March 2, 2018

Visible

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , at 7:16 am by Broken & Brave

Invisible…

I think everyone has relationship goals of one sort or another. One of my goals for as long as I can remember is this…
I want to love each of my children as though they were my favorite. I want each child to feel so loved they don’t question my love for them in comparison to a sibling. This, for any parent, is such a delicate, patient and time focused goal. There will always be times when one child gets more of time, energy/attention or money, but the key is to keep it balanced.

Did you know that God loves you like that? It’s true. He totally and completely sees you. You are not invisible to him.

I spent all of my young life and even into adulthood feeling invisible. Not because of my parents or anything like that-but with peers and the world at large. I was enormously bashful and quiet. These qualities makes it easy to feel invisible. On top of this I am a bit soft spoken. Even when I try to be loud I can’t be. I actually have a hard time with large crowds and lots of loud noises. My natural bent is to recluse myself in those settings, even more so as a kid.

It wasn’t until I noticed God noticing me that my shell began to chip off and I began to blossom and bloom under the Radiant loom of His love, attention and care. I never needed to be a favorite at anything. I was too shy for any kind of attention like that. I just didn’t like feeling invisible…like I had no voice, no place. His love gave me a voice and it turns out, my passions and calling in life requires the use of that voice. You can’t encourage without using your voice!

God loves you. He sees you. He hears you in the quiet of your soul.
There’s something He wants you to know…

I have no doubt. You are God’s favorite, too. He’s just a cool Papa like that–I like that–His love is enough for all of us. ~Nicole

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”

1 Sam. 16:7
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February 27, 2018

Suit Up

Posted in Inspirational, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 7:14 am by Broken & Brave

Are you working toward your potential?

“Soldiers don’t get tied up with the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.” 2 Timothy 2:4

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Your DNA, the very essence of all things you had been hard wired before another soul on the planet knew you-including you. But God knew you. He knit you together in the secret place and positioned you in a woman’s womb and blessed her with the honor of being your mother.

What an honor motherhood and gestation really is. I remember being pregnant and watching my belly roll like waves of the sea as a little one tossed and turned beneath the surface loaded with potential. The inquisitive thoughts flood the mind, “Who is in there? What do they look like? How will their personality be?” Then I began doing things this way…I began speaking prophetically to my belly. I spoke destiny over my child. I spoke possibility. I declared all that could be possible for them and I invited the Lord into this prayer and asked him to join me and lead me in my prayers.

It’s been fun watching my children grow and to see many of the dreams, visions and prayers the Lord gave me for them unfold and become reality. I’m observing three of my children reach mile stone break through’s in their physical, spiritual and intellectual development right now and it’s wonderful. There is nothing that blesses more than for a parent to see their children succeed and hopefully supersede anything they could ever dream of accomplishing. At least, that’s how I feel. Just the other day I was speaking with my Dad on the phone and he told me, “Nicole, with everything you’ve been through (for the last several decades have been rough), God sure has blessed your children.”

I couldn’t agree more…But this too, was the prophesy of God unfolding. The Lord made a promise to me when I “signed up” or was enlisted into his army of stealthy soldiers. He spoke to the quiet recesses of my soul… “No matter what I ask you to walk through, I promise to bless you, but nothing will exceed what I do for your children.” Legacy. I see Him fulfilling his vow to me all the time. It makes all the obedience worth it.

What about you? Do you have promises of God still tucked in your heart that maybe should be pulled out and dusted off? Did you get side tracked somewhere along the way? How about your kids?

Do not fret or worry if they are not doing ok. God has got great plans for them. It’s never too late to choose the right path, surrender your will, your life, to the One and only Love that shines enormously bright. You are Radiant beyond description. God has locked so much worth inside of you. This is why life has tried to stomp it out and make you forget the brilliance embedded within.

Sparkle is what you were made for. Greatness is what you were designed for.
Wholeness, worth, longevity and strength–all the things God fortified in you just like a well balanced meal.

Feed your soul the right things. Feast on the promises of God. Don’t let the gospel of Christ slip through your head without affecting your heart.

Step out stoically into your Divine Inheritance and believe for miracles in the lives of your children. There is a revival brewing in you and it is good to anticipate what God can and is willing to do.

Suit up soldier. Remain faithful to the light that has been given you. Conquer sin. Vanquish deleterious mindsets. Overcome. Overcome. You shall overcome. All the while never ever forgetting to have fun. Life is Beautiful. God wants to see you enjoy yourself in it. ~Nicole

February 15, 2018

A Home for your Heart

Posted in Inspirational, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:16 pm by Broken & Brave

“Come Home”. Don’t let the cares of this world draw you aside from the Presence of God. He possesses an infinite amount of comfort, care and every thing you need in this life. Draw back in His heart, rest in His Word and settle yourself through prayer. He is waiting for you there…so come home. Allow God’s heart to be your home. New or old, it is as precious as gold.

Imagine being gone on a trip or somewhere far from home. You miss your comforts and familiarities and you even miss sleeping in your own bed. When you arrive there are your loved ones, those with whom you do life. This is how it is when we rest in the Lord. It feels like a homecoming. ~Nicole

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
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September 7, 2017

Honor of Men

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:53 am by Broken & Brave

My daughter shared some thoughts from her religion teacher about how our culture has lost it’s compassion because of the feminist movement. Though controversial, I think I may on some level agree. Here’s what I see…

I think that we are loosing the beauty of each gender’s unique qualities. Women are wired to be nurturing and men are wired to be warriors. I think women can be strong and accomplish great things, but there is so much to be said for a man who knows how to be a man and stick up for, protect and provide for a woman. A man who knows how to lead and hold his position. One of the greatest draws, ok THE greatest draw, that pulled me to my husband was the absolute knowing that I felt safe. So much so I would have to say confidently that most people feel safe around my husband. He is definitely valiant to the core. That’s a big deal. When you feel safe you feel free.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Freedom on countless levels. If you don’t have freedom…it may not be God in it.

How refreshing to discover that chivalry and true gentlemen still exist…I know because of my husband and the four young men he is raising. He has taught all of our boys to always have their head on a swivel and watch out for and stick close to the significant female (in this case…me) and the weakest or smallest individual (in this case…our youngest son).

My boys have been reminded of this with consistency for several years now and I’ve experienced the fruit of it. One evening I was out in town with just the boys, my husband not with us, and had a questionable person (a man) loiter about our presence. My oldest two sons were on it! They assessed, saw and hemmed in close to me pulling the younger two boys in tight also. We then moved out of the building. SAFE! It was drawing close to closing time so there were next to no other people in the store. This person was both odd and suspicious, but that valor kicked in and my boys rose up. I felt both proud of them and protected by them all at the same time.

But it’s difficult for a man to lead and own his position in the family when the significant female or wife won’t let them.

I’ve counseled women for years who have complained to me about what to do in any number of scenarios with their spouses. Situations and circumstances where they don’t agree with their spouse on a decision to be made. Unless the issue is something that goes against the law, human dignity or Biblical mandate– I have always encouraged the woman to submit.
I tend to instruct her to give in to her husband’s decision and watch God honor her. She may still disagree with her husband, but God will either curve that decision around and change her husband’s heart or God will change hers.

God honors a wife who knows how to trust her husband as the leader of the family.

If he cares enough to ask your opinion on the decision and wants your support, then he cares what you think and values your partnership and opinion. Honor him by stepping back and elevating him and his heart desires. Nothing will empower a man more! I think sometimes men quit leading because they are simply afraid to. They feel disempowered by those they mean to lead.

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:10-13

 

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“The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1

Have you ever met someone who is always trying to fix something that isn’t broken? Doesn’t make sense does it, but when we think in terms of people not objects it happens all of the time. Why do women try to fix other people? Somehow the gift to nurture got tangled with the world and out came a discontent with letting people be themselves. It’s not always women who do this, there are men who are fixers. Just the same way not all women are “fixers”. Let’s honor our husbands by not fixing them… let’s just love them and let God decide what needs fixing.

“It is better to live in a corner of the roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman” Proverbs 25:24

When you get fixing you have become the proverbs woman who is compared to a woman who is a constant dripping. You may find your husband avoiding you instead of wanting to spend time with you. Get back to encouraging and lifting him higher. Most men live for the praise of the ones they love the most. After all, you must have thought that he was pretty ok enough to marry him.

Honor him by honoring who he is today….

July 29, 2017

Kids & Oars

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:46 am by Broken & Brave

Parenting is a bit like an oar. Study the oar, it is a plank of wood that has been sanded and softened, yet is durable, resilient and strong. The sanding is all over, but the edges are where it is best shown the curves and soft edges of its grooming. This is so when the oar is pulled through the water it cuts right in smoothly instead of choppy or hard. It makes the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for all who transport in the boat or canoe.

As a parent the first five years are for structure and foundation. Without a solid foundation trouble will be inevitable. Have firm and strong rules in place. Be consistent with their application. Be hands on and involved as much as possible. The middle childhood years it’s important to still do as the first five but boundaries are instilled by now and in place so less time is devoted to discipline though it is still present. Teen years we become coaches. Kids know what is expected and are given more freedom to explore who they are and what makes them happy. Direct them toward the discovery of purpose, dreams and aspirations.

When we need to be authority in their lives we need to be clear. But the soft edges, like the oar, come with delivery of truth and how we administer it. Is it coming from a place of love or is it our own need to be in charge? One of the best things my own Mother taught me was to say yes as much as I can so when I had to say no they knew I meant it.
Finally, as parents we can’t play favorites. Favoritism will bread jealousy and competition in family. It will tear unity apart. You may have a personality that gels best with one kid more than another-but every child needs to be your favorite. Hope this helps someone. I’m not an expert, but I’ve definitely had lots of practice getting it right. Your kids love you! ~Nicole

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

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July 27, 2017

Wait a Minute!

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:52 am by Broken & Brave

Have you ever had to wait for something? Maybe you had to wait for someone? When I was a girl we went to church on Sunday. My Dad, being a very prompt and punctual fellow, would be ready well before my Mom. As she finished preparing herself for the morning my Father would sit in our living room and play records on the record player of various worship tunes. He would sit at the end of the couch and just softly sing.

Sometimes when we have to wait we become impatient or disinterested in what we were waiting for. We give up. We take a new road. But we can all learn from my Father who chose to wait patiently for the appointed time by singing a song of Worship and lifting his heart to Him.

God knows right where you are today. You may be facing a health crisis, financial crisis, waiting to hear about that job interview or just longing for a change in a dry season of life. Worship your way through. The King of Heaven has got you. ~Nicole

“Blessed are they that wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

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May 22, 2017

“Look at me…”

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

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“Look at me. Look at me.” Said my 3 year old as I was distracted by something else when he clearly wanted my undivided attention. So, I stopped what I was doing and I looked right in his eyes. When I did, he said, “I love you.”

Isn’t this such a perfect analogy of how The Lord desires our hearts focus? We have a lot to do and many times plans fail or we just don’t know what to do…but God is ever true. He knows what to do every time. Every hill, valley and mountain top experience he knew about ahead of time. So if he knows everything, is surprised or caught of guard by NOTHING~then I think it’s safe to say he has a plan. Sometimes we just have to get our eyes off the distractions…look to his face and allow him to wrap himself around us and say, “I love you.”

He’s never going to let you go. Relax in his grip. I hear he is pretty strong.

Hold tight. Rest easy tonight. Absolutely everything is going to be alright. You’ll see…

~Nicole

May 15, 2017

Reason to Celebrate!

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:09 am by Broken & Brave

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May is such a full month. It is for most families, but for my family it is especially true. I usually have to mentally gird myself and prepare for the intensity of the months schedule. Not only for last minute school projects to help children with, but also for the myriad of award nights, graduations, banquets for sports, and school performances. On top of it all we have several family birthdays, Mothers Day and my Anniversary. It is a lot!

Over the weekend my husband and I wanted to go out to dinner for our Anniversary which happened to fall on Mothers Day this time around. It would’ve been easy this year to say, let’s just do it another time, but we had made reservations and it was all set for the night before Moms Day, Saturday night. We chose a locally family owned and operated restaurant. I love supporting local businesses over chains. It is a great way to love your community, support the entrepreneur spirit and the customer service is always better. You always care for and work harder for something you are personally invested in. The owner of a local business is always fully committed, All In!

Back to my story…

It was an extraordinary night. The place was packed! It usually is busy, and I thought there would be early Mother’s Day celebration patrons…but I didn’t consider the local university graduation was that day and a local high school’s prom night. I’d say the place was a zoo, but it was to perfect a night to be a zoo. It was beautiful. The energy filled the place. Every single face had a smile fastened broadly in place. It was a night to celebrate. Everyone in the house was exuberant, animated and happy. As we waited to be seated I took it all in. This experience of watching those dining was a gift for me all in itself. One table, about 20 people full, appeared to be for college graduation I presume. The average age appeared to be 22-24 and a few parental figures mixed in. The Patriarch stood and made a length toast to a young man. I couldn’t hear his words, but I didn’t have to. Their faces and posture said it all. My thoughts drifted to my own family and how this would be my scenario next spring…I will have two graduates. One from high school and one from college. Oh the party we will have!

We saw many people we know, that’s what happens in the community and I love it. We enjoyed excellent food. I took the night in, and for the rest of the weekend the joy in that restaurant marinated in my soul and savored and sipped it all in. You don’t see so much happiness and joy in one room like that anymore. Maybe at a wedding or special occasion where everyone gathers together. But this was a restaurant filled to the capacity with all different people, all different reasons to celebrate, but all enormously happy. It was beautiful.

I have no special encouragement for this post. I just knew all weekend I wanted to put it to pen because of how it’s beauty impacted my soul. I wanted to share it with you…

Find beauty today, in everything you do. ~Nicole

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

May 12, 2017

Fortified Goodness

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:16 am by Broken & Brave

Your True Identity is void of fear; hidden in the heart of God. His heart chambers are fortified with serenity and absolute protection.

You have dreams, hopes, aspirations all tucked inside of you. Hidden in the chambers of your heart, like a chest of treasure. Hold onto your hopes, protect them, they have incredible value and God will protect and bless it. Remain faithful, but even when you struggle, His Faithfulness will swoop you up and carry you in what seems to be effortless apparel to your destination- safely and on time.

God is both an incredible Warrior and a Beautiful Poet. He will slay your fears, wipe your tears and Comfort your soul with great affection. Place full confidence in Him.

No more wondering about what will happen? How will it happen? When will my prayers get answered? Instead, worship!

No more wonder, just worship!

Childlike Faith!
~Nicole

“But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God.”
1 Peter 3:4

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