Princesses Don’t Whine


I remember the first time I realized I was a whiner. Yes. I remember. I remember distinctly where I was and what I was doing. It was 35 years ago and I was fussing about something (the something is what I canNOT remember).

Seriously…when I fuss it can be quite comical. Animated. Hands flying everywhere. The facial expressions, the body language…goodness, now that I think about it, it’s quite exhausting.

The one who was listening patiently to my rant waited for a pause, looked me right in the face and said, “Can I have some cheese with that whine?”

I stood there with this ridiculously dumb look on my face, I’m sure, and replied, “Excuse me?”

I didn’t get it and she didn’t bother to explain herself.

Isn’t it funny how I’ve never forgotten that? Maybe it’s not suppose to be funny, but as age and wisdom have grown on me it now brings a smile to my face. What does God think of my whining? I’m at this place in my walk with the Lord where I picture Him hanging His mighty head and shaking it back and forth while He declares to His Son who sits at His right hand, “Here she goes again.”

Lord, have mercy.

Whining is something the good Lord and I have battled with for a long time. Some habits are hard to break. It takes persistence, perseverance, and patience. It takes the power of God.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation, in which you shine among them like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”  Philippian 2:14-16

I am a child of God. As His child, one of His greatest desires is for me is be conformed to the image of His Son and Jesus didn’t whine or complain or grumble. His Spirit will forever work in me as much as I give Him control, as much as I rely on His power and strength, as much as I depend upon Him…I can become like Jesus, not because I have to, but because I want to.

And Jesus shines not whines. He lights up the world. He radiates. Like a star in the nighttime sky, He glows. He sparkles.

Whining extinguishes the light of Jesus within me. Whining robs me of my joy, but here’s the clicker…

whining has the potential to steal the joy right out of every single person I unload it on.

Sweet Jesus, who wants to eat my whine, for crying out loud?!? For all the cheese lovers out there, I don’t care what your favorite cheese is, I don’t think there’s any kind in the world that will improve the taste of a whine, no matter how animated it is.

The book of Philippians is often referred to as the “book of joy.” It’s the underlying theme in all 4 chapters of this tiny book: joy in suffering, joy in serving, joy in believing, joy in giving…these are the chapter titles in my New International Version of the Bible. In chapter 2, Paul reminds us of the joy Christ had in serving people and He’s reminding us that we’re to imitate His example in serving others. He reminds us,

“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” verse 12

Immediately following is the admonition to “do everything without complaining and arguing.” 

The life of a child of God is a high calling. It comes with a responsibility to grow up in our faith. Becoming more like Jesus is a work in progress. A journey. A progression. Because of Christ’s love for me and because of His example, I want to grow up in my faith. I want to accept the responsibility that comes with a continuous work to change the parts of me that don’t shine, that don’t radiate, that don’t sparkle. That means I want Jesus to have His way in me. I want Him to change me, to make me more like Him. I can’t do it on my own. I need the Holy Spirit’s power within me.

I want to act like the princess I am as a child of the King…

…and princesses, as part of their royal heritage, are called to serve. Before a princess can even rule as a queen, she must first be trained, taught, even tested. A princess learns to lead by example by watching and learning from those who have gone before her. A princess learns to love her people. She learns early in life that to be royal means accepting responsibilities that come with her position. It means the eyes of the world will be on her. She has to understand her calling.

The eyes of the whole world may not be on me, but in the little part of the world where God has planted my feet I want to shine like a star. I want to let God work in me so that He can work through me. That’s why I persist, persevere, and patiently depend upon the power of God to change me.

When I take my dogs out for one last potty run at the end of every day, I realize how very blessed I am to live in the country. When there are no clouds in the sky, I look up and find myself in awe of the stars in a vast expanse of darkness. The darkness doesn’t seem so dark because the stars really do sparkle and shine. It’s a happy feeling. One of joy. I’m reminded that I’m to shine just like that.

I may still stumble and fall as I work out my salvation, I may still succumb to bad habits on occasion, I may still throw my hands around and fuss every now and then, but I think the whining becomes less and less as time goes by. As I give Jesus control, as I depend upon His power, as I learn from His example, as I accept my responsibility to grow up in my faith, I learn to shine like a star.

I picture God lifting up His mighty head and nodding it up and down declaring to His Son who sits at His right hand, “Do you see that? She’s getting it! I’ll have some delight with that shine!”

God, The Name-Changer


I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since my last post. When I began this blog in the fall of 2013 I had every intention to post at least once a week. There have been a few weeks when the busyness of life got in the way, but I was able to post twice the following week. Fellow bloggers will understand when I say that sometimes…sometimes…writers need to take a break. The every day of life can either be a blessing or a curse, a roadblock or an open road, a motivator or a hindrance. Sometimes the thoughts don’t come, the words don’t flow, the inspiration doesn’t materialize.

January and a new year tends to make me want to evaluate my life…what I’ve done, where I’ve gone, how my walk with the Lord has progressed. In all honesty, in this self-evaluation, I can do myself a lot of harm if I don’t keep a proper perspective. Thank goodness the Word has a way of helping me stay proper.

I was reading in the second chapter of John this morning and received a wonderful reminder from God. He is in the name-changing-business.

When Peter met Jesus for the first time, Jesus took one look at him and said,

” ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).” John 2:42

Jesus would later confirm Peter’s new name in Matthew 16:18,

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona…I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church…” 

I began to think of what I’ve learned about Peter in Scripture…he was impetuous, he often acted before considering, spoke before thinking, denied before remembering. He was a man of passion. I wonder if he was a sanguine like me, with a little bit of drama going on that sometimes got him into trouble.

And yet…and YET! Jesus took one look at him the first time He saw him and looked into his very heart. Jesus saw a rock!

And I can’t help but be full of wonder…

Jesus doesn’t see me for who I am at the moment of encounter. He sees me for what I will become. Peter had a long way to go before he would actually live up to his new name. The Christian walk is a journey and the road to sanctification (being set apart for God, being made holy by conforming to the image of Jesus) is a process, but I can’t give up on myself because Jesus doesn’t give up on me! If Jesus believes in me then I can trust what He sees!

God never gives up on me. He never gives up on you. He never abandons the work of His hands. Jesus gives me the power to become the person He wants me to be. I can’t help but wonder what my “new” name is.

I remember when I was a young girl asking my mother what my name meant. “Little girl”, she said.

At the time, “little girl” seemed okay because that’s what I was, but as I grew up I wanted it to mean something more. I can’t even begin to describe to you how I felt the day I did a little digging and researching into other meanings of my name and discovered that in Hebrew my name means “Grace.” I cried. In fact, the tears are flowing right this very moment at the thought.

Nina, with a long i, means grace. And I wonder…does God really see me as a woman of grace? Oh, how I hope He does. It would be one of my greatest joys.

God is in the name-changing-business because God is in the heart-changing-business. Names were very significant in biblical times. Names were very significant to God and He often changed the names of those who would turn their hearts toward Him. Their new names became reflections of their new nature. Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel.

Simon became Peter.

The Little Girl became Grace.

When I think back over the past year of my life, I may not be where I want to be. YET. That’s okay. Jesus meets me where I am and takes a good look at my heart. He sees me…where I’ve been, what I’ve done, how I’ve progressed in my walk with The Father. Thank goodness I’m not where I started when I first encountered Jesus. I guess you could say, I’ve come a long, long way, baby!

Thank goodness Jesus sees me for what I am becoming…thank goodness.

As for my new name…I can’t wait until I see Jesus face-to-face on streets of gold and hear Him call my name. It’s a name He has chosen just for me and you know what else I think?

I think Jesus knew when He first saw me that eventually I would live up to my name. And the tears flow…

Reflections On The Psalms


Can I just say…Oh. My. God. Yes, My God! A long awaited dream is about to become a reality and God made it happen. I am beside myself. I want to laugh and cry all at the same time.

Three years ago this very month God gave me the vision for Reflections On The Psalms, Connecting With God Creatively. I had written a few devotions for a Bible study I taught on the Psalms a couple of years earlier. They were really just reflections from my own personal life experiences. There wasn’t anything fancy about them. It was just me putting to words the different ways God worked in my spiritual journey. It was just me journaling the journey….creatively.

God is the Creator of all emotion and feeling. It’s what we do with it that makes it right or wrong. It’s how we act it out that makes it holy or unholy. It’s why Paul tells us in Scripture that we’re to “put off” certain emotions and “put on” others. I have a responsibility to use the emotions God has given me in a way that honors Him.

Scripture also tells us “nothing is hidden from God.” That means He knows what’s hidden in the deep places of my heart and soul. He’s able to take what I give Him, no matter how ugly it is, and make an honest woman out of me by washing me in the water of His Word. Sometimes I have to confess what’s not very pretty to receive the cleansing needed for beautiful change.

That’s why I love the Psalms. No matter what emotion is expressed the focus is always on God. The psalmists express themselves freely, transparently, openly…honestly. Every emotion is revealed…the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s all there. And, yet, in every psalm God is still glorified because these psalmists were God-seekers and God-seekers want to know their God to have the heart of God.

Not only did God give me the inspiration for each devotion, but He also inspired me to ask my friend, Sherry French–a very talented artist, to create 30 mixed media illustrations for each devotion. The original vision was to have the daily Scripture or some thoughts from each devotion written or uploaded onto the illustrations and have each devotion preceded by an illustration, but the publisher informed me this would be very costly. Color is insanely expensive so this didn’t happen quite the way I planned, but Sherry and I still believe God will be glorified in the pages of this book. Her illustrations are still there for all to enjoy, beautiful and splendiferous. (That’s her artwork right there on the cover.)

So, here’s a little tease from the Introduction:


“This isn’t your average devotion book. It’s designed for creative expression…

I learned a long time ago the importance of being completely honest with God about my feelings and emotions.

The Book of Psalms helped me learn to bare my heart–to “let it all out.” As I’ve read, reread and studied the way the psalmists expressed themselves to the Lord, I learned that the best way for me to draw close to God is to be honest with Him about what is in my heart. The more I talk to God, the less I want to unload on the people in my life who mean the most to me. Writing and journaling my thoughts becomes a sweet release for me, and I believe it becomes a sweet aroma to Him.

Did you know that the Greek word for psalmos, which is where we get our word psalm, means: “A poem sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments”? I don’t know about you, but that means a lot to me. So many of us have this idea that we can only talk to God by praying reverently with our eyes closed and heads bowed low. Don’t get me wrong; I pray like this too, but what if we allowed ourselves some room for creative expression like the psalmists? After all, Scripture tells us that King David not only sang before the Lord, he danced too, and the patriarchs set up memorial stones to remember those times and places when God did amazing things in their lives. Sounds a lot like creative expression to me.

I’ve written thirty devotions from my heart. Sherry French has created beautiful artwork from hers. This is a collaboration of two kinds of God-given inspiration. Following each devotion you will find a blank page where you can explore ways to connect with God creatively. Maybe you like to draw or paint or write. It’s not about what creative style you have; it’s about connecting with God creatively. Let God guide you, and enjoy the process. Instead of a prayer prompt or question to ponder at the end of each devotional, let the daily Scripture verse speak to your heart. Ask God to show you how to apply it to your life, as He showed me how to apply it to mine.

As Sherry and I have shared our hearts with you, we pray that you will be inspired to share your heart with God. Be real. Be honest. Be creative. But above all–connect.”



Reflections On The Psalms will be released on February 10 through Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC. You’ll be able to find it in the data bases of most bookstores and Sherry and I will keep you updated on our blogs. (Sherry’s website is There will be a FaceBook page where you can order books OR if you’re somewhere nearby Sherry and I will be hosting book signings, as well as mini retreats/workshops to help you find your creative voice.

To all of you who have read my blog over the past year I’d like to thank you. I may not have many followers or even many viewers,  but I know God has given me the gift of words. And now, He’s given me another gift…a published book. My honest little heart is full of emotion right now.

For those of you who may consider purchasing a copy, can I just say….Oh. My. God! Thank you. I am beside myself. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but may the focus be entirely on Him!