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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…
In just 2 months I’ll be moving back in with my mom. Whew. To say that I am shocked by this prospect is an understatement. The shock is probably only slightly overshadowed by my pushing my mid 30s and life looking exactly the opposite of what I pictured. But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. My roomie has the same shock and she is 6 years my junior. My besties have the same shock and we are all the same age.
This weekend I drove around the new neighborhood which is not too far from the old one. I talked to old friends I have reconnected with in this season. So much of the new resembles the old. It’s weird.
I am reminded of a revelation God gave me a few years ago after a big test. He said my life was like a helix. It wasn’t that I was walking in circles over and over the way I felt I was. Instead, I was moving forward in a circular motion. It seems living with my mom again is a part of that same pattern. No matter how hard I tried to make choices that would position me in a certain place at this point in my life (husband, 2.5 kids and dog), I still ended up here. Back to the beginning.
We went to church for Easter (mom and I). I know this is a new beginning for her and I’m blessed to be a part of it, I just wish it hadn’t cost me so much.
On Easter I was reminded of why it costs. It costs us because it cost Him. We are not above the teacher. We are not above our Master. If He sacrificed, we too shall sacrifice.
My roommate gave me a card on Easter which read, “Nicole, just as Christ died and resurrected, I look forward to seeing the resurrection in your life”. That is what I too am desiring. To see the resurrection from all the death. To see the fruit from all the pruning. To see if the wait was really worth it…
People have been asking me what I’m planning for the big 3-4. I honestly have no plans. My emotions have been up and down (ok, mostly down) about the upcoming event and I don’t know how I will feel when it gets here. Will I have a series of bursts of energy and strength that I’ve often experienced when the enemy has tried to come up against me? Or, will I give in to the quiet stillness of my soul that has marked this season with Christ?
I told my friend recently that I’m allowing myself to experience both. I’m allowing myself to be grateful for the ground the Father and I have gained together, the victories and the wholeness He has created. And also, I’m allowing myself the disappointment, confusion and frustration at the waiting. I’m a numbers person and I do believe I am supposed to be, working in Accounting and all. I believe numbers mean a lot to God as well. He taught me a lot a few years ago just how important they were. What I learned then was that His ways are not our ways. His view is not ours and often He wants us to come up higher to see things from His perspective. For a while there I was seeing but then the darkness came and I found myself lost, questioning very foundational truths that had guided me these 15 years. I was tormented with fear and anxiety and I didn’t have time to think about singleness, I was just trying to choose life. But I did choose and one day at a time I made it to where I am now: more soundness of mind. More peace. More grace. Now that I’m here, singleness is a focus again. I honestly never thought it would be this long. I don’t disagree with the Master’s hand and plan. I know without a shadow of a doubt His way, His timing is best. But I need to process the fact that his timing is longer than I imagined.
For most of my journey I felt a security in my future. I felt confident of His path. Much of that confidence stemmed from my emotions and feelings; the perks of being less mature in the faith I suppose. But now He has said I am more mature and He has treated me as such. Instead of doing things for me He is teaching me to do them for myself. That’s been a paradigm shift. One I haven’t welcomed freely.
The Father has been faithful in all things. He has made promises and I have no doubt He will deliver. But there is a process involved before the manifestation of those promises.
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.
Like Joseph my friends and I know this testing. We have each encountered our own paths of being formed by the Master’s hand and we have overcome many things. But it seems no matter how many victories I’ve experienced, the next level is even more fierce than the last. I believe this to be true with marriage. I believe the tests will get more difficult and that is why the process in singleness is so needed, to create a sturdy foundation.
I am a blessed woman. God is faithful and my cup runs over. But I am still waiting and I did not know the wait would be this long.
The process this thorough.
The mountain this steep.
Hello there! Please check out my guest post on Single Roots “Why I’m Glad God Gave Me A Roommate…Again”!
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.
Hi guys! Please check out my latest guest blog post on Single Roots called “Single & Pushing My Mid 30s”. Thanks!