. Love ya, Wendi

    1. Thank you, Wendi. I learned quite a few years back that writing was therapeutic for me. It’s just a way God allowed me to share my heart and I know that not many people are quite as vulnerable as I am, but I figure a lot of those people deal with the same issues, same struggles, same feelings I do and they don’t know what to do with it all. So, I write. I just hope it gives some of the people who read this blog the courage to be real, to be truthful, to be honest with God and others about what they’re feeling in their hearts and I hope it brings a measure of comfort to know they’re not alone. We’re doing life together. By the way, do you know which teacher in high school encouraged me the most in my writing? Mrs. Ellis. Yes, it’s true. God bless her.

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