Can I walk with you?

December 2011

January 2012

I would like to think I can blame my weight on having a child. Well, my son is now 19, so that excuse is a little outdated. Over the course of 19 years I have tried everything from the major name brand weight loss companies, professional counseling and counting calories. I am not discounting any of those programs; I am simply saying they were not effective for me. I had memberships at gyms in every town I’ve lived in and went to just about every class offered. Something was not clicking. March 2012, I was challenged by 3 friends to join them for 5:30am Insanity workouts. For about 3 months I joined these ladies for Insanity and walking/jogging around the high school track. March 2012, I was determined to try something…anything. A few weeks later, one of the ladies mentioned there was a new thing in town called Smoky Mountain CrossFit. Well I tried everything else; why not give this a shot too. I went to their first inaugural day workout on June 30th and it kicked my butt. I had no plans of going back, not only was it super hard but it cost more than a typical gym membership.

June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012

I thanked the owners for a great day and I was on my way back to staying the same…until…

Later that same day, I received a phone call from one of the owners and she said I won a free one month membership. Ha, I laughed because I thought that will be a waste. I was not athletic, I was not in shape and I was not ready to do CrossFit for a month. I went to my first workout and thought these people are crazy. I thought, after this month is over, I am done. After the first week I could tell a difference in how I felt. After the first month I could not stop talking about CrossFit; my friends probably thought I drank some funny kool-aid that turned me into a CrossFit junkie.

538981_3681201157370_1569887218_nBefore CrossFit, I was tired all the time. I was grumpy and I hated looking in the mirror at myself. I did not want anyone to take my picture because it would be a constant reminder that I was out of shape and severely overweight. To be brutally honest, I did not even want to be intimate with my husband because why on earth would he be excited about having a fat wife. Yes, all these thoughts went through my mind, daily!!

After a few weeks with CrossFit, it became apparent to me that I was a ticking time bomb. My health was out of control, my eating was on the boarder of gluttony, and I was on my way to Type 2 Diabetes. My back, joints, legs and head hurt all the time. It was time to get serious about my health, not only for me but for my 3 kids. I held onto and repeated several times a day “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body” I Corinthians 6:19-20. I was committed to an average of 4 workouts per week, sometimes in addition to Insanity or walking in my neighborhood.

after photoIt has been 12 months since I first stepped into CrossFit and I no longer walk in with a feeling of shame. Over the past year there have been some tough workouts, two I did not finish and one that took me almost an hour to complete. I have overcome a lot of obstacles in the past year; I must admit I am still hesitant to jump on a 20inch box. I try not to focus on the struggles or the things I cannot do like double unders and muscle ups. I focus more on all the other things I have accomplished such as 255lb dead lift, 110lb bench press and a 200lb back squat. This is all coming from the girl who could not complete a full squat on day one.

 

IMG_0649In May of this year, I had an opportunity to participate in a mission trip to Nairobi Kenya. It was a huge blessing to serve and minister to the women and children of Kenya through a medical clinic at a place called Orbit Village. Mission trips can be difficult mentally, physically and spiritually. Having been to Africa once prior to my time at CrossFit, I believe my training at CrossFit gave me the needed endurance for the time difference, the change in meals and the overall change in my everyday surroundings. At SMCF, we do not know prior to coming into the box what the workout is for the day; however we are expected to give everything we have when the clock counts down to 3-2-1 Go. The mission field is the same; we have some days when we have no idea what to expect, especially in a third world country. We simply have to be ready to go into our day with whatever is presented before us. And we are expected to give our very best every time.

crossfit logoAs I come to the end of my first year with SMCF, I have set a few goals for myself. June 30th marks my one year anniversary as a charter member with SMCF and I believe it is only fitting that I look at becoming a certified CrossFit trainer. I believe there are many avenues and programs out there that can be effective to weight loss however I believe CrossFit is the most effective in changing the total person. I believe CrossFit challenges a person’s thinking of what we believe we are capable of accomplishing. I believe CrossFit challenges our eating behaviors to not only eat because we enjoy food but to eat because we need certain foods to lead healthy productive lives. I believe CrossFit also challenges us spiritually, when we recognize that the Holy Spirit dwells within we can accomplish so much more when we are spiritually, mentally and physically healthy.

wpid-freedom.jpgI am not sure where you are on your journey to health and wholeness. If you feel like you have tried everything yet nothing is working, may I recommend you give CrossFit an opportunity to radically change your life. I am also a firm believer that we need others to walk some journeys with us. If I can be that person to come along side you to walk out this journey, please contact me and let’s get serious about you living a life that is happy healthy and whole!!

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!SMCF-banner-website3

The Rhythm of God’s Song

5-minute-friday-1

Today I’m joining http://lisajobaker.com/ and friends to write for Five Minute Friday.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

The Word Prompt for today is…Rhythm…

Today I decided to look up the word rhythm prior to writing my Five Minute Friday post. This is what I grabbed from Wikipedia ” rhythm is the timing of events on a human scale; of musical sounds and silences”. Hmm ok I think I’m on to something the Lord has been speaking to my heart this week… so here goes…Five Minute Friday

The timing of events on a human scale..the musical sounds and the silences. This week I was sitting with the Lord and he very clearly said “Why are you praying for a new assignment, I have already given you the assignment I have for your life. Why are you waiting for someone else to validate, affirm and confirm the assignment that I gave you?” Those were tough questions to hear let alone try to find an answer for in that moment. A couple of years ago, I felt the crushing blow of some one say “Women’s ministry is not for you.” Unfortunately I allowed those words to dictate the musical sound God was singing with such sweet rhythm over my life. Since then, I have tried to seek out other avenues of walking in step with the Lord. Nothing brings fulfillment and joy as walking in the rhythm of the Lord through teaching His Word and walking with women through life’s mountains and valleys.

piano rose

The past couple of years have felt like silent years. When I stop to consider why they have been silent, I go back to what the Lord has spoken this week. If I truly believe what God has been singing the past 20 years, what else is there for Him to say. This week I had a dream that at first seemed a bit odd however it was another, about the 10th, confirmation that God’s promises, assignments and calling over our lives are consistent. He does not change His calling just because a man or woman does not agree with the calling.

I am grateful for friends who know the depths of my heart and hear the music that God sings over my life. I am thankful for women who believe in me and the assignment God has over my life. I am blessed by friends who remind me to listen to the rhythm of God’s song.

One of my favorite Bible verses…

Zephaniah 3:17  The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing. (Amplified Bible)

Blessed Assurance

June 9th, 2013…Unedited Version…

March 27, I arrived in Nairobi Kenya prepared to accomplish many good things for the Lord. I will get to those things in another blog post. Today I want to share with you what the Lord accomplished in my heart during this recent mission trip. Prior to leaving for Kenya I had a sense within my spirit that my life was in jeopardy. I tried to keep this feeling to myself however I ended up sharing these feelings with my husband. He acknowledged God’s protection, provision and care over the mission trip.

One night I was preparing for the next morning’s devotional and I was reading through the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. During my reading time the Lord impressed upon my heart to share with our team not about the woman’s sin but about the woman’s encounter with the Savior of the world. As I sat and prayed I knew God was dealing with me, not about my sin but my understanding of Jesus as Savior.

When I was an 8-year-old little girl, I acknowledged and professed a belief in Jesus Christ. I was baptized at Covesville Baptist Church by my uncle the Reverend Montague. My mother raised me in a Christian home and we were faithful to our church. As a teenager I became distant and at one point I had very little desire to go to church. When I left home, I did not attend church for almost 2 years. When I met my husband in 1993, I started going to church with him, simply because he would not stop asking me to go. After we were married and I had been back in church a couple years, I felt it was time to get right with God and repent for the way I had been living my life. That too is another blog for another day, now is not the time to uncover the sins of my past. Sitting in my living room in Salisbury MD I confessed my need for a Savior and committed to living my life according to God’s Word. shortly there after I, along with my friend Robin, was baptized at Community Christian Church.

Before I go any further, I know this is going to mess with the theology of some who read this blog post. Let me be clear…I am not concerned about your theology. I am more concerned about your eternal salvation.

During my mission trip to Nairobi Kenya, I had many sleepless nights. A few nights I stayed up praying that snakes would not come into my room in the middle of the night. Yes one night a snake was killed on the patio of the Lodge where we stayed. So yes I think I had a little bit of paranoia at work however I also believe there was a spiritual battle taking place. The enemy is likened to a serpent in Scripture. In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent came to Eve and questioned what God had spoken to Eve. It was becoming evident to me that my sleepless nights were connected to the wrestling and doubt that was raging in my soul. I know God’s Word says there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. I know God’s Word assures us of our eternal security in Jesus Christ. When the enemy came to Eve, I believe there were moments of  wrestling within her spirit between God’s Word and what the enemy was speaking into her. I believe once the enemy had a slight crack in the assurance in Eve’s heart, he knew he could chip away at that small piece.

It’s the small chipping away that goes undetected from the outside world and quite possibly undetected within ourselves…until it has cut deep enough that we begin to buy into the doubt. And for me…I was on that dangerous path of beginning to doubt what the Lord had spoken over my life. I was beginning to doubt the calling over my life. I was beginning to doubt whether I was living a life filled with the fruits of the Spirit. I was beginning to doubt whether I was walking in faith in Jesus. I was in a place of doing all the right things for the Lord, yet wrestling the enemy for my very life. Yes my life was on the line…my eternal life was on the line. While in Kenya, I was determined that I no longer wanted to live a life consumed with doubt and wrestling with the devil over something that Jesus Christ said is securely mine. After my quite time with the Lord, I thanked the Lord for His confirmation over my life. I thanked the Lord for opening my eyes to the doors that I had allowed the enemy to slip through.

When I returned home to America, I did not realize the process that God was still taking me on. On June 9th while sitting in church, the Lord spoke to my heart and said “We are done with this battle,  today we are nailing a stake in the ground as a confirmation that the devil is under your foot because of the power and blood of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Today, is your day of Salvation unto knowing without any shadow of doubt that your life if secure for eternity with Jesus Christ.” When my Pastor asked if anyone prayed with him to receive Salvation, I could not remain in my seat. I walked towards him, yes I must admit I could not look at anyone on the worship team (especially my husband), I could not look at anyone I passed as I approached my Pastor, and I could not look at my Pastor as I approached him. That was the last and final scheme of satan. I belive that snake wanted to me walk in shame, that I as staff member of The Gathering, a deacon’s wife, a woman with a MA in Christian counseling is walking the aisle to acknowledge receiving Salvation on June 9, 2013. I dropped to my knees and sobbed because I knew without a shadow of doubt it was finished. I was done with the devil trying to taunt me with lies. I knew in that moment, my Salvation was sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Now for those of you who question whether I believe I had lost my salvation…NO! I believe I had lost sight of my salvation. Like I Eve I began to believe lies. I began to believe that I was not called to a specific ministry. I belive I lost sight of the gifts that God had given me. I believe I had lost sight of the victory that is mine in Jesus. I belive my life was no longer marked with power…because I was walking in doubt and insecurity.  And on June 9th, I made a public declaration that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal, forever and eternal Savior. I made a public declaration that satan is under my foot and I walk in the assurance of my salvation.

There is so much more to say but for now…I need to take and break. I will write more…For now I would ask that you take some time and evaluate your walk with the Lord.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

 

Songs I Sing

Five Minute Friday…

Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. To know that The Lord rejoices over me with singing brings such and comfort to my soul!!

As I look back over my life, now some 40 years there has been one constant. As a child I sang in the church choir and played a flute in 5th grade. In middle school and high school I was a part of a dance team. In college I sang with a praise and worship group. As an adult I have sang in choirs, ensemble groups and alone driving down the road.

Music is what moves my heart to worship The Lord. Singing songs of worship is more natural to me than cooking a meal for my family. There is something magnificent and majestic about praising Jesus.

Recently I heard this song by Misty Edwards that drives me to my knees. When you think of me…let it be with mercy. When you think of me

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Shifting Winds…

I found this today…May 2013…23 days before I leave for Kenya!!

Shifting Winds…God is up to something way bigger than me. This is a re-post (updated) from May of 2010. Wait till I tell you about May 2011…until then…

Almost 20 yrs ago, I met a man who would forever change my life. At the time we met I was concerned about how I was going to make a name for myself in this world. I was on a path that was to take me straight to Law School and into courtrooms defending women and children. The dream of becoming a lawyer, and advocate for others has not died however I believe God had bigger plans than a mere courtroom.

When I married my husband, he told me God had placed it on his heart to do missions work; rebuilding what was destroyed by natural disaster. In my limited capacity of understanding missions I said I was not interested in leaving the country. My husband was home-schooled; familiar with the benefit and blessings that arise from families learning growing and studying together. I too said I was not interested in homeschooling our children. So misinformed I believed they wouldn’t make it to a good university; well my husband graduated from the University of Virgina with a B.A. in Civil Engineering.

In the past 10 years God has been shifting the winds of my heart. My husband has been on several mission trips, state side and overseas. In 2005, God impressed it upon my heart to fly into Maracaibo Venezuela and drive out to a remote town with several teens and adults. We spent the week in 100+ degree weather playing with school children and showing Jesus films at night. I have since longed to return!! Oh did I mention, worship in Spanish and English at the same time is beautiful music!! Four years ago, the Lord allowed my husband and I to build our own home with an estimated sq footage of…well way beyond anything a family of 5 needs. We currently open our home to children who have been displaced by one reason or another through the foster care system.

Jon went to New Orleans several times in the aftermath of Katrina. After his last trip there, he said “What do you think of selling our home, buying an RV, homeschooling the kids and traveling to areas hit by devastation. Use your Marriage and Family Counseling degree to minister to families who are psychologically struggling. And I (Jon) will minister to their physical needs of tearing down and rebuilding the physical structures.” Honestly my first thought a couple years ago was, “We have good jobs, and our kids are in fantastic schools. Why move around?” This week we heard and read about devastation that hit Nashville. I was not at all surprised by the nudge of the Holy Spirit, “The time is coming and it’s drawing near.”

The winds are shifting…we are not looking to move anytime soon. Or at least we don’t believe we are. We believe God is starting to do a work in our hearts first, to get us spiritually, mentally and physically prepared. For those who are wondering…no our house is not up for sale, yet. And we are not looking to change jobs; Jon is blessed to work for an amazing company and serve along side an awesome church family. We believe God has been preparing us for a work greater than anything we could have ever dreamed or imagined July 10, 1993 walking down the isle of Cherry Ave Christian Church.

The winds are shifting and God is preparing us to be ready when He is ready. This weekend, Jon and I are taking our first “mission” trip together as a couple. Friday afternoon we will head out to Nashville and spend Saturday doing as much as we can. We anticipate the worst structurally but anticipate an awesome display of God’s faithfulness, holiness, and majesty to shine through the people we will encounter. Our degrees, our licenses, our goals, our dreams, all that could make for a pretty comfortable life. God is more interested in molding us into a life that He has designed. God allowed us to walk certain roads to get us to the road He wants us to travel. He has allowed us to learn somethings along the way so we are prepared when He shows up with the blueprint of what we are to complete for Him!!

Please pray for us…we believe the journey is just beginning!! We welcome shifting winds because we know Ruach (The Spirit of God) is leading the way!!

Thank you for sticking with the random thoughts of today. I know it was a little long…sometimes thoughts flows like a waterfall…

Nicole

Almost there!!

Missions Update…I am so excited about my upcoming mission trip to Nairobi Kenya. God has blessed me with an amazing opportunity to travel on a second Mission trip with The LORD’S Child (http://thelordschild.com). While in Kenya, we have an opportunity to serve women and children at an orphanage called Orbit Village. We will have several nurses on our team to conduct a medical clinic at the school and a nearby refugee camp. At first glance, I felt out-of-place as I am not qualified as a nurse or one to provide medical related education to the women. Joshua%20House%20Boys

God was not surprised by my lack of education & medical knowledge when he called me to this mission trip. He simply wanted my commitment to go. Since the time of my commitment to say yes, God is opening my eyes to the greater vision He has for me on this mission trip. For 20 years my heart’s passion and desire is to serve and minister the love of Jesus to the hearts of women. As I prepare for this mission trip to Kenya, that is my assignment given by God and submitted to the leadership team of our missionary group. I have been encouraged and commissioned to receive a message from the Lord to share with the women in Kenya. As the nurses prepare the medical equipment and the right medications, I believe God is preparing my heart to receive a Word from Him. Today I am asking that you would join me in praying that God would open my eyes to see more of Him, that God would open my ears to hear His voice alone, and that my heart would be open to receive His love, unconditional and true.8348e71e-b55d-3671-8615-4cc3b80121c1

This missionary journey would not be possible without much prayer, as this trip also requires financial funding. I am believing that God will provide over and above my financial needs. With the help of some wonderful friends I am praying daily for the financial provisions for this mission trip. As a missionary, I am tasked with raising my own support to cover travel expenses, meals and lodging while on the mission field. Today I am so close to meeting my fundraising goal. My final installment of $1200 is now due.

So far, several individuals have sacrificially given towards this missionary trip. As you read this, please consider what amount you are able to give. Your gift is what allows the message of Jesus to spread around the globe!! When making your tax-deductible donation, please make it out to The LORD’S Child P.O. Box 6120, Sevierville TN 37864. And add my name to the memo line. I believe with prayer and God’s help to stir the hearts of many, my financial need will be met.

I look forward to writing again soon to say God has supplied my every need…just as He has promised!! God Bless and have an amazing day!!

In His service,
Nicole

From there to here

Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday.

This is where we come together writing for 5 minutes without editing or overthinking.

Check out what everyone’s is sharing on the word HEREhere.

What an amazing week…Here I am waiting to walk into the Women of Joy Conference. It wasn’t planned as is the case for many of the sweet moments I received this week.

Earlier this week I was in a place of wanting to drop some things off my plate and go back to where I was comfortable. And then it happened God used a great friend to lead me to thinking on the life of Joseph. Joseph may have never made it “here” if he had not gone “there”.

Two days later God gifted me with the company of another friend who reminded me to slow down and appreciate the women God has placed in my life. There are so many women who would rather talk about me, curse me and probably abandon me…but that’s ok. You see Joseph had to go “there” before he could be “here”.

And then today…I sat with 2 more amazing friends. Blessed by the beauty of friendship. I am here because a precious woman gave of herself to see that I go from a place of there to here.