Happy Thanksgiving…Let The Feasting Begin

Ekkkkk……it’s almost Thanksgiving! And right after that Christmas will be here before you know it, right? I’ll be honest I’m definitely a Christmas girl! I love ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS! 🎄🌟🎅 The sights, the sounds, family and friends coming together….the food😋

Duh…duh…duhhhh….the food for a lot of us can become such an issue of shame, guilt, and pain. Turkey, ham, gravy, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, mac n’ cheese, cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole….Oh so yummy and honestly I can’t wait! But I remember a time when I didn’t feel that way. These 2 holidays would cause me a lot of anxiety over food. Most of us have already pre-attached shame and guilt before we even get to the holiday meal. That’s sad to me and I remember it all to well. Having an eating disorder or disordered eating wrecks havoc during times like this especially. Will I binge or restrict? How much will I gain or lose? What does so and so think of me? How can I best protect my image?

Culture tells us to eat a certain way, don’t eat this or that. If you do eat it now your bad, now you take on all the shame and guilt and tell yourself I’ll do better next time. Am I right???? During these 2 holidays you will hear ‘Happy Thanksgiving, don’t eat to much!’ Or if you Google Thanksgiving you’ll find 10 Tips to not gain weight during the holiday. Or Avoiding Holiday Weight gain. Or How to Make Your Holiday Healthy. Whyyyy? Why does everything go to weight or our image? Why is it always protecting body size? This says so much about our culture today.

Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Let me speak a little Truth 💣 💣💣💣 over you!
You are made in the image of God. That’s means you are not an image that needs to be managed and manipulated and contoured into something the world says it’s approved of.

YOU ARE ALREADY APPROVED OF beautiful one!

One meal, including leftover won’t kill you or destroy all your progress but all the worry, stress, and anxiety surrounding it will. To much cortisol in your system is worse than the meal you’re about to eat. For some, food equals anxiety and then we slap labels on food like “good food” and “bad food,” that causes more anxiety than the one meal you could enjoy with family and friends.

When you are in a chronic state of anxiety over food….and yes soooo many people are, it will absolutely affect your body. You may feel bad and have some symptoms from elevated cortisol levels. Some symptoms might include

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Intestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating or diarrhea
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty recovering from exercise
  • Poor sleep
  • Muscle pain or tension in the head, neck, jaw, or back

In all likelihood, once this happens you’re like “See, I told you I just can’t eat that particular food. When in reality it could very well just be the stress of cortisol on your body and not necessarily the food you ate. We stress so much over food and image and don’t realize the impact it takes on our body.

I read this the other day and thought how true that is. “Rest assured, the fear-mongering around calories and holiday meals says more about our culture than it does about our bodies. In reality, our bodies are smart; they are meant to be resilient. So go ahead: savor every last bite of that turkey or pumpkin pie, totally guilt-free.” The Every Girl blog.

Feasting is all over the Bible. So why do we not want to feast? We will fast all day long. But feasting is scary for some of us.

VERSES:

And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we [must hold] a feast unto the LORD. Exodus 10:9

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Exodus 12:14

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month [shall be] the feast of tabernacles [for] seven days unto the LORD. Leviticus 23:3

And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. Genesis 26:30

I could go on and on but I won’t. You can take a dive for yourself. Feasting is part of God’s best for you, we just don’t think that includes all the yummy foods He gave us.

Imma say it again for the people in the back!🤣👊

Feasting was Gods idea. He invites us to feast and it’s part of Gods best for us. Just let that sink in for a bit. Ponder it my friend. This is just one of the ways He shows us his goodness and abundance.

He’s the God of Abundance!

God lavished his love on us and pours out his blessings over us. His blessings include food sweet friend. So I say this year, turn our hearts toward gratitude and this year while you’re feasting at the table with family and friends, eat with a heart of gratitude.

I’d like to challenge you to a new way of thinking….Feasting is ok and food was meant to be enjoyed and satisfying. Tell the food police “Byyyeee!” Don’t say to yourself or the person beside you ‘ You’ve ate enough’ or ‘You’re getting MORE FOOD???’ Or ‘Don’t eat too much’ This causes more shame and guilt to people around you.

Let’s go of guilt and shame of eating a beautiful meal with family and friends. Enjoy the moment. Come to the table with grateful heart. Take in His goodness and love.

I hope y’all have the best Thanksgiving holiday ever walking in freedom.

Thank You Lord for the small things
Like me and her on the porch swing
For summer nights and fireflies
And the sound of my old six string

Blessings, on blessings, on blessings, on blessings
If I still got breath in these lungs
And that’s all I need to get down on my knees
And be thankful for all that He’s done

For my mama, for my friends
For Your love that never ends
For the songs that make us dance
On this ol’ dirt floor
For my babies, for my girl
For the way they changed my world
Waking up today
Yeah, I just gotta say
Thank You Lord
Yeah, I just wanna say
Thank You Lord (oh, now)

Thank You Lord for the hard times
For lighting the way in the dark times
For pulling me in, forgiving again
The times that I took it too far, I

Big hugs,

Nicole ❤️

Are You Hiding From Your Healer?

Pain is so hard and can cause us to retreat to ourselves and hide. Hide from God. Hide from friends and family. Hide from the world. How are you dealing with pain? Often times we do it wrong, I know I have. The Word says, Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Another way to say that is Blessed are those who “give Me” their pain, I will comfort them. Give Him your pain sweet friend.

What’s on your heart today?

Are you just spinning your wheels trying to get through everyday?

Have you lost a loved one through death or broken relationships?

Are you dealing with shame from something that happened to you or something you’ve done?

Are you struggling with some kind of abuse, addiction, rejection, shame, or guilt?

Do you try and mask your pain or shove it down and not deal with it? You put a smile on your face and act as if everything is ok. Hey, no judgement here, I’ve been there. I’m learning something new and I hope I can encourage you too.

I’m learning to share my pain with those closest to me. Being vulnerable isn’t fun but it’s a necessary part of healing. Start with something small and you can work your way up to bigger things. I remember when God started dealing with me on my eating disorder I had to talk to my husband about it. I was literally sick to my stomach, shaking, and heart pounding. Poor Sean, he had absolutely no idea what I was fixing to say. I know he thought I was fixing to tell him I was having an affair, lol. But as soon as I got the words out of my mouth it was brought out of the darkness and into the light and that means it no longer had power over me. See that’s just what the enemy wants is for you and I to suffer in silence, to not share our burdens with one another.

God is the only one who can heal your pain. Turn your pain, your fear, your guilt and shame over to Him. He loves you and wants to heal you everywhere you hurt. Get honest with God, he already knows. Trust Him with your brokenness and pain. Remember blessed are those who “give Him” their pain, for He will comfort them.

Give Him your pain sweet friend.

Pain is part of progress. Its not something to fear, it’s just part of life. It’s something to learn and grow from and move through. Not a place to camp and stay. Friend, He is the God of healing. The God of miracles. The God of provision. The God of restoration. He’s whatever you need. He’s saying “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened for I WILL give you rest.”

There is pain in the breaking, but there is blessing in the broken.

THE WORD:

Exodus 15:26 tells us that God is ‘the Lord who heals us’.

Exodus 23:25b-26
And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.

Psalm 103:2-3
Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.

Isaiah 53:4-5
Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains (of punishment)…
And with the stripes (that wounded) Him we are healed and made whole.

1 Peter 2:24
He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Matthew 8:17
He Himself took (in order to carry away) our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases.

Psalm 107:20
He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Proverbs 4:20-23
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

James 5:14-15
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Isaiah 38:16
O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit; restore me to health and let me live!

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
Over every heart and every mind
‘Cause I know there is peace within Your presence
I speak Jesus

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
‘Til every dark addiction starts to break
Declaring there is hope and there is freedom
I speak Jesus

‘Cause Your name is power
Your name is healing
Your name is life
Break every stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like a fire

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
Over fear and all anxiety
To every soul held captive by depression
I speak Jesus

‘Cause Your name is power
Your name is healing
Your name is life
Break every stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like the fire

🔥 💯💗🔥💯💗🔥

God bless you and I hope you have a blessed and wonderful week!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Jesus….You are Worthy of my Song

Hey! Hey! Hey!

How are my favorite Trophy of Grace friends? It’s been a minute since I’ve posted. This has been such a difficult season I’ve been in. I’m sure you’ve been there at some point. Coming in, middle, or going out of it.

Regardless, Jesus You are worthy of my song. You are worthy of my praise.

I will forever remember 2020, it is scorched in my heart and mind. October 31st 2019 was my first appointment with my nutritionist. She specialized in eating disorders. I told her upfront I didn’t want this to be about losing weight, I wanted us to get to the root of why I was doing what I was doing and why I felt the way I did. So often we focus on the actions we are taking or not taking and we want to change but using another set of rules to gain freedom and love for ourselves and others. But my friend, there is something driving it, there’s a root cause to what’s going on in our lives.

For me, I discovered that past traumas and pain drove my eating disorder and body image issues. Which reflects in all areas of your life.

When the pandemic started I was 4-5 months into this healing journey I’m on. I can’t explain it but I started to flourish when others like me where falling deeper into there disorder because of Covid, loss, and isolation. I was gaining more and more freedom. But there always comes a point on the road to freedom, it gets REALLY HARD. It’s in the REALLY HARD place, we have a decision to make. We can suffer the pain of change or the pain of staying the same. Suffering is inevitable, but you get to choose whether you get to the other side of it or you can stay in the darkness, the sadness, and the brokenness. Friend it’s so important to choose well here. I’m even gonna give you the answer……KEEP PRESSING IN! Keep pressing on, never give up!! Feel the pain, let God do a perfect work in you.

There is blessing in the breaking.

Blessing and pain you’re gonna feel it, it might as well be going through….you are worthy sweet friend. You are worthy because Jesus says you are.

I had so many life challenges and changes in 2020, it would prove to be a difficult season but so enlightening to me and life changing.

I’ve always had passion to help others, loved all things health related. I started Holistic Health and Wellness coaching school and honestly with my dad moving here, and other issues with my Mom, and my life drastically changing because of Covid it was so overwhelming. Drs telling me to stay home and stay safe🙄 I went from seeing friends and church, leading small groups in my home, and being on the go to just nothing and it was sooooo hard and lonely. It was too overwhelming to finish school, which then heaped on lots of shame and guilt. As if I didn’t have enough of that. I still kept working with my nutritionist and learning and growing. Not realizing God still had a plan for me. It was a season of pain but GROWTH AND WISDOM. I was learning to listen to my body intuitively. One day I was listening to an ED podcast they started talking about Intuitive Eating, what is this they are talking about??? Sounds interesting. Sounds familiar. Examples they were giving were things I was doing and working on. Next session I talked to Amie and I asked about Intuitive Eating and she says that’s what you’ve been doing, LOL. My goodness, what I was working on had a name. Which of course I must know more so I dive deeper in my journey.

I started back to school this year, despite hearing the voices of ‘your not good enough’ or ‘You have nothing to offer’ or God can’t use you, you’re too broken. My biggest takeaway from 2020 till now is God has a plan whether we see it or not. He created you for great things. His plans for you are to prosper and not harm you. It may be a fight but sweet friend it’s worth it. Despite how I felt about giving up school in 2020 God knew what I didn’t know. He still had more to teach me. If I had finished it in 2020 oh my goodness my coaching would look soooo different than it will once I’m done this time. I would’ve coached focusing on food rules, good and bad foods, foods to avoid, reaching the perfect weight, orthorexia basically, etc.

Today I’ve learned there are no good or bad foods, my body isn’t a project to be improved and constantly be rejecting and trying to make it fit into what the world deems good! My body IS GOOD regardless of what the world says. Today I want to help women with intuitive eating and body image issues and find freedom.

YOUR BODY IS GOOD.

YOUR BODY IS GOOD, TODAY! Not when you’ve reached a certain weight or size. JUST AS YOU ARE SWEET FRIEND!!

My mom was always on diet, so of course I fell into that. But we come in all shapes, color and sizes. Your size, shape, weight, hair color, skin color, eye color, boobie size🙈🤣🤷🏼‍♀️ is NOT and I repeat it does not dictate your worth and value. In a culture that objectifies women and if you don’t fall into a certain category you are deemed not worthy.

YOU are worthy!

If I don’t weigh a certain number then I’m not good enough. We let Hollywood and the world’s culture tell us to be a certain weight and we will accept you. I bought into that crap for waaaayyyy too long.

Can I just remind you of how great your Fathers love is for you and how He created you for purpose. He don’t make NO JUNK! (In my best southern accent😜)

There I said it…..YOU are not junk to be thrown aside because you don’t fit in a certain category. We are all different….since when is being different bad?? God made us all different because we all have gifts and talents we each need.

You weren’t meant to fit in a box! You were meant to flourish in your skin, not be a clone of someone “society” thinks is perfect.

NO!!! YOU were perfectly created by a perfect Creator.

I’m so thankful for 2020 and the lessons it’s taught me about God and myself. I’m thankful that He is teaching about having a healthy relationship with food and trusting Holy Spirit to led me. I’m thankful I can listen and hear from my body, more importantly I can trust it. I’m thankful I don’t have to weigh myself every day, I still may not like the number on the scale but I’m learning to love myself more. The real me. Enjoying a cookie or a Bundt cake without feeling shame and guilt is just bonus. Food was meant to nourish us but also for our enjoyment and pleasure.

I’ve rejected God’s creation…..myself….for far to long. I have made my mind up to trust the One who created me and loves me…..and you…unconditional with an everlasting love.

The pain and suffering has a place and a purpose, it was not meant to take you out. Yes it can if we let it, but you keep giving Him your worship. You keep pressing into the One who changes all things and works them out for your good. When that voice is soooo loud in your ear saying quite, give up, it’s too much, it may even tell you the world is better off without you so I might as well end it. Friend I’ve been there, but hear me tell you that YOU are loved, the pain does get better, trust in the One who heals. Do the hard things and press….press….and keep on pressing through the pain. Preach to yourself. Get up on the inside.

Praise proceeds the victory!! Hallelujah!🙏🙌

There’s blessing in the breaking and YOU ARE GONNA MAKE IT. You are anointed for hard things.

God bless you and I hope you have a blessed and wonderful week! You are a trophy of grace!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Worthy of My Song- Phil Wickam and Chandler Moore

https://youtu.be/NeL9mKnd38g

Body Image Issues- What Are We Teaching Our Children?

I was in a department store the other day trying on clothes and right across from me was this mom and daughter doing the same thing. It was very disturbing to me listening to this conversation. The little girl says something like “I don’t like these and something about her hips are big.” Me working through my own body image issues my ears perked up. And course mom steps in and says with a loud and forceful, “No! you don’t have big hips! And,compared to who?” Obviously trying to figure out why her young daughter thinks she has big hips. The daughter names someone. Then the mom precedes to almost yell in the dressing room “You DO NOT HAVE BIG HIPS!! Which I can understand 100% But then she takes it to another level. “I’VE SEEN THE GIRLS IN YOUR CLASS” and then starts naming several names. Then takes it EVEN further saying well so and so had to have a large in something and you only had to have a small. So NO! YOU DO NOT HAVE BIG HIPS!

Are we really checking our daughters friends sizes??????

I understand being upset but it just broke my heart this little girl had to hear and see this being said about her friends and or people she knows.

This rant went on for at least 10 minutes, she belittling and demeaning other girls. Each comment penetrating deeper into this littler girls heart and mind. Realizing what truly mattered to her mom. Mind blowing if you ask me.

I’m sorry but this isn’t the way to build up your daughter. Your teaching her to compare herself even more with each comment and comparison you make.

Girls already struggle with comparison and then you are comparing her to other girls yourself.

SMH 😳

I actually felt sick standing in that dressing room listening to that mother comparing her daughter and demeaning all these other “little” girls. I just wanted to hug that little girl and tell her she was perfect just the way she is and that God loved her whether she has little hips, big hips, popular, unpopular, underweight, overweight, black, white, brown, etc.

Comparison is the thief of all joy. When we travel down this road of comparison that I sadly know all to well, it helps make things from the enemy easier to enter in. Things like disordered eating, lifelong roller coaster ride of dieting, self hating, self harm, body image issues, insecurity, etc. The list can go on and on and it can keep you in bondage like you can’t even imagine.

The enemy does a good enough job on his own convincing us we’re not good enough. He attacks our appearance, our weight, our work, our families….but what’s even more interesting is he can use the people in our lives too. People that love us and mean well.

Lord, I pray for these younger girls today to learn who they are in Christ and just how loved and treasured they are….not because of what they look like or what size they are but because God created them specifically….on purpose….and perfectly. Lord release them from the trap of comparison. Release them from the mirror and what they see or don’t like. Release them from the scale and the number they see or don’t see. Help them to not be enslaved to what the world calls beautiful but what You say Lord. Engrave on their heart Your everlasting love, and Your mighty plans and purposes for them in Jesus name Amen! 🙏

Hope you guys have a blessed and wonderful day!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

You Have A Say

Hey y’all!🤗 I want to help give some of you ladies some freedom! I don’t know about you but weighing myself is my least favorite thing and it was something I use to obsess over. I am no longer a slave to the scale, PRAISE GOD! But you know what bothers that crap out of me is every time you go to the doctor you have to weigh. For me that’s often unfortunately, lol.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ladies saying they didn’t want to weigh, can we just guesstimate, lol. But being forced to do it anyways because that’s what we’ve been told to do for our whole life. How many were filled shame and guilt after they got off scale? How many said to themselves, I’ve got to go on diet? Or I need to exercise more. But then fail. Heaping more shame and guilt.

My nutritionist passed on the best tip that I had no idea about and I bet you don’t either. Did your know you can decline weighing? Yep! You sure can. It’s true, unless what your being seen about actually requires knowing your weight otherwise you don’t have to weigh.

I have found so much freedom in this. You will get resistance but if this is something that is causing you anxiety or is triggering, you go for it! I’ll be happy to share a certain form with you that you can take with you. It’s actually quite empowering!

The first time I did it was rather horrifying lol and it wasn’t a good experience BUT my health, my choice. Me coming to your office for asthma and bronchitis has nothing to do with my weight🙄 I quietly told the nurse I was declining to weight, at first she laughed and I said ‘No I’m not joking, I’m declining to weigh today’ and she just wasn’t having it. She was rude and I was angry at her. I tried explaining to her I was working at overcoming my eating disorder and I didn’t want to weigh and that’s my right, that it had nothing to do with my visit today. She comes back with ‘insurance requires it!’ I said ‘no it doesn’t I’ve talked to them.’ Then it was ‘Well, the hospital requires it and we will not see you unless your get weighed!’ Are you kidding me right now?!?! You rude, lying, bitter woman lol! I was fuming on the inside. You are clearly misguided and misinformed. So I weighed that day but when my dr walked in I sure enough said something to her. I informed her how rude her nurse was and how me being weighed had ZERO to do with my appointment. She agreed and she had heard of this and would follow up about the situation and put it in my chart. I thanked her for her understanding.

But you know old me wouldn’t have declined in the first place and then if I did and had gotten resistance, I would have just let it go and not said a word!

But not today!!

Use your voice!📣

I guess what sparked me sharing this today is I had another lovely encounter with a misguided nurse. But this time I had more confidence and I politely didn’t back down. Everything was fine after we got past that.

You are your best advocate and you know what triggers you. You do you friend! Don’t be conformed to the world, be ye transformed….the world has set standards that don’t have to be YOUR standards, especially when they involve body image, weight, and what’s healthy for YOU!💗🙌💯🔥

God bless you and have a great day!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Your Body is an Instrument Not an Ornament

Your body is an instrument not an ornament.

BOOM!!!

Let that sink in a minute.

I had to go to the dermatologist today for my yearly skin cancer check. He found only one, took care of it and sent it off so we wait for results. Pray it’s basal cell like the others I’ve had. Any who, as I was updating my paperwork half of it was, did I want information on these particular services…..Cool Sculpting, Botox, fillers, laser, etc. that was all before I got back to the room. Ridiculous! When I got in the room there was an area of cosmetic pamphlets for all the services you can choose to “make yourself better” more acceptable. Listen, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for this but I’m saying that society and media is constantly telling us as women “If you use this product or do this procedure you’ll be more beautiful and happy!” This is a multi bazillion dollar industry preying on women and our insecurities. You could have the most perfect body or face and they will still try and offer these services to “improve” what you have. Still implies there’s something wrong with you. Let me just say God don’t make no junk.

It’s a money making industry!!!

So who has determined that your thighs are too skinny or too fat?

Who has determined that your waist is too thin or wide?

Social media?

Celebrities?

Your friends?

You?

Let’s be real, most of what you see on tv, magazines, social media has all been airbrushed, filtered, or blurred in some way to make it look better. I mean we are all guilty of it. Me: Can you hold the camera up higher? Angle it this way🤣🙈 How long does it take to decide on a picture you will post? Or how many times do you retake a picture? I’m preaching to myself, I do the same thing. I’m just saying we all try and present the best image of ourselves or what we want people to see.

This just cracks me up, LOL🤣

Look at all the phot editing apps. Did your know your can actually stretch your body to make you look taller and thinner? What??? You can blurr out some cellulite….OK now that might be nice LOL. I had no idea but these apps do some crazy stuff. I know a woman I’m pretty sure she does all her photos with an app. She smooths out all her wrinkles to the point it doesn’t even look like her, maybe 20 years younger her. What’s crazy is she’s a beautiful lady. Who told her she needed to do that? To get Likes and comments to build her self esteem? Idk, but obviously she feels the need to look like a “better” versioned herself. Do you feel that same pressure from society or media? I’m sure we’ve all felt that.

But what if I told you, you could be ok in your own skin?!?!? Yea, yea, yea I know, I struggle with that too. Like really struggle. Would you believe me? I’m working hard on this area. I have literally cursed my body and hated it for as long as I can remember when it was thin or fat. It didn’t matter. I never felt enough. Why? I believed lies from the enemy. Things that were spoken over me. But also because I was always comparing myself to what society says is beautiful and acceptable. Also, past hurts, comments, relationships, or traumas can cause this as well. Only you know what played a role in yours.

What about what God says is beautiful and acceptable?

For we are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Sol 4:7

He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”— Ephesians 1:6

My nutritionist is the best, between her and my counselor they challenge me to do the work to truly be a better me, not necessarily in my looks but inside beauty. Inside beauty radiates to outside beauty.

So my nutritionist has been working on me with doing mirror work. Can I just say YUCK!! No one wants to do that. Most of you know I’ve struggled with an eating disorder, well with that comes body image issues. I’ve made a commitment to myself and God to do the hard work.

I’m ALL IN!

So I had to make a list of neutral statements of different body parts and then look in the mirror and say them to myself. Examples; hands, legs, eyes, feet, arms, butt, stomach, etc. Some are harder than others. When you’ve hated your body and been disgusted with it this is the LAST thing you want to do. But I’M ALL IN! So I do it off and on till the other day when I’m reminded that Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

See spiritually, we are naked before the Lord but this day I was to be “naked naked” before myself and my mirror. Really Lord??? You have got to be kidding me, my dude?!? 🤣 Nope….disrobe and let’s do this!!

I’m ALL IN so here I go LOL.

So I have mirror time, but NAKED MIRROR TIME! 😱🙈 Oh, the horror right?!?! I didn’t plan it but it just happened. I was just going to do the neutral statements but God had other plans. My friend, lots of tears were shed but I was following Gods leading.

I spoke the neutral words over every part.

I spoke nurturing words over every part.

And then I spoke a blessing over my body.

THAT I have never done. I’ve been too busy hating it and hating how it looks. When I should’ve been blessing it and being thankful for what it does. This is real life y’all, this is total transparency…..I told myself how sorry I was for how I’ve treated my body, how I hated it and cursed it and asked for forgiveness. It was difficult and beautiful all at the same time. Do you find yourself here? Well, if you’re do you are not alone.

Mirror time is getting better. Something broke off me that day. Do I still struggle, yes, of course, but I’m gonna keep doing it and eventually those feelings will catch up to what the Word of God says about me.

COMPARISON GAME

Do you play the comparison game? Boy, I have. What happens to us when we compare ourselves to what the world says is beautiful and acceptable? I’ll be happy to tell you…..we don’t measure up and you never will. You’ll never be happy. You’ll always be looking for the next thing to fulfill you, diet, lotion, procedure, exercise, etc. When we feel like we don’t measure up shame and guilt rush in and set up camp. Our lives become like little hamsters on the wheel, constantly spinning but never getting anywhere. Trying, failing, shame, guilt, repeat.

We make decisions in our lives based on how we look and how we think people perceive us. We don’t go to the party because we don’t feel pretty enough or have the right outfit. Or I can’t wear shorts again because my legs are ugly. How about, I can’t go swimming again because I’d have to put a bathing suit then others would see my thunder thighs or cellulite. Come on, where my sisters at??? I know there’s a bunch of y’all out there feeling this.

How many things have your missed out on because you felt less than or not good enough? I know I’ve missed out on waaaay to much. I challenge myself now to not do that, to explore the why, explore those feelings.

I’m ALL IN!

How about you?

So today, I’m learning how to nurture and love my body. I’m more than a body and so are you! Loving your body isn’t thinking your body looks good. It is knowing your body “IS” good regardless of how it looks. Now that right there is POWERFUL!

In a world full of body shaming, fat shaming, skinny shaming, messages coming at you left and right that something is not quit right about you. If you do this or that….buy this or that you’ll be a better you and you’ll finally be happy and accepted. I’ll leave you with this, love and appreciate your body for what it does. Your Body is Powerful. Use it as an Instrument, Not an Ornament. You are beautiful just the way you are flaws and all. You are Gods chosen instrument. You are good because God is good and you are made in His image.

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

God Collects Our Tears

Often times when struggling with pain and trauma we find ourselves angry, holding onto bitterness, and unforgiveness. Does that sound familiar to you? Does to me, I’ve been there and honestly I’m still working through some things. But here’s what I know. We’ve got to revisit the pain and trauma…..revisit…..NOT SET UP CAMP and fellowship with it but for many of us we’ve shoved it down so far we can’t even feel it which means it’s harder to feel other things as well.

It’s kinda like a garden, we need to tend to our heart, our broken places, and the things we hide so they can heal.

This definitely takes time and will probably be painful. But just because it takes time doesn’t mean we should neglect it.

Just because it’s painful doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

YOU ARE ANOINTED FOR HARD THINGS! His Word says; for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil 2:13

Don’t run from the hard and painful things, embrace them.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

We need to go to that particular pain and trauma dig it up and allow Jesus to heal it. We’ve got to feel it, experience it and allow it to do its work in us. The Word says in Psalms 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

So after we have felt it and experienced it, it’s time to place it back in the ground, then God takes those tears of ours that He’s collected and pours it over it. It’s like a healing balm. The healing will come. It may take some time and doing this over and over again, like me, you may have many traumas or past pains to work though, it’s ok. You are gonna make it! It’s a process. Not a competition. As long as you are pressing forward, doing the work and allowing God to do a work in you friend you can’t go wrong!

I say this often but it’s so true and worth reminding you, God wants to heal you everywhere you hurt! Don’t hide your brokenness from him, He already knows it…move through it! Don’t get stuck at the point of your pain. I’ve been there and been stuck for way to long. I’ve allowed others to paralyze me, heck I’ve paralyzed myself.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. The devil don’t need any help because we are doing it all for him when we get stuck and paralyzed, and not moving forward in our lives. He’s rejoicing and we are foiling our own lives.

See God has a plan for you and me and you may not know what it is and thats ok, you’ll figure it out. Keep searching and trying different things till you get it. He’s not gonna let you fall, He will reposition you. The thing about God is you never really fail the test, you always get a do over. Again and again and again! That’s kinda nice if you think about it.

Sweet friend, I hope you hear me when I say YOU are precious and loved by God. You are worth all the hard work it takes to overcome past traumas. You weren’t meant to get stuck there. No! God needs you to tend to your heart….your garden so He can do the healing so you can help someone else. I’m definitely preaching to myself here. There’s someone out there who needs to hear your story. They need to hear what you’ve been through and how you’ve healed from it but if you’re stuck and not moving forward that can’t happen. Rise up precious one and plow forward, YOU ARE DESTINED FOR GREAT THINGS!!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

You are a beautiful mess, created

Pain….Embracing Where You’re At

Pain…don’t you just hate that word? In the last year or so I’m learning to actually embrace the word P A I N. Pain in my body, and pain in my mind and heart.

Culture today tells us to do everything we can to escape any and all pain. That’s why we have so many addictions these days. But let me share a different side to that. If you choose to escape pain and you absolutely can, God will allow you to do that. But it never really goes away it just gets shoved down and you just use different things to numb the pain. You can pick your choice….shopping, food, drugs, alcohol, sex, tv, games, over working, etc. You try and avoid the pain at all cost but it shows up in relationships, work, and your health you just may not realize it.

The thing about numbing one area of pain is it actually numbs more areas if not all areas.

However, if we choose to embrace the pain something else happens, yes it is painful and yes it can take a while especially if you are dealing with any form of trauma. But it’s better to go through the pain than to shove the pain deeper where it grows and festers.

This is where I find myself today fighting through past traumas, embracing the pain, and allowing it to do its perfect work in me.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

In Gods Word it says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Pain tells us something is going on.

Pain tells us something isn’t right.

Are we listening though or do we shove it down again and again?

I’ve done that myself. I’ve been the Queen of shoving, maybe you have to.

I’m learning that untreated trauma shows up in the body in the form of pain, sickness, and disease. It can show up as migraines, asthma, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, IBS, or autoimmune disease. Very interesting, right? The body keeps the score of what we’ve been through whether we choose to deal with it or not the body does something with it good or bad.

For me I think it started growing up in a broken home and toxic environment. Things and traumas that happened during my younger years and teenage years. I learned to not share and to shove things further because it wasn’t safe to share. Or I never felt safe to share. Maybe you feel that way too. I’d like to encourage you today to begin to take that mask off, find someone to share those things with whether it’s a counselor or someone from your small group or church. Start slow, but just start. Letting those secrets or painful things out of those dark hidden places is extremely difficult but you will feel so much better.

It’s all about being vulnerable. Ehhh, that word, it makes me all squirmy. I don’t like it and yet in order to get the things I need being vulnerable is what has to happen. See people don’t know what’s going on in your heart and mind if you’re don’t tell them. Yea I know, no one wants I do that either, lol.

But YOU ARE WORTH IT!

I AM WORTH IT!

Let’s make this more practical and personal, I’ve had a lot going on in my life the last couple of years, extremely difficult things. But if you know me, you prolly have no idea because I don’t let on that anything is wrong or happening. Let me take it a step further and say why. See growing up, my mother had enough emotions for the both of us. She was EXTREMELY emotional. She freaked out over little things as if they were HUGE things on the daily. She also played the victim so well, even though she would create the situation but she would blame others to get the attention she desired. Makes no sense, right? It was just really difficult. So for me I guess I became numb to emotions because everything was BIG! If that makes sense. I never wanted to be like that and that was one of my fears, being like her. So that’s part of why I shoved things down instead of feeling them on a “real level” not an extreme level like my mom. Also it just wasn’t safe. People around me weren’t safe. It made me more afraid to be vulnerable because I didn’t want people to think I was like her even though I wasn’t.

Exert from Brene Brown about Vulnerability:

The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.

This is where shame comes into play. Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think. When we’re fueled by the fear of what other people think or that gremlin that’s constantly whispering “You’re not good enough” in our ear, it’s tough to show up. We end up hustling for our worthiness rather than standing in it.

When we’ve attached our self-worth to what we produce or earn, being real gets dicey.

The good news is that I think people are tired of the hustle – they’re tired of doing it and tired of watching it. We’re hungry for people who have the courage to say, “I need help” or “I own that mistake” or “I’m not willing to define success simply by my title or income any longer.”

Did you catch that at the beginning, being vulnerable for others is courageous and daring but for me it shows weakness. Exactly how I have felt for years. That can be our mindset if we let it. But it absolutely shows more courage to say what we need or desire than to keep going without and feeling less then, resentful, and angry at someone for not knowing what we need. I’m totally speaking to myself on this. See there are times I just need a hug from my husband and I continue to go at life alone in a certain situation. Have you ever been here? I’m challenging myself to be more real and honest in my closest relationships. How about you? Are you willing to ask for what you need? Or does it seem scary to you? It seems scary to me but what’s scarier, staying the same and feeling less than, resentful and angry or stepping out and doing something YOU need and desire.

My friend YOU deserve good things, to be loved and treasured and maybe part of that is stepping out and saying what you need. Do it afraid!

YOU ARE WORTH IT!

I AM WORTH IT!

At 51 years of age, I’m learning to feel all the things. Embrace all the pain and emotions and yes it’s has been really hard but so worth it and so freeing. I have a ways to go but I’m so thankful for the healing journey I’m on. God is a good good Father and He wants to heal you everywhere you hurt. Will you let Him in to do it?

God bless y’all and let me remind you how loved you are and that God has a plan and purpose for you. He desires to heal you so you can go on to help heal others. You have a job to do sweet friend. Get out there and do it! Let’s do it afraid!

Big hug,

Nicole❤️

When You Have A Toxic Relationship With A Parent-Mother/Daughter

This is a subject close to my heart and yet it’s very painful and not something openly talked about. We live in world where where it’s portrayed that there is always good relationships between mother daughter (or parent/child) but sometimes the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In this world there is brokenness, mental illness, addictions, and just evil. YES it’s sad. YES it’s traumatic. YES it is painful. But it’s still truth. It cannot be denied but it can be dealt with over time.

Sometimes you can do all the things and it’s jusy not enough. You can choose to forgive and turn the other cheek 70*7 like the Bible says and we should but you weren’t called to be a doormat or abused.

In our culture you often hear a parent can go no contact or even disown their child and it’s more acceptable. “Ohhh they were so horrible to their mother or father!” But if a child decides to go no contact with their parent you hear….”you only have one Mom or Dad. You’ll be sorry one day.” Let me just say you have no idea what someone has been through to even get to the point to make such a decision. It took years and years and years and many tears and prayers before I ever made such a decision. Knowing I’d be judged for doing so but also knowing I and my family would have more peace and less drama. People these days have opinions without knowing facts. They spew hurtful words and have no idea what you’ve been through and it’s like being traumatized all over again.

Yes, we are called to forgive. But continue in a toxic relationship in the same manner, NO! Absolutely not! Sometimes no amount of effort on your part or even prayer can heal a relationship with someone who is toxic and has no desire to do different. We don’t want to hear this but in my 51 years, THIS is my experience.

Yes my God is BIGGER than any situation, any circumstance and He can absolutely heal a broken, toxic relationship but BOTH parties have to want it not just one.

When only one party is doing all the work, often times that person is the one also enabling the relationship but may not realize it. This is where we pray “God open MY eyes to do MY part. Help me love how YOU would have me love THIS person and how it would best serve this person.”

What I have found in how to love a toxic, broken person best is sometimes from afar. Sometimes it’s letting them feel the consequences of their behavior. Sometimes they have to walk through their own decisions or trials by themselves simply because you will enable them and try to take away the pain they so desperately need to feel. Pain they’ve tried to escape or put on others. Let me just say upfront how excruciatingly painful this WILL BE sweet one. Letting someone come to grips of who they are, what they’ve done, who they’ve hurt isn’t always pretty and you will want to make them “feel better” but that’s helped keep it going in the first place. Allowing God to do what He needs to do in that persons life is what needs to happen.

Let go and let God.

Sometimes limiting contact or even going no contact is what has to happen. For me I have chosen no contact now for 6 months and it has been hardest most painful thing and yet God has done so much healing in me in this time. There maybe a time when we are reconciled but that isn’t up to me. For now, I’m doing what God has told me to do and focusing on allowing Him to heal those broken place from all the trauma I’ve been through. His desire is for us to be made whole and help others along the way and that’s what I plan to do.

See, you were meant to love, edify, and build up, the problem is relationships work both ways. But it may only be working in one direction. It takes two. In relationships, we care for one another and not tear each other down. We are even selfless at times.

In relationships you love, serve, and give instead of taking all the time or sucking the life out of people. But I have to insert a disclaimer here ****Yes we do all these things but NOT, I repeat NOT to the determinant of our own well-being or mental health. Some people are takers and will take advantage of you, so you have to watch out for this and do what’s best for you.

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.

The word NO is good and it’s ok to use it. It will feel wrong when you start doing it but it’s OK!

Keep doing it.

Precious one, YOU must take care of yourself so you can be the best version of yourself for you and others.

I am so thankful to God for my healing journey. It’s been very hard and painful. Lots of hard work and I have a long way to go but I will get there. Despite my relationship with my mother, I didn’t have a very close relationship with my dad either but I have a great relationship with my 3 daughters. It is only by the grace of God because I didn’t have that roll model. But I did know how I didn’t want to be and that definitely served me. I know I didn’t do everything right and yes I made mistakes as a mother but God helped me be a better Mom because of what I went through. For that I am soooo thankful for. His grace is perfect and it’s there if you need it.

So let me say if this is you too….my heart goes out to every girl who’s mother isn’t their best friend, as they should be. My heart goes out to every girl who tries to have a healthy relationship with their mother, but can’t. My heart aches for any girl who wishes more than anything they could have a loving relationship with their mother, but no matter how much they try, it just doesn’t work. It’s difficult to understand how traumatic a toxic relationship between mother and daughter truly is, and my heart aches for anyone who’s been unlucky enough to say they understand. *Unknown

As I’m on my healing journey, I’m becoming more open and transparent about things from the past and I know God wants to heal that little girl in me that was so hurt and broken. If this is you my prayer for you is that you do the work sweet friend. Do the hard and painful work. Everyone runs from pain these days but I encourage you to run to the pain, sit with it, embrace it and allow God in to heal it. He has soooo much in store for you, things you can’t imagine. It’s gonna take time. It may take a long time but YOU ARE WORTH IT! You are worthy! You are enough and God loves YOU!!

Big hugs,

Nicole❤️

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Tribute to Gus

Hey y’all! Just a few days ago we unexpectedly lost a very precious member of our family, Gus. The last year has been tough on him. He had been battling an autoimmune condition called pemphigus and then we found out he had lymphoma a week or 2 ago. Our hearts are beyond broken.

Little Gus man brought so much happiness and joy to our family. He was such a lover, always demanding attention. If you stopped petting him he would take his paw and hit you with it repeatedly to say “Hey you human, pet me some more.” LOL🤣

Me and Gussy had a special relationship, see I was G’mama and you know grandma gives all the loves, snuggles, and treats. Not a whole hot dog, lol, but little bites, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner plates he loved so much. Special bakery dog treats and cakes cus that’s how G’mama rolls.

I will miss the times when I would call or text Kayla and say “Gus told me he wanted a sleepover” and she would laugh and say ‘he told you that?’ Then I would go get him and it would turn into a 3 night sleepover lol. Those were the best. When it was time for bed he liked to snuggle right up in left arm and snore in my ear….not just any snore though….he had that loud bulldog snore😳 So between him and my hubby it would be an ear plug night but the best night🤣🙉

I will miss when he would come over and him runny up my stairs to greet us so excited and wiggling his little butt. He was so stinkin’ cute. He would greet me with a love nip to my chin lol. You had to watch him with that, he could leave you with a battle scar. He just loved chins for some crazy reason 🤣😘

That boy loved to lay on his back and scoot right up on you. He would lay there forever.

Gus was so gentle with the littles too, I swear he had the patience of Job. He would let them do whatever they wanted to him and he loved it.

Gus man, we miss you terribly. G’mama loves you SOOOO much. You blessed us and brought us so much joy. I know you are in heaven now and no more suffering. I’m so thankful you had a welcoming party waiting for you. Baby, Dixie, and Zeus, they were happy to see you. I know Zeus was glad to finally meet you. We will see you again little man, until then just like G’mama always did when you left, I’m whispering in your ear how much I love you.

Miss you buddy. RIP Gus❤️🌈

Mommy and Daddy miss you terribly but you were the perfect dog for our family. They took amazing care of you….all the trips to the vet, the medicine, the constant love and care and you loved them right back. It was a perfect fit. You were definitely a gift from God little buddy.

A huge thank you to Galleria Animal Clinic, Dr. Bordon, Dr. Nicki, Amelia, Jana, Karen and all the staff, you guys are truly the BEST humans!! I’ve never known a vet that cared as much as y’all and always going FARRRR ABOVE AND BEYOND what is expected. From the bottom of my heart thank you….it really isn’t enough. God bless you abundantly and richly bless you. You truly are angels in disguise.

Hope you guys enjoy my special tribute of our special Gussy. Please keep my daughter and SIL and the rest of our family in your prayers.

Big hugs,

Nicole❤️

When Gus first came home. G’mama was soooo happy😍
Stud muffin 😍
When Bella first meets Gus🤣
I was recovering from surgery and Gus wanted to sit with me but couldn’t.
Gus: I know you don’t feel good G’mama and your recovering from surgery but I still love you and need snuggles🤣 and maybe a chin nibble🤣🙄
Gus waving 👋
Pumpkin 1 and Pumpkin 2🤣🤣
Nom nom nom😋
G’mama sure knows how to throw a party
Easter bunny came💗

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