Tag Archive | wholeness

Does God Care About My Vote?

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In about 24 hours America will have a new President. A new Leader. And that’s a pretty big deal. Leadership determines the direction of a team. Leadership entails power and authority and influence. There are lots of scriptures in the Bible that teach us how important leadership is and how important the government is. This particular election has stirred up a lot of people’s emotions. People who normally wouldn’t vote are voting and people who normally would are not. Either way, someone new will be in office tomorrow night.

When I first became a Christian I was pretty vocal about my views on the presidential election at the time. My convictions and thinking were set in stone and many of those around me echoed my sentiments. And though some of my thinking has changed over the years, I wouldn’t go back and change my vote, simply because I appreciate the fact that I was sincere about my choice. There was no one swaying me to vote a certain way. If anything I probably swayed others.

This time around however I feel the temptation to be swayed. I am told to “pray about my vote”. The Christians I have been around have historically voted a certain way though many claim to not be a certain party. They have had their certain views and highlighted their certain issues that mean the most to them. And that’s fine for them. But what about for me?

Every election year I pray for God to give me a “heart” regarding politics. I want to do research and have an opinion and care about the things concerning this country. And I do care. But often that is not reflected in researching politics. Often it is spending evenings on my knees weeping for my city and spheres of influence to walk in freedom, healing and wholeness.

I’ve struggled with my role in these elections. I’ve struggled with making the wrong choice. But the very people I have admired seem to be functioning from the same bias and deception as the ones they point the finger at. The body seems to still be functioning from a lesser state of maturity when it comes to these matters and I am disheartened once again. Until I remember that even leaders are not perfect. Even leaders, very good ones, miss the mark. I cannot put my trust in man…

In this season I am learning about choice. I am learning that as we mature in Christ and become Sons He starts asking us to make the choice. He starts giving us free reign because we are in Him and He is in us and we need not fear our decision because it is Him functioning in us. And yesterday while discussing these issues with a wiser woman I am affirmed that while God cares for me, He probably doesn’t really care about my vote. At least not in the way I used to think. Could it be that it’s more about the motive of my vote than my vote itself? Could it be that it’s more important to vote according to the revelation that you have of your eternal identity at this point in your journey than who you actually select on the ballot?

Some people are losing sleep over this election. They are so stressed and anxious about their future because they believe their future is predicated on its outcome. I don’t share that logic. Yes, we are affected by the decisions of our leaders, but as an eternal being I believe we can exert greater influence in the spirit than what any carnal person (man or woman) could possibly demonstrate. We, as in the body, (not one individual person) can put to flight more than 10,000.

If you are like me and have struggled with making the wrong choice in this election than I share with you what I feel God is saying to me. It is your choice and it will work for your good. Stay true to who you are and know that your future, this country’s future, is in His hands.

And whatever you do…don’t forget to vote :-).

 

SHALOM

 

 

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Healing in Layers

About a week ago I accidentally knocked my hand against my book shelf.  I was sort of in a rush as my friend and I were packing for a road trip (shout out to Ji!) and then all of a sudden BAM I was slowed down.  Intense pain followed and I looked down to see what the issue was.  The skin was split open on my finger and blood was running profusely.  I apologize for those of you with queesy stomachs!  Its about to get a little real here on this post!

I rushed to the sink, ran my finger under the faucet and applied a towel and some Peroxide before looking for a bandaid.  The cut looked kind of deep but I had plans for the weekend and no insurance to cover that kind of injury so I kept it moving.  Over the course of the trip I applied new bandaids and kept an eye on the cut.  I knew I could have used a stitch or two when I saw the white meat appear after the  bleeding stopped.  But again, I was going to have to be a “G” in the situation and let my body do its natural healing thing.  My friend was great and gave me tips as she has suffered her own self inflicted injuries recently.  After the trip I’m not gonna lie, I started getting concerned.  It was such a deep cut and I was wondering how in the world the skin would ever close up.  My friend asked if it scabbed over yet and I shared it had not.  At her recommendation I added some Neosporin which I do feel helped.

Within days I noticed extra layers forming over the white part of the cut and I felt a sense of relief.  It was healing!  The skin was growing back!

At this point I am reminded of a scripture God gave me earlier this year:

Mark‬ ‭8:22-25‬ 

“Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.”

So you’re probably wondering, “Nicole, what does this have to do with you cutting your finger???” Well, my friend I will tell you!  In this passage Christ heals a man but the healing is not instant.  Initially the man sees a little but his vision isn’t 💯. Instead it takes another time for Christ to touch the man.  And its not like this is some imperfect being who doesn’t “have enough faith” to heal someone!  We are talking about Jesus here folks!  So it must be that some wounds are so deep they need to be healed in layers (see the connection now?)😉.  Some wounds need to have the bandages changed a few times, have some antibiotic cream applied, need to have a closer eye kept on them to prevent infection.  As much as you may want you cannot just slap a bandaid on it and keep it moving.  Though there are times God does allow for that!  There was a time a man was lame and all Christ said was “Take up your bed and walk ” and the guy walked!  Those are the times I personally like best!  Instant healing!

But there is something to be learned and appreciated when your healing takes time.  You develop in perseverance, self control, and the like.  You adjust your expectations of who God is and who you are.  God is not a genie in a bottle ready to give you everything you want when you want it and you are not a needy, insecure person who needs His manifestation to feel loved (though I’m saying “you” I’m talking to myself folks).

Instead you learn He sometimes chooses to build your character and faith through the wait.  He sometimes handles you with care and heals you in layers.  And although at times you wonder if the healing will ever come, you realize it is coming but–quietly. 

Slowly. 

And over time.

SHALOM 
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Being Asked the Question

“So are you seeing anyone?”, she asks as we sit across from one another in her marvolously decorated dining room and finish up supper. When I walked in I was instantly impressed and a little taken aback by the amazing interior design work that graced each space. She then let on that she herself was an interior designer (amongst many things) and her home was her own expression of that gift.

“No I’m not. And actually God has been doing such a work in me these 2 years in that very area”, I respond. I proceed to tell her about my last relationship. All the red flags I ignored and how I was willing to settle (hell bent on settling actually because that was where I was at).  I talked about God’s lack of peace, Him calling me to a fast that helped me let it go and the immense revelation He flooded me with.  Never before had I received such revelation.  She interjected here and there with her own insights from her own story. An older woman in the faith, a mother of 3, she had been once divorced and now re-married.  “You should always have peace when it’s God”, she said, and I agreed.  

She knew me when.  When I was dealing with my first heartbreak. When I was a 22 year old mess, lacking identity and purpose and value. She is a witness to the work He has done.

And she smiles at that work.

I spent a good while sharing my story. The same story I will share in my upcoming book (which I hope to be released this fall). I surprise myself at the details I’m giving as I had no idea we would spend so much time talking about me. I wanted to hear about her–after all, she was the one married! And we did talk about her, but there is power in my own story.  There is glory He gets when I share on His Word being manifested in my life.  So I shared.

And I keep sharing.  The very next day I’m asked the same question (although worded slightly different) by a very unassuming individual. He is someone I’ve only spoken to occassionally and would have no obligation to explain my love life to. But I explain it because it gave me opportunity to share the gospel. I simply cannot explain my single status without explaining the story of Christ–they are intertwined.  There is no natural reason why I am single.  It is simply God’s clear intention for me to be matched with a certain individual of whom I have yet to meet.

I talked to my associate for 2 hours and we were both surprised at the depth of the conversation. It is rare that one goes deep with an associate.  I guess we are no longer associates…

I can think of 2 other occassions within the last week where I have been asked about my singleness.  And each time the response emanating from my lips is laced with wisdom and eternal truth.  It is the truth of the Holy Spirit.  It is wisdom one only gets from walking with Elohim.

Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

When we walk with the Source of life He leads us on the path of life.  That path is tailor made for us and compliments our gifts, talents, purpose and calling.  We have freedom of choice, but when we choose Him, we benefit by becoming who He originally designed us to be.

I can see now singleness looks good on me. Not because of singleness per se, but because it represents wholeness. It represents an alotted time for me to heal and learn my true identity.

I am still learning.  But I can say that now when I’m asked the question, I don’t dread the answer so much.  Especially when it gives God glory.

I’m getting comfortable in my own skin and singleness has helped me to do that.

Some highlights from this season…

hangin with the bestie!

me & my god daughter

my new mentee!!

SHALOM!

Can I Be Casual?

Many years ago I was pretty much desperate to be in a committed relationship. I hate to use that word but it’s pretty accurate.  I was needy and codependent and did not know my identity.  When you’re in a state like that you’re liable to accept anything.  And so I did.  Thankfully God got a hold of me pretty young and though I made a lot of poor choices they could have been worse.  Much worse.

It’s been a journey of learning what Love is and who He is and who I am.  This journey has been an ebb and flow of emotion and passion and pain.  Mostly because of who I am and how I have functioned.  It’s only now in this season that my vocabulary has words to describe what it is I have experienced with God.  It was passion.  But it was passion because I was passionate.  Yes I was desperate, but I became desperate for Him.

Yet my affection for Christ was rivaled and though I loved Him I still loved my idols. The only way I knew to become free from those idols was to be “all in” with Christ.  Kind of like the way my city has been “all in” for the CAVS (Go Cleveland!).

 I have always been intense and driven and goal-oriented.  Jesus became my goal and I wanted to do everything I could to “get to Him”.  My heart was sincere and He met me where I was.  But I didn’t have the healthiest ways along this journey.  My intense, serious, single-mindedness served its purpose, but it also hindered me.

It caused me anxiety. It caused me to fear the One who loves me the most.  It misshaped my view of Him, His love and His path which, although narrow, is not a burden.  It kept me in bondage.

For a long time I just wanted “the one”. But then 10+ years later “the one” never came and instead there were tests and trials and pruning.  I can see the wisdom in him not showing up but still, those things can take their toll.  Even with the Holy Spirit.  So now I find myself here after those tests and difficult choices and I see the fruit.  I also attempt to find a better way at functioning.  One that is not so “black and white” because in my 30s I’m learning life is never black and white.  Yes, I am still waiting on “the one” but what does my waiting look like?  I don’t think it looks like it did in the past when I was not allowed certain experiences because I couldn’t be trusted with them.  I’m more apt these days to think it looks more like saying “yes” than saying “no” (even though when saying that there is still doubt).  It looks more like finding balance and embracing the opportunities to meet others, connect and value them as people, not use them to satisfy my own selfish desires.

I’m more apt to lean more toward the casual and less toward the heavy commitment.  At least for now.

And if I’m wrong, well He’ll do what He always does: steer me back on the path. But if I’m right, I will have grown more, developed more and become more balanced.  Which I believe has been His goal from the beginning.  Even when I wasn’t aware.  Especially when I wasn’t aware.

At the parade!

SHALOM

Life Without Fear

It’s funny how long you can go living in a state that is less than ideal. Your life has been that way for so long you don’t know any better. It is your normal, even when it is abnormal. Who are you if that thing changes? What will your life look like in this new state?

A couple of years ago I had a great awakening of unhealthy ways I was functioning in in my relationships. I realized I was hurting my loved ones and they were hurting me. Thankfully I was in enough pain to choose change. 

Often we must be in enough pain before we choose change. 

That experience was more enjoyable than the current season I have been in where once again unhealthy things surfaced and God was calling me to change.

This time darkness surrounded me and confusion set in when I confronted the dysfunction. This particular battle would not be quick. No, this would be a fight like none I had ever faced because I wasn’t fighting against an external opponent as in times past. The real battle was against myself.

I pulled out the old weapons but they weren’t working. I had to learn how to use better tools for this greater level of warfare.

I’m taught that fear is a learned behavior. Science proves our bodies are naturally wired for love. Fear only comes in when we learn it. That means fear is something natural and not eternal. Every natural thing has an end. But how many allow fear to dictate their lives? How many are comfortable with fear being a steady companion?  Too many.

I wrestled and wrestled but my foe would not be vanquished. I was so afraid. I felt this giant must be bigger than I. Maybe bigger than God.  Then one day I had a question in my heart: 

“Who are you Nicole?” And I knew the answer, “I’m a warrior”. Then He said, “Then fight!” 

The truth is I wasn’t fighting with all my might. I was holding back waiting for Him to rescue me.  So I obeyed His command.  And do you know what happened? I wrestled the negative thoughts to the ground and won!  The fear was gone. For the first time. It wasn’t “managed” or ” redirected”.  It was gone.

This new life, the one without fear, is still taking some getting used to. I still must be intentional about my thoughts and focusing on truth.  But the victory I’ve had is motivation enough to see what other victories I can accumulate.

And so I must ask, “Who are you my friend?” If you are a warrior, then do what warrors do, and fight!  

SHALOM

Starting Off At A Deficit

Social media is one of those things that it is what you make it.  It can be a great way to celebrate life or a reminder of what you do not have.  For the most part I enjoy seeing the celebrations shared but sometimes I could go without seeing them. Sometimes I get a little discouraged by the gifts of others.

Like pictures that show women and girls with close knit families. Pictures of daughters who have fathers to affirm them and men in their lives who know their worth. They were not birthed into “complicated” situations. There was no trauma, drama, addiction or abuse in their bloodline. Their family isn’t perfect (no family is) and they have other challenges that’s for certain, but these are not their challenges and that fact, is their gift.

These girls don’t have to overcome generational strongholds, or fight an uphill battle in the areas that I have. When you start off at a deficit that’s what has to happen: you have to fight. 

You have to fight to recover from self inflicted pain, misguided love, broken covenants, etc… You have to fight for peace and soundness of mind and wholeness. For sure, everyone has to discover their true identity which takes work, but some have to do more work then others.

My story isn’t having the proper foundation. There were a lot of deficits. But thankfully there were people there who overcame their own deficits. And even when they didn’t they prayed that I would be able to.

My family doesn’t look like the typical family. Instead it is a hodgepodge of people mostly not blood related.  These people genuinely love me.

And where there was no father, no man to affirm me and teach me my value, there was The Father. He came in, revealed Himself and called me His own.

Some days its hard appreciating my gift and wishing I could have had that better foundation, but I am reminded even as I type these words that “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope”-Romans 5:4.

How can one be called resilient lest they persevere through the difficulty? How can one be an overcomer lest they have something to overcome?

So even when there is a deficit, a weakness, a perceived area of lack, God becomes the surpluss. He becomes the strength where we are weak. And He gets all the glory for helping us to overcome.

Here are just a few of the people in my life who love me dearly…

  
SHALOM