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How God Has Used Me

Gratitude Because God is Using "Little Old Me"

I'm Feeling Gratitude Today 


I don’t mean to sound surprised, and I don’t mean to boast — but me?? — I have always trusted God as my savior – my Lord – involved in and orchestrating everything in my life… I grew up in what I considered an unhappy home… nothing really bad .. just unhappy, and feeling unloved.  (I do know different now, but didn’t then and couldn’t understand as a child.)

 

But, well, finally – now things are different!  The signs from God’s leading in my and my husband’s lives are bold, attention-getting, crying your eyes out, screaming to the top of your lungs, singing praises to the Lord… kinds of signs and “holy touches”!

 

Me…Nancy…Nancy Alexander from Anderson, South Carolina (a middle-sized Southern town of not much significance) — who has never gone far away from home except for a few trips to Washington, DC, when my uncle was alive, or the wonderful cruise my husband surprised me with for our 25th anniversary — the Nancy who got really sick at 28 years old when she had two little boys to take care of, who had dreams of being a GREAT Mom — a beautiful, sexy, encouraging wife to a husband who adored, cherished, and looked upon none other — one who would make a difference in this world one day by touching lives, leading others to my Lord and Savior by being the sort of Christian that others admire — traveling through and praising God for this beautiful world that we live in (or) just being the “Matriarch” of our little family — being looked up to — honored — loved — overwhelmed with the hugs and kisses and “Mom, I Love You” stuff… this was what my dreams were made of and what I wanted more than anything else in this world!

 

I have found that God definitely has plans for us, and that He certainly answers prayer.  I know that my prayers have been answered, but God and I have had to engage in many breakdowns, talks and tears (mine), about the fact that he didn’t answer my prayers and pleadings in my time, but in His time — 30 to 35 years later.  (And, by the way…it took my son, Matt, to remind me that even though it has been sooo many years…God HAS answered my prayers!)  I now can and do Praise His Name for His faithfulness, steadfastness, and love because these answers to my hopes, dreams, and pleadings have been much more than I could have ever imagined.

 

Yes, His time is certainly NOT our time and His dreams for us and for me personally came at His “right time”.  These dreams which are being answered now in my life, totally take my breath away, with faith in God…dreams eventually are answered.  These answers are maybe not the answers we expect, but can be beyond our own imaginings.  I would not be the person I am today without the many years of being pruned by God; without going through the many impossible situations with health issues, family and life.  I tried so hard for so many years; I thought I would never be freed.  But… I now know that I would not be blessed with the experience I now possess with which I can help others I come across in this world (and notice… I did say world!) – without the many years of God’s hard work in my life.

 

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through my entire life’s story here, but I just want to tell you about a tiny little book:  “The Prayer of Jabez”, given to me by my son Matt in 1990, and how it made such an impact in my life.  I knew I was in trouble and had known for some time… life was a “chore”, life was not what I had dreamed, expected, and wanted it to be — my life was broken and filled with pain and hurt; I even knew that if I lived long enough, I would probably end up in a wheelchair.  I had come close to giving up so many times, but didn’t have the courage or strength to even do that.

 

Anyway, this tiny little book with the sweet inscription in the front from my son, Matt, led me to read it that day.  It is such a tiny book that it can be read in one day — but the words, and the meanings of those words have taken me many years to learn how they apply to my life.  This short prayer; “The Prayer of Jabez” has been prayed by me every single day of my life since I received it in 1990 — and on some days of turmoil and stress — more than once.

 

I began many years ago praying this prayer for me – myself first – to be healed; then, later on I changed the names, and prayed for Steve, my husband, and second my sons, Matt and Andy.  So every single night I pray this prayer four times.  As I lay my head down on my pillow, I began these prayers.  I could not sleep unless I did.  I used to pray them silently, until I realized that Satan cannot hear our thoughts, only our spoken words…so I started praying them aloud — I wanted him to know the strength of my trust in God.

 

The Prayer as I have prayed it:  “And Jabez called upon the God of Israel; Oh that You would bless me indeed.  That You would enlarge my territory, and that your hand would be with me; and you would keep me from evil so that I might not cause pain.”

(or) 1 Chronicles 4:10

“Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that Thou would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast (territory), and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou would keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!”  And God granted him that which he requested.”

 

I knew these were powerful words.  I read the book several times, but when I would get to two specific phrases each time, I would find myself thinking… (how in the world would this ever apply to me…?).  That didn’t stop me, though, and I kept right on praying.

 

The first phrase that I just could not understand was “That You would enlarge my territory”, and the second was “And keep me from evil so that I might not cause pain”.  God has now revealed to me exactly what each of these phrases means.  Each statement has changed my life in such amazing ways;  both for the good – but one involving anticipation and excitement, and the other – well, let’s just say the other caused a great deal of pain.  But just for now, I want to talk about the first one — the one which brought unbelievable hope, praises, joy and excitement to my mundane life.

 

Each time I would stop and think.  Here I am… a woman with a finally diagnosed disease of fibromyalgia — and eventually celiac disease.  How in the world could God enlarge my territory?  For a while I could hardly ride in a car for 30 minutes.  A few times through the years when fibromyalgia released its terrible grip on my body and my soul for a short while, I could go a few places;  like Atlanta on several buying trips for a business I kept holding onto; or…there was that one time when I was able to go on a cruise that my husband surprised me with; and a couple of times through the years when I was able to make the 5 hour trip to Myrtle beach.

 

But, “enlarge my territory”!?…

Well, this is where I certainly did God an injustice!  I did not trust Him like His word commands us to do.  But, can you see how I would question; how could He enlarge “my” territory when I can hardly ride in the car for more than 30 minutes…I couldn’t even go up a flight of stairs.  I could never visit all of the states in the United states as many people do (and I would love to do), and I certainly could not (even if the funds were available), fly to other countries.  To me, for many years, that was what “enlarge my territory” meant – to be able to spread the word of God far and wide to all the ends of the earth.

 

Then, a couple of years ago, I picked up this little book again.  It had been lying on my bedside table for years just for the comfort it gave me to see it there.  As I picked up this book and started reading again, I flipped over to the chapter where it was talking about expanding my territory.  As I flipped through the pages, reading quickly, my heart started to flutter a little – I felt something in the pit of my stomach….I HAD BEEN WRONG!  Here they were talking about this applying to our everyday lives.  To people we come in contact with everyday. To businesses which needed God’s help to grow and expand…but in His direction only.

 

So, that night as I began to pray, I began to envision in my mind that – YES – God can expand my territory.  To my friends, my neighbors, and my business selling wreaths on the Internet.  Then, every night thereafter, I had those thoughts in my mind as I spoke the words aloud – instead of the negative and distrustful thoughts and words of doubt clouded with a little hope that had always hung around in the back of my mind.

 

And now where do I begin?  How do I tell you the miraculous ways that God has enlarged my territory?  Well, my business is flourishing, but not in the way you might think — in monitory terms — although I have started to finally make a little money instead of just having a fun hobby that I excelled in and cost us a fortune!  Oh, but God is so good, his dreams for us are more incredible than ours could ever be!

 

My husband, Steve and I have just written a book for and about my business.  It is a book on how to do what I do — how to start an Internet business when you know nothing about the Internet — and yes… a list of every supplier that I buy from, and what I buy from each.  This is something that NO business owner EVER DOES!!  These suppliers and vendors are searched out and tested for many years.  In writing and selling this book, I am creating my own competition!

 

DO YOU SEE???? DO YOU SEE the point I am trying to get across here?  God’s plan for me was not to become a successful Internet Entrepreneur merely making and selling wreaths.  His plan was not for me to just become a success filming how-to videos on wreath design (although that’s a part of my life and business).

 

HIS plan for me was to reach ladies (far and wide — “expanding my territory”), ladies who are and were just like me.  They are trapped in bodies that are weak and sick.  They have fibromyalgia or other health issues which have gone undiagnosed for many, many years….just like mine.  No one understands, maybe they have not found a Doctor yet who even believes they are “truly” sick.  They need hope, they need joy…they need a reason to get out of bed every morning…they need God’s help and inspiration.

 

I am so humbled… I am so overwhelmed… I am so overjoyed that God is using “me” to help these women!  In the last 11 days that my book has been for sale, we have sold over 50 copies!  I am receiving so many emails, it is not humanly possible to answer them all, from women all over the world who are desperate.  They are where I was so many years ago!  God is leading me to help them in ways that I cannot yet begin to fathom!  I could let this totally consume me, but I have peace and trust in God now that I know what “He” is doing, and is doing so well!  I am only along for the ride – along with my faithful, loving husband, and a renewed marriage – and we are open to do whatever God’s will is for us!  We finally KNOW FOR SURE that “His will” cannot be matched by any earthly designs.

 

So…. “enlarge my territory”!?…

Okay…. get this…. in the last two weeks, I have had people on my website from over “Thirty-Five” countries!  I have several “big” Internet Marketers” waiting for me to set my book up for Affiliate Sales so that they can sell it.  They believe in me…and my gift — my talent and they say my story has touched them deeply!

 

So…don’t tell me that God cannot enlarge your territory because he did just that to me — Nancy Alexander — from Anderson, South Carolina!

Smokey Mountains

View Over Unending Mountains
Fill my Heart and Soul!

We took advantage of a long Labor Day Weekend to spend time together as a family — all eleven of us!  It was awesome waking up each morning to the sun rising over the Smokey Mountains.  There wasn't another house in sight as we were awed by the view God created just for us to enjoy!

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

— Psalm 47:10 —

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Sunday morning, I went out on the screened porch.  Overwhelming feelings of His power and majesty engulfed me as I stared out at the expanse of these overwhelming mountain ranges.

As I read in His word, I found this verse and devotional in Psalms. When a specific verse, or even a page touches my soul as it did this day, I get out my Bible markers and pens just to make sure to remember this day always! Later, as I flip through, memories of joy and content come flooding back into my life – memories of family and of our special time together.  I remember that God reached into my soul and spoke to me – just as if He were sitting right beside me on that porch.  
 

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"Here the soul may learn something of what rest is, as day after day one opens one's heart to let the sweet influence of nature's sabbath enter and reign. There is but a faint type of what we may find in Christ.

In the pressure of the greatest responsibilities, in the worry of the smallest cares, in the perplexities of life's moments of crises, we may have rest in the security of God's will.  Learn to live in this rest.  In the calmness of spirit it will give your sould will reflect, as in a mirror, the beauty of the Lord; and the tumult of men's lives will be calmed in your presence, as your tumults have been calmed in His presence." — Hannah Whitall Smith —

 

My Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness

A Verse I've Come to Embrace

My strength is made perfect in weakness. –2 Corinthians 12:9

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Through the years of my struggles to overcome fibromyalgia and celiac disease, weakness would overtake me at many different times. I's grip would hit with such force at times that I could hardly hold my head up. Don't confuse this to the pain – the depression – and the anxiety.  No… it was different.

Most would call this chronic fatigue. Yes, I have been diagnosed with that too, at times when the overwhelm of it all would grasp my very being.

After being sick for close to 4 decades, it was only in the last 8 years that I finally began to see and believe that "my own strength is definitely made perfect in His weakeness."

Almost all of us suffer some sort of health issue, or physical limitation. It could have been something you were born with just as I was, or maybe hit with later in life.

As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12, it was a thorn in his flesh which kept him humble. He wanted it removed just as any of us do. His answer from God was: My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.

God uses us to accomplish His will for our lives
Through our imperfections – our weaknesses…

This forces us to reach toward Him in our weakest hours. That is the only way we will grow close enough to God to fulfill His will for our lives.

I have now found my strength in Him more times that I can count. I have found His will for my life only through my weakest times.

 

 

Searching for Hope, and Finding Joy…

Finding Hope When You're Physically Down

How Do You Keep Going When You're Physically Down?

Today, as I was going through several subjects that customers have requested I discuss in my newsletter, I found one thing which keept coming up over and over again.  Actually, it has been asked on a regular basis for many years now.
 
I has always been my goal to respond to your questions with a personal note – an email, or a call when necessary.  But, alas, I finally realized it was impossible to personally answer each and every one.  This is one of the major reasons that Best of Nancy and Grow With Nancy were formed; I wanted to be able to talk to you and answer your questions so others could benefit from each question and answer – they were all so similar.

These are some of the questions I have received, all basically asking the same thing:

  • "What do you do when you're physically down?"
  • "How in the world do you make wreaths, maintain several websites, send out newsletters, and manage a membership site while fighting health issues?"
  • "How can 'I' function when I am feeling so badly?"
  • "How have you kept going as you fight Fibromyalgia and Celiac Disease?"
  • Wow, I'm overwhelmed!  Please tell me where do I start?

 First of all, I encourage you to look around you today. Do you appreciate the beauty you see in a smile, in nature, and in those who are dear to you?  Or, in a newborn baby?

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Although I am in a lot of pain today, I am getting to enjoy our new grandson, Brendan Cole Alexander. You see… he is only one day old and SO very precious.

I wish you could see him. He weighed close to 9 pounds, and I knew yesterday when I was reaching for and holding that sweet little miracle that I would hurt. Did that stop me? Absolutely not!

Did I know that I would really pay for it last night and today and… for who knows how many more days to come? Of course I did! But, that doesn't matter. It didn't stop me. I enjoyed every second with him in my arms, and will do it again and again!

So, today I am sitting at my computer writing this with a very large ice pack on my back, a smile on my face, and a heart filled with joy.

I could have sat and felt sorry for myself while looking at that precious bundle of joy knowing how it would hurt me to hold him. But, I still would have been in some pain today or I may have unintentionally done something else which would have caused my fibromyalgia to flare up. My decisions now to situations like this are "do what you want"; "do what makes you smile"; and enjoy every single second!
 
"I am only passing through this moment…" ~Beth Moore
 
 Chronic illnesses are a severe problem for many of you, not just me.
 
Pain was (notice I saw 'was') the main focus of my life for so many years.  It colored the way I thought and felt, and reacted to the world around me.

It is hard to see the beauty in a flower, a sunset or sunrise, or a brand new baby when you are giving in and suffering in silence.  It is hard to think of doing something that would make your day productive when it is clouded with something which has such a deep, dark hold on you.
 
 My answer was… and is… "God".
 
I don't know where I would be today without all of the miracles God has worked in my life. 

I do know that I would not be sitting here at my computer writing to you, my friends, students, and faithful followers – were it not for God and all the Miracles "He" has performed in my life. 

I know without a doubt that He arranged for me to be sent to each "Professional" who finally diagnosed and treated the causes of my illness.
 
I am speechless when I think of the people who were sent into my life to encourage, uplift, inspire, diagnose and help me heal.
 
Jim Cockrum and I have talked about this many times – we call them "Divine Appointments"!  You may not believe in those, and if so, that certainly is your choice.
 
I don't want to impose my faith on you knowing that every person has their own beliefs, but in telling a story of me – "Beautifully, Broken Me" (as my friend Molly Alexander writes in her blog), I cannot forget the obvious and must share with you how I got to this point in my life.  That's what many of you have been asking me all these years. 

I do believe God has led me on a path for many years for a specific purpose – that is to be able to help and encourage YOU!

"By picking up the pieces of a broken life and putting them back together, a person cannot help but be changed.  This change is a beautiful thing that results in a deeper understanding of others and their situations, and gives us a chance to share our experiences with them, showing them that there is a way out – a light at the end of the tunnel."
 
"I believe that I have not just been broken, but put back together by God in a beautiful way – a way that I could have never imagined on my own."  ~Molly Alexander~

Isn't it amazing that I can now see, live, and enjoy the beauty around me?  And, oh, how I want to give you a sense of hope, joy and peace in "Your Beautifully Broken Life" too!

Blessings… Nancy

 

Selah – All of Me

"Selah" By, Nancy Alexander


All of Me…

Beautiful Song by Selah:  All of Me Thank you Lord for being there… For Loving Us…. For Caring For Us!