October 4, 2017

Gaining Ground

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:38 am by Broken & Brave

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of The Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18

Recently I’ve changed up my personal training and nutrition routine a bit as I press toward some goals. I exercise not because of vanity, I train because I enjoy athletics. Fitness is my sport. It challenges my mind, my body, my strength and makes me stronger, focused, and flexible. I love to sprint and have done so for years. On occasion I enjoy wind sprints. I attach a harness to my back that has a small parachute. As I run the parachute lifts and gives me added resistance making the sprint more difficult–on purpose. I know that when you do something with frequency you get better at it. I don’t want to be content to stay the same. I’d like to see how much more pressure I can add to my physical frame. It not only strengthens my ability, increases my heart capacity, but it toughens my resolve.

In just the past few weeks I’ve seen and felt some physical fruit of my efforts. I feel stronger and more flexible and could really notice out on the track. The stronger and more flexible I become, the more capable I am to run greater distances with fewer strides.

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And so it is with life. When we rely on God and press ourself into His Presence and His Word with a steel-toed, dig in devotion we will eventually see some real fruit in our strength, mental/emotional tenacity and clarity and our flexibility will gain us territory in heavenly places.

Work your heart muscles today and run toward Gods Grace…You’ve got some ground to gain and territory to take. Whether it’s out on the track or the life goals you seek to advance…God is beside you, lifting your lid of possibility, becoming the winds that carry you from beneath and He is recognizing your every good effort to persevere and progress. His reward for you is amazing!  So don’t give up. Stop settling. No more regretting. Just pressing in so your best life can begin. You’ve got ground to gain and won’t you look amazing doing it! His love and grace dangle from your frame.

Go get it!

~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.

J-Jesus
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

 

 

 

June 5, 2017

Stealthy Faith

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:02 am by Broken & Brave

I’m sharing a devotion from John Piper today because it so exemplifies how my family is called to live. We are stealth. What I mean is we fly below the radar when it comes to advertising our prayers, needs, desires. We don’t generally go to people except our trusted inner circle or in select situations when God leads us to share…instead we go direct to the Source, Almighty Himself. Tomorrow I will share a perfect example of the miracles we have received in just the past two weeks, one after another, putting a ridiculous smile in my heart that once again declares, “But God! My God!” He alone can do the impossible and sometimes He likes to keep it on the down low. But the testimony is shouted out because He is worth singing about! My God!

Read on and come back tomorrow for my faith testimony. ~Nicole

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Dependable in the Mundane

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

One of the most powerful testimonies to the all-sufficiency of future grace is the “faith principle” that has governed the lives of so many missionaries, notably those of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF).

Without condemning those who follow a different pattern, it has been the practice of those who follow in the steps of Hudson Taylor to move the hearts of people to give by talking to God and not people.

James H. Taylor, the great-grandson of the founder, explains how this faith in future grace, rooted in demonstrations of bygone grace, honors God.

We . . . begin from a position of faith. We believe God does exist. We have become convinced of this in a variety of ways, but all of us have experienced the grace of God in bringing us to know Himself through Jesus Christ and through rebirth by His Spirit. We believe we have good grounds of believing in Him through the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: we believe that someone who said He would die and rise again, and did it, is credible in every other way. Therefore we are prepared to trust Him, not only for the eternal salvation of our souls, but also for the practical provision of our daily bread and financial support.

OMF publishes testimonies of God’s amazing faithfulness to demonstrate the glory of his all-supplying future grace. “We want to demonstrate that God can be trusted to do all that He says He will do, by sharing how He has provided for such mundane needs as plane tickets, meals, medical expenses, and the regular support of a whole group of Christian people for well over a hundred years.”

What OMF is devoted to is glorifying the dependability of God — in their message and in their method. Hudson Taylor put it this way: “There is a living God. He has spoken in the Bible. He means what He says and will do all that He has promised.”

Lives of faith are the great mirror of the dependability of God.

From Future Grace, page 189

April 27, 2017

A Pregnant Pioneer

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 3:28 am by Broken & Brave

Being a Pioneer means you are willing to do and try things that other people don’t do or try before its at all popular to do…

When you have a Pioneer Mindset, Vision, and are a forward thinker it permiates every area of your life, not just one or two, because it’s just how you think.

I have 5 kids. I worked out through the entire pregnancy with every one of them. Right till the end– full workouts. They modified as gestation progressed  and the weights weren’t as heavy, but I kept at what was my normal. I didn’t see a lot of other women doing this. It wasn’t a norm in culture around me. But my husband and I knew it was good. John had studied under a professor who’s done extensive research on benefits and safety. We actually loaned my OB/GYN research materials when I was pregnant with baby número uno and told her what we planned to do so she could monitor me. Thank God I have a Doctor who also has a pioneer mindset.

Look around today. I’m not saying I started a trend. Others were doing this as well but they were fewer and further between. We weren’t afraid of what people would say or think. I didn’t get upset when people coddled or babied me over lifting small objects or walking on stairs. I accepted their love and then I’d go clean a whole house or something.

It’s beautiful to see women caring for their bodies as they enjoy the beautiful changes in their body during pregnancy. What a Joyful Journey. If you are pregnant and want to be active but don’t know how much you can do. Check with your Doctor and I’d ever be happy to share with you.

God loves your body. He loves your babies both when they are inside and when they make their grand entrance. You love it, too. So many benefits to being active in every phase. This is one example of a pioneer mindset. I’m so glad I did it anyway even when I received awkward looks and scrutiny.

You may not be pregnant but I bet there is something God has planted down deep that breaks the mold and goes against things you’ve known or been told as status quo. You were built for more than status quo living. Get moving! Enjoy the ride. 💜Nicole

“…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

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(Photo of me doing plyometrics at about 18 weeks along. I lifted weights and worked out my entire pregnancy with all my pregnancies. With each pregnancy the scrutiny I endured became less and less as culture began to change the prejudice of their mindset).