Archive | March 2017

Getting Older

 

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People have been asking me what I’m planning for the big 3-4.  I honestly have no plans.  My emotions have been up and down (ok, mostly down) about the upcoming event and I don’t know how I will feel when it gets here.  Will I have a series of bursts of energy and strength that I’ve often experienced when the enemy has tried to come up against me?  Or, will I give in to the quiet stillness of my soul that has marked this season with Christ? 

I told my friend recently that I’m allowing myself to experience both.  I’m allowing myself to be grateful for the ground the Father and I have gained together, the victories and the wholeness He has created.  And also, I’m allowing myself the disappointment, confusion and frustration at the waiting.  I’m a numbers person and I do believe I am supposed to be, working in Accounting and all.  I believe numbers mean a lot to God as well.  He taught me a lot a few years ago just how important they were.  What I learned then was that His ways are not our ways.  His view is not ours and often He wants us to come up higher to see things from His perspective.  For a while there I was seeing but then the darkness came and I found myself lost, questioning very foundational truths that had guided me these 15 years.  I was tormented with fear and anxiety and I didn’t have time to think about singleness, I was just trying to choose life.  But I did choose and one day at a time I made it to where I am now: more soundness of mind.  More peace.  More grace.  Now that I’m here, singleness is a focus again.  I honestly never thought it would be this long.  I don’t disagree with the Master’s hand and plan.  I know without a shadow of a doubt His way, His timing is best.  But I need to process the fact that his timing is longer than I imagined.

For most of my journey I felt a security in my future.  I felt confident of His path.  Much of that confidence stemmed from my emotions and feelings; the perks of being less mature in the faith I suppose.  But now He has said I am more mature and He has treated me as such.  Instead of doing things for me He is teaching me to do them for myself. That’s been a paradigm shift.  One I haven’t welcomed freely.

The Father has been faithful in all things.  He has made promises and I have no doubt He will deliver.  But there is a process involved before the manifestation of those promises.

Psalm 105:19

Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.

Like Joseph my friends and I know this testing.  We have each encountered our own paths of being formed by the Master’s hand and we have overcome many things.  But it seems no matter how many victories I’ve experienced, the next level is even more fierce than the last.  I believe this to be true with marriage.  I believe the tests will get more difficult and that is why the process in singleness is so needed, to create a sturdy foundation.

I am a blessed woman.  God is faithful and my cup runs over.  But I am still waiting and I did not know the wait would be this long.

The process this thorough.

The mountain this steep.

SHALOM

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When You’ve Come A Long Way

I sat in the Starbucks location 10 minutes from work using my early arrival as needed time to recoup from the day.  I was meeting an old high school friend and would need the short break to gather energy for the meeting.  Not because my time with her would not be enjoyable but simply because that is what introverts do: they gain energy during down time.  When she arrived I was flooded with friendship from her smile to her perky nature.  She made it known that she was outgoing, friendly and extroverted, all of the qualities most of my close friends have.

Over my standard café latte and her sweet treat (which turned out not to be sweet enough) we caught up on life.  She advised it had only been a year since our last convo but I’m pretty sure it was longer.  I need to look up the pictures on Facebook to confirm that though…  She mentioned not having friends past certain seasons and I can identify.  I don’t have too many I keep in contact with from before college.  Most of my close friends are from that time of academic and spiritual endeavors on Miami’s campus.  I shared I think that mostly has to do with me having a shared spiritual experience with those folks.  When you become born again it changes you and sometimes old relationships do not carry over after this change.  She too is a believer, like several others from back in the day.  Our connection is always easy and comfortable probably because of our shared faith.

After about an hour of deep conversation she said, “Wow Nicole look at you compared to your high school self!”  I believe she was inferring I had come a long way.  I was too afraid to get more feedback on that statement though I wanted to ask for her to elaborate.  I can’t even picture my high school self from an outsider’s perspective and how different I am now.  I only know the process I have gone through for that transformation to take place.  I assume she sees a more polished, mature version of myself.  It is truly the work of the Father to polish and polish and polish those rough places around me and cause me to shine.

He is still polishing…

We talked about the ex and I was tickled at how distant that time frame of dating seemed.  I thought back to how deeply my feelings were for that man back then.  I thought I would never get over that breakup.  But last night I sat in front of her, experiencing a greater level of wholeness I have never experienced before.  It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get this far.  It took a lot of faith walking and fearful courage.  But some how, some way, the prophecy I received long ago came to pass:

“You have come leaps and bounds” the prophet said.  I knew at the time I had not but that the word was for a future time.  To God His work in us is already finished so His view was that it had already happened.  In my time it would take another 10 years…


Somehow the 10 years came and went.  And then another year.  And another.  Now I am here, removed from heartbreak, still developing, still learning, and still walking by faith.  But now I have something I didn’t have back then.  I have a history with God.  I have a history of Him showing out for me.  Doing the impossible for me.  And creating a masterpiece out of a life that was at one time in shambles.

He is faithful.

Psalm 18:33

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly and tread safely on paths of testing and trouble]; He sets me [securely] upon my high places.”

SHALOM

 

Gifts, Parties & Sacrifice

This weekend I celebrated the release of my 2nd book How To Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal. It took me exactly 9 months to start this book project and publish it. That’s probably pretty quick for most but that was the gift God has offered me in this season.

I have the gift of TIME.

The most touching moment of the party was sitting in a small group discussing the topics that I now am so passionate about: healing from emotional pain, walking out extended singleness and preparing for a healthy relationship. In the midst of me sharing my testimony on these areas I said that God had made His promise clear to me, however He did not reveal that I would need to be transformed to receive that promise. After my sharing an older woman in the faith said she heard the word “transparent”. I needed to be more transparent to receive the person…I felt that meant I needed to be more humble.

Sharing such intimate parts of my story always humbles me and really it is only my desire to please the Father and help heal others that motivates me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Yeshua in the garden. That time was such a picture of His humility. He left glory and perfection to experience a darkness I can’t imagine.

And He did it for us.

Now as I walk out my own journey I relate to His suffering. Though mine could never compare to His I know it is meaningful because it is my whole heart that I have given Him. It is the very depths of me that I have offered.

I am surrounded by the faithful. I have sisters and brothers who understand the deep and the level of sacrifice He has called us to. That is another gift I have in this season:

I have community.


I can say this road is not easy.  There are many hard days and even hard seasons.  Just yesterday I shed tears on a call with a woman I’ve trusted for the last 15 years.  I shared about my deep desires and awaiting the fruit I felt I was called to.  But I guess that is the beauty in this life: in the midst of the tears there is love.  There are these people who God deeply values and who deeply value me who are rooting me on and listening quietly as I pour out my pain.

There is both loss and fullness on this path and often I feel them at the same time.

There is His hand weaving a story I never could have fathomed. 

And then there is me, imitating the Author of life and putting my hand to the keys of a computer to do the same.

Like Father, like daughter.

I hope He is pleased.

 

SHALOM

 

Navigating The In Between

I realize that I am an “all in” type person.  When it comes to relationships, work, or any other project I dive in full force and do not loosen my reins until that thing comes to completion (go me).  This character trait has helped me immensely in my career when in spite of 3 bouts with unemployment and an attempt from one company to sabotage my move to the next, I thrived (go Jesus).  It has caused me to complete 2 college degrees regardless of the battle I faced in my academic endeavors.  It allowed me to write 2 books in the midst of battling anxiety and depression.  It has helped me to be one that endures.

Well as you may have guessed, there is a negative side to being an “all-inner”.  Though my intentions have been good and sincere, I have a history of leaping blindly and foolishly into unhealthy relationships, giving my all when it wasn’t safe to do so.  Thankfully Holy Spirit intervened and pulled me out of the cycle of dysfunction many never escape from.  My ancestors never escaped from.  But there have been consequences to my over-zealousness.  Now I am in a place where I have to learn how to not be “so extra”.  I have to learn balance and boundaries.  I have to learn how to properly navigate a relationship that was so badly bruised that there seems to be no bandaid big enough to heal it.

I sat across from my good friend the other night.  She shared her relationships woes.  I encouraged her to believe God for His best.  I feel very strongly He brought us together for me to share my story on waiting on His best.  She looked at me with pain in her eyes, bit her lip and murmured what was on her heart.  “But you did wait”, she said.  You did know Him deeply and intimately and yet you are still waiting”.  She is right.  I am still waiting.  I told her about how this world is passing away.  I told her our relationship with Him has to be of the utmost importance.  I rattled off the scriptures He put on my heart and even texted her a few.  But I knew that the spiritual blessing of doing His will was not enough.  I realized that He created the earth to reflect the heavens and that means the reward that we have in heaven must be manifested in the earth.

Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

I have received the word about my reward coming 6 times thus far in a span of only a few weeks.  God is being very loud and clear: for those who have waited, for those who have endured, you will REAP.

I told my friend this as we sat across the table over appetizers and drinks.  It wasn’t enough to offer her encouragement about her spiritual reward.  She needed to know that yes, we do get blessed this side of heaven.


I am in between my blessing.  I have surrendered, I have endured, I have obeyed.  I have yielded and agreed and walked by faith but I do not yet have the promise.  I am learning how to live in between the demonstration of my faith through my works and the manifestation of HIs promise.  It is a vulnerable place but I feel His grace to navigate this area of life.

In other news…

If you’re in the area I have exciting news!  My book release party for HTOHB2 will be Saturday, March 11th which also happens to be the start of Purim!  I hope you are able to make it!

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And if you’re not in the area join the Twitter party for HTOHB2 Sunday, March 12th!

And if you have fallen behind on my Youtube videos feel free to visit my youtube site here.

SHALOM