Friday, January 11, 2013

Deanna Nowadnick: Living With The Fruit Of His Holy Spirit

Everyone's Story welcomes Deanna Nowadnick, author of the memoir FRUIT OF MY SPIRIT: Reframing Life in God's Grace. Deanna shares with readers that despite missteps and misdeeds God's grace and love for us is huge... a perfect boost to the still young New Year. There's a preview of the opening of her book--which she's offering as a Giveaway, plus Deanna shares her thoughts on peace on earth beginning with each of us, followed by a awesome YouTube video. Come visit with Deanna. She's looking forward to meeting you.

Book Giveaway:
Deanna is offering one copy of FRUIT OF MY SPIRIT to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced on Friday, January 18th between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your email address within the body of the comment. Thanks!

The opening of Deanna's book :

Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace

by Deanna Nowadnick

         I’m a mess. The highlights in my hair hide a pre-gray drab. One hip and one knee have been replaced and another knee should be. I’m overweight and under the illusion that I’m going to wake up one morning to a younger, skinnier self. On good days I whine and complain. On bad days I whine and complain more. I’m impatient whenever life has the audacity to thwart my plans. I get frustrated whenever life presents a detour or a hurdle. At one point I planned to live to 125. When I remembered that the Bible says Moses only lived to 120, I decided on 119. I can’t imagine God needing me around longer than Moses.
         Life has its challenges. Life is a challenge. I know my existence is about more than this body. I know it’s not about gray hair, failing body parts, and excess pounds. I know the important stuff’s on the inside, but honestly, I’m not so sure that the inside stuff’s any prettier. Perhaps I’ve been expecting God to act as my own fairy godmother, ready to pop into the scene any moment now with a twinkle in His eye and a wand in His hand. I’ve been waiting to be tapped ever so gently on the forehead and magically transformed into a loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled delight in His life, adorned in a nice white ensemble, cute shoes, and fresh nail polish. In thinking that, I’ve not only trivialized God’s love and forgiveness, but I’ve missed the magnitude of His mercy that’s been shared with me over and over again. I’ve overlooked the fruit of His Holy Spirit that’s already a part of my own spirit in all that I do and all that I am.
         So now what? Filled with His Holy Spirit, do I step back from life as I’ve known it? Do I need to tiptoe around the messiness of each day, avoiding the dirt and grime of my daily existence? If not wearing a white ensemble, something off-white? With His fruit, will I have this new aura about me that parts the seas and calms the storm within?
         From an early age, I’ve been told that I am a child of God. I was brought up in the church. I went to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I attended youth group. In high school and college I worked part-time in the church office. I was active as a child, as a young person, and as an adult. That being said, I’ve still wondered at times about my place in God’s family and God’s place in mine. When the lights are turned out and I’ve left the church building, is there really a spot in God’s heart for a defiant child? In His divine plans for a self-centered teenager? In His family for an adult who gets tired, impatient, frustrated, and distracted? Just having to ask tells me that I’ve truly failed to grasp the enormity of God’s love and mercy. And today, I stumble through life trying to understand a gift that has no measure, picking myself up, only to trip on the very next hurdle. Bumped and bruised I’ve failed to see God’s incredible ability to make the best out of the worst, the most out of the least, using forgotten moments, selfish intentions, and regrettable mistakes all for His glory.
         I think I have a pretty good understanding of God’s gift of unmerited love and complete forgiveness, intellectually. Like any good Sunday School student, I could put together a well-worded essay on the tenets of faith; my head’s got it. But my heart’s not so sure. I realize now that I’ve rested in my intellect without finding comfort for my soul. I’ve reacted to life with the frustrations of a child, the hurts of a teen, and the failings of an adult. I have buckled under the weight of God’s law and found it harder and harder to stand tall in the light of His love and grace. I’ve let my own plans and ambitions trump God’s will for me in my life. I’ve ignored His blessings, focusing instead on life’s challenges, and let the what-ifs consume my thoughts and energy. And now wrongdoings and shortcomings, imperfections and transgressions have become stone tablets amounting to fifty-six pounds of excess weight.
         So here’s where I find myself: I’m sitting in church on Sunday morning. We’ve just sung a couple uplifting songs of welcome. Next is the Confession of Sins (for all those wrongdoings, shortcomings, imperfections, and transgressions):
Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
         Some Sundays we’re more blunt: “I, a poor miserable sinner, confess unto Thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean.” And with those words, I’m left in a poor, miserable place with no room to hide behind the collective voice of the congregation. God has offered me errors and omissions insurance and I’m still opting to fight my own battles in court—day after day after day. I’ve not only returned His gift of forgiveness unopened, but I’ve left him waiting in the foyer of my life as I linger endlessly at the pity party for innumerable mistakes. God’s patience has been undeniable and completely undeserved. He has waited when I couldn’t be bothered, when I was determined to go it alone, when I had a “better” idea, an easier solution. As the failures amassed and life’s struggles accumulated, He remained faithful, loving, and caring for me, guiding and pushing me.
         By focusing on the trials of this life, I’ve overlooked the forgiveness that comes immediately after my confession in the pew. I’ve missed the harvest that springs forth from seeds of grace. And in doing so, I’ve missed the fruit of God’s Spirit described so eloquently in Paul’s letter to the people of Galatia, a letter written in part to help new Christians who had lived under Old Testament law move forward in New Testament grace. He passionately encouraged them to live by the Spirit and to share in the fruit of the Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22–23
         With Paul’s encouragement and God’s blessing, I want to reframe my own life in God’s love and grace. I want to take the memories, those pictures that have been hanging on the walls of my heart, and reframe them. I want to replace broken glass, bad matting, and damaged wood. Together with God, I want to redo each photo, this time concentrating on the beauty of each remembrance, this time surrounded by a frame of love and forgiveness. Through it all I want to focus on the hugeness of God’s faithfulness. There won’t be a tap on my forehead; there will be no magical moments. This is real life, not a cartoon re-creation. God’s holding my hand, not a wand. He’s really there; He has been all along. He has loved me without hesitation every day, every moment, through the best and the worst. I’ve truly been a part of His most glorious plan and most wonderful purpose. The Divine Master has been using my life and my missteps in the creation of a beautiful masterpiece, a blessed work of art colored with love and hope, highlighted with mercy and joy, and signed by the Almighty Himself, my Lord, my Savior.
         As I go forth with God, my efforts to reframe life’s experiences are not just redecorating projects; they’re an opportunity to look back and see His love and forgiveness, to recognize the fruit of His Holy Spirit in my life. More importantly, they’re the chance to see a bigger purpose, something that’s been easy to overlook. God created me in His image. I was blessed to be a blessing. God picked me for a special purpose—one that would require the talents and experiences of a middle-aged woman, someone who had known both joy and heartache, someone who had lived life to its fullest, yet also known the regret and sorrow of a wasted moment and a neglected opportunity. He wanted my strengths and my weaknesses, my quirks and my flaws, my loves, my passions, and even my ditziness.
         I’m not a child of God because people told me so; I’m His child because He made me so. He has loved and cared for me without fail through the best of times and during the most trying. When the lights were turned out and I left the church building, He left with me. And as part of His family, my growth in Him brought forth the fruit of my own spirit, imperfect, a little blemished, but delicious, sealed in His grace, fruit that has been a part of all that I do and all that I am. And now I look back with patience and understanding and look ahead with hope and joy. More importantly, I pause in gratitude for a God who was willing to include me in His unique and blessed plans for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
         And so I pray:
May the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in him,
so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Romans 13:13

         With God, it can be so. Today I plan for the harvest by planting seeds of hope and promise, wisdom and insight. Together with my Lord and Savior, I look back at life’s struggles with new eyes, recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in ways never before imagined or acknowledged. Those battered frames really do surround pictures of inestimable worth.
         So, as the old hymn proclaims, “This is my story, this is my song!”

Let There Be Peace on Earth by Deanna Nowadnick

I found myself without words. Hearing of the tragedy in Connecticut, my heart broke. Actually, my heart didn’t just break, it shattered. In the fraction of a second the love, joy, peace, and hope of the Advent season crumbled as the mother in me cried at the deaths of 26 babies, the teacher in me froze as the horrific events of an elementary school were shared in excruciating details.

Who, God? Who could do such a thing? Who could find himself so separated from society that life itself had lost all value and meaning?
What, God? What really happened that Friday? What caused one man to succumb to an evil plan of destruction?
Where, God? Where are You? Where is Your love, joy, peace, and hope in the midst of such overwhelming grief and undeniable pain and suffering?
When, God? When will it get better? When will we be able to find comfort and joy in a world broken by sin?
How, God? How do we make sense of it all? How do we give meaning to an event that is beyond comprehension?

I shudder at the impact of sin. I shudder knowing that evil is real. I shudder remembering that it started with a whisper in the garden, words of temptation that became an act of disobedience. That story was followed by another: a son’s anger became a deadly act of hatred.

I ache for answers. I ache to know what God would say to so many questions, those asked aloud and those I can’t put into words.

And now I pray. I pray that God might use me, might use us, to share love, to bring joy, to offer peace, and to promote hope in a world that is broken, in a world that is crying for justice and compassion.

Ann Curry, NBC News Correspondent, proposed 26 acts of kindness (#26acts) in response to her own question, “What can I do?” She wondered what we could do if we all committed 26 acts of kindness to honor the lost children and heroic teachers of Newton, CT.

As a Christian trying to follow God’s call this day, I wonder about taking Ann’s challenge one step further. What if we commit to 26 acts of kindness and one act of love, not the easy act of love, but the hard one? What if we each find a way to bridge a misunderstanding, to open a door slammed in anger, to find that moment of peace when every part of our being wants to shake in rage and frustration?

I’m not naïve enough to believe that a single act of love will overcome evil in the world, but I am challenged to find a way to make a difference, however small.
“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

Jill Jackson yearned for peace, too. After living through wars and fears of nuclear bombs, after learning of families torn apart by conflicts, she believed the words to her song came through her and not from her. May it be so for us 

Author Bio:

Deanna Nowadnick is a Pacific Northwest native and debut author. Fruit of My Spirit began as a love story to her sons. She just wanted them to know how she met their father. One chapter quickly became many chapters. One day, she said to anyone who’d listen, “I think I wrote a book.”

When not writing, Deanna serves as Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, a financial advisory firm. Deanna is active in her church, playing the violin and editing the monthly newsletter. She loves to knit, adores chocolate, and most importantly, enjoys a blessed marriage to Kurt. They are the proud parents of two adult sons, Kyle and Kevin.

Deanna is currently working on Book 2. Signs in Life: Standing with God at the Corner of Grace and Mercy tells of those times when God has come alongside and guided, directed and turned her.

Links to find Deanna:


  1. Thanks, Elaine, for the opportunity to be part of your site.

    Yes, may there be peace on earth! And let it begin with us.

    1. And I'm glad for the opportunity to be hosting you, Deanna. The peace song you mentioned has stirred up another peace song from my childhood: does anyone remember One Tin Solider from the Billy Jack movies? Peace sounds like such a simple concept, doesn't, but us humans sure cough up a lot of obstacles!

    2. After reading Deanna's opening words from her book, Fruit of My Spirit I knew I wanted to win a copy of it. As far as peace on earth goes..wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if that was possible. If everyone just put forth an effort it could be so but we know that isn't going to happen for our world is full of evil; those who wish to do us harm. How it must sadden God.

      Thank you for this great post!


    3. Judy, nice to see you in this New Year--you brighten my days!

      I don't know what gets into others' heads when it comes to disrupting a peaceful world, but am I ever relieved that God is here for us!

      So glad you enjoyed reading a sneak peak at Deanna's memoir.

    4. Judy, sharing stories has been such fun! Best part is hearing back from readers and learning of their own exploits. I just smile. God must, too!

  2. My word this year is “connection.” I felt called to make it a theme in my life in September, and I think it’s going to be one for a very long time. It’s the thing that was missing in Newtown that day. A young man not able to connect because of a horrible disease called autism. A mother so desperate to connect with her son, she took him to a shooting range because it was the one thing she knew he enjoyed. Many have judged her decision, and certainly I can’t imagine doing it myself, knowing his diagnosis. However, being the mother of an autistic son, I know what it’s like to feel desperate sometimes and try whatever you think will work. I hope, as we look at what happened we don’t only ask questions about the guns, but ask what we can do for a mother who may be isolated and at her wits end. So to the acts of kindness and love, I’d like to add that people step away from their computer for a few minutes a day and personally connect with someone.

    1. Connie, always a pleasure to see you, my friend.

      That's an awesome suggestion: bye bye computer/cell phone/anything with a screen and hello spouse/child/parent/friend...

    2. Connie, I agree with Elaine. Your suggestion is an awesome one--for all of us to step away from stuff and step into the relationships we have been blessed with. This afternoon a dear friend stopped by. We'd had a little (as in very minor) misunderstanding, but I was so grateful that she would care enough to take the time to care. What a blessing!

  3. Really enjoyed reading this tonight. Blessings, Susan Fryman

    1. Glad to see you again, Susan. I'm happy to know that Deanna brightened your evening.

    2. Susan, thank you for your comment. May God continue to bless and keep you!

  4. This comment is posted from Anita:

    Is this where I comment on the featured article? If so, I enjoyed Deanna's writing and sense of humor. I have come to realize that when the New Year begins it's like the new fallen snow, so pure and clean. Then comes life with its dirt and the snow gets trampled on, and we get disappointed. But God's truly amazing grace is like the fresh spring rains that washes away all that grime. It's so wonderful to stand under His waterfall of grace.

    1. Welcome to Everyone's Story, Anita. I copied your comment from my Guest Book page and signed it here under your first name...

      Your description of God's power and love for us as "His waterfall of grace" is an awesome visual. Thanks for sharing that!

    2. Anita, I love your snow analogy. And I love thinking about the spring that is to come. In Washington snowdrops will soon poke through the frozen ground. During the coldest, bleakest moment, God bring new life, beautiful new life. Yes, amazing grace!

  5. What a wonderful intro that you posted on your book, I feel inspired already. The Fruit of the Spirit has always been one of my favorite studies. I like how you make it personal with The Fruit of MY Spirit We are certainly in an age where the human connection is harder and harder to achieve to any real depth it seems. Too many responsibilities, too much work, too little time to have many random acts of kindness or love it seems. HOWEVER .. I believe that it is our duty to make the time. One kind act, one loving gesture goes much farther than you think. Not only are you honoring God, but you are living up to the expectation that he has for us. One act makes a difference, so we all need to make the time. Well put Deanna .. you have lifted my spirits tonight and filled me with HOPE.

    1. Lynn, thanks for visiting Everyone's Story! I'm pleased that Deanna's segment has resonated with you. I agree with you--we need to make the time to make the difference.

    2. Thanks, Lynn! You make an important point about our responsibilities as God's people. We honor God as we honor his people.

  6. hmmm, I think I need to read this book!!! Rhonda

    1. Good morning, Rhonda, and welcome to Everyone's Story ☀

    2. Rhonda, an author loves to hear that!

  7. Deanna, heartfelt thanks for being such a wonderful guest on Everyone's Story this past week. You've helped to uplifted and encourage many viewers, including myself, and truly have brightened up an otherwise gloomy January.

    Thanks too for your lovely giveaway of FRUIT OF MY SPIRIT...

    And the winner of Deanna's book, the one who said that she really needed to read it, is Rhonda. Yea, Rhonda. Both Deanna and I will be in contact with you shortly.

    Blessings to you two, and to all my viewers.

  8. Elaine, it was an honor and a pleasure. I enjoyed interacting with your followers. And congratulations to Rhonda! Enjoy! Enjoy!


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