December 2, 2017

Comfortable Shoes

Posted in Inspirational, true story tagged , , , , , , at 8:00 am by Broken & Brave

It takes me a long time to decide if I like something. This is true for almost everything. There are very few things I immediately love. But once I’ve decided and settled on it, I become attached and that’s that, I’m loyal to the core.

As long as I can remember I have been engaged with a deep love affair for shoes. That’s right…shoes. I have no idea what caused me to love them so, but for as long as I know I’ve had a fond attachment to them. I don’t love all shoes, of course, I’m particular about this as well.

When I was a young girl I remember asking my Grandmother (Grammy we called her) if I could go into her closet and try on her shoes. She was a diminutive woman and her foot a little small, so even as a young girl her shoes were still big, but not so big that I couldn’t picture how they’d look if I fit them a little better. Every Christmas this same grandmother would ask what I wanted for a gift and I always told her I wanted new shoes, namely boots. I loved heels and boots best, but of course my mother had the sense to not allow me to wear heels until I was older, so boots it was. I can still probably remember every pair she ever bought me.

Have you ever had a pair of shoes you missed? I’ve had many. I had a pair of shoes I purchased my junior year of college. It was a time when booties (ankle boots) were just coming into style. Seemed the trend for everyone was the style that looked a little like a cowboy boot, but short. I liked them, but as usual, when I went shopping I selected an ankle bootie, but it looks nothing like any boot I’d seen. This is so typical me-I do know that I always love things a little different or unique from the trends. I am also an efficient shopper. I have an agenda and go to find exactly what I’m looking for and am usually done shopping in and out the store tops 20-30 minutes. This particular boot took me a little while to decide how much I liked them. I liked them enough to wear them, but wasn’t really sure I loved them. But the more I wore them, the more they worked their way into my heart. The sole and the leather creased in all the right places and conformed to my foot image making my stride not only fashionable, but extremely comfortable and practical. Also big pluses for me. I have to be comfortable in my clothes or shoes.
This pair of shoes probably became an all time favorite pair. I wore them out, had the soles replaced, and wore them out again. I finally had to get rid of them despite the faithful friend they’d been.

How about you? Have you had something you loved dearly and stuck to it faithfully like glue? Are there things in your life that bring you comfort and are familiar?

Well…let me tell you about my Friend. He will stick closer to you than any kind of bondo glue. He is better than any shoe I’ve ever owned. He will help you. He will be loyal to you. Not only that, but He will guide your soul and bring peace like the comfort of a pair of well worn, yet sturdy shoes. He will protect your heart, mind, soul and will offer you Peace and constantly remind you how much you are adored. Far better than any pair of shoes I’ve ever owned.

The God of all Heaven is waiting for your relationship to begin. He is Patient. He is low pressure. He is Gentle. He is oh so very Kind. He knows you may be a little fickle and particular-just like me. He understands you may like to take your time and think. Your cautious about Him maybe because you’re just not sure what He’s all about and if following Him is going to be a good fit for your life. Although He already knows that He is a custom fit, He just keeps shining and beaming and waiting for you to select him. King Jesus, the ultimate Lover of your Soul. He will crown your life with gold and drape his Goodness all about you like garments. He will bring you His shoes of peace and will comfort your life.

God bless your life. His timing is always right. He offers beauty for pain and comfort even in the rainy storms of life.

~Nicole

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

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November 27, 2017

Well Spent

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:36 am by Broken & Brave

Life is like a coin. You may spend a coin any way you should delight, just like your life. But once you spend it – you cannot spend it again.

So, as this new Day begins may I bless you with my pen and God capture it and penetrate your soul and marinate it and season it and return it as pure gold, ounce upon ounce, added to your life.

Life is like a coin.
Spend it as you like.
You can only spend it once, so if you must spend it-
Spend it in the arms of love.
Spend it secured in Thanksgiving and Faithfulness.
Spend it with Graciousness.
Draw deposits from Heaven.
May the yeast of Compassion be woven and kneaded in.
Yoke your heart like a dove to everything and everyone you love.
Captivate the audience of others as though you were Lover’s.
Spend yourself tirelessly on  behalf  of others.
Never regret, never fear.  Goodness and Mercy are with you near.
The Love sent from above would penetrate you both when you are awake and while you sleep.
May you dream of every golden promise and know it is yours to keep.
May His Heart be your Sanctuary of Goodness, your Refuge and Escape.
Know you are God’s Super Hero and upon your shoulders does His cape drape.

There is no one else like you –
God will give you an increase of power for your calling, whatever your calling be, and the joy of soul to perform it well.

A life was sent from heaven and spent entirely for you. Because you are what He Treasures. May God continually bless you in abundant measure.

The Loveliness of Heaven Bless your day with a Golden Kiss.
Not one single blessing will you miss…

May your life be like a well-watered Garden.

~Nicole

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

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November 24, 2017

Focus

Posted in Devotional, Inspirational tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:06 am by Broken & Brave

 

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with Thanksgiving.”
1 Timothy 4:4

It matters not if you can’t find the way, or see the way, or how in the world the Lord can make a way. If your eyes are on the doubts and questions, it’s going to be out of focus like a lens of a camera before it locks in to the Center of the frame. God has extraordinary ability to create fabulous and outstanding things out of…well…nothing!

He created the Cosmos from His spoken Word. He simply said something to the effect, “Be…” and out poured His Inspiration and Creativity. Just look at the beauty, capability and design of woman. The first one was made from a rib! See- God can do whatever He wants to and it is by His divine light and grace that created focus and just like a car key in the ignition He’s got ambition to do incredibly things…just. for. you.

So keep the apple of your eye laser focused on the Giver and watch Him betroth your heart with a tender clove of His Goodness, Strength, Love and Mercy. His gift will be a Creative Miracle and He will Shock and Awe you as He woo’s you lovingly. And that’s how True Courtship is supposed to be. If He hung on a Tree of Love for you, don’t you believe He will see your trials through, too? He loves you.

Be blessed this day in good measure and may the grace of heaven lock arms with you giving you mastery focus on all you think, say and do.

~Nicole

(graphics by aestheticallyalexandra)

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November 22, 2017

Compounded Interest

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , at 7:10 am by Broken & Brave

There is no doubt in my mind that today many things you will read, see, hear are going to carry the theme of gratitude and Thanksgiving…as it should. Of course we become sentimental and Intentional at this time of year, but at the moment I am recalling a season of my life where I learned about gratitude and how to die to self and pride of life which thrusted me into deeper levels of gratitude.

John and I had been married maybe five years tops. Just getting married alone, as a side note, will open our eyes to how selfish in nature our natural self is…at least I did. It was the first time I was responsible for caring for more than just myself.

Anyway, we were transitioning and I went from working two jobs to quitting all of them to be at home. I didn’t make tons of money, but one of my jobs paid very well and my contribution definitely added cushion and fun to the family curriculum. We’d always been good money managers so we made appropriate adjustments and did ok. But God began to ask us to give and sacrifice to the point that it caused our own lack. I had never felt financial pinch like this before and it was uncomfortable–just like how your belt is going to feel tomorrow–tight! I began to question God and wonder if I was hearing Him wrong?

If I’m giving like He’s asking and sacrificing for others why was I still feeling it?

After a bit of time allowing me to chew and ponder, the Heavenly Father responded to my ponder and this is what He said. First, He spoke knowledge to my soul and told me something to the effect of “watch and see how I use other people to help meet your need.” This is what He did. So then I began to wonder why in the world would He ask me to give just so someone else would have to help me when I had the means in the first place to care for myself? Second, He dropped a rocket in my heart that shattered my previous mold and He began to reconstruct a heart of gratitude to a deeper level…He said,
“It’s not about you…” I replied, “What’s not about me, Lord (because I was still struggling to ‘get it'”.) “Any of it…” nothing was about me.

Life is not about us, it’s about Him. By asking me to sacrifice to help others causing my own need, He was able to intercede and lead someone else to help me creating blessing for everyone involved. He multiplied faith, trust, community and blessing. If I cared only for my own need then I’d have been the only one blessed. But by doing what He did I received the blessing of giving and receiving as did others. He multiplied and compounded the interest. I also learned more than ever how God is the Great Economizer and my life truly isn’t my own and for this lesson I was ever grateful.

If you are struggling in your heart, there are unanswered prayers or deep concerns and cares in your life right now…don’t lose faith. Hold your Hope…God will throw you His rope and He will make you aware how much He cares. Your life may not be your own, but He paid a hefty price for it and He always protects His investments. And what a Beautiful and Lucrative Investment you are.

~Nicole

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Col. 3:12

November 21, 2017

Healthy Habits

Posted in Devotional tagged , , , , , , at 6:57 am by Broken & Brave

Anything you do with consistency you get better at. If you want to get stronger, you will move and use your body everyday in some way. Even if it’s not a trip to the gym, you’ll do something that exerts energy. If you want to get healthier you’ll eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water, maybe even take a few vitamins. If you want to expand your vocabulary you will spend ample time reading materials that intellectually stimulate and challenge you. If you want to nurture and build a relationship you will pay attention to it faithfully. You get the idea. This is one of several reasons why I write everyday. It’s also why we should devote time to devote ourselves to read the Word and pray. God actually has a lot to say and has ample answers to those prayers you pray, but are we listening? Are we slowing down to hear? Are we carving out time in the business of life to even hear ourselves think?

Cultivate the habit of taking a few meditative moments every day. Begin this way. You’ll be amazed at the time you actual save because you will be stable and able to better focus, maneuver and navigate your day all because you simply took a few moments to breath in your moments and thank God for the good things in your life. God cares about our habits. Let’s make it a good habit of accepting Love from Him. ~>Nicole

“Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.”
Psalm 63:3

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November 20, 2017

Explore

Posted in Inspirational, true story tagged , , , , , at 7:39 am by Broken & Brave

The Lord is Beautiful. He is Magnificent. How can one so Majestic, so Powerful- Extreme and Supreme- be so kind and gentle and tender with me? But this is exactly how He’s been.

I’ve been pondering His Goodness as He guides and directs my life. When you Purpose your choices to live by faith, yielding to the lead of the ever Amazing Grace of Heaven, you make decisions based on His lead not your own. I sometimes find myself making choices and choosing paths I wouldn’t have considered on my own for various reasons. Sometimes when I embark on His lead and take those steps of faith I am tentative and wondering, but I have enough experience with this- my faith is secure enough to go anyway and obey. Then I usually find myself saying, “I’m so glad I listened and obeyed.”

God sees what we cannot. He has a rooftop view of all of Eternity. The Universe is His footstool. He can see both the future and the past and knows exactly where you are at-both physically as well as emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. He will meet you there every single time. Without fail.

When He guides you to a destination He will make a promise. He will give you something to hang your hope on. Frequently there is some pain and refinement between point A (where you are now) and Point B (the Promised Land). But I dare say, the fire of affliction and the sting of Adversity are worth it. For the glorious fruit that is birthed in your own personal intimacy with the Father is loveliness like non other. Nothing compares to friendship with God.

I’ve recently competed in two figure competitions. I went into the competition season training and preparing, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was tired and weary in general because of the demands my day to day life had to offer. I knew the extra umph I was going to have to muster up if I were to register and compete in a show. There He was, that sweet whisper in my ear, telling me over and over again that I wasn’t done and in fact I had only just begun. So as I searched for something to commit to nothing was working out. This is when I was lead to explore new paths. A new road became known and I ventured into an organization I knew nothing about. I have two friends who compete in this organization so I contacted one and asked some questions. I dove in headlong and committed to one of their biggest shows.

I enjoyed that experience very much…in fact, I enjoyed more than any other show I had ever done before. There was to be another even bigger show the following week in Las Vegas. I wasn’t registered, but the Spirit had already given me the heads up I would qualify to compete and he wanted me to go. It was a tough commitment because I only had a few days notice to get registered, book a hotel, make arrangement for my children…a lot of last minute work. When it’s God is always runs smooth and this is how it went for sure.

Before I committed I sat in church on a Sunday, the day after the first show. As I sat thinking about if I’d go or seeking God to lean in my heart once more so I could be sure of the steps and the expense it would bring I was also listening to my pastor preach. Suddenly, I heard the Spirit of God move in my heart and said, “It would be a mistake for you not to go.” I got out my journal to write His words down and as I was writing it was as though the voice of my pastor were carried in a wind tunnel right to my head. It was supernatural and powerful and I knew God was giving me ample confirmation to sustain my faith. The pastor was saying-just as I was writing the words down…”it would be a mistake not to go.” –pastor said, “I’d rather try and fail than be successful at doing nothing.” Even though he was half way across a large room, his voice spoke like he were right next to me. That was God.

We all play a key in the Body. I had a fabulous experience on that trip and I agree, I would have missed out horribly on so many things for now and the future if I had held back and not gone to Vegas. But even more, my Pastor was faithful to follow the lead of the Spirit in ministry and God used his voice as a source of supplemental confirmation for me. You never know how God is using your life.

On my trip I met some amazing new friends and reconnected with some old ones. But one little gal in particular I am praying for and getting to know. I know our meeting was a Divine Appointment and I can’t wait to see what God does.

I guess my take-a-way for you today is don’t be afraid to try. Don’t hold back when you feel the Lord nudging you in the back. Release inhibitions and bring your will, your reason, into submission. God sees what you can’t. When we take steps of faith He is as close as our face and gives us ample opportunity to trust His lead. The better you become at doing this, the more He will lead you into situations and opportunities that make no sense in the natural and may seem ominous and scary. But trust me, these are the moments when His Greatness won’t vary. He will explore it and expose that same Greatness He has locked in you–even you will be blown away at all the amazing He does in you and through you. He’s always got you…and that’s a Promise.

Walking by Faith is opportunity for Grace.

~Nicole

November 19, 2017

Advocate

Posted in Inspirational tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:40 am by Broken & Brave

I am always advocating healthy eating, exercise and proper rest. In the fitness industry we are known for measuring biceps and waistlines, but as I hope you know, I advocate making healthy choices because you are valuable and the worth of your life is enormous.

But the worth of your soul is more.

We may measure our physiques in the fitness industry, but these things are not the measure of your worth. God is always measuring our hearts. When you know God’s created you with a big heart He will walk beside you, training you, encouraging you, speaking all the blessing your life brings to humanity as He stretches and strengthens and bends us a bit. He sees the amazing “future you” and He sees the “beautiful current you” all at the same time. He creates the way for it all to line up and fit just right. Beautiful Soul is a suit that is worn lovely by you and when God hems it in it’s a custom fit. He means to mend, bridge and build every area of lack so that your big heart can be filled to overflow with all the good of Heaven don’t you know?

I write for who will receive my pen. My heart is to ultimately see you happy, healthy and thriving with your beautiful life…I never want you to be merely surviving. You were created for so much more. God has planned for you so much more.

~Nicole

“Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5:41

November 16, 2017

Future President🌟

Posted in Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:04 am by Broken & Brave

It only takes one person to believe in you to Light your Purpose afire.

When my daughter was little she had a t-shirt that said, “future president”. All my little ones inherited this shirt & as time went on I began telling ppl when they met my babies, that they were a future president. Most ppl would laugh like I was being funny…while I wouldn’t laugh, but would just pause and smile. I was declaring purpose over them.

President of what? A corporation? A club? The country? ….Yes.
I was declaring leadership over them.

Others may not have recognized it but God did. I didn’t let another’s lack of vision prevent mine. By the time I had number four, Joel, I had ppl telling me he looked like a president (he was a baby!) true story. All it takes is one who sees all you can be & speak it faithfully.

You are a diamond for for polish. Shine, let is shine…Brilliantly. ~Nicole

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November 14, 2017

the Power Of ONE

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:20 am by Broken & Brave

Power of One
The Spirit lay this piece I wrote several years ago on my heart this morning as I reflect with joy on a phone conversation I had with my oldest child last night. For a parent, for me, there is no greater joy than to not only see my children honoring the Lord, but to see them in tune with their spiritual gifts and how to use what God has given them coupled with their physical gifts, talents and abilities. Years ago, almost two decades ago now…the Lord petitioned my heart and asked something very grand on my life and my willingness to sacrifice for the King of Kings. He called me to a different kind of surrender. I agreed, with much fear and trembling. I knew the magnitude of what would be asked of me, but I craved nothing more than deeper intimacy with my King.

For several years after that decision the Spirit would move on my heart in the middle of the night and I’d get up to worship and listen to him. He spent years laying a foundation in me like nothing I’d ever been taught or seen and it was all things amazing. He cleaned out my spiritual house and spoke Love, acceptance and promises to my soul. But there was one thing He’d always repeat and I treasured more than anything else He promised and that was what He would do through my children.

As a result of my obedience we have travailed through some very difficult circumstances, but as my kids are near grown I look at who they are and how they think and what they see–both with the natural eye and the eyes of Spirit–I see God’s promise come to pass. I realize some of the hardest things we endured were pivotal in shaping my children into stoic warriors for Christ who rely just as much on the eyes of their spirit as they do their physical eyes. I am so touched, so moved, so proud.

Trust God with your children. Think of them with every act of obedience that may bring you challenge, difficulty or sacrifice. It will be worth it when you see the fruit cultivated in their life. Our legacy is our one true mark on humanity.

Be blessed today.. you and your children both.

~Nicole

Broken & Brave

“Be loving and tender to all.”
-John Wesley
(Ephesians 5:1-2)

John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist denomination. He had a brother named Charles who grew up to write countless hymns and poems. Both were the son of Susanna Wesley. Susanna’s husband was away on business much so she began teaching her children of the Bible in her own home on Sunday evenings. What she intended to be instruction in Godly living for her children, grew to become an in home Bible study to more than 200 people! Just think how God used this Mom to make a difference in her own family that exploded into something amazing for many in a day and age when women did not enjoy the same equality we have today. You never know how God intends to shape and mold your children or how He intends to use your parenting/instruction to reach the…

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November 11, 2017

Internal Bling✨

Posted in Inspirational, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:09 am by Broken & Brave

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6

Several of my devotions this a.m. contained threads of “contentment” laced throughout. It prompted an internal grin that flowed from my soul as I read each–for this is truly how I feel right now.

Yesterday I competed in the largest bodybuilding show I have ever competed in before. There are at least 326 athletes in this event so large it must span the coarse of four days and drew teams of athletes from all over the world. As I stood on the wings of the stage in prejudging yesterday I looked about (as I held my stage stance shoulders up, lats wide, torso twisted and legs charged…all in 5 inch heels on a slick floor of course)…I looked about the ladies who graced that stage with me. They were stunning. Beautiful form and symmetry, everything in place. Each had a personal style and grace no one could replace and I thought to myself. “Nicole, you are here.” It didn’t matter how I should finish, I was blessed.

Backstage everyone looks amazing, but once you get those bodies out under the stage lights you see fairly quickly who maybe shines the most bright. I knew the gal who posed right after me would win it. Her symmetry was on point for everything the judges are looking for. As she took her place by my side I whispered as I threw her a smile, “Your stunning”. She almost cried right there. Even the most beautiful of women need someone to believe in them and encourage them and love on them. Of course I love to do that! She did win and she won big–became overall winner and is now a Pro. But what I love is the humility of her soul. A sweet little lady from Hungary took home the gold.

As I reflected on my fourth place finish I felt joy in my soul. I am learning so much more about this sport and myself every time I take the stage. I know the source of my strength and worth isn’t in how high I place, but in knowing I’ve done my all and have pleased my Lord. I look around and see many of these women put their entire self worth in this thing…I’m praying for Divine Appointments to speak life and scout out the beauty and shine they bring to everyday life.

You may never aspire to compete in Figure, but you bring a shine to the world around you. There is a special kind of bling that only Jesus can bring and it’s locked like a pure gold medal embedded inside your chest. Let it rest within, shine within and draw others to the incredible light of Christ.

Because of Christ we’ve always got the win.

~Nicole

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