Practicing Say “Yes”

I’ve learned in this season I have a natural propensity to say “no”.  And not even through any fault of my own.  Simply genetics and the fall of mankind have influenced me in that way.  Without me realizing it if someone asks me a “yes or no” question I will automatically want to lean towards the “no”.  Add to that the many times I have desired harmful things and God has said “no” or “wait” or “not now”.  Can you imagine how that mental wiring has shaped my view of the Father? Not in a good way I will tell you.  Though I have known His love, fellowship and intimacy, I subconciously felt it was conditional. “Nicole, if you do this than I will do this”, is how I interpreted His “no”.  And then of course there are certain scriptures that can be interpreted the same; that somehow we will lose His love if we do not obey.  It is only in this season that that way of functioning finally took its toll on me.  I realized something is wrong here.  The way I am functioning does not line up with scripture.  The Word says we now have PEACE with God.  Why do I not have peace???

So I challenged my own view and went into a period of battle within myself.  Turns out that view rooted in fear was not just a generational stronghold but one that webbed its way all the way to my African ancestors.  And also of course all the way to the fall of mankind.

But in the midst of that battle and my own revelation of false ways of functioning, doors started opening.  They started opening in my career and even in my dating life.  Things were happening that I had desired for a long time.

God was saying “yes”.

Last night I met with a couple who hired me on the spot.  I am officially now a consultant.  I once again have multiple streams of income.  God is grooming me for entrepreneurship and as uncomfortable as it is, it is clear this is the only way for me.  I tried and tried to take the “normal” path.  I looked at my peers and did not understand why I was not receiving the benefits of these degrees.  Why was I consistently being humbled and feeling stuck?  Finally there is movement and I can start to see the shape of what He has been forming.

Who He has been forming.

So even though it makes me nervous and I have to make an extra effort to do so, when asked the question, I answer “yes”.

“Yes” I will write the book.  “Yes” I will be the consultant.  “Yes” I will go.

One of my besties visiting me…


SHALOM

Thank You Black Man

I was heading to the bathroom in a fancy restaurant that I was having brunch with my friends at. I don’t normally do fancy restaurants but since my friend was visiting from out of town I understood the importance of enjoying our brunch on the patio with mimosas. Only fancy restaurants offer such accomidations.  At least, in my city…Then he says what I think he’s thinking but I’m still shocked at his boldness.  “You are so beautiful.”  I turn in the direction of the voice and match it to a young, black man standing behind the register dressed in chef’s attire.  I offer a small smile, a little embarrassed, and mumble “Thank you” before continuing my journey to the ladies’ room.  But as soon as I turn my back to him I’m beaming. Though I felt his attraction to me when I had walked by him earlier I hadn’t fathomed he would think I was “So beautiful”.  Cute maybe, but beautiful was a few steps up from cute.  At least 3 steps…So I pass him on my way back and know he is talking about me to the waitress who doesn’t seem to be too happy he is attracted to another female.  She had given me attitude earlier around the same time I felt his attraction.  I didn’t sweat it.  That’s her issue.  

Throughout brunch I am meditating on his compliment and reflecting on the way black men consistently and respectfully compliment me in this season.  I have had men stop their cars just to affirm me. They do not ask me for my number, they do not say anything inappropriate. They just want to let me know I have something going on that they appreciate.

Coming from a backround where there were no strong, black men to affirm or protect me, I grew up missing some things and as you can imagine I looked for those things in all the wrong places.  I have had plenty of negative experiences with men from my race which have done some damage and so I see God undoing that damage with these positive experiences.  

There is a great breakdown in relationships between black men and women which go back as far as slavery days.  Black men were not allowed to even protect their wives from rape and violence when they were slaves and I believe that did a great deal to their psyche, but we won’t go there in this post.  I have dated outside of my race and even felt for a long time I would marry out of my race, and maybe I still will.  But I can see how God has created me to attract the black man.  The way He has shaped my figure, tweaked my style and brought out my natural locks.

I sat across from my friend, another affirming black male. A good man, with a good heart and a strong faith.  We enjoyed our meal and company and the soul music that was unexpectedly playing in this middle eastern restaurant.  He was a gentlemen and honored me and that blessed me so much.  I was once again being healed in places I didn’t even know were hurting.  God was anwering my prayer.

In a time where society is painting such an ugly picture of young black men and ending their lives prematurely, I see God using them.  I see His hope for them.  His heart is near them and I believe for their true identity to be made manifest.

I just want to say thank you black man for your appreciation of my beauty and your respect in showing it.

SHALOM

Being Asked the Question

“So are you seeing anyone?”, she asks as we sit across from one another in her marvolously decorated dining room and finish up supper. When I walked in I was instantly impressed and a little taken aback by the amazing interior design work that graced each space. She then let on that she herself was an interior designer (amongst many things) and her home was her own expression of that gift.

“No I’m not. And actually God has been doing such a work in me these 2 years in that very area”, I respond. I proceed to tell her about my last relationship. All the red flags I ignored and how I was willing to settle (hell bent on settling actually because that was where I was at).  I talked about God’s lack of peace, Him calling me to a fast that helped me let it go and the immense revelation He flooded me with.  Never before had I received such revelation.  She interjected here and there with her own insights from her own story. An older woman in the faith, a mother of 3, she had been once divorced and now re-married.  “You should always have peace when it’s God”, she said, and I agreed.  

She knew me when.  When I was dealing with my first heartbreak. When I was a 22 year old mess, lacking identity and purpose and value. She is a witness to the work He has done.  

And she smiles at that work.  

I spent a good while sharing my story. The same story I will share in my upcoming book (which I hope to be released this fall). I surprise myself at the details I’m giving as I had no idea we would spend so much time talking about me. I wanted to hear about her–after all, she was the one married! And we did talk about her, but there is power in my own story.  There is glory He gets when I share on His Word being manifested in my life.  So I shared.

And I keep sharing.  The very next day I’m asked the same question (although worded slightly different) by a very unassuming individual. He is someone I’ve only spoken to occassionally and would have no obligation to explain my love life to. But I explain it because it gave me opportunity to share the gospel. I simply cannot explain my single status without explaining the story of Christ–they are intertwined.  There is no natural reason why I am single.  It is simply God’s clear intention for me to be matched with a certain individual of whom I have yet to meet. 

I talked to my associate for 2 hours and we were both surprised at the depth of the conversation. It is rare that one goes deep with an associate.  I guess we are no longer associates…

I can think of 2 other occassions within the last week where I have been asked about my singleness.  And each time the response emanating from my lips is laced with wisdom and eternal truth.  It is the truth of the Holy Spirit.  It is wisdom one only gets from walking with Elohim.

Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

When we walk with the Source of life He leads us on the path of life.  That path is tailor made for us and compliments our gifts, talents, purpose and calling.  We have freedom of choice, but when we choose Him, we benefit by becoming who He originally designed us to be. 

I can see now singleness looks good on me. Not because of singleness per se, but because it represents wholeness. It represents an alotted time for me to heal and learn my true identity.  

I am still learning.  But I can say that now when I’m asked the question, I don’t dread the answer so much.  Especially when it gives God glory.

I’m getting comfortable in my own skin and singleness has helped me to do that.

Some highlights from this season…

hangin with the bestie!

me & my god daughter

my new mentee!!

SHALOM!

A New View on Dating

Hello!  Check out my guest post A New View on Dating!  I have received so much from Candra’s blog “Abundantly You” and it’s always a blessing to be featured on her site!  She is truly a woman that has lived a life of surrender, waited on God’s best and received His promise.  Enjoy!

 

SHALOM

The Job Season

If there is one character in the Bible I never wanted to relate to it is Job. I mean seriously, that man went through everything under the sun! He lost it all and then had the nerve to worship right after he did! Talk about FAITHFUL. I have said I wanted my life partner to have his heart and character, but I didn’t think about how I myself would need the same to compliment him LOL. 

Although I can’t say my life has been so greatly impacted as the life of Job (thank You Lord) I know the Father calls this a “Job season” for me. 

It is a suffering season.  

As with Job there is much mental and emotional pain. There is the absence of God’s voice (in the way I’m used to Him speaking) and presence. There is the facing of my deepest fears, day in, day out. And there is an endurance that needs to be cultivated because the season is relentless.But even with all of its challenges I know there are still boundaries on this thing. With all that Job went through the enemy was not allowed to kill him. There were still limitations and I see that in my own life. God continues to move forward and open doors and manifest His plans. 

Even if He doesn’t manifest His presence.

I hesitated in sharing because I always want to encourage my readers to fight the good fight, but Im sure there is encouragement in knowing that those of you going through a dark season, are not alone. 

I wrote a journal entry I would like to share. Feel free to substitute your name for mine. Know that His Word and promises over your life WILL come to pass. And just as with Job, your suffering will end and you will come out better than before:

Nicole, this is only a season. I am maturing you. I have manifested Myself and My love to you so much to prepare you for this season and seasons to come. I am developing you. Count it all joy when you are tested because when you come out you will be better. Anxiety and fear is something you were functioning in throughout Our relationship and I do not want that. I want a better relationship with you. I want you to function from my love w/o fear in Our relationship. You are breaking strongholds. You are breaking generational curses and that takes time. You are not alone though you feel that you are often. I am with you but I am moving in a way that is different than I have moved with you in the past. That is because I am teaching you something. I am developing you and when you get to the other side so much of this will make sense. You will get to the other side because My word promises you that; I will complete the work, I will perfect that which concerns you, I will never leave you nor forsake you. My Word does not return void. Lean on My Word. I have given you My Word and your testimony. I have given you sound teaching and a community to demonstrate my unconditional love for you to aid you in this season.

You are in a Job season. You are in a suffering season but you are already coming out. I have already given you the victory and I set up your life so that you would overcome in this season at this time. When you overcome, you will be more equipped to help others. You will be more empathetic and humble. You will be more effective for the kingdom.  SHALOM

These Things Take Time

As many of you know I finally have an open door in my career (hallelujiah). That open door did not look at ALL the way I expected it to and yet it still met so many desires of my heart! For years I wondered about my calling in business, particularly Accounting. My past is laced with insecurity, doubt and even trauma when it comes to crunching numbers 😫. It took a huge leap of faith for me to get an advanced degree in this field but leap I did! As a result I fully expected the outcome to be an overflow! I fully expected the doors to FLY open with promotions and financial reward! Instead they were firmly shut (womp womp).

For 3 years. 

3 long years. And in their place was humility, and waiting, and grace. A lot of grace. But also in their place was a blog—this blog to be exact! And, oh yeah, a book. 

This book to be exact!😉 So looking back I can see the intent and why God (once again) wanted me to wait. I can see His hand weaving and working and creating a story where the protagonist doesn’t soar her way to the top. Instead she slowly, painfully, relies on Him to get her there.

These last 3 months I have worked long and hard to get my boss’ books together. It has been a tedious task and yet I have loved every minute of it because I was FINALLY getting the experience I craved. But that goal of reconciling the numbers was ever before me and even seemed distant at times. Then all of a sudden yesterday, I reached it. It happened so quietly that I almost missed it! I had to say, “Nicole, you’re there. This is it!” 

My boss shared this week he was hoping to have this done sooner and I too agreed. But in our discussion I realized that some things take time. They take time because of the work involved. When things are underdeveloped or overlooked the one in charge has to work hard to get them together.

God is working hard on me. On us. There are areas of our lives we have been ignorant of but He has seen it all, and He has set out to complete that work, no matter how long it takes!

And when He does there will be a sweet satisfaction in knowing you endured the process and that you made it through exactly the way He wanted you to!  Not necessarily the way you envisioned–but the way He did.

This is me working on my new book project!  
SHALOM