Monday, August 1, 2011

Bring on the multiplication

1 Samuel 2:20-21 
    And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, May the Lord give you children by this woman for the gift she asked for and gave to the Lord. Then they would go to their own home.
    And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she bore three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

So again, just a little background here:

Hannah was barren, prayed to the Lord and the Lord answered her prayer. She gave birth to a son and named him Samuel. When she weaned him, she took him to Eli the priest, to be raised up before the Lord. 
We learn in these two verses above that she later had FIVE more children. FIVE!! From none to six children...this woman was barren, and mocked for years. Tortured, looked down upon, an outcast, and considered less of a woman. I couldn't overlook what an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness to Hannah this was! This is truly amazing! I am positive that for years Hannah struggled with believing that God was good. That He was faithful and that His love for her was as deep and wide as it truly is. Surely she doubted his plans for her life. 

This was a very heavy section for me, as the Lord has asked me what are the things in my life that I long for the most? What are the things that haunt me? What things has the enemy of my soul used to shame me, and, to doubt the goodness of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? 

Immediately the lies began to overflow into my thoughts as rushing water being poured out. All the lies that I hear, take in, believe, and eventually come into agreement with...

-You will never be pretty, you're lucky anyone loves you at all. But can you keep him? You will never be happy. 
-You will never be good enough, there are so many people out there better than you. 
-You aren't smart enough, what do you have to offer? You are a screwup and a drop-out.
Just to name a few...
(I wonder if Hannah ever felt this way, or heard lies like these?) 

So what are the things that I long for?
-A healthy marriage that can withstand the temptations of this world, and flourish!
-Health and beauty, confidence in who I am and appreciating that without comparing myself to other women
-To be able to contribute to this world in a way that matters far beyond what I could accomplish on my own, without the Spirit of God living in me

As I confessed these desires to God, He began to whisper to me the most beautiful promises... 

"If you will bring to me your heart and obedience, one step at a time, I will multiply that which you give me. Hand your husband over to me and I will make your marriage the sweetest time in your life. I will repay you for time you both have lost and you will reap a harvest greater than you can imagine.
I will show you the beauty that I have planted inside of you. The strength and beauty of my Spirit dwelling in you will heal your emotions, your hurts, and your vision.
The plans that I have for you are far beyond your wildest dreams. All it takes is a heart that says yes to me above all things, and you taking one step at a time."

After sitting in complete and utter disbelief that any of this could be true for me, I just began to praise God that it isn't up to me. It doesn't matter what I believe I deserve, or what I believe what I am worth. I just have to believe that God is who He says He is, and, He will do what He says He will do. I learned that when I present my offering to Him with the right heart attitude, He will surely bring the multiplication!

Can I get an Amen??

I thank you Jesus for those who have gone before us, and left a testimony behind to encourage us when our faith wavers. Thank you Lord that you were bigger than their circumstances and you are bigger than mine. I know that I can trust you because the Bible is full of people just like me. Human in every way and living in a world riddled with sin. Yet, you Lord are also the same. Yesterday, today, and forever. Thank you for loving me the way that you do. Thank you for your promises spoken over my life. I love you Jesus, and I praise you! In Jesus' almighty name, Amen.


Friday, July 29, 2011

"No longer Sad"

1 Samuel 1:18 Hannah said, Let your handmaid find grace in your sight. So [she] went her way and ate, her countenance no longer sad.

Hannah had a big problem. She harbored bitterness and discontentment in her heart. She was a barren woman, and her husbands other wife, Peninah, tortured and provoked her over not having been able to produce children. Though Peninah had given Elkanah sons and daughters, his heart was touched by Hannah and he loved her more. So when it came time to go to the temple for sacrifice and worship, he gave to Peninah, and all of her sons and daughters their portion. To Hannah, a double portion was given. However, at this time, Peninah had provoked her to the point of depression and Hannah could not eat. At the temple she poured out her bitterness, her tears, and her petitions before the Lord. She laid down her requests and the Priest, Eli, thought her to be a rambling drunk woman. After sharply rebuking her, she pleaded for understanding that she was not drunk, but crying out to God. Eli ends up sending her off with a blessing and she walked away no longer sad.

This verse was amazing to me as I sat and thought about what my countenance is like after I pray. There have been countless times where I have wept bitterly before the Lord, pouring out my heart and my complaints at his feet. But what is my heart attitude like after that? Do I leave my worries, requests, and complaints at the feet of Jesus and walk away changed? Do I obey as 1 Peter 5:7 instructs? 

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

This is so on time (as God always is) because there is a lot of worry and concern weighing on my heart right now. (as life usually does) But will I follow Hannah's example and go to the Lord, release my concerns and worries to him, and walk away different than the way I came? 

I choose to go before Him and walk away "no longer sad." I know that I can trust in the Lord, as He has been so faithful to me and is so worthy of it all. 

Heavenly Father, I come to you because you are the all-knowing God and you can see where I am blind.  I release my fears, my burdens, and my desires to you. I pray that you would give me wisdom to see things that I need to change, and the strength to be obedient to you in making those changes. I thank you Jesus, that I can have an encounter with you and walk away changed. I choose to trust you today, because you are so worthy of my trust. Thank you for your faithfulness to me. I honor and praise you Father and bless your Holy name today. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am who God says I am!

1 Corinthians 15:10 "But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I'm not about to let his grace go to waste...." (the MSG)

For the last three years the Lord has really been working in me to get me to see who I am in Christ and what that means. As I have been going through this process, He has been speaking to me about my name for over a year now. You see, my name is Nicolette and it is a French name meaning "Victory of the People". I can see the beauty of my name now. My entire life up until that point, however, I hated my name! I never went by Nicolette and always preferred that I be called something different. But the Lord has been showing me why this name means so much. I now love my name, and I am learning to embrace it.

In 1 Corinthians 1:27 Paul says "Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"?..." He goes on to say that the reason God does this is that so He gets the glory. 

But this paragraph really sums up my life. I do not come from a high-society family, I'd had no influence, I have been abused, abandoned, and overlooked. I was not the brightest and best, and surely I have made more than my share of life altering mistakes. 

Yet, God still came! He picked me up, cleaned me off, fixed my broken places, and set me on a better path. In my life, I AM victorious over many things that have held me down! I have the victory in this life because of what Jesus did on the cross for me and for you all those years ago! I am no longer a victim of sexual abuse. I am no longer controlled by life circumstances, or my social status. Nor any other thing that kept me from being all that I am in Jesus Christ! I am free...Free to change and free to be ME!

But it is not enough for me to be changed. 

I need to go and be the victory for others out there who may not know. I need to tell them that there is a way out! 
That there is life after the storm...
That my God redeems all of the areas of your life that have been thrown away or ruined... 
That my God resurrects the areas of your life that have died... 
That my God lives and He has overcome! 

My name is Nicolette, and I live in triumph because I know the "Victory of the People" lives inside of me. I will pour out His gift of grace to those who need it. To the ones, who are overlooked and maybe forgotten. Because I was once there...

By His Grace, Here I am! And I will not waste such a precious gift! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wrestling with God

Genesis 32:38 The man said, "But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it's Israel (God-Wrestler); you've wrestled with God and you've come through." (The MSG)

I don't know about anyone else out there, but sometimes it feels like I wrestle with God more often than not! During my prayer times, you may even hear me declare that I will not give up until He blesses me...

However, I do. 

I do give up. I give up on dreams, I give up on desires, I give up on visions.
I even give up on His promises sometimes. I look at the circumstances surrounding me, allow them to overwhelm, and I let go of His hand. Too weak or beaten down by this world, I decide that certain promises do not pertain to me because if they did, they would have come to pass by now...He would have worked it out and made everything come together...So that's it! I just have to suck it up. I must have misinterpreted or heard wrong; those promises weren't for me.

But wouldn't you know? Not even that can keep me from being in the palm of His hand. As faithful as He is, He never lets me stay there! He reminds me that "man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure." (Proverbs 16:9 AMP) That even if I lose sight, He alone can restore. Even if I let go of a dream and I let it die, He alone can resurrect! 

He alone brings refreshment, revival, restoration, and renews my strength! 

Like Jacob's declaration, I am reminded. I reach out to grab ahold!

"I'm not letting you go til you bless me!" (The MSG)

And I am blessed indeed....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In LOVE....or not!

I was very late to join this social media world. I opened a Facebook late last year, eventually started my blog and now even have a twitter account. Once I started though, I must admit I enjoy it! Especially being able to write out my thoughts on a blog and share.

With that said, I don't blog very often! Even though there is so much that I would love to say/write, I put off sitting in front of my computer and getting it out there. 

After prayer and self-examination I realized why I do what I do. Or rather, don't do what I want to do. I realized that people are mean; putting yourself out there means that you are opening yourself up to that. So I shied away, and closed myself off from the possible hurt and judgment that possibly await me. I realized that I need to trust God more with my heart! Being judged or called names is not as bad as being disobedient to the Lord, and suppressing what He has called you to do. 

I read A LOT of blogs out there, and obviously follow people on Twitter and Facebook. I almost have to force myself NOT to read the comments! My heart breaks when people feel the need to express their EVERY opinion without thinking about why they are sharing! Why do people feel the need to express every thought that pops into their heads? When we were younger there was a saying that was quite popular! "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at  all." (I think writing it out falls under the same rules!)

Now, I am in no way advocating a fake persona. I don't expect people to go around with a smile on their face and just be happy, spewing fake compliments and lies to everyone they come in to contact with. We need to remember as Christians that we have self-control (Galatians 5:22)  and we have the power to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ Jesus.(2 Corinthians 10:5) It takes both wisdom and self-control to not react to every situation, comment, etc. Whether or not we may agree, or even appreciate what someone else had to say, we are only capable of controlling what we say or do. Noone else! 

There is a biblical principle for confronting people when you have conflict between persons. You need only to read Matthew 18:15-17 if you do not know how to proceed. However, actual conflict is only one of the problems on the internet! (That is a whole other post by the way) 
Most of the time is just someone's opinions and remarks that are unfounded and so unbelievably unnecessary! Then they come back with "just saying"....or something equally as condescending! The heartbreaking thing is when they say they are just telling you "the truth". 

We live in a generation of reality tv, where everyone plays a character, and people want to be known for something (good or bad). Where it is too easy to make a name for yourself and instant stardom is not out of reach. I am not judging the people who have reaped the benefits of this. I am trying to point out though, that what we do not see is the heartache and the REAL realities of their broken relationships because of "just saying" something! As cool as people on TV may look for being super outspoken and feeling the need to tell everyone they meet "the truth", there is a consequence for every word that we speak. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]."

I know that I am not perfect and there have been times when I have spoken up about something, when in retrospect I just wish I could take it back. With that comes wisdom for the next time I want to "comment" without thinking through it! We need to be very mindful that the internet is even more difficult than personal conversations because we cannot infer tone, and it is even easier for things to be taken the wrong way! 
*sidenote* if you are having a personal conversation with someone and put it publicly on the internet you may not get the best reaction. Best to keep private personal conversations, well, private! 

I do realize that I could be accused of being "judgmental" in the same manner in which I am writing about. That really is not my heart at all; I wish to encourage people to stop and think about the "WHY" that makes them do what they do. We all need to be reminded at times, and being called judgmental is a risk I am willing to take.  

I pray that we would be a people that lift up and edify with our words. That we would think before we speak/write, and that we would check our own hearts before feeling the need to bring correction to someone else. 

Matthew 7:3-5 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor."  (MSG)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Being Revealed

Lately, I have had a really hard time writing or conveying my feelings through any means besides frustration. I had wanted to share after Mother's Day about the impact that the women who raised me had in shaping my life. But to no avail...

In the meantime, however, I had come across a blog post that had introduced me to this journey I am now walking out. It was a challenge to forego wearing make up for 30 days. Now, first I want to say that I am not against make up or fashion, or anything of the sort. The complete opposite actually! I enjoy being able to express myself in different ways through make-up, outfits, accessories, etc.
However, when reading this post I knew the Lord was showing me that there was a huge part of me that depended way to much on my image; I had entered into a dangerous zone! It was completely unacceptable to me to not have any make up on during the day. Even if I was not going to go anywhere or see anyone besides my immediate family.
(*sidenote* My husband would prefer that I not wear make up. He tells me I don't need it and compliments me all the time when I am not done up. I wear make up because I enjoy it!)

It is day 14 and it has been more of a struggle not to get ready in the morning than I would like to admit! On days that I need to go somewhere, it is really hard for me to have to leave the house looking the way that I do and feel confident. I even have to admit that because I have not been wearing make up, I wear my glasses everyday instead of my contacts so that I can "hide" behind them.

But today, in getting together with a dear friend of mine, the Lord revealed that this "challenge" was about so much more than just make up. . My friend Kristi Woods, has inspired me and challenged me since the first day I met her. This woman is someone I admire greatly and am so grateful in having been able to have her in my life. Having been able to do life with her through minichurch, I have learned so much that make me want to be a better mother and wife, while encouraging me in being a Christian woman and friend. As we shared and talked, the Lord kept showing me just how He was stripping me of layers of "cover -up" in order to reveal me. The real me. The me He wanted me to be.

There were things laying just under the surface that I had justified that were so very ugly. Of course, I did not want anyone to see these flaws! So instead of dealing with the issue, I  just covered over it so that no one on the outside would see it. But, like any mask the real thing is always there underneath. Whether fully visible or not.

I began to make the connection; my eyes were opened to the way that I was so dependent on the image I wanted to portray. If it was hiding my flaws with make up, or with a fake attitude; there are things about me that are not pretty. Even though I may not want people to see those things, I need to be honest about the fact that they are there. I have a choice! I can either deal with it by taking it to the Lord and try to get rid of the problem, or I can try and pack on the "make-up" and cover it up myself.

When I allow the Lord to show me my real beauty I can be at rest. My strength and my beauty come from within and will shine throughout.

I will revel in being revealed....

1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 

Oh, and if you want some great insight and encouragement please go and visit my friend Kristi at 
her blog. You are sure to be blessed!

Monday, May 9, 2011


A day of celebration!!

(Flowers, 3 handmade necklaces, 3 handmade cards, a hot plate, 
and some strawberries! and that isn't everything....)

Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the gifts that I am passing down to my kids. A gentle reminder to a tender mama's heart that like Jill Churchill said "There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."

My oldest daughter made me multiple cards that poured out her love and appreciation for me. Handmade cards and love notes are a favorite past time of mine... So her multiple notes, poems, and cards didn't surprise me;  on any given day you would be able to find at least a handful of post-it notes with colorful hearts and flowers, and an "I love you mommy. You are the best mom! Love your favorite daughter!" around the house. She made me a gorgeous Kamani nut necklace in school, and a macaroni necklace in Children's church. Her heart was shining right there on "her sleeve" as she proudly placed those necklaces around me neck. The art of gift giving and the freedom of expressing her love in writing is something that I always felt was so important and I love that she has caught that spirit and she gives freely. I love these cards, and notes that she randomly surprises me with.  I can't wait for the day she comes home from middle/high school (or even as an adult) and sees that I have a note she wrote to me when she was 5, 6, 7, 8 yrs. old! =) I pray she would know how much these notes mean to me! Memories of she and I in past moments; captured and treasured as long as I can possibly hold on to them! 
One of the poems she wrote for me

My boy made his gift to me in school. An adorable little hot plate with beautifully written similes and his school picture! (note: A simile is NOT a poem. I was corrected adamantly, yet lovingly by said son) 

I am floored at the freedom with which he pours out his love through words. Then I am reminded of my son as a newborn. Being born at 10 1/2 pounds, everyone spoke about his size and his future as the "next great thing to happen to football. " I was then reminded of how I spoke to my precious, baby boy and told everyone that although he may want to play football one day, that he was going to be the tender-hearted, poetic type that knew how to treat a girl and would be as gentle as a teddy bear. I knew back then that he was going to be a "new breed" and that he would be special. I am now being reminded of my words as a young mom, and I am watching the Lord unfold in Him what I prophetically spoke over him, albeit unknowingly at the time. Thank you Jesus for gifts we don't yet understand or perceive. He also made me a necklace, but he was not as excited about giving me the necklace as he was about having me read the above statements! 

Not to be left out, my baby girl chose out the bouquet that now adorns my dining room table! (pictured above) She also helped me eat those strawberries! {smiles again} They couldn't find the chocolate covered ones, but fresh strawberries were oh-so yummy! She told me "Thank you for 'Mother's Day' mommy! I love you!" My heart swells...

The gifts I pass down, whether words of encouragement and life, OR a favorite activity we both share, OR a mutual love for something, are helping to shape my children daily. Our relationships are constantly growing and changing. I am in awe to say the very least...

Oh, and never to be forgotten...

My husband....My wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful husband! He bought me a point-and-shoot so that I can take pictures too. Being sensitive to the fact that I have no idea how to use that contraption he calls a camera, he bought me one my non-technological mind can handle! I now can take pictures with a real person camera and not just my iphone! =) 
I am so thankful...
My Mother's Day card was the most beautiful card I have received from him, to date! Along with my gifts, and the wonderful meals we ate, I was also treated to a mani/pedi with some girlfriends and some much needed tea & conversation time! A good day indeed! 

Mother's Day is not just about me though...although I am lucky enough to be celebrated on Mother's Day, the Lord has also being highlighting the women in my life who have helped shape me and grow me into the woman I am today! I plan on sharing about them in the days to come!

I hope you stay tuned...