Out of Sight…Out of Mind

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This common saying comes to mind based on a conversation that my sister (who I adore) and I had yesterday. We were having a conversation about our childhood and how the damage impacted us and made us into who we are today. We approach the situation in two totally different ways. She tends to ‘sweep things under the rug’ while I tend to face those challenges/obstacles and fight my way to healing. So, it has left me thinking which approach is better? Is it better to block it out and pretend things never happened or should we go digging into the past even though it will be extremely painful and ugly and strive to be completely healed.I have been walking with God since I was a small child. He stepped into my life in the form of a Church bus ministry. I was playing with friends and two guys from Church invited me to go (kind of unsafe… I know!) That turned out to be the best decision I ever made! I needed God’s protection and direction in my life. My childhood was stolen from me and led me to live in a life of fear and only able to trust myself. God began a mighty big work in me and through years of going around the same mountains over and over again, I finally began to experience true healing. Through this healing, I am able to trust others again, forgive, and receive and give love in a greater capacity I have ever known.







Joyce Meyer (an amazing woman of God) once said, “God gathers all the fragments of our lives to make sure none of the pain was wasted. Most people are hurting and remain hurting because they can’t find the courage to be healed. Very few of the hurting get healed and go on to help other hurting people.” She followed it up by saying, “Let your pain become someone else’s gain!”






When my sister asked me how do I do it and why do I choose this path versus the other, I realize that I do this because I do not want my pain to be wasted. There are too many people in the world who are hurting and I could be the one person that makes a difference. Beth Moore (another remarkable woman of God) said, “It’s your wealth of experience that makes you rich. Spend it on hurting people.” “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love.” Colossians 2:2. So are you going to continue ‘sweeping it under the rug’ or face it head on, receive healing, and join me in a love revolution?





Love in Christ,
Nichole

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The Landslide

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This weekend my ‘friend’ and I went to Charleston, SC for a friend’s wedding. We decided to drive through Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC because we wanted to take advantage of seeing the beautiful foliage that the Blue Ridge Mountains has to offer. Let me just say the the view was breathtaking!! While driving back on Sunday, we discovered that a particular spot of I40 was closed due to a rock slide. We were forced to take a detour which added an additional 2 hours of travel time. We were not too thrilled by that at all. Fortunately, I was traveling with a companion that can make the best out any situation. We chalked it up to having a chance to have more quality time together and another opportunity to take in breath taking views of the Appalachian Mountains (which I have never seen before).

Later we found that this rock slide was pretty intense to cause both sides of the interstate to close and possibly three months to clean up. The damage will leave traffic paralyzed and forced to change the direction of travel. It has me wondering how will people react to this change?




I love the words from Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”….


Took this love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Till the landslide brought me down


Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
And can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?


Can I handle the seasons of my life? Will my heart rise above and put all my trust in the Lord? Trust that he will provide all my needs even though I remain unemployed? Those are the questions that I find myself asking. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”


So what path are you taking? Are you sailing through the changing ocean tides or has the landslide brought you down?


Love in Christ,
Nichole

We Didn’t Start the Fire…

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It was always burning since the world’s been turning. Those are few of the lyrics from the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” from Billy Joel. The words come to mind as I enter the Love Revolution with the ministry of Joyce Meyer. Joyce describes the Love Revolution in the following way: A movement of people committed to intentionally spreading the love of God through simple acts of kindness every day. She challenges us to do something for someone else—big or small—like buy someone’s coffee, take your neighbor a meal, write an encouraging note, or clean up your neighborhood. No, we (present generation) did not start the fire of love as this has been God’s will since the beginning. However, I feel like the fire has gone out in our ever present world and needs to be ignited once again!

I, with the help of a godly friend, am challenging myself to exhibit random simple acts of kindness daily. For instance, I reached out and showed some love to a particular person who is not very fond of me. I also, took my neighbor’s dog for a walk. I am not going to stop there. I pray daily for God to show me what I can do for Him. And trust me, He answers! Whether it be in Target, at the grocery store, or in my own personal relationships.




Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”


Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what is doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always me first, doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end!


If you’re wondering if you are walking in love, insert your name for “love” in the scripture above (a little trick I learned from author Francis Chan). You will quickly see the path you are following.



Take inventory and choose where you want to go! Hopefully, you will join me on the love revolution.

Love in Christ,
Nichole

In Plain Sight

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I am currently participating in a book club for “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. Chapter 4 talks in depth about being a lukewarm Christian. According to Chan, there are 18 ways to identify if you are a lukewarm Christian. A couple of points hit me pretty hard: 1. Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. Luke 18:21-25 2. Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without requiring too much of them. 1 Chronicles 29:14, Matthew 13:44-46

I know that we can be our own worst critic, but I cannot help being compelled from digging deep into my soul and inventory the depth of my relationship with Christ. It is true that I love people, but I am not sure if this includes strangers. Do I have the love for strangers as Jesus does?

Take this for example, I’m walking down Michigan Ave in Chicago and I pass many homeless/stranded people on the street and they are begging for money. Some are jingling cups partially filled with change and some carry signs communicating their need. Sometimes I give and sometimes I don’t. People have been quick to say, “Oh don’t give your money to them, all they will do is buy cigarettes or booze.” So in order to escape ridicule, I turn a blind eye to them. I become numb to their situation. I serve God, but I place limits on my act of service.

How do I become more like Him? How do I get to the place where my heart breaks for the things that breaks His heart?

I love the chorus in Brandon Heath’s song “Give Me Your Eyes”. This should be my daily prayer.

-Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see. Everything I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken hearted. Ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see. –

Revelations 3: 15-18 says, “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot-far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.” I don’t want to be stale, I want to be better! I want to truly experience the love walk of Jesus and nothing less!

Love in Christ,
Nichole