Olive Leaf Ministries » Nancy Douglas is a Christian speaker and author. She is the mother of an Autistic child and breast cancer survivor

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  • Nancy Douglas

    ATTENTION: Nancy and her husband lost their daughter, Danielle, due to an unexpected illness in September 2014. She is no longer accepting speaking engagements for 2015 in order to rest and heal from their significant loss. Nancy and her family greatly appreciate your prayers during this time. Thank you for visiting the Olive Leaf Ministries.

    Nancy speaks and writes through the Olive Leaf Ministries where her testimony of God's mercy and grace amidst life's trials touches the heart of her audiences. Familiar with life's challenges, Nancy raised her Autistic daughter for 26 years, battled breast cancer and only recently lost her daughter to an immune disorder. Nancy and her husband Jimmy also have a son, Drew. They have been married for 31 years and currently reside in Kansas City, Missouri.

    "Thank you so much for your ministry. I continue to receive very positive comments from our ladies. Your tremendously transparent blend of testimony and applicable scriptures are so effective in your teaching." Joyce Cowell, Fayette, MO

In His Image

Jimmy and me

“So God created mankind in his own image, 

in the image of God he created them; 

male and female he created them.” 

Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Men and women are different, it’s obvious, good, and a line that should never be blurred. Jimmy and I have been married 31 years, plenty of time to compare notes on our differences.  He sees things black and white, I’m distracted with color. I mull over issues till they turn to mush, he cuts to the chase. I listen to soothing music, he watches calamity.

We are very different, just as it should be. To fog the line is to shake a fist in the face of God.

God created mankind in His image. Men and women are similar but different, each still in His image. Evidently God planted His masculine qualities in man and His softer attributes to the woman. The Bible describes Him on both ends of the spectrum, head of the church, provider, victor, just, powerful, strong, and wrathful — qualities befitting a male. Then He’s described with words that sooth and comfort like healer, sustainer, comforter, and full of mercy, grace, peace, and love.

While any of these qualities can cross gender lines to varying degrees, each tend to fall generally toward one.

A friend shared a hypothetical that God created Adam in His image (as scripture states) but upon creating Eve, made her from the part of Adam that held the softer attributes of God, making the first couple very different, very similar, and in His image.

It’s like the enemy to pit man against woman to achieve equality when together they are in fact most whole.

Jimmy and I soften each other’s rough edges. He toughens me up and I foster the softer more compassionate side of him. Our connection is complimentary and has proven most valuable amidst grief, which we each do it so differently. But, that’s a good thing! When he’s up I’m down and I’m up when he dips. We’ve learned to thank God for our differences because when they’re respected we will be blessed.

How are you different from your spouse? Have you thanked God for the contrast?

Lord, I often want things to go my way and struggle with those who buck against my desires. But the world would be boring, perhaps much more challenging if everyone were like me. Help me to see those around me with your eyes of love and compassion. 

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Strength in a Fallen World

It’s easy to say God is good when you get what you want but a whole other ball of wax when things go awry.

It’s wise to view tough times for what they are, allowed by God, His hands essentially sifting certain things into our lives and others out. Even though Jimmy and I lost our daughter we know God was, and still is, with us. The pain no less deep or profound, just bearable in His presence.

Dani’ been gone six months. It’s incredibly lonely without her. We’ve spent these months learning to live without her and it’s difficult. I feel lost, untethered, as though aimlessly floating in space. At times it’s terrifying because purpose offers comfort and I’ve lost mine.

We are incredibly tired too. Grief is a lot of work. It sucks the life out of you like a pin pops a balloon. Adjustment has been difficult and nowhere near complete so the Lord deemed a vacation. He’s generous, full of grace and mercy overflowing, so this was not just any get-a-way but one with a dear couple who also lost their child, company with kindred spirits who know this pain.

So off to the mid-Texas farm. 

Pigalicious greeted us first. Kansas City’s ice and snow enriched our journey and this porky hunk of a chunk seemed beside himself, following us around making crabby sounds. The cold snap seemed to make him fussy but he was well insulated with a low riding belly he got from eating every last acorn on the property.

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This goat is wearing my favorite color scheme — cream, tan, and cocoa brown. He belongs on a fashion runway as far as I’m concerned, and look at those two cute little well-worn knees. He’s a kneeler. My kind of guy.
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The goats were chilly but many, enough to huddle tight together to keep warm. They’re herdy creatures. FullSizeRender-3

This is just one morning’s egg collection. Such a wonderful morning routine.

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Twenty six hens were on staff. They welcomed me with open wings.

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Our city dogs adjusted immediately to country life. A plethora of things to sniff.

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We stayed in the guest house that this sweet family offers to so many friends and family on a regular basis. They love God and fellowship. They offer immense hospitality and compassion, knowing all to well what it’s like to lose a child. We sat around the dinner table many a nights working through the heavy grief we carry with us everywhere we go, even vacations.

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The world is broken from the fall (Genesis 3) and we’re sure to experience pain, but God is close to those whose hearts are set on Him. Difficult situations really are nothing less than opportunities to walk closer with Him. He doesn’t cause evil, sickness or pain, but rather IS our source of strength to manage through.

May we never forget this truth.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

 

 

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March 2, 2015 - 11:49 pm

Cheryl Barker - Nancy, love how you say that difficult times are just another opportunity to walk closer to the Father. A beautiful and comforting way to look at heartbreaking times. May God continue to minister to you and Jimmy each step of the way. Much love.

Water Works

Ice1OLM’s blog has been on the fritz for nearly a month. A good solace is nice but it’s good to be up and running.

Speaking of running — a couple of weeks ago my feet and back hurt something awful. Stiff and sore, every move screamed. It seemed to get worse each day.

Jimmy asked, “Have you been drinking enough water?”

Hmmm. Two liters a day? No.

Why? I know to do it and I’m usually good about it.

Then it dawned on me — it’s winter, I’m cold, I prefer iced water, so I unconsciously avoid my allotment. Come to think of it I’ve been thirsty lately. Fewer trips to the powder room too.

Priorities get arranged.

Winter tap water is rather nice come to find out. I fill up my one liter “strawed” jug first thing in the morning, drink it by noon and then dive into the next (last) one, finishing it around 6pm. I might have to don an extra layer of clothing but tis the season.

After a day and a half of doing things right, WHALA, my back and feet quieted down.

Are you drinking enough water? Does your body hurt, feet ache, perhaps more than ever for some odd reason? You might need hydration. I never thought I could be dehydrated in the winter but my avoidance of ice apparently makes me prone.

Don’t wait till your body cries out. Pick a jug, fill it up, and commence fueling.

Blessings!

 

 

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January 15, 2015 - 3:10 pm

Cheryl Barker - I know I don’t drink enough water. I know muscle cramps can hit if we’ve not had enough water, but I never would have guessed about aches and pains. I better get with it! :)

January 15, 2015 - 2:59 pm

annette ford harper - Wise Words!

What God Honors

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,

and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”  

1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV)

Years ago I learned God does not need me, He wants me. There isn’t one thing I can do for Him He can’t call another to do just as well, however obedience, especially one that require sacrifice, He’ll honor every time.

Sometimes you just have to do the right thing even when it seems impossible and illogical. Like when my mother was terminally ill. Caring for both her and our daughter was more than I could handle so Jimmy took off work for four months to watch Dani so I was free to help mom. Going without the income seemed foolish but the fifth commandment to honor my mother and father overruled. We obeyed and God provided ample.

2014 was the same. Dani’s health declined to the point I couldn’t handle her on my own so Jimmy took off work until she died.  Now, after seven months off, God true to form has provided a job. Seven months off sounds ludicrous but has been vital. It gave us time with Dani during her final months and three months alone together learning how to live without her. No job could offer this benefit.

God allows certain trials into our lives because they hold great potential to teach precious obedience. They challenge our logic. Will we honor a parent, give up more for a special needs child, or follow human intuition. Will we rely on God’s wisdom or cling to our own, follow in faith or follow the world.

Of course our walk with God must be consistent. We can’t pick and choose when to follow. The Lord prepared us for many years ahead of time so that we would be able to lean on Him fully in order to endure these hardships.

Is God calling you to obey in a way that seems crazy? How can you know what the right thing is to do?

Turn to His love letter, the Bible. It was written for you. Read it with an honest open receptive heart. Ditch your own wisdom and ask Him to help you follow His. Then let Him guide you.

Trust my friend.

You are safe in Him!

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Balancing Balance

Before my Bible teacher mentioned it I never realized the importance of silence and solitude. In older days men and women worked in fields or at home often alone. To get social stimulation they’d go into town for church, shopping, and gatherings. Today the tide pushes us in the opposite direction bombarding us with stimulation from every possible angle. Rather than seek out stimulation we must intentionally get alone to wind down and realign with God.

Farm or frenzy, balance takes effort.

This year Jimmy and I balance life’s tightrope by celebrating Christmas —-just a little. A few lights on the fireplace, no more. After losing Dani our focus is on rest and recuperation, something that comes from juggling the fewest demands. We aren’t sending out cards and it feels fabulous. We’ll make turkey dinner on Christmas but I’ll likely be in sweats as we sit to dine. Later I’ll deliver homemade Peppermint Latte soap bars to the neighbors, wish them a Merry Christmas, and head back home to watch good movie.

Peace. Quiet. Calm. It sounds perfect to my husband and me.

Christmas bells ring and to-do lists grow as the calendar clicks down to the 25th. If you feel the pressure you might be drifting off balance and unless you live on a farm you probably need some silence and solitude. I get mine sitting in a coffee shop reading or working on my winter journal. Sometimes I drive to the cemetery in the middle of town and go for a walk with my dogs, and almost every night I head to bed an hour early so I can read, relax, and rebalance from the day.

Your Christmas plans are likely more than ours and I hope you enjoy every moment that comes your way. Most of all I pray you squeeze in some silence and solitude with Jesus, the reason we celebrate this season.

Be balanced and have a Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

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December 23, 2014 - 10:51 pm

Cheryl Barker - What a wise approach you’re taking to the holidays this year, Nancy. I pray that you and Jimmy are experiencing the rest and recuperation you need. Hugs and prayers!

December 22, 2014 - 8:45 pm

Kay - You always put words together so well. Always blessed by them. I also love the quite moments I can get.
So many friends have seen their family and friends leave this world to be with their Heavenly Father. Prayers and rejoicing this special time of year.

December 22, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Cheryl G - I agree. A good way to embrace God’s “Peace on Earth” is quieting ourselves and consciously seeking solitude blessed by His Spirit and the refreshing rest only He can give.

December 22, 2014 - 10:56 am

Kim - Nancy, this sounds like a perfect way to celebrate Christ’s birth this year. Enjoy the silence! Hugs!