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Heartfelt

This weekend I had a hot date. With my mom that is. We played pool and had drinks and had fun. She won 2 out of 3 games but the fact that I even won 1 and came really close to winning another is impressive. She’s a pretty good player and I, on the other hand, am not ūüôĄūüôĄ. But even though I’m not the best pool player that did not keep her from rooting for her baby girlūüėä. I marveled at her heart for me. She wanted me to win even if it was at the sake of her losing. That is the heart of a parent. A good parent that is…

In my Healing the Father Wound class someone shared a word of wisdom I marinated on. She said that parents are just adults who do not have it together. So true. As children we want them to have it together. Even as adult children. But who can say that they have perfect parents? No one.

I was so blessed by my mom’s heart to be “for me” and the fact that she would want me to do better than she did. The Father looks at the heart.

I’m grateful to have a mother with a good heart.

And there are so many around me with good hearts. There are so many who are “for me”. In this difficult season of waiting many continue to reach out. I know it is really the Father’s hand reaching out through each one.

Still, often He has seemed so distant, like an onlooker objectively observing. But then I think of my mom and feel His love for me. The kind of love that causes you to want your child to do better than you did. And whatever the sacrifice, whatever the cost, is worth it.

That is the love of the cross.

That is agape.

From this weekend…

SHALOM

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Dating Has Purpose

Once upon a time I believed I could not and would not date. ¬†If dating was the antonym of courtship, then I chose courtship. ¬†I even share this in my first book. ¬†But then things changed. ¬†I changed. ¬†The years rolled on and I found myself walking out what my friends and I call, “extended singleness” (dun-dun-dun).

God says very clearly in the opening book of His Word, “It is not good for man to be alone”. ¬†Then He brings Adam a help mate. ¬†We can interpret that statement many ways. ¬†Was He saying it’s not good for man to be without a spouse? ¬†Or was it not good for man to be without a community in general? ¬†If the latter, then why wouldn’t He just create a community (a group of people who can support and relate to Adam) instead of a spouse? ¬†But let’s not get too far off topic. ¬†Having a theological discussion is not my intent. ¬†I simply want to share how my ideas on dating have morphed…

This last year has been interesting. ¬†Early at the beginning of it I ran into “the ex”. You know the person it didn’t work out with but it was so significant that now they own a piece of your history and even a title: “the ex” (dun-dun-dun). ¬†So I ran into the ex. ¬†And he had a date. ¬†And I was feeling some kind of way about that. ¬†Because I myself did not have a date. ¬†Instead I had a friend. ¬†(AKA, I had community). So I let Jesus know I felt some kind of way about that. ¬†It involved some tears and venting and frustration on my part. ¬†Which is nothing new for Him because I feel that’s the benefit of being His kid. ¬†We can be REAL. ¬†Even when REAL isn’t as pretty as we want it to be. ¬†So I vented, and the response I got was,¬†“I am already moving”. ¬†Hmmm, what does that mean? I wondered. ¬†Well that was early 2017, and here I am at the end of 2017 and I think I have an idea of what He meant:

In the course of this year I have had more dates and dating activity than I have had in the whole 13 years of my singleness. ¬†I can’t say that they were all positive experiences. ¬†There were definitely times He had to deliver me from my foolishness and heal me from my pain, but there was movement nonetheless.

I talked to a friend recently and his experience of singleness has been the opposite of mine.  He has spent most of it dating and now he just wants courtship.  He wants to just meet the person, commit to them and get married.  In a perfect world I think that is ideal.  But we do not live in a perfect world.

As one who spent most of their singleness not dating and being a proponent of courtship I told him I see the benefits of dating.  Dating teaches social skills.  Dating teaches you about the opposite sex.  Dating, if done with respect, can help both parties develop emotionally, mentally and maybe even spiritually.

I look back on this last year and I think of the joy I had when I was pursued. ¬†It was affirming. ¬†I got to see how men rise to the occasion when they see a woman of value. ¬†It was a reminder that I am a woman of value. ¬†I got to enjoy companionship from the opposite sex. ¬†I got to learn more about a man’s world which can be very different from a woman’s. ¬†And I also got to see the Father’s desire to give me good gifts. ¬†Even when He knows I will ruin them.

In the garden Elohim tells Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ¬†He tells him this knowing he will do it anyway. ¬†Knowing that once he does he will have to be kicked out of the garden. ¬†But for a period of time Adam and Eve enjoy the garden. ¬†They enjoy the gift. ¬†In my own life I can see how the Father gave the gift knowing that it wouldn’t last and I think He did that because the joy I experienced in the interim was so great it outweighed the grief that would eventually entail. ¬†That speaks to me how much our joy means to the Father. ¬†As difficult as this path has been for me I can see many times where He has brought me joy in the midst of it.

Dating has had purpose in this season of my life.  I have not expected it too.  I did not think I would be one who would date.  I also did not think I would be single this long.  But alas, life is never how we think it will be and the evolution of who we are continues to unfold as the years go by.  At least, I hope for me that is the case.

My inner circle is changing. ¬†I have close friends moving into different stages of life while I stay in this one. ¬†And in the midst of the pain I experience from these changes I see the Father’s compassion. ¬†He has never left me alone. ¬†There are many times I feel alone however I have never lacked in the area of companionship these 13 years.

One of my very good friends confided in me about how difficult this season has been for her, especially around the holidays.  In the midst of our conversation she realized it was in part due to a lack of friendship.  Yes she had community, but she did not have peers who were in the same season who could empathize with her pain.  I have had that in abundance and talking to her made me even more grateful for this gift.

It is not good for man to be alone.  Thankfully I have yet to have that experience.

SHALOM

When Your Best Friend Gets Married

My best friend got engaged. ¬†We knew it was coming but then again we didn’t. ¬†We talked about the possibilities and played out the scenarios but nothing makes it real until it really happens. ¬†Well it really happened.

And all of a sudden, memories of our shared singlehood flash across my minds’ eye.

Like that time we laid in bed giggling all night about her then boyfriend and the possibility of them getting married (they didn’t by the way). ¬†Or the time we lay in bed on my trip to her beloved Haiti sharing the sorrows we had of walking out extended singleness. I prayed for her that night, feeling the weight of her longing and pain. ¬†I had such an amazing time during my visit. ¬†If only I would have known that would be the last one, where she would be‚Äďwell‚Äďalone.

Or the time she turned one of those early 30’s numbers and I talked to her for 2 hours on the phone (because she was in another country and that’s all I could do) about how God was trustworthy, and extended singleness was hard, but He was still good. ¬†Only a few years later would her season change. ¬†But we didn’t know that at the time…

I never knew this woman would become so dear to me. ¬†She entered my life when things were questionable and I didn’t think I needed any more friends. ¬†I couldn’t have been more wrong. ¬†I have needed her desperately especially in this season. ¬†I have needed her to intercede for me and war when I couldn’t remember my own identity. ¬†When I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the face staring back. ¬†I needed her to call me each morning when I was recovering from one breakup or another. ¬†I needed to hear her voice when I no longer could hear the voice of our Father, and I questioned His existence…

She was faithful. ¬†Faithful to be with me regardless of my choices and decisions. ¬†Faithful when I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going. ¬†We walked out a difficult time, but our sisterhood added sweetness to it.

We are like minded.  We have similar values and a similar desire to manifest true wholeness.  We share a call to stand out and be set apart in this generation.  And for the first time since we met (a nice summer day in 2007 that we both remember) we are in different seasons.  Very different seasons.

God is purposeful.  And I believe each season is to prepare us for the next season.

This has been a season where He has not ministered to me directly by His Spirit.  Instead He has used people and circumstances to reveal Himself.  She is one of those people He has chosen over and over again to do so.  Her pureness of heart, vivacious appetite for life and fierce loyalty are character traits I admire and am not deserving of.

When your best friend gets married you have a host of emotions.  SO much change.  So little time.  The time you waited for has finally come, but when it comes, it comes suddenly.  It is a reminder that seasons do change.  And that we must cherish them while they are here for that very reason.

When your best friend gets married, you wish her the best because she is so worth the best.  You are reminded that as similar as you are, and as close as you have been, you are still two different people.  I have my path and she has hers.  And God willing, we will still walk together on this path of life.

Congratulations to a woman who has been more than a friend to me.  She has truly been a sister.

Always rooting for you Ji‚̧ԳŹ.

Love,

Nicole

The Process


Definition of process: a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

Yesterday at fellowship (our weekly spiritual gathering) my pastor asked what the definition of process was. It is discussed in our latest lesson and the first word that came to me was “stages”. “It’s developmental stages,” I said. He nodded his head in fond agreement‚Äďbecause he is more of a father than a pastor‚Äďand proceeded to read the real definition (listed above). I  was close. We talked about the “means” of a process being a vehicle and it’s pretty clear to me God has used and continues to use processes in my life (and I’m sure in yours) to bring about an intended purpose.

Every month I go through a process at work. For almost a year now I have been battling in this process. It has been so intense it has felt like labor. But my personality is one that loves a good challenge so even though I get stressed out and overwhelmed I strive to complete the process. And do better next time. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of significant time you know my career has always been a process. Doors do not open easily and usually only after a lengthy waiting period. As a result I’ve probably valued them (open doors) a little more than I would have otherwise (and even do I dare to say a little more than those who get opportunities easily.) So I have tried and tried to endure this process and achieve success by my own terms. Not in comparison to someone else’s ability (who would probably find my process less difficult) but in comparison to my former self.

Then there is the process of my love life. Again, lots of waiting. I shared with my pastors yesterday my frustration/anger at the process. They nodded in understanding. They are good people. They have walked with God over 40 years and still are able to empathize with my little struggles.

I don’t know what my future holds concerning these current processes, I only know the Father has been faithful to order my steps. He knows me through and through. 

I trust Him to have mercy where I need mercy and grace where I need grace.

In other news, some good times lately…


Shalom.

Processing Singleness


Hello there!¬† I am so excited to share a piece I wrote this summer that has been featured on Permission To Write’s online journal!:

I walk in from the rain and glance inside the trendy restaurant to the table by the window.  It’s surprisingly busy for a weekday.  I’m playing hookie from work and I wonder what the heck everyone else is doing.  Instead of seeing the black couple engaging in conversation, I see my friend sitting across from me sometime last year. A fellow single woman in her mid 30s with brown hair and a kind heart. It was spring and we talked about the summer and what kind of outfits would flatter her pear-shaped figure. I offered my services because, for some reason, turning 30 made me a fashionista. Then we moved on to men. Where were they?

Please click on this link and turn to page 11 if you are interested in reading more!

Thank you!

 

SHALOM

Building Slowly

I admit I can be an impatient person.  Even after all these years and all the tests God has used to develop patience w/in me, it is not my preference to wait.  But in the world of getting to know new people and developing relationships, I have come to value a person that takes their time.


This summer has allotted me with several occasions to meet new people but no matter the person, the outcome was the same: things moved fast.  There were frequent phone calls and text messages and connections made, but always a tone of urgency and even insincerity.  This time however I am intrigued to have a different experience.  In the short time of our meeting, he takes his time.  There is careful balance of showing interest, but not diving in too deep.  It is nice when someone can correctly match the emotions and physical boundaries of a relationship with its developmental stage.  I have been in so many situations where that was not the case and for that reason I appreciate it all the more.

I heard it said recently that women lose their mystery quickly these days.  As Christian women that can be easy to fall into because many of us do not get pursued often so when it happens we can get so excited that we give away too much too fast (I have always struggled in that area).  Then afterwards, often the man does not feel the need to earn what has already been given.  He does not feel the need to rise to the occasion, because instead we lowered ourselves to it.

I’m trying to learn from my past mistakes.  All things are redeemable with God and He makes all things new.  I want to use this new opportunity to value myself better, stay true to my identity, and enjoy the slow building in the hopes that taking our time will produce something a little bit more longstanding.

SHALOM

 

Summer Reflection:2017

There have been a lot of changes for me this year.  I posted a collage of pictures from the summer with the title: “What a great summer!” My friend/old roommate commented, “Was it really a great summer?!” ūüė≥ She reminded me that we moved out of our old home this summer and we submitted to the move, both resigned ūüėĎ .  “Oh yea, I forgot about that,” I said, but went on to explain that I was only thinking about the highlights.
Contentment is a difficult thing to practice and I have had my bouts with it.  God has put me through certain spiritual obstacle courses to develop me in this area but it seems like my humanity continues to oppose that particular fruit of the Spirit.  It takes some real effort to focus on the positive when the negative is still present.  I think even though social media can be abused/misused it does allow for us to celebrate the positives and the highlights of life.  I can honestly say that even though I find this season very difficult with its changes (and with its lack of change), God has given me many desires of my heart.  


And even when I have thwarted his gifts and misused his presents He replaced them with more gifts.  More presents.  The love He demonstrates is a love I do not understand.  I simply can’t fathom His mercy and grace and love but I have glimpsed it so much in this season that I feel I’m gaining some knowledge.

This weekend I’ll get to promote the books He gave me.  Writings that show how He used very difficult times and made purpose out of them.  I’ll also get to visit with some dear sisters who I have been on this journey with for 15 years now.  I’ll have more opportunities to experience His love and goodness in the form of community and social events.  These are things I have desired but did not know that He would so frequently lavish them upon me.


Even in the midst of heartbreak, pain, and suffering, there is His hand.  Leading me and guiding me and ordering steps that have been difficult to take.  My own testimony shows His faithfulness and how when we are weak, truly He is strong.

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

SHALOM