October 19, 2017

Unfair or Foundational?

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:07 am by Broken & Brave

The only people who fail are those who quit. Don’t quit!

Some people don’t have to work very hard and things come naturally to them while others work extremely hard and the results come with great difficulty. Have you ever wondered about this? I see this a lot in my competitions. Girls who don’t train very hard and don’t stick to their diet, yet they walk away with a trophy. But this concept applies to many areas of life. It could be a Valedictorian to rarely studied, the person who finds a job in a day while you hunt away. The list goes on.

Some may say it seems unfair, but don’t allow your heart, your mind nor your attitude to droop. For anything you deem important enough to put your heart to and it falls in line with the inspired Word of God, then God cares about it too and He is with you making way for you. Sometimes the Lord places purposes in our heart knowing the challenge it will bring. He will use it all to build stellar character to the pure of heart. So don’t quit. Never give up. You must be decided and possess absolute belief that the God who put you to it will see you through it brilliantly. What do you gain by quitting? You become like those work not at all and nothing comes to them. But when you work hard and discipline yourself the rewards received by far outweigh and title or trophy. It’s about becoming the best you can be and self worth and dignity. ~Nicole

“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”
1 Cor. 9:24-26

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October 17, 2017

Brave

Posted in Devotional tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:57 am by Broken & Brave

JOY has a Name.
PEACE has a Name.
LOVE has a Name…
And all are encapsulated in a heart that is Brave.

You are Brave.

What does it mean to be brave?

The answer is yours to complete. The only requirements to meet are to dig deep and live out fully-paying attention to the details-the path God has charted for your life. To step out in faith-Despite any fear of making a mistake because you know you take God’s Grace and blessing with you. There is a Journey out there that is yours alone to do. Heavens got a Who’s Who and it includes you.

You are a Difference Maker.
Let’s go…the lives of others may only take shape after you step out in faith. ~Nicole

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October 14, 2017

Best Yet…(don’t forget)

Posted in Devotional tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:28 am by Broken & Brave

“I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” Psalm 101:2

Everyday can be the best day of your life if your hearts mindset is right. Whether you have grand plans or daily chores, when you do it all for The Lord it can be amazing! How do you do it all for The Lord? A lot of that has to do with expectation.

If you crawl out of bed sour and grumpy every morning you are expecting sour grumpy mornings every night before you go to bed. Just because that’s how it’s been in the past doesn’t mean today can’t be a new day! God gave you this day and whatever you expect from it is generally what you will get. If you expect conflict and trouble, your attitude of heart just may be projecting conflict and trouble. If you are expecting a good result from tasks or obligations you may not want to perform, your attitude will be brighter in the midst of your work and this will be like a pleasing aroma attracting others around you.

Get up each day DECIDED that you will have a good day and circumstances and others are going your way! What we perceive and believe is usually what we receive. Change your outlook and watch how the flow of your day goes…Life is an EXCITING ADVENTURE! ~Nicole

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October 12, 2017

Full View

Posted in Devotional tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:39 am by Broken & Brave

It may feel easier to draw back and recluse yourself in self preservation. But God’s drawing you out in His Perfect Love. His affection is over you. Transparency breeds intimacy and trust, but transparency is scary, it involves risk. I tell you that you are the Beloved of Heaven. There is no safer place to be yourself than in quiet prayers to an Almighty God. The more transparent we can be with God the more we can have healthy and worth while relationships with others. It’s like opening the ribbon from a gift to see something amazing inside. He unravels our discomforts and sets them aside and then focuses on the content of our heart…beauty purified by His Love. The best of you is still locked inside of you, but God wants to draw it out into full view for others to see, too. He believes in you! ~Nicole

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

October 8, 2017

Faith Can Flex

Posted in Devotional tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:00 am by Broken & Brave

You have tremendous muscle memory…not just in your physical frame, but also in the depths of your heart, your spirit.

You’ve maybe heard it said your faith is like a muscle. It must be stretched, pulled, contorted and bent before it can shape and mold into something you can believe in. But here’s something maybe you haven’t considered…

When you go through a trial and endure the rugged terrain of a wilderness experience…when your eyes have strained, but you have failed to see because the intensity of your trial too ominous…so dark. During these wee hours of heartbreak and pain is where your real strength is made and when you make it to the other side not only are you breathing, healthy, alive, but your faith has survived. Then, during seasons of comfort or even mild seasons of distress your faith remembers where’s it’s been, what it’s done, and how you’ve overcome, and you handle it all just a little more effortlessly. Your stoicism will give others who lack faith hope and create room for them to breath, gain relief and make it, too, just as valiantly.

You have tremendous muscle memory…not just in your physical frame, but also in the depths of your heart, your spirit.

Let’s Flex!!!😉

~Nicole

“For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” Psalm 33:21

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 13, 2017

Wrapped Up

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:13 am by Broken & Brave

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“The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.”
Psalm 104:2

Oh Lord, may we wrap ourselves in your light and adorn ourselves in your garment. With you we can scale the tallest mountain or swim the depths of the sea. When we abide in you we are like the roots of a tree planted deeply and drinking from the depths of your Living Water. Bless each of your children today as they bless others. ~Nicole

 

September 12, 2017

Joy Storm

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:45 am by Broken & Brave

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecc. 3:1

I am a preparer of words, feeder of the heart, nurturer of the soul. God sees your heart. He sees what I cannot. He gives me insight and glimpses of what to say, but 9 times out of 10 times I don’t know how or who it will impact. God has drawn you here and you are welcome.

We are all feeding others with our words everyday (whether written or spoken). What shall we serve? I desire my words to be nourishing to the heart, mind, soul, yet sweet and flavorful to the palate. Should I serve you meat, I know you have to be able to get it down, with a delicate choice of my words.

So, here is to you and all you hope to do, all you desire to see, everything in your heart you can conceive to be. God placed every desire in your heart. It is up to you to harness it accordingly and use it to live out your dreams…and as you pave a wake in your destiny, you leave a trail of a beautiful and fragrant aroma that builds others up and takes their breath away in the most delightful way.

You are capable of far more than you currently dare to dream. I know this is true…you are magnificent. The Lord bless you and keep you, making his face to shine upon you. The Lord lift up your countenance and bring you Peace, Joy, Love and Glorious Anticipation as you have never known before. This is only the beginning… YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET! ~Nicole

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September 6, 2017

Win it: Sparkle While You Do it!✨

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:07 am by Broken & Brave

You don’t read a song, you sing it.
You don’t play and instrument, you touch it. Your heart and passion does the playing.

You don’t dream a dream,
you live it…

When I was a teen I fell in love with fitness and all things related to health and fitness. Magazines were still read back then and I wasn’t into the normal girly teen magazines so much as I was drawn to the fitness driven magazine. I remember watching the Olympia on television and being captivated. Not by the male competitors, but the women. I was completely attracted to the physique and finished edges of their chiseled frames.

I had a stationary bike in my bedroom at my parents house and I would put my old school Walkman to use as I did my own little personal spin class before spin classes were even marketed in gyms. I guess I had vision and innovation. Too bad I didn’t have the insight to realize that I had a few good ideas and could’ve marketed them to the general population! Even in college, while studying nutrition, I dreamed of nutrition and fitness counseling, not planning menus in a hospital or retirement home (which is what most people in my field of interest did with such a degree in the early 90’s).

Imagine how surprised I was when I began having literal dreams about competing in bodybuilding after birthing my FIFTH child! I kind of blew it off at first. But these dreams began to increase and persist. I began experiencing a series of events that all highlighted to me the possibility that God actually wanted me to begin to compete. Was He crazy? I mean, where was this idea when I was 25? God is so unique, He’d been planting His plans for my life all along, writing my song and singing it to my heart.

You know, Heaven is full of love songs written exclusively for you. Only God can correctly carry the tune and sing the melody of heart in just the right key to cause your heart to swell and the melody to swing. Then we sway in the direction He leads. At least, that’s how the Holy Spirit is with me.

After much prayer and discussion all of this with my husband (who was 100% ultra supportive of my venture despite the enormous commitment and sacrifice it would require from us all) I began to prepare for my first show.

I had no figure coach. My husband assisted me as we constructed a sports specific training program design and the nutrition, well, that’s my department.

I began to study everything I could on how to prep and pose and hold my presence. Bodybuilding is about presentation, head to toe. It’s not just the symmetry and clean lines. It’s the poise, the walk, the finesse. Stage Presence. All of which continues to prove to me that God has a sense of humor because I’ve never cared less to be under any spotlight of any stage. I don’t like it actually. Maybe that’s why He asked me…

From day one this figure competition thing has been 100% about Him and has very little to do with me. How can that be you ask? Because I am obeying the Lord. I have stepped into a world of fitness as fashion full of models. But when you spend time with these people, and most I’ve met are wonderful people, they are real and authentic and broken and hurting and inspiring and looking for things to fill their hearts void. What a Beautiful opportunity I have to build relationship in this community. And that’s what I have done. To me, what goes on back stage is just as important on “game day” as all the preparations made to prepare my physical appearance to step on that stage. Every single time I both hate it and love it. Every single time I agree with my Father to dig deep and continue to compete. The older my children get and more diverse their interests and time demands, the even harder it becomes. It’s hard enough as a Mom to take care of yourself when you’re taking care of everybody else. But all the meal prepping, measuring, calculating, training, training, TRAINING!!! It isn’t easy.

But here’s something beautiful. My first show I truly didn’t know what to expect or what I was doing. I was 300% out of my comfort zone. I swore I wouldn’t do it again…for about 5 minutes. Then I was daring myself to dig in and see what I could really do. So I immediately entered another show that was only another two weeks out. This second show was a much bigger show. 100+ competitors all top notch. Very intimidating crowd.

I loved that show.

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I didn’t place all that well in any of my classes. 4th across the board. I never go into a show feeling ready. No matter how I place. But this show was significant for other reasons.

I met a woman last summer who I was about to compete against in the same class same show. She was friendly and engaged me in conversation immediately as we waited for the dressing rooms to be ready for us to use. In a bodybuilding show they have to paper the walls and floors to protect the surface from all that awesome (sarcasm inserted here) fake tanning products. As we waited she said something to the effect, “You must win all your shows.” I was a bit floored. “Me?”

I see everything that I still need to work on, but she saw something else.

She proceeded to tell me she had seen me compete before. She saw me in that big show I just described to you. The one pictured above. She was there to support a friend I competed against that day (who I knew and remembered as well). She told me I was the reason, the inspiration, she lost weight got in shape and decided to compete. Me… floored again.

Why inspired by me? Why not the woman who won the whole darn thing?

Because of God!!!!

This is what I have always aspired to do! Not necessarily that fit looks like a competitor, but if I can achieve THIS despite all the potential “can’t” excuses, then maybe the woman who can’t get motivated to care for herself will begin to try and believe that she CAN!  To inspire people as a fitness model on all levels! Health and fitness and also spiritual emotional wellness and fitness!

 

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I won that day. I only did 3rd and 4th place on the stage in my two classes…but I won. I won because of those words she had to say. I was blessed beyond measure and realized on a deeper level how important it is to God we obey to do the unconventional methods He instructs in us. It possesses power to reach people in one way or another that doesn’t look like a traditional methodology. That is what I love.

This story is an example of true Joy. My educational background and society around me teaches that you can’t give what you don’t have so learn to love yourself then maybe you will be able to love others. My Bible and my life experience says, “Want Joy? Want happiness? Desire satisfaction and contentment of soul? Love others and you will find your gold.”

I have found by personal experience that when I focus my heart to loving and caring for others most…I have found myself, my Joy, my happiness as a by product. Loving others, serving others, has refined my focus and stoked and highlighted within my own heart the things that make me happy. The things that I feel passionate about. The things I was created to do. The person God created me to be. True Peace is in Jesus, not my form, not my name, not a picture of me with a trophy in a frame. True Joy is in giving ourselves fully to Jesus. It is not enough to camp out next to the River. We must get into the Water. We must fully submerse ourselves in Him. Joy is in serving and loving others while placing our own personal wants and desires last.

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O-Others
Y-Yourself

You’ve got something special within that sparkles bright. It catches the Light and magnifies it causing a glimmer in the eye of those who look upon you. Sparkle Bright. Your Shine has power to dispel the Night. Radiance is all about you.

Keep digging. You’re winning.

~Nicole

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

1 Cor. 9:24-27

 

 

 

September 4, 2017

Better Your Average

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 8:16 am by Broken & Brave

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I don’t think there is a child on the planet who dreams of growing up to be average. But as we age life settles in and we begin to care more about what we see in our situations of life in the natural eyes and the eyes of vision and destiny become a bit foggy until eventually they are not functioning at all. We forget how to dream. We forget that we can do all things with Christ. We begin to accept the opinions of others and what they say is possible or achievable for our life. The voices in our heads can be anything from our family and friends to the bill collector who reminds you how much you are strapped financially.

How can you ever risk to take action steps towards God’s Promise? Then it happens…we become average. We settle. We accept status quo as our new norm. We stop growing, stop learning and stop being inspired. We work at jobs we don’t like to make money only. We forget to make a difference because we are desperate for something different in our own lives. After all, you won’t be able to pull other people into the boat of possibility if you are still in the water holding onto the side of the boat to keep from sinking. You need both hands free!

People do the same thing with their health and fitness. They can’t afford it. “Eating healthy is too expensive”, I can’t recall how many times I’ve been told that. Compared to what? Define expensive? Because deleterious health seems far more expensive to me! Or they are too busy or the slightest change in the schedule of their day creates a need to cancel some things out and the workout is always the first thing cancelled. There is a huge difference in mindset between the fit person and the average person. The fit person creates an opportunity for exercise, even if it isn’t conventional or a trip to the gym. They understand the importance of the consistent routine.

Stop settling for mediocre. Engage your mind, read books that stretch and grow you. Surround yourself with people who aren’t average, who haven’t stopped dreaming, who are healthy risk takers and possibility shakers…Difference Makers. These people will both inspire you and make you a bit uncomfortable all at the same time. That’s not bad! It means you’re out of your comfort zone and reaching into a new zone of possibility!

They say if you are the smartest person in the room then you are in the wrong room. (That’s why I married John, by the way, he’s so brainy I never have to leave the house!!! That was a joke…) 😂😜😉
As my husband always says–I call his little sayings, “Coachisms”:

“It’s a great day to get better.”

And he says it nearly every day.

Ultimately, growth is a gift from God. We only use small portions of our mind. They say there are approximately seven different types of intelligence. We couldn’t possibly be strong in every area of intellect. Or could we? The only way to find out is to explore the regions of our faith, our mind, our emotions that we haven’t been so strong in exploring before.

Champions have a different mindset. They work harder on themselves than anyone else, then they take the fruit of what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown and they sow seeds in the community and people around them. But be prepared…when you do things different, think different, and refuse to follow the mold of average, you will get a lot of confused and blank stares from people in a regular basis. You will be misunderstood. Some may avoid you because they don’t want to grow or be uncomfortable. That’s ok. Just smile and keep going on your way.

Rise up today.
Stretch yourself.
Be Intentional…
Be Sincere…
Be a seed planter…
Be a harvester….
Be a Cultivator of Imagination…
The Possibilities are endless.

Be a Champion.

There is a mark of Glory upon you…

~Nicole

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24

 

 

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