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)