Tag Archive | faith

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?!” 😳 She reminded me that we moved out of our old home this summer and we submitted to the move, both resigned 😑 .  “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

 

 

 

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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

Shedding Perfection

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I remember years ago a brother in Christ gave me a prophetic word, “You are a perfectionist”.  I nodded in agreement and smiled.  I thought it was a compliment.  Its only now years later that I’m starting to learn how deceptive perfectionism is.  As my friends and I navigate life with its high highs and low lows, our mid 30s are teaching us that no one gets through this journey unscathed.

We add notches of undesirable experiences to our belts.  We realize the black and white of our 20s and early 30s has now morphed into shades of gray.  And all the while God battles on our behalf…

I find it interesting in this season of quiet that He is most vocal when things are in an upheaval.  I struggle with resentment about that.  I struggle with resentment about a lot of things.

I ask Him questions like, “Where is the restoration?”  I know that the question cannot be answered unless it is asked.  I know He will answer in His own way.  In His own time.

Time has always been difficult for me.  I have always been prompt yet surrounded by many who are not.  I watch the clock and the seconds turn into minutes and the minutes turn into hours.  I watch and watch and there is no movement.  I know He tests me with time because of my own impatience.  Even this knowledge does not seem to make me any more patient.

I sat across from my counselor and she asked, “Do you know why God makes the journey difficult?”  I sat looking back at her blankly.  I really had no clue.  She responded, “So that you remember that you need Him.”  A light bulb went on in my head.

I need Him.

Oh yea, that’s right.  I keep forgetting that.  I have this vision of what my life should be like, of what I want to do and accomplish and deep inside I feel that if given the chance I can just make it happen.  But then I fall short.  My insecurities and my issues and my fears surface, and I make a mess of things.  I am faced once again with my own imperfections.

But slowly, I am giving up that feat.  I am letting go of this idea of what being a Christian is supposed to mean, and what being single is supposed to mean, and what being me is supposed to mean.

There is a freedom in laying down a standard that was self imposed and never really accurate anyway.

There is a freedom I am discovering in my mid 30s.

 

SHALOM

One Day At A Time

Lately I’ve been thinking about Abraham.  I’ve been told I need to have the faith of Abraham.  A few years ago I studied the scriptures and received great revelation on how God was working in my life.  He was moving in a similar manner in the way He had moved with Abraham.

For so much of this journey I counted it an honor to be chosen.  I felt elated at the thought that I could capture the Father’s eye and then His heart.  That thought still touches me.

But reality is it is a journey, and journeys were never created to be completed overnight.  Instead they stretch out in the distance…

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I am stretched out in the distance.  I am stretched and stretched and stretched and my belly feels flattened and emptied out.  I find myself going in circles around similar obstacles in times past and I’m shocked that the same obstacles that are in my present were also present in my past.

A woman in my fellowship was interceding for me.  She was interceding and warring when I had given up.  I had given in.  And I was so touched to know the Father was thinking of me, even when I had turned my back on Him.  When I had turned my back on myself.

Today I am trying to get back to myself.  I know the other path leads to destruction and that is my primary motivator.  It took 25 years for Abraham to receive the promise.  And how did he make that 25 year stint?  One day at a time.

Weekend☺️

SHALOM

 

An Open Letter To My Roommate

Tonight will be the last night we sleep under the same roof together. Ever. (Insert sad face.)

I remember our first meeting and how I knew God wanted me to connect with you.  I had no idea back then that you would be in my inner circle.  That for nearly a year you would be a confidant, a friend and a vital prophetic voice for me in this season.  He has used you in so many ways…I’m sure you are unaware of all of them.


I needed to heal in my home, and I did while living alone, but then you brought a whole other level of healing.  Maybe one day we will get to know exactly how much.

I remember driving to our first get-together, feeling so empty, and at the same time so full with God.  “I have nothing to offer her Father.  I don’t have the testimony I would want at her age.  All I have is the cross”.  I spoke these words out loud during that drive and when I met you it became clear to me that the cross was all you wanted.

You are an amazing woman Lianna Mueller and if my blog was created simply just to meet you, well, then its purpose has been fulfilled.  I tried my best to be transparent in this journey of the cross.  I did not want to falsely portray what being disciple is.  It’s hard.  It’s really, really hard.  But when you’re chosen you have the grace and supernatural ability to lay down those things so dear.  Over and over again.

You my friend are chosen.  And I am so honored to also have been chosen to be written into your story.

And then you brought along Benny, and I was touched, knowing that this too was an answer to a desire I had buried.


There were so many funny moments and late night talks and encouraging words and prayers.  You are a gift and I’m so happy to have been able to experience who you are to Him.

You are a reminder that even when our story doesn’t look the way we want it to, or think it should, there are still great surprises around the corner.  There are still fingerprints of the Father’s love and care as we courageously move forward on this unchartered path.

My prayer for you is that you will grow in security and confidence in who He created you to be.  That He will keep molding you and shaping you and showing you destiny, promise and purpose.  His ways are not like ours, but they can be so much better.  Let Him draw you in with His love until you are face-to-Face with the Creator.  When you do, you will see that His Face is actually a reflection of your true self.

Many blessings to you in your next season and may He give you the very desires of your heart.

Love always,

Your sister and friend,

Nicole.

Blind Spots

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It’s amazing one can be intelligent, driven, successful, beautiful and godly.  One can be all those adjectives yet still be susceptible to FooleryManipulationFalsehood. And Deception.

One of my spiritual gifts is discernment.  Demons and spiritual entities of darkness approached me early on in my spiritual journey and I was hardly afraid.

I could see and hear Truth: He looked like Love and smelled like Beauty and He was Mine.

But even with all the training, all the experiences in spiritual warfare—I have found—there are still blind spots.

You know when you’re driving and you’re on the freeway and cars are zooming by and you need to get over so you check your mirrors?  Then you start moving over and you hear a loud honking as the car next to you lays on their horn and maybe follow it up with a four letter word?  That happens because you forgot to check your blind spot.  And in real life, I’m so good at that.  I’m actually super nervous about switching lanes to the middle lane if someone on the other side of that lane is driving parallel to me.  I have this fear that one day we will both try to get over at the same time and then… BAM!   Thankfully that has not happened.  Probably because I’m so anal about checking my blind spot.  In driving that is…

I had to learn there are blind spots in life.  There are simply pitfalls and traps that I cannot see, as intelligent and driven and godly as I am.  I am not all-seeing.  I am not Jesus.  And clearly Jesus knew that so He gave me (us) Holy Spirit.  So many times in the past He used Holy Spirit to navigate me around those pit falls.  Many times I did not understand that He was protecting me.  I only felt Rejected.  Deprived.  Frustrated.

In this season He is using others.  They call me and tell me updates on a certain situation.  They share revelation on men and relationships and things I was never taught by my father.  Or Uncle.  Or brother.  I find YouTube videos, and books and my eyes slowly become open.  It’s a difficult thing to re-train my mind because I have thought one way for so long in this area, but I have overcome much more difficult things.  I’m certain this will be added to the list.

It’s unfortunate we live in a fallen world where people take advantage of a person with a good heart.  They figure out ways to manipulate and deceive.  But one thing my friend told me that really encouraged me was this, “We do not have to be like serpents to be as wise as them”.  I believe she is right.

I am learning.  I am becoming wise.  And I will not trade my dove’s heart for a serpent’s crafty one.

He has done too much for me to make that trade.

Weekend…


SHALOM

 

Overcoming Anxiety (Poem)


I can’t believe it’s been a year.

More than a year.

I have to remember the tingling in my mind.

The needles in my brain.

Stabbing.

Stabbing.

Giving me no peace.

No rest.

No time to be.

There was a hand gripping my heart.

A very large hand, and I woke up in the middle of the night

Only to see night

Struggling to see Light.

It was gone. Overshadowed by darkness and pain. He was gone.

“How could You forsake me”? I cried. And cried.

My tears went unanswered.

My fears kept demanding attention.

Implanted there by white men who enslaved my people with chains and whipped them with whips ‘til the skin peeled off their backs.

Nobody had their backs.

Nobody spoke their language.

I couldn’t have made it at the bottom of that ship because just the fear I was experiencing was only a portion of what they went through.

Just the awful grotesque darkness that invaded me for weeks

And months

And more than a year, almost drove me to suicide.

Because a person needs their mind.

A person needs a sense of identity.

And when they don’t have that, then who are they?

Who are they but a wondering soul waiting for each day to bring them truth.

One day rolled into the next.

And I realized that if God keeps waking me up there must be a purpose.

There must be a reason.

He stood there–distantly–guiding me with His eye, showing me the way.

His way.

I trusted in His way because it had never let me down.

I sat down.

Peace in my mind.

Hope in my heart.

Love in my members.

I sat down, resting in that place and I had to be reminded of the needles in my mind. They threatened me with intensity and my propensity to give in to fear-lessened.

Just like the demoniac, I was touched.

Slowly.

Quietly.

In a way I didn’t want, but a way that needed to be.

I was free.

SHALOM