August 26, 2017

Beautiful & Significant

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:01 am by Broken & Brave

You are beautiful.
You are important.
You are esteemed by many.
People are counting on you every day.
You are loved.
Absorb the love others offer you and allow it to sooth your heart like a salve. Now imagine the way you feel from the people who love and protect your heart best–now magnify that to the nth degree. That’s how much God loves you. No more negative self talk and looking over your shoulder thinking the world is against you, thinking you’ll fail, thinking the best is behind you.

You’re best is just around the bend! Because God knew “just good enough” would never do for you. He allowed Himself to become Beautifully Bent for you.

Be blessed, 💜Nicole

IMG_8269

Advertisements

August 25, 2017

Red Fern🍂

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:47 am by Broken & Brave

 

IMG_0920

“How fast does a red fern grow?”

These are the words I would hear in the quiet of the night.

The first time I heard this question, in my spirit, was February 14, 2001…Valentine’s day. I find this so unique because as I reflect back upon it now…I realize it was in the beginning of a new season of soul for me. The Holy Spirit was beginning to “court me”.

For me, the girl who doesn’t really impress by canned holidays like V-Day…I still love the irony of it all.  God know my heart so well.

It’s the attention to detail I love.

After this experience on Valentine’s Day, I didn’t hear anything of it for another six months. “How fast does a red fern grow?” I would hear it again while performing the mindless little tasks of the day.

“How fast does a red fern grow?”

“Lord, you have asked me this before” as I recalled to myself, but enough time had lapsed that I had forgotten all about the puzzling question. Then, I heard this question over and over at random points of time over an approximate 18 month period. I would hear the question run through my mind, but then nothing, no additional comments came with it. The whole thing got me curious and more than just a little perplexed. I never bothered doing any research on the plant. I would only reply in prayer, “I don’t know, how fast?” I will be honest, I would also wonder why this was important and what it had to do with me. However, I am sharp enough to know that if the Lord was whispering it, it was for a purpose and it had complete relevance in my life. Then it came…the question once again, asked in the same manner it had been asked every time before, “Nicole, how fast does a red fern grow?” Only this time I heard more. You better believe, when the Lord whispers something perplexing into the stillness of your heart and then permits it to linger there for a time, you pay attention when it arises again. I quickly got my journal and pen…

“How fast does a red fern grow…as fast as I tell it to.”

You’re probably thinking, “That’s it?” I know I was. Then, came more…

A red fern is a unique, flowering plant that only grows in the deepest, darkest portion of the forest. Even though it receives minimal sunlight, it manages to get ample ultraviolet rays and nutrients. This plant is unique in nature and rarely found by man. This plant is special. All of these words flooded my heart and flowed through my pen. I was bewildered, inspired, aroused and amused all at the same time. I knew nothing of this red fern, so how was it that I “just knew” all of these facts? Were they actual facts at all?

At this point, I was definitely curious enough to do a little research. What I found was that everything I had written in my journal was absolutely true! John and I even found a photo of the red fern that was taken at Volcano House National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii in May of 1999. This is significant because the red fern was thought to not actually exist. John and I found a forum of botanists who discussed the fern and learned that there were purple ferns and autumn ferns, but no red fern, or so many thought. The fact is, the red fern is so rare and the color shows bright, but only under the perfect conditions, so the chances of capturing it by the human eye (or camera) are small.

This entire process, of hearing the Lord, receiving the insight and then finding the research was from 2/14/01-4/10/02. It was a season of my life where I was growing in my relationship with God by leaps and bounds through trial and dark things and much pain. But my God gives beauty for ashes and this was some amazing fruit showing itself in the form of spiritual gift of Knowledge. I was more than happy for all I had endured to receive such a unique and specific gift.

I do not write of the red fern to tell you of my journey to hearing God’s voice, though I believe it is important for you to know because I am asking you to trust me to encourage you. You are reading this and therefore you are giving me your time and attention and that is valuable. So, it is important you understand my experiences in hearing the Lord, not just my credibility to love and encourage your heart as I know you can see is true. I want to impart Pure Exhortation to you. Pure exhortation that first and foremost comes from the inspired Word of God and secondly comes from the Wonderful Counselor he has placed inside me.

I know God was more interested in using this fern to enlighten my heart toward Him, His Voice, His Guidance and Wisdom. He knew I had read the book as a child about the red fern and so it would strike a chord with me. He also knew I hadn’t thought of a red fern one single time since fifth grade. He knew this would stir me…stir me deep.

Me being one for analogies I immediately become contagious with them in this story.

Did you know you are like this fern that turns red? You are! Allow me to show you how.

This plant is rare, unique, SPECIAL…just as you are. The Lord knit you together in your mothers womb (Psalm 119). It was not by accident or happenstance that you should exist on this planet. You were designed with purpose on purpose. Every experience of life, both the good and the bad, are allowed and are used to shape you and develop you to grow, to shine, to add color to this world.

You are special.

You are Vibrant.

God made you and if you are in darkness, he will find you. He already has found you. He found you in all of your darkness and wants to rescue you from this pit. Whatever your pit may be. Your darkness may be any number of things, you know what it is and you are probably thinking of it right now. He wants to rescue you, like a Knight in Shining armor (men need that too you know!).

Despite a lack of light, he wants to nourish you, even in the dark place, heal you, love you and he wants to watch you grow. All gardeners love to see their botanical gardens flourish and grow!

Fix your eyes on him, Beloved, fix your eyes on him. Allow the Maker of Heaven and Earth be like ultraviolet rays upon your wilted leaves and petals bringing out your luster and unique color. He will be like a heavy moisture, just like the damp soil of the tropical rain forest. As the moisture increases, so does the shine of your leaves…your heart…your thoughts. Your countenance becomes radiant.

The leaves of the red fern will lean toward the soil around it that contains the most moisture.

Lean into Him today, he wants to soften that thing that has made you hard.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, leaning not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight”

Proverbs 3:5-6

He wants to bandage that ache and pain that has plagued you. He wants to erase and change the perspective of that hurt that stung so deep as a child. He wants to raise you up and showcase you just like the Red Fern.

He sees the past, the present and the future. He has created all things and knows all things. Let him create a new heart in you. He is full of Hope for you. He wants His Hope to shine in you and through you…for there are still countless others out there who have no Hope at all.

I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Shine true, Shine bright, SHINE ON in everything you say and do! His thoughts are upon you and so are mine.

Blessings, Nicole

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24

August 23, 2017

Besotted

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

Have you ever heard the story of  “Cyrano de Bergerac”? It was a play written in the late 1800’s about a man named Cyrano. Cyrano was a soldier in the French army. He was extremely gifted and talented. Cyrano was a passionate and strong-willed man known for many pursuits and ambitions. He was known as a magnificent duelist, poet and musician. However, Cyrano had an enormous nose. The size of his nose, so caused him to doubt himself, that he felt he could not dare to dream of love. He was hopelessly in love with his cousin, Roxane, but never dreamed that she would ever have interest in him. He had so much self-doubt of his appearance that he failed to acknowledge his own worth as a man by the measure of all he was gifted in. He didn’t feel he was good enough to have her love.

Do you ever feel like Cyrano? Isn’t it true we are our own worst critics! All of us, not a person is excluded from this sad truth. I imagine this is because we know ourselves the best. We know our own private thoughts about ourselves. We remember every hurtful word ever spoken over us. We know our darkest secrets, or maybe not so dark secrets. We know our every flaw and shortcoming. Sure, we are aware of our strengths as well, but most people, even if they never verbalize it,  do tend to measure themselves by their areas of weakness. For some people this painful awareness becomes a major stumbling block to true victory in life, much like Cyrano. Let me now transition to another man by the name of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah, like Cyrano, was a man of action. Nehemiah was not a soldier like Cyrano, but he did serve a King. In fact, Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the King of Persia (Neh. 1:11). Nehemiah was of Jewish descent and longed to go the aid of his people who desperately needed help rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah sought the King and received permission to go to the people and build a wall. What he did was so much more…he built an ever-enduring legacy of leadership amongst a people who were broken down in heart and spirit. A people much like Cyrano.

What was the difference between Nehemiah and Cyrano (aside from one being a character in a play and the other an actual figure in history)? Nehemiah revered his King, but he also knew that he had FAVOR with the King. History states that Nehemiah was very frightened to speak to the king of this matter, he prayed, mustered up the courage, and acted despite his own self-doubts.  There is a King in heaven who favors you! Would you like to know how?

Yours is a heart that intoxicates Him. When we seek him out it’s like clouding the judgments of man, which tend to be harsh, but opening the gates that release healing waters. Waters so pure and clean a path is carved in the darkness for God’s pure light to pour out with such force that it breaks free all who are bound by captivity. The result is freedom from the past, freedom from broken heartedness, freedom from heaviness, freedom from pain. So may I ask, “why are you so hard on yourself?” Maybe it’s time to look fear in the face and just stop being so afraid. It is time to stop being like Cyrano, focused on his nose attached to his face, and to look out and beyond to future things. Who said you weren’t enough? Why can’t you be a person after God’s own heart? You can have favor with both God and man. Favor is favor and is as blind to flaws as romantic love.

God is respecter of no man, but lover of all. We do not need to earn his Favor. We do not need to convince him to love us. Imagine, for just one moment that you, too, were like Nehemiah. You are cupbearer to the King. What kind of drink offering would you bring?

He longs for your praise and adoration of who He is. Not because he has ego that needs to be engaged, that’s not it at all. Journey through your imagination with me for a moment and dare to dream of a love so deep because the Lover of your Soul is enamored with you. You don’t have to hide your flaws and imperfections because he knows them, each and every one. His eye and mind are on something entirely different. He is captivated when he catches your gaze and He is enamored by your smile. Like a mother with a newborn child, she glows with radiance as she looks upon her child. She knows the child isn’t perfect and the child will have setbacks and failures in life. SHE DOESN’T CARE. All she is focused on is the love in her heart and the desire to care for and nurture a love so rare it must be Divine, it must be Sincere, for why else would her heart swell? Why else would her joy be so grand? Why else? She is in love.

When we pray to God and offer simple gratitude, our heart to his, it is like a fragrant flower releasing its sweet pollen…an aroma so pleasing… our prayers to Him. Your prayers do not have to be long or wordy. There is no need for big words, religious rituals or even a hint of eloquence to our speech. It simply needs to come from our heart. Try it and see for yourself. You are the one who will feel blessed and lifted up. Your mood when heavy will lighten. Your perspective will begin to brighten. Your heaviness of heart will dissipate. You may begin to believe in yourself and see past the nose upon your face into the realm of unlimited potential.

You are a glorious crown in the hand of a King. There is no shame, no defeat. No awkwardness of appearance like we see in the example of Cyrano. There is only a covenant of Love He desires to keep. So, approach His Throne and approach others with the confidence of Nehemiah. God loves you and longs to lavish grace and tender mercies upon you.

He is besotted.

Blessings be yours this day, and forevermore. -Nicole

July 1, 2017

The Wonder of Woman

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:51 pm by Broken & Brave

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.”
Proverbs 31:19

In the Book of Proverbs 31 we find the blue print for God’s kind of Wonder Woman. The woman of strength God is after is not only unafraid to get dirt under her fingernails and get busy with her work, she is resourceful. In modern times women don’t use a spindle or distaff. We don’t spin our own wool into garments. But we are all weavers. We are hemming and sewing and capable of creating panels that attach each area of life, each duty, and each relationship to each other. We hold things together and if we do it right, we make everything around us better because we added value, luster and created a Shine.

We live in a day and age where the modern day heroine is considered to be “boss” or more poplar right now “badass”. Women are incredibly unique. We possess so many attributes of resilience and strength. I applaud the tenacious female who works hard, isn’t afraid of the struggle and possesses a deep passion and grit to get after it, whatever her “it” is. But let us not forget some of our greatest virtues. We possess incredible softness and femininity. There is true strength in gentleness. We possess the roar of the lioness and we must use our roar to applaud the victories and champion the hopes, dreams and aspirations of others. We hem people together, inspiring them to live, love and work together as a unified community. We encourage. We nurture. Then we do it all without gloating. We know the true source of our strength and our hope. We create. We conquer-both our fears and our goals. We are the serene voice of empowerment to men, giving them the supplemental Strength they need to believe they can do anything.

There is something lovely, strong, yet gentle about God’s woman of honor. It is our honor, ladies, to pursue her daily.

Champion of Virtue…
I believe in you.

~Nicole

IMG_0505

December 6, 2016

Fortified Hope

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:32 am by Broken & Brave

Fortified Hope Helps you cope…

Pretty much every packaged food today is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Whole Foods are full of them naturally. The soul of the earth is rich in minerals that help crops grow and be rich in nutrition. The best fields are allowed to lay fallow every so many years-giving them a season of rest so they can produce their best.

In America this practice isn’t done anymore. Our foods aren’t so nutrient dense as they used to be. Fruit is picked too early and don’t reach their potential in quality and sustainability. This is why I believe it is so important to supplement with quality vitamins and minerals. If we want to be our best, feel our best, perform our best we must care for ourselves and who best can do this?

img_8518

Now ask yourself this–is your Hope fortified? Do you have Hope? Hope adds flavor to the soul and fortifies it with a measure of Joy that works like soap washing away cumbersome worries and cares. It gives us something to look forward to, to advance our steps and raise our gaze. Hope stokes the fire of the heart and soul causes us to dare to want more for ourselves, our lives and those around us.

How do you fortify Hope? Focus on the good (Phil. 4:6-7), be humble and gentle (Phil. 4:4), pray and give all your heart to God (1 Peter 5:7) and sing a song in your heart that rejoices your soul (Psalm 40:3).

Hope stokes and gives heart rise to Hope for better tomorrow’s. Fortify your Hope❤️ -Nicole

“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11