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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

 

Lessons In The Dry Season

Its an interesting thing when your relationship with God changes. Well maybe interesting isnt the most accurate word to describe it. At least not for me. As is my normal this transition/change in season was pretty traumatic/dramatic. I did not understand the silence and the still small voice. I did not understand how after nearly 15 years of the very loud voice could God switch to a whisper? How could it be that for so long we spoke face to face then all of a sudden it seemed He hid His face from me? But I came across an old journal entry that confirmed what I already knew.

This was a “dry season”.
‭‭Amos‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”

I never even knew that scripture existed (except for the fact that I found it in an old journal) but it so captures this season for me. I feel He has been diligent to send His word indirectly to me through circumstances and people but not directly.  This has been weird since there has been nothing indirect about my relationship with God since I surrendered to Him as a teenager.

Over and over I have struggled with believing in His presence when I cannot feel His presence. How can He be here if I do not feel Him? I kept wondering. And then this morning while listening to a favorite minister the Word of the Lord came (as it has so often) through him. He shared that when we think God is not there simply because we do not hear Him our thinking is rooted in pride. Ouch.  He said that God’s response to this thinking was similar to when He responded to Job…

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”

I realized my struggle comes down to a false belief of knowing. So often our gift can also be a weakness. Because He has chosen to operate with me in “knowing” so often I have mistaken that to mean He has told me “all” when in fact it has only been some. We see in part and we know in part.

The dry season is not a “fun” season. It doesn’t have the emotional high of intimacy that I’m used to. It doesn’t have the spiritual songs birthed out of those quiet times or the prophetic dreams telling of things to come.  But what it does have is the power to develop me mentally and make me more stable emotionally.  And for that I am grateful.

In my journal 12 years ago I wrote that the dry season is a good season because things catch on fire when they are dry.

I look forward to being on fire…

In other news, if you’re struggling with communication in relationships and would like some tips check out my latest YouTube!

AND if you or someone you know is dealing with heartbreak I am now offering Skype calls! And the first 30 minutes are free! Simply email me for details…


SHALOM

When You Like Them But They Don’t Like You Back


It happens to the best of us: someone catches your eye or maybe you caught theirs. Perhaps there followed a nice stimulating conversation after that initial attraction. The atmosphere seemed perfect, the dialogue phenomenal, and you can’t help but think, “Hmmm, this may just lead to something”…

To read more check out my guest blog post at Single Roots “When You Like Them But They Dont Like You Back”!

SHALOM

Soldiers Need To Be Made

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I’ve been watching “slave” shows lately.  One of them was “Underground” and it was really good.  Though I really appreciated the character development, storyline and creative writing it entailed I was let down by the lack of spirituality.  There seemed to be no characters with really deep relationships with Christ.  I think it has to do with the fact that people who have not had an encounter with Him cannot reconcile a God of love with suffering so they are unable to write about Him.  I struggle with that too sometimes…

The latest show I’m watching now is “Glory”.  It was actually made in the late 80s and maybe because I was just born I don’t recall seeing it growing up.  “Glory” is a recounting of the civil war from the Union’s perspective.  It tells the story of an all black regiment who are made up primarily of run-away slaves.  As one character put it “We runaway slaves, but we come back fightin’ men.”  Though many of them are run-away, there is one man who is free.  He was born free and his father before him.  He is well educated, speaks properly and has cheered on the freedom of his people in a sense from the sidelines.  He was actually very close to the Captain of the army; they grew up together.  But though the slaves had it so much worse then he, it turns out the other mens’ slavery actually better equipped them for the battle ahead.

The men who were slaves learned discipline, both physical and mental.  They learned to control themselves in order to stay alive.  They learned to take orders and they learned to endure monotonous grueling work for long periods of time.  When the men are trained to be soldiers the freeman is targeted by the man training them because of his physical weaknesses.  At one point the Captain intervenes on the freeman’s behalf telling the Trainer that they grew up together, to which the Trainer responds, “Then let him keep growing up”.

The freeman did not understand why the Trainer was so hard on him.  He did not understand the training process, but the whole time I was watching the story unfold it was so heavy on my heart that he needed the training to be difficult.  He needed the training to be difficult because the war would be difficult.  The Captain knew that.  He had fought in a previous battle where many men were lost and he was adamant that his men be trained to endure such a battle.

Spiritual battles and physical battles are so similar.  I have always felt that we, as humans, were born into war.  We were born into a war where there are casualties and there are soldiers and there are choices to be made on which one we will be.  I believe Christ came so that we do not have to be casualties.  I believe He came to show us that we too can have the victory.

But we will have to fight for it.

There is a process we are each called to.  It can be difficult marriages or difficult children or poverty.  It can be physical sickness, mental illness or tragedy.  Whatever the process it is for refinement.  There are seasons where I hate my process and there are seasons where I love it and there are seasons I feel both.  There is an ebb and flow to my journey and for much of it I have fought the flow.

But God.

He has birthed out 2 books anyway.  He has given me jobs and titles and degrees and positions and ministries.  Even in spite of myself.

I believe the training we receive is not just for our battles here on earth but the positions we will hold in eternity.  I hope to one day hear those words “Well done My good and faithful servant” but there are times where I wonder if He is pleased at all. Though I know His Word says otherwise…

I hope you will see that your process is not in vain.  He is training you and the harder the training the greater the reward.  The greater the harvest.  The better the solder you will be.  Soldiers are not born, they are made.  You must go through the process to be made.

Months ago He said to me, “Who are you Nicole?” My reply was, “I’m a warrior”.  He said, “Then fight!”

As warriors we must fight.  As soldier we must train.  As His, we have already won.

SHALOM

 

New Job, New Book, New Seasons!

I was told good things come in 3’s.  I’m not a superstitious person however I know that there are patterns and ways of God that we can become awakened to.  Our change in the seasons in nature are an indication of that.

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That being said, if such a thing exists then I am a recipient of the “3-rule blessing”. My first week at work went well.  For three workdays in a row my employer treated me to lunch.  The first day was actually with my former employer who will now be my current employer part time since I’m still helping him with his business.  Someone tell me how you go from 0 to 4 jobs in one year???  Only God.  Training is just what I needed too.  I have had so many insecurities and fears concerning this calling in accounting.  My undergrad experience was pretty shocking and I think my accounting prof would think it laughable I am actually considering my CPA.  But God is our weakness where we are strong.  He definitely has been my strength in this area…

It turns out I had nothing to fear as my Controller took his time training me and I was even able to help him in some areas.  The overall feel of this position is one of “chill”.  The atmosphere is void of the stress and anxiety my previous employers carried.  The anxiety that I too previously carried…Maybe it is a prophetic picture. I can rest now.

So I’ve been worried for nothing (as is always the case).  It is like the Father is holding my hand and walking me through the steps it takes to get to where We are going.  I am overwhelmed with His good gifts to me in this season.  One of those gifts is my new book How To Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal.  This book took me exactly 9 months to begin and publish.  Earlier this year He gave me a dream showing me pregnant with a very large child.  He showed me it would be an easy delivery.  It was…

I never imagined I would be an author.  That I would write about very personal things.  That the place that used to be my hiding place as a child–the library–would now find my own writings in its aisles and on its shelves. I am in awe.

I was told more books would come and there would be a demand for them.  I was told they would come without sorrow.  I desire that.  To not have to go through very hard things in order to write.  I look forward to this next chapter of my life, which consists of my new accounting position, this new book, and a new grace…

To find out more about my new book How To Overcome Heartbreak: Stories That Heal click here.

Some really good times lately…

SHALOM

 

Does God Care About My Vote?

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In about 24 hours America will have a new President. A new Leader. And that’s a pretty big deal. Leadership determines the direction of a team. Leadership entails power and authority and influence. There are lots of scriptures in the Bible that teach us how important leadership is and how important the government is. This particular election has stirred up a lot of people’s emotions. People who normally wouldn’t vote are voting and people who normally would are not. Either way, someone new will be in office tomorrow night.

When I first became a Christian I was pretty vocal about my views on the presidential election at the time. My convictions and thinking were set in stone and many of those around me echoed my sentiments. And though some of my thinking has changed over the years, I wouldn’t go back and change my vote, simply because I appreciate the fact that I was sincere about my choice. There was no one swaying me to vote a certain way. If anything I probably swayed others.

This time around however I feel the temptation to be swayed. I am told to “pray about my vote”. The Christians I have been around have historically voted a certain way though many claim to not be a certain party. They have had their certain views and highlighted their certain issues that mean the most to them. And that’s fine for them. But what about for me?

Every election year I pray for God to give me a “heart” regarding politics. I want to do research and have an opinion and care about the things concerning this country. And I do care. But often that is not reflected in researching politics. Often it is spending evenings on my knees weeping for my city and spheres of influence to walk in freedom, healing and wholeness.

I’ve struggled with my role in these elections. I’ve struggled with making the wrong choice. But the very people I have admired seem to be functioning from the same bias and deception as the ones they point the finger at. The body seems to still be functioning from a lesser state of maturity when it comes to these matters and I am disheartened once again. Until I remember that even leaders are not perfect. Even leaders, very good ones, miss the mark. I cannot put my trust in man…

In this season I am learning about choice. I am learning that as we mature in Christ and become Sons He starts asking us to make the choice. He starts giving us free reign because we are in Him and He is in us and we need not fear our decision because it is Him functioning in us. And yesterday while discussing these issues with a wiser woman I am affirmed that while God cares for me, He probably doesn’t really care about my vote. At least not in the way I used to think. Could it be that it’s more about the motive of my vote than my vote itself? Could it be that it’s more important to vote according to the revelation that you have of your eternal identity at this point in your journey than who you actually select on the ballot?

Some people are losing sleep over this election. They are so stressed and anxious about their future because they believe their future is predicated on its outcome. I don’t share that logic. Yes, we are affected by the decisions of our leaders, but as an eternal being I believe we can exert greater influence in the spirit than what any carnal person (man or woman) could possibly demonstrate. We, as in the body, (not one individual person) can put to flight more than 10,000.

If you are like me and have struggled with making the wrong choice in this election than I share with you what I feel God is saying to me. It is your choice and it will work for your good. Stay true to who you are and know that your future, this country’s future, is in His hands.

And whatever you do…don’t forget to vote :-).

 

SHALOM

 

 

Learning Resilience, Getting Unstuck

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Can I share something with you? I tend to get “stuck”.  This is something I didn’t realize about myself until this season but it’s true.  I get stuck on songs.  My roommate can attest to this as I will put a song on repeat in a minute!  I LOVE listening to the same song over and over!  I’m doing it now.  I’m having a hard time getting through the whole Hillsong United album because I’m stuck on “Prince of Peace” & “Scandal of Grace”.  But in general getting stuck on a song is not necessarily a bad thing.  It actually can serve as great background music when you’re studying for an exam or writing a book.  That’s my experience anyway.  But getting stuck on thoughts, well, that’s another story.  You see I tend to get stuck on thoughts too.  And maybe if they were super happy memories like my grandmother taking me to the amusement park or my best friends showering their love on me during a road trip or other excursion that would be great.  But no, these thoughts tend to be negative and even dark.  They are a constant temptation that I give into more often than I resist and before this season I just lived with it.  I barely recognized it.  Then God said it was time to address those negative thoughts.

“You need resilience”, He said.  I remember years ago He said I needed endurance.  Then I waited several years for a spouse, ran a half marathon and waited years to move on in my career.  I’m pretty sure I have that endurance now.  Then I remember He said He was giving me discipline.  I obtained that Masters degree in Accounting and that involved a lot of discipline.  It involved a lot of faith too because I was really bad at Accounting in undergrad!  But now He says I need resilience.  I need resilience not just in recovering from toxic thinking but recovering from toxic relationships.

My friend was sharing with me a little while ago about a sermon she heard about David. The minister shared that while David’s child was ill David prayed and fasted and wept before the Lord.  He cried out and interceded and pleaded that his child would live.  But then his child died.  And instead of continuing in mourning, David got up and ordered his servants to feed him.  They marveled because others would now grieve but David did the opposite.

David understood something.  He understood the times to weep and the times to count your losses and move forward.

I have not understood that. I have wept and wept and wept.  I have grieved and grieved and grieved.  But now I am learning, there is a time to move on.

There is a time to realize that the past is the past and though it was good, the present and the future can actually be even better.

I am learning resilience. I am learning to count my losses and keep it moving.  I am learning to believe that the future is full of prosperity and peace and beauty.

I am learning that my present is full of all those things too.

My friend and I at a family gathering…

kennei-and-i

SHALOM