September 30, 2017

Spiritual Anorexia

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:44 am by Broken & Brave

We live in such a superficial society. Appearance is everything and vanity is it’s chief council. There are countless strategies available to make us look and feel great. Everything from head to toe–you’re covered if you’re willing to spend the time, money and energy to consume what society is selling.

Sustenance is an interesting thing. I have noticed over many years of my recent life that the more affluent circles of our nations population base are overall more physically fit with healthy weight management. There are exceptions to this, of course, but overall this population of people looks pretty darn good. Most likely this is because they can afford it. Healthy foods cost more than packaged and processed foods. Gym memberships and personal trainers or high end, small, semi-private group training/classes are the trend. The higher end society is looking for something customized to the detail and complete and they are willing to pay money for it.

I think the more affluent community understands that–like it or not–your appearance is your business card. It can take over eight encounters with a person to change a negative first impression according to a recent study done at Harvard. So how you look, how you present yourself and how you treat/handle others plays a large roll in how successful you will be at pretty much everything.

As a trainer I’ve primarily worked with the more affluent community. I used to do personal training programs with a few “buddy packages” (you and a friend kind of thing), but now I’m almost exclusive small, private group training. I still carry a small stable of one on one clients, but have found myself more and more lately turning those opportunities down. Primarily because I just don’t have time. My family is a priority and my plate is full. So I now focus on small groups of committed individuals who are teachable, coachable and willing to work.

I am a health advocate. An advocate is an ardent defender of people and purpose. It is the purpose God placed inside me to use health and fitness as my ministry.

• I’m focused not only on improving strength, flexibility, overall health and vitality, but I’m all about equipping others for victorious living.

•I’m all about disease prevention and holistic natural applications of sustenance, rest and movement all packaged in each individual unit.

•I’m about casting vision for the woman who wants to hang with her kids at Disney well in her elder years without needing to sit down a lot or rent a wheel chair just to enjoy the family fun.

•I’m about not being on a myriad of prescribed meds that has people so frightened to even take a multivitamin because it might interfere with there drugs.

• I’m definitely about empowering females to believe in themselves and create a deeper awareness of how wonderful their form is and what strength they possess (physically, spiritual, mentally) and how to harness it.

I recently had someone who I’d been helping along their health journey tell me they had decided to go in a different direction. I had functioned as an unpaid source of council and help. They came to me asking for mentoring so I helped at my own sacrifice. It’s difficult for me to say no to someone who is ready to change.
They had sort of eluded to their shift in direction, but I actually found out about it another way and so I specifically asked them about it.

I tried to be as positive as I could be. I wanted to thoroughly communicate love, grace and humility wrapped up in a compassionate spirit. It was challenging for me to listen quietly because I knew as they were sharing the less than stellar decision they were making. I agreed to pray for them and encouraged them and left the situation positively so they knew I loved them and the door was wide open should they return again.

Relationships of a mentoring nature can be difficult. There is the temptation to personalize and take ownership of the results, successes or failures of other people. But it is not our personal responsibility to fix the world. I cannot fix my friends deleterious habits or choices. I can guide, love, protect and direct–but ultimately it’s their life and they are free to make whatever choices they desire. As the mentor we understand that at the end of the day we leave everyone and everything at the base of the Cross. We did our part and that is all we can do. Then you just pray that the time and energy and sacrifice you put into them will stick and something good will flourish from it.
It could be easy to rehash all the sacrifice and time you’ve invested. The temptation is to feel a sense of disloyalty or lack of gratitude. But that’s not necessarily true, so don’t swallow that bait.

These practical truths I’m sharing with you apply to all of life. We are all leading someone, somewhere by our conduct, life and example. We are living breathing sustenance to someone else’s soul.

I am fortunate in all my career I’ve only ever encountered one person who I detected may have an eating disorder. In this case, it was anorexia/bolemia. I know the clues to look for, but that was years ago (totally different story from the one I just described). But when I look around society I see many, many in every age group, race and economic category who suffer from a sort of spiritual eating disorder. A Spiritual Anorexia. They are starving to death because they don’t eat the right things. I’m not talking about food, I’m talking about thought patterns, focuses and methods to comfort their own pain. Soul Sustenance. I see people also who see the Truth, whether it is about themselves, God or others, but they refuse to eat it.

Anorexia is ultimately a spirit. It goes after the mind and influences the decisions of the individual causing them to believe skipping meals is somehow the answer to their problems or the solution for controlling their world. Spiritual Anorexia functions the same way. Distorted truth and a reflection of self, others and the world around is skewed. I imagine there are many people who suffer from both, spiritual anorexia and the physical manifestation of the disease. After all, if it is a spirit, it’s going to do as much damage to the whole of a person as it can once its invited inside. Satan’s objective is to steal, kill and destroy.

We are all mentoring others each and every day. What you say and do carries tremendous value and when you know this and take it serious–understanding the big picture of your life’s objective, then you can make a positive impact that will last.

Consider yourself a seed carrier. You are scattering it everywhere. Some seeds will do nothing, find no home to imbed themselves in. Others will find fertile soil of heart with just the right conditions to flourish and grow, while others will only grow so much then stop. This is not up to us to decide who will do what. All we can do is love, avoid personal feelings of hurt, and carry on knowing you’ve done your part and others may enjoy a higher quality of life because of the mark you made upon their heart. Leadership does not come without great personal sacrifice.

Feed your body the right stuff so it will last.
Feed your heart and mind the right stuff so you will surpass any form of greatness you’ve experienced in the past.
Feed your soul Truth, Love and the Inspired Word of God. It is Pure and Good Sustenance from Above.

And never forget…

Take Joy in the Journey…

~Nicole

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September 27, 2017

Reborn🌹

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:59 am by Broken & Brave

 

Never Had a Better Friend

The Lord has striped me in many ways.

Yet, He preserves each and every one of my days.

He took away so much that mattered to me

and in the process grafted me more tightly into His Tree.

He drew me near and showered me with blessings from above.

He gave me increase in my capacity to Love.

He showed me His devotion and care

Yet I know He will not only stop there.

He took me as a seed and planted me in the Earth.

He provided the water of Salvation in Jesus

giving me second birth.

He rose from the grave and captured my soul.

So who am I to complain or be afraid of any foe?

He crowned me with splendor and His Grace crowns my head.

He asked me to walk this earth in an effort to revive the dead.

So many are abandoned and left without Hope.

Without Jesus they are left with no strength to cope.

They turn to drugs, violence, suicide and sin

Never gaining the purity of heart that can free them from within.

Who am I to complain when troubles cross my path?

For I have access to the very Throne of the One giving me life that will last.

Blessed Jesus, my Savior, Companion, my Friend

Who could turn from you, ignoring the battle within?

There is a day to day struggle that occurs

With in the hearts of all men.

Without Jesus, we are doomed to failure

in a battle that has no end.

Seek Jesus, the Savior, a Friend to all man.

Only He can take a shattered life, put it back together

And make it whole once again.

Seek, Jesus, the Savior, who was crucified and rose again.

He knows of your suffering, your loneliness and can take it from you, putting your misery to end.

Seek Jesus! Seek Jesus! I have never known another to be such a great Friend.

~Nicole

September 26, 2017

Fortitude

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:12 am by Broken & Brave

Life is a delicate balancing act. You’ve got fortitude and strength. You have power to hold it together. Though gravity and outside forces pull against you and try to force you down, out and in directions contrary to the Destination designed for you- you shall not break. You may bend, and bending is good for it demonstrates a spirit of unity toward all that is good…

You will not break.

Dig Deep, Beloved…for loved deeply is who you are.

Live a life made Complete and shine brighter than the stars.

Iron sharpens iron…

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

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September 25, 2017

Prose

Posted in Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , at 4:06 am by Broken & Brave

John Keats was born 31 October 1795 and died 23 February 1821.

Despite the lack of length and breadth of his years…they contained depth few of his age could relate to. Mr. Keats is considered one of the greatest romantic poets in history. His rankings summit to heights alongside peers of the likes such as Lord Byron and Shelley.

The tragedy behind this man’s life is as poetic as his pen. Keats only knew publication of his works for four years before he died from illness in Rome at the age of 25. The work of Keats was widely criticized by critics of the day and he had a hard time associating publication with success.

The pain stole his flame and he didn’t write anymore…

Today he is considered a man who had a deep impact on literature and influenced a broad range of literary giants throughout the ages to follow him. His works are widely studied as Literature and Scholars consider his poem “To Autumn” to be close to literary perfection as any poem ever was.

Keats died feeling he was a failure of a man…
Even though the pain stole his flame,
his pen lived on.

“So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?” Ecc. 3:22

There’s is one whose heart I liken to Keats…He is my Lord and Savior whose poetry penned within my heart caused it to sail upon a gusty wind of His Holy Presence…His Holy Spirit. My life inspired by His message. I take to heart His Holy Example on how to live and love and sew kindness and Faithfulness to my fellow man.

Jesus came to bleed and cancel my need. He was struck and beaten for being different. He was sifted and sorted and his frame was contorted. They tried to kill his flame and though his body was broken-I imagine his heart was too…he continued on and finished it without ever refraining from loving through and through.

You may find situations in life leaving you without pardon. Don’t allow your heart to harden. Don’t allow the pain to steal your flame. Jesus is the master key and his keys unlock everything. Don’t seal yourself in…allow his touch to heal you within .

God will always bring Beauty for your Ashes. Keats may have never known the praises of his prose…but I have no doubt he enjoys praises from Heaven and has forgotten his foes.

The Lord Bless your good Inheritance.

…Nicole

September 23, 2017

Polished with Shine✨

Posted in Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:41 am by Broken & Brave

I know many people going through trials they cannot fathom. I pray this encourage you today.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverb

“Open the eyes of my heart Lord.”
To see, to hear, to learn and grow.   There’s love in discipline.
Beautiful is a heart that accepts reproof.

When we realize sometimes we struggle not because we are being punished, but rather we are being loved. There is beauty in forgiveness, humility, meekness, gentleness and all the Fruit of the Spirit.

God is not mad at you or punishing you. He is skillfully loving you into the creation He destined you to be. You may suffer, but it is only temporary. Cling to Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of the three is Love and it hung on a tree for you and for me.

Take care, Beloved. God knows your heart. He sees the multitude of your tears and all the years the locust has eaten. His sleeve is big enough to dry every eye and bind every wound. God is close to the broken hearted…in fact…

His greatest vessels for use are those who have known a broken heart.

That’s where His Love truly begins. You are going to be ok. ~Nicole

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September 21, 2017

Divine Design

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:31 am by Broken & Brave

Man gives titles, God gives mantles

Your identity is not in your title or job description or physical appearance. Your Identity is etched within a Cross…

My husband has a look alike. I suppose the other man would say he has a look alike as well. For maybe the past ten years my husband is chronically told he looks like a specific actor by the name Kevin Sorbo. When we first heard this we had no idea who the man was, despite the fact he had a hugely popular television show in the 90’s and maybe early 2K. It was so blatant, and still is, that my husband has been approached for his autograph in restaurants.

A few years ago Kevin was the speaker at the leadership prayer breakfast here in our home town. We usually go to this event, but for sure we weren’t going to miss this one! I was so curious to see for myself if they really did look a like in person up close! You can make anything or anyone appear a certain way from a distance. Up close, in your face interaction with people is where you see the real deal.

Sure enough, I was in shock almost, they look incredibly alike. You would think they were brothers so striking were the similarities. Apparently others thought so too because Kevin already knew all about my husband when we were introduced. He had been told of his twin in Stockton.

As we left the venue a woman approached my husband and thanked him for coming and what a great word he had just delivered to the audience! It was hysterical!

Here’s the thing…my husband likes Kevin Sorbo. My husband has a similar stature, build and look as Kevin Sorbo. But in no way shape or form does my husband want to be Kevin Sorbo. Who would ever want to be a knock off when you can be your own real thing? It makes me think of handbags for women.

I kind of laugh at designer knockoffs. What’s the point? Some of the value of an original is the quality in the craftsmanship. I actually own a Gucci handbag. I notice the difference in the depth of the quality over some other handbags I own. It was an expensive bag. My husband purchased it for me as a gift and I enjoyed that gift. But I have no interest in buying more knock off Gucci’s. Why? So others can be impressed? Who cares! If it takes a knock off to impress someone then they aren’t worth impressing. Gravitate to people who are genuinely impressed with your qualities. Be your own designer original. You may not be a celebrity like Kevin Sorbo, but Heaven celebrates you every day.

You’re an original…own it victoriously!

~Nicole

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

(This photo gives you a feel for the true size of Kevin. He is clearly bigger than my husband and my husband is 6’2″ at 225 lbs. Both men are larger than life!)

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September 20, 2017

Drenched💦

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:52 am by Broken & Brave

Jonah had it rough….or did he have it easy? I bet most people actually haven’t ever thought to consider the circumstances or how this man felt about his own life.

Jonah was a man who walked with God. He clearly had the favor of Heaven and it’s full confidence to manage and administer the Truths God spoke to him to the people as God directed. He had inside access to the King of all of Heaven!

I guess most people who love God and try to live accordingly as to eloquently convey his love here on earth would consider Jonah highly blessed. They may even think, “I wish God would talk to me like that.” But do they really?

The burden of such a responsibility, if you want to call it a burden, is the high level of obedience required at such a level of intimacy with the Almighty. Much was given Jonah so he knew that much was expected of him as well. Jonah probably didn’t have a lot of say about how he spent his free time or his resources. I’m sure God had stipulations and directions for that, too.

Imagine yourself a modern day Jonah…God blesses you with a tangible gift. You are grateful, you dream of how you will spend or even save this blessing and create greater blessing. But then the Lord steps in and offers instructions about an assignment he has for you and the real reason he gave the blessing to you. So you received a great blessing. You received spiritual riches as a result of that ear for the voice of God, but you haven’t the luxury to spend it as you like.

You must be obedient.

Resources are tangible gifts from Heaven. They offer refreshment and provision like streams in the dessert of life. Gifts and blessings of tangible and monetary increments are part of what gives life pleasure. The closer you become with the Almighty, the more you realize the less you have ownership of any of it. You begin to understand that every ounce of blessing afforded you is not for you at all. Sure, God desires to see you enjoy life, rest, take our ease and feast a little on pleasures. But even that serves a purpose to replenish and restore…rejuvenate if you will…so you can get up, walk out the door and like God’s faithful servant go back for more. More what? More opportunities to do what he has assigned you here on earth to do.

Boy, I sure did make hearing God intimately and experiencing blessings sound hard. On many levels it can be. But it is also a delicious reward.

I’m curious about Jonah’s appearance. How was he dressed? Did he have one of the best camels on the market? What kind of drapes and gowns dangled from his crown and from the body of his animal? Was he a splendid sight to see? Was he glamorous and charming? All attributes that would grab hold of people’s attention and cause them to want to draw near. Because let’s face it, being a prophet of God was a profession that many people wanted to avoid. Not everyone likes to hear what they might be doing wrong. But sometimes that’s what God sent Jonah to do, tell people hard truth in love.

I imagine Jonah had seen a lot. He maybe even endured a lot. He may have been weary and in need of a vacation. A cruise was just the ticket…too bad he disobeyed and went in the wrong direction! Maybe Jonah didn’t like the message he had to give? He was concerned for how the people would receive it? Maybe he had already been there countless times before only to have the door of cooperation slammed in his face? Maybe there was an experience that has caused his heart to become jaded and calloused to the people of Nineveh? We don’t really know. The Bible only tells us that he disobeyed God and suffered an extreme consequence. The Bible uses Jonah as an example of what happens when we loose our compassion…when we become jaded and cynical.

God had to humble Jonah low. He had to get him to a place where he was utterly alone with God. God needed Jonah to contemplate his options…obey and don’t complain or  stay in the digestive tract of a large mammal–his version of Joseph’s pit. The choice was really a no brainer. He repented and agreed and went and did what God asked him to do.

What can be said for you? Are you taking your blessings for granted? Is your attitude a little bit less than stellar and a little more than jaded or cyclical? Has past experiences of life caused you to believe less than the best about just about everything? How’s your Compassion? When was the last time you gave that a check? How’s your heart? Is is hurting and dry? Do tears stain your eyes? Maybe the pain runs so deep you’re no longer even able to cry? It’s ok, either way, if this is you know that many around you feel the same way, too.

We live in a day and age where I see countless Jonah’s walking around. They may not know they have access to God’s ear and voice. But every day they make the choice to value money, career, possessions and positions over humans.

It’s easier to love stuff than people.

Stuff doesn’t have a personality. Stuff doesn’t talk back or have a difference of opinion. Stuff can’t hurt your feelings and wound your heart. The emotional risk is non existent when you keep to loving stuff only. But to love others…to be loved by others…that’s scary and amazing. It depends on how you perceive it.

If you have ever felt an ounce of pure and glorious love then you know how amazing it is. It isn’t limited to romantic love, though that’s nice, too. It’s the extraordinary awareness that others care about you and would sacrifice and willing become inconvenienced to protect and bless you. It’s an extraordinary feeling to do the same for another. Love requires risk. Caring means you have to take a chance. You have to give your heart permission to feel. You have to open up a bit more and be transparent and honest with yourself and others. You have to be humble. You have to increase in your capacity to receive. You have to let people in.

We live in a tremendously hurting world. People all around walk about with a seared conscious. Someone with a seared conscious can’t feel on deep levels. They do wrong or see wrong and are minimally phased by it. They are numb.

Only God can reach in and jump start your heart. He can pump it with life flowing fluid mingled with His atoning blood and drenched in His love. He longs to drench you and return moisture to your  weary, drained and wounded heart.

Today could be a fabulous start to making all things new. Seeing through new eyes, smelling the greater aromas of life and tasting life seasoned just right with a good kind of spice, sugar and delight.

You are the salt of the earth…
Allow God to return your flavor.

Prayer:
“Lord, search my heart and show me the areas I have become stagnant or have lost my Compassion even just a little bit. Renew my heart and freshen my flesh so I can love as you love. Equip me with the courage to open up more fully and accept the love of Heaven and the love of people you send me. I do not have to live on guard. I can guard my heart and make it a place of hospitality as well. All because of you. Thank you God for the good work you promise to complete in me. I am your yielded vessel. Use my life, my blessings, my abilities as you desire. Amen”

“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” Jonah 2:8-9

September 18, 2017

A Heart for Community

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:30 am by Broken & Brave

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12

God plants people in neighborhoods, houses (resident dwellings), careers, jobs, and communities. God has a heart for community. Therefore, He had this in mind when He wrote on the tablet of your heart the purpose for your life. He decided where and when He would plant you like a seed on this earth. He is a Sovereign God. What does that mean? It means there is nothing that escapes His eye for detail. There is no plan He forgot or neglected to make. He is ever mindful of the course of your life. You can take great Comfort and Confidence in this. I am hoping I communicate encouragement to you if you are in a job that stresses you severely, or maybe you don’t like your neighborhood or have a neighbor who is difficult to live near. God has planted you there- if only for a season. You have been chosen to be a light to that community, whatever it is. ~Nicole

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September 17, 2017

Slay…

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:20 am by Broken & Brave

Feed the hungry and slay your giant...

“Then Jesse said to his son, David, ‘Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.'” 1 Samuel 17:17-18

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Sometimes our Heavenly Father sends us into a situation that turns out to be an opposing giant in our life. We can be tempted to think, “if I hadn’t obeyed my Father I wouldn’t be in this situation.” But because we love our Father, as David did so his, we obey, just as David.

Your giant could be difficulties at work, or maybe a health scare, maybe your household is turned upside down or your finances in disarray. Your giant could even be something opposing your faith. But God, Abba Father, knew what He was doing when He picked you. He knew it was you He wanted to send with provision for the situations of life at hand. Your entire life is a Divine Assignment when your heart is in proper alignment with Heavens Signature Pen. He knew…

Though you may seem small in your situation or the least of your resources…He knew you were really great. He sees what’s inside. He knows He crafted you with superb ingredients. He knows the kind of food you bring to every avenue of this life you lead.

So, He put His Word in your heart and it extols the Lord. When you share your heart others are fed. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living or what your giant is- you’ve been sent to the battle line to face it, overcome it and sustain others from your experience. God has you strategically placed right where you are at for His purpose sake.

Run to the battle line, do not shrink back, and watch your Father pull a sling shot from His pouch, face the Giants of life through you and with one shot knock them out!

All by the power of the Cross. Embrace the journey…
It is meant to be extraordinary!

~Nicole

70 “He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.”

Psalm 78:70-72

 

September 15, 2017

Hold Your Breath…

Posted in Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , at 6:34 am by Broken & Brave

Sometimes people tell me how intimidating John is. He is a strong and passionate man of principle and conviction…but if you know him you are aware of his jokes. At the gym the other day I very randomly look over at him and say, “I only miss you when I am breathing”. He looks back at me and says, “Is that why you hold your breath so much?”

Sometimes laughter is the key to help you hold it together as you await your victory. There’s nothing so refreshing as a joy filled heart.

If you are facing adversity or high levels of stress, find something to cause laughter, it will help release and pent up agitation. Remind yourself life is good and this too will pass. Adversity is the breakfast of Champions that builds HEART.

Take heart…for every struggle Gods making way for blessings to rise higher! It’s all about perspective. So hold your breath, take in Heavenly oxygen as the Lord emerses you in Divine Restoration. He taking steps to heal your broken places and prepare you for glory as you’ve never known before. When he opens the doors, he wants you ready, grounded and looking the part for his glorious mission of heart.

If God was clever enough to detail the sunrise, then He also used the same ingenuity when he created you…His most Excellent craftsmanship! You will emerge bigger and brighter than ever before. As all of Heaven takes notice of you, your fellow man will, too. God’s counting on you to direct their eyes toward him in all you achieve, in all you do. So whatever you face today, he’s got you! He is preparing and shaping the stellar quality of a Champion he has embedded within you.

~Nicole

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2

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