This gallery contains 3 photos.
I’ve always known I would one day start my own business. I just didn’t know when or even what it would be but it was something that stayed in the back of my mind as a “one day” thing. Then “one day came”. After my fourth season of unemployment and about 9 months of waiting, it came.
I’d like to say I “waited well” but the truth is I dragged my feet. I kicked and screamed. During the course of applying and interviewing and resume-updating, I resisted His nudging to move forward in creating an LLC. Until finally all of my options were none and I could no longer resist His nudge.
I took the steps but still in my heart wondered if He could really be leading me to do this thing full time? Certainly not! Everyone knows entrepreneurship takes a while to reap a profit when getting started! Clearly God knows this as well! So of course I need to be trying to find something to supplement this vision? But circumstances said otherwise…
During the time of my unemployment (before I got my first client) a dear friend of mine lost her mother. I was the only friend who could be there for her physically because a work schedule was not an issue. It was of course significant for me to be the one walking with her through a difficult time because I myself am still in recovery of my own difficult time. I was with her when I found out my client had hired me. We stood in the middle of the craft store and I cried tears of joy as she embraced me in her arms. It wasn’t until I received that offer did other offers from other companies come through. They came flooding in.
For several months the doors were closed. Now they were swinging open.
Initially I took an offer but realized it would take away from building my own business. I would actually be getting paid more working for myself and logically it made no sense to reduce the hours for my client. By faith, I declined it. And by faith I started building for my client a system that I hoped would meet her needs.
The beauty in not only seeing the fruit from this step of faith to be a small business owner is that my first client came through a woman who has had so much purpose in my life. First a blog follower, then a roommate, then a friend, and now a sister. Working side by side with her shows me the Father’s love and care.
His provision is consistent in every area.
I have struggled so much in my career and yet never have I went without. Often I have felt the “downtimes” were too long. The seasons of unemployment. The constant feelings of rejection when hearing “no” and facing closed doors. Even when knowing it is for the best, it still hurts. Now I can look back and see HIs perfect timing. 9 months living with my friend/now sister. 9 months living with the woman who loved me more than life itself. And 9 months of “rest” and recovery before my business began.
And I’m honored to be continuing the legacy of the women who made me who I am today in a field that was once my weakness and is now His strength.
I am grateful for ABN Bookkeeping LLC.
I stood in one of my favorite places. Panera. Not sure why but I’ve always found comfort in its wooden booths, warm fire place, and doughy aromas. At least, I have since grad school. This particular location was truly a reminder of my time in school because it was the very one I often visited near the campus.
I stood there and had flashbacks of working diligently, pouring over debits and credits for hours on end, and drinking lattes to stay energized. So many hours and months and years, working towards a goal I would eventually achieve: my MBA in Accounting. But while I was driven and excited and encouraged at this endeavor, I still felt the longing of a single soul awaiting companionship.
The longing burned within me.
No matter what I did to ignore it, it lingered. I thought about this and how many years have passed. On that day at Panera I didn’t feel the intense, burning, longing that I felt in my 20s, and even in my early 30s, but I still felt…alone.
I liken my desire for a romantic relationship to fasting. When first starting a fast the hunger of food feels overwhelming and the task nearly impossible. Yet as time goes on the desire simmers. It’s still there, but it feels “dulled”.
With fasting, you learn how to be full off less.
The stomach shrinks and with it so does your mindset. As a friend once told me when not having enough for a meal, “Well, there’s always water.” She said this because she has experienced several 21-day “liquid only” fasts.
Water becomes enough.
Memory after memory visited me as I waited for my order. The painful ones. The hard ones. I thought about how time had moved but my circumstances had not. I also thought about the guy I had met recently. We were in the early stages of getting to know each other and I had not yet received a phone call. I started debating on initiating the call but decided against it. That just wasn’t me. Within moments I felt my phone vibrate. It was him.
We talked that night for the first time. I sat and ate my food while looking out the window and being very much aware of the Father’s provision. I had reached a place of understanding that we do not always get what we desire in this life. We are not promised that. I understood self denial and waiting and humbling one’s self for the sake of the kingdom. In fact, I am still learning those lessons. However I think there are new lessons He is teaching me, hence He is moving in a new way. Because in that moment, while sitting in Panera, looking out the window and having the first of many to come conversations with a man who has great purpose in my life, I knew the Lord was saying, “See Nicole, your circumstances are changing.”
And more importantly, “Nicole, you are not alone”.
To prove it He brought me, Emmanuel…
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.
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…
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…
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.
He comes over to my desk and updates me on things to do. I realize quickly I need to take notes but there isn’t time so I take notes in my head. I think about waitresses and how you know the really good ones are the ones who don’t need to write anything down. I focus intently on his words concentrating with all my mental capacity to be equivalent to one of those stellar waitresses. It must work because I successfully remember all the important things.
Afterward I ask about his meeting yesterday. He was out of the office all day at a work conference. His eyes light up as he discusses the agenda and what he took away from it. He is the visionary functiong in his identity. I am the administrator come to help bring the vision to pass.
He says he learned about branding and that each of us, the 3 current employees of the company, will be developing our individual brand. I love it. Once again I am reminded of how there is opportunity for growth here. The package this blessing has come in really caught me off guard and even some of the grunt work that first week was difficult to deal with, but now we are getting somewhere.
All week I have poured over numbers, diligently working to get things in order and catch him up for the last 3 years. This week I have been in my element. It is slowly coming together. There have been days I have been in the office all by my lonesome, there is so much autonomy and freedom. A far cry from the office gossip and micro-managing I was under. Even when I am not alone in the office each person is so busy studying their own project, no one is paying attention to me. It is a place of rest. It is a place of recovery and healing.
I have battled and warred in this season. The war has been within me but God has kindly and graciously kept me from losing my sanity. He has opened doors unexpected and is teaching me wholeness in a way I didn’t know existed. A way I didnt know that I needed. Mental health is so needed.
Each night I leave that he is still there working he thanks me. As if he isn’t paying me to do this job. As if I don’t need him just as much as he needs me. It is just his heart.
So humble and kind. I have never before experienced such leadership.
I am being restored.