Butterflies, leaves, pineapples, pine cones, nautilus shells, sunflowers…What do these have in common?

A Perfect Design


There exists in nature an ideal rate of growth that is evidenced in the design of all living things. This rate of growth is termed The Golden Ratio, and it is found everywhere in nature. The golden ratio is so pervasive that it is even found in a variety of man-made objects including art that is visually appealing and architecture that is aesthetically pleasing and structurally reliable. Many have debated and discussed what makes this design perfect and so recognizable. However, no one has been able to come to any conclusions. As Christians, we simply understand that it represents God’s perfect design and plan for all things in this worldan idea and design man cannot improve upon.


At New Life Design, we believe that just as God constructed a perfect design for growth in living things, He has also constructed a specific design for daily living here on earth. There is a Way to find peace, contentment, joy, victory and an abundant life. It is only found as we take hold of christ as our true life. As Bob George once said,pinecone-1168741_1920

“Jesus gave his life for us that He might give His life to us that He might live His life through us”.


An Imitated Design

The problem is that many of us have tried to live by our own imitated design (independently from Christ) and have discovered that we always come up short.  Because of this many of us struggle with depression, anxiety, addictions, stress, loneliness, a lack of purpose or direction, relational conflict, and a host of other defeating issues.  We’ve always heard that Christ has won the battle but we wonder why we still feel defeated and trapped

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to live the Christian life? Many of us find ourselves having done all the “right” things throughout our life but only end up frustrated saying:

“If THAT’s all there is to THIS life, then I want to quit!”


An Invitation

climber-299018_1920At New Life Design, we have discovered that it’s not hard to live the Christian life, it’s impossible!
But we’re here to tell you – there is Someone who can and will live His life through you! As a result of applying this truth in our own lives, we have begun to experience the victory of Christ as our life, and we want you to know that there is hope! We would love the opportunity to share with you this life changing message.  We invite you to take a little time to discover what is already there, and then begin to appropriate it into your life!

Whether you’re having relational issues in marriage, want to prepare for marriage or need to address issues as an individual, we want you to know we would love to talk with you! We do not pretend to have all the answers, but we know the One who does.

It is our sincere hope that you will peruse through our site and discover the truth of Christ as Life that will change your life!

Lesson’s Learned Through Nathanael’s Arrival

Ok…So I finally finished this post that I began on December 14, 2011 today on August 3, 2012.  Wow…what a ride.  I think the spring was just as eventful as the fall!!  I’ll explain later…on to the post!

The lessons that we have learned through the pregnancy with Nathanael and his arrival are plentiful.  To begin this post I want to share the founding principle that is the bedrock of our trust relationship with our Abba Father…God is Faithful!!  Yes, He certainly is!

This past Sunday was our second Sunday back at church since Nathanael’s birth.  Yes, I put him in the nursery!!  I know you Mom’s are wondering.  We are blessed with some great volunteer’s in our children’s ministry who LOVE babies!  That always puts a Mom’s heart at ease.  After a stirring message on God’s faithfulness, our worship team began to lead us in a song by Matt Redman called “Never Once”.  As I looked at the words and sung them my heart within me leaped.  This was our journey over the past months!  Quickly my hands were lifted in praise to my God and tears poured down my face and I proclaimed the Lord’s faithfulness to us.  I had no idea but Tony was apparently having the same experience.  I tear up just thinking about it.  I want to share with you the words to this song and then I will share several scenes that flashed through my eyes as I sang that song.

Never Once

Verse 1
Standing on this mountain top
looking just how far we’ve come
knowing that for every step
you were with us

Verse 2
Kneeling on this battle ground
seeing just how much you’ve done
knowing every victory
was your power in us

Never Once did we ever walk alone
Never once did you leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scares and struggles on the way
but with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts will say…
Never Once did we ever walk alone
Never once did you leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we walk alone
Carried by your constant Grace
Held within Your perfect Peace
Never Once, NO, we never walk alone
Every step we are breathing in Your Grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Some scenes that flashed…

1.  September of 2009 – The morning I was ready to deal with my fears of having children after God had spent the previous 8 months growing my level of trust in Him.  He was so kind and gentle with me and Oh, sweet freedom from those fears came rushing in like the ocean tide as God spoke truth to my heart.

2.  The look on Tony’s face and the tears that gathered in his eyes when I told him I had dealt with my fears and I was truly ready to have children.

3.  The calmness I sensed all through the year of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 knowing that we were desiring a family but God’s timing had not arrived yet.

4.  Laying out on the beach in Mexico with a good friend sharing with her how I found freedom and deep down inside knowing I probably was already pregnant.

5.  The sweetness of the day I crossed the finish line of the Albany marathon in early March of 2011 knowing I was almost 5 weeks pregnant and no one else knew but me and God!  I hope this was the first of many long runs together!

6.  The strength and comfort of Tony’s embrace and the tears in his eyes when I shared the news with him.  And the fantastic dinner we had at our favorite Italian restaurant.

7.  On the day Nathanael was born, leaving the house that morning saying Good Bye to our sweet Schnauzer, Nissi a.k.a “The Niss-Piece”.

8.  Sitting anxiously in the doctor’s office WAITING!!

9.  The walk from the doctor’s office to the hospital with my “face set like flint” on the Lord and His faithfulness.

10.  The scary walk from the prep room to the O.R. (yes, you walk that route…no wheel chair!)

11.  The look on Tony’s face when we heard Nathanael cry for the first time and knew he was ok!  I still love that cry!!

I learned that my God is so faithful and kind to me.  He cares about us, has made a huge investment in us and our freedom, and desires that we experience His life flowing through us daily.

Oh, God is faithful!!  Thank you, Jesus!!!


Sometimes we have to learn things the hard way.  That’s where I find myself right now.  Oh, if only I could just hear what God says and believe it and act on it immediately — life would be so much easier!  But, no, I tend to go the route of having to experience it for myself — learning it the hard way.  God has told me time and time again that I am significant, valuable, and of great worth, but I just can’t seem to grasp that.  Praise God for His patience and grace to keep working with us when we just don’t get it!!!!

God gave me a gracious “do over” opportunity a couple of days ago.  Through this experience He opened my eyes to the futility of seeking value and worth from other people.  It just doesn’t work — believe me I’ve tried, tried again, and tried harder.  Most of the time, I end up hurt and empty.  In a broken world full of imperfect people, we’re going to be treated as if we’re insignificant and worthless.  But being treated that way doesn’t make it true.  In fact, it’s far from the truth.  We have incredible value and worth because our creator has given it to us.  He displayed this in His willingness to suffer great pain & agony on our behalf.  He was willing to give His life in exchange for ours.  When you look at the cross, there is no doubt that we are loved and valued, that we are important and worth a great price.  The value that God has given us is greater than what we could squeeze out of people over an entire lifetime. 

I have concluded that continuing to exert so much emotional energy in such a futile endeavor is just foolish.  Especially since God has already given me what I need in great abundance.  It would be better to spend my energy meditating on and remembering God’s great gift.  Oh, that I would choose wisdom over the foolish ways of the world!


My Everything, cont’d

It’s amazing how the same scripture continues to speak to us over and over again.  You may remember a blog I wrote several months ago about Ephesians 1:22-23, Jesus filling us in every way.  Well, God used that same scripture to meet me in my time of need again.  He is continuing the work He began in me (Phil 1:6).  This past week I had one of those rough days where it feels like everyone is against you.  That evening I had a full blown pity party and just cried.  I felt soooooo empty!!!!  As I was pouring my heart out to God, telling him how empty I felt, that same verse (Eph 1:22-23) came to my mind again.  I realized that I am not empty.  I am full of Jesus.  He fills me in every way.  He lives in me and fills me up.  As I focused on all these true thoughts, my empty feeling began going away.  I chose to believe what God was saying and not what my emotions were saying.  God worked a miracle in my heart that night.  God’s Word is truly alive and active!  (Heb 4:12)


Naming Nathanael Douglas Dodd

Naming a child is no small task! I’m not sure how other parents have named their children but Tony and I wanted a name that communicated a message to our child. More specifically…a name that helped communicate their worth and identity in Christ. We know that identity turns into being a huge issue for use as humans. We all are trying to answer the question of “who am I?”.

When the Israelites named their children most of those names communicated a message. Often times God told the parents what to name their child i.e. He told Zechariah to name his child John. This John became “John the Baptist”. God also changed the name of several characters out of the Bible. When you look at what their previous names meant and then look at what their new name meant; the message Christ communicated was outstanding. While I don’t have time to go into a detailed example, some that you might want to study up on is Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel and Saul to Paul.

Tony and I sought to find out what message God would want to communicate to our little Fella. I knew that about a year and a half after Tony and I married, God spoke to me very specifically about the issue of children and gave me the name Nathanael. First of all, the name Nathanael means “given by God”. We know that our little Fella literally is a gift given to us by God.

Also, you may have noticed that the way we are spelling Nathanael is different from most. That is because our Nathanael is named after the fourth disciple, Nathanael, that Jesus called to follow Him in John 1. Phillip found Nathanael and shared that they had found “Messiah.” Nathanael was one who had studied the scriptures of the law and prophets and was looking for Messiah’s appearance. He was a follower of Yahweh and a godly man of honesty and integrity. So when Nathanael met Jesus for the first time, He immediately recognized Messiah and chose to follow Him unashamedly. Jesus promised Nathanael that he would see even greater things if he followed. Jesus recognized Nathanael for who he was as a man of honesty and integrity in John 1:47. Oh, that Jesus could say that about all of us. In case you are wondering what happened to Nathanael…he went on to be a missionary and is known for his work in India. He was also martyred by being flayed and then crucified. Doesn’t sound to pleasant, does it?? Because Nathanael was a man of honesty and integrity, he stood strong for what he believed in even when it cost him his very life!

One other note that makes this name so special for me personally is that when Mike Woods, Pastor of First Baptist Powder Springs where I served for 12 years introduced Tony and I described Tony as “A Nathanael”. He knew that before I would agree to be “fixed up” with his nephew I needed a little information on who this guy was. He said the best way he knew to describe Tony Dodd was that he was “a Nathanael” – a man of honesty and integrity. Well, I can say that over the 12 years that I have known him now he has always showed himself as a man of honesty and integrity.

The name Douglas was my father’s middle name. Very interestingly, if I had to pick out several key characteristics that I admired in my Dad it would be that he was a man of honesty and integrity who truly followed Christ and watched expectantly for Messiah’s Rapture and Second Coming. So it was only fitting that Nathanael’s middle name be Douglas.

Our prayer for our Son is that he would come to know Christ intimately at an early age and that he grow into a godly man of honesty and integrity, seriously watching and waiting for the Rapture of the church and the Second Coming of our Lord. And even if one day it would cost him his very life – we pray that he would remain faithful to our Abba Father.

We love you, Nathanael Douglas Dodd!

Notes on Nathanael’s Arrival – 10/22/11

Saturday – Going Home Day!

Nathanael was back in our room at 6:30 and had passed all his tests with flying colors but the nurse had to come and get him again around 7:45 for his circumcision procedure and we really hated to see him go for that.  I think Tony and I both shed some tears over it.  After being stuck so much it was just difficult to let him go again.  He returned back to our room around 9:30.  We had gotten the final word that we could go home from all the Doctors that afternoon so we began the check out process and getting ready.  Early that morning Tony and I had a conversation about all that we had been through on this journey to having children that began a number of years ago.  We talked about all the fears, personal issues, doubts, questions and wondering about infertility.  Both of us knew that it had all been worth it – worth going down some difficult paths, facing fears, and plunging to new depths of trust with God.  We wept tears of joy as we celebrated God’s faithfulness.

Arriving home with a baby was quite surreal.  We had the best homecoming.  It was awesome to celebrate what God had done with our family.  Later that evening naps were in order for everyone all around.

So, a journey that began with many questions, fears and insecurities has ended with a deeper trust in Abba Father, an even deeper love for my Man and a joy unspeakable for our little Nathanael Douglas Dodd.  Thank you, Father for the gift given by You straight to us. For that is exactly what the name Nathanael means, a gift “given by God”.

To all of our family and friends that have stood with us over the last several days and weeks – Thank You!  Thank you for your prayers, support and words of encouragement.  You have played an invaluable part of this journey with us and we are forever grateful for each of you.  You are a treasure to us!


Notes on Nathanael’s Arrival – 10/21/11


We got in bed very late Thursday night after being over in the NICU until 10:30 and then they brought Nathanael to our room for the Midnight feeding and then he went back to the nursery so we were already sleep deprived come Friday morning.  They brought Nathanael back to our room about 6:45 and he got to be with us all day.  He had his hearing test done in our room and he got an excellent score on it which was very reassuring.  He was able to get adequate naps in between feedings without being stuck off and on through out the day.  This increased his eating and made for a happier baby.  We had some great visits from family and friends and even did a photo shoot for baby pictures that afternoon.  That night I had a baby shower that I was supposed to be at but thanks to some great friends and technology know how, Nathanael and I were able to attend via Skype.  Nathanael got some really great things and it was great to see everyone.  It was a busy day with some quiet moments of rest in between all the happenings of the day.  I guess the highlight was being able to love on sweet Nathanael all day and enjoy him.  After the midnight feeding Nathanael had to go to the nursery to have two more blood tests done as well as the car seat test that they do now and we sure hated to see him go after having such a great day with us without being stuck.

More about Saturday Coming Up!