January 30, 2014

He Was a Perfect 10

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:40 am by Broken & Brave

I started going to the gym when I was 20 years old. My fascination with fitness started in Junior High, I believe. My Dad had a small weight bench set up in the garage and I can remember dabbling with that periodically. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I tried to do my own little program design and workout. When I was attending college  I began to utilize the Recreational facility on campus. They have a pretty great facility there that offered full weight room, cardio equipment, indoor track, and a schedule of aerobics classes (aerobics was big in the 90’s). All of this was offered to the student body for free. Your membership card was your student body card. My next door neighbors house was a house full of guys (college student as well) who love to train, so they took me under their wing and taught me how to lift weights and use proper form and technique. I fell in love instantly. In fact, after having utilized the aerobics classes for over a year, upon adding weights to my program, I transformed my physique and leaned out like never before. I was a true believer and have been lifting heavy ever since.

When John and I first married, people I didn’t know very well from work or a volunteer agency I was involved with, would ask me if my husband made me work out. I always found this to be a bit hysterical. If you don’t know, my husband is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and has trained athletes at all levels for more than 30 years now. I’ve learned so much from him in this field of fitness that I dwell in and he has connected me with other esteemed teachers on this subject as well. I always told people when they’d inquire…”It’s something we love in common.”

With all of that being said….I’ve had a gym membership of some kind ever since. For all of these years, I have committed myself to it, so I’ve seen a lot of things. There is a diverse span of people at the gym. There are the super buff guys who want everyone to see how much they lift. There are the cross fitters who do their own thing. There are the physically fit Baby Boomers. There are the Moms trying to manage their weight and have a fitness shape. Then there are those who are there to socialize more than train. The ones my heart go out to the most are the ones who faithful come over a long span of time, but do not seem to ever loose the weight or progress. Yep, at the gym there are all kinds at all different places on their fitness journey, but we all have one thing in common…our membership.

Churches are like gyms. The people inside are all looking for the same thing, but we all have our own little flavor on how we pursue it under the same basic blueprint (the Bible). We go to church because something inside us wants more. We are on a quest or in pursuit of Spiritual Fitness. Just like the gym, we are not all in the same place. Some are seasoned and mature and know how to tackle their “trouble spots” or “spot reduce” something undesirable in their life. Others are brand new, haven’t “trained” their spirit a day in their life. Then there are those who come year after year, but never really seem to grow or progress.

This is a rich analogy. I have always seen the comparison between physical health and spiritual health and tend to use analogies this way to convey something I’d like to say to make the Bible or God more relatable. But I recently saw this theme somewhere else and remembered again how absolutely true it is.

Some people use the excuse that they have been hurt in church or there are hypocrites there, so they don’t go. I tell you friend, if this is you, there is something you need to know…

God loves you no matter what. He is the Personal Trainer who meets you at the Church, by vehicle of the Holy Spirit. God may use the Pastor or a leader in the church. Or he may use the person sitting to your right or your left. But if you get yourself through the doors, there will always be more and it will benefit your Spirit, just like going to the gym benefits your physical body.

Sometimes I have people tell me that they can only workout once a week right now so they aren’t going to workout at all until (they insert a time frame here)…I always tell them to workout once a week anyway! You will always benefit from every workout, no matter how inconsistent you might be, you will grow and learn and glean something for the future. Just like me, when I was a teen, I didn’t become knowledgeable or super fit overnight. It took time, persistence, and deliberate attempts to keep moving forward. I didn’t really know what I was doing with my Dad’s weights, but I wanted to know. So I dabbled (like many do with church), but when you are really serious about growing your strength, building your heart up, you will persist no matter how foolish you may feel at first or how insecure you may feel.

Those of us who have been in church a long time have to approach the New Believer with Fresh Eyes. Many are afraid that everyone can see their sin and are judging them. We must love on them and welcome them! Many  times visitors to a church are intimidated by the Pastor or anyone who goes on the platform or up front as a spiritual leader. They won’t go forward because they are afraid. We, the Body in the chairs, need to be sensitive to the lead of the Holy Spirit and willing to pray with those who are too afraid to go forward for prayer. Always remember to obey and respect the lead of the elders and the Pastors at your church, but do not go to church and reside in your own little God bubble and not recognize the hurting person to your right or your left.

I can’t help but notice that there are hurting people everywhere. Even in churches. Especially in churches! Even people that many people would never suspect are hurting. We must be the unconditional love, one to another. The Word say that this is how the world will know us! This is how they recognize our “membership card”…it is stamped with Unconditional, Consistent and Abiding Love! (John 13:35)

Now, if you are reading this and you are one who is cynical of the “hypocrisy” of church and the people called “Christian”….remember my analogy. Jesus was the worlds only “Perfect 10”. He walked the earth with absolute pure and perfect wholeness. He wasn’t insecure. He didn’t’ have “baggage” from his past pain (but he could’ve of! What a scandalous story, son of an illegitimate birth!) He was famous for nothing, yet wore an expensive and seamless garment. He had no “trouble spots” he was trying to “spot reduce”. He just came to Love. He came for Love. Those who really wanted it, recognized it with the eyes of their heart. They didn’t stay away because of all the other people crowded around Him….not at all….they drew in tight to get a glimpse of Perfection and grasp a portion of His Peace.

He still shares His Peace, Patience, Comfort and Love today and He will bring people in your life who will be His Peace, bring His Comfort, share His Truth and Love on you.

When was the last time you drew your heart in to a prayer? Listened to a Preacher teach? Attended a church in your community? There is a rich and deep treasure waiting there for you. Yes, it may be a bit of a workout to get there, distractions everywhere and excuses will rise. But if you really want a glimpse of what Jesus has for you, you will press in and push through. You will attend. You will say a prayer and ask God to draw you in. Don’t let all of us “hypocrites” get in your way. We are all on our own “Fitness Journey”. We don’t have all the answers, but we are connected to the One who does. King Jesus, the world’s only Perfect 10. He is breath taking and gorgeous and I could stare into His heart and eyes all day long!

He loves you. He wants to help you get the results you seek (overcome that plateau you’ve been hovering at). He will teach you how to train smart, not necessarily hard, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-29)

It will be a Beautiful Restoration of your Soul and Transformation of Heart. This day is the day…it’s never to late to start!

I Believe in You!

~Nicole

January 19, 2014

Rising Star

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:56 am by Broken & Brave

It was the weekend just after 911. I was to fly to the Austin area of Texas with three other ladies for a women’s conference. Because of the horrific events of that week, most airports had grounded many of their flights and our plans had to change. We had decided to just stay home, until one of us had the brilliant idea to drive the trip instead. All four of us liked this idea and we were all able to make it work with jobs, families, and schedules. So off we go, road trip.

Now, being from California and driving to Austin isn’t that easy a trip. Just Texas alone goes on, and on, and on… huge state with a lot of empty land. We had to get there in two days and on top of all this, I was six months pregnant. I do not recommend any woman this far along in pregnancy to drive across country! My only comfort was that this was one of my overall most comfortable pregnancies and we were driving in my Mother’s Lincoln Towne Car and it was very roomy!

So, the trip was great, the conference was great and we had a great time bonding in the car ride. I loved the trip. But something happened on the drive that impacted all four of us women in that car. A reminder of how good God is and how Sovereign God is.

We had taken a detour from the route we originally planned to try and shave some time off the trip. We were somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, but in Texas. It was the middle of the night. We were not driving all that fast because we were on a small two lane highway and trying not to get lost. Remember, this was the early 90’s so we didn’t have our blue tooth GPS system to help. We had a map.  As we are all studying the map, directed the driver and making our way, we suddenly see the red and blue lights out of nowhere flashing in our rear view mirror. We were being pulled over.

The officer was very nice, but told us we had been speeding. He decided not to give us a ticket after having a full-blown conversation with him about where we were going and why we were in his town, Rising Star, Texas. That helped us a great deal, because to that point we weren’t sure what town we were in (lack of signage)! We gave him a Spark, of course! (Spark is a nutrition beverage that gives mental focus and it is amazing!) He was a very kind and helpful gentlemen. We must have chatted with him at least 20 minutes before he let us go. As we drove away we recapped the incident and all I just said, about how nice he was, etc. But we all agreed that we hadn’t been speeding so hadn’t a clue why he pulled us over.  Until, just a quarter mile or less up the road, we had to stop again. There was a huge accident that had just happened. Medi-flight choppers were coming in to take the people to the hospital. A semi truck had collided with a car and it was a horrible multi vehicle accident. We all became a bit stunned…not just because of what we were witnessing, but because we each knew instantly that God had sent the officer to delay us so we would not be in the accident, too. For sure enough, if we hadn’t been stopped, that is most likely what would have happened.

In fact, we were all so impacted and grateful that when we got home we called the Police Department of Rising Star and asked for the officer who had pulled us over (we knew his full name). Guess what? We were told that Rising Star only had two officers (tiny town) and that neither of them had that name! Hmmm??? What????? Let your mind wrap around that!

God is so incredibly involved in every detail of our life. For many this is such a hard one to swallow because bad things do happen. People do get hurt or suffer. I don’t have all the answers. But I do have a desire to deeply know the one who has all the answers and more. I do not hold the universe in my palm, but He does. He sees the span of Eternity and what to allow and what to intervene. I don’t know why He protected us from the accident and didn’t stop the accident all together. I do know how comforted I was that He cared enough to protect my life and my little baby who had yet to take his first breath.

We think we are in control of our lives. We plan, we try, we save, we sow seeds for our future blessings, but God is in charge of what gets blessed and what doesn’t. God is the decider of Purpose and Destiny. When we seek His guidance He can help us get there, but outside of Him our efforts can be quite futile. For many this is a disturbing thought, they like to be in charge and in control. But truly, it should be a comfort. Though we try, when we fail, when we fall short, when we mess up…God is there and He continues to guide our steps and get us to the Destination. You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to be “good enough” or “smart enough” or “talented enough”. Just trust Him and abide in Him and He will let you know what you need to know to move along the path. Let him be your Compass. Allow Him to be your Guide. We had a map to guide our dark path as we drove through territory we had never seen and weren’t familiar with. Much like life, allow Him to be your Holy Spirit GPS. He will get you where you need to be and He will do it with kindness and care, just like the officer in my story. He will equip and protect your life. He will be a Map in your hand.

He cares that much for you.

I care for you, too. This is my purpose and reason to write, to add value and offer insight from the stories of my life. To edify, encourage and most of all comfort. You are never alone. Everything is going to be all right.

~Nicole

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

January 12, 2014

Compassion Leads To Action

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:38 am by Broken & Brave

I woke early today with a specific story in my heart to share. I know I have written of it before, but as I searched my blog archives it was not there. I decided it must be in my book, so I looked to my hard drive and searched each chapter, but it is not there either (it needs to be there so I am glad I discovered this). So, here I am, up early to write as usual. This story is true and happened in the summer time of approximately 2003…

I am a vivid dreamer. I receive revelation of true facts and events that are yet to occur in my dream. A worldly person would say I am “psychic”, but I say I am dialed in to a gift to dream prophetically and receive revelation from God.

I woke in the middle of the night because I had just had a disturbing dream about a young couple I knew who had a small baby. They did not own their home, they were renters. I dreamed that they had not the funds to pay their rent and were horribly behind with the scheduled payments. So behind that they were in grave danger of eviction. I lie in bed feeling very disturbed by this dream. I began to pray for the family, but I did not stop there. The following morning I picked up the phone and I called the couple and told them my dream and asked them if it was true. They confirmed to me the truth of the dream with tremendous modesty, of course, no one wants to admit hardship. I told them God had a plan, why else would He be sharing their trial with me? I got off of the phone and later that day discussed all the events and the dream with my husband. I already knew we were supposed to help them a bit, but I prayed that my husband would confirm the amount I had in my heart.

Anything was going to be a sacrifice. Any amount was going to take away from our budget and we would have to suck it in for the month. However, by the time John and I had finished praying for confirmation as we frequently did (we would pray independently for the answer and then come together and compare notes on how God lead our hearts), we discovered the dollar amount the Lord desired for us to give was far beyond our comfort or a mere tiny sacrifice. We were to get them nearly caught up and this would consume our entire mortgage payment plus grocery money.

I’m not telling you that you should go broke to help someone else…unless God asks you to. If he asks you to, trust me, you will know!!! In fact, when God asks you to do something really difficult and challenging to our faith and comfort zones, we can’t escape it!

I had tremendous peace and confirmation, so we did as we were lead and our efforts kept the young family in their home. Please understand, John and I are not Super Christians, but we do have very strong faith for God’s provision and we knew that our faith in this area was stronger than that of the young couple. So, for God to ask us to trust Him with our mortgage payment to help another was easier than His allowing them to lose their home. Sure, God could’ve raised up another to help that could give from excess, but He didn’t. On this occassion, He was more interested in meeting their need while grooming my faith obedience than anything else. So I obeyed.

I needed groceries. Our family was still small at the time, so atleast I didn’t need a lot of groceries like I do now (you should see our grocery bill…RIDICULOUS!). I simply and matter of fact told the Lord, “If I am going to give this money, then you need to provide some groceries today. Then I proceeded to give him a short list that consisted of about five items that I needed to get by until we got paid later that week.

Not two hours past and there was a ringing of my doorbell. It was a friend of mine from my church. I opened the door to her standing there with juice from Costco. She looked and me and said, “Hold on, there is more in the car -what is going on?” Then, she jetted off to her car in the driveway to retrieve the other items she purchased. Guess what she bought…exactly the items I told God I needed.

I explained to her the story, then she told me (paraphrase), “It was the oddest thing. I was leaving Costco and I clearly heard the Lord tell me to go back inside and buy you groceries. I couldn’t figure out why you needed me to buy you food and I had no idea what to get. So I just walked the aisles praying and if I felt drawn to it, I put it in the cart. In fact, when I got here I decided to keep the juice, but then heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘She needs the juice too!'”

Is my story stretching you? Whether it is or isn’t, it doesn’t change the fact that it happened. I know I have some blog followers who are not believers in Christ, maybe my story will peak your curiosity? I am not done yet, for the next portion of my story is my entire purpose for sharing today.

I was high as a kite for days on how God provided groceries for me, and so quickly! I told countless people about how God provided! Testimony builds faith in others, even if it isn’t their testimony. It shows Gods goodness. But the disobedience of others can be learning instruments for us all also. I had a friend I shared the story with and she responded strangely with something like, “Oh, that’s what that was.” I said, “Excuse me? What are you meaning?” She then proceeded to tell me how on the same day I received those groceries, she also heard the Holy Spirit tell her to go buy my family food, only she blew it off. She didn’t do it. I have to admit, I got a little perturbed at this. If she had obeyed, then we wouldn’t of had to eat eggs for five days straight. Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful for the eggs, but God had more for me and I lost out on a blessing because someone else didn’t do what God told them to do. I experienced lost blessing, but so did she.

I know I heard that story for a reason. She didn’t have to be transparent like that at all, but she was. God used it to drive deep in my heart, but my own experience of sacrifice, that my obedience or disobedience to God’s call will not only affects myself, but truly, countless other lives around me.

We are all connected. Especially in the Body of Christ. God is the Great Economizer. Everything we are, do and have belong to Him and we are merely Stewards. If we truly want all that God has Destined for our lives and the Abundance of His Goodness, Intimacy and Provision, we must keep our eyes fixed on him, our ears open and attentive and our hands open to how He leads. If He means to help a hurting world through the Church, then we need to be a Church that cares about Spiritual Wealth and Prosperity more so than earthly accomplishment or comforts.

How is God leading you? Are there areas of your life you have been holding back from God? Take time to press in to Him today and seek His guidance and help. He wants you to overcome. He desires breakthrough for you in everything you do. The vats to overflowing blessing cannot pour out on you if you keep the barn doors closed. Taking risk and being used by God is sometimes scary, but even more so it is an exhilarating adventure! Embrace it and ditch the status quo! You’ve got more.

Trust and Obey, there is no greater way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.

~Nicole

January 9, 2014

Threshold

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:44 am by Broken & Brave

They say you must leave your comfort zone to grow.

It is said the stretch for growth only need be 1mm outside your comfort zone to begin.

 

“Avoid your comfort zone like the plague.” John C. Maxwell

It starts young, I guess. We learn fine motor skills by coloring. We color and color and then it begins, we are told to try and color within the lines. We practice, we color, we try, and we learn to stay within the lines.

If all of life is like a canvas and you are the artist. Your palette consists of your choices, decisions, attitudes and actions. We are shaped and molded by our environment (positive or negative), our parents, our community, our peers, those is authority over us, and our culture. Our response to these influencers-bitter or better, press forward or shrink back- is like the fine details of the artists brush that makes the finishing touch. It is good to have certain lines like laws and God’s Word which help us to live an upstanding and safe life. However, at some point, probably in childhood, the majority of people continue to merely be steadfast and focused on the lines and as we grow, we never learn how to leave our comfort zone and venture out into the unknown. We never dare to “color outside the lines of possibility” and embark on the greatest adventure of all; the discovery of “potential”.

Most people don’t like to be uncomfortable and in the United States we have many comforts, so it’s an easy place to campout. But when we stay in our comfort zone we stop growing. When we stop growing we become stagnant and fail to meet God’s greatest capacity for the Life Abundant He Promises in His Word. In Truth, we may be the artist or sculpture of our life, but God is the Designer of it all. We are the clay and He is the Shaper of the pottery. It is much easier for God to mold and shape us when we are warm and soft, open and receptive to all God has for us. Yielded and submitted to His will while we take the action steps required on our end to see the manifestation of His best in our Life. His absolute Perfect Will.

Though there are countless writings in the marketplace on how to achieve your highest personal growth, and many really good ones, this  information may not be common knowledge for everyone. I cannot assume everyone is familiar with this concept or knows where to begin to grow yourself, to change, become the best version of you.

It’s a New Year, are you wanting to maximize your time and reach your untapped potential? Do you have bad habits you would like to break or areas of struggle you would like to overcome? I am going to give a clue that may not be found in many self-help or leadership books. It is a Biblical principle that I call “pressing in”. If you want break through in your life, if you hunger to step into a deeper encounter with the Creator, if you desire to push past areas that you have tried and tried but continue to plateau; then this is something you may want to know.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

You have to get alone.

You have to carve out time in your day to purposefully be alone, pull out the Bible and read it and pray.

You have to persist without exception.

You pray and pray until something happens.

It could take five minutes or it could take five days.

What if it takes five years?

Press in without exception. I am not saying read and pray non-stop for this length of time. No, we still have to live and carry out the responsibilities of life. However, we must continue to carve out ample time, free time and scheduled time, to look for God.  We have to get alone with him. We have to purposefully isolate ourselves from the world around to find that place of just you and Him. Even Jesus himself practiced this discipline of pressing in.

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

 

Many years ago I was struggling with anxiety over finances. I would lie awake at night worrying and wondering how it was all going to work. I lost a lot of sleep over it. The stress of it began to consume my thoughts all day through. I felt edgy and uncomfortable all the time with this uneasiness in my spirit, my mind and it was starting to affect my body as stress often does for most people. I was a young adult and was in a different place in my Christian life than I am now. My faith and trust was weakened by constant worry. Then something happened that I would say was the pivotal turning point for me in learning how to combat this deleterious thinking. I was over it. I didn’t want to go on feeling this way despite my situation so I took action! I lay in bed awake and I remembered one Bible verse I knew of that dealt with anxiety,

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

 

I believed the Truth of the Bible, but there was one problem, I was only saying the words, it wasn’t truly in my heart. I was blessed by God with enough intuition to tell myself, “If I just keep saying it out loud to myself over and over, every time I begin to allow my thoughts to wander to the worry, then eventually it will sink from my head and mouth into my heart.” And that is exactly what happened. I began to have restful nights sleep and though the stress of the situation was still there, my peace in the midst of the trial calmed. I had pressed in and I had found peace. I was anxious for nothing and I was thankful!

I began to apply this principle to everything. There is a verse in the Bible for every trial you face. Just do a little homework, find one to suit you and use it like a sword to slay the giants you face! (Ephesians 6:10-11)

You can apply this to anything. We are body, mind, spirit, soul and it is all connected. For total health and balance in life, you must care for each of these areas. Let’s say you are chugging along just fabulous on your New Year’s Resolution to lose the weight for good this year, never to gain it back. Claim your promises! Find a Bible verse about perseverance, break through, about honoring God with your body

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  You must persist without exception. Resolve to keep going, even when you mess up or fall short. When you refuse to quit; that is when the break through comes and you have expanded your territory. The wiles of the opposing darkness that has held you back in any given area of struggle, no longer has a hold on you!

“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36

 

Boldly declare what you desire as though you already had it. Thank God for how He brought you through and showed up big time for you, before it happens. In faith, Believe, God’s best for you is yet to come. Even if you are in the best season of your life and you feel blessed beyond measure, believe and know that God has Greater Still in store for you. He is a God of absolute Abundance.

I am BELIEVING for YOU. This is your year of Destiny. There is nothing going to hold you back. You will walk into your Promises and you will have surprise blessings along the way. What the devil meant for harm, God is working it to your advantage for the good. You are greater still…you have more! GET READY! Gird yourself in wisdom. Strengthen yourself in His Might. Hold on tight, for you are about to have the ride of your life! Amazing and incredible is what God has in store for you!

Do you believe it? Believe it! Speak it! Press In and overcome, the best is just ahead.

~Nicole

“Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

January 6, 2014

Six Pack, Baby

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:24 am by Broken & Brave

What a gorgeous day we had here in Northern California! It was a perfect day to go to church, just as I do with my family every Sunday. The service was great and the topic, one of my favorites, how to believe for the impossible. The message was going along just fine, when the Pastor used an analogy of how our faith growth is like working out. He said that the muscle will not grow unless it has time under tension over a coarse of time. The same is true with our faith, perseverance under pressure is the way to develop our faith. Be it stress at work, family issues, health issues, anything that comes against us, if we don’t give up, God won’t let us cave in. He will come through with an answer and we will not only receive the answer, but we will be stronger, wiser and better equipped for the next trial or testing.

I completely agree and know what he said to be true by the evidence of my own life. But what happened next was so charming; it has become my purpose for this post. My Pastor mentioned we can’t obtain a six pack, as in tight abs, by looking at the weights.  As he is speaking, my two year old was playing at my feet with a little toy he had in his hand.  When Pastor mentioned six pack abs, my little guy stood to his feet and pulled up his shirt and patted his tummy as if to say, “Hey Mom, check out my six pack!”

He then proceeded to try and look at my abs in church…no bueno!

As delightful as his actions were, it immediately set my thoughts to motion. He is two years old. He appears to not be paying any attention what-so-ever to the service, but his ears are catching it…his heart is chatting it…his spirit is absorbing it. And so I write.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

 

No matter what your belief systems, lifestyle, pursuits and passions…if you have children you are shaping their minds, their emotions, their hearts, whether you are trying to or not. Just as I described with my sons actions in church, our children catch far more than we realize. Now, theoretically I already knew this. I have a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology (all that means is that I had to read a lot of “stuff” and study a lot of research regarding human development).  So, I know this to be true from education, but even more important to me is that I have observed this in raising five children.

When my older children were young I began teaching them things that I knew their little heads hadn’t the cognition to comprehend. I was acting on a higher learning pattern, their spirit.  Between my Bible and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I knew that I could pray over them aloud and  I could speak to them as though they could understand. I knew that I was planting seeds of faith, hope,  and possibility into their hearts by vehicle of their spirit. Only by the grace of God did I have the inclination to do such a thing. No one ever told me to do this.

I think maybe some examples of this that would be familiar; a person speaking to a child in the pregnant womb of a mother. Baby Einstein and the like, classical music to shape frontal lobe development of the brain, etc. Same principle, but planted into their spirit. It was important for me to instill in my children early in life the absolute wholeness they had in God. That they know who they were in God and who’s they were. I spoke many things over them, knowing that their spirit would be soaking them.

You have the power to shape young lives for good, better, best…or for the worse. Whether you are actively speaking into them, or they are “catching” another’s words or yours. Are you speaking positive things into the atmosphere? Are you being positive and speaking of the possibilities? Or are you speaking discouragement, hopelessness and despair? Are you exemplifying gratitude in your speech or are you complaining about your situation? If you believe, then your children will as well. I’m not saying it is easy, I know it is not. Especially when we are really struggling, it’s hard, but not impossible.

My family has had many  “faith stretching” circumstance, but we spoke of them with belief and possibility to our children. Over and over, this is what we did. Then, on one occasion, we had a specific and large need and the children were saying their bedtime prayers over this specific need. My oldest son, must have been nine at the time, said to me, “I know God is going to take care of it, because he gives us miracles.” Then he proceeded to recap our victories out loud! What a seasoned prayer warrior at such a young age. I can only give credit to God. I honestly don’t know how anyone can parent without His wisdom!

Speak life. Speak possibility. Speak in faith. Believe. All is not lost. There is nothing God’s arm is too short to reach down and fix for you. All looks ominous through the natural eye, but through the spiritual eyes of faith, all things become possible. Your children are watching your faith in action and they will do what you do. Lead well. Lead strong. Lead with belief. You are an Over Comer!

~Nicole

“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.” ~Dale Carnegie

January 3, 2014

Constant

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:56 am by Broken & Brave

I was five years old, living in Long Beach, CA with my family. I remember my home vividly, despite being so young. It had lots of windows through out the entire house. My room alone had three windows wrapping the corner of the room. I love windows…I love the natural Light. We only lived in this house a few years before moving to Northern California, but the Joy of it is forever etched upon my heart. A permanent fixture to the picture God was beginning to write of my life.

I started school in this house. My elementary school was about three long blocks away (give or take a block). I walked to and from school everyday, in Kindergarten, with a few other girls from my neighborhood. I recall sometimes having to walk it alone. Something that you could do in that season of time….couldn’t imagine a child doing that today, but it was a different day…a different time…another season.

Life is full of seasons. Seasons in our family, as children grow, jobs change, friends come and some go. There are also seasons of soul, those are the ones God alone holds the keys to.

I remember my Mother, though she was a stay at home wife, she had a routine and part of her routine was getting ready for Daddy to come home. Sometimes she would shower in the afternoon and I’d watch her fix her hair and put on her make up. I’d ask her where she was going and she would almost always reply, “No where, honey, I am getting ready for Daddy to come home.” I even remember asking her about this. I said something to the effect of, “Why do you have to ‘get ready’ for Daddy to come home?” Then she told me something that has stuck with me my entire life. A little something for my “Book of Life” that at the time, she probably didn’t know I would tuck away and carry with me and would bless me in my own married life. She told me that she loved Daddy and so because she loved him, she wanted to look her best for him. Oh sure, my Dad loved my Mom no matter what, but my Mom had a wisdom that extended beyond her then young years…you always prepare yourself to look your best for those you most esteem and respect. This alone could be the anchor for an entire blog I could write for women on how to meet their husbands needs…but not today.

Our season shortly changed, afte living in this house only a few short years. We had family in Northern CA that we would vacation to visit each summer. My folks loved the little town called Lodi. It was so quaint and quiet and completely lacking in one thing they didn’t like, but Southern Ca. has an abundance of…traffic! This little community made their hearts glad. On the summer between my second and third grade school year we made our visit to the little city, but while we were there a cousin convinced my Dad to go out and look for a job and relocate! My Dad decided to go take a look. Though he had an excellent job where we lived, he found in one days effort an even better job in Northern California. So, just like that, my parents decided to go home, sell the house, and move away.

Our home, though lovely, rested on the corner of a very busy intersection. My parents were concerned it wouldn’t sell because of the location. Not  a problem! When God’s got a plan He will rise to the occasion and meet the demand! The house sold in a few short weeks. Despite there being  a few other houses for sale in the neighborhood (that weren’t on the busy corner), the buyer selected our home because it was the same floor plan as the house he grew up in.

Within a month I was staying with my cousins in Lodi so I could begin at my new school, my Dad was there working as well and my Mom and little brother stayed behind in LA to wrap up all the loose ends, finish packing, and we were all together in our new Northern California location.

God’s hand of favor was so clearly on my parents desire to move to the charming little town that had stolen their heart. He guided their efforts and made their path clear. It was a big season change for our family and I know by the quality of my childhood, it was a good change. Many acquaintances I have to this day, I met on that first day of school in the third grade. Thus, begins a new season.

Seasons may change.

People may change.

Circumstances may change.

But God never changes.

He loves us.

He guards over us.

He is available to us without regard to anything.

God doesn’t need a reason to love us…He just does.

You can trust Him.

I believe the more we desire to be toward God as how my Mother was for my Father…

ready and waiting…

looking our best for when He comes…

the more we become like His Radiant Bride who reflects His image.

We obtain an ability to be CONSTANT.

When we are constant, we can be consistent. When we are consistent to love others, protect others, care for others, listen to others, forgive others, show grace and compassion one to another, then we become known as reliable. People will know what they are going to get from us and what they are getting is good. We earn trust.

Prepare yourself for God’s call upon your life. Everything happens in seasons. He isn’t finished with you. He isn’t provoked with you. He is Patient, Caring, True and of the kindest hearts you will ever know. Press on toward the mark that He had embarked you on. “And Jesus said unto him, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Simply stated, “Don’t quit!”  He has begun a good work in you and He will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6). He is faithful to do His part, as He did for my family when we made a major move. But we have to do our part, as my family did in looking for the job, putting the house on the market, enrolling me in school.

I have learned in my Christian life and following after a God who loves us that He plants the seeds of Promise, Hope, Dream within each person, but we have to step out in faith before he will increase the illumination of the path. The same is true for you. Unfortunately, so many turn back or give up because they cannot see far enough down the path or it doesn’t look how they were expecting it to look. So they quit.

Do not let your heart be discouraged or dismayed. God, the Designer of all things, has a Life plan for you. He wants you to be the person you were created to be and accomplish the things He placed you here to accomplish. He will equip you with resources and help along the way. You must Believe.

You must stay the coarse.

You must embrace change, liked or disliked, and remember you stand on Christ the Solid Rock that is Unshakable!

Go forth today encouraged, with greater Joy and Resolve to know the God of Heaven is on your side.

~Nicole

Scripture Versus for Reference:

“For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1: 17

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

John 14:1

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done…” Rev. 22:12

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“For I am the LORD, I do not change: Therefore you are not consumed, O son of Jacob.” Malachi 3:6