All posts by nikhop320

My name is Nicole and I started Trophy of Grace in hopes to encourage others going through tough times in life. See I've been through the fire like many of you sometimes I've done it well and other times not so well.....but I'm still her! I was raised in alcoholism, struggled with enabling and codependency, I was molested as a child, I have struggled with an eating disorder and many health issues. But through it all God has been with me every step of the way and because of His love for me, I have persevered not unscathed, I have scars. But my scars tell a story that remind of when life tried to break me but failed. God calls me daughter of the King, His beautiful masterpiece, the apple of His eye, a Trophy of grace and that's what I hope you come to see through this journey we take together. No matter where you are you are never to far from God, nothing is to hard for Him and no pit is to deep that He can't scope down and lift you up precious one. He loves you with an everlasting love and will never forsake you. So join me as we overcome the trials of life and take back what the enemy has stolen. Be blessed! Big hugs💗

To Forgive Or Not Forgive…That Is The Question

We all have situations in our lives when we have to choose to forgive. Take a minute and just think of a time where you were wronged or where someone hurt you, you got it? Now remember how it made you feel mentally, spiritually, and physically because it does all 3. It can run the gamut.

What happens when we don’t forgive?

Unforgiveness, pain, or stress can cause heartburn, high blood pressure, migraines, all kinds of sickness, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and worsen pain. It can also cause us to put up walls, not trust others even when they were not the offender. It can cause us to live in fear, shame, and rejection. Puts distance between you and God, and other people and soooo much more.

Once that offense happens unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger, and more can all set in. I’m quite certain we’ve all experienced them at some point in our lives. It’s what we do with when it’s pops it’s ugly head out that matters most.

We can choose to let it makes angry, unhappy, grumpy, miserable, sick, basically it’s like drinking poison and expecting the one who harmed us to die. I’ve been there myself to often and my friend it’s not a fun place to be.

  • Unforgiveness steals your joy.
  • Unforgiveness actually can make your body sick.
  • Unforgiveness also opens the door for the enemy to work in your life.
  • Unforgiveness can hinder your prayer life, and keep your prayers from being answered.

So what’s our other choice? Because we do have another choice, it’s not easy by any means but it is the one that’s best for us and that’s….forgiveness!

I think we get confused, it doesn’t excuse the person or what they did that harmed you, it’s for yourself! It’s for your peace and your joy.

The wrongs that have been done to you can make you bitter or better, but not both. I’m choosing the latter. And yes it’s hard but it’s so worth it!

You may have to do it over and over and over again until one day it just is better and that person or situation no longer has power over you.

I found myself there the other day over a certain situation and I had the choice on what I would do. I’m happy to say after some shed tears, yes Lord 70*7 I choose to forgive, for myself and Lord as hard as it is to say, would You bless my enemies.

Matthew 18:21-22 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

What the enemy meant for harm and to destroy, You Lord will work for my good. It’s a promise!

Obviously, God has something so much better for us. Today I can even say thank you for the situation because it’s just given God more of an opportunity to shine in our lives. It’s all for His glory!

Ya know, I share some of my crazy Jerry Springer things or my brokenness and struggles not to air my dirty laundry or make you feel sorry for me but in hopes that maybe through my pain, my trials I can encourage and help someone else along the way! That’s my hearts desire. I never want my pain or tears to be wasted, and I want Him to receive all the glory. I’ve been through some stuff, just like you but I choose to let it make me better and you can too!

So today, I say choose forgiveness sweet friend, not for them but for yourself. God sees what’s going on in the lives of his precious children and don’t think He will not bring vindication and victory in your lives.

It takes time to restore and it may look different than what you think it should look like. But it’s durning those times of restoration that our faith and trust grows and we grow closer to God.

Never doubt God has a plan, He wasn’t caught off guard by what happened to you. His word says, “He will do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all you could hope, ask or think.” Amen!! He loves you with an everlasting love and He will work it all out for your good.

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend! God bless you!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

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The Misguided SELF- Life With ED And Overcoming My Broken Past

Hey y’all! Hope you guys are having a great week so far. The weather is so pleasant, I think I will be able to pull out my boots pretty soon🙌🏻 Fall and Winter are my favorite months.

I love the holidays. I’ve had my Fall stuff out for at least a month but I’m ready to decorate for Christmas, LOL.

Anywho, last couple of weeks some great things have happened with my blog and ladies small group. As some of you know, I’ve struggled with ED….eating disorder. I stopped abusing diuretics and laxatives a year or so ago when God put his finger on it and said “Now is the time to deal with this Nicole!” So I sought out help and have been in counseling since. Even though I gave up the diuretics and laxatives I was still struggling with not eating or binging…..But I recently had an epiphany.

As I said, something great had happened and God was all in it and when it was over I had a “small binge.” For the life of me I couldn’t understand why. It was so good, there was no need too. I guess for so long I thought it was only in the stressful times or bad times I would deprive myself or binge. Not realizing, I was doing it in the good times as well. I love the misguided self who thinks she can control this ED.

As I talked about what had happened with someone, I realized it went back to my childhood.

There were happy memories associated with food, maybe you already get that but I sure didn’t. Christmas time when the family got together, there was amazing food….well except for my grandmothers oyster dressing 🤢 She always thought I loved it, LOL. It was nothing but a nasty blob of mush.

Family reunions with lots of food and fun.

Birthdays full of fun, presents, and sometimes I would have 3-4 cakes different cakes. I was an only child in a divorced family, so I got to celebrate with a lot of different family members.

I can remember sitting around the table, the yummy smells, eating chocolate peanut butter balls, laughing, telling stories. Those are just some precious memories with my family.

Then as I got older, there were the times my mom and I would go out on the weekends, her in her pink foam rollers and terry cloth jumpers 🙈 We would have lunch and shopped till we dropped. I’m pretty sure that’s where my love of shopping developed, LOL🤣

More memorable, were the times when I was young, scared and afraid, hiding under a table.

Watching my drunk grandfather cuss out and beat up my moms 2nd husband.

Or the time when my grandfather was drunk again and threatened to shoot us. I remember begging my grandmother to call the police and she wouldn’t do it. She didn’t want him to be put away. He needed to be put a away, he needed help. But instead I was locked in a room.

I still remember that bedroom upstairs on the right, it had twin beds. Moma had hand stitched pictures on the walls, so beautiful. But there I was huddled on the floor behind the bed, the smell of moth balls filled the air. Popa’s sister, Aunt Sarah was there with me, I can still feel her arms around me, comforting me, and praying for us. To me her prayers were so powerful. I loved her dearly.

Then there were all the different men my mom dated, loved or married, all having major brokenness in their own life and passing that onto me. I know now she was hurt and wanted to be loved and was willing to do or be anything to get it.

Being raised in alcoholism, is chaotic enough, then there’s all the instability. You never know what to expect. So you learn to not rock the boat.

One step dad was OCD, nothing was ever good enough and he had such an awful temper. I knew he loved me and would buy me whatever I wanted….because that means love right? He scared me. There were times I would seek refuge and hide under the kitchen table in a ball to try and feel safe, and yet it escaped me time and again.

Wondering why this was allowed to go on?

Why didn’t my mom do something about it?

Why did I have to go through this hell?

Then another stepdad was an severe alcoholic. I loved him very much and he was there during some important years of my life. But his pain and brokenness just oozed out on everyone in his life. He didn’t know how to love well. I remember him saying things like;

“I’m a piece of shit!”

“I’m a slut, a whore!”

“No one will ever want you!”

“You will never amount to anything?”

Not only was he verbally abusive but he hit me as well.

Back then I wondered, what did I do wrong? Did I do something to deserve this? Was he told these things as a child? Why did he do those things to me? Why wasn’t I good enough? Why didn’t God stop it? More importantly, why did my mom allow those things to go on? Why didn’t she protect me?

This is when my eating disorder began to show its ugly head. At the time it was my comfort, it was a shelter for me in my storm….until it wasn’t. Then I couldn’t stop it and it took over my life.

I was so hurt and broken at this time, dealing with the shame and guilt of the past. Having been being molested at a young age as well, all I wanted was a way out.

I wanted my pain to stop.

I took an overdose of pills. I wanted to be free.

All I wanted was to feel safe, loved, accepted, treasured….ENOUGH.

Can anyone relate these feelings?

(That Girl Was Me…. Click below)

https://nikhop320.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/that-girl-was-me/

What happened after that was life altering. There I was revived, broken, and a sassy hotmess! My mom had made the decision to have me put in the hospital in hopes it would save me. Because of that one decision, my life was changed forever. I got the help I so desperately needed and for the first time in my life I felt hope….not freedom but hope that my life can change and be better.

I needed hope but I needed freedom more, but it would come later for me.

Not long after that I met my husband and we got married and my mom divorced and married again.

As a young mom and wife, full of fear, stress, and still looking for that love and acceptance I so desperately wanted….I had to keep up that appearance of having it all together. See you gotta look the part and play the part. Perfection! Plastic People. People will love you IF you’re perfect enough and IF you don’t rock the boat.

How misguided I was.

In the early years of my ED, it was just fun binging here and there with friends, but after I got married and started having kids, all the stress that surrounded that and not having family near to help or a healthy support system, I needed to control more. So, I had to kick up up a notch. One night in my shame and guilt I drank a hefty dose of ipecac syrup after my binge…..y’all! It. Was. The. Worst. Night. Ever!! I don’t know if I’ve ever thrown up so much. I quickly realized I didn’t like that experience lol and set out to find a better way.

Little did I know that my sin would take me further than I wanted to go, keep me longer than I wanted to stay, and cost me more than I wanted to pay. Unknown

I learned that laxatives and diuretics were easier than throwing up. My power was temporarily restored and I felt I had more control, at least in my distorted mind and that went on for 20 more plus years.

I could dress it up like the best of them. I had perfected my mask, so much that I didn’t know how to take it off. I knew I needed help but I didn’t know how.

During a “21 Days Of Prayer” God stuck His finger on it and said “It’s time, Nicole!” That was where my journey to freedom began. As I said before, I threw out all my laxatives and diuretics and haven’t taken them again!

Praise God for opening my heart and eyes. He sets us free sometimes little by little, from glory to glory. I’m not where I want to be but I’m not where I use to be either. Hallelujah!

So I kinda felt a little stuck until I had this epiphany. But I see it so clearly now.

I couldn’t get free because I was holding onto things I needed to let go of. I don’t believe it was ever simply the eating disorder, it was about all the things that happened before that I was holding onto. Things I was shoving down, so far down to the point I couldn’t feel it. I was numb. But once I made that decision to let the Lord in those dark places of my heart I can actually say I’m getting FREE! Freedom is up ahead!

I’m walking it out now, I’m not free from the eating disorder YET, but I will be!!!

All those painful things from my past, the hurts, the brokenness, the trauma, the things the devil meant to harm and destroy me, MY GOD is working for my good!!

I won’t waste my pain, what I’ve been through has created the woman I am today, it doesn’t define me but I have experience, strength and hope now that I can share with whoever the Lord puts in my path.

I’m dealing with a lot of difficult things right now, feeling the pain, the brokenness, but now I know it’s ok to not be ok. I’m on my way. I don’t have to be perfect. All I need to be is who God created me to be. I’m learning to set boundaries with people in my life that once controlled me and healthy ways to handle situations.

I’m learning I have a voice and my feelings matter. They don’t have to be shoved down because someone might get angry, they need to be felt and dealt with and NOT shoved deep.

Now the pain draws me closer to God instead of driving me further away. See the enemy wanted me to be alone and isolated but God created us for relationship. I’m so blessed with family and friends that will hold my arms up when I’m to weak. They will be there for me as soon as I say the word….it may take me a while to say I need help, LOL but I’m getting better at it.

We all need a Titus.

Titus, was one of Paul’s converts and huge help to him in his ministry. Titus was the encourager in his life. When conflict came Paul’s way, Titus would be there in those difficult times or situations.

Life is painful!

Life is hard!

Unfortunately, crappy and unfair things can happen to us but with God on your side and a Titus in your corner, my friend you can’t fail!

That’s why church, small groups, support groups, and counseling are so vital to our lives. We weren’t meant to carry all these heavy burdens alone. We were built for relationships, we were meant to come along side one another in our pain and brokenness so it could bring healing and restoration to our hearts and souls. Who is your Titus?

I’m a Trophy Of Grace and you are too sweet friend!

I hope you have a wonderful week. God bless you!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

 

The Lord Directs Our Steps

Good morning beautiful TOG readers. Hope you are doing well. I think we are finally starting to cool off here in Bama, 87/88 degrees 😳 Could Fall just get here already.

Do you ever wonder why things happen or why they turned out the way they did in your life? I would have to say of course, it’s only human nature too.

My friend, I want to let you in on a little secret you may or many not know….your steps are ordered by the Lord. He directs us every step of the way and He delights in every area of your life! That doesn’t mean he likes everything we do, it simply means He delights in YOU. That can be life changing if you let it. You don’t have to come to him all fixed up, just come as you are. He loves YOU regardless.

That also means that nothing comes our way that He did not first filter through His hands.

Do You Feel Like You’re Being Sifted?

Sometimes he allows these hard trials and circumstances to test us and produce faith in us so that we would be a testimony for Him and his amazing glory in our lives, as well as to others.

See when someone knows what you’re walking through and they see you do it with unshakable trust in God and that you’re not moved by what you see and what’s going on around you because you know your God is bigger. Some people just can’t wrap their brain around it. Who am I kidding sometimes I can’t either. Then they also see you living with JOY while you’re going through and waiting it speaks volumes….and just FYI joy isn’t the same as being happy.

“Happiness is an emotion in which we “experience feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure,” whereas joy “is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness.” We experience joy when we achieve selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice. We feel joy when we are spiritually connected to God or people.” Unknown

I’ve learned so much with my walk with God, that the bad things that have happened in my life, the trials I thought I’d never make it through…..He had a plan all along to use it for my good. His Word says “No weapon formed against you will prosper” and “He will work ALL THINGS, NOT SOME BUT ALLLL THINGS OUT FOR YOUR GOOD” and you can take that to the bank my friend. It may take some time and waiting in the process. It may even mean you have to let something or someone go. Or you might have something you need to do or not do. In my experience, often times we take on things that aren’t meant for us, we take on other peoples responsibility and God didn’t give you the grace to do someone else’s job, but He WILL give you the grace to do what he’s called YOU To do. Whooo! That’ll preach! That was a word for someone!🙌🏻

It’s funny because while you’re going through or even on the other side of something, he will bring someone else in your life that’s going through a similar trial and because of where you are or where you’ve been you are able to encourage them and have empathy for them. But had you not been there, you wouldn’t be able to help them through to the other side.

God doesn’t waste our pain, that I know with ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME!

Someone needs what YOU have….your experience, strength, and hope. That’s something no one else can offer, something that will help them reach the other side.

“Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others.”

God is looking, longing and searching for someone who He can bless!! Someone who is stable in the storm. Someone who will help and encourage others along the way.

Precious one, God absolutely will not leave you nor forsake you,

Your greatest testimony in the storms of life my friend is that YOUR STILL STANDING! YOU HAVEN’T GIVEN UP!! YOU TRUSTED THE LORD, AND HE HAS YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO BE….IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND!

THE LORD IS MIGHTY TO SAVE!!

God bless you, and have a blessed and wonderful day! Remember YOU are a Trophy Of Grace!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

You Matter In This World

Hey you, Yes YOU!! Just in case you need this sweet reminder. I’m here to tell you “You matter in this world!”

God don’t make no junk. YOU ARE HIS BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE! Created in his image.

  • You have a unique roll to play, that only you can do.
  • You are chosen.
  • You born for such a time as this.
  • You are creative.
  • God won’t waste your pain.
  • You are full of the fruit of the Spirit.
  • You are an Influencer.
  • You are beautiful.
  • You are treasured.
  • You are strong.
  • You are an overcomer.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are the apple of His eye.
  • You are irreplaceable.
  • You are loved by God.
  • You are blessed.
  • You have purpose.
  • You are full of passion.
  • You are a difference maker.
  • You are never alone.
  • You are highly favored.
  • You are healed.
  • You are FREE.
  • You are restored.
  • You are redeemed.
  • You are courageous.

Simply put, you matter because God says YOU MATTER!

You may not be where you wanna be but you’re not where you use to be. You’re on your way, Amen!

Go out today and smile, encourage someone, and make a difference in your world.

God bless you sweet friend!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Don’t Look Back & Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle

Good morning beautiful TOG readers!

Just a little reminder today to “Not look back.” Don’t camp where you were once hurt. It’s important to deal with our brokenness and pain but NOT to camp there. Don’t get stuck in the middle my friend. The middle has nothing for you.

“Don’t get stuck in the middle. We have to learn to go the full journey. Someone needs us on the other side of the shore line.” Charlotte Gambill

In Genesis, God reveals to Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah are to be destroyed for their grave sins. Abraham pleads for the lives of any righteous people living there, especially the lives of his nephew, Lot, and his family. God said He would spare the cities if 10 righteous people can be found. So the LORD sent two angels to Lot in Sodom but are met with an angry, wicked mob who are then struck blind by the angels. Finding only Lot and his family as righteous among them, the angels warn Lot to quickly leave the city and they said “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won’t be killed.”

But Lot’s wife did, and she became a pillar of salt.

Have you stopped in the valley?

Do you keep looking back?

I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to be a pillar of salt, lol. Nope! Nope! Nope!

Don’t look back and don’t get stuck at the point of your pain. That my friend, I have done, and it’s not a fun place to be. I have been stuck from things of my past and present hurts.

Just a side note, the Bible has amazing accounts and stories in it from murder, hate, jealousy, and even sex. Yep! Sex is in the Bible. Get in the Word😊

Another cool story is the man at the Pool of Bethesda, John 5. “Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people; blind, crippled, paralyzed were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

Sounds like a pity party to me….I’ve had a few of those myself.

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bed, and start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bed and walked off.

That’s what I’m talking about…he was healed and he got about His Father’s business and he told of what Jesus has done for him.

That man sat there for 38 years!!! I’d like to think that in 38 years I could’ve wiggled myself to that pool and just fell into it, LOL. I mean that’s a really, really, long time! 38 years???

But isn’t that what we do sometimes, we get stuck somewhere at the point of our pain and we become paralyzed. I know I’ve been there. Truth is I’ve been there to long myself with some things. But you don’t want to be that man 38 years later and your still camped there.

So I’ll ask you, “Do you really want to be well?

Bethesda means “house of mercy,” or perhaps “place of flowing water.”

That’s where I’m headed….to Bethesda! The house of mercy, the place of flowing water.

How about you?

God says,

I know it hurts precious one. I know your wounds. I know your disappointments. I’ve seen the betrayals. I’ve seen your tears. I see your brokenness. But what you didn’t realize all along is that I was with you through the pain, and I am here to make it right. I will work it all out, all the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the betrayals ALL for your good because your are precious in My sight and I love you. I will give you beauty for ashes. But you have to let go of those ashes, leave them behind so I can resurrect you with newness of life. All those things the enemy tried to steal, kill, and destroy, I got your back. I and the God of restoration. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Remember Lot’s wife, and Don’t look back and don’t get stuck in the middle at the point of your pain. Your destiny is ahead, and I am leading you toward your dreams. I have a hope and a future for you. I am able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask, hope for, or imagine.

~God

Hope y’all have a blessed and wonderful day! Remember, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AWESOME, YOU ARE CHOSEN, AND YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER! YOU ARE A TROPHY OF GRACE!

Praying for you!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Letting Go Of Excess Baggage And Speaking Life To Your Dry Bones

Hey y’all! Hope all my TOG readers are doing great! Another beautiful hot day here in Bama.

So much has been going on in my heart lately, dealing with things and issues from my childhood, past, and present. Things that have made me who I am today. But I realize those things don’t have to keep me broken and stuck in the past. They may have had a hand in who I am but they DO NOT DEFINE ME!

In a counseling session this week, as we were going over my life timeline, and wow that’s a job let me just say. As she would repeat back to me my timeline and the things that have happened to me, I could hear it but it was hard to feel some of it. I don’t know if that makes sense or not? I’d think “Wow, yea that really did happen to me” “Oh and that too, and that too” but I’ve tried so hard in my life to shove things down and not feel the pain or emotions of life, maybe you can relate?

For me, if something happened you couldn’t talk about it….it may hurt a family member or make them angry….forget that it hurt you. That was the message I heard.

Then if you did, your feelings were wrong and not relative. So what does one do especially when you’re a child? Well, you quickly learn what’s acceptable and what’s not and then you learn to SHOVE DOWN EVERYTHING ELSE!

For me an eating disorder developed, it was something I could control, or so I thought.

I carried shame and guilt for things that had been done to me, and later things I had done. But it wasn’t mine to carry, neither is it yours sweet friend.

I have felt alone, numb, unworthy, unloved, unwanted, wrong, insecure, the list can go on and on. Maybe you feel those thing right now. You are not alone precious one, you are in good company. God is with you and He loves you at your darkest! He isn’t scared off by your brokenness, He is just waiting for you to invite Him in.

https://nikhop320.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/i-loved-you-at-your-darkest/

ARE YOU CARRYING THINGS IN YOUR LIFE THAT DON’T BELONG TO YOU?

  • Guilt.
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Resentment/Unforgiveness
  • Habits/Addictions
  • Anger
  • Past Relationships
  • Stress
  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Fear

“And He caused me to pass round about among them, and behold , there were VERY many (human bones) in the open valley or plain, and behold, they were very dry. He said to me, Son of Man can these bones lives? And I answered O Lord God, You know!! Again He said to me, Prophesy to these dry bones and SAY to them, O you dry bones, HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD. Ezekiel 37:2-4

As I’m on this journey of restoration with God, I’ve realized some things.

One, I’m not alone in this.

Two, I have to let go of the things (or people) I cannot change…I am powerless to fix it but My God is NOT! My God is BIGGER!

And three, the things that need changing, the dry places in my soul….I have to Let Go and Let God.

There’s No Way Around Pain…Feel It And Move Through It

Today, I can say I’m doing a new thing! I don’t always get it right, but thank God I’m not where I use to be.

Those dry places in my soul and in my life, I’m choosing to feel them, be more vulnerable, and speak life to them. You can do the same thing my friend.

If you need something in your life to change, let me remind you when you let God in ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! Healing and restoration are possible and I’ll even go as far to say it’s inevitable. Because where God is, there is LIFE and there is FREEDOM!

There is life and death in the power of your tongue! Speak LIFE!

The same power that raised Christ from the dead, lives IN YOU!!

Speak God’s word out of your mouth every day and call those things that be not as though they are!! Get in agreement with God’s promises!! Your life and circumstances WILL CHANGE!!

Prophesy to those dry bones!! And keep prophesying till what is dead comes to life. Don’t you dare give up!!

God bless you! I’m praying for y’all and I’d love to hear from you.

Big hugs,

Nicole💗