Tag Archive | trusting God

Like Father, Like Daughter

Being an only child has its pluses and minuses. Plus: You learn to play on your own. Minus: You usually hate to share. Plus: You usually have your physical needs met. Minus: You can be (maybe a little 🤣) spoiled/self centered. Plus: You have a strong sense of self. Minus: You can be stubborn/bossy. (And some of these characteristics may not describe a typical only child, instead they may just be describing me LOL).

I was talking to a friend recently about growing up an only child and not having that experience of sitting at the dinner table together to share a meal with a family. Growing up in a single parent home my mother was more concerned about me having food on the table over us eating it together. Many evenings she was working when in fact I ate. My friend felt bad for me but even when I myself started feeling bad I was quickly reminded of how she and I shared all of our meals together some 4 months ago when the shut down hit.

Me and Dee❤️

And so in that case I could see God giving me that experience of eating with my sister. Similarly I found myself having another redeeming familial experience yesterday when visiting my dad for the Fourth of July weekend. (Side note, there are many in the black community who are not celebrating the fourth and I totally get it. Why should we celebrate the Independence of a nation that enslaved us? And so while we did gather during this holiday my heart personally is not to be affiliated with the “liberty” of slave owners.) For the first time in my whole life I partook in a holiday celebration with my father. This was a huge deal and I had to send out for backup prayer requests to my trusted intercessors who, thankfully, reminded me that I was not alone and that they were with me.

I made the trip physically on my own, trusting God all the way. I knew He was ordering my steps and that even though there had been so much warfare against my relationship with my father much of my life, the Father’s heart was that it be healed and restored.

I went and stood with these people who look like me: dark brown skin and musical. They sang for hours doing karaoke and relived the time when my father was a star in an all male group. He actually went to California to make it big. They had a cd recorded, of which I have the digital copy. You can find it on iTunes 😁. It was heartwarming to see my relatives gathered at the back porch as if it were a stage and watch my father and his old group members perform. I knew God was giving me the desire of my heart.

So many were happy to see me and over and over I heard about how much I look like my dad. I wrestled with my emotions and am still processing but it is not missed by me that the Father is healing.

Sometimes we miss things in our childhood. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. And sometimes God gives us those things later in life.

I never grew up in a household of people who looked like me. My love of music was shared for sure but they were not performers. In my youth I had loved performing and seeing my father’s relatives do so showed me where I got it from. DNA is a powerful thing. We can end up just like the people we were conceived from even when we are not raised by them.

In this season I long. I long for so many things. The thing I have longed for the most and for the longest time is to have a family of my own. The Father has given me His family and that has been a blessing but it has never replaced the longing to have my own. I think that Mary would agree, she still missed Jesus, even after He gave her John.

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!””
‭‭John‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

How could she not? He came from her own womb.

But the love and belonging that my blood family has in their heart for me is evident. Even as I struggle with the lost years, I am in awww of the gained days. Being around people who are “mine” is a dream. And there are so many dreams God has made come true.

He is faithful.

Like father, like daughter ❤️

In other news stay tuned for a release of a new book I’m working on! I am so excited about this book project and what God wants to do through it! This book has offered me an opportunity to express both my spirituality and black culture. It adequately expresses where I have evolved in my faith at this point in my juncture. May He get all the glory ❤️.

SHALOM

Moving By Faith

Yesterday I made the move.  And it was right after I spent the holiday out of town with dear friends. 

I had packed everything ahead of time because I didn’t want to be stressed the night before trying to get things together (after my flight got in).  I am a great planner and I knew planning was going to be key to getting ready for the new season.  Still, there are some things you simply cannot plan for…

The night before the move, my good friend picked me up from the airport and we enjoyed our fleeting moments together.  She will be entering her own new season soon which also involves moving so I am savoring all of my time with her.  She agreed to spend the night and we started the next day at 7 am.  I needed to pick up the U-haul truck and make it to my house by 9am.  We were making good time and decided to stop for coffee and breakfast.  Little did we know we were going to need the sustenance!  I had a few other friends coming to help but I was relying on the movers I had hired to be the real muscle.  In the past my mom and I always hired movers.  We did this because we did not have family, or men, to help.  We were always doing things on our own and independence was ingrained in me at a young age.  I had friends who had large families and men in their families that would help them relocate.  I always envied that about them…

Well about 30 minutes after my friends and I started moving I realized the movers I had hired were MIA.  I called them and was initially told they had the wrong time down (even though they were the ones who had chosen the time).  Then I was told they were stuck in traffic (which I knew was a bold face lie because we had been out and there was no one traveling the day after Black Friday).  So I cancelled the movers and my friends picked up the slack.  They were amazing.  For 2 and a half hours we created assembly lines, passed boxes to and fro and took trips back and forth between houses.  We even stuffed ourselves in the front of a U-Haul truck due to lack of space!  (Shout out to Lo for being a real G) LOL.  And the crazy part about it all is, WE HAD FUN.  We laughed and sang to the music and talked.  It was a great time of fellowship and comraderie and I knew it was the Father.  He was giving me people.  He was giving me a longtime desire of my heart.

There have been several things that have happened in this moving process that has shown me His love and one of them is His use of people.  There were some things I simply could not plan for and He has shown me He is the ultimate planner.  People would pop up at just the right time.  My neighbors who I needed to borrow plyers from.  My pastor who’s time is already limited and yet has made it a point to fix anything at my house and breakdown the large items I need to get rid of.  His sister who has been so much like a mom to me in this season has been present to look at houses and rejoice with me when I found the right one.  My friends, who cleaned the house and helped me physically move.  My realtor who took some appliances I needed to dispose of last minute (not to mention the one who actually found this house when I had given up).  Even my personal trainer who was squeezed in front of the U-Haul who I’ve only known for 2 months.  People, people, people.  God has given me people.

God will fill up the lack.  He will provide and meet the need however He so chooses.  And this is how He has chosen in this season with me.

There were some hard times this week emotionally.  The holidays usually are hard for me and now even more so.  I am still working through my grief and disappointments.  There are changes in my relationships due to the new seasons.  There are changes in my relationship with God.  But every morning I wake up in this new house and I feel His peace.  I walk upstairs and my breath is taken away all of over again.  This house is symbolic of hope for the future.

My friends and I are walking out a different path then those who are not chosen.  We struggle with how different it is.  We so want to be “normal”.

“Singleness is getting awkward,” she said.  I laughed but I knew it was true.  It has been awkward, I thought.  I am a little older and so I knew that that played into my perception.  It is also painful, I thought, but didn’t share.  I didn’t want to project my pain onto her although, I have so appreciated that I have been able to be completely honest with her in my journey.  I have so appreciated that while others transition into building families and focusing on their loved ones, I have people around me who are still in it.  They are still walking out this path of waiting.  It is comforting to have others who understand and empathize with the journey.

I am grateful for how the Father has moved in my life.  He has been very intentional with what He has blessed me with and the opportunities He has given.  He has also been intentional with what He has not allowed.  Only He knows how we are wired.  The intimate desires of our hearts and what will bring about His best in us.

I have changed a lot in this season.  Life does that.  While some may think it is not for the good, I disagree.  I think we need to be balanced out in our perception of life.  I think we need to understand the sufferings of humanity to understand the compassion of Christ.  If we don’t go through dark times we will never be relatable.  I have had to learn how to be relatable.

Thank You Father for how You have moved in my life.  Thank You for showing Your Hand and making it known that I am Yours.  Even when I feel alone.  You are always there.

SHALOM

 

Finding Value In The Process

These days I find myself looking for a new home. The journey (as always) has been interesting. About a month ago I fell in love with a house. It had all of the stuff I wanted and then some. It checked off my check boxes and created a few new ones. The seller was an investor and had remodeled, it seemed, with me in mind. I was initially disappointed to learn that the taxes were significant. I’m a first time buyer and have been coached and supported by others around me who are more experienced. This tax situation, I thought, is going to be a problem. But when I ran the details by my closest and dearest who are more experienced on the matter, instead of being deterred, I was encouraged. Apparently the issue of taxes was minimal compared to what I would be receiving in return. Well I was surprised and pleased by this response. I had let go of the home and laid it down. I have been trained to do so and I think that is my first line of thinking because of this training. But even after revisiting the idea and then getting excited at the prospect, I still held it loosely.

“Is this my home Father?” I asked. In response all I received was peace. I didn’t feel like He was saying it was. I feel like He was saying “Regardless, I’m with you.”

That house didn’t work out. Though it had been on the market for months and the seller kept dropping the price (probably from desperation) a day before I would have made an offer it was taken off the market. Someone got to it first. I told my realtor it wasn’t mine or else nothing could have stopped me from getting it. I have wavered back and forth in that thinking as we have looked at one house after another after another. I can’t seem to find one comparable in my price range.

Now God has confirmed the character and trust worthiness of my realtor. And He has made a way for me to take the first time homeownership classes that initially fell through. And He has not stifled this desire for me to have my own. So the promise must be there.

But so is the process.

When I shared my exasperation with my realtor her response was, “Welcome to home ownership. This is the process.”

A couple of weeks ago I needed to get my fingerprints done for the upcoming tax season for my business. It seemed like a simple feat until I got the run around and ended up going through a few hoops to get it done. In the midst of the chaos I said to myself, “Why is this such a process?!”

And immediately I heard, “Why are you surprised?”

I knew the Father was speaking to me that I have been through other processes before and I have seen how they have prepared me for the promise. Specifically with my business and where He is taking me with it. I can look back and see His intentionality with using waiting to cultivate trust in Him and humility. He worked on my character when I would have been ruled by self and pride.

Often we do not like the process. It can be painful and difficult. In this season I have been shocked at the depths of the process.

However I know there is value in it.

A while ago when talking to a friend about waiting she said, “Nicole the promise does not negate the process.” So true. And to that I would add, “The process prepares you for the promise.”

Looking at the life of Joseph, he went through so much. More then I would ever want to go through in all honesty. Yet eventually his circumstances changed and he was promoted for the final time.

What Joseph was given to steward was greater then he could have possibly imagined.

Looking back on my journey I see that I thought I could do the works. I could check off my checklist and fulfill my call and make my Father proud. But I overestimated myself and underestimated the path I would walk. Thankfully, even in my naïveté I was guaranteed that He would walk with me. It was Him that would complete the work, not me.

And the body, the cloud of witnesses, the ecclesia, well, they would be there too.

“You are not alone”, someone said today in the midst of the prophetic flowing. It was the first time I felt His presence in that way in 4 years. I was in awe.

“The new is here”, came another word.

It is a new day. My hope is that the process is ending and the promise is coming. My good friend Lianna Mueller did an amazing blog on this topic. We are learning to hope without expectations.

I know that God will do it. I just don’t know how. And that is faith. If He said it, He will do it. And if He doesn’t then it wasn’t what is best for me. But regardless, we must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

SHALOM

Chess Moves

I’ve been playing chess off and on for 15 years now. I remember in high school a coworker at an after school job taught me the game. He was 30+ my senior. I won after the first game. I started playing online at college and my then boyfriend and I enjoyed playing with his glass-piece set. Those were good times.

The cool thing about chess is that the harder your opponent, the greater the opportunity you have to improve.

I played with a friend one summer and every time I beat him. Every time. It may seem odd but I realized then that it wasn’t fun winning all the time. I realized it was because I wasn’t being challenged. Not everyone enjoys a challenge but I definitely do.

Now I play with Emmanuel and have finally met my match. He wins most of the time. And while there’s a part of me that hates to lose, there’s a greater part that strives to win. I have become a better chess player playing with him. I’ve started learning how he thinks. One sure way to beat your opponent is to out think them.

Yesterday at fellowship I was thinking about chess. And I was thinking about how we are all like different pieces on the chess board. Each piece has its own way of moving and not every piece can do what the other pieces do. For instance, a knight can only move in an “L” shape while a rook can only move horizontal and vertical. I was thinking how I felt limited in my movements in life. There are certain boundaries the Father has placed and I have struggled against them. I have looked around and compared and have been frustrated, feeling confined while others appear free.

Within moments of me having these thoughts the prophetic came. I was told that I am a jewel to the Father and that I cannot do what others do. I have questioned Him on this and He is saying they are the boundaries placed because I am the standard. All of this was confirmed in my heart, but still I have been frustrated. The call has seemed too great. The standard too high. How can I be the standard in my place of weakness?

But even now I am reminded that when we are weak, He is strong.

I shared these things with Emmanuel. I told him about the chess pieces and feeling like a knight, limited in my movements. He looked at me lovingly and with care. “You are right that there are only certain moves you can make, even the Queen cannot do what a knight can do. But really you are not a knight, but a queen”.

I was blessed by his affirmation though I fought to deny it. Sometimes it’s easier to minimize our role when the road gets so tough. But I remember the Father giving me the same word 2 years ago when I needed it so I knew it rang true.

And really we are all Kings and Queens in His kingdom.

SHALOM

3 Months In

It will be 3 months this week since I got “the news”.  I found myself today thinking about my dwindling time period of locking something in so that I don’t have a gap in pay.  I found myself driving to Panera so that I could use the internet and apply for more jobs. I’m sitting at Panera now.  Right by the fire with a cup of Hazel Nut coffee and Taylor Swift in my ear buds.  But after about 2 applications I gave in to what my heart really wanted to do: I started writing.

In my writing I verbalized what the Spirit of the Lord was stirring in my heart: I don’t need to look for a job, it will come to me.

It will come to me the way it always has in my career.  The door will open by a supernatural hand the way it has always opened.  The real work isn’t in getting my degrees or work experience or applying (though I have done all those things).  The real work is my obedience.  I wrestled with my frustration with this path of waiting.

“Why can’t I just have a smooth transition Jesus?!” I thought.  “Why can’t I just be BLESSED?”.  But I am blessed, that’s the thing.  The truth is I was wrestling with the desire to be blessed the WAY I wanted to be blessed.

I was wrestling with control.

While writing I understood that the Father has me on this path because He is teaching me to walk by the spirit.  He does not want me to get comfortable in this life.  He does not want me to go about a natural way of functioning like others do.  It is because of my calling to break the strongholds and release this generation from darkness.  But first I myself must walk out of the darkness.

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking on my book.  I stood at the podium in front of 30+ woman sharing on my story and how God met me and how I overcame.  I encouraged them that they too can overcome.  I did not “feel” the words I said.  I did not “feel” Him in the way I have so many times, but I spoke those words by faith.  I knew that they were true and I’m learning to not let my feelings lead me.

So even though I’m “waiting” for an open door, there are other open doors that I am walking through.  Doors that were not on my radar.

But they were on His.

 To check out my speech click here.

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

Rosh Hashanah 2015

Happy Rosh Hashanah!! Well I’m a little late since technically Rosh Hashanah ended Tuesday but I wanted to at least address this holiday as God has spoken so much to me this last year about the importance of knowing His times and seasons. For the uniformed Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday celebrating the beginning of a new year. While western culture tells time by the sun, Jewish culture tells time by the moon. God showed me how as a result of our time system, in western culture we can miss His appointed seasons of blessings simply b/c we are operating on a different time system than He originally intended.  
The most interesting thing happened to me a few days ago. It was on my heart to reach out to my brother who is a Messianic Jew and see if he was “hearing” anything in regards to this new season. Just as I was sending him a message on FB I received another social media notification from a minister I follow about Rosh Hashanah. The minister shared about knowing God’s times and seasons and fasting for 10 days during this new season to hear what God is saying. Crazy. And that stuff has been happening a lot recently where I get INSTANT confirmation from Jesus. It’s like He stalks us or something 😁. Anyways, I chose to fast from negative thoughts and even as I was entertaining this idea I was thinking, “There’s no way I can do that”. I know. I know. Pretty negative. And then I was reminded that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. So I’m on Day 3 and it is definitely a CHALLENGE. I really struggle with anxiety and fear and so that has been the battle. BUT at least the fast is helping me to be more aware of my thoughts and helps me not to indulge in them like I normally would. I also know from experience I have received the biggest break-throughs during “unorthodox” types of fasts. Basically when I fast from things other than food, especially unhealthy relationships. So I’m looking forward to any insights/revelations on this fast for that reason.

I have been feeling God’s presence a lot the last few days and I know its b/c He cares so deeply for His children. He has moved so much in this last season I can’t even imagine what things He has in store for the next. There is movement happening on the job as well, though it is not the movement I would have wanted. But I know the changes in the dept. are even a reflection of the change in seasons. I feel God was touching on my international call in the last season and even slipped in my trip to Haiti at the last second to confirm it. We will see if there are any other open doors in this upcoming season internationally. I know I have some financial goals I want to meet. Other than that, I am an open book. I’m learning to hold this life loosely and hold my goals/desires just as loosely. I’m learning to trust Him even when I don’t agree or it doesn’t look the way I would want. It seems I am always learning that lesson.

Blessings to you in this new season of life! May He reveal Himself in deeper ways as you continue moving forward in His purposes for you.

SHALOM

Wednesday Reflection

This morning on the drive into work I was reminded by Holy Spirit how important relationship is to Him. He is all about it. That is difficult for me b/c I am all about the formula. Without me realizing it I fall into the formula. A + B = C. It gets tricky b/c the formula is a works-based approach to life. If I do this then I get this. If I do that than I get that. But that is not how God is. He is relationship. That means the goal is really to engage with Him in this life experience and out of that engaging we bear fruit. Often I drift away from the engaging and I start thinking the blessings are coming b/c of my works. Though I do believe in the principle of sowing and reaping, I know there is a fine line.  I love to accumulate knowledge. I love to learn. But with an increase in knowledge comes with it the danger of pride. On the contrary relationship heals and offers love. Love covers a multitude of sins. Over and over again. That is the beauty in relationship.

I am reminded that before the world began I was called. That means in spite of all of my weaknesses and issues He chose me. I did not choose Him. Pride leads me into thinking I chose Him. Pride leads me into believing that somehow I can earn my way into the calling He has on my life. Until I fall. And realize the burden must be on Him to complete that work He started in me. He gets glory in my weakness and makes it His strength.

There are so many blessings in my life in this season. This year He has done exceedingly, abundantly above all I could ask or think. He has given me the desires of my heart. He has kept me. He has made His heart known toward me on a daily basis. He has hedged me in. And even though I have a record of His faithfulness in my life to look back on, anxiety brings torment.

I trust Him that in this relationship He will bring victory over torment as He has done so many times in the past. Maybe it will take a while. Like so many other things have taken a while. But I’m sure it will come.

A formula cannot possibly be applicable to this life journey with Him when we are all so different. What works for one cannot work for another. No one else has my personality and life experience or world outlook. No one else relates to the Father in exactly the way I do. And no one else can speak into me or my calling accurately unless the Holy Spirit gives that person insight into me and His plans for me. Instead the Potter who is intimately acquainted with all of our ways tailor makes the journey to fit His intended end in each of us. If nothing else gives us security, that should.  

The Potter molding and shaping and teaching.  

The One who knows us best leading us.  

(Psalm 23) “He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides the still waters…”

SHALOM.