March 31, 2018

Knowing You Are Loved

Posted in Inspirational tagged , , , at 6:26 am by Broken & Brave

“How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You
To dwell in Your courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Your holy temple.” Psalm 65:4

You are exceptional.
God knew why he picked you all along. You have a style and way all your own. You are needed, right here, right now. You have much to offer. You are loved, cherished and greatly esteemed. But God knew all of this when He created you. ~Nicole
IMG_7501

Advertisements

March 22, 2018

Exulted

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:05 pm by Broken & Brave

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zeph. 3:17

I want you re-read this passage above. Don’t just glide over it with your eyes. Soak it in…drink it deep. Let it saturate you and then sink in. Absorb it. Become tranquil within it. Allow it to water and soften your soul. What does it speak to you?
Let it resonate. Hear it? Save…rejoice…love exulted…loud singing.

What would or could that feel like? Have you ever been celebrated? I mean truly celebrated? If you have, good for you. I personally have very limited experience with it in the natural. This is perhaps why I feel it so deeply from my Creator. I feel I was created to celebrate. I love to celebrate others and sing their praise. I love to make people feel good. Not a false or fluffy good. But the kind of good that sinks deep and helps people sleep. Exhortation and edification that brings rest to a soul. But I truly have limited experience being the recipient of such praise. I am not sure I’d know what to do with it. I’m sure I wouldn’t like it–feel comfortable with it I mean. Except when it comes from my God. I sense the Holy Spirit as He caresses my soul with His acceptance, His contentment with who I am and how we are together.

I don’t have to achieve.
I don’t have to meet any expectations.
No flaming hoops to jump through to earn his favor.
He just loves me and favors me.

I feel it…I feel it deep.

I feel it so deep it saturates me and I cannot keep it all to myself. It must spill out and over-flooding my pen, my tongue, my smile, my touch and I unleash it on whoever needs it. Sometimes I know who that is and sometimes I don’t. But God knows and He directs its course and finds the Host to House his Goodness.

Several years ago…several…I went for a weekend to visit the Dream Center in Los Angeles. I was overwhelmed and overcome by what I saw, heard and experienced. Please research it out if you have never heard of this amazing organization. They reached deep into the very impoverished and hurting region of Los Angeles by Echo Park and Angeles Temple. Drugs. Gangs. Homeless. Prostitution. This area had it all, but what it didn’t have was commerce. No restaurants. No Starbucks (hard to believe with one seemingly on every street corner). The crime and poverty too great for something as simple as a Subway sandwich shop. But Love reached in.

This movement of people believed that by meeting the needs and showing up every day in the lives of people who probably just wished they’d go away–they believed they could make a difference. So they’d love them practically. No preachy sermon. Never told their “sins”. Just loved with a bag of groceries, a ride, a safe haven, a kind word, a smile and all of this put on repeat. Day in-day out. They did not compromise or waiver. My heart melted.

Years went by and this community became just that–a community. People had lives transformed. Transvestites heard they were lovely and loved. Loved by God himself.

These people began showing up on the steps of the Angeles Temple to attend church services and do you know what they do? I experienced it first hand when I went myself…they line up and clap and cheer for you as you walk in. It was overwhelming. So many people from the street have never had anyone cheer for them ever. But don’t think this is exclusive to the down and out. I think it may have been the first time I felt the collective cheer for me and I grew up in the stereotypical “normal” American home.

Why don’t we celebrate each other anymore? Because most people are walking wounded. They can’t give what they don’t have. If they don’t love them self they probably aren’t going to love you. But when you know this–truly know this–you can celebrate. Grab hold of one thing you appreciate about every single person you encounter. Do it! I dare you!! Now focus on that. I’ve done this my whole life. Nobody taught me to do it, I just did. God put it in me. When you learn to appreciate others you will realize you begin to appreciate and like yourself.

Love Big because Love wins.
God himself rejoiced over you.
God celebrates you.
He delights in you.
God wants to keep you company because he enjoys your presence…
And He can think of countless things He likes about you, not just one.
Allow him to flood your soul with His Presence. It will stir, flood and create a kind of love that nothing can dismiss.

Eternal Bliss.

He counts you as His Joy.
Wise men still seek Him.

~Nicole
IMG_0262

December 17, 2017

Baby Grace

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:49 am by Broken & Brave

Becoming a Champion of Heart…

I used to have a dog named Baby Grace. She was a Rottweiler and I inherited her when I married (she was John’s dog). I am not what I would call a dog lover, but this dog stole my heart.

John used to be on the road a lot coaching and it was just me and this pup. She kept me great company and had the gentleness that her named implied. When I reflect back to that time in my life I get a little emotional. I can still discern the depth of my attachment and loyalty to this creature anchored to the farthest crevices of my heart. That dog was sent to me by God, I know she was. She was used by Him as a foreshadow of how His Grace would grow in abundant measure in my life. I was a very hurting person back then, but I was like most people…I didn’t necessarily know it. I walked around numb and a bit desensitized by life.  I kept to myself for the most part and didn’t let a whole lot of people in. I was a reflection of what I believe most of America looks like today.

God has brought me so far to heal my heart and strengthen my soul. By His Grace He poured into me, in excess, encouraged me and brought comfort me. He overwhelmed me with  love and it worked itself into me like a deep tissue massage of healing ointment that could produce nothing other than pain relief, healing and restoration for a sore soul.

I have been groomed by the Lord to be the same for others. All the encouraging, grace, healing virtue and comfort that flows from my heart is only a trickle of what I feel he has done for me. It is only a drop compared to the enormous capacity I know can flow freely from within me. Most of the time I hold back in fairly great measure because I am trying to meet people where they are at. I find most people have never known love or friendship like that so they get frightened or shy away from it. It’s always best to grow, heal and love ’em slow. Give people space and love them with kindness, a smile, support. Everyone responds to love differently, so my response is gauged accordingly. Some of this I have learned by trial and error. God has spent the past decade teaching how to love effectively on people vastly different in life experience than me. People wounded at the core and full of life long rejection and abandonment. I’ve learned how experiences like this affect how individuals process and manage their mind and emotions, it’s different because of their pain and I’ve had to learn how to see things from that perspective because it’s a delicate balance not to trigger their past pain unintentionally. God is so good and loving. Loving people and valuing their worth openly, celebrating who they are, is probably my favorite thing and I find enormous spiritual edification in it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. God is beautiful and lovely like that…

He will collect our pain, wash it away and use us as a salve or mending agent in the life of others. For me it’s more specific to the emotional wellness of humans and their physical wellness also–but this concept applies to all avenues of existence.

Allow God to hold your heart. The Greatest Champion of Heart is a Mighty King of Grace. He wants to bless you this Christmas with a greater piece of His heart. It’s all about Jesus!

What would a day of perfect Peace actually look like anyway?

~Nicole

img_8533

September 18, 2017

A Heart for Community

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:30 am by Broken & Brave

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12

God plants people in neighborhoods, houses (resident dwellings), careers, jobs, and communities. God has a heart for community. Therefore, He had this in mind when He wrote on the tablet of your heart the purpose for your life. He decided where and when He would plant you like a seed on this earth. He is a Sovereign God. What does that mean? It means there is nothing that escapes His eye for detail. There is no plan He forgot or neglected to make. He is ever mindful of the course of your life. You can take great Comfort and Confidence in this. I am hoping I communicate encouragement to you if you are in a job that stresses you severely, or maybe you don’t like your neighborhood or have a neighbor who is difficult to live near. God has planted you there- if only for a season. You have been chosen to be a light to that community, whatever it is. ~Nicole

IMG_1068

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

 

image

“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….

August 16, 2017

Love In The Details

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 5:51 am by Broken & Brave

I recall a time several years ago my Dad came over to work on an electrical issue that had come up. There he was, bucket of tools in hand, on my porch at 8:45AM.

My whole life my Dad has done things for me. I know it’s how he shows love. I mentioned in my post yesterday how when I was a young adult my Father would say, “Nicole, bring your car over and I will wash it for you.” What I knew he was really saying was,

“Nicole, I love you.”
Others might have seen a man with a bucket of gadgets on my porch that particular morning, but I saw a man with a bucket of love.

image

There are 5 love languages or 5 ways to communicate love to others. We speak the ways that are most meaningful to us: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gift Giving and Physical Touch.
My Dad is a helper, so of course, he expresses love through service/helping. Mine is words of encouragement and affirmation, so that’s how I usually love first. But here’s what I know…people feel most loved when you speak the language of love THEY prefer. Some people need a hug or touch on the shoulder, some need time together most, you get the idea. Pay attention, someone may be reaching love out to you today in a way not easily discerned. As each of us grows in our ability to love, we become better at speaking ALL of the Love languages.

Be a blessing…you are loved.

-Nicole

 

 

August 3, 2017

Joy is Loves Measuring Stick

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 7:28 am by Broken & Brave

“Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.” Is.60:5

IMG_0753

What does it mean to have joy? To love is to have one’s heart set afire with joy. Exuberant joy reaches through the narrow crevices of soul, entangling the senses and provoking the mind to delicate things…things that stir us…things that move us. Joy exudes out of us through the soul. In the words of Mother Theresa, “Joy is the net of love by which you can catch souls.”

Joy, I believe, is so different from happiness. Joy comes with the deep satisfaction of loving others through serving them. We can serve people in so many ways. Someone once told me that “love is in the details”. That resonates with me. The possibilities to love through the details are endless. How beautiful. Spend sometime today purposing your heart to love and serve God first, then sacrifice yourself to love others more and place yourself last. For truly, the least become greatest in the kingdom of God even when they don’t desire such a seat of honor. ~Nicole

July 26, 2017

Love…On Purpose

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 8:53 am by Broken & Brave

“…the Banner over you is Love.”

-Song of Songs

Loving people is a skill. It is so much more than an emotion. It is a principle, consistently applied, day in and day out. If you have self discipline, then you can have self control. If you have self control, then you can have freedom. If you have greater freedom you have greater ability to move in Love and extend freedom to others around you who can bask in the glow of the Love that you show.

Exercise the self discipline to have self control so you can grow in your ability to truly know how to show Love to a world around you that is desperate for the real thing.

There is a Banner over your soul, waving elegantly,  yet secure like a Canopy of Unwaivering Loyalty, Grace and Favor.

The Banner over you is Love❤️…
-Nicole

image