Archive | May 2016

Life Without Fear

It’s funny how long you can go living in a state that is less than ideal. Your life has been that way for so long you don’t know any better. It is your normal, even when it is abnormal. Who are you if that thing changes? What will your life look like in this new state?

A couple of years ago I had a great awakening of unhealthy ways I was functioning in in my relationships. I realized I was hurting my loved ones and they were hurting me. Thankfully I was in enough pain to choose change. 

Often we must be in enough pain before we choose change. 

That experience was more enjoyable than the current season I have been in where once again unhealthy things surfaced and God was calling me to change.

This time darkness surrounded me and confusion set in when I confronted the dysfunction. This particular battle would not be quick. No, this would be a fight like none I had ever faced because I wasn’t fighting against an external opponent as in times past. The real battle was against myself.

I pulled out the old weapons but they weren’t working. I had to learn how to use better tools for this greater level of warfare.

I’m taught that fear is a learned behavior. Science proves our bodies are naturally wired for love. Fear only comes in when we learn it. That means fear is something natural and not eternal. Every natural thing has an end. But how many allow fear to dictate their lives? How many are comfortable with fear being a steady companion?  Too many.

I wrestled and wrestled but my foe would not be vanquished. I was so afraid. I felt this giant must be bigger than I. Maybe bigger than God.  Then one day I had a question in my heart: 

“Who are you Nicole?” And I knew the answer, “I’m a warrior”. Then He said, “Then fight!” 

The truth is I wasn’t fighting with all my might. I was holding back waiting for Him to rescue me.  So I obeyed His command.  And do you know what happened? I wrestled the negative thoughts to the ground and won!  The fear was gone. For the first time. It wasn’t “managed” or ” redirected”.  It was gone.

This new life, the one without fear, is still taking some getting used to. I still must be intentional about my thoughts and focusing on truth.  But the victory I’ve had is motivation enough to see what other victories I can accumulate.

And so I must ask, “Who are you my friend?” If you are a warrior, then do what warrors do, and fight!  

SHALOM

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Beautiful People

This weekend I had the opportunity to fellowship with a group of people from all over the country. I am apart of a spiritual class that focuses on living out eternity on earth. There aren’t too many people my age in the class. Most are seasoned saints in their 50s and 60s. Sometimes I let that bother me more than it should and I miss out on what God has for me in this group. I’m glad I didn’t this time. I fully intended on cutting my trip short though I was open to the idea of staying if the Lord wanted me to. He must have wanted me too, because I stayed.

The first day I was there I shared with the group what was on my heart and it was well received. I thought “I guess I am apart of the group”. Having that thought made me realize I must have felt un-apart. The 2nd day, again, my place in the group was affirmed.

I have struggled to laugh in this season yet I couldn’t help but laugh with joy spending time with a sister last night. A mother of 4 and a widow, she has several years on me. But God has used her to demonstrate wholeness to me. And He used her to make me smile.

It is easy to go through this life alone. I’m an only child so being alone is a default for me. Living alone and being single with no children is a daily experience.  Most days I dont mind it (I even enjoy it) but this weekend I was reminded that we need fellowship. Sometimes we need someone with us at Walmart walking around for an hour and being silly. We need someone to tell us to stay when we say we are going to go but we really want to stay. We need conversation and laughter and love.

People I had never met gave me compliments this weekend and affirmed me. My friend even got the 411 on another single guy at the meeting :-). I was touched by her in depth study of him LOL.

Sometimes its hard not having my own family but I know the Father is intentional in giving me His. 

 SHALOM

Level Two

What is interesting about this journey is how God works in patterns in our lives.  I feel like He has been so intentional to teach me in patterns.  Usually the patterns pertain to my career, living arrangements and relationships.  There have been seasons of intense pruning followed by seasons of overwhelming blessings.  But then something happened with the pattern.  It stopped.  I fully expected it to continue like it had for the last 13 years.  I fully expected the “promotion” or “blessing.  But instead, there was more humility.  More waiting.  More pruning.  I didn’t understand the hold up.  Why wasn’t the blessing coming?  Didn’t I pass the test?

At the end of last year I stood in victory having learned the lessons He was teaching once again.  I felt unstoppable.  I saw the pattern and felt like this faith walk was “cake”.  What I soon learned and what He showed me was that I had “mastered” level 1 of my journey with Him.  Now we are on level 2.

Level 2 threatened to take me out.  I wasn’t used to this level.  I wasn’t used to not having His presence or doubting His existence or feeling so utterly alone.  I wasn’t familiar with this lesson.  I had to stand on His manifest presence of the past. I had to stand on His faithfulness in my past.   I had to stand on the love of the current community that surrounded me.

I am still standing.

Each day has been a challenge to walk forward, but each day I choose to do so.  Even though I don’t feel His grace or strength, the fact that I am still standing is evidence that it is there.

I’m getting more revelation and understanding now of level 2.  I kept trying to use my old weapons of warfare at this level but they were not working.  I am having to learn to use new weapons and re-sharpen some of the old ones.  I’m also learning there are so many levels to wholeness. I have chosen to get to the highest level so that I will be most effective for this generation.  So that I may please my Father.

Even with its challenges level 2 offers so many blessings.  There are open doors at level 2.  There are new relationships, experiences and opportunities at level 2.  There is reaping at level 2.  I don’t have to try or strive, the open doors come to me.  All I have to do is BE.

Psalm 46:10.

He is faithful to complete the work He started in each of us.  And it will be His love, kindness, patience and grace to sustain us as we climb His mountain.

He is there, even when we do not feel Him.  Bringing us to victory…

  
SHALOM

 

Still Leaping

I stood in the parking lot of the apartment complex and flashbacks one after another clouded my vision. Could it really be that once upon a time I lived here? With him? If not for the memories, which I felt very unattached to, I would not believe that fact. But the memories were plenty and I even had a book I had written about the heartbreak from that relationship. So it must have really happened.

I remembered my grandmother dropping me off at “home” one day. We sat in the car talking. My once favorite person in the whole wide world had been replaced. I was in love. I’m sure it broke her heart to see me in such a state, living with a man unwed. Following the same path of so many before me. Following her own. I’m sure she was wracked with fear that I’d end up pregnant and drop out of school.

I should have ended up pregnant and dropped out of school.

I stood there and thought about our pet. The rabbit we owned that ended up dying. We both grieved heavily for that loss; he was like a child to us.

I thought about how far I had come and realized I was a teenager back then.  I’m in my 30s now.  A full grown woman. I have come leaps and bounds.

I’m still leaping.

Still overcoming. Still learning my identity and how to have victory in weak areas. Still learning about how much God loves me.

I know her prayers have been answered. The grandmother who interceded on my behalf that I would get out of that toxic relationship. I know He (God) did more in me than she could ever fathom.

It is a beautiful thing when you can reflect on a man who was at one point your whole world and not feel a tinge of loss.

The Father had mercy on me. He taught me true love. I’m still learning.

I’m still overcoming.


SHALOM

Bittersweet

This morning I woke up, spent time with Jesus and made it to work early enough to do a scope while I walked to get my morning coffee (decaf). Its unlike me to do a scope that isn’t teaching about something I’m learning or to do it in the morning but it was a freeing experience. 

Being disciplined and routine is great but without balance we are all prone to wear ourselves out. Even if we really like the routine. That scope showed me how fabulous life can be and really how fabulous life is. There are so many things to be thankful for in my life and I never want to be ungrateful for how far God has brought me and what He’s given me. That being said, every day is still a struggle. I struggle to control my thoughts/moods and to receive love. I struggle to believe that one day (soon) this struggle will end.

I told my friend on the phone last night I grew prideful in the way God related to me and moved with me in the past. I thought it would always be that way. 

It is not that way in this season. 

I can only deduct that He is trying to teach me a new lesson. I must have learned all the old ones enough. Or maybe He is just taking a break from that pattern…

I know what I am experiencing is not common to man. I know it is not His will or original intention. Yet I still search for and desire the solution. The one that will open my heart once again to His love and presence and intimacy.  

Oh how I miss His intimacy.

At least there are really great people in this season and a great book to write and a great job to do. So many great things. 

Such a bittersweet season…

SHALOM

Facing and Slaying Your Giants

Numbers‬ ‭13:30-33‬ ‭

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants ( the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
In this passage the Isrealites have just come from Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey. A land of much fruit. The Lord told them to go there in preparation to receive their promise land. The problem was the promise seemed to have giants in it. When the spies went they found the reward God spoke of but it pailed in comparison to the enemy they would need to fight for it. Atleast, in their minds it did.  

Many of us are familiar with this passage and we know the outcome. We know that over and over again Yaweh proved His deity. He had delivered the Israelites so many times. He had rescued them from slavery, showed His hand with powerful plagues and even fed them with manna to sustain them in the wilderness! They witnessed so many signs and wonders at His hand one would think they could never doubt Him. But when it came to the promise, they became fearful of their own stature. They became fearful of what seemed to be larger than who they were.

Maybe that is what happens when we look to ourselves to overcome the battle? We become smaller in our own site and our enemy is magnified. I have faced some “giants” in this season. I have wondered if God would deliver…could deliver. Even after all of the miracles I have experienced. Yes He helped me to overcome then but could He overcome THIS situation? If He could, wouldn’t He have done it by now?

Notice the Lord did not speak to the Israelites about these “giants” beforehand. He only spoke to them about the promise. He only said “This is the land I am giving you”. I believe God doesn’t tell us about the giants because they are not giants to Him. All enemies will be used to take us further into our destiny and calling. I also believe He does not waste His time on what is temporary. Giants are temporary. The real promise lasts forever…

In this passage Caleb shares that he too scoped out the land but he was certain they could have victory. What did Caleb see that the other spies did not? I believe He saw the eternal. He saw with the lense of the Lord. He did not see the temporary but He saw the eternal victory that is wrapped in the Word of promise.

Rest assured He has already spoken your victory over you. The giant isn’t really a giant at all. It is just another tool to propel your forward into purpose.

SHALOM

Starting Off At A Deficit

Social media is one of those things that it is what you make it.  It can be a great way to celebrate life or a reminder of what you do not have.  For the most part I enjoy seeing the celebrations shared but sometimes I could go without seeing them. Sometimes I get a little discouraged by the gifts of others.

Like pictures that show women and girls with close knit families. Pictures of daughters who have fathers to affirm them and men in their lives who know their worth. They were not birthed into “complicated” situations. There was no trauma, drama, addiction or abuse in their bloodline. Their family isn’t perfect (no family is) and they have other challenges that’s for certain, but these are not their challenges and that fact, is their gift.

These girls don’t have to overcome generational strongholds, or fight an uphill battle in the areas that I have. When you start off at a deficit that’s what has to happen: you have to fight. 

You have to fight to recover from self inflicted pain, misguided love, broken covenants, etc… You have to fight for peace and soundness of mind and wholeness. For sure, everyone has to discover their true identity which takes work, but some have to do more work then others.

My story isn’t having the proper foundation. There were a lot of deficits. But thankfully there were people there who overcame their own deficits. And even when they didn’t they prayed that I would be able to.

My family doesn’t look like the typical family. Instead it is a hodgepodge of people mostly not blood related.  These people genuinely love me.

And where there was no father, no man to affirm me and teach me my value, there was The Father. He came in, revealed Himself and called me His own.

Some days its hard appreciating my gift and wishing I could have had that better foundation, but I am reminded even as I type these words that “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope”-Romans 5:4.

How can one be called resilient lest they persevere through the difficulty? How can one be an overcomer lest they have something to overcome?

So even when there is a deficit, a weakness, a perceived area of lack, God becomes the surpluss. He becomes the strength where we are weak. And He gets all the glory for helping us to overcome.

Here are just a few of the people in my life who love me dearly…

  
SHALOM