July 30, 2013

Ask

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:03 am by Broken & Brave

“Until now you have asked nothing in My Name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24

Prayer:

Lord, you have placed a large dent in my heart. It cannot be pounded out. It is imprinted on my inward man for life. You are a God who loves without measure and finds delight to linger in a pasture of goodness with your people. You are slow to anger and abounding in love The world has perverted and tainted your goodness, love and justice. For man cannot love, edify, encourage or comfort as you do. However, when we are filled to the Overflow with you, we become all of those attributes- pure and true- because it is not of ourselves, but the result of time spent lingering with you.

God is LOVE. Therefore, the more of You we contain-as though we could contain you…

The more of you that takes up residence in our “house” (inner self), porch swept and welcome mat out, the more we become a reflection of You. The purer the intimacy with you, the more True the reflection.

Have you ever looked at your reflection in a mirror that was made from weak materials or was very old (antique)? What do you see? You see a reflection that resembles yourself, but doesn’t truly look like you. In general, this reflection is less attractive than the beauty you actually possess. Then, you look in a mirror made of the most pristine glass…the reflection is True. An accurate and clear representation of how you actually appear.

So it is with God. The greater He flows through us the better we are at reflecting Him. Not because we are “polished” or “smooth” by the worlds definition of accuracy. But because we have been purified through the Father’s Fire and Touch. We don’t just love, we become LOVE. (We are able to love because He first loved us) When we become a strong reflection of God’s love the better we are able to handle all circumstance and relational interactions in love…lovingly. We begin to give of ourselves through care, compassion, empathy, trust, time and resources. Others who know not this kind of love are drawn to it.

As a Christian, I want the world to know the love I have come to know. I love because it is who I am. I love better because of who He is in me. If someone comes to believe in Christ as I do as a result of me, it is because of love.

Love just because.

Those who don’t know God’s love or have minimal experience with love free of condition-when the love is genuine and true-will draw to it, not feeling we (or I) are being love just to “trick” or “convince” them to become a Christian, too. God does the saving, I will stick to the loving. This to me is freeing.

“If you love somebody, set them free.” ~Sting

If you have never experienced the kind of love that sets your heart afire and your soul free, then pray the simple verse at the top of the screen. Ask God to show His incredible, breath-taking, heart pounding love to you. Then, you will experience the same glorious “dent of soul” I have explained to you. You are so worth it.

Be blessed…

~Nicole

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July 27, 2013

In the Dirt

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:33 am by Broken & Brave

True soldiers are willing to camouflage themselves in dirt to prepare for war.

We are in a war of wills; waging war not as the world does, but we are engaged in a spiritual war that quests for the eternity of the human soul and the emotional health and stability of the human heart. God is searching after and  grooming a Bride that is not afraid to get dirty for Him. We cannot reason with our flesh, we can only die to it.

“For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:37-38

You are not your own. You have been bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). As such, we are called to honor God with our bodies. God is with you. He is with me. He is with us all if we agree to abide (John 15). He will honor every promise made in His Glorious Word. He promises to repay you for all of the years the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). What does this mean?

It means He knows what you have been through and he sees every tear. He keeps account of your heart ache and struggles and like a loving companion promises to make it better and to bless you for all you have endured. God allows us to go through extreme wilderness experiences to grow us, change us, refine us. The greater the call the more extreme the preparation. Ultimately, you belong to God and he knows what he is doing. So, he must always lay a trust foundation before he “builds a house” or executes his plan.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5

My God is a God who’s love supercedes all circumstance. He can eradicate and annihilate any poison or destruction in our path. He rejoices over you and he rejoices over me. Therefore, with a resounding shout of glee, let us press on, earnestly, to the markers on the path before thee. God is with you. Allow your soul to cry out,

HE IS WITH ME!  

I carry his favor like a Banner.

The Banner over me is LOVE.

I am set apart for a golden purpose~Divine and Splendid, indeed.

Wrap your arms around me, Oh, Lord. Wrap your arms around me!

I will not travail.

For you alone are God and like you there is none other.

I place my Hope in You.

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:35.36

It’s that joyous feeling when you know Peace in your heart and it whispers within you empathetically, “Everything is going to be alright.”

Chase after God and you will see that He is there to be found quickly. For all these days you have lived in despair, wondering why he left you there, you will realize He has been with you all the while…chasing after you. Do not despair. He is with you. What was once thought to be for harm has turned to good. He is preparing you for the great that is inside you to become out like a bloom in open air releasing a fragrance so sweet it is like that of the orange blossom.

An orange blossom is a rare treat for it is one of the only flowers that blooms plentifully and simultaneously with the fruit of the orange tree. Most flowers come first then the fruit, but not the orange blossom. In most all civilizations the orange blossom represents purity, chastity, and innocence…just how our hearts need to be.

As for me, I continue on, as one whose heart has cried out, “here am I, Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 paraphrase, Whom shall I send? Who will go for me? To the ends of the earth, who will rise up for their KIng? Here am I, send me.)

~Nicole

July 21, 2013

My Old Nemesis

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:34 pm by Broken & Brave

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”

Psalm 62:5

As many of you already know I have recently finished writing a book about my journey (not yet published), my faith and all the incredible and miraculous tales of God in his faithfulness. I share many stories in transparent detail in this book, which was both easy and hard to do. I am an extremely guarded and private person by nature. I have always been that way, somewhat because of my temperament and disposition and somewhat because it is safe.

The Lord continues to “wreck” me for his Glory on a daily basis and has been doing so for close to twenty years now. God has taught me that if He is to truly use my voice then I must be willing to be transparent with people. Now, I have always been a very genuine person, this is not about being fake or phony, just private. I don’t say anything I don’t believe, just to please another. I am a horrible liar, so I try to keep it real, I just chose to refrain from saying anything for most of my life. Honestly, on a lot of levels I think this may be worse than any of the other options I mentioned. You can imagine what a stretch it is for me to share so candidly in my blogs and facebook/twitter posts, when I had little or actually, I had NO interest ever blogging or opening social media accounts. God had to deal with my heart and show me how he desired to use these vehicles as a microphone for the message of hope he has placed in my heart.

Hope.

Such a little word, but the very essence of human existence is hinged on it. God continues to show me how he wants me to share with even deeper intimacy the details of my heart, as to impart a measure of his hope through me into you. The story I am about to share is one of my deepest and lifelong struggles that God used, as only he can, to infuse my heart with a deep connection to Him, His hope and the Peace and Comfort I access daily. I share because I know God wants me to, but I will not lie and tell you I didn’t weep over it. It is a struggle that only a few people know of, yet I somehow know that many people face as well…

I have a life long nemesis called loneliness. I have battled an intense feeling of being alone my entire life. My first vivid memory of that moment the feeling washed over me, complete void, alone, was when I was about 4 years old. I was sitting in the family room on the sofa of our home. I lived in Long Beach, California with my family (Dad, Mom and baby brother). The weather is gorgeous in Long Beach, so it’s hard to recall the time of year, for it is always nice there. I remember it was a typical sunny day with comfortable climate. The front door was open and only a screen door shielded my clear view of the front yard. I loved our home in Long Beach and to this day have the warmest memories of life there. This house had lots of big windows. My room alone had three windows all lined up. Gorgeous. There is something beautiful about a house with lots of natural lighting and this home had it in abundance.

The screen door view from the front door was typical. The television was on and I was watching cartoons. No one else was in the room with me. I know my Mom was home, but do not recall what she was doing. Maybe she was cleaning or making dinner in the kitchen but whatever she was doing, she wasn’t in the same room with me and I couldn’t hear her. It was quiet, aside from the noise of the television. As I sat there I had the feeling come, deep and uncomfortable, uncontrollable feeling of isolation. A void. Alone. I recall looking away from the television to the front door. Light from outdoors poured into the house across the entry floor, but not a person in sight. I was so little and had no way of understanding what I was feeling, I just felt it and it was overwhelming. My eyes panned the room and my ears listened for evidence of another, I wanted desperately to not be alone. I wanted the feeling to go away. It is the kind of loneliness that has fear attached to it. If you have never felt alone this way, I am grateful for you, but I believe it is a feeling or awareness that is all to real for many people. People like me.

It is a feeling that is hard to explain. Everyone has felt alone at some point in time, but this is a loneliness that has a certain intensity to it that is beyond explaining. The best way I can describe it is a deep hole in my heart that cannot be filled. Utter void. When I reflect back on my childhood and youth I’d say that loneliness was always present, like a dull ache, but it had bouts of intensity that usually only lasted a day or two maximum then it would ease away. Sometimes the intense feeling of alone would only last an hour or even five minutes. It was never the same. The only certainty is that it was always there, I could feel it.

Loneliness is a strange thing because you don’t have to be alone to experience it. In fact, many people may be surprised to know I have had a battle with it. My entire life I can get along with people well, I had friends. I knew a lot of people and even today, I know a lot of people from all walks of life. In high school I’d say I was well liked and was probably considered popular. I was involved in clubs and I was a cheerleader all through high school, captain of my squad senior year. People would tell me I was nice. I could blend into any clique on campus, but never really felt like I belonged to any of them. I felt like I was a friend to everyone, but friends with no one. Loneliness.

Because of this life long battle with loneliness I had a tremendous fear of being alone. I hated being alone and avoided it, yet at the same time I was very aloof and kept to myself. This is because loneliness usually travels with his close companion, “rejection”. Some of my deepest feelings of loneliness as a child came with rejection from my closest female friends. See how Satan works? The rejection from the friend would hurt to a level that I would isolate myself a bit and not allow anyone in close to my heart which would in turn feed the spirit of loneliness. I hated being alone, yet I would only allow people in so deep, which only reinforced the power of loneliness in my life.

As I got older God began to pull me in close to his heart and he taught me that I am never alone. He began to nurture my heart and stroke my hair as though he were saying, “There, there my sweet one, I am with you and will never let you be alone.” I began to learn that wherever I went God was there too. It was in my time reading the Bible and praying, meditating of Him, who He is and who I am in Him, that he healed the wounds of rejection and I began to not be so afraid to allow people in. I was introduced to Derek Prince Ministries and I read Derek’s biography and identified with him on so many levels. In a lot of ways I felt his life was my life. He, too, battled loneliness since his young childhood. God really used his testimony to help me understand to a deeper level my own struggle. Frequently when you struggle with something for most of your life it can be hard to see clearly because the struggle is such a part of you. Hearing someone else testify to it can make one more objective about what is happening and the subjective is removed.

Loneliness was still a battle, but I was learning to recognize the onset and deflect it. My relationship with God grew to such a place that I would experience extreme comfort, peace and closeness to God that equaled or even surpassed the extremity of my bouts of loneliness. There is a knowing within myself that there is a deep, the deepest, part of me is reserved for God alone. Even my husband can testify to you that he does not have all of me, for I am God’s first and my loyalty to him (God) is unyielding. I learned a developed a strategy to ward off the loneliness when it came…worship. I would press in to God. I learned to replace, little by little, all the things I tried to fill myself with, to avoid loneliness, with God. Things like television. Early in my married life my husband was gone a lot, all but six weekends our first six months married. I would leave the television on so I didn’t feel alone. If I was home, the TV was on. I didn’t even have to be watching it. I used it as background noise. This was one of the first things God corrected. I had to learn to not need the TV on to feel comfortable alone.

Prior to being married I always had a boyfriend. I guess to avoid being alone. I didn’t make it a goal to always have a boyfriend, I just did. Just before meeting John I ended a year plus long relationship because I decided I wanted to give God my whole heart and if I were to have a relationship it was going to be from God (This guy I dated was great. Everything I thought I wanted when creating the “ideal” person in your mind. He was the kind of handsome that was “man pretty”.  He was incredibly humble. He was from a prominent family, educated and extremely musical. I “felt” emotionally, socially and intellectually satisfied in this relationship, but still I would be with him and experience that alone feeling. I did not have spiritual wholeness because first off, he wasn’t a Christian. Second, I can’t be satisfied by placing hope in a person, it must be in God! I had yet to draw truly close to God when I began dating him but I knew I could never let myself marry him no matter how much I thought I loved him. So, I ended it.)

I had begun to press into God with my every circumstance of life. I cleared out all of the “clutter” and got serious about my courtship with God.  What is it to “press in” to God? It is to search for him. Let us say you have a friend or family member you need to speak with urgently and are trying to get a hold of them. You call their home phone. Next you call the cell phone. You text. You email. You search high and low, all places and avenues you can think of until you get a hold of them. You don’t give up. You need to speak to them urgently…I mean now. This is how we must seek after God. Too many people casually look for God and when nothing happens they say, “huh, nothing? I don’t get this worship and fellowship with God thing.” They do not get it because they need to push in. Now, sometimes the push isn’t necessary, God just shows up! This is my favorite and I confess I am very spoiled this way. God just shows up to fellowship with my soul continually. I at times maybe take it for granted. I don’t want to take God for granted. I want to seek him with all that is within me.

I feel his favor dispense itself all over me. Too much for me alone to contain, so it spills over onto others as well (are we not called to be filled not only with the Holy Spirit, but filled to overflowing?). Despite how far I have come and how close I know my heart to be to God, to this day I still contend with that old nemesis. It may be that it is my thorn, sort of a check and balance to keep me pressing in and depending on God rather than myself? I have hope to believe that there will be a day that I am totally free and this old nemesis that wants to pierce me with an intense feeling of lonely will be ancient history, never to plague me again. Free, indeed.

God has placed a lot of hope in me. I am a person full of faith for the miraculous and impossible. I lean on my spiritual eyes not my physical eyes (though I must contend with my natural eyes daily). I like to refer to myself as a “night vision specialist” full of belief to the unseen promises of God that are not evident in the tangible. We serve a God of hope who never disappoints and is capable of filling any void in your heart that is either empty or filled with things that don’t truly satisfy. I want to be a living, breathing example and conduit of hope, infusing into others quickly what has taken me nearly twenty years to learn. With God’s help, this will happen.

Don’t lose hope. You are on the right track. We serve a God of hope. If you battle loneliness or intense feelings of being alone, be comforted to know that when you place your hope in God and focus your mind on him, then you are never alone. Go to him with perseverance and make your request known to God (Philippians 4:6-7).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

He will show himself faithful and to be a God of Comfort. I cherish my trials, not for the trial itself, but I am aware of this:

Because I am familiar with the intense sting of loneliness I am also aware of the intense blessing of Comfort. His comfort is better able to flow through me to comfort others (as I know I am called to do) because I have a compassion and empathy that flows from understanding.

Do not be afraid to believe your life could be different or could change. Your future is inside of you…waiting to be unleashed.

“We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.” JFK

~Nicole

July 16, 2013

Non-Stick Coating

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:22 pm by Broken & Brave

I said in my last writing that my entire life I have been attracted to fitness, nutrition and anything related to either. This is also true of my recent adventures in Body Building, Figure Competitions to be exact.  I have always wanted to compete. When I was a teenager I would watch bodybuilding on television with fascination. I wasn’t so much fascinated with the men, but the women. Though I had no desire to be manly big, I was in awe of their musculature, physique and overall low body fat! They just looked healthy and strong. I guess I love muscle.  I am drawn to strength on pretty much any level, including the physically strong.

I don’t know when figure competing came into existence, but I love it! If you are not familiar with this aspect of the sport, it is like bodybuilding but a bit softer. The competitors have set poses they are to display. A figure competitor is expected to have muscle and symmetry, but she is also expected to display it wearing about five inch heels and a little bling to go with her sparkly posing suit. It’s kind of a fun way to glam up a bodybuilding show.

I would have maybe pursued competition earlier in life except I was quite busy being either pregnant or nursing for more than a decade of my adult life. So, I figure (pardon the pun) that it shouldn’t matter that I am over 40 and have had five children…I want to do it so I will!  I did, I am and I do not plan to stop. Not yet anyway.

I competed in a very large Northern California Natural (drug free athletes) show this past weekend. It was incredible, sitting in the audience, enjoying some of the show before having to go backstage to prepare for my turn. I felt nervous. This was a really big show and the stage super glitzy and there were A LOT of people in the audience, approximately 600. Not to mention the level of competition was outstanding! This part I really liked and wanted. I desired to get a taste of what was out there and what was required for me to succeed in this sport. I had only done one show prior and it was a very small show. I enjoyed that one also, but it was my first and more to get my feet wet and see what I thought about this whole figure competition thing. After all, even though I like the sport, it takes a lot of courage to walk out onto a stage with complete confidence, while wearing very little. You may already appreciate what I am saying, but if you truly know how modest I am, then it takes it to a whole new level. I’m not one to crave center stage, especially in a bathing suit! All the while knowing there is a panel of judges sitting there taking notes on all of your physical shortcomings. This sport is not for the weak willed. You have to know how to let it slide right off and not take rejection or criticism personal.

I was thinking about that fact, do not take any criticism personal, but let it help me become better and give me direction on what needs to be attended to if I plan to continue to compete. If I allowed it to be personal, then I’d quit and so would everyone else. It takes a certain amount of mental tenacity and strength to stay confident even when rejected. Like I said before, I am attracted to strength on all levels, so it became another appeal to the sport (not get rejected, getting better).

If you aren’t aware, competitors have to take on a ridiculously dark tan for their competition so the lights won’t wash out the lines of definition in the muscles. I mean…we are crazy dark! Then, we put a layer of shine on all that dark so the stage lighting really captures the curves of the physique and makes an elegant framing to our silhouette. There are all different brands of oils on the market to give the athlete that “just right glow” for the stage presence. I’ve just been using an oil that my bodybuilder gym owner gave me to use. However, I noticed at the show I did last weekend that there were staff members who were assigned to be backstage and “grease up” the athletes. They were literally using Pam Cooking Spray to slather up the ladies and gentlemen to the highest shine. Shine they did. They had so much shine on their skin it reminded me of the tanning with baby oil days of the 80’s. If you are an 80’s child growing up in California, you know what I am talking about! When these gals walked on stage the lights glistened off of their bodies, reflecting the lights from above.

I’ve been thinking about the analogy this presented in my mind ever since. I am a writer with an analytical bent and of the inspirational persuasion; I cannot help but see analogies in just about everything. I wasn’t really planning to write about it, until late Sunday night. I had fallen asleep on the couch while John hacked away at his computer (kind of a regular routine actually). Usually, John wakes me when he is done and we go to bed at the same time, but this night I woke to the sound of Joel Osteen’s voice booming from the television. Mr. Olsteen was speaking on the very subject or analogy I had been pondering, only his didn’t use a bodybuilding analogy. He used the Teflon coating analogy and how we need to let it slip off of us and not be bitter or offended.

See, those girls had an extra coating of glaze on their skin that caused the lights to reflect and amplify the shadows of the definition of their strength. Without the glaze, the dark tan will absorb the harsh light and not reflect. Isn’t it true when we let  harsh experiences slide off of us? When we allow God to shine through us like a protective layer of Pam on our skin, then we too will shine and radiate his strength, reflecting his Glory. The definition of our character is revealed, just like a bodybuilders physique. When we carry offense and bitterness then we are absorbing anything harsh that comes against us and the shine just isn’t there.

There is a simple formula for letting things go, allowing our feelings to be protected when people say or do things that hurt. Sometimes people do not know they have hurt you and sometimes they do. That part isn’t up to you to fix. All you can worry about is YOU and how are you going to respond. Will you react and absorb it? Or will you put on your shine and reflect and deflect it?

Ephesians 6 tells us to take up the whole armor of God that we can deflect the schemes of the Enemy. When trials, hard things, hard words, or difficult circumstances come our way, we do not have to be a victim because God wants us to be a Victor! Just like an athlete standing on the podium receiving a trophy or prize, God wants to elevate you and award you with a spiritual physique that resembles His image. Take on His Glory and cast His light from within. Put away malice, strife or unyielding or unwarranted worries that are only meant to tangle you up and defeat you. God has equipped you with every thing you need to succeed at everything you do. So don’t worry! FLEX! You’ve got spiritual strength chiseled upon your chest. God is your breastplate of righteousness and the Peace that holds your feet in His perfect pose. Position yourself for victories yet to unfold. The Banner over you is Love. God’s on your side and He’s got your back. When you’ve got a coach like that with a undefeated track record, you can’t help but win…but only when we do things the right way.

Many of you are facing dire trials that have offended you, hurt you, taken you back. Now is the time to dig deep and find that next gear. We are half way through another year, but God’s got so much more in store for you. Settle your “debts”, be your best, collect your thoughts (get mentally tenacious) and go for the Victory! Let is slide off your back because you have flex~appeal!

~Nicole

July 8, 2013

“Never Be Afraid Of The 2.5 LB Plate”

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:09 am by Broken & Brave

“Never be afraid of the 2.5 pound plate.” ~Coach McB

I have been a fitness person for most of my life. I decided at the age of 13 I wanted to avoid the deleterious health issues that ran in my family. High cholesterol, weight gain and ultimately heart disease, the illness that took many of my family members through the generations. So, I started educating myself and became very interested in fitness and nutrition. I feel as though it were Providence because I find it a bit out of the ordinary for a 13 year old to self -start on such a health campaign without any significant direction or leadership. My internal desire lead to life long love for nutrition and wellness. With this knowledge it comes as no surprise that I would marry one with the same philosophies and interests as I.

When John and I were newly married I spent some time volunteering at a women’s health non-profit in town (Pregnancy Help Center) that later lead to a job as the organizations Office Manager. The women that I worked with there would always ask me questions like, “Does your husband make you workout?” I also worked in early childhood education at the local junior college and would receive very similar questions there. I found this humorous  in the most endearing of ways. I would then explain to them how it was a common interest for us…something we both enjoyed on our own prior to coming together.

Over the years I have learned a lot from my husband about strength and conditioning. He is a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) through the NSCA and has also been on a life long quest for human health and performance. In the weight room, a passion for us both, one of the first things I remember him teaching me when designing programs and setting strength goals was to never be afraid to use the 2.5 lb. plate. Just look at it…it’s so small. It’s so non-threatening…seemingly insignificant. How could anyone really make substantial strength gains by slapping one of those on a bar? But he is right. The gains that can be made by just adding a little bit more stress to the bar can result in profound long-term strength development. Here is something else I have found…this powerful analogy rings true for so many areas of life, not just the weight room.

Simply by adding just a little more pressure to our personal comfort zone, we can accomplish extraordinary break-throughs and accomplishments in ANY area of life. We can erase the lines of mediocrity and venture into new territory. Then we can continue on and truly live a life of no limits.

I have also observed the following to be true, people do not like to leave their comfort zones. People do not generally like to try anything new. Even if it is a small effort and all the potential and possibility is dumped into their laps, they commonly do not move. Why? Why do you think this is true?

Leaving your comfort zone is uncomfortable and people don’t like uncomfortable. It is also true that growth and gains will not come unless it is done. Sitting still and waiting, wishing, hoping, praying for the added blessing of success will never bring it. It is going to take discomfort and action!

So, how do you help someone reach their potential, whether it is in their fitness journey or in their overall life journey? First of all, you must paint a vision of what will happen…the positive rewards that will be reaped if they should dare to push a little. The vision must be crystal clear so even the least visionary person can follow your lead and see in their minds eye what you are suggesting is possible. Use analogies and word picture, fictional examples if needed, to help them see why they should desire to muster the courage for victory if the individual should  “dare to add the 2.5 lb. plate”.

Next, you must give them ample encouragement, support and belief. It is powerful what can be done when you hear someone cheering you on and telling you to go for it! It makes you feel like someone’s got your back giving you supplemental strength. When the pain comes, because the pain will always come when we stretch and reach for something new, that encourage will pack power to see you through.

Whether it is the pain of a workout, charting new territories in your career or personal life, there will always be a season of growth. An example would be my personal training clients. It is my job to get them results, but they are the ones who have to achieve the results. So, I design the workout and walk them through it, but they are the ones who have to perform the movements and push themselves to a certain level of intensity. Some may not push very hard at all, just go through the motions. Others will push at a moderate intensity. Some will be afraid to try while others look at a challenge and say, “bring it on!”. Every personality, purpose and desire is different, but ALL of my clientele  over the years have universally told me that their workouts go faster and they forget how hard it is because I am speaking to them and encouraging them through the entire session. Before they know it the workout is done and they have accomplished more than they could have on their own.

The third thing you must provide is resources. I can encourage you to “use a 2.5 lb plate” but if I fail to bring a 2.5 lb plate then who cares? What resources are you going to need to reach your objective? How will you acquire them? A resource may not always be an object. A resource can also be a person. Again, let’s use the workout analogy. My clients, some of them very fit and active, but they chose to come to me for guidance, direction and design to create a new level of purpose in their goals. They became intentional about what they wanted to achieve.

This is my final point. If you want to succeed you have to be intentional. You cannot meander about and talk about something happening. You have to chart a coarse and make it happen. When all comes together it is like the perfect storm. You will have your resolve to push through the pain. You will have your resources in place (where is the 2.5 lb. plate!), you will surround your self with the right people to help you reach your goal. You will seek out the proper encouragement. You will be intentional. Adversity will come and it will come hard. The greater the purpose or objective, the stronger the adversity will be. You must be mentally prepared to put on the blinders like a race horse, stare down that track and be intentional…GO FOR IT!

Never allow your self to think you are too small, too insignificant. Never believe your efforts or contribution to a given task or goal isn’t valuable. You have tremendous value and worth. You are powerful. You are wonderful. You have a reason to achieve and accomplish. There is a reason the desire is in your heart…the vision…the quest…the journey. Just like that 2.5 lb plate, you can add more and achieve more with even just the tiniest extra effort of push. So, push away your deleterious thinking and take on clear mindsets full of optimism and belief. The best is still locked inside of you waiting to be unleashed. It’s in your destiny.

In His Strength

Powered by His Grace

And fueled with His Love,

Nicole

*I dedicate this blog to my husband, John, the most amazing leader I have ever met, my mentor, my friend.

July 5, 2013

Life Is Like A Good Pedicure

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:23 am by Broken & Brave

Have you ever had a pedicure? Boy, do your feet feel amazing right after they’ve been rubbed, scrubbed and pampered, soaked and prepared…looking pretty. Right now just talking about it makes me wish I were there! So, come with me in your mind’s eye, if you will, and let’s make a playful yet pointed comparison between a good pedicure and a good life…

When you arrive at the salon the nail tech will walk you to the chair, complete with massaging cushions (I always have to choose the lowest massage setting, otherwise I feel like I’m going to get bumped right off the seat by the ripple effect…too funny). They fill the tub basin with special soaps or scrubs and warm water, not too hot and not too cold. Then, they let you marinate in the mixture a bit, soaking your feet and take a deep breath now..ah, relaxing. When they return to you they begin to rub your feet a bit, then they pay very careful attention to your feet and nails.

Some people really struggle with the whole foot topic and don’t like feet, but feet don’t bother me at all. To me a foot is just the thing at the bottom of your leg that you use to walk and balance with…feet! So, the technician trims the nails, files, buffs, all to your liking before she scrubs off any dead skin cells or callouses. When she is finished she massages lotions into your skin. By the time she is finished you feel a bit like a noodle all slippery and soft. I know many men do the pedicure thing these day…not my husband of course, but lots of men do. However, if  you are a gal you have already selected the nail polish of your preference at this point in the process. I love this part because I LOVE nail polish (always have~ I think it is because I like to decorate and this is just another something to decorate. I think that’s why I love clothes also…it’s just decoration and personality expression! That’s another whole post I could write about).

Viola! When the pedicure is through you walk out of the salon feeling good as new! You are refreshed and invigorated because in the midst of your busy life, you took some time to be still. Your feet feel great now because they have been cared for and attended to. When your feet feel good it affects the rest of your body and mindset, even if you don’t realize it. A great deal of physical comfort comes when our feet feel good. Our feet affect our gate (how we walk) and our posture and our skeletal alignment. Head to toe, we are more properly aligned physically when our feet are healthy. When we are properly aligned physically, it is easier to be properly aligned mentally. For starters, we will be in a better mood because we feel good physically. People are attracted to happy people because let’s face it, many people aren’t so happy and definitely are bewildered by the concept of true joy. So, when they come across one with it, they are like sponges soaking it up. Everyone feels better about that!

Let me now make another analogy of what I would call a bad pedicure. Imagine you walk in for the pedicure and look around and witness others having their feet worked on and their toes painted. But you don’t like what you see because all they are doing is slapping fresh paint onto old toe polish. The tech isn’t paying attention to the details of the toes and feet. No massaging. No nurturing of the souls. No manicuring the cuticles and stripping away of the old cells. When the polish is applied it is merely goopped on over the old polish for appearance of “new” or “fresh”, but really it’s just a big mess. On top of this, the tech is getting the polish all over the people’s skin! I guarantee you’d take one look at such a scene and leave immediately! This just doesn’t seem refreshing or inviting.

Now that I’ve drawn my word picture what is my point? Life is like a good pedicure. When you pay attention to the details…when you take your time and do things right…when you strip down the old so you can properly create the new….well, all of this is the making for a new, beautiful and marvelous you. A better you means a fresh outlook and an attitude that is magnetic and will captivate any person on any scene. Then, my friend, you can achieve almost anything.

Never forget to pay attention to the details and do so in a manner that is caring, tender, gentle, (did I mention tender) and kind. The comfort, the peace, the balance and alignment will create a positive atmosphere and dynamic that will blow your mind! Kind of a fun and silly analogy, but I think you are seeing what I mean.

I pray I may comfort you. I may love you through the nurturing of your soul. Just like a good pedicure, I want to see you achieve rest in your flesh from the top of your head to the basin of your soul. I believe in you! Every day a brighter and fresher version of yourself comes shinning through!

~Nicole

“I am not worthy to bend down and untie his sandal straps.” Mark 1:7

There is one who came for you and for me who was abundantly worthy, but chose to bend down before us and wash our hands and feet. Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy (Matt. 5)