The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

It’s something my mother quoted to me more than once while I was growing up:

“The hand that rocks the cradle/ Is the hand that rules the world.” William Ross Wallace

Maybe not the world, but definitely the nation. And the battle is ongoing for power over who will wield that hand.

Because now the US government wants to gain more control sooner over the cradle.

Mary Szoch of the Family Research Council explains what the current administration’s proposal (which the FRC says will cost $2.5 trillion over the next seven years) will do. The American Families’ Plan, would be “the replacement of parents by a government-approved agency.”

“[The plan is] trying to fix a problem America has with fatherlessness by creating a culture that promotes motherless as well,” Szoch says.

The president’s plan would provide free preschool for 3- to 4-year-olds and lower-cost daycare through “approved” agencies. The plan makes no mention of faith-based organizations.

And while it offers tax credits for most parents putting their children in daycare, it offers no such break for mothers giving up income to care for their own children–thereby saving the government money.

The program would dictate that caregivers earn at least $15 per hour (they currently earn $12.24 on average). And “those with comparable qualifications would receive compensation commensurate with that of kindergarten teachers.”

 Being required to pay such wages in order to continue to offer subsidized care might put most churches already participating in the current program out of the daycare business.

I went back to work in the late 1980s when my two youngest children were of pre-school age. The daycare was subsidized. I paid $5.00 per week for the care of both children. That included their meals.

Even with a pro-rated increase to account for inflation and the passage of time, such care would still qualify as affordable for any employed person–even the single mother I once was.

When government officials propose plans like the current one, they must assume most people aren’t aware that there is already a service in place to address the problem.

And if that program is underfunded, as some assert, why not increase funding instead of creating a new bureaucracy?

What could be the motivation for making a new program where one already exists? And why exclude faith agencies where some workers might even choose to work on a volunteer basis?

The primary question is not so much whether mothers of young children should work. Many have to. It’s a question about how much say these mothers should have over whether the care their children receive while they work will reflect their own values and beliefs.

Ministries offer the best opportunity for parents to seek childcare that will match the message they work to instill in their children.

While our national government proposes to provide care for low- and middle-income families, many headed by single parents, legislators in one state propose to roll back legislation that has resulted in more single-parent families–liberalized divorce laws.

The state of Texas is proposing to end one-sided, no-fault divorce.

State Representative Matt Krause says, “There needs to be some type of due process. There needs to be some kind of mechanism to where that other spouse has a defense.”

In Restoring the Shattered, I wrote:

“Instead of a liberating cure-all the feminists of that day presented, divorce has wreaked havoc on our society. Throughout the decade of the 1970s, no-fault divorce laws swept across most of the country. In their aftermath, divorce rates nearly doubled. . . .

“[In 2006] NOW—which had led the vanguard in promoting lenient divorce legislation and unrestricted abortion for decades—was protesting the liberalization of New York’s divorce statute. At that time, New York was the lone holdout on no-fault divorce. The proposed divorce bill provided a unique opportunity for NOW to partner with the Catholic Church against allowing one spouse to dissolve a marriage unilaterally. Unfortunately, in 2010, New York finally became the fiftieth state to enact a no-fault divorce law.[ii]

“We don’t have to think hard to understand why the Catholic Church opposed no-fault divorce. But for liberal feminists to turn on a foundational plank of their platform is astonishing. Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, a catalyst for the women’s movement, had called marriage a “comfortable concentration camp.” She cheered the passage of the first no-fault law in California in 1970. Twenty-seven years later, Friedan—and NOW—realized that the new laws had harmed women instead of helping them.

“Often, men can use custody of the children as a weapon against women. In a perverse game of mental manipulation, the man will agree to forgo a custody battle if the woman agrees to a smaller financial settlement, leaving the woman torn between seeing her children or supporting her children.

“One study found that only 37 percent of women retained ownership of the family home under no-fault divorce, versus 82 percent under fault divorce. . . .

“Under no-fault divorce laws, women tend to come up short in battles over finances and property, and they are more likely to lose their health insurance coverage. Today, divorce places 22 percent of divorced women in poverty as opposed to 11 percent of divorced men.

“Friedan now admits that feminists ‘made a mistake with no-fault divorce.’”[iii]

We often can’t see the results of public decisions until years later. The results of turning young children over to state-controlled daycare won’t manifest themselves for years.

The results of no-fault divorce are already in.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


[i] New York Times editors, “Is New York Ready for No-Fault Divorce?,” June 15, 2010, https://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/is-new-york-ready-for-no-fault-divorce.

[ii] Ashley McGuire, “The Feminist, Pro-Father, and Pro-Child Case against No-Fault Divorce,” Public Discourse, May 7, 2013, http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/05/10031.

[iii] Nicholas Wolfinger, Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages, as cited by Stephanie Chen, “Children of Divorce Vow to Break Cycle, Create Enduring Marriages,” CNN, September 22, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/09/22/divorced.parents.children.marriage/index.html.

A Fellow Writer’s Endorsement

A big thank you to Melinda V. Inman for sharing this piece:

@nancyehead is a truth-telling #writer who pens facts that reveal the dark side of issues about which we may have covered our eyes. Her writing is candid, bracing, intellectual & informative, both blogging and published work.… https://melindainman.com/?p=27847 via @MelindaVInman

NANCY E. HEAD

No description available.

Nancy E. Head is an author, teacher, and activist who has also run for political office. She is staunchly pro-life and often writes on this topic as well as the moral condition of America and how we are losing many of the values that were common in the past.

Learn more about Nancy here: www.nancyehead.com.

Nancy blogs weekly. Over several years of reading her work, I’ve found her to be one of the most candid authors I’ve ever encountered. Her wealth of experiences give her a candor and yet kindness toward those in difficult situations, and her strength of character produces writing directed at those difficulties in ways that are straightforward and frank. I learn much from her weekly blog about where our nation is headed morally and ethically.

Boldly, she writes of the ugly side of the abortion issue, euthanasia, and the pressure on those who attempt to intervene. Her writing presents truth fearlessly, with no hiding of the details about which we may have covered our eyes. Bracing, intellectual, and informative — these descriptors encapsulate her work.@nancyehead is a truth-telling #writer who pens facts that reveal the dark side of issues about which we may have covered our eyes. Her writing is candid, bracing, intellectual & informative, both blogging and published work.…CLICK TO TWEET

Take a look at Nancy’s blog. This is one of her latest featured posts.

HEADLINES: THE IMPORTANCE OF MEANING

Published in the Mustard Seed Sentinel, June 27, 2020.

“In the 1950s kids lost their innocence . . . In the 1960s, kids lost their authority [the means of direction]. . . In the 1970s, kids lost their love. It was the decade of me-ism dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self. . . Self-image, Self-esteem, Self-assertion… It made for a lonely world. . . In the 1980s, kids lost their hope. . . In the 1990s, kids lost their power to reason. . . In the new millennium, kids woke up and found out that in the midst of all this change, they had lost their imagination,” Ravi Zacharias.

Innocence, authority, love, hope, reason, imagination, all are necessary elements of a functioning people in a functioning society.

Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in 1950—back when there was still innocence, hope, and imagination. The book is about a society that can no longer find itself. The people have no books, no imagination, and no sense of purpose and meaning.

Bradbury depicts these losses in one of the most chilling moments in literature. A man comes home from work to find his wife passed out—overdosed on sleeping pills. He calls for help assuming the 1950s practice that a doctor will actually come to the house to set her right.

Instead, help comes in the form of two cigarette smoking technicians with a snakelike vacuum cleaner of sorts. They sweep out the woman’s system. She’ll be fine in the morning. It’s no big deal, they say; it’s common. So common, in fact, that they get nine or ten calls a night. Every night. . . .

Find the rest of Nancy’s blog HERE.

Nancy is the author of Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord. Currently, she is working on a middle reader children’s book, Jude and the Magic Birds (Working title).

RESTORING THE SHATTERED

Find Nancy book HERE on Amazon.

Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ's Love Through the Church in One Accord by [Nancy E. Head]

Written in an easy-to-understand, conversational style, Restoring the Shattered is an account of Nancy E. Head’s journey through single-motherhood and poverty. The permanent divide between her and her husband led to a shattering of their family as the children settled into separate camps.

The story begins when Nancy and her children have little to eat. Through a miraculous intervention, God provides—and leads them along their way. Other interventions and more guidance came from people of different denominations, illustrating Christ’s love through the larger Church.

When one of Nancy’s grown children became Catholic, she became more aware of the ways her own evangelical tradition often dismisses Catholic believers and misinterprets many of their doctrines. While doctrines may differ, so many essential beliefs are the same. Restoring the Shattered looks at the causes of the Reformation and other schisms, and how the original schism in Christianity happened because of a mistranslation.

Misunderstanding others’ faith languages feeds so much separation today. Nancy encourages pursuing accord among evangelical, Catholic, and Christian Orthodox communities in order to lead the Church to the kind of ministry that helped Nancy’s family so much and rebuild the ruins of society through obedience to Christ’s call for Christian accord.

During our years of need, Christians encouraged her as she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Penn State and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Encouragement continued as she embarked on a career in journalism and later turned to a career in teaching, which has included two summers in China. She earned my master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Currently, Nancy is an instructor at Penn State Altoona and Great Commission Schools. When not teaching or writing, she restores antique quilts, craft projects for her grandchildren, and helps her husband lead a small group at their church devoted to ministering to the needy in their community.

Find Nancy E. Head on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

To Avoid Shattered Marriage

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

—Song of Solomon 6:3

Husband and wife did not need to speak words to one another, not just from the old habit of living together but because in that one long-ago instant … they had touched and become as God when they voluntarily and in advance forgave one another for all that each knew the other could never be.

—William Faulkner


A few years ago, I attended a Russian Baptist wedding. The bride had been a student of mine, one I had mentored in a small group. A remarkable student with a deep and intelligent faith, she worked hard and read voraciously.

She made a big impression on me one day during her sophomore year when our group was having lunch. She asked that we pray for her friend’s mother. The woman had been helping with our school lunch that day but had become ill. After prayer, my student asked permission to go outside to sit with the sick woman who was waiting for her husband to pick her up.

Sometimes the student disciples the teacher.

During another of our gatherings when she was a senior, she told me about her fiancé. “He’s already talked with my father,” she glowed. She continued in animated excitement. Her father had told the young man that they would have to wait two years before marrying. Young men in this small community usually do not wait two years for a bride, but this young man would.

At the end of two years, the bride’s father, a pastor, conducted the ceremony. The service was in Russian, but the church provided electronic translators for the English speakers among us. What unfolded was a beautiful ceremony much like other weddings—until after the bride and groom said their vows. At that point, they both got down on their knees and prayed aloud. Each asked God to “help me keep the vow I just made”—an extra step to reinforce the seriousness of the day.

A fellow teacher and I were among a group of individuals who would speak on behalf of the bride at the reception—another departure from typical weddings. After an amazing meal, I followed along in the program as several others took their turns speaking to the bride and groom. Much of that was in Russian (no translators here). Aunts, uncles, and grandparents, one by one, came forward to give the bride and groom words of wisdom for their life together. Then came my turn to speak.

When I began, the bride stood up. I talked about how impressed I had been with the character of this young woman and related the story of her care for the sick woman in our school cafeteria. I mentioned the radiance I saw in her eyes when she was with her fiancé. When I mentioned the groom, he stood up.

The couple had been up and down throughout the reception. At no point did either of them heave a sigh or roll their eyes. The seriousness
they exhibited at the church carried over to the celebration afterward.

They would carry it into their lives where they now parent two children.

As we left the reception, I thought of how this joining of two lives had differed from so many others I had witnessed. The mood was just as celebratory—just as joyful. The couple listened respectfully to every speaker. That looked like work to me, and I thought that, at the end of the
day, they must have been very tired.

Considering the factors that contribute to divorce, this couple seemed to be at risk. They were young. He did not plan to go to college.
She was taking online classes mainly because she wanted to homeschool her children capably, not to enhance her earning capability or empower herself. But consider what they have going for them. They had waited two years as she studied, and he honed and applied his skills as an electrician, increasing his value in the workplace. In the interim, their relationship with each other and extended family continued to develop. Surrounded by family who cared enough to encourage them, whose approval they sought, and whose guidelines they followed, they were part of a close-knit
community who witnessed their vows. And they have deep and abiding faith in God.

The more we live out our commitment to Christ, the more stable our families are. The less our society follows him, the less stable our lives are.
And in America today, family stability continues to unwind.

God’s original plan for the family was stability in traditional marriage.

Adam was in the garden, and God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, so I will create a companion for him, a perfectly suited partner.”

And God made woman.

Christian marriage is a reflection of the image of the window. The husband represents Christ; the wife represents Christ’s bride—the church.

Within Christian orthodoxy, marriage is the union of one man and one woman. All of Christian orthodoxy affirms that God intends the husband and wife to remain faithful to each other for life.

Modern society has been bashing these ideas for several decades now.

But most people aspire to be married. And it’s reasonable to assume that they hope, at least at the onset, that their marriages will last a lifetime.

To some, however, marriage seems outdated. But we forget that in the first century, the idea of Christian marriage was revolutionary.

Changing the nature of marriage was a big part of how Christianity turned the Roman world upside down. “In pagan times, a family was a
man—the paterfamilias, or father of the family—and his property” (Aquilina). The mere existence of everyone else in the family depended on the whim of the father. He ruled his personal realm. Wife and children were there for his benefit. If they were not a benefit, they were not there.

Abortion was common. And female infanticide was pervasive, claiming the lives of “most” girls. Adultery, especially on the part of men, was customary and assumed.

In contrast, God had established marriage and declared that the man and the woman “shall become one flesh.” In the New Testament,
Jesus reiterated that “the two shall become one flesh.” Christian marriage presented everyone in the family as a sacred, immortal soul. It wasn’t just the father who mattered. The wife mattered. The children mattered.

Baby girls mattered. To pagan Romans, such thoughts seemed crazy.

Just as crazy was the idea that marriage would be more than an economic arrangement for the man, who in Roman culture was free to
engage in sex with anyone (of any age and either gender) at any time (Aquilina).

The Christian view of marriage was an exclusive one for both parties.

Saint Pope John Paul II explained that marriage is a gift from the Holy Spirit that helps a couple “progress towards an ever richer union with each other on all levels … [T]he plan of God which was revealed from the beginning … [supports] the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive” (Saint Pope). Equal personal dignity. Unique and exclusive.

These ideas had never been considered before outside of Judaism. Today all of Christian orthodoxy views marriage this way. Christian marriage is designed to help both parties in the marriage, and by extension, the children. The Orthodox view states: “Becoming ‘one flesh’ in a blessed marriage is an act of … selfless giving of one to the other; a self-emptying … in a manner like Christ when He took on human flesh and assumed human nature” (Morelli).

Excerpted from Restoring the Shattered. Photo Credit: Morgan James Publishing–updated cover image.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Notes:

William Faulkner, “The Fire and the Hearth,” Go Down, Moses (New York: Vintage, 1942, 1994), 104.

Genesis 2:18, The Voice.

Frank Newport and Joy Wilke, “Most in U.S. Want Marriage, but Its Importance Has Dropped,” Gallup, August 2, 2013, http://news.gallup.com/poll/163802/marriage-importance-dropped.aspx.

Mike Aquilina and James L. Papandrea, Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again (New York: Image, 2015), 55, 60, 61.

Ibid., 61.

Saint Pope John Paul II, “The Indivisible Unity of Conjugal Communion,” excerpted from Familiaris Consortio, 1981, accessed August 2, 2016, http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/month/archive/dec08/unity.html.

Fr. George Morelli, “Good Marriage XIII: The Theology of Sexuality and Marriage,” Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, 2014, accessed August 2, 2016, http://ww1.antiochian.org/node/17964.

Restoring the Shattered: Reviewed in The Altoona Mirror

I’m grateful to Linda Gracey for writing this gracious article about Restoring the Shattered. Republished from The Altoona Mirror–June 7, 2019~

Local Author Likens Life to Glass

In her book, “Restoring the Shattered,” Nancy E. Head of Altoona looks at several facets of life that are like broken glass, but can be restored to a beautiful and colorful stained glass window in God’s hands.

Her original goal in writing the book was to encourage Christian unity, but she also writes about broken pieces in her life as well as in society.

The subtitle, “Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord,” reflects her original reason for writing the book.

Head, who is an instructor at Penn State Altoona and Great Commission Schools, said she wants to make the Christian Church aware of what it has in common, as opposed to allowing differences in traditions and doctrines to keep believers from accepting one another and working together.

When one of her five children converted to Catholicism, some of her evangelical friends had trouble understanding his decision, she said. They seemed to have misconceptions about the Catholic faith, she said, and she wanted them to understand that the Catholic beliefs were not that different from Protestant ones.

“So much division, separation, is based on misunderstandings,” she said.

In her book, Head provides background on the Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths and examples of how they have worked in unity to spread the gospel. She gives examples of misconceptions and points out how spiritual leaders including Saint John Paul II (pope from 1978-2005), Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Charles Colson encouraged ecumenism.

She also covers legitimate areas where the faiths differ in doctrine and traditions, including concerning communion and baptism.

“Some of our disagreement over communion and baptism is authentic,” she writes in Chapter 10.

“But some is distortion, some is misunderstanding. Determining which is which can help to repair the broken window of our faith communities.”

Whether she is writing about the Christian faith, concerns for societal issues or her own personal life, Head compares the subject to glass in various states. Sometimes it is broken, sometimes it is shattered, sometimes it is scored for a certain purpose. Sometimes she points out how it reflects or transmits light.

Head said the Holy Spirit gave her the idea to use glass, especially stained glass, as a theme throughout the book, but she wasn’t sure how it was going to fit. She knew she was on to something, she said, when she read Ciara Curtin’s article in the Feb. 22, 2007, edition of Scientific American that defines glass as being neither a liquid or a solid, but a state between those two states of matter.

“It’s fluid and flexible,” Head said.

In addition to Christian unity, Head writes about poverty and other societal issues, such as homelessness, abortion and divorce and a need to understand people’s circumstances without being judgmental.

Having known poverty herself, she said, “A lot of people look down on you. You can’t perceive how you ever will become a taxpayer (as opposed to someone who benefits from others’ taxes). You accept the label people put on you.”

Head said, “The church applies labels, too,” adding that that is part of the problem. “The Church needs to look more kindly on people and realize that there but for the grace of God, go I. Instead of judging, we need to learn how to lift them up.”

She gave the example of approaching a homeless man in a church parking lot while others feared him.

“I gave him a gift card (to get a meal at a fast-food restaurant),” she said.

In her own life, it was a divorce in the 1980s that left Head financially challenged. She had to find work to support herself and five children.

In “Restoring the Shattered,” she talks about her struggles and how government programs can be a help and a hindrance. Although she received daycare assistance while she worked, she lost almost all of her subsidized childcare when she decided to attend college. She was able to pursue her goal to acquire a degree, to earn more and get out of poverty, because of Christians who were willing to take on childcare responsibilities.

“We are to encounter the world and meet needs,” she said.

Among those who have read the book are Cindy Updyke, the wife of a former pastor and formerly of Altoona.

Updyke, of North Carolina, said she read the book from the perspective of people who have been wounded and how the body of Christ as a whole has been wounded by suspicion and misconceptions.

“I love how she wove church history into the story … and compared the personal shattering in her life to how the Church was shattered,” she said.

Updyke said the book points out that “We are more effective in healing personal wounds and society’s wounds together rather than when we each stand in our own theological corners. We are more effective in ministering to those who are shattered,” she said.

Updyke said Head is an excellent writer and the history in the book is interesting and relative.

“It’s an easy read,” she said.

Peter A. Joudry, CEO of The Nehemiah Project, said, “Nancy Head is a personal storyteller, a church historian, … and a compassionate believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

He said he read her book while ministering in South America earlier this year and became so excited about what he read that he called her from Bogota, Colombia, to congratulate her.

“She believes that our message is far too important to be hijacked by religious squabbles and personal biases,” he said. “She makes a compelling call to all Christians to unite toward the common objective to be Jesus to our troubled world.”

Local Author Likens Life to Glass by Linda Gracey, Altoona Mirror, June 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Restoring the Shattered

TITLE INFORMATION RESTORING THE SHATTERED Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord Nancy E. Head Morgan James Faith (238 pp.) $15.99 paperback, $9.99 e-book ISBN: 978-1-64279-049-8; January 22, 2019

BOOK REVIEW

Head, a part-time English lecturer at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, assesses the denominational fissures within Christianity and the possibility of future unity in this debut treatise. The author experienced the sectarianism of Christianity firsthand when she was a young girl: Her father was a Catholic and she attended Catholic school, but her mother was a Methodist and took her to her own church.

In this book, Head asserts that the doctrinal separation between Protestants and Catholics need not translate into mutual contempt, as both are bound by profound spiritual commitments. She goes on to furnish a far-reaching discussion of the differences between the two sides, emphasizing the tension between Catholics and evangelicals.

Along the way, she provides admirably clear accounts of doctrinal debates regarding such issues as abortion, homelessness, divorce, and poverty. In the case of the latter two issues, she draws deeply from personal experience; after Head and her husband divorced, she says, she had to raise five kids as a single mother and fell into dire financial straits.

The overarching metaphor of the entire study is an image of shattered glass, which can symbolically represent either disrepair or kaleidoscopic diversity. Head also supplies remarkably balanced histories of various religious culture wars in America and of the split between liberal Christianity and conservative evangelical thought. Ultimately, she counsels a meaningful détente between Christianity’s various subdivisions that doesn’t involve surrendering core principles—cooperation without compromise.

At the heart of the book is a genuine spirit of reconciliation: “In every encounter with those who disagree with us, we are always to act in love, accepting and respecting the sacred humanity of every person. But we are not to crumble under the pressure to endorse actions we cannot deem morally justified.”

A thoughtful introduction to complex cultural and theological issues in the Christian faith. 

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Morgan James Red Carpet Interview

Morgan James Red Carpet Interview about Restoring the Shattered


Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Morgan James

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Get Help; Give Help

The idea is a natural outgrowth of my life.

During the hardest times of my life, the Church was there. A church–the one I attended–but also THE Church–a small piece of it–represented largely in a denomination not my own. The help from those within my worship community and part of other such communities kept my family from being stuck in the poverty trap.

We knew deep need, and the Church stepped up. But we didn’t just get a hand out–or a number of them. We got a hand up.

Christians provided gifts of food, clothing, and money to us. But they also provided childcare so I could go back to school–and advice on how to succeed there and in the workplace. They encouraged. They walked with us.

We did not stay in poverty. And we have those Christians to thank today.

And so is born the idea of the Central Pennsylvania Service Fair–an event to let people in need know where they can get help–or how they can offer help to others.

The idea involves inviting Christian non-profits to participate in the fair. Pregnancy Resources organizations as well as feeding ministries. Children’s, youth, men’s, and women’s ministries. Ministries that provide material needs; ministries for spiritual needs. That’s who we’ve invited to begin.

And then inviting the community–offering fun activities for the family–and a meal. Food is a universal language of fellowship. And we want the day–for a few hours one day next month–to be a day of friendship and fellowship.

–To gather in worship before the event and lift up our community in prayer.

–To let this church over here realize that the church over there is filling a need no one else in the community fills.

–To let people know that someone is there to fill the need that makes them feel all alone in the world.

One church alone cannot lift a community of those in need. It takes individuals and congregations.

Every person who steps up places a brick of support into the wall those in need climb to get out of the hole they inhabit. They have to climb out themselves–but they need the wall of support in order to scale the heights.

A service fair can be a layer of bricks in somebody’s wall to climb out of their hole. The person we help today is valuable to God. And that person receiving help today may be the one giving help tomorrow.

You don’t know the difference your help can make. And you don’t really know the depth of the person you help. What you can know is that no one is beneath the love of Christ. No human being is ordinary.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”[i] C. S. Lewis

Find a need. Fill it. Lay a brick in someone’s wall. What we do can change eternity.


[i] C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1949), 15. Qtd. in Restoring the Shattered

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash and Wright Place for Kids

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

You’re Invited to a Book Launch Party!

On Thursday, March 7, at 3:00 pm EST, my publisher, Morgan James Publishing, is hosting a free online launch party featuring me along with some other amazing authors. We’ll be giving away links to books to everyone who attends, as well as a bunch of freebies!

Could you do me a favor and register for the party (and hopefully come to it!)? I know everyone is busy so don’t worry if you can’t be there live. Register anyway and you’ll get a recording. Again, all you need to do to be a part of my Virtual Book Launch Party is register right here:  www.MorganJamesBookLaunch.com

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Restoration of Confession

“[A]nd My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14

[D]irt, soot, and grime can build up on both sides of [stained] glass from pollution, smoke, and oxidation. In churches the traditional burning of incense or candles can eventually deposit carbon layers. These deposits can substantially reduce the transmitted light and make an originally bright window muted and lifeless.[i]—Neal A. Vogel

Six months after I became a mother, my own mother passed away from congestive heart disease. She was only fifty-four, and I was only nineteen. Her illness took her quickly, and there was no time for the kind of healing conversations that might have reduced my regret after she was gone.

After she died, Dad decided to sell the house and move into a small apartment. As we were helping him prepare for his move, my brother and I were cleaning the attic and musing over some of our finds. I still have two—a silver sugar bowl and a veneered dresser that sits in my dining room. But our most fascinating treasure was inside the top drawer of the otherwise empty dresser—a letter Dad had written to his future mother-in-law, Mother Miller, as he called her.

He was writing from California where he was waiting to deploy to the uncertainty of the South Pacific during World War II. He wrote of his sense of “blank thrill”—a combination of “the feeling of the unknown and also adventure.” He discussed how much he enjoyed the navy and how glad he was to be with the men beside him. He expressed his eagerness to return to those he loved after the war. “Back home, I have a wonderful collection of friends; good ones. You and your family come first, Nan of this group being first. She means everything in life for me—and to think about her and the two of us together after the war makes all this worthwhile.”

Dad wrote of three things that gave him a sense of security. First was his assurance in the men he was with: “in our commanders and the reason we are going, also we will be successful in our detail.” The second was his friends at home and “the strength my love for Nan gives me and hers for me.” His third source of strength was his “faith and trust in God.” The first two addressed “my worldly cares, the last, my spiritual … I can leave tomorrow satisfied completely in everything I live for. Not a question in my mind of a thing left undone, or a word unkindly said, not righted, not a care.” The letter was dated August 10, 1942, eight months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Years later I mentioned the letter to him. “I was saying goodbye” was his response, “just in case.”

The part of the letter that has always stuck with me is that he left “no word unkindly said, not righted.” He had done all he could to make everything right with everyone he was leaving behind. He might have been able to convince himself that he didn’t have time to fix things with everyone or that whatever he had done wrong was not a big deal. Instead, “just in case,” he had made things right.

I spent many years dwelling on the sins of my husband before I fully acknowledged my own. I told myself that his sins were of greater magnitude than mine and the cause for justifiable bitterness. My own sins were tiny, long ago, easily explained away as the result of immaturity and, therefore, easily forgiven. Year by year conviction peeled back layers of self-justification and excuses. I marveled that so many years after the poor decisions I made, the consequences of my sin had such weight.

I can look back now and see that God redeemed and restored much that my sin could have destroyed forever.

* * * * *

Up close and personal, the other person’s sins always seem bigger than our own. We don’t see the judgmental beam in our own eye for the speck in theirs. Inevitably, hindsight comes closer to 20/20. As the image of the window becomes clearer, so does the reflection of ourselves in it.

Time gives us the objectivity to see two sides where before we could only see one. We realize that we too are not without sin. We have no stones to throw. We can give forgiveness and ask for it too. The perspective of time gives us the opportunity to repent of sins that might seem long ago and far away. Only Christ, through our true repentance, can wash them away.

Repentance is how we start to restore the image of the Bride, not in a public relations sense, but in a biblical one. And repentance begins with the faithful.

Why the faithful? Isn’t repentance something for the unbelieving population to grasp—those we perceive are messing up the world and dragging our culture into a downward spiral? Yes, it’s something they need to do to become part of the Bride, part of the picture. But the kind of repentance that can turn the world around is for us. It’s for his people already in the church.

I didn’t come to this idea on my own. I’d been praying for our nation to turn back to God, but in my mind that always involved something someone else needed to do. I’ll pray. I’ll watch. I’ll work when I can. I’ll cheer when it happens.

At brunch one day, my longtime friend, Renee, dropped a brick of truth on my head. “He calls his own people to repentance—my people … called by my Name.”

That is me.

That is us.

….

Confession, they say, is good for the soul. When we let others see who we truly are, they can be transparent with us. We can become companions who mentor and disciple each other. Mentoring helps us find a new path in life. Discipling includes bearing one another’s burdens, and confession is part of that. Discipling helps us navigate our new path in faith that grows as it goes.

Christ is the Great Forgiver and the Great Physician who cleans the glass. The repentant church in accord radiates the image of the window in vivid clarity.

* * * * *

 “I wish,” Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his pocket, and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his cuff: “but it’s too late now.”

“What is the matter?” asked the Spirit.

“Nothing,” said Scrooge. “Nothing. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that’s all.”[i]

—Charles Dickens


[i] Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Stave Two (London: Chapman and Hall, 1846), Project Gutenberg, released August 11, 2004, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm.

Excerpted from Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord–in paperback January 22, 2019.


[i] Neal A. Vogel and Rolf Achilles, “The Preservation and Repair of Historic Stained and Leaded Glass,” National Park Service, Technical Preservation Services, October 2007, https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/33-stained-leaded-glass.htm.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mountains, Mallo Cups, and Train Whistles

“When a community loses its memory, its members no longer know one another. . . How can they know one another if they have not learned one another’s stories? If they do not know one another’s stories, how can they know whether or not to trust one another? People who do not trust one another do not help one another, and moreover, they fear one another. And this is our predicament now.” (Wendell Berry, qtd. by Rod Dreher)

When I wake up in my brother’s house, eight counties away from my home, the sound of train whistles reminds me of home. But those rails are so close, the sound so much louder, I know I’m not home. An early morning visit to the deck off his dining room confirms the conclusion. No mountains. A low horizon.

My older brothers were the adventurers. The eldest did a stint in the navy that took him to the Mediterranean. He settled in Texas. My next brother only moved across those eight counties that separate us.

I have traveled. But my zip code never changed.  My residence remained where the mountain ridges surround me, the train whistles serenade me as they have since my birth, and the Mallo Cups are as fresh as fresh can be because the Boyer factory is right in town.

I can’t say I made the better choice. They journeyed with opportunity. My roots grew deeper. But my brothers planted roots too. They became part of new communities. It isn’t just the sights, flavors, and sounds of home. It’s community. It’s people.

Americans are famous for being movers. Horace Greeley admonished the adventurous to “Go west!”  And westward we turned. But today most of us stay put. Fifty-four percent of us live near the place where we grew up.

Thirty-five percent of us left and then came back.

Rod Dreher is one who came back. The author had hit the big time in large northeastern cities. But after his sister died from cancer, home beckoned to him. He penned The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, chronicling her life and death as well as his journeys away from home and back.

But Dreher had another book to write. Coming home was not what he hoped. In How Dante Can Save Your Life, he recounts that the return from his odyssey did not produce the peace he sought but instead brought him a stress-related illness.

Dreher found peace partly through the pages of Dante’s journey through the eternal regions. But even more important, resolution came through the relationships that developed through his faith in Christ. Companions walked with him through the stress and illness to eventual healing and wholeness.

He told his sister’s story. He shared his own. He learned the stories of others. He found those he could trust. And those who could trust him.
Dreher says, “I came back to Louisiana looking for my family and my home. I found God and this church” (278).

Dreher traded in his professional quest for a personal one. He ended up on a journey he did not foresee. He did not get what he hoped to find.

What he got was so much more.


Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord now available in e-version on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Photo Credit: Joe Calzaretta, Blue Knob Mountain, Central Pennsylvania

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”