Tag Archive | endurance

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

 

Learning Resilience, Getting Unstuck

woman-looking-up

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

The Job Season

If there is one character in the Bible I never wanted to relate to it is Job. I mean seriously, that man went through everything under the sun! He lost it all and then had the nerve to worship right after he did! Talk about FAITHFUL. I have said I wanted my life partner to have his heart and character, but I didn’t think about how I myself would need the same to compliment him LOL. 

Although I can’t say my life has been so greatly impacted as the life of Job (thank You Lord) I know the Father calls this a “Job season” for me. 

It is a suffering season.  

As with Job there is much mental and emotional pain. There is the absence of God’s voice (in the way I’m used to Him speaking) and presence. There is the facing of my deepest fears, day in, day out. And there is an endurance that needs to be cultivated because the season is relentless.But even with all of its challenges I know there are still boundaries on this thing. With all that Job went through the enemy was not allowed to kill him. There were still limitations and I see that in my own life. God continues to move forward and open doors and manifest His plans. 

Even if He doesn’t manifest His presence.

I hesitated in sharing because I always want to encourage my readers to fight the good fight, but Im sure there is encouragement in knowing that those of you going through a dark season, are not alone. 

I wrote a journal entry I would like to share. Feel free to substitute your name for mine. Know that His Word and promises over your life WILL come to pass. And just as with Job, your suffering will end and you will come out better than before:

Nicole, this is only a season. I am maturing you. I have manifested Myself and My love to you so much to prepare you for this season and seasons to come. I am developing you. Count it all joy when you are tested because when you come out you will be better. Anxiety and fear is something you were functioning in throughout Our relationship and I do not want that. I want a better relationship with you. I want you to function from my love w/o fear in Our relationship. You are breaking strongholds. You are breaking generational curses and that takes time. You are not alone though you feel that you are often. I am with you but I am moving in a way that is different than I have moved with you in the past. That is because I am teaching you something. I am developing you and when you get to the other side so much of this will make sense. You will get to the other side because My word promises you that; I will complete the work, I will perfect that which concerns you, I will never leave you nor forsake you. My Word does not return void. Lean on My Word. I have given you My Word and your testimony. I have given you sound teaching and a community to demonstrate my unconditional love for you to aid you in this season.

You are in a Job season. You are in a suffering season but you are already coming out. I have already given you the victory and I set up your life so that you would overcome in this season at this time. When you overcome, you will be more equipped to help others. You will be more empathetic and humble. You will be more effective for the kingdom.  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