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

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August 22, 2017

More Than Enough

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:29 am by Broken & Brave

Life is full of rich analogies…

 

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When I was either 12 or 13 years old I injured my knee. I believe it was the end of summer and just the beginning of 7th or 8th grade. I was having a marvelous day. The Jr. High group at my church had taken us kids on a bike ride into the country side just outside town from the quaint little community I lived in. It had to of been a 10 mile, one way bike ride. Our destination was the home of a family from our church. We headed out on our excursion in the morning hours and spent the day playing games, planned activities of all kinds and having a barbecue. I’m pretty sure they probably discipled our hearts some about God, but my greatest memories are the fun I had on this particular day. I honestly think, as I reflect on it now, I can still feel the numbness of face that comes from smiling really big for an extended amount of time. I can remember the bike ride, being on my bike on the country side in a long line of kids. I can still feel the peace and joy that resonated within.

When I was a kid I loved riding my bike. Back then you could ride everywhere, all over town, and not have a care in the world of anyone bringing you any harm.

I mentioned in the first sentence of my diatribe that I injured my knee. Well, despite the enormous glee I just described to you, it was on this very day that my injury occurred. I was involved in a very intense game called “water balloon fight”. You can imagine how this game went. No special rules, just a bunch of kids laughing and running and intending to throw balloons filled with water at their friends. Great joy. I had a balloon in hand and was running on some very slick grass. I was barefoot, of course. As I turned for some reason I found my legs were no longer under me and I was on the ground. I was experiencing deep pain radiating from my left knee. I recall lying on my side holding my knee when everyone came and gathered around to stare at me. In that moment I decided to take a look at the source of the pain and I removed my hands slowly to see that my patella was no where near where it was supposed to be. I had dislocated my knee cap.

I have no idea what inspired me to do what I did next. I had no prior education, experience or training, but I reduced that knee cap myself.  I probably had little help from God. But I moved my hands against the leg and extended my femur just so as to cause the knee cap to slide back into its home.

This is where the fun of my day ended. I was carried to the house and watched the kids continue their fun from a window seat view as I waited for my parents to come retrieve both myself and my bike that afternoon.

Despite the pain and the awful leg brace I had to wear for several weeks…to this day the memory of this particular day is and will always remain a great day full of great fun. Never once did I ever regret going or getting involved in that water balloon fight. Great fun and great memories were made.

A dislocated patella isn’t tragic. They happen a lot. Despite being extremely painful, once the knee is reduced the pain ends immediately, just like in child birth. Time is required to heal because the ligaments around the knee were damaged, but life goes on and the leg will be just fine.

Here’s where I find a rich analogy to reside…

Look at the seemingly insignificant location and necessity of the knee cap. It doesn’t seem to be of super importance at all. People don’t write songs about them. They rarely (but not never) get broken. It’s not like it’s a vital organ who’s function and health is central to life and bodily function. It’s just a knee. Most people don’t find them very attractive even. Some people are self conscious about them. But look at the important role this little one plays in balance and our ability to stand tall and move upon our legs! Without that little one hovering in its place our knee joint would have no armor. Our ability to bend and extend would be lost and without stability. Yes, that little knee is quite important you see!

Do you ever feel a bit small or insignificant? So where would the world be without you? Where would your family, your community, your church be if you weren’t tucked right where God wants you to be? Who said you weren’t important? Who said your life didn’t matter? Who said your role in life was small, insignificant or even ugly? But if this is how you’re feeling I want you to know how wrong your thinking is.

You’re life matters.
There is a place amongst others specifically designed for you.
In God’s family there is a place in the family for you.
You are needed.
You are valuable.
You are necessary.
The rest of us couldn’t do what we do without you.
You add supplemental strength to others.
You provide comfort to those around you even just by being present and hanging around.
People in your life can’t imagine their life without you in it.

You are more than enough to handle life’s obstacles, embrace life’s pivotal moments and wrap yourself around every pinnacle point of blessing.

Don’t feel out of place. Don’t walk away from the spaces in life God has carved for you to occupy. You may not always understand his plans or how things are working out…but God promises to work them out to your favor.

In his arms you will find perfect care and he keeps track of even the tiniest of details in your life.

He will always treat you right.
He loves you after all and believe it or not, God needs you just as much as the rest of us do.

Life has a hand carved space just for you. You may be the deciding factor, just like a knee, to keeping balance and leverage in something much bigger.

Find your place.
Rest in that space.
The rest of us would fall apart without you…

~Nicole

“You are the body of Christ.
Each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Cor. 12:27

May 13, 2017

Giving💜

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:01 am by Broken & Brave

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In Christian circles we always hear the term “give your first fruits”. We receive this as meaning to give God and His House the first blessing from our income. But what if it means more?

I know it means more and I know I’m not the first to write or speak of it. But why do we focus more on this aspect of giving over any other aspect of it? Shouldn’t we also be giving people the best of our attitude, the best of our kindness, the best of our gifts, talents, abilities and also our resources?

One of my biggest dilemmas when I clean out the kids or my clothes closet is deciding what’s worthy to give away and what should just be thrown away. Take a perfectly good pair of jeans that happen to have a rip in the knee. Other than the rip, the condition of the garment is outstanding. Give it? Chuck it? If I give it someone who has no pants may find them a priceless treasure or maybe someone can create a pair of shorts for their child from them. Give? On the other hand, would I buy them at the store like that? Chuck? This scenario may not be the best example since torn jeans are the style and even I am guilty of buying them that way! But you get the idea.

What about our treasures, our stuff? Are we generous with the bounty of belongings God has endowed to us? Was it all given so we could hoard the blessing or is it truly meant to be shared as God leads us into deeper levels of giving and generosity?

What of our time? Of course we need to give of our abilities! But what about just giving of ourselves? I admit, in the United States in present day America it is becoming tougher and tougher to give this way because the demands on our schedules are insane. As a Mom with a large family, my entire day is fully loaded. I have to purpose myself to sit down here and there just to maintain my stamina and get appropriate moments of rest. Otherwise I’d be on the clock nonstop. This isn’t my choice, it’s just the necessity of the season of life I’m in. My day has to be extremely organized because I’m being pulled in so many different directions as the governor of many lives. Not just my family, but also my clients customer satisfaction and my outside involvements. At the same time, so many people involved, I must be flexible and able to change course at a moments directive! Life happens and we have to adjust and go on the fly sometimes. Anyone relating to this?

So…with this being said, how shall we give and give from our best? I think this is a test of the heart God has for each individually. There is a general answer, but God has an individual answer pinned to your heart. Maybe it will stick in an area of giving that doesn’t come so naturally to you.

An area of giving that comes extremely natural to me is encouraging and giving my best to others in affirmation exhortation. I absolutely love making other people feel valuable and special. The day to day can bring discouragement and all sorts of feelings that can make people forget how precious and valued they are. Encouraging others is my drug of choice! I recently asked someone how I could encourage them. They were dumbfounded! They told me they had never had someone just ask to encourage them before. This was so sad to me!

Yesterday I needed to quickly run into a shop at the request of my husband for something he needed that morning. It wasn’t in my schedule and I had a time crunch. I easily could have allowed myself to get stressed about it and perturbed. Maybe I did a little when I realized how it might make me late to my first client. But then I pulled my heart right and prayed. I knew he needed this item and knew my client was very flexible. So I texted her to let her know I may be a few minutes late, she was ok with it. I proceeded to the store. I got in line to check out and the young gal right in front of me had in a unique looking sandal. I complimented her on how darling her shoes were. She said thanks and began to tell me she just purchased them and the deal, all that girl shop talk. Then I noticed her hair was dyed a deep burgundy. I told her that her hair was nice as well. I could visibly see her get a little taller. I ran into her again before leaving and she was super friendly and chatty with me. I could tell I gave her ease and made her comfy. Then she walked away and turned one more time to say, “I hope you have a really blessed day.”

Hmmm. This was interesting to me. Most people, except people of faith, don’t use the word “blessed”. For all I know she was my sister in Christ and had been struggling with her hair and her worth just that morning as she readied for her day and my simple gesture of uninvited kindness lifted her up. I will never know. But what I do know is it always feel better to give others our best in kindness even when we are in a bit of a hurry. I could’ve focused on the time I had to wait in line and how long will this take? Instead I took the time to notice the world around me.

Give the world your very best today. You have so much to offer. Others are lifted and comforted by your presence in their life. Be present. Cherish all of it. Your life a beautiful gift. One of God’s best…

~Nicole

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

December 4, 2016

Run, Pray & Find Your Way

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:48 am by Broken & Brave

Everyone who knows me knows my passion for health, fitness and nutrition and their impact on quality of life. I know it was God who stirred this passion and purpose in me. I didn’t play a lot of sports growing up. I wasn’t on a bunch of teams. No cheesy photos of me in a uniform. I cheered throughout high school and swam one year on swim team to stay in shape. But this deep desire was in me to be well, eat well, do well. I had no outside influence for this. My family does not share my passion for health and fitness. Not a coach, mentor or teacher telling me of my potential. I was almost always picked last or next to last for everything. My drive was all God, all spoken internal. I was 13 years old and was already thinking about lifelong wellness and disease prevention. Only God can do that. What 13 year old thinks of such things on their own? I never had mentors to pull me under their wing. In fact, most of my entire life I had the opposite. I was told I didn’t measure up, I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or didn’t do it right. For a long time I believed it.

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I love to sprint for cardiovascular fitness and to stay lean. Almost year round I will squeeze in a quick 10 minute sprint routine at the start of my day. Most days I now use the track at my kids school. The grounds keepers at the school have a little girl who is sometimes there waiting for her parents before being taken to school. Our first encounters with her she was bashful and hid away when she saw me. But over time she popped herself out to be seen, but still, very far away. But little by little she would come watch me run.

One morning, maybe a month ago, I got to the track to feast my eyes on a little 8 year old girl, who isn’t in the best of shape or weight, out on the track running her sprints.

Every sprint I’ve ever run, every bit of effort to encourage another I’ve ever given, was in that moment completely worth it. I had prayed just that morning if God would please use me that day to inspire another life higher. I specifically prayed for that little girl and that she would be inspired by me. God is so good, so faithful, so kind. I still pray for that little one, she talks my ear off now, and that she would find her drive and live her life to its fullest. Blessings for a glorious day. Your life an Inspired Asset of Heaven.

As we run, we pray and God makes the way.
-Nicole

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

Heb. 12:1