Tag Archive | endurance

The Path


My old roommate and I took a bike ride in Peninsula last week.  For the uninformed Peninsula is about 20 minutes south of Cleveland.  I had never visited there prior to and it was cool to do a little road trip in the middle of the week.  We intended on renting bikes and catching the train back but the next stop for the train proved to be further than anticipated and we didn’t make it in time.  Instead of cutting our ride short we opted to go the distance and ended up biking over 10 miles!  Not too shabby for a couple of folks who hadn’t biked in years! 😊😏 As soon as my feet hit the pedals the serenity of nature engulfed me and I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness.  I know my friend felt the same and we peddled forward with grace and peace.

At one point we stopped for directions and were told that if we kept along the path the next train stop would be about 7 miles out.  We kept that goal in mind but as I shared earlier, we didn’t make it.  Still, I watched as we passed sign after sign, paying attention to the names of the paths.  There were so many!  It was clear to me that we needed to stay on our path in order to get to where we were going.  It was also clear God was giving me a picture of this spiritual race.

There are so many paths in this life.  There are so many arrows pointing this way and that way.  Some look appealing and inviting but not all will get you to where you need to be.

In this instance we stuck with our path and we made it back safely.  Sometimes sticking to the same path can get boring, especially when you are called to go the distance.  It can feel like you are missing out.  You can even get weary.  But every time I get off the path I end up in pain.  I end up functioning as a lesser version of myself and experiencing a shame I know my Father never desired for me.

One thing I’m grateful for is His grace to get back on the right path and to have a friend (or several) to ride it out with.

Thank You Lord for bringing me Lianna and so many who stick closer to me than a brother.  Your grace is sufficient and I am not deserving.


SHALOM

More Than A Conqueror

girl on mountain 3

This weekend has been full as they normally are.  I met with my brothers who I share tender memories with of hitting the streets with the gospel when we were young and full of zeal.  The only female surrounded by guys, I was just as bold and fearless.  Those were fond days with night long fellowship, bible studies and witnessing.  Now 15 years later (where does the time go?) we rivaled our times of fellowship, choosing to leave after 5 hours of conversation.

Some things never change.

It is an answered prayer that I have prayed for godly men to be once again on the scene.  There was a season (a very long season) where I had to let them all go.  I had to detox.

Some of the most powerful spiritual fasts I have been on have indeed been from men.  

I struggled like a feen needing a fix, but Jesus strengthened me through the withdrawals. Somehow, some way, He kept me from (another) toxic relationship that would destroy my self esteem and thwart my purpose.

I asked my brothers, “How have I changed these 15 years?” and they responded, “You love God more”.  I was shocked.  How could I love Him more when I feel so far away from Him?  When I no longer have that zeal?  Those exciting, “Yes Lord’s!” that I kept giving in my 20s.  And even early 30s.  How could that be?  It wasn’t until the next day when I pondered more on their response that I heard God’s answer: “You have demonstrated greater sacrifice now than you did as a new believer.  True love is sacrifice“.  

True love is sacrifice.  We see that on the cross.  Christ demonstrated His love for us by submitting Himself to horrible torture and unimaginable pain.

I have not resisted unto bloodshed.

But I have given my all.  Over and over again.  And He has rewarded me diligently.

There is a woman in scripture who only had 2 mites.  It wasn’t a lot in her day.  It didn’t compare to the big givers in her local synagogue but her giving astounded Christ because she had given her all.

I spoke with a dear friend on the phone yesterday.  We talked for 3 hours.  We began a friendship—a sisterhood, at the age of 14 not having any idea we would have more than a friendship; we would have a covenant.  Christ did revolutionary things in our lives so even when we were not in contact we were still transforming into two souls who would shake the kingdom.

She said “Nicole, you’re an overcomer”.  I needed those words.  I needed to remember all that I had overcome.  The fact that I am going back to the beginning, giving up my independence, facing memories that once threatened to be the death of me has stretched me further than I ever wanted to be stretched.

“Only an overcomer could go back”, she said.  She’s right.  I now have authority in what I overcame.  I now have authority in that territory, in those relationships, in my family.

It has been a rocky road.  This has been a rocky season.

But the transformation is magnificent.

And the manifestation of my transformation is still being revealed.

After my morning run…


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

 

The Lord is GOOD!

I shared my testimony last night with my new friend. I told her how I had different plans for my life and how at every turn I was asked to give up those plans. At the time it caused me great pain. I could not see what God was protecting me from. I only saw what I was giving up. I only saw that I was standing still while so many of my peers were moving along, checking off their checklist of societies’ “most achieved”.  What was I achieving? It did not seem to be much at the time but now looking back on the journey I can see my riches were being stored up in heaven.  

 Because I did not understand God’s ways and why I had to keep surrendering it distorted my view of who He was/is.  I did not believe that He was good or He was for me or He was love, even if I said I did. I loved Him, but I did not trust Him. He of course knew this so He set about presenting various tests to buld my trust. We cannot have a tesimony without a test.

I have had several tests and I can see the progression in them; they keep getting harder and harder. I believe that is because there is more at stake and a greater harvest to be had. Just as I can look back at these tests I can look back and see the rewards. I can see now what I could not see then: God is good.

He is a good Father working all for the good. He loves to give good gifts to His children but He wants to make sure you can be entrusted with the gift first. The more valueable the gift, the more you need to mature to receive it. Just as a parent would not give a toddler an expensive glass vase to hold, God would not entrust us with His prized jewels, until we are trustworthy. We prove we are trustworthy when we pass His tests.

He always gives us grace to pass. He does not ask us to do anything we can’t do. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

I’m glad to finally be able to see, God is good. 

He is for me. 

And He is love.

Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:3‬ ‭

“Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness

SHALOM